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Devotional music, one of the most ennobling arts, is a potent means of God-realization and can transcend the barriers of space and time. Melodious couplets of Kabir Ji and mystic chants of Guru Nanak Dev Ji demonstrate the power devotional music has over the human mind, and its efficacy as a way to seek the ultimate goal of human life. Wherever Kirtan is sung, the entire atmosphere is transformed into a state of unimaginable bliss.  Singing and listening to Kirtan touches the unconscious and is a means of integration. Reaching the unconscious is to reach the innermost self, which lies hidden – the divine spark which once lit, leads to illumination and enlightenment.

1. Siree Raag

Guru Amardas ji uttered these words, accepting this raag as the highest raag.  Siree Raag is the 1st raag in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and is a very old, melodious and complex raag. Guru Nanak, Guru Angad, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjun composed Bani in this raag.  Bani by Bhagat Kabir, Bhagat Tirlochan, Bhagat Beni and Bhagat Ravidas is also included in Siree raag. Its mood is one of majesty combined with prayerful meditation.  Siree Raag is sung at the first quarter of the night from 6pm to 9pm (Sandhi-Prakash, Dusk)

2. Raag Maajh

Maajh Raag is a pure Punjabi raga invented and attributed to Guru Nanak Dev Ji and is said to be born from the folk tunes of music popular in the Malwa region of Punjab.  Guru Arjun Dev Ji has written Barah Maha also in this raag.  Guru Nanak, Guru Angad, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjun composed Bani in this raag.  Singing time of this raag is first Quarter of the night from 6pm to 9pm.

3. Raag Gauree

Gauree has the largest number of compositions in Sri Guru Granth Sahib and it’s mood is contemplative.  It contains two important compositions of Guru Arjan, Sukhmani and Bavan Akhri.  Gauree was used by Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan, Guru Tegh Bahadur and Bhagat Kabir’s Bani is also in this section.  This raag is sung at the first quarter of the night 6pm to 9pm.

4. Raag Aasa

Aasa Raag literally means the melody of hope.  This raag is conducive to the hours before day break and also around dusk.  It is a soothing and pleasing raag, appropriate for the singing of the Aasa-di-vaar.  This raag is considered to be an original musical gift from Guru Nanak as there is no mention of this raag in ancient or medieval texts.  Guru Nanak, Guru Angad, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjun and Guru Tegh Bahadur have all recited Bani in this raag.  Singing time of this raag is the fourth quarter of the night 3am to 6am.  In the Sikh tradition this raag is also sung in the evening.

5. Raag Gujree

Raag Gujree is an old raag and is popular to sing devotional hymns.  It is a very melodious raag.  The entire form of this raag being imbued with compassion, musicians have considered it as having a compassionate nature that reaches deep into the heart.  Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ramdas and Guru Arjan have recited Bani in this raag. Singing time is second quarter of the day 9am to 12pm.

6 Raag Devgandharee

Raag Devgandharee is a very melodious and ancient raag.  In Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 10 pages have been dedicated to this musical measure.  Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan and Guru Tegh Bahadur have recited Bani in raag Devgandharee, which is meant to be sung a few hours after sunrise, during the second quarter of the day 9am to 12pm.

7. Raag Bihaagra

Bihaagra is very similar to the popular raag Bihaag.  Raag Bihaagrra is sung in the calm and quiet environment of the night.  It has a very sweet nature and produces an inclination to seek unity with the Lord.  Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan and Guru Tegh Bahadur composed Bani in this raag.  This raag is sung at the second quarter of the night 9pm to 12am.

8. Raag Vadhans

In Gurmat Sangeet, Vadhans raag has been used for classical music and also for folk tunes, Ghorian which reflect a singer’s joy and Alaahania which reflect sorrow. This raag was used by Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan.  This afternoon raag is sung at the third quarter of the day 12pm to 3pm.

9. Raag Sorath

Sorath is a very simple and sweet raag which creates cheerfulness.  Besides Guru Nanak, Sorath was used by Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan and Guru Tegh Bahadur for a total of 150 hymns and numerous Saloks.  This raag is sung at the second quarter of the night 9pm to 12am.

10. Raag Dhanasri

Dhanasri raag is counted as one of the uncommon raags in Indian music.  It is a very old and melodious raag.  The Artis sung by all Bhagats are composed in this raag.  Guru Nanak, who did aarti of the entire universe by his Shabad:  ggn mY Qwlu riv cMdu dIpk bny qwirkw mMfl jnk moqI ] also composed and sung it in this raag.  This raag is sung at the third quarter of the day 12pm to 3pm.

11. Raag Jaitsiree

Jaitsiree is a very old and melodious raag, which produces a pleasant and peaceful effect.  To get happiness one has to leave the mind’s lazy nature and seek Guru’s grace by imbibing the naam jewel in one’s heart.  Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan and Guru Tegh Bahadur composed 30 hymns , a vaar and several saloks in this raag.  This raag is sung at the fourth quarter of the day from 3pm to 6pm.

12. Raag Todee

Todee is a very famous but serious raag.  This raag has become such an inseparable part of folk music that one hears its notes in various folk songs.  It is considered one of the most important of the North Indian Raags.  Todee was used by Gurus for 32 hymns.  The composers of Bani in this raag are: Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan, Guru Tegh Bahadur and Bhagat Namdev.  Singing time is second quarter of the day from 9am to 12pm.

13. Raag Bairaree

Raag Bairaree is counted as an uncommon and not a very well known raag.  This raag is a rather complex raag but very melodious.  ‘sMq jnw imil hir jsu gwieE ]’ which is commonly sung at the end of Diwan is in raag Bairaree.  It was used by Guru Ram Das for six hymns and by Guru Arjan for one hymn.  Bairaree is sung in the evening, the fourth quarter of the day 3pm to 6pm. 

14. Raag Tilang 

Tilang is a very famous, simple and melodious raag.  Even ordinary listeners of music are easily able to recognize this raag.  Tilang is used for hymns by Guru Nanak, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan, Guru Tegh Bahadur, Bhagat Kabir and Bhagat Namdev - for a total of 20 hymns.  This raag is sung at the third quarter of the day from 12pm to 3pm.

15. Raag Suhi 

This is a morning raag and one of courage and inspiration.  The Gurus have composed hymns concerning married life in this raag.  These are Ghorian, Laavan, Suchaji, Kuchaji and Gunwanti. Suhi was used for Bani by Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan, Guru Tegh Bahadur, Bhagat Kabir, Bhagat Ravidas and Bhagat Farid - 150 hymns, a Vaar plus many Saloks.  This raag is sung at the 2nd quarter of the day from 9am to 12pm.

16. Raag Bilawal

Bilawal is very famous and an old raag.  This is a morning raag of deep devotion and joy - joy is attained when the individual soul gets united with the Universal soul.  Over 170 hymns were composed to this raag by Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan and Guru Tegh Bahadur.  This raag is sung at the 2nd quarter of the day from 9am to 12pm.

17. Raag Gond

Gond raag is very melodious, attractive and an impressive raag.  In Indian music, it is counted as one of the few uncommon raags.  Classical kirtaniye used to sing this raag with a touch of Bilawal due to which it would become even more melodious. Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan, Bhagat Kabir, Bhagat Ravidas and Bhagat Namdev have Bani in this raag.  Singing time for Raag Gond is the second quarter of the day from 9am to 12pm.

18. Raag Ramkali

Ramkali is a very old and famous raag.  This raag is aimed at charming the Lord and it produces the effect of compassion.  Ramkali is popular with Yogis and therefore Guru Nanak Dev Ji composed Sidh-Gosht in this raag.  Ramkali Sad, Anand Sahib, Ramkali ki Vaar -  these banis are written in this raag.  All Gurus used this raag and more than 300 shabads are tuned in it.  This raag is sung at the first quarter of the day from 6am to 9am.

19. Raag Nat Narayan

Raag Nat Narayan is very melodious and an effective night raag. Guru Ram Das Ji composed a beautiful Partaal ‘myry mn syv sPl hir Gwl ]‘ in this raag. In Guru Granth Sahib under raag Nat Narayan we find another form of this raag Nat but both raags are different and independent.  Guru Ram Das Ji and Guru Arjan Dev Ji have recited Bani in this raag.  Singing time is second quarter of the night from 9pm to 12am.

20. Raag Mali Gaura

Raag Mali Gaura falls in the category of uncommon raags and is a complex measure.  Listening to it produces waves of joy in the heart.   In Sri Guru Granth Sahib we find 6 shabads of Guru Ram Das Ji, 3 shabads of Guru Arjan Dev Ji and 2 shabads of Bhagat Namdev written in this raag.  This evening raag is sung at the fourth quarter of the day 3pm to 6pm.

21. Raag Maru

Maru is a very old raag.  In Indian music it is called by different names and sung in different ways.  It can be sung both in an inspiring mood or in the sadness of separation.  On the one side there is josh, on the other side there is bairaag.  During wars and death this raag is sung.   Singing time is the third quarter of the day 12pm to 3pm.

22. Raag Tukhari

There is no reference to this raag in any ancient, medieval and contemporary texts of Indian music.  According to intellectuals, Guru Nanak Dev Ji invented this raag therefore it is an unparalleled contribution to Indian music.  This raag contains Bani of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Guru Ram Das Ji and Guru Arjan Dev Ji.  In this raag Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Barah Maah is written.  This raag is sung at fourth quarter of the day from 3pm to 6pm.

23. Raag Kedara 

Raag Kedara is a very ancient and famous raag.  Guru Amar Das Ji has acknowledged Kedara as the best among other measures, provided it helps the seeker increase their love for God and remain united with the congregation of the saints.  The mood is one of contemplation associated with a sort of ascetic idealism.  Guru Ram Das Ji & Guru Arjan Dev Ji have recited Bani in this raag and Bhagat Ravidas Ji’s Bani is also included here. Singing time is the first quarter of the night from 6pm to 9pm.

24. Raag Bhairo

Bhairao was an important raag at the time of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and continued to retain its significance and popularity.  The environment of Bhairo is very pleasing, charming and love inducing, especially filling the desire of worship.  In this raag Guru Sahib has described in detail the story of Bhagat Prahlad.  This raag was used for Bani by Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das Ji, Guru Arjan Dev Ji , Bhagat Ravidas Ji, Bhagat Namdev and Bhagat Kabir Ji.  Singing time is the early dawn hours of the morning.

25. Raag Basant

Raag Basant is a raag for spring (Basant) season.  Basant season is the best of all seasons, as one can perceive colorfulness and joy as the earth blossoms forth in lush abundance.  When praises of the Divine are sung in this measure, the human soul gets ready for the Divine to sprout from within.  According to tradition this raag is sung in the Gurdwaras from the festival of Maagi to the festival of Holla Mahalla.  During Basant season after the samapati of keertan Basant ki Vaar is sung.  It is said that one who sings Basant ki Vaar always remain happy.  Singing time is at any hour in Spring (Basant) season.

26. Raag Saarang

Raag Saarang, famous since centuries, is a simple and sweet raag, loved by people.  Notes of various folk songs are based on this raag.  It is said this raag is cool in nature, providing solace to the human mind and puts an end to its wanderings.  Saarang is an important raag in the Guru Granth Sahib and was extensively used by Guru Nanak, Guru Angad, Guru Amar, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan, Guru Tegh Bahadur and Bhagat Bani’s.  Singing time is in the afternoon, third quarter of the day 12pm to 3pm.

27. Raag Malaar

Malaar raag is of the rainy season, performed during the month of Sawan and Bhadon.  In Malaar Raag one can see as if there is a rainfall of Gurbani and whosoever drinks a drop of amrit from this rain of Gurbani becomes exalted.  Guru Amar Das states in quite unequivocal terms that this measure is of cool temper.  Guru Nanak, Guru Angad, Guru Amar, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan, Bhagat Namdev and Bhagat Ravidas have bani in this raag.  During the rainy season it can be sung at anytime of the day or night.

28. Raag Kaanara

Raag Kaanara is amongst the favorite and melodious raags of Gurmat Sangeet, yet it is complex and pleasant.  In the medieval period this raag was not only sung in the Raj Darbars but was prevalent among saint musicians, Bhagats and the common folks too. Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan and Bhagat Namdev have Bani in this raag.  Singing time is second quarter of the night 9pm to 12am.

29. Raag Kalyaan

Raag Kalyaan is a very famous raag.  Its form is very beautiful and melodious and produces joy from within. Kaliyaan produces happiness.  Guru Ramdas and Guru Arjan composed 23 hymns in this raag.  As per the division of raags in Guru Granth Sahib, Raag Kaliyaan Bhopali also comes under Raag Kalyaan.  This raag is sung at the first quarter of the night 6pm to 9pm.

30. Raag Prabati

Raag Prabati is very melodious and a unique morning raag, bringing joy and poise.  There is no mention of this raag in any ancient book of Indian Music.  Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan have recited Bani in this raag.  This raag is sung at the first quarter of the day from 6am to 9am.

31. Raag Jaijawanti

 

Raag Jaijawani is very old and a famous raag and is indicative of victory, as in overcoming the vices of one’s mind and the soul being freed forever.  Four shabads recited by Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji in Raag Jaijawanti are presented at the end of SGGS.  By giving new appearance, new shape and new musical form, Guru Sahib has caused a new expansion and made it a tool to achieve peace for the soul.  This majestic and highly captivating raag is sung during the second quarter of the night 9pm to 12am.

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