Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Last Night

Imagine going to the new home of a community member and seeing nearly the whole sangat there and they are all sitting around Bhai Avtar Singh Ji, Bhai Kultar and Bhai Swaran Singh, world class raagis who play such sublime kirtan. There is a space between the people to go and sit near them, so you go and sit right next to them. Well that is what happened last night. Balwinder and I sat right near them, and then the host said, 'can you scoot forward so there is more room.' We thought 'Okay', as we were scooting forward Bhai Swaran Singh motioned to come even closer. Balwinder and I were literally two feet in front of Bhai Avtar Singh and Jetha last night. Their kirtan was so beautiful.
Three years ago I had the opportunity to take a course with the whole Jetha. Bhai Kultar Singh (son of Bhai Avtar) was the translator and the main teacher. It was a great course and it was such a blessing to learn from them. If I were ever to refer to anybody as 'Ustad Ji' I would refer to Bhai Avtar or Bhai Kultar as Utsad. My first real experience singing traditional raag kirtan was with the shabads that I was taught in their course. Other people have taught me other shabads, but they are not always in the title raag.
Bhai Avtar was playing the Taus, which I noticed had an inscription at the top saying 'Presented by Raj Academy.' Raj Academy has recenlty started a web school so that we all may learn traditional instruments and Gurbani Kirtan. Isn't that great? I'm planning to take a course soon called Dilruba 101.
After the Kirtan I was speaking with Bhai Kultar and he answered a question for me that I had been wondering for a while. I asked him where can I find the line 'Anand Gun Nidhan, Guru Gareeb Neevaj.' I told him I searched the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, and the writings of Bhai Gurdas, which is not that difficult now considering the excellent website Search Gurbani. Bhai Kultar said it is not Gurbani, it is you saluting Gurbani. He said 'you don't salute Gurbani with Gurbani.' It is you saluting Gurbani, so you say this. Finally I got an answer to the question, though I still don't know who originally said this, but neither do we know who wrote the rest of the ardaas so I guess it doesn't really matter.
It was a great night, I'll be posting pictures at some point of Bhai Avtar and Jetha as well as all the special guests this week. We will be hosting several dignitaries this week including Jethedar Joginder Singh Vedanti.

2 comments:

Hari Singh said...

The Sangat at the Barcelona Forum 2004 had the most wonderful experience of the classical kirtan of Bhai Avtar Singh Ji & the Jatha for almost the whole of the week. It was an unforgettable occasion – Bhai Sahib Ji is the most humble and gentle of the Great Classical Masters! Enjoy the experience while they are near you!

Rajveer and Guru Jaswant said...

We can't wait to come visit and be a part of whatever is going on...We are coming on Sept. 17. Thanks prabhu for keeping us updated with photos etc. I even told Kirtan that I found out about her pregnancy on your blog!
Keep blogging and posting your cool pics. J