Beauty and brains Published in Splendor Sunday supplement of Oheraldo January 30, 2011 Dr. Nandkumar M. Kamat Beautiful music for beautiful souls Music is a divine gift to mankind. It is a gift which the wisest civilizations recognized as a medicine for sanity. It is an invisible sonic gateway to another world. True appreciation of music is an out of body, uplifting experience. The Yogis describe it as “brahmanand sahodar” (a state of supreme bliss) and the Tibetan Lamas call it “Satori” ( interfacial enlightenment in Zen Buddhism). Listen to Vedic or Gregorian chants or Sufi compositions. I accept only two distinctions in music-good and bad. I accept and appreciate all sources of music-natural and manmade. I don’t recognize any boundaries in music. I have uploaded the natural music of an effervescent monsoon stream accompanied by my spontaneously composed poem addressed to the universe of aquatic bubbles on you tube (check weblink http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=xG51k7v4CeE ). Nature expresses herself through singers and musicians. Music which need not be confused with organized noise or cacophony has a lot of power to do human good, transform people, attitudes, moods, minds. Life itself is wonderful biological music. In the warm and soothing amniotic ocean of our mother’s womb we listen to the reassuring rhythm of musicthe heartbeats of the mother. I feel a huge spiritual void after the death of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. The death of Ustad Bismillah Khan, world’ greatest Shehanai player had also equally affected me. For me, Bhimsen Joshi was Albert Einstein of Indian classical music. Early morning, as a school going kid I used to listen to his deep voice on All India Radio before running to catch the bus. It took me many more years to appreciate the lines which he sang. Once again I listened to “je ka ranjale ganjale’ and ‘ adhik dekhane tari” and could internalize the beauty and texture of the soul stirring compositions. There was something deeply magical and mysterious in his voice which had kept me glued, spellbound as a school going kid. On the day he died, I listened to his divine voice for six hours and permitted a free flow of tears to ventilate the profound grief which I had felt in the depths of my soul. Artists make a huge difference in our lives. What would be human condition without music?. Singers like Pandit Joshi who pour their soul in the songs are born only once during a millennium. Their deaths are not ordinary. As time passes and the world takes a serious look at what they have left behind we realize that in death of such personalities we loose a whole tradition, an entire institution, a rich living archives. A creative ecosystem comes to an end. How gifted we are in this beautiful state to have a rich legacy of music and musicians. Music is another name of Goa. From the western ghats to the Arabian sea –Goa is charged with music. Goans had understood the power, beauty and the magic of music several millennia ago. Folk music of Goa and especially the playing of membranophones and blow instruments, the beats of ‘’suvari’, “chandrval” and “khanpad’ capture traditions which go back to the first settlements. Christianity brought in wonderful western musical traditions. Choir music makes Goa a special place in Asia. Goan talent in western music is now unmatched. The dedication and devotion of the talented youn Goan singers and musicians is very touching. This is the beautiful side of Goan society-caring for music, encouraging talented kids to develop interest. Before people could spell out fusion music in 20 th century, Goa already had it. Therefore Goans did not label their schools of music like the Bengali “Ravindra Sangeet” phenomena. Ethnomusicologists Malabarao Sardessai, Jose Pereira, Micael Martins, Pandurang Phaldessai have taken pains to explore the rich Goan musical traditions. Goan society is now divided into ‘noise lovers’ and ‘music aficionados”. Modern sonophilia, the craze to play ear shattering loud amplified ‘music’ has made playing of music a public nuisance. People who indulge in such publicity exercises don’t understand the deep connection between music and spirituality and music and psychology. Noise is an acoustic evil-which pollutes the souls-good music is a supreme communion with the divine-which nourishes the beautiful souls. As Goans it is our birth right to enjoy beautiful music. For a change listen today to "vaishnav Jan to tene Kahiye ji-Gandhiji's favourite secular prayer.
Published on Apr 15, 2012