A raga is a complex structure of musical melody used in the Indian classical music. It is a set of rules of how to build a melody which can ignite a certain mood in the reciter and listeners. The Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, is composed in and divided by 31 ragas.
The following ragas names have been used by the Sikh Gurus to compose their hymns:
Other six raga names mentioned/used in Guru Granth Sahib are:
Note: Click the Links above (in blue) to view details of each Raag and the composers of Gurbani (hymns) in these ragas (provided by SearchGurbani portal)
Common Themes of Shabads placed under Raags of Guru Granth Sahib
- Soohi – Being away from home. The soul being away from the House of Lord and the joy of meeting the true husband.
- Bilaaval – beautification of soul, happiness.
- Gaund – Separation, union, surprise.
- Sri – Maya and detachment
- Maajh – yearning to merge with Lord, giving up of negative values.
- Gauri – Principles, serious, thoughtfulness, composed
- Aasa – Hope
- Gujri – Prayer (Pooja)
- Devgandhari – Merging with spouse, self – realization
- Bihaagra – Yearning due to separation of soul and happiness due to meeting the Lord.
- Sorath – Merits of God
- Dhanasari – Mixed theme
- Jaitsree – Stability
- Todi – Maya, separation
- Bairagi – motivation to sing praises of Lord
- Tilang – many words from the vocabulary of Islamic origins are used, sadness, beautification.
- Raamkali – to give up the life of a wandering Jogi.
- Nat Narayan – Joy of meeting the Lord
- Maali Gaura – Happiness
- Maaru – Bravery
- Tukhari – Separation and union with Lord
- Kedara – Love
- Bhairav – Man’s state of hell
- Basant – Happiness
- Sarang – Thirst to meet God
- Malaar – State of separated and united soul
- Jaijawanti – Vairaag (Detachment)
- Kalyaan – Bhakti (Prayer) Ras
- Vadhans – Vairaag (Detachment)
- Parbhati – Bhakti (Prayer)
- Kaanra – Bhakti (Prayer)
Feelings communicated by the music of Raags
- Soohi – joy and separation
- Bilaaval – happiness
- Gaund – strangeness, surprise, beauty
- Sri – satisfaction and balance
- Maajh – loss, beautification
- Gauri – seriousness
- Aasa – making effort
- Gujri – satisfaction, softness of heart, sadness
- Devgandhari – no specific feeling but the Raag has a softness
- Bihaagra – beautification
- Sorath – motivation
- Dhanasari – inspiration, motivation
- Jaitsree – softness, satisfaction, sadness
- Todi – this being a flexible Raag it is apt for communicating many feelings
- Bhairaagi – sadness, (Gurus have, however, used it for the message of Bhakti)
- Tilang – this is a favourite Raag of Muslims. It denotes feeling of beautification and yearning.
- Raamkali – calmness
- Nat Narayan – happiness
- Maali Gaura – happiness
- Maaru – giving up of cowardice
- Tukhari – beautification
- Kedara – love and beautification
- Bhairav – seriousness, brings stability of mind
- Basant – happiness
- Sarang – sadness
- Malaar – separation
- Jaijawanti – viraag
- Kalyaan – Bhakti Ras
- Vadhans – vairaag, loss (that is why Alahniya is sung in this Raag when someone passes away)
- Parbhati – Bhakti and seriousness
- Kaanra – Bhakti and seriousness
Excerpts taken from:
Guru Granth Sahib: An Advance Study
Dr Sukhbir Singh Kapoor
and other sources