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What are some facts about Gurbani Kirtan?

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Gurbani kirtan is a form of worship in the Sikh religion involving group singing of Gurbani or hymns written by Sikh gurus. Sikhism considers kirtan a high form of adoration and praise, and commonly includes it as a part of celebrations, such as birth ceremonies and weddings.

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Gurbani means the speech of wisdom, and kirtan means adoration. Songs selected for Gurbani kirtan primarily come from the central text of Sikh and list the qualities of the divine. Sikhs believe that Sikh gurus compose Gurbani after entering an enlightened state. By participating in the Gurbani kirtan, members of the Sikh religion hope to gain insight into the divine so that they may also become enlightened.

The Sikh code of conduct only allows the performance of the Gurbani kirtan in Sikh houses of worship or gurdwaras by members of the Sikh religion. Children learn Gurbani kirtan during special classes or camps. Traditional instruments, such as the harmonium, tabla and dilruba, commonly accompany the singing.

During worship services, projecting the words of the Gurbani on a screen helps everyone participate in the worship. In American gurdwaras, showing the text in the original language along with a phonetic version and an English translation makes it easy for all to sing along. In addition to the Gurbani, kirtan also includes songs from Sikh history and other hymns not taken from the central scriptures written by recognized Sikh gurus.

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