The Music of Snatam Kaur
If you have not yet experienced the music of Snatam Kaur then, I very much do believe, you are in for a wonderful, delightful surprise.
Of late I have been listening to a lot of her music. She is, in fact, my favourite musical artist at the moment. When I am struggling for motivation to sit down and write… when there is a nascent idea in my heart that I can’t quite find the way to get into my head and down onto paper… when I am in need of peace and tranquillity within and without… there is nothing quite like Snatam Kaur’s music to get me there. I am quite enraptured with her music right now (perhaps you can tell).
So, a little background. When I first heard this music I loved the sound of it but since the songs I heard were not in English, I began to wonder what exactly it is she is singing. Turns out the words are in the Sanskrit-based language of the Sikh people. Most of her songs are actually verses from the Sikh scriptures. So I had a moment of internal dissonance. As breathtakingly, heart-openingly beautiful as the music is… do I really want to listen to some religious stuff that runs contrary to my own beliefs, over and over again? Even if I don’t understand the words… that doesn’t seem like something I would want to do. And my experience of religions thus far is that I can take nuggets here and there from them, but that their underlying messages of duality (god being separate from us), division (only we are right and everyone else is going to hell), inauthentic authority (they know the truth, we do not) and the spiritual aggression they call for (convert or kill all unbelievers) is just not something that I can even vaguely align myself with.
So it is that I have come to regard most religions with a bit of a jaundiced eye. One exception that I had found thus far was Buddhism. And now, in researching the Sikh religion, I was delighted to find another.
I have only given it a cursory examination but, from what I could find, the Sikhs seem to believe:
* In one God that is beyond time and space, without form and omnipresent in all creation.
* That God can be found in the heart of those who seek with the “inward eye”.
* That meditation is a means of personal revelation through which we can commune with God.
* That all religious traditions are equally valid and capable of enlightening their followers.
* In the equality of all humans and the rejection of discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, and gender.
* That God created life on many different worlds.
And so, while it is not in my nature to follow a religion and while I don’t 100% agree with every aspect of Sikhism, I find this to be a gentle, beautiful and respectful faith. Certainly I find nothing here that offends me… nothing that I could not listen to with love and respect in my heart. And this inspired me to look for translations of the words of some of my favourite Snatam Kaur songs, and I found these to be equally pleasing.
But enough background! You need to hear the music! Here is one of my favourites, set to a gorgeous video. The song is called “Suniai”. The word Suniai (according to my research) means something like “listening with the whole of your being” or “going deep within your heart to hear the eternal truth of Life”.
So I invite to listen with your soul to this song:
Okay, now you know! Go ahead and visit your favourite music retailer and look for these albums (or just click on the album covers below to find it at Amazon.com):
Live in Concert
It was really hard for me to choose favourites as there is very little of her music that I don’t love, but these four are a good start. And she has loads more albums out if you feel the need for more (as I have!).
What you really need to do is to have one of these albums playing, flooding your home with the beauty of this music, whilst you enjoy quiet introspection, do some yoga or even sit in meditation. Wow!