ĀSĀ, one of the thirty-one rāgas or musical measures into which compositions comprising the Sikh holy book, Gurū Granth Sāhib, except the Japu, are cast and in which they are meant to be recited and sung. This rāga is important in the Sikh system of music, and is said to have developed from the tune of a folk ballad Ṭuṇḍe Asrāje dī Vār prescribed as the musical key for singing the Sikh morning liturgy, Asā kī Vār. Āsāvarī and Āsā Kāfī are two subsidiaries of Āsā employed in the Gurū Granth Sāhib. According to old texts, the tune Asā is appropriately sung during the second part of the night; however, in the Sikh tradition it is sung both early morning and in the evening. Also, more appropriately, it is assigned to the cold season and is meant to evoke a calm mystical mood. Although in the concluding section of the Gurū Granth Sāhib called Rāgamālā (q. v.), it is described as a rāginī, feminine subsidiary of the parent rāga Megh, it is employed in the main text as a full-fledged rāga. By its structure and mood, it lends itself very well to rendering devotional songs and hymns. Komal nishād and Komal gandhār, made as vivādī are employed in the movements of this rāga . Asā is a crooked rāga in that approaches to certain notes have to be made from a set position. The melodic structure of the rāga is as under:

        Thāṭ = Bilāval

        Jāti = Auṛav, Sampūraṇ

        Āroh = Sa Re Ma Pa Dha Ne, Pa Dha Sa

        Avāroh = Sa Ne Dha Pa Ma Ga--Re Ga Sa

        Pakaṛ = Sa Re Ma Pa Dha Pa, Ma Ga Re, Ga Re Ga Sa


        Besides the Gurūs - Gurū Nānak, Gurū Amar Dās, Gurū Rām Dās, Gurū Arjan, and Gurū Tegh Bahādur - Kabīr, Nāmdev, Ravidās, Dhannā, and Farīd have composed hymns in this musical measure contained in the Gurū Granth Sāhib.


  1. Charan Siṅgh, Srī Gurū Graṅth Bāṇī Beurā. Amritsar, 1860
  2. Sundar Siṅgh, Bhāī, Gurmat Saṅgīt. Amritsar, n. d.

Dharam Siṅgh