Friday, June 13, 2014

Beautiful 'Aarti' from Sikh Religion

Once actor Balraj Sahni asked the late Nobel Laureate Rabindra Nath
Tagore, "You have written the national anthem for India . Can you write an
international anthem for the whole world?" "It has already been written,
not only international but for the entire universe, in the 16th century by
Nanak," replied Tagore. He referred to the Sikh Aarti (ceremony of
light). Gurudev Tagore was so enamoured of this arti that he personally translated it into

Every evening in all Gurudwaras, after the recitation of Rehraas Sahib, we
can hear a melodious rendition of the Aarti sung by the Raagis in Raga
Dhanashri. This is a tremendously soothing experience, capable of taking us
directly into the spiritual realms of devotion through music.

As Guru Arjan Dev has written on page 393 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji -
arti kirtan sada anand. Singing God's praises is His Aarti, bringing
boundless bliss.

As legend has it, in 1508 CE
Guru Nanak Dev visited the famous temple of Jagannath at Puri in Orrisa,
which was very well known for its arti for Lord Krishna. In the evening,
priests brought a platter full of many lighted lamps, flowers, incense and
pearls and began the Aarti. Guru Nanak Sahib meanwhile spontaneously gave
words to the wonderful Aarti which was being hummed by Nature before the
invisible altar of God, the creator of this universe:

Gagan mein thaal rav chand dipak baney, tarika mandal janak moti,
dhoop maly-anlo pavan chavro kare saal banray phulant joti, kaisi Aarti
hoye bhav khandna - teri arti.

(SSGSJ page 663)

*The sky is puja thaal (platter used for the artis), in which sun and moon
are the diyas (lamps)/The stars in the constellations are the jewels/ The
wind, laden with sandal-wood fragrance, is the celestial fans/All the
flowering fields, forests are radiance! What wonderful worship this is, oh!
Destroyer of fear, THIS is your Aarti! *

However, the Aarti that is sung daily in the Gurudwaras is however only
partly composed by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The second stanza, from "Naam tero
arti majan muraare Hark e Naam bin jhoothey sagal pasaarey" - SGGSJ page

(O* Lord, Thy name to me is the Aarti and holy ablutions. Everything else
is false, *has been composed by Bhagat Ravi Das Ji, a Hindu who,
incidentally, was a cobbler therefore Brahmins' would not allow him to
enter the temple.

The third stanza, "Dhoop deep ghrit saaji arti vaar ne jaau kamalapati"
(*May I be a sacrifice unto the Lord: that for me is the Aarti performed
with lamps, ghee and incense' (*Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji: page 695)
* onwards,*was composed by Saint Sain, a barber in the court of Raja Ram,
King of Rewa.

The fourth stanza, from "Sun sandha teri dev devaakar adhpat aad samaayi",
'*Brothers! That is how the Immaculate Lord's Aarti is made: Let Divine
essence be the oil, the Lord's Name the wick and the enlightened self, the
lamp. By lighting this lamp we invoke the Lord' *(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji:
page 1350)* onwards, *was composed in the same vein by Sant Kabir, the
Muslim Julaha (The Weaver).

Thereafter, from "Gopal tera aarta jo jan tumhri bhagat karante tin ke kaaj
*'O Gopala, accept your Aarti You grant the wishes of those who worship
you!* (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji: page 695) onwards, was composed by Bhagat
Dhanna, a simple Jat farmer from Rajasthan.

*The final part was composed by Guru Gobind Singh Ji,* right from "Ya te...
maha mun devar ke tap mein
sukh pave jag kare ik ved rarey". The Lord is pleased by penance, prayers,
rituals, recitation of scriptures, meditation music and dance of celestial
beings and the melody of the Aarti. The cosmic worlds rejoice and chant the
Divine Name onwards

That the Aarti which we sing daily has been composed by two Gurus, a
cobbler, a barber, a weaver and a farmer. This is yet more proof that
Sikhism believes in the equality of all human beings:

*Awal Allah noor upaya/Kudrat ke sab bandey/Ek noor te sab jag upjaya/Kaun
bhale ko mande.*
'First of all, God created light; Mother Nature created all human beings
equal; from that one Light the entire world came into being; so how do we
differentiate that one is better that the other?'

*Jo tis bhave so Aarti  hoye* 

sent by a Reader 

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