Akhand Kirtani Jatha

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The Akhand Kirtani Jatha (AKJ) (Punjabi: ਅਖੰਡ ਕੀਰਤਨੀ ਜਥਾ) is an organization (Jatha) part of Sikhism. The main focus of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha is to follow the original message of The Sikh Gurus and to do Kirtan. [1] [2]

History

The AKJ was started by Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh in Punjab around the 1930s. At that time it was also known as Nirbaan Kirtani Jatha or as Bhai Randhir Singh Da Jatha. Since then, Gursikhs have been getting together around the world to sing Gurbani (Doing Keertan). The AKJ has spread a vast amount of countries such as the United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Australia, India, Italy, France, Malaysia, Singapore and other nations.

Bhai Sahib Bhai Randhir Singh

Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh was born in 1878 to Sikh parents in Punjab. He fought against the British Empire in India. He is known for keeping his Sikhi alive while he was being tortured in British jails. Bhai Randir Singh was bestowed with honor of Panth Ratan (Being given the Bhai Sahib prefix) by Sri Akaal Takht Sahib, and all the other 3 takhts at the time.[3][4]

Activity in Sikh Panth

The main activity of the Jatha is to do Kirtan (i.e. the singing of Gurbani), although the Jatha also does Akhand Paaths, Gatka, Sikhi Camps (e.g. Khalsa Camp BC), and regular Sikhi classes for children. AKJ Kirtan programs take the form of Assa Di Var Keertans (Doing Assa Di Var Keertan after Amrit Vela and Nitnem), Evening Keertan Programs (Doing Keertan in the evening usually for 6 hours), Raensabaayee Keertans (Keertan which lasts from late evening to early morning), and Keertan Smaagams (Assa Di Var & Eveing Keertan Programs every day for usually a week, ending off with a Raensabaayee Keertan). The Kirtan is sung using simple tunes and Raag, but the main emphasis of the Kirtan being on the Gurbani rather than the music. [5]

Common Differences between AKJ and Mainstream Sikhism

Calling Someone a Sant

The AKJ views the Sri Guru Granth Sahib as the only Sant or figure-head in Gursikhi, through which humankind can all re-unite with God. There have been many highly respected and spiritual Gursikhs within the AKJ, but they have not been placed on any pedestal or given any title like "Sant". The AKJ believes in the equality of mankind and that every Sikh has a direct relationship with the Guru. The AKJ does not believe that it is necessary for a third party to intervene in this relationship. In Bhai Randhir Singh's autobiography, he had stated he went to one smaagaam, and there was a poster saying that he was a sant. He left that smaagaam, and said he won't go anywhere where anybody lists him as a Sant.

Keski as one of the 5Ks and not Kesh (Hair)

AKJ believes that Kesh (hair) is not part of the five Ks, but, they are essential since Kesh are the hallmark of Guru Sahib. Since Kesh have a higher regard than than the five Ks themselves. (e.g. Cutting Kesh is a Kureht, while taking off a dastaar, or any other Kakaar is not a Kureht). AKJ believes that Keski (a small turban) was the original fifth K.[6][7]

Meat eating

AKJ strongly oppose meat-eating, Kuttha is defined as any kind of meat in the AKJ, as it is in other Sikh Groups, for example Damdami Taksal.[8]

Naam Drirtaa

Naam Drirtaa is the method used to instil Naam into those who wish to receive the divine gift of Amrit during the Amrit Sanchaar. This method is not the invention of the AKJ, but has been ongoing since the first Amrit Sanchaar. The method can only be explained in detail by the Panj Pyarai during an Amrit Sanchaar, as only the Guru has the right to impart the Naam. However, generally speaking, Naam Drirta sends the Naam into ones body and enables the Sikh to begin Simran with each and every breath.

Raagmala

Raagmala is a composition which appears on the last pages of most Saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The AKJ believes that Raagmala is not Gurbani, but was added to Guru Granth Sahib at a later date. The Raagmala was never part of the original Bir compiled by Siri Guru Arjan Dev Ji, neither was it part of the Damdami Bir. Scholars say It was composed by a poet named Alam,[9] a contemporary of Emperor Akbar - in the year 1641 - about 20 years before the compilation of Sahib Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.[10][11][12][13][14]

Sarabloh and/or Langar Bibek

Sarabloh and/or Langar Bibek is the practice of eating food which has been prepared only by Gursikhs. Also, the food has to be prepared and served in Sarabloh (iron) utensils, as far as possible. Those Gursikhs who have undertaken Sarabloh Bibek will obviously not take food that has been prepared in any way other than as according to the SarabLoh Bibek Rehat. However, such Gursikhs do not expect any special treatment and often go without food rather than putting a strain on others. Guru ka Langar was originally prepared using Sarbloh utensils and only prepared by Amritdhari Gursikhs. The word Bibek means Giaan (knowledge) to distinguish between right and wrong.

Kirtan

Kirtan has been highly regarded by Guru Sahib. For example, Guru Sahib says "Kaljug Meh Kirtan Pardhana, Gurmukh japeeai Laaey Dhiaana", which means that in this age, Kirtan is the highest deed and the Gurmukh partakes in it with full concentration. There are numerous other Shabads in Gurbani which teach us the importance of Simran and Kirtan in Sangat. Kirtan during AKJ programs is traditionally done with very simple tunes, as opposed to being done with the complex classical Raags. The Sangat finds that Kirtan done in such a style is very spiritually uplifting. The emphasis in AKJ programs is most definitely placed with the Gurbani that is being sung, rather than the tune of the music. This does not necessarily mean the AKJ opposes doing Kirtan in Nirdarat Raags.

Vaisakhi 1978

On the day of Vaisakhi April 13, 1978, about 125 Singhs went to peacefully protest against the Indian Government sponsored Sant Nirankaris procession and against Nakali Nirankari Gurbachan Sio's insults against the Gurus, Panj Pyare, Char Sahibzaade. Bhai Fauja Singh was barefooted and all the Singhs were reciting Gurbani. The Nakali Nirankari army fired at the unarmed Singhs, and Bhai Fauja Singh and 12 other Singhs became Shaheeds and 70-75 Singhs were wounded. After his Shaheedi, the Leaders and Jathedars of the Panth stated that Bhai Fauja Singh and the other Singhs had given "Shaheedi" for the great task from which we had been hiding. They had not only woken the Panth, but also made us stronger, so that we can pay more attention to this in the future.[15]

References

  1. Singh, Jodh (2008). Twarihk Akhand Kirtani Jatha. Lajpat Nagar, New Dehli, India: Sikh Foundation.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Akhand Kirtani Jatha". SikhWiki.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Singh Anant, Jaiteg (March 2004). Ghadar Di Ghoonj Te Bhai Randhir Singh. S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali-Chandigarh, India: Unistar Books Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 978-93-5068-747-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Kang, Dr. Gulzar Singh (2003). Bhai Randhir Singh: Jiwan Te Rachna. Patiala, Punjab, India: Punjabi University Patiala. ISBN 81-7380-875-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. AKJ.Org - About http://www.akj.org/skins/one/aboutus.php. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Singh, Uday (2000). Keski, Not Kes, The Kakar. Bolton, Ontario, Canada: Professor Uday Singh. ISBN 0-9696957-8-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Sikh Reheat". khalsaspirit.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Sikh Reheat". khalsaspirit.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Ashok, Shemsher Singh (1986). Article Ragmal Da Lekhak Kavi Alam Ja Tansen. p. 39.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Singh, Giani Gurdit. Mundavani.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Singh, Giani Arjan. Raagmala Nirnay.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Singh, Giani Sher. Raagmala Darpan.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Padam, Professor Pyara Singh. Article Raagmala Nirnay.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "What do you know of Raagmala?". sikhanswers.com. Retrieved 11 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Bhai Fauja Singh (1936-1978)". khalsaspirit.com. http://www.khalsaspirit.com/files/ShaheedBhaiFaujaSinghJee.pdf.

External links