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close-up of an open book: pages of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib in Gurmukhi script

Sikh Musical Heritage

Sikh music is an art of self-knowledge, personal growth and happiness. The nature of music as a universal language means it is accessible to anyone, regardless of religious or cultural background.

Music unlocks our inner experience, prompting us to hear the different impulses within us from mind and soul. It kindles a compassionate inner dialogue and enables communication to flow easily.

The Siri Guru Granth Sahib may be a scripture – the written embodiment of the wisdom of the Sikh Gurus – but there are musical instructions throughout. Each section expresses its distinct truth only when sung in the musical mood (raag or raga) it prescribes.

The Gurus selected 60 raags to convey their teachings. Some already existed in Indian music and others they created themselves. These 60 moods represent the ‘clock of life’ around which our experience is continually moving – so that at any one time there will be a part of the text that will speak to how we are feeling.

The full spectrum of 60 raags allows us to receive Guru’s truth from every emotional angle. It helps us achieve our conscious potential as rounded human beings.

This empowering art of sound may also be called Gurmat Sangeet or Gurbani Kirtan. It incorporates the ancient techniques of Naad Yoga – yoga of sound.