Greetings everyone! Haripriya sent me a lovely question, and I thought to share it with you all, along with the answer, in case you have the same question!
I was curious when lines started repeating, like a chorus. Rakhe Rakanahaar is structured so differently than J-iu Jal Meh? Thank you.
We sing Shabads, which have a repeating Chorus line, and then we sing Mantras, where all of the words are just repeated over and over again. Rakhay Rakhanahaar is a Mantra, Ji-u Jal Meh is a Shabad. Here is some more information:
This is an excerpt from my Shabad Guru Basics Workbook that we give for our harmonium students. I am discovering that it could be helpful for everyone! Please keep in mind that although these practices that we share in this school from the music side of things generally come from the Sikh tradition, they are open to people of all faiths.
Foundation Principals of Shabad Guru
Shabad Guru which means, Sacred Sound as Teacher, comes from the Sikh tradition. My experience of Kundalini yoga and meditation has greatly enhanced my practice, and brought about a unique experience of Shabad Guru that I wish to share and teach. This chapter will review the terms, definitions and framework for how Shabad Guru works in the human body, incorporating terms and concepts from both the Sikh and Kundalini traditions.
The word Mantra means projection (tra) of the mind (man). With Mantra, we project the mind into a state of infinity. Instead of stopping our mind from thinking, we meet the intensity of our thought patterns with an equal force with the Mantra. Doing so, we are then able to change the flow of our thoughts, just as a pebble creates waves in a pond. That pebble is our grit and courage. As we 3 engage in our practice and drop the Mantra into our minds, the wave of it ripples from its origin through us. Essentially, Mantras work as positive affirmations that align the frequency of our mind and every cell, particle, and atom of our body with the original light within. When you feel it in your toes (even the funny-looking ones), when you see it in the mirror (even if your face doesn’t resemble that of a magazine model’s), when it vibrates through every weakness to a place of victory, and when you accept and love it whole-heartedly, then you have experienced Mantra. Mantras are repetitive, in that we repeat either a single word, a phrase, or even a number of phrases, in the entirety, over and over again. The repetitive nature is both the challenge and the blessing, as it opens the door for the mind to channel itself into a powerful frequency of healing.
Naad means sound, resonance; the mystic sound om; cry; singing, song, music; musical instrument, horn. It is a flow that emanates from us when we chant from our heart and spirit. Na means no, something with a limit, finite; aad means the infinite. So Naad is the experience of the infinite existing within the finite form. The Mantras we chant have been given to us through the experience of complete union with the One. That incredible being who recited the Mantra originally did it within a state of bliss in the physical human body, and the Mantra works for us as a road map to attain that same state in our own body, through chanting.
A Shabad is a section of a poem, or the entire poem, as it appears in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib (the sacred writings of the Sikhs which is our living Guru). It has a repeating chorus, that acts as an anchor to the major message or experience of the poem. The singer journeys out to each verse, obtaining a rich tapestry of experience, that is often deeply transformative, while always coming back to the anchor. If this is done in consciousness, the experience can go deeper and deeper each time one returns to the chorus. Shabads can have an emotionally healing effect, as the poetry is often written from the human experience, reaching out to the divine, in states of loneliness, despair, fear, bliss, peace, joy, celebration, and other emotions that have a chance to be expressed in an uplifted and sacred way. In the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, each Shabad is assigned a particular Raag, or note pattern, based on Indian Classical music. Even some rhythms are assigned. This is a beautiful practice and discipline, which we will explore at times in our study.