The Score Magazine June 2017 issue - Page 44

Space for the Soul : Music of the Mystics The common trope of a foreigner from a distant land coming to India in search of enlightenment might be annoying, but this country’s depth of spiritual experimentation is possibly second to no other in the world. While the words ‘Advaita Vendanta’, ‘Sat-Chit-Ananda’ and ‘Nirvana’ might be fairly well-known in common parlance (thanks to their mostly superficial inclusion into pop culture), these ideas emerge from ideological and emotional doctrines that have been instrumental in giving India its reputation for philosophical profundity. While it is tempting to praise India’s heritage of holiness because it drew top itself icons like The Beatles and Alice Coltrane, the music crafted by India’s myriad mystical traditions offer an understanding of divinity beyond the human simplicities of discrimination. It would be great folly to not delve into the treasures offered by those who make music in their search for Bliss – the kind that, once experienced, cannot be touched by the goings-on of material existence. If you haven’t sampled this world of unconditional love and endless liberation, view the following as a slight gesture of guidance towards it. Parvathy Baul : One of those minstrels that you will see in the villages of Bengal who sings about letting go of the delusions of a world loaded with pointless definitions, Parvathy Baul’s voice snares your heart like a master hunter snares the restless doe. Hers is one of the few prominent presences in among the Bauls in which women are more frequency companions to the male singer rather than the practitioner herself). Lock yourself in a room, dim the light and find her on Youtube imploring “Paare loye jao” (Take me to the shore). Meerabai : Instead of a performing musician, Meerabai composed songs in her solitude for the purpose of unifying with the lord of her heart, Manmohana himself. Her hymns to Lord Krishna convert the devotee-lord relationship into something akin to that of the yearning lover and cruel beloved. She composed bhajans and kirtans that, sung to this day, have become anthems for those that wish to escape the illusions of everyday conflict and find an everlasting resolution in surrendering to all that is truly Holy. 42 The Score Magazine Wadali Brothers : Two men who carry the passion and talent of four generations of Sufi musicians, Puranchand Wadali and Pyarelal Wadali possess voices that would convince you that God does speak through human devices. Just hear them intone the following words : Tu mane ya na mane dildara asan te tenu rab maniya tu mane ya na mane dildara asan te tenu rab maniya {{das hor kera rab da dwara das hor kera rab da dwara asan te tenu rab maniya tu mane ya na mane dildara asan te tenu rab maniya -Tu Maane Ya Na Maane The Wadali Brothers draw their art out of a tradition that spans centuries, treating their music as an homage to all that is sacred in the world. They sing the words of various preachers, unconcerned by divisive categories such as religion. Striking in their abstinence from commercial ventures and elaborate performative setups, their presence is a reminder of the fact that despite what the charts might say, the sounds of the soil are still to be held to the heart.