The Story Behind the Dhunni of Tunda Asraja

Vaar Asa holds the light and courage our mind needs to overcome the pain and laziness that we encounter each day....

VaarAsa (52K)

Vaar Asa

This project is humbly dedicated to the sacred healing power of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

I present this recording with sincerest gratitude to my Vidya Guru, the late Mahant Ajit Singh Ji, for teaching and sharing with me the traditional rendition Vaar Asa and the Tunday Asrajay Ki Dhunni (the melody of Tunda Asraja) Raag Asa.

In present times this tradition is no longer practiced in the authentic manner, neither is it sung according to the prescribed instructions clearly stated by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in the title. This means that mostly people do not sing Vaar of Raag Asa in the specified raag nor use the melody or dhunni by the Guru.

About Us

Raj Academy

The music from ancient Indian offers a path to learn and master the art of life. Through a system of raags, the music from ancient India gives us an ability to compose our emotions that arise from the ups and downs we all experience. By learning to compose our emotions, we master the art to compose our life as well.

The timeless wisdom to learn the delicate art of composing life is inscribed in the sacred scripture Siri Guru Granth Sahib. The knowledge is arranged into a musical framework of 60 individual raags, where each raag personifies a distinct emotion that every human experiences in their journey of life.

Raj Academy’s mission is to share the timeless wisdom given to mankind through the discipline known as "Gurmat Sangeet", “Gurbani Kirtan” or "Naad Yoga". It is our legacy to revive the music of innertainment and inspire all to live a beautiful, composed life. By encouraging the practice of Gurmat Sangeet and Naad Yoga in our daily life, we aspire to heal and awaken the highest potential in every human being.


The story behind the Dhunni of Tunda Asraja:

During the 16th Century in ancient India, there lived a king called Sarang, who had three sons and the eldest of his children was named Asraj. The first wife of the king had died several years ago, she had been the mother of Asraj. The king then married again and had two more sons. The stepmother of Asraj never favoured Asraj, she disliked him very much. Her wish was for one of her sons to become the next king and she secretly conspired to get rid of Asraj, the current heir to the throne. Upon the sudden death of Sarang, the queen secretly arranged for the assassination of Asraj, instructing the executioner to ensure that Asraj would suffer a slow and painful death. 

Consequently, he chopped off both of Asraj’s hands and threw him into a dry well, leaving him to bleed to death there. After many hours, Asraj gained consciousness and heard distance voices. He started to shout for help and luckily the passersby heard his cries and rescued Asraj, putting him on a trolley and treating his wounds. The group of people took Asraj along with them, pushing the trolley at the front of the group. They walked for hours and it was only on the morning of the following day that the gate to the next city was seen in the distance. 

As the sun was beginning to rise over the horizon, they entered the main gate and to their surprise they were greeted by members of the royal court of the city who decorated Asraj in garlands of flowers and jewels, whilst musicians played celebratory music for him and everyone danced for joy. Asraj and his fellow travellers were confused and disillusioned, they couldn’t understand what was going on. 

They were approached by a member of the royal court who explained that the previous night the king of the city had died and as per the law of the city, whenever a king has no next of kin, then upon his death whoever is the first to enter the city will be crowned as the new king. As Asraj had been pushed on the trolley at the front of the group, he was the first to enter the city and was now crowned king. From this moment Asraj was known as *Tunda Asraja.

Asraj then quickly recovered and regained his inner strength. He set out to seek justice in his home kingdom and was victorious there. Asraj was righteous, fair and noble, loved by his city and truly a king of the people. His courage brought him victory and ever since people have sung tales of his bravery for their own strength and inspiration. 

This was the tale of Tunda Asraja. 
*Tunda is the term used to refer to somebody who has no hands.

The time period of this incident was during the 16th Century, during the Guruship of Guru Amardass Ji and the rulership of Emperor Akhbar in India.

Vaar Asa was a fundamental part of a Sikh’s daily discipline from the time of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. During the heaviest and most challenging days that our ancestors faced in the battle fields of Chamkaur and Bhangani they never gave up their practice of Vaar Asa, it gave the Sikh warriors the strength and spiritual focus they needed to achieve their victory.

In the significance of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, this tune of Tunda Asraja is sung for this specific vaar to encourage strength and victory during our daily challenge in life, while reminding us to always seek inner inspiration.

Vaar Asa holds the light and courage our mind needs to overcome the pain and laziness that we encounter each day. It has the power to heal the deepest pain and shine the brightest light within us. It was given as a blessing to humanity to unfold and share the true Wisdom of Life.


Professor Surinder Singh is the founder of Raj Academy. It is through his dedication and passion that this project came together after 30 years of research and 3 years of recording and editing in studios across the world. His dream was to bring together the most authentic rendition of Asa Ki Vaar which complies with all of the instructions set out by the Great Sikh Masters (Guru’s). He has devoted his life to the revival of Sikh Musical Instruments and Sikh Music Tradition through education and awareness, he has played a major role in making these teachings more accessible and available to all. "Now is the time to unite under the banner of Guru’s name so that we can work together to preserve and promote the rich musical heritage of Sikhs. This is just one project of many, there is so much work yet to do and now I need your support. Please join me in this journey dedicated in service to Guru."

Ustad Surjeet Singh is a world renowned Sarangi player. He is the senior student of the famous Pandit Ram Narayan (Sarangi Grand Master). Surjeet Singh has been working with Raj Academy since 1999 in support of the work and efforts made to revive Sikh Music.

Ustad Ranbir Singh has earned the title of being the "Worlds only professional Taus player”. He has dedicated his life to Sikh Music since the young age of 5 when he began his musical study on Dilruba in Bhaini Sahib. He is without doubt a phenomenal musician who is extremely gifted in playing the Taus and Dilruba and offers his experience as a teacher for Raj Academy.

Ustad Sukhdev Singh is a master vocalist from the Namdhari Tradition, he is a disciple of Rajan & Sajan Mishra from whom he gained all of his music training. Sukhdev Singh has been gifted with a divine voice which he uses to sing kirtan regularly in concerts and more frequently to the congregation in Bhaini Sahib.

Late Ustad Mohan Singh was an extremely talented Master vocalist and senior student of Rajan & Sajan Mishra. He spent most of his time teaching this art to students across the world and sharing his wisdom of kirtan. Unfortunately he was not able to see this project through to the end and departed from this world before the project was launched, but his voice and teachings will remain everlasting.

Bibi Amarjeet Kaur is a senior student of the famous Ragi, Bhai Santa Singh where she learnt Kirtan. She received her vocal training from Ustad Rattan Singh "Tansen" and Ustad Naseer Ahmad Khan. Her voice has a distinct beauty and realms of character that bring in the power and sweetness ideal for singing a Vaar.

Rajinder Kaur based in London is a student of Professor Surinder Singh ji, who graduated through the BMus offered at the University of West London in Gurmat Sangeet in 2012 and is now a dedicated teacher of Raj Academy. She has dedicated her life to teaching kirtan and currently plays an active role for all major Gurmat Sangeet courses taught within Europe.

Preetinder Singh began his study of Sikh Music with Professor Surinder Singh at the young age of 13. He has since found his passion and love for teaching, performing and sharing Sikh Music to students of Raj Academy based in North America and is now a teacher for Raj Academy.

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About the Project

This is a ground breaking recording as no one in the past 500 years have recorded the Asa Ki vaar exactly how its sung in Sri Guru Granth sahib in the prescribed Raag and Dhunni!

This recording has many features:
  • It is sung in "Tunde Asrajay ki dhunni" throughout!
  • Sung exactly the way it's written in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, meaning there
  • are no chhants.
  • Completely in Raag Asa
  • Features many artists such as Prof Surinder Singh, Ustad Ranbir Singh, Ustaad Surjeet Singh, Ustad Sukhdev Singh, Late Ustad Mohan Singh, Bibi Amarjeet Kaur, and a few others!!
  • It features all the Sikh instruments!


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