Raag Keertan Durbar: Enlightening And Spirit-Moving

Sacred Music Presentations In Classical Ragas At The Sikh Satsang Gurdwara

Prayerful Reflection:

Indianapolis, Indiana USA, September 29, 2019: The Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis, Inc. organized a Raag Kirtan Darbar (September 27-29) at the Sikh Satsang Gurdwara located at 10950 Southeastern Avenue in Indianapolis at the Sikh Satsang Gurdwara (a Sikh place of worship). Several prominent and acclaimed classical Raag masters and musicians (Ragis), and some belonging to honored Sikh musical dynasties going back to the times of the Sikh Gurus enthralled the large Sikh congregation gatherings with their amazing skills and mastery of the 31 Raags enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib, The Sikh Holy Scriptures. 

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Eminent Sikh Music Masters (Ragis, Scholars, Teachers, and Researchers) graced Indianapolis congregation for their shabad keertan in 31 Ragas designated to sacred hymns enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib. The Raag Masters who made presentations at the Indy Raag Kirtan Darbar included:

. Dr.Gurnam Singh Ji - Scholar, Teacher of Gurmat Sangeet - Punjabi University, Patiala
. Bhai Sarbjit Singh Laadi - Hazoori Ragi Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar
. Bhai Anantvir Singh Ji, LA - Trained in Gurmat Sangeet and Indian classical music
. Bhai Karamjit Singh Ji - Trained under other celebrated Sikh Ragis
. Ustad Raghbir Singh Ji, New Jersey - Highly trained and skilled Tabla artist and teacher
. Prof. Ranjit Singh Ji - Bhai Mardana Academy, La; Gurmat Sangeet and Tabla artist

The rendition of Guru Nanak’s Aarti in Raaag Dhanasri, “Gagan Mein Thaal Rav Chund Deepak Bunay Tarika Mundal Jaunuk Moti… : The sky is the salver; the sun and moon are the lamps; the stars with their orbs, are the studded pearls…” at the famous Jagannath Puri Temple that the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore called as the Universal Spiritual Anthem for all Humanity, was a magnificently beautiful moment during the Raag Durbar. There were many such moving moments throughout the Raag Kirtan Darbar.

My spirit recalled Ragi Samund Singhjee singing Bhai Gurdas’s sacred hymn “Sutguru Nanak Pargatiya, Mitti Dhund Jug Channun Hoaa… : Sutguru Nanak arrived into this world; the fog was lifted and the Earth was lit by his radiance…” The time would be around midnight at Janam Asthan (place of Nanak’s birth) at Nanakana Sahib, now in Pakistan. The congregation of tens of thousands would listen his magnificent rendition and musical veneration in awe and feel a Divine Spirit descending upon this hallowed place. The Shabad Keertan at the Indy Raag Kirtan Darbar by great Ragis brought home that exalted spirit enshrined in Shabad Keertan in thie original designated Raags.

In addition our resident Ragi Jatha lead by Ragi Joginder Singh, a children group and our Head Granthi, Gyani Pritam Singh Ji, participated in the three day marathon music Durbar. Maninder Walia, Chairman Sikh Satsang Board of Trustees, President Paramjit Singh Dhadwal, Tabla Master Gurdev Singh Nirman, and other leaders, many volunteers and sponsors assisted in the memorable event.

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The Hoosier Sikh community Raag Kirtan Darbar is among the countless worldwide commemorations: imaginative educational, environmental, and service initiatives; programs and celebrations related to his life and message that are taking place to mark the historic 550th Birthday of the Founder and First Sikh Guru, Nanak Dev Jee (1469-1539). For three days our honored outstanding musicians performed Kirtan and their fabulous renditions of Sikh Shabads (sacred hymns) in the Raags (musical styles, measures, and spirit) as designated in Guru Granth Sahib.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji is venerated as a brilliant Spiritual Light and enlightened Teacher by millions of Sikhs and followers of other faiths, who proclaimed the message of Oneness of God; unity, equality, and dignity of all human beings; sanctity of all faiths; and service of all humanity. During his extensive travels of nearly 25 years, Guru Nanak carried his Divine message to faraway places in Asia, Middle East, Far East, and throughout India. A recent article in the Indianapolis Star (Faith & Values section - September 29, 2019) offers additional perspective and relevance of Guru Nanak’s message to all humanity.

Beginning with a few pioneer Sikhs in 1967, today about 5,000 Hoosier Sikh families have been engaged to honor that message for the past half a century and have been a vibrant presence in Indiana. Today the Sikh religion, the largest faith with an estimated 35 million followers worldwide and nearly one million Sikhs in the U.S. Over 2,500 Sikh families live, work, and make the Indianapolis Metropolitan area home. In Indiana, the Hoosier Sikhs are engaged in many professions and service industry areas and adding greatly to the Indiana economy and critical services. Hoosier Sikhs are generously contributing to worthy causes, disaster relief efforts, and engaged in special civic and community projects and interfaith initiatives.

The last two weeks have been of major significance - deep anguish and joyful Charhdikala for the Sikh community in Indiana and America:

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<> The shocking cold-blooded murder of a beloved Deputy Sheriff, Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, in Houston during a routine traffic stop that shook the law enforcement community and the Sikh world. American leaders, Law Enforcement Officers, and several Sikh Officers came from across to world to honor this hero. Officer Sandeep was given full traditional honor and a 21 gun salute at his funeral.

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<> At the last day of Indy Raag Kirtan Durbar, several City, State, and interfaith leaders were honored by the Sikh Satsang for their important contributions to Indiana at many levels and their special kindness to the Hoosier Sikh Community. Those who were able to attend included: IMPD Police Chief, Brayan Roach; CEO and President of Gleaners Food Bank, John Elliott, that provides donated food to over a million Hoosiers; Executive Director of Center for Interfaith Cooperation, Charlie Wiles; Founder of Carmel Interfaith Alliance, Rev. Jerry Zehr; all the prominent Sikh musicians, several Sikh Satsang volunteers. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett were unable to attend due to travel and schedule conflicts.

<> 2019 Indy Festival of Faith: The Hoosier Sikhs as in previous six Festivals were well represented with a beautiful display. Bhai Joginder Singh Ragi Jatha gave an inspiring presentation of the Sikh sacred music from the Main Stage; Turban-Tying became was a major attraction; Sikh Langar was shared with many who visited the Sikh Booth. The Sikh display was organized by Chirjeev Oberoi, Baljit Oberoi, and Maninder Singh Walia with support from other volunteers.

Look towards Guru Nanak’s 600th Birthday in 2069: The many Sikh national organizations and Sikh leaders across America and around the world will need to start planning and expanding our focus towards robust engaging with civic, cultures, education, and faith leaders; media, law-enforcement and relevant institutions at many levels to create awareness and better appreciation for diverse communities that make up the area populations. Concerns like the cherished faith-mandated articles, unfounded stereotyping and discrimination of fellow citizens will be a thing of the past.

Identification and preservation of Sikh heritage: Another important area that needs special attention is the careful identification and preservation of the neglected Sikh history and sacred heritage - the arts, music, literature, precious artifacts, historic landmarks and significant places. We must engage in serious research and publications of valuable findings in multiple languages; organize special exhibits about Sikh faith, culture, history and community in world-class galleries, like The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. and The Sikh Heritage Complex at Anandpur Sahib for the world to enjoy a glimpse into the journey of one the most dynamic and youngest world religions.

Looking beyond our comfort zones and integrating our efforts with others to do big things: That would be one way to further the cause for optimism as we approach the 600th Parkash Aagmun (Birthday) of Guru Nanak in 2069 and imagine his vision, and may be insightful premonition fulfilled: that his followers scatter around the world, excel and serve the entire human family. Guru Nanak’s message to the world: serving others and sacrificing for important humanitarian causes must become a solemn pledge and a living tribute to Guru Nanak and all Divine Messengers that brought God-Light to our Planet.

KPSinghDesigns  <>  Indianapolis, Indiana USA  <>  September 29, 2019

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