Kirtan: Kaun Jane Gun Tere by Bhai Satvinder Singh and Jatha

by Harnaak Singh

Why the title is “Cat, mouse and the Priest”?  The answer lies at the end of this article.

Atal Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj shared Gurvichar’s post “BABA BANTA SINGH ON AKHAND PATH AND THE NINDAKS” see Figure 1.

Figure 1: The shared post

170910 PIC 01

The comments by the WRITER of the post are amusing and worth discussing.  

Note:  The WRITER in this article means “the author of the shared post at Atal Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj (Figure 1)”. 

My comments below are in green italics.  

But first, some information about the practice of Akhand Path.   To appreciate Akhand Path it is important to understand “Path ਪਾਠ”.   The extracts below clarify both “Path” and “Akhand Path”.


Extract from Encyclopaedia of Sikhism Ed: Harbans Singh Pub: Punjabi Univ. Patiala, 1992

PATH, from the Sanskrit patha which means reading or recitation, is, in the religious context, reading or recitation of the holy texts

In Sikhism, it implies daily repetition of scriptural texts from the Guru Granth Sahib. Reading of certain banis is part of a Sikh`s nitnem or daily religious regimen.  Path of these prescribed texts is performed from a handy collection, called Gutka (missal or breviary) or from memory. …

… The path is also performed individually and more particularly in sangat from the Guru Granth Sahib itself.

The Holy Volume is ceremonially installed under coverlets on a decorated seat resting on a raised platform, with a canopy above, and is opened by the pathi or reader who sits reverentially behind. Usually, another man stands in attendance, waving the flywhisk over the Holy Book.  The pathi should have bathed and be dressed in clean clothes.  

Besides the reading of one single hymn to obtain vak or hukamnama (lesson or command for the day) or of some passages, three forms of complete path of the Guru Granth Sahib are current: akhand (unbroken recitation completed in forty-eight hours), saptahik (completed in a week) and sadharan or sahij (taken in slow parts with no timelimit for completion).  …

Extract from Encyclopaedia of Sikhism Ed: Harbans Singh Pub: Punjabi Univ. Patiala, 1992

AKHAND PATH (akhand = uninterrupted, without break; path = reading) is nonstop, continuous recital of the Guru Granth Sahib from beginning to end. Such a recital must be completed within 48 hours. The entire Holy Volume, 1430 large pages, is read through in a continuous ceremony. This reading must go on day and night, without a moment’s intermission. The relay of reciters who take turns at saying Scripture must ensure that no break occurs. As they change places at given intervals, one picks the line from his predecessor’s lips and continues. When and how the custom of reciting the canon in its entirety in one continuous service began is not known. Conjecture traces it to the turbulent days of the eighteenth century when persecution had scattered the Sikhs to far off places.  In those exilic, uncertain times, the practice of accomplishing a reading of the Holy Book by a continuous recital is believed to have originated. 

Important days on the Sikh calendar are marked by akhand paths in gurdwaras. Celebrations and ceremonies in Sikh families centre upon akhand paths. The homes are filled with holiness for those two days and nights as the Guru Granth Sahib, installed with ceremony in a room, especially cleaned out for the occasion, is being recited.  Apart from lending the air sanctity, such readings make available to listeners the entire text.  The listeners come as they wish and depart at their will. Thus they keep picking up snatches of the bani from different portions at different times. Without such ceremonial recitals, the Guru Granth Sahib, large in volume, would remain generally inaccessible to the laity except for banis which are recited by the Sikhs as part of their daily devotions.

In bereavement, families derive comfort from these paths. Obsequies in fact conclude with a completed reading of the Guru Granth Sahib. At such paths, the Holy Book is generally recited or intoned, not merely read. This brings out tellingly the poetic quality of the bani and its power to move or grip the listener.

But it must be listened to in silence, sitting on the floor in front of the Holy Book in a reverent posture. The start of the akhand path is preceded by a short service at which holy hymns may be recited, followed by an ardas offered for the successful conclusion of the path and distribution of karahprasad or Sikh sacrament. A similar service marks the conclusion. Ardas and karahprasad are also offered as the reading reaches midway.

Extract from “A complete Guide to Sikhism” Dr Jagraj Singh, Publisher Unistar Books 2011

Path (ਪਾਠ):

In Sikhism recitation of Gurbani is called Path. Path of Guru Granth Sahib is arranged by a family on the occasions of birth, death, opening a business and on other social occasions. It may be Akhand Path or Sehaj Path.

Akhand Path:

Akhand Path is continuous un-interupted recitation of Guru Granth Sahib from the beginning to the last word, by relay readers. It is said that Buddha Dal started the tradition of Akhand Path and fixed about 48 hours to complete a Path, during the period of the persecution of the Sikhs by Zakriya Khan. Since then this tradition has been adopted by the Sikhs and Akhand Paths are organized at all the important Sikh ceremonies.

So we see that Akhand Path started in around 1730-1740 CE and therefore has been a long standing practice.  

One very important point raised by the Encyclopaedia of Sikhism isWithout such ceremonial recitals, the Guru Granth Sahib, large in volume, would remain generally inaccessible to the laity.  


Having seen what credible sources have to say about Akhand Path, now we look at the post in question. Note that the WRITERS comments below are in brown text.

So misleading this Bunty fello and his cohorts.

  • Commenting on a globally respected credible, well learned scholar in Gurbani in such a manner shows the calibre of the WRITER.

No one has ever asked to stop Akhand Path but it is advised and encouraged that we read bani ourselves to understand Guru’s message and not a business venture for Paathis.

  • The WRITER implies that Akhand Path is a “business venture” for Paathis.
  • Does the WRITER understand what a “business venture” is?  Suggest he make some effort to understand this word and answer this question “WHAT IS THE AKHAND PAATHI’S RISK WEIGHED AGAINST GAIN?”, this being one of the primary criteria of a business venture. 

It is important that we understand Guru’s message so that these type of self-styled Babas will no longer be able to fool us.

  • Good advice here.  We have to BEWARE OF THE MISSIONARIES who are the self styled Babas of today.  As Baba Banta Singh says “… banna pa kay, do char din parchar karkay, doan cahuhan kitaban dey ahankar vich choor ho kay, akhay vee path karna manmat hai …. ਬਾਣਾ ਪਾ ਕੇ, ਦੋ ਚਾਰ ਦਿਨ ਪਰਚਾਰ ਕਰਕੇ, ਦੋਆਂ ਚੌਆਂ ਕਿਤਾਬਾਂ ਪੜ੍ਹ ਕੇ, ਹੰਕਾਰ ਵਿਚ ਚੂਰ ਹੋ ਕੇ, ਆਖਦਾ ਪਾਠ ਕਰਨਾ ਮਨਮਤ ਹੈ …these missionaries after dong a few parchars, reading a few books, in ego  say AKHAND PATH IS MANMATBEWARE OF THESE MISSIONARIES.
  • It is important for us to refer to credible resources and sources to understand Gurbani – the key is we should stop and question whoever tries to change the long standing practices coming down from our forefathers.

It is a known fact that no one listens to Akhand Paath recitation. The only person who benefits is the Paathi.

A few points to consider here:

  • The WRITER may not listen to Akhand Path but that does not mean others don’t.
  • It is believed that the WRITER does not believe that the SGGS Ji is the word of GOD, penned by our Gurus and other contributors in the SGGS Ji.  
  • Does he mean to say that the recitation of the word of GOD has no effect on anyone except the PAATHI?  DOES HE APPRECIATE THE SANCTITY OF THE AKHAND PATH CEREMONY? This is doubted.

Thank Waheguru Ji for the missionaries.

This is clear evidence that the WRITER is aligned with the “MISSIONARIES”.  

Note that the missionaries are those who are aligned to the Kala Afghana/Ragi Darshan ideology; the more prominent missionaries being Inder Ghagga, Gurcharan Jeonwala, Sarabjit Dhunda, Gurbachan Panwa, Sukhwinder Dadehar …. .   They generally condemn the practice of Akhand Path (e.g. see LINK A).  See Figure 2 for an outline of their ideology.

Figure 2: What the Kala Afghana/Ragi Darshan ideologists (ADNs) believe in

If the ADNs have thier way

It is quite clear that the WRITER is aligned to the missionaries and hence the Kala Afghana/Ragi Darshan (KA) ideology they follow.  Without doubt the KA ideology condemns Akhand Path.  

The WRITER’S comments appear more to be excuses.   So WHY give excuses for ideology the WRITER FOLLOWS?  Why not own up to what is followed.  

This is like 

A CAT (the mind), ROARING LIKE A LION, EATS A MOUSE (the karam action) AND THEN SAYS TO THE PRIEST (the conscience), I LIKE THE MOUSE (denial of the karam).

The answer to the WHY probably lies in that, the SRM espouses Akhand Path and the WRITER claims to abide by the SRM which is in opposition to the ideology the WRITER follows.  So what to do? Package the ideology so it looks OK by giving excuses.

Thank you for reading.    ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੁ ਜੀ ਕਾ ਖਾਲਸਾ  ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੁ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਫਤਹਿ

170910 Cat Mouse and the Priest