‘Raagmala: A Spiritual Composition’ by Kamalpreet Singh Pardeshi

Raagmala Book

This publication by Kamalpreet Singh Pardeshi is the first comprehensive presentation of Raagmala in English. A slim but significant book, it is designed to dispel the myths and controversies surrounding Raagmala and instead highlight its deeper spiritual meanings. Many people today believe that Raagmala is simply a list of Raags, but this book provides a much more extensive analysis on why Raagmala was written and its relevance to Sikhs today. In fact Raagmala contains a dialogue between Guru Arjan Dev Ji and his Sikhs, through which he answers fundamental questions which arise in the minds of many today. For example, the relationship between the two paradigms of fear and love are examined when cultivating a connection with the Divine. Guru Arjan Dev Ji also interestingly talks of the ways to eradicate doubt and scepticism in the minds of devotees, which no doubt will have a profound impact upon those whose doubts linger regarding the authenticity of Raagmala.

The book begins with a preface by Tirath Singh Nirmala, followed by a brief section by Kamalpreet Singh Pardeshi which draws upon Gurbani and other commentaries to efficiently and robustly addresses several commonly used arguments which question the validity of Raagmala. Included within this section are references to thirteen puraatan (old) and authentic manuscripts of Sri Guru Granth Sahib which each contain respective signatures of the Gurus after Raagmala has been written. Following this, the basic and widely accepted meanings of Raagmala are presented, listing the relationship of the Raags and Raagnis. The majority of the book follows on from this, describing the more meaningful definitions of the individual words within Raagmala. This is structured as a question-answer session between Guru Arjan Dev Ji and the sangat, where he addresses pertinent questions regarding the path of Dharam.

The book frequently makes reference to other writings from within Gurbani to further emphasise the meanings of each line within Raagmala. References to traditional schools of thought e.g. Yogic limbs are related to Gurbani and the Sikh perspective is highlighted to the reader in extensive notes which follow each line’s translation. Finally the book finishes with a list of references used during composition of this publication, providing the reader with further avenues to explore the subject in more depth. Kamalpreet Singh Pardeshi has expanded upon this subject in further publications but this book remains an important initial introduction to Raagmala and will surely open the minds of those who have yet to be exposed to the jewels held within this Bani.

This book can be purchased here and here. There is a more extensive publication of Raagmala by Kamalpreet Singh Pardeshi which can be purchased here. (The latter publication will be reviewed separately.)