Music- A Sacred Charm

Announcements are over and the anchor leaves the stage. Lights brighten and the Tanpura fills the air with the magic of Sa-Pa-Sa. The artist picks the swar and announces the raga. The eyes are closed, hall is silent.  Only one sound that is slowly and gradually filling the space is the voice of the performer. The swar vistar and the aalaap is joining him thread by thread with his God through his soul. He is walking on the path laid in front of him by the chalan of the raga he is rendering. Eyes are still closed and the audience see how the performer is touching the bubble of reality and many a times passing into the realm of magic and coming back. The audience is also swaying at the charm that is being created. This keeps going on till the final Tihaayi and leaves both the audience and the performer wishing for more………………………………

Doesn’t this happen every time we listen to Hindustani Shastriya Sangeet performed live, especially by the maestros like Pundit Jasraj, Pundit Rajan Sajan mishra. Doesn’t this happen when Pundit Hari Prasad Chaurasia is on the stage or Ustaad Bismillah Khan used to adorn the concert. A real saadhak of Sangeet can make you see the God through his performance. Pundit Jasraj when sings Om Namo Bhagvate Vasudevaya (in raag Kedaar) and Mere Maula Meherbaani (in Raag Bhairav), people feel standing in front of Vasudev and Allaah.

Sangeet is saadhna or worship for both the performer as well as the listener. It is a way of connecting yourself with the almighty and with your soul. I remember Pundit Jasraj telling that when he sings, he sings not for the audience, but for the God. Though his listeners are sitting in front of him, but his prime audience is the God himself. Pundit Shiv Kumar Sharma also says that he goes into a state of Samadhi while performing. Even after the performance is over, he remains connected and takes some time to come out and interact with people who flock around to congratulate and praise.

Our Vedas regard music as one of the most sacred of all arts. Lord Krishna in Geeta says that he himself is Saam, the Veda of music. So when one is practicing the sangeet, he is letting the God connect with him.

Lord Shiva has been attributed to the creation of music; the Naad itself has been created by him. From his five mouths, he created five of the Base Raagas. Aadi Raag Bhairav, the first of the Raagas was propounded by Mahadev from his head facing east. From the second face, he gave us the Raag Hindol, from the third, Raag Deepak was flamed. And to absorb the heat of Raag Deepak, he sung Megh from his fourth mouth. His fifth face gave birth to the Raag Shree.

Every Raag has a physical form in which it could be worshiped. E.g. Raag Bhairav has a form of a Yogi who looks same as Bhagwaan Shankar himself.

We start the lessons of music by learning the sounds of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni, but each one of it is a deity in itself and has a physical shape and effect just as any real entity.

Shadaj denoted as Sa is protected by the Lord Agni. It is neither flat nor sharp, but remains constant. it has a happy temperament and has a pink complexion. In effect, it is cold and moist. It wears bright white garments and shines in all the seasons of the year. it is produced from the abdomen and sounds like the sound of Peackock.

Rishabh read as Re is reined by the Lord Bramha himself. It can be Komal, Shuddh or Teevra (a place between Shudh Re and Ati-Komal Ga). It has a happy temperament and has a pale green complexion. In effect, it is cold and dry. It wears red Vastra and adorns itself with beautiful ornaments. It primes in the summers. It is produced from the heart and sounds like the sound of Papeeha.

Gandhaar, Ga, is blessed by the Goddess Saraswati herself. It can be sharp or flat, as per the need. In effect, it is cold and moist. Its temperament is sad. Wears crimson attire and is Orange in complexion. Its season is summer.

Madhyam or Ma is protected by Lord Mahadev. It can get Teevra and has a restless temperament. It has a warm and dry effect. It has a pink complexion and loves wearing reddish black vastra. Rain is the season that makes it sound the best. It is produced from the Throat.

Pancham, Pa has Goddess Lakshmi as its deity, however, unlike Devi Lakshmi, it remains sthir or constant. It has a passionate temperament and is warm and dry in effect. It is produced from the mouth sounds like Koyal. It is red in complexion and wears yellow garments.

Dhaivat, Dha is dear to Dev Ganesha. It wears vermillion garments and has yellow complexion. It has a moderate and equable temperament and has a warm and cold temperament. It can be sharp and flat and is produced from the palate.

Nishaad notated as Ni is under the protection of Surya. It can get Komal or sharp as per the raga in which it is sung. It has a happy temperament and gives a cold and dry effect. It has a dark complexion, wears black garment and is ornamented beautifully. Its season is winter. It is generated from nose and its sound resembles that of the trumpet of elephant.

Whenever one sings these notes, he is worshiping the god connected to it. No doubt why even masters say they are still doing saadhna and the art is yet to be mastered.

Magic may be a myth but music is real and the one who is the true worshiper of the music can make the magic real. Rains do come and stones do melt, what is needed is the true devotion for the swaras.