There are many variations of rāga basant in Gurbāni Sangeet. The melodies introduce various flavors such as basant hindol in kalyān ang, sohni basant in mārva ang, and budha basant and basant bahār in kāfi ang. There are also ancient basants in purvi ang and kamāj ang. Rāga basant celebrates spring, the blooming of the soul described with images of flowers and new green life. There are many songs that remember again the realities of the human experience, renouncing not only the five thieves that lead us astray with intoxicating māyā, but also renouncing the intoxicating superstitious and religious dream states that keeps us asleep and apart.
Several of the rāga basant shabds in Gurbāni Sangeet are from a longer poem by Bhagat Kabir Ji that describes the springtime of spiritual awakening and the unfortunate trappings of māyā. Guru Nanak tells us that the one who knows the all-pervading One is known by the sign of compassion. Why not be compassionate? Although we humans tend to judge, label and categorize other humans, separating them (and ourselves) according to our own self-righteous perceptions and criteria of worthiness, Bhagat Kabir asks where is there a truly pure place, where is there no impurity? Wouldn’t we all be more compassionate toward the shortcomings of others if we remembered our own tainted tendencies?
We live in a world that is as it is. Who are we to impose judgment, to hold others to standards to which we don’t hold ourselves? Anything, regardless of how pure or impure it was before, has been altered by our own eyes and ears, distorted by our own organs of perception. What if we could see the perfection instead of what’s wrong with the other? How do we see with the color of love?
That’s what happens when the soul blooms. There is no need to wait, Guru Arjun Dev Ji says today is the day. Sing the praises, life is a celebration, bliss happens. “āj hamāre mahā anand”. When the soul blooms, it is like playing with red dye at Holi, and love leaves its color on everything.
In Krishna Avtār, Guru Gobind Singh comes to call. Why be proud? I’ve come to call you. Do what pleases the beloved. Otherwise why are you so beautiful?