thujh bin kavan hamárá ||
Apart from You, who is mine ?
méré prítam prán adhárá ||1|| raháo ||
My Beloved supports my life’s breath. ||1||Pause||
This is the raháo line of Guru Arjan’s Sabad in Rág Gaurí on page 206 of the Guru Granth Sahib. I attended the 17.30 till 18.30 kirtan slot with rágí Niranjan Singh on Monday 6 and Friday 10 April. Niranjan Singh is an inspirational singer, who actively encourages the sangat to join in.
It is not all good news, as he practises ‘pick & mix’. The quotes from other sabads that he inserts are relevant, but it stops the flow of the sabad and uses quotes out of context. Those that attended Bhai Gursharan Singh’s kirtan will agree with me that he showed a better way. In each session all the sabads were on a particular theme, which was both more effective than ‘pick and mix’ and taught Gurmat better than many a katha session.
In favour of Bhai Niranjan Singh is that he got me ‘high’ on the Sabad, the Word, both on Monday and on Friday. A skilled and inspired rágí can bring the sabad to life, where the páth of the speed readers and the flat kirtan of the ‘commercial travellers’ does the opposite.
Apart from You, who is mine ? So simple, so direct, so True. Who can we rely on in moments of distress ? I have some real friends, and they are important to me, but God is always with me, wherever and whenever.
Your friends, family members all are human beings with their own worries, their own prejudices. Even my best friend, my dearest brother will pass away one day. God has no beginning and no end.
My British/Panjabi friends do not fully understand my Dutch cultural background; my ‘western’ friends do not fully understand the Sikh/Panjabi life that I have lived for the last 13 years. God does not belong to any culture, God understands all cultures.
My Beloved supports my life’s breath. I have followed the example of other translators and translated ‘prán’ not just as ‘breath’, but as ‘life’s breath’. Without breath there is no life, and I think Guru tells us that My Beloved, My God, supports my life. Without God, the source of all life, I would not be. Without God the Nourisher, the Sustainer, my life would not be worth living, without God I would be dead, even if my body were to live.
Bhai Niranjan Singh kept repeating the raháo line, asked the sangat to sing this line together with him, asked the Singhanís and the Singhs sing it separately. For me it worked, I got the message and I got high on the Word.