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Dispute on Pronunciation of Kiirtan

Date: 07 Apr 2011 16:38:46 -0000
From: "Shivadayal Deva"
Subject: Dispute on Pronunciation of Kiirtan


"Maneri gahane tumi a'cho, a'cho prabhu sada' jege a'cho..."  (4380)


   Baba, You are always remaining in the depths of my mind-- You never leave me. Baba, You always remain awake. You go on working day and night, beyond all time. You never stop. Baba, whatever You want to do, You continue doing ceaselessly
   This whole expressed universe is Your eternal game. You are ever-present: beginningless and endless. You are ever intoxicated in Your divine flow. You are the Goal of everyone-- everyone wants You. You are remaining with one and all.  
   Baba, only those trying to come close to You by their virtuous deeds and by shravan, manan, nididhyasana [1], & dhyana, are able to reach near to You. Only they are able to realise You and have Your grace and proximity.
   Baba, You are grace-Personified...


[1] Shravan, Manan, Niddhidhyasana: Here below Baba explains the great import of these three devotional practices.

Baba says, "To attain Him human beings have to take recourse to shravana (constantly hearing His name), manana (constantly ideating on Him) and nididya'sana (constantly meditating on Him). The Supreme Entity is Gurha, that is, He is lying hidden in the innermost recess of the human entity. To attain Him one must penetrate deep within oneself, and for that the development of an introversial outlook is essential." (Tattva Kaomudii - 3)


There has been dialog - and even disputes - about the correct pronunciation of our kiirtan mantra.

                                  ABOUT THE BELOW WRITTEN MANTRAS

(Note: The following has been written in Roman Sanskrit. If you are not aware about Roman Sanskrit you can consult our AM books, especially English books published since 2000. Those editions have an expanded explanation of the Roman Sanskrit alphabet pronunciation. That will help in understand the below. Here pronunciation is important because our kiirtan is a practice. We sing this mantra so we should pronounce it properly.)

                                     FIRST STYLE OF PRONUNCIATION

In some parts of India and in most overseas sectors, the pronunciation is generally like this:

(a) Ba'ba' na'm kevalam

                                   SECOND STYLE OF PRONUNCIATION

In other parts, especially where those born and raised in Bengal reside or those whose mother tongue is that language, the following pronunciation is done:

(b) Ba'ba' na'mo kevalamo

Regarding the above, some non-native speakers think that the addition of "o" adds a melodious aspect. But they should remember that the mantra must be spoken in a proper way. It is just like how we do not change the pronunciation of our Ista mantra to seemingly make it more melodious. One must always remember that the mantra is based on sound vibration. And the sound should be accurately spoken or chanted. For instance, nobody says: "Babo" to make the mantra more melodious. Because all clearly understand that is not correct.

                                    THIRD STYLE OF PRONUNCIATION

And finally, in some rare cases, this is spoken:

(c) Ba'ba' na'ma' kevalama'

                                 SINGERS DISPUTE ~ MARGIIS FOLLOW

For years and years, on and off, people have been claiming that their own pronunciation is right. Singers propagate a particular style which they think is correct. Sometime singers quarrel amongst themselves about the pronunciation. Some singers wish to advance their own particular view, it seems.

General margiis do not engage in this debate. They follow whatever the lead singer sings.

                                               MUST BE VIGILANT

As disciples of Baba we should be very strict to follow the way in which Baba pronounces the mantra. We should not chant it in the wrong way. We must not be lax about this. This is a vital point: Mantra is a sound vibration. If it is chanted wrongly, it will not produce the desired effect.


To find out the correct pronunciation that Baba really wants and resolve this issue permanently, we should follow Baba's way.

Toward this end, a sound file has been uploaded to the AM-GLOBAL blogsite in the upper left column. It is titled: Baba's Pronunciation: Baba Nam Kevalam.

We should all download and listen to Guru's style of pronunciation and emulate that. We must practice in that way.

In tantra, what Guru says is final. We should not be confused. Ultimately we are singing for Him so we should pronounce the mantra in the way Baba does. We must not allow others to preach their own agenda and pollute the scene. We should follow Baba's way.



  1. THE AUDIO file doesn't work!

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    Namaskar. I just checked the file and it plays fine. Please try again - if you still have problems then email me at and I will send you the file as an attachment.

    AM-GLOBAL Moderators

  3. Oh I like this posting!

    And I hope that all those who lead kiirtans AND also those who sing kiirtans and record them for later distribution would understand the correct pronounciation of the mantra. This may require that some tunes that for example rely much on the added oo-oo will be abandoned - but we have many good tunes anyway!

    Also the other vowels are important: I have one CD where the singer is pronouncing a's as in 'bad' and not as in 'far' like it should be. With a small correction that singing would be perfect but now it can't be listened to... :-(


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