Sometimes the songs extol the virtues of singing itself. Throughout Siri Guru Granth Sāhib there are songs that describe the path of kirtan, the rewards of chanting, singing and reciting. The songs of rāga gond are like that, songs in praise of singing. The praise is not for just any song, but for those songs that spring from consciousness, that emerge from knowing, that are born of experience.
Ignited by a heart at peace,
Kindled by a soul’s release,
Songs to praise the Only One,
Songs to sing when the searching is done,
Songs after freedom from false illusion,
Songs after cleaning mental pollution,
Meditate, sing, remember the Name,
Let go of fear, remove the pain,
Fly to the heavens where you belong,
Sing praise to God, sing praise to the song.
These weeks have been busy. In America this is the time of year that schools welcome students and staff who are returning after the summer vacation. There is much to do to prepare for the new school year– hiring, training, planning, scheduling, organizing, and lots of meetings. This year our preparations were interrupted with news of the tragic shooting at the gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Since we don’t have a gurdwāra in Tucson, Khalsa Montessori School worked with the local sangat to organize a memorial, offering a place for the Tucson community to connect, pray together and heal. A diverse group of civic and religious leaders attended to express their condolences and offer support. The group included Jewish, Christian and Muslim clergy, a Congressman and Tucson’s mayor. Through all the preparations for the first day of school and for the memorial event, the daily singing practice remained a constant source of strength, inspiration and comfort. Although there hasn’t been time for writing, the singing has continued, travelling through rāga rāmkali, rāga nat narāyan, rāga māli gaura, rāga māru, and rāga tukhāri.
Do the work, sing the songs
Mourn the loss, sing the songs
Feed the people, sing the songs
Comfort the community, sing the songs
Help a friend, sing the songs
Remember those who died, sing the songs,
Protect the living, sing the songs
Uplift the spirits, sing the songs
Heal the heart, sing the songs
See the One through it All, sing the songs