Editor:  'I  visited the very beautiful San Jose Gurudwara in California. In the  langar hall there were small boards put up where some practices and  thoughts of Sikh Dharma were explained. Being a follower of Sanatana  Dharma all the explanations seemed so familiar. I requested the  author to explore if there were similarities between the two. We have  uploaded pictures of each board at this link. To see pictures click  here.

KIRTAN

The  word Kirtan comes from the Sanskrit word Kirtanam meaning 'sing the  glory'. The ancient Rishis of Bharatvarsha advocated three paths to  attain the final merging with the Divine. Karma Yoga, Gyana Yoga and  Bhakti Yoga also known as Bhakti Marga - the path of devotion. Though  prevalent in ancient India, Bhakti Yoga caught momentum in the 7th  century in South India and spread North.

In  a way it was a rebellious movement rejecting the caste system,  denying the supremacy of Brahmins, their rituals and set aside the  complexities of philosophy to allow devotees to simply express their  love for God. They co - existed peacefully with the other paths of  yoga as the final goal was the same, often incorporating the  teachings of the Vedas in their hymns. These hyms were simple to  understand.

Between  14th and 17th century this movement spread all over Bharatvarsha.  Meera, Ramananda, Kabir, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Namdev, Tukaram,  Tulsidas and Surdas were some of its proponents. Many of their  compositions were incorporated in the Guru Granth Sahib by Guru  Nanak. 

Guru  Nanak, also a rebel sage, incorporated the Kirtan as a major part of  his teachings. His childhood friend and follower Mardana was ever  ready with his rabab to sing the hymns composed by Guru Nanak. The  hymns are sung in traditional Raags by the Raagis who often undergo  training in singing classical music. As is the case in the  Bhakti movement the bhakta, while performing the Kirtan, dissolves in  the melody and devotion to attain a state of Sat Chit Ananda -  Supreme Bliss. 

Also  read
1. Bhakti in Indian Culture
2. Sat Chit Ananda - The Philosophy of the Upanishads