akjfaq7The Akhand Kirtani Jatha along with many other Gursikhs in the panth do not believe that Raagmala (which is a small composition appearing at the end of modern day saroops of Guru Sahib) was recited by any of the Gurus and thus is not Gurbani. When concluding Akhand or Sehaj Paaths, the Jatha does not read Raagmala and does Bhog at Mundavni. There is a controversy to this day in the Panth regarding the reading of Raagmala. According to Panthic norms, Raagmala may or may not be read according to the wishes of those doing the Paath. However, all Saroops that are now printed or written must include Raagmala at the end. The AKJ is a Panthic organisation and thus does not intend to create any controversy around this issue. Gursikhs from the Akhand Kirtani Jatha respect those who choose to read Raagmala in good faith but believe for many reasons that Raagmala is not Gurbani.

The reasons why the Jatha does not believe Raagmala to be Gurbani are numerous.  For starters, there is no obvious spiritual message in Raagmala; a simple reading of Raagmala makes this clear.  “Mundavni” (the last Bani to come before Raagmala) means “seal” and the meticulous numbering system which was designed to prevent extraneous writings from being included in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee is not present in Raagmala and ends after Mundavni.  There are many more reasons which cast doubt on the authenticity of Raagmala:

1. Not all Raags of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji included: There are 8 raags that are utilised in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji that have not been mentioned in the Raagmala. These are: Bihagara, Wadahans, Manjh, Jaitsri, Ramkali, Tukhari, Prabhati and Jaijawanti. Mali-Gaura is not included in Raagmala but Gaura is.

2. Differentiation between Raags and Raagnis: In Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji no distinction has been made between raags and raaginis and all the measures employed have been given the status of raags, each one of them recognized in its own right and not as “wife” or “son” to another raag. In practice over a long stretch of time, Gurmat Sangeet, i.e. Sikh music, has evolved its own style and conventions which make it a system distinct from other Indian systems.

3. Similar Raagmalas exist: The Raagmala appended to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is not much different from the others, and, by itself, does not set up a new system. This Raagmala is nearest to the Hanuman Mat, but the arrangement of raags in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is nearer to the Saiv Mala and the Kalinath Mat which give primacy to Siree Raag. The only system wherein occur all the raags and sub-raags employed in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is Bharat Mat.

4. Conflict in message: The Raagmala has given Bhairav the first position in the ‘mala’ (ਪ੍ਰਥਮ ਰਾਗ ਭੈਰਉ ਵੈ ਕਰਹੀ ||), but in the Raag system of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Bhairav has been relegated to 24th position. According to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Siree Raag has the first position and is called the supreme Raag (ਰਾਗਾ ਵਿਚਿ ਸ੍ਰੀਰਾਗੁ ਹੈ ਜੇ ਸਚਿ ਧਰੇ ਪਿਆਰੁ || – ang 83), which is backed up by Bhai Gurdas Ji (ਰਾਗਨ ਮੈ ਸਿਰੀਰਾਗੁ ਪਾਰਸ ਪਖਾਨ ਹੈ || – Vaar 42: Pauri 376). This has made most of the scholars doubt its relevance to the Raag system of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Either Raagmala is the truth and Bhairav is the first position Raag and supreme, which implies Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is false in saying Siree Raag is supreme and has first position. Or Raagmala is false and Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is true in saying that Siree Raag is supreme and in first position.

5. Difference in use of words: In the fifth line of Raagmala the word Pun (ਪੁਨਿ = ਫਿਰ; ਸੰਸਕ੍ਰਿਤ ਪੁਨਹ ਦਾ ਰੂਪ) has been used. This is a derivation of Sanskrit word Punah. On the other hand, in Sri Guru Granth Sahib wherever the derivation of Sankrit word Punah has been used it occurs in its prevalent Punjabi version, i.e., as Phun (ਫੁਨਿ). Nowhere it has been written as Pun (ਪੁਨਿ). Prof. Sahib Singh thinks it to be a strange occurrence of this word in Raagmala since no Guru ever used this word in Gurbani to mean what is conveyed in Raagmala.

6. No authorization: Unlike Gurbani in Sri Guru Granth Sahib there is no Mehla in the title of Raagmala. According to style of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji after any Raag there is an indication of authorship by Mehla, e.g. Mehla 4 etc. The whole of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is unambiguous in this respect. There is no shalok in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji where Sikhs have to guess about its author.

7. Difference in serialisation of stanzas: If we closely study Shabad, Ashtpadia, Chhand in Sri Guru Granth Sahib we find that there is a unique system if serialisation of stanzas with numbers. When a band or couplet ends, it is given a number to indicate its position in the hymn, and that it can now stand alone, and is complete in its meaning. The fifth Guru evolved a hierarchical system of numbering where the total number of couplets and Shabads are explicitly mentioned as totals and grand totals that run concurrently. This nesting is so distinctive that it does not allow anyone to add or delete a couplet without disturbing the numbering system. This is a fool proof method for the protection of originality of Gurbani. Now compare it with the unorganized system of numbering in Raagmala.

ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪਸਾਦਿ ਰਾਗ ਮਾਲਾ || ਰਾਗ ਏਕ ਸੰਗਿ ਪੰਚ ਬਰੰਗਨ || ਸੰਗਿ ਅਲਾਪਹਿ ਆਠਉ ਨੰਦਨ || || ਪ੍ਰਥਮ ਰਾਗ ਭੈਰਉ ਵੈਕਰਹੀ || ਪੰਚ ਰਾਗਨੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਉਚਰਹੀ || ਪ੍ਰਥਮ ਭੈਰਵੀ ਬਿਲਾਵਲੀ || ਪੁੰਨਿਆਕੀ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਬੰਗਲੀ || ਪੁਨਿ ਅਸਲੇਖੀ ਕੀ ਭਈ ਬਾਰੀ || ਏ ਭੈਰਉ ਕੀ ਪਾਚਉ ਨਾਰੀ || ਪੰਚਮ ਹਰਖ ਦਿਸਾਖ ਸੁਨਾਵਹਿ || ਬੰਗਾਲਮ ਮਧੁ ਮਾਧਵ ਗਾਵਹਿ || ੧ || ਲਲਤ ਬਿਲਾਵਲ ਗਾਵਹੀ ਅਪੁਨੀ ਅਪੁਨੀ ਭਾਂਤਿ || ਅਸਟ ਪੁਤ੍ਰ ਭੈਰਵ ਕੇ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਗਾਇਨ ਪਾਤ੍ਰ || ੧ ||

See the style of describing Bhairav Rag in 8 lines of a Chaupai. There is || ੧ || after eight lines of Chaupai. But note that in the last two lines all the 8 sons of Bhairav Rag could not be included. Lalit and Bilawal are in the next couplet (Dohra), and there is also || ੧ || at the end of this Dohra. This type of inadequacy in indicating a complete family of a Raag is also seen for other Raags. Apparently the system of Raagmala has no similarity with that followed by the Great Guru.

In Ragamala || ੧ || is used all through and at the end it occurs twice|| ੧ || || ੧ ||. Clearly, the style does not follow that used in Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

8. Stanzisation does not stand alone: See the following couplet where the last line of Band (couplet) describes that from the next Band will start Deepak Raag.

ਸੁਰਮਾਨੰਦ ਭਾਸਕਰ ਆਏ || ਚੰਦ੍ਰਬਿੰਬ ਮੰਗਲਨ ਸੁਹਾਏ ||
ਸਰਸਬਾਨ ਅਉ ਆਹਿ ਬਿਨੋਦਾ || ਗਾਵਹਿ ਸਰਸ ਬਸੰਤ ਕਮੋਦਾ ||
ਅਸਟ ਪੁਤ੍ਰ ਮੈ ਕਹੇ ਸਵਾਰੀ || ਪੁਨਿ ਆਈ ਦੀਪਕ ਕੀ ਬਾਰੀ || ੧ ||

This way the couplet does not stand alone as is the system followed in Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

9. Grammatical incoherence with Gurbani: Guru Arjan Dev ji evolved a unique system of grammer for Gurbani. This system is also followed by Bhai Gurdas in his poetry of Vaars. It is surprising to read ਰਾਗ ਏਕ ਸੰਗਿ ਪੰਚ ਬਰੰਗਨ ||; there is no Aunkar (ੁ) below ਰਾਗ ਏਕ to indicate plurality or singularity of ਰਾਗ and ਏਕ. However, both words here indicate singularity that any one Raga has five wives and eight sons. Similar examples of use of Mukta and Sihaari in Raagmala that do not follow the grammar of Gurbani exist. If Raagmala is Gurbani then Guru Arjan Dev Ji and Bhai Gurdas Ji changed the style of Gurbani used in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji for a different style in Raagmala or Raagmala is not written by Guru Arjan Dev ji or Bhai Gurdas ji.

10. The puraatan (old) saroops that did or do include Raagmala also included other compositions after Mundaavni (but before Raagmala), such as: (i) Jit Dar Lakh Mohammada, (ii) Siahi Di Bhidhi, (iii) Ratanmala, (iv) Hakeekatrah mukam, (v) Praan Sangli, (vi) Rab Mukam Ki Sabk, (vii) Baye Atisb (16 saloks) etc. All seven of these compositions that existed after Mundaavni (but before Raagmala) were all unanimously discredited by the Panth and it was acknowledged that mischievous individuals had over time included these compositions at the end of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji but had no standing against Gurbani.

11. Those who do not believe in raagmala are not limited to the Akhand Kirtani Jatha and in fact many if not most of the prominent Sikhs of the early 20th century did not believe in Raagmala such as: Famous Sikh historian Giani Gian Singh, Giani Ditt Singh, Prof. Gurmukh Singh (founders of Singh Sabha Movement); Pandit Tara Singh Nirotam; Sant Arjun Singh Vaid; Sadhu Gobind Singh Nirmala; Prof. Hazara Singh; Bhai Sahib Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha, the author of Mahan Kosh; Master Mota Singh; Master Mehtab Singh; Master Tara Singh; Gyani Sher Singh; Giani Nahar Singh; Principal Dharmanant Singh; Giani Bishan Singh Teeka-kar; Sant Baba Teja Singh Mastuana Wale; Principal Ganga Singh; Dr. Ganda Singh; Prof. Sahib Singh; S. Shamsher Singh Ashok Research Scholar of S.G.P.C.; Bhai Randhir Singh, research scholar; Pandit Kartar Singh Daakhaa; Principal Bawa Harkishan Singh; Principal Narinjan Singh; Prof. Gurbachan Singh Talib; Principal Gurmukhnihal Singh.

For more information and to see pictures of many old saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee without Raagmala, please visit: http://www.sikhanswers.com/sacred-literature-sikh-studies/raagmala/