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Gurbani Raag: Sri


Raga Siri was favoured by the Hindus for religious occasions and is found in many of the old treatises. In the Ragmala listed as a parent raga, it currently is a member of the puroi thata. Still a popular concert raga today, it is considered one of the most famous from among the North Indian classical system. Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, and Guru Arjan composed to this raga. Traditionally performed at sunset, it is assigned to the rainy season as well as the months of November and December. Its mood is one of majesty combined with prayerful meditation. This raga is always referred to as "Siri Raga" rather than placing the term raga before the name. It accompanies about 142 shabads.

Sri raga is one of the parent ragas from which other ragas have been derived. The word Sri means supreme or exalted and as such this raga powerful. Bhai Gurdas calls it a supreme raga, supreme like the philosopher’s stone among other stones, because it has the power of converting baser metals into gold. The gurus gave it the first place. This raga is sung in the evening-a period of dusk and darkness. Man’s mind and his inner state as a mortal is one of darkness-caused by maya-and ignorance of his spiritual potentialities. So from darkness to light is the law of nature. In Sri raga, Guru Nanak has dealt with the existing ignorance and superstition and the neglect of spiritual values on account of man’s ego, greed and love of wordly pleasures:

“The foolish and greedy soul is attached to and lured by greed,


Being materialistic and evil-minded, the individual is not soaked in God’s Name and continues coming and going” [4]. Some writers state that this raga is associated either with extreme heat or extreme cold. In the hot season, we need water; in the cold season, we need warmth and fire. As such, the Guru has referred to man’s thirst for water and compared the soul to a fish’ and likened man’s passions to a dreadful fire” [5]. Basically the Gurus have pinpointed in this raga the longing of the individual soul for the Universal Soul.


Aroh : Sa Re M'a, Pa Ni Sa

Avroh : Sa Ni Dha, Pa M'a Ga Re Sa

Pakar : Sa, Re Re Pa, Pa M'a Ga Re, Re Re, Sa

Vadi : Re

Samvadi : Pa

 

Introduction

According to an ancient school of Music the roots of the origin of raga 'Sri' is god Shiv, a god of Hindu trinity, who is also called by the name 'Sri'. The raga represents death i.e., the beginning of a new life. 'Sri' is a complete raga of eastern thaht. The notes used are:

Arohi (ascending scale)- sa re ma pa ni sa (ga and dha are omitted)

Avrohi (descending scale)- sa ni dha pa ma ga re sa (all seven svars)

It is the first raga in Guru Granth Sahib and listed as fifth major raga in the Ragamala (list of ragas) recorded at the end of Guru Granth Sahib. It is believed that there are 11 ragamalas available in the Indian Musical School composed by different authors and the ragamala included in Guru Granth Sahib was composed by Guru Nanak Dev.

The raga is recommended to be sung at the third part of the day i.e., from 12 noon to 3 p.m. The season of its recitation is winter (hement) i.e., during November and December.

In Guru Granth Sahib this raga has hymns from pages 14-93 (79 pages).

The Composers:

The composers of bani (hymns) in this raga are:

Gurus:

  • Guru Nanak Dev
  • Guru Angad
  • Guru Amardas
  • Guru Ramdas
  • Guru Arjan Dev

Bhagats:

  • Kabir
  • Trilochan
  • Beni
  • Ravidas

The Structure:

The sequence of the structure of compositions in this raga are:

Guru bani:

  • Shabads (2-6 padas)
  • Shabads - Ashtpadis
  • Specialist compositions (untitled)
  • Specialist compositions, titled 'Pehre'
  • Shabad - Chhant
  • Specialist compositions titled 'Wanjara'
  • Var

The word 'Shud' is written at the end of the var. For the explanation of this comment please refer to page.

Bhagatbani:

  • Shabads of various padas

Matrix

VISUAL ANALYSIS

Count of the use of Managals:

Complete Mool Mantar - none
Ik-ongkar Satgur Prashad = 12 , on pages 14, 26,53, 64, 71, 74,78, 79, 80, 83, 91, 93
Ik-ongkar Satnam Gurprasad =1, page 81

Placement and count of rahau verse/s:

All shabads and ashtpadis have rahau/s in them, and where there is only one rahau verse, it is placed after the first pada. One specialist composition titled Wanjara ' has 6 rahaus in it, whereas other specialist compositions titled 'Pehre' have no rahau verse/s in them

Diversified headings used in this raga:

Page no.

Heading

Page no.

Heading

14

Raga Srirag Mehla 1 Char 1

79

Sriraga Mehla 5 Chhant

53

Sriraga Mehla 1

80

Sriraga ke Chhant Mehla 5

Composers Structure of Bani

 

Padas

 

 

 

 

Ashtpadis

Specialist

 

Chts

Specialist

Var

Sloaks*

Gurus

2

3

4

5

6

8 (padas)

untiled

Titled

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nanak

 

5

25

3

 

17

1 (24 pds)

2 Pehres

i. 4 pds

ii. 5 pds

 

 

 

4

Angad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Amardas

 

1

26

4

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

32

Ramdas

 

 

6

 

 

 

 

One

Pehre

(4 pds)

1

Wanjara

(6 padas)

1 (21

pauris)

 

Arjan Dev

 

 

30

 

 

2

1 (21 pds)

One

Pehre

5pds

1+

1***

=2

 

 

5, titled

Dakhna

Bhagats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kabir

 

1

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trilochan

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beni

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ravidas

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*All sloaks, except five sloaks (titled Dakhna) of Guru Arjan Dev are included in the var of Guru Ramdas. Please note that though the var is composed by Guru Ramdas but none of the sloaks included in there are composed by him.

*pds = padas; *chts = chhants

***This chhant has 5 Sloaks (titled Dakhna, which is a Multani word meaning Sloak), and unlike many other chhants, each pada is also titled chhant. Readers please check that it is one chhant and not five chhants.

Excerpts taken from:
Guru Granth Sahib: An Advance Study
Dr Sukhbir Singh Kapoor
Vice Chancellor World Sikh University, London

 



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