24. Gurbaani Raag Bhairav

Bhairon was an important raga at the time of Guru Nanak and has continued to retain its significance and popularity. Bhairon (not to be confused with Bhairavi) appears in the Rdgrnala as husband of Bhairavi and four other rdginis. Today it is the head rdga for one of the ten thatas. The Rdga Sdgara, a treatise of circa 8th century, describes this rdga as awe-inspiring and as expressing the "fulfilment of the desire of worship." Mesakarna (1509) calls this morning melody of the autumn season one of awesome grandeur. Performed before sunrise, this raga was used by Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, and Gurft Arjan for 99 hymns.

Aroh  Sa Re, Ga Ma Pa Dha, Ni Sa

Avroh  Sa Ni, Dha Dha Pa, Ma Ga, Re Re Sa

Vadi  Dha

Samvadi  Re

The vadis are performed with a slow, wide vibrato which may begin with the vadi itself or the highest limit to which it will extend. In descent the vibrato must begin with upper limit. Otherwise Bhairon has few characteristic phrases.


According to Indian Schools of music this raga is also a very old, melodious and popular raga. It is known as Janak raga of Bharav thaht. In the opinion of Pandit Ravi shankar, this raga imparts morning invocation expression. Ustad Hafees Ahmed Khan also believes that Bhairav represents the mood for prayers and invocation. It is masculine but tender in nature. Pandit Jitendra Abhishekhi feels that Bhairav being a morning raga imparts an energetic mood as morning symbolises energy.

This raga is mentioned as the first major raga in the Ragamala listed at the end of Guru Granth Sahib.

The scale and notes of the raga are as follows:

Arohi (ascending scale) - ni sa ga ma dha ni sa re

Avrohi (descending scale) - sa ni dha pa ma ga re sa

The vadi (most popular) note is 'dha' and samvadi (second most popular) note is 're '.

This raga is sung at the fourth part of the night i.e., from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. The season of its recitation is winter (sharad) i.e., during October, November. In Guru Granth Sahib it has hymns from pages 1125- 1167 ( 43 pages).

The Composers

The composers of bani (hymns) in this raga are: