Sunday, July 10, 2011

Shankara and the Bairagi.

God!Another long spells on the sidelines mainly due to a month filled with frustrations and a complete lack of time. A lot has changed over the last month. and changed drastically. Amidst a flurry of post exam get-together week, and hanging out for days on end, time flew by. While spending time with friends was a good thing, other things, which I have no intentions of disclosing, drew me into constant rage. Lets just say that i was as reactive as fluorine. I dont know why I land up in such circumstances. Do I even deserve to end up being what I was in june is a question I ask myself. Nevertheless, such hard and pressing time shows you who is always there for you. In my case, the number is very very low. But these are the ones that really matter. I realized two of the most fundamental things- Its "I" I got to think about from now, and I dont believe im saying this, but I owe a lot to my sisters, and can count on them anytime!(you will know you are being addressed here if you really are being addressed here!)

While personally, June(as always) was probably the lowest point of the year- I dont remember being this disturbed ever, there was one element in my life(this keeps reapeating no matter what the situation)- which sucked me out of this deathtrap of quicksand. Classical Music. I dont know how I'd deal with the world if there was no music. Its a perfect panacea for not just mine, but anyones problems.
One- it distracts you from stupid things that are bothering you.
Two- it relaxes you so that you can think of solutions to the bigger and more important problems you are facing.
Three- It gives you a feeling- that there is someone larger and better who knows whats happening.

Maybe its just the structuring classical music, but everything seems different each time you listen to it. Maybe as Ive grown more experienced in listening to the details of the music, the details of the raga convey a bit more than what they did last time.I dont know the exact reasons for this, but somehow, I pick up and listen to different things from the same recording whenever I hear one. Everytime it sounds better than last time. I do not have any comparisons for it!

There were two musical moments in that turbulent period that really captivated me. It was probably the combined effect of the surroundings and what I was listening as well as the time when I was listening that has left a lasting impression.

The first- Few things that had really been bothering me had kept me up for 3-4 nights. on one such nights, it must have been about 4 am, just to relax myself, i went in my balcony and started listening to a recording of Bairagi Bhairav by Pt. Ajoy Chakravarty. The wordings were "Mere man me baso shree Ram". As soon as the first couple of minutes went by, I had this strange feeling of someone keeping an eye on me from somewhere, although in vicinity I could see no one. I closed my eyes, and all my troubles disappeared. All I could think of was the beautiful wordings of the bandish that was being unfolded in front of me. I have to say, after that day, I never had the problem of sleeping at night, and If I thought that I might have a restless night, just a quick recollection of that Bairagi Bhairav suppressed the anxiety.

The second moment took place about a fortnight ago, before I left for Mumbai. After enduring a frustrating afternoon of pondering about all possible reasons for why I slipped from my bike and got myself stitched on the chin, I was again out in the balcony getting some fresh air. My music player, which continues to play music irrespective of my presence or absence in my room(when I am home) started playing a version of Raag Shankara by Vilayat Khan. I love raag shankara. It is divine. It has some magical attribute assigned to it. I have already blogged on what it did to me when I heard it for the first time. But the impact of this recording by vilayat khan was extraordinary. A drizzle in the balcony, and free flowing wind combined with those caressing and free spirited swars of Shankara again elevated me mentally, boosting my morale.

These two events made me realize a crucial element. Both are named after forms of Shiva. One is a form of Bhairav, the other Shankara. Both take you down different routes One-a lonely haunting path of mystery, mist, and the chill of a pre dawn-probably one of the most enthralling route one can take and the other- that of a late dusk, rain which in your mind turns to snow and showers you with bliss, and an awe of grandeur. Ultimately, both take you to an altogether different, highly elevated mental state. The fact that both are forms of Shiva has delivered a significant impact. Ultimately, whoever sings or plays anything, they are just conveying the very things that come out of the mouth of Lord Shiva. It was this realization, that whatever we do, whatever we want to do, whatever way we do, you ultimately reach, or atleast try to reach this Shiva that has sparked a real positive light within me.

An image of the great Shankara walking alone on a morning (a bairagi) keeps on popping up in my mind. To this image and to the person in the image I place my utmost trust, to provide  the path to enlightenment.

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