Tuesday, December 9, 2008

If you can sing………….please do!!

The soothing aroma of burning camphor, flowers and incense filled the small temple hall. We squatted in small groups on the cool stone floor to witness the ceremonial celebration of Lord Vishnu’s wedding – ‘Kalyanotsava’. Betarayaswamy and his two consorts were in decorated splendour and the priest was enacting the wedding ritual. We were at Turuvekere, a fairly large panchayat town in Tumkur district of Karnataka, India.

Conversation and interest varied from
‘How lovely the lord is looking. There is some charm in this entire ceremony…..’
‘This ear stud is lovely. Is this the one your husband brought for you from Bangalore?’
‘Have you heard……N’s daughter has refused to marry her Mama’s (read uncle) son. She wants to study further!!!’
‘Oooph! It’s too hot here……..’

It was almost 2 in the afternoon… We were hungry and fidgety… Hands and legs stretched out stealthily… Wrist watches were given hasty peeks … Contents of puja baskets were rearranged meticulously… “How much more” was the unasked question on every guilty mind!!

Narayana ninna namada smaraneya… A gentle voice began the Purandaradasa kriti
Conversations stopped
Restless yawns were hastily muffled
We craned our necks to see who was singing
Many who knew the song hummed along.
It was a waft of fresh air

Two young sisters – who were dressed exactly similar – whispered to each other in serious consultation. As soon as the song ended they began softly, haltingly, a devaranama. ‘Sing louder…sing louder’…their grandmother encouraged them proudly, glancing at the admiring audience.

A lovely song to Krishna ……
A simple one to Sharade
Some more popular kritis from Purandara Dasa which everybody knew……

Gruff voices, melodious voices, tuneful ones and painfully tuneless ones…..all joined in the soulful praises to the Lord.
Music united divergent thoughts and for a few moments brought us all together
Music made us feel ‘fine’ and ‘in control’

To be able to sing well is a truly Divine gift.
Music makes anyone who is listening, forget all doubts and concerns, and float in a region of harmony and peace. Music soothes connects and heals.
If you can sing………….please do!!

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