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Musical Dimension
Rag Bilaval
Out of the thirty-one principal rags in the Guru Granth Sahib, Rag Bilaval has been designated sixteenth place in the sequence. The Bani of five Gurus and four Bhagats is recorded under this rag, on pages 795 to 858 of the Guru Granth Sahib. It includes thirty Sabads by Guru Nanak Sahib, fifty-one by Guru Amardas Sahib, thirty by Guru Ramdas Sahib, one hundred and thirty-seven by Guru Arjan Sahib, three by Guru Teghbahadar Sahib, twelve by Bhagat Kabir, two by Bhagat Ravidas, and one each by Bhagat Namdev and Bhagat Sadhna.
Bhai Joginder Singh Talwara, Bani Biura, part 1, page 103-110.


Bilaval is an old and famous rag. Almost every author of the medieval era has mentioned this rag. Sanskrit authors call this rag Velavali, Vilavali, or Bilavali.
Prof. Tara Singh, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Rag Ratnavali, page 170.
There are many other prevalent forms of this rag, such as: Alhia Bilaval, Shukal Bilaval, Devgiri Bilaval, Yamani Bilaval, Bihag Bilaval, Suha Bilaval, Eman Bilaval, Kamodi Bilaval, Bilaval, Madharmia Bilaval, etc.
Prof. Kartar Singh, Gurmat Sangit Darpan, part-two, page 3.
Two forms of this rag are recorded in the Guru Granth Sahib: Bilaval Dakhni and Bilaval Mangal.
Prof. Kartar Singh, Gurmat Sangit Darpan, part-two, page 6.


Bilaval is considered to be a rag of auspiciousness and happiness. It is tradition to do kirtan in Rag Bilaval during happy occasions. Even in the Guru Granth Sahib, in the Bani revealed under this rag, there is ample description of the distinctive happiness experienced through union with the Divine that results in ecstasy, joy, and bliss on the path of spiritual life.
Principal Sukhwant Singh, Guru Nanak Sangit Padhati Granth, part-1, page 45.
But as per Gurbani, all rags and melodies, including Rag Bilaval, are pleasant only when the consciousness is attached to Nam:
bilāvalu tab hī kījīai jab mukhi hovai nāmu.
rāg nād sabadi sohaṇe jā lāgai sahaji dhiānu. -Guru Granth Sahib 849.

Some scholars consider Rag Bilaval to be a rag of sampuran jati (class), and some consider it a ragini. Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha also considered it to be a rag of sampuran jati, in which all notes are shudh (natural).
Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha, Mahan Kosh page 876.
In the ‘Ragmala’ recorded in the Guru Granth Sahib, Bilaval is considered to be the son
lalat bilāval gāvahī apunī apunī bhāṁti. asṭ putra bhairav ke gāvahi gāin pātra.1. -Guru Granth Sahib 1430.
of Rag Bhairav, and Bilavali is considered to be the wife
pratham bhairavī bilāvalī. punniā kī gāvahi baṅgalī. puni aslekhī kī bhaī bārī. e bhairaü kī pācaü nārī. -Guru Granth Sahib 1430.
(ragini) of Rag Bhairav. Even though in Ragmala, Bilaval and Bilavali are considered separate, Bilaval has also been called Bilavali by Prof. Tara Singh and other scholars.
Prof. Tara Singh, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Rag Ratnavali, page 170.


Rag Bilaval is born from its own that. Pandit Bhatkhande has considered Bilaval that as a natural that.
Marigendra Singh, Vadan Sagar, page 12.
In this that/rag, all notes are natural. Because it is a morning rag, it is also called Rag Kalyan of the morning.
Prof. Tara Singh, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Rag Ratnavali, page 170.
Bilaval has been considered adhar saptak (foundational octave) in the northern Indic music style since the early part of the nineteenth century. Bilaval’s svar saptak (vocal octave) matches the key of C-Major in the western music. Today it is the principal rag of Bilaval that.
The Encyclopedia Of Sikhism, part two, page 173-174.


In Gurmat Sangit (Sikh Devotional Music), Rag Bilaval falls into the category of prevalent and significant rags. Guru Arjan Sahib positioned chaunki of Bilaval after chaunki of Asa Ki Var in the tradition of kirtan chaunkis
At Sri Harimandar Sahib (Amritsar), the kirtan sung from early morning till night, has been categorized into and name as kirtan chaunki by dividing them into different time periods. According to Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha (Mahan Kosh, page 463), kirtan chaunkis are four in number: ‘Asa Di Var Di Chaunki’ early morning, ‘Charankawal Di Chaunki’ at quarter past day, ‘Sodar Di Chaunki’ in the evening, and ‘Kalyan Di Chaunki’ approximately an hour and a half into the night. But Dr. Jaswant Singh Neki (Ardas, page 221) has also mentioned ‘Bilaval Di Chaunki’ which begins at the sunrise.
established by him at Darbar Sahib, Amritsar. Even today, three Ragi (devotional hymn singers) groups do kirtan in a row from around 7 to 10am under the chaunki of Bilaval.
Prof. Kartar Singh, Gurmat Sangit Darpan, part two, page 5.


Prof. Tara Singh, Bhai Avtar Singh Bhai Gurcharn Singh, Sardar Gian Singh Abbottabad, Rag Nirnayak Committee
Principal Sukhwant Singh, Guru Nanak Sangit Padhati Granth, part 1, page 47.
and other scholars have given the following form of Rag Bilaval follows:

Description of Rag Bilaval
That: Bilaval.
Svar (notes): All shudh (natural) notes.
Varjit Svar (forbidden notes): None.
Jati (class): sampuran-sampuran.
Vadi (prominent note): Dha.
Samvadi (sub-prominent notes): Ga.
Aroh (ascending scale): Sa, Re Ga, Ma Pa, Dha, Ni Sa (tar saptak - upper octave).
Avroh (descending scale): Sa (tar saptak - upper octave) Ni Dha, Pa, Ma Ga, Re Sa.
Mukh Ang/Pakar (Main Part): Ga Re, Ga Pa Dha Pa, Ma Ga, Ma Re Sa.

Singing Time
The first quarter of the day.

In Gurmat Sangit (Sikh Devotional Music), Rag Bilaval falls into the category of prevalent and significant rags. Guru Arjan Sahib positioned chaunki of Bilaval after chaunki of Asa Ki Var in the tradition of kirtan chaunkis
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established by him at Darbar Sahib, Amritsar. Even today, three Ragi (devotional hymn singers) groups do kirtan in a row from around 7 to 10am under the chaunki of Bilaval.
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Prof. Tara Singh, Bhai Avtar Singh Bhai Gurcharn Singh, Sardar Gian Singh Abbottabad, Rag Nirnayak Committee
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and other scholars have given the following form of Rag Bilaval follows:

Description of Rag Bilaval
That: Bilaval.
Svar (notes): All shudh (natural) notes.
Varjit Svar (forbidden notes): None.
Jati (class): sampuran-sampuran.
Vadi (prominent note): Dha.
Samvadi (sub-prominent notes): Ga.
Aroh (ascending scale): Sa, Re Ga, Ma Pa, Dha, Ni Sa (tar saptak - upper octave).
Avroh (descending scale): Sa (tar saptak - upper octave) Ni Dha, Pa, Ma Ga, Re Sa.
Mukh Ang/Pakar (Main Part): Ga Re, Ga Pa Dha Pa, Ma Ga, Ma Re Sa.

Singing Time
The first quarter of the day.