Friday, October 6, 2006

Is criticism of Ragi Jathas fair?

As I was driving to work this morning in a van that normally my wife drives, I am listening to Bhai Harjinder Singh Srinagar Wale’s tape in the van. It is hard to imagine how nice it is to listen to shabads in the van and tune in for hour to hour and half long commute. The other car I drive, the tape recorder inside stopped working about a year ago and I have felt like a handicap without my Gurbani tapes. I was thinking well, what happens if I didn’t have this tape? Even though it is nice to hear a recorded tape, nothing beats listening to ragis live at the Guru’s darbar with Sadh Sangat. Secondly, if everyone just started to just enjoy tapes and CDs too much, there will be less desire for learning to play kirtan, tabla, harmonium, sarangi, guitar etc. and for listening to live Kirtan or Ragis and would be a unhealthy to maintaining Guru’s tradition and for ragis who depend on sangat for their livelihood as well. Afterall, they have made the effort to learn kirtan, teach others and need to live, eat and raise their families as well. A person like me who missed opportunities to learn kirtan and has even the slightest idea as to how to read, write or play any musical instrument cherish the ragis to uplift our spiritual connection to God in Guru’s darbar. So I am thinking, even though it is hard to resist from listening to Gurbani tapes and Cd’s and other form of recordings, I definitely need to keep attending live kirtan darbars in Gurdwaras, homes, akhand paths and everywhere else where Guru’s diwan would be present and keep supporting ragi jathas at every chance I get. As I was looking for some Gurbani shabads on internet, I happen to run into this interesting post on Ragi Jathas and inside happenings of what is wrong or right in Guru’s darbar. Eventhough it is an interesting post, I would think it is not our job to judge if a ragi is doing things wrong or right, if kirtan darbar is wasted or not, if management is doing things right or wrong. How can I be the judge of how someone is connecting with the God in Guru’s court? If I am sitting in Guru’s court judging people, then I defeat the purpose of going to a Gurdwara. Anyways, this is just one opinion and would love to hear what others have to say. Please read and comment if you wish.


Blogger Sifar said...

I read your post and then I read Lakhvir’s post also. First off, I don’t believe listening to Gurbani on media will draw someone away from visiting the Gurudwara. Infact I believe the opposite stands true. Listening to the media often should drive you to Guru’s Dwar (or Gurdwara). I can correlate this to one thing that comes to my mind… When you get common cold or general sickness, one will try all the home remedies to feel better. But those home remedies should not be a substitute for the doctor. One should in all circumstances visit the Doctor in order to make sure that all is well and the illness is nothing serious. Similarly, listening to Bani on media (as often as one likes) should not replace going to Guru’s Dwar, but it should lead one to the Guru (Doctor) in order for the soul to make sure that it is not lost on the journey of life.

It was the Bani only that lead Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Amar Daas jee Maharaaj to Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Angad Dev Sahib jee Maharaaj after he (Guru Amar Daas jee) listen to the Bani of Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Nanak Dev jee Maharaaj from his (Guru Amar Daas jee’s) nephew’s wife (who was daughter of Dhan Dhan Guru Angad Dev jee Maharaaj….)

On the topic of Raagee Jaths… Well, you are right that we are no one to judge, but at the same time what Lakhvir Singh wrote also stands true… I agree that Raagee Jatha makes its living from the money they earn doing Keertan, but there should be a limit to this… The money they earn from performing Keertan is good enough to fulfil their essential needs, but it is their wants (for luxuries) that lead them in the rat race of becoming #1 so that they can ask for a price they want. Why is it that for the same Bani sung by two different Ragee Jaths should be paid 2 different amounts… This is commercialization of Bani. It is like the more CD some Ragee Jath sold, the more pricey they are to perform live at a Gurdwara.

In the end I know only one thing... The connection one may feel to the Guru listening to a Raagee Jath depends on the degree of involvement of the Ragees doing Keertan. You may feel connected to Guru instantaneously while a “no name” Jaath is doing Keeertan, while your mind may be wandering listening to Keertan done by a pricey Jaatha no matter how soothing the Keertan may feel to ears (Kan Raas)…

Bhul Chuk Dee Khema….

Phew. That was a long comment... I believe I can use this comment to create a post of mine on my blog...hehehe...

12:33 PM, October 06, 2006  
Blogger Prabhu Singh said...

First thing I thought when reading this post is that you need to get an mp3 player :-)
I got one for $30 on Amazon, which takes SD cards. You can get a 2gb SD card for about $30 these days. The cheap mp3 player I got has only 128mb but that's enough for all my banis. With a 2GB card I have a lot more kirtan. I also recently got a cell phone, which plays music. I use it for music way more often than I use it to make calls. It has a 1gb microSD card which again has all banis on it, plus a few shabads.
Anyway, I love listening to kirtan, but it is especially incredible with the sangat. Modern media has been a blessing when it comes to hearing kirtan at all times of the day. I listen to kirtan at work all day on my computer.
As far as criticism goes, if our intention is to uplift a person or situation, then it can be helpful. But most people don't know how to give 'constructive' criticism with respect and grace. Further when people don't act on given criticism, most people get upset.
I'm very careful about slander to individuals, but I think I'm more willing to criticize when it comes to institutions.

2:51 PM, October 06, 2006  
Blogger SikhsRus said...

Sifar Ji - I am with you as far as Gurbani tapes leading someone to Gurdwara.

LoL, thanks Prabhu Ji! I guess I do need to bring myself into the nineties!

3:11 PM, October 06, 2006  

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