I am excited that this is first of many recordings that I am releasing which will feature Ustad Ahsan Ali, one of the leading Sarangi players from North India. Ahsan Bhai, a seventh generation musician from the Kirana Gharana, is not just a sarangi player and vocalist with intimate knowledge of Indian ragas, who has traveled worldwide and performed live at prestigious locales, he is an amazing composer with a great ear and penmanship for western harmonies and has composed music for Sardool Sikandar ji and Abida Parveen ji.
A note on the raag - Raag Asa
Raag Asa is named because of the feelings of "hope" it exudes; some suggest that it was created by Guru Nanak during his travels to a region called "Asa". Compared to other raags in Hindustani classical music it is a relatively new raag - approximately 500 years ago. Therefore the versions of raag Asa have not been codified by musicologists; perhaps I will do it sometime. Unlike other raags which generally have one time for singing during the day or night, Asa has two. In general there are two major forms of the raag - one that includes komal Ni and one that does not include a komal Ni. From what I have heard from researchers at the Patiala university, the Asa version that has the komal Ni (like the one in this shabad) is sung in the evening time. Komal Ni is generally not used in the version that is sung in the morning.
In this shabad, while the melody adheres to Raag Asa, the instrumentalists took liberties to go beyond the scope of the raag. Historically I would have not included tracks that did not adhere to the pure raag, but as I mentioned in a recent interview
, I have been more accepting of deviations as long as the general mood of the shabad remains unchanged. For the vocalist at one point sings "Re Ga Ma Ga" as part of the background music - that is not allowed in Raag Asa but I still included it in this recording. Acceptance within the hukam is often liberating I have realized.
Days, Weeks, Months ...
From Just ONE Sun
come so many
Oh mind ...
the house in which
the creator's praises are sung ...
You should consider
that house to be
Alternative Reflection (Nov 2012)
Six houses, six teachers, six philosophies.
But Guru's guru: One
Seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and seasons,
All come from one: the Sun.
Nanak hail that house where
One's praises are sung
Notes on the reflections above and some words in the shabad:
Ghar is house or residence. In Gurbani it can refer to a house or it can be a metaphorical reference. It could refer to the residence of the soul or body, it could refer to the residence of humans, or earth, the residence of wisdom or scriptures (6 shastras of India), the house of worship or temple, and the house of thought or “Mann”/heart etc.
"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." (Corinthians 6:19-20)
"Chheh Ghar"- Six houses of wisdom or philosophy
Several Indian intellectual traditions were codified during the medieval period into a standard list of six orthodox systems or ṣaḍdarśanas (literally "good views"). The credit for codifying these "visions" is generally given to six different Gurus or Rishis as mentioned below:
- Nyāyá, the school of logic, codified by Rishi Gautam
- Vaiśeṣika, the atomist school, codified by Rishi Kashyapa
- Sāṃkhya, the enumeration school, codified by Rishi Kapila
- Yoga, codified by Patañjali
- Mimāṃsā, the tradition of Vedic exegesis, codified by Rishi Jaimini
- Vedanta, codified by Rishi Vyasa
Baba in arabic is a respected person. In this case it is the listener. In Gurbani, the emphasis is on recitation from the mouth and listening from the ears so our mind is enabled. The mind is the ear of the ear. So in this case, to make this shabad focused on myself internally, I use "mind" as the translation for Baba.
I have translated this as "praises of the creator" but this is a very simplistic translation. The meaning is very deep. The complete meaning of "Karte" can be obtained through a meditation upon the Mool Mantra. And the word Keerat has been translated by scholars in two ways: (1) from the Sanskrit Origin word "Keerti" which means Yash or grace or awesomeness (2) from the Arabic word "Qirat" which means recitation of the holy word. The essence of Gurbani is to find God within and around and thereby the "Karte Keerat" becomes imbibing the qualities of God. For example a "compassionate God" of Gurbani encourages us to absorb his compassion and emanate for the world.
When the mind contemplates on the "ONE", absorbs the "ONE" and then reflects the "ONE", the greatest house of wisdom then becomes our mind. A mind that is full of "ONE" -- lets call it a Onefull mind. If a Onefull mind is found, this wisdom encourages us to hold the greatest respect for it.