Postcard 18
No Worries

Two sloks from Guru Arjan, originally composed in rāga gauri, offered here in rāga āsā.
Two lines each, that tell you basically all you need to know.

“Support of the souls is the One, (yet) you attach your hope to dependence on others.
Nanak, Meditate on the Name and all your affairs will be set right”


“Rise at dawn, chant the Name, continue the worship day and night.
Anxiety won’t stick to you, Nanak, delusion is erased.”

There are so many descriptions, so many practices, so many songs. We have been shown so many things. But fear and worry set in anyway, stress takes over. The solution is simple– clear the mind, remember the Name, trust the True Support, get real. No worries.

Postcard 19
Shabd Surat Dhun

Among the Sikhs there is a growing interest in the rāgas of Siri Guru Granth Sāhib and there are various teachers and institutions working to revive Gurmat Sangeet. Traditional kirtan, however is more than rāga (melody), which is just one leg to support the experience. The other legs include tāla (rhythm), bāni (words) and chit (focus, the inner state). Like an uncomfortable rocking stool, the music will be shaky if the legs are out of balance.

The rich variety and complexity of the tāla tradition parallels the musicality of the rāga tradition. For example, in just ten pages of rāga āsa compositions, there are seven melodies in ten different tālas for the poetry of six shabds. How is it possible to have one rāga with seven unique melodies in ten different tālas? Part of the answer is that two of the compositions are partāls which change tāla in various parts of the song. One of the partāls has four different tālas!

The more common eight-beat and sixteen-beat tālas are represented here with tālavāra and choti teentāl, but so are two different fourteen-beat cycles, tāla āda and tāla dhamār, as well as tala dāee, which is in seven beats. Sultāl, ten beats, is here along with chartāl and iktāl, both twelve-beat cycles, one slower and one faster. Rarer tālas are also present such as sikhar tāla, seventeen beats, and tala bhān matee, eleven beats.

These pages are an amazing cross-section of a fifty-one-page collection of shabds in rāga āsā. If ten pages of compositions in one raga can be this rich in memory, it is a small glimpse of what is possible and an invitation to keep exploring to discover what else will be found on the next page, and the next.