Monday, April 06, 2009

Where the Two Halves Join

By Bindu Chawla, "Dialogue of beloveds, raga, anuraga" - The Times of India - India
Saturday, April 4, 2009

The word raga means 'to love'. All Hindustani ragas are scientifically structured and as you proceed to sing them, and you unfold their grammar, you also come to reveal hidden principles of cosmic love.

The raga divides itself into two equal halves, in which each note of one half has a corresponding answering note in the second half. And yet, in terms of melody, neither of the two halves can stand alone.

The melody gets created only at the exact meeting point of the two halves, at the specific point where the two halves join. The group of notes that create the junction are also known as the 'pakar' or haunt, of the raga. Throughout its rendering or exposition, the raga is the interplay of a musical dialogue between these two halves, virtually the 'beloveds'.

The pakar is the raga's spiritual fountain; no amount of singing will slake the raga's thirst. It is the flower's inner honey; no amount of sucking will quench the hunger of the bee.

It is said that in the days of yore, the musicians would forget to eat, drink and bathe, as they were caught in the haunt of a raga. Such can be its spiritual hold. All ragas have nyas or pause notes, points of rest in this 'haunt', which are actually emphasised more than others, and ultimately turn it into a lullaby, a song on the lip. Yet the raga is the most grammarised thing going.

It works through symmetrical musical movements of the two halves. The smallest microtone of one half must have its parallel in place in the other half, the nuance of a note of one half answered just as it should be in the other half, or else another raga's haunt will creep in and 'interfere' with the grand design.

And yet, it is this very methodology, of working the raga's yin and yang, that will turn its very love-haunt into the gateway of cosmic love.

Pandit Amarnath of the Indore gharana would say that the word raga means 'to love', but the completion of this lies in the set of words 'raga-anuraga', which mean 'to love and to be loved' in return. The import of this is that the musician sings his song of love, but it is when the cosmos returns his love that the cycle is said to be complete. This is the Sufi way.

The raga's yin and yang, male and female, become alaf and meem, main aur Allah; I the beloved of Allah and Allah, my beloved, till there is no difference between the two. Ultimately all becomes Allah, and I drop away. I becomes fanaa, or extinct. All that remains is Allah.

In a beautiful bandish for the raga Brindabani Sarang Pandit Amarnath says:

"O heart, stay true to yourself,
The soul is the very Oversoul
Mitu-rang, finding the Oversoul is like
water finding Water, and sky, Sky.
O heart, stay true to yourself."

The story of finding the Water and Sky is the story of finding the raga's anuraga . The love of the beloved is akin to the love of Allah. And the love of Allah is akin to the love of the beloved.

In another bandish in the raga Sawani, Pandit Amarnath says:

"Beloved, my destiny is with you.
May I receive your love in all our lives,
And may you remain eternal...
The light of my heart is to think of you,
The life of my body to see you,
The vermilion on my forehead is your love.
Beloved, my destiny is with you."

Picture: Feel the pulse of spiritual music. Photo: TOI/Getty Images.

2 comments:

darvish said...

Exquisite!! This post makes me so happy :)))

Ya Haqq!

Marina Montanaro said...

Yes! Love, what else? The Universe's Sacred Dance. Better than Chocolate...;D

Monday, April 06, 2009

Where the Two Halves Join
By Bindu Chawla, "Dialogue of beloveds, raga, anuraga" - The Times of India - India
Saturday, April 4, 2009

The word raga means 'to love'. All Hindustani ragas are scientifically structured and as you proceed to sing them, and you unfold their grammar, you also come to reveal hidden principles of cosmic love.

The raga divides itself into two equal halves, in which each note of one half has a corresponding answering note in the second half. And yet, in terms of melody, neither of the two halves can stand alone.

The melody gets created only at the exact meeting point of the two halves, at the specific point where the two halves join. The group of notes that create the junction are also known as the 'pakar' or haunt, of the raga. Throughout its rendering or exposition, the raga is the interplay of a musical dialogue between these two halves, virtually the 'beloveds'.

The pakar is the raga's spiritual fountain; no amount of singing will slake the raga's thirst. It is the flower's inner honey; no amount of sucking will quench the hunger of the bee.

It is said that in the days of yore, the musicians would forget to eat, drink and bathe, as they were caught in the haunt of a raga. Such can be its spiritual hold. All ragas have nyas or pause notes, points of rest in this 'haunt', which are actually emphasised more than others, and ultimately turn it into a lullaby, a song on the lip. Yet the raga is the most grammarised thing going.

It works through symmetrical musical movements of the two halves. The smallest microtone of one half must have its parallel in place in the other half, the nuance of a note of one half answered just as it should be in the other half, or else another raga's haunt will creep in and 'interfere' with the grand design.

And yet, it is this very methodology, of working the raga's yin and yang, that will turn its very love-haunt into the gateway of cosmic love.

Pandit Amarnath of the Indore gharana would say that the word raga means 'to love', but the completion of this lies in the set of words 'raga-anuraga', which mean 'to love and to be loved' in return. The import of this is that the musician sings his song of love, but it is when the cosmos returns his love that the cycle is said to be complete. This is the Sufi way.

The raga's yin and yang, male and female, become alaf and meem, main aur Allah; I the beloved of Allah and Allah, my beloved, till there is no difference between the two. Ultimately all becomes Allah, and I drop away. I becomes fanaa, or extinct. All that remains is Allah.

In a beautiful bandish for the raga Brindabani Sarang Pandit Amarnath says:

"O heart, stay true to yourself,
The soul is the very Oversoul
Mitu-rang, finding the Oversoul is like
water finding Water, and sky, Sky.
O heart, stay true to yourself."

The story of finding the Water and Sky is the story of finding the raga's anuraga . The love of the beloved is akin to the love of Allah. And the love of Allah is akin to the love of the beloved.

In another bandish in the raga Sawani, Pandit Amarnath says:

"Beloved, my destiny is with you.
May I receive your love in all our lives,
And may you remain eternal...
The light of my heart is to think of you,
The life of my body to see you,
The vermilion on my forehead is your love.
Beloved, my destiny is with you."

Picture: Feel the pulse of spiritual music. Photo: TOI/Getty Images.

2 comments:

darvish said...

Exquisite!! This post makes me so happy :)))

Ya Haqq!

Marina Montanaro said...

Yes! Love, what else? The Universe's Sacred Dance. Better than Chocolate...;D