Wednesday, December 22, 2010

From ‘Strands of Eternity’ by Vasant Lad



Pay attention as you walk,
as you listen, as you speak.
Each time the fear comes as a rushing automatic act,
let it move slower.

See the gap between two fears,
then fear yields into awareness itself.

Emotional Purification

According to Ayurveda,
the ancient science of self-knowledge,
the emotional body can be purified
by the same methods
which purify the physical body.

Srotomukha vishodhanam is cleansing the passages
through which emotions flow.
If there is fear, anxiety, anger – surrender to it.
That letting go opens the channels of circulation.
Then the emotion can move freely.

Vrudhi means to increase the impurity.
On the psychological level,
the emotions must be provoked
before they can be released.
Encourage crying, see a sad movie,
do anger release work.
This gets the emotion moving,
but doesn’t end it for good.

Abhisyandhan is de-crystalization
or liquefaction of emotion.
It makes the emotion as a fluid
just as salt or sugar melts in the sun.

This can be done with deep tissue work,
vigorous massage
or by reclining the body in a gentle easy posture -
this will help your emotions become liquid.


To ripen your emotions, bring your total awareness
to your feelings.
The memory of an insult is lodged in your mind -
bring complete awareness to it
and you will no longer be attached to it.
Stay with your grief with total awareness

The flame of awareness will cook your grief
and like a dry leaf it drops to the ground.
Stay near your feelings. Stay near God.

Fast from food. Fast from talking.
Allow the emotion to ripen.
Allow your grief and anger to flower and they will die
their own natural death.
Suppress them and they will fight for their existence.

Deepan means to enkindle the flame of awareness.
Stay in the stops between your breath.
Stay in the gap between your thoughts.
Meditation is the medium through which
the flame of awareness in enkindled.



Your mind is caught in a traffic jam,
bumper to bumper with thoughts


Mind makes you sad.
Mind makes you fearful.
Mind makes you happy.
The servant has become the master.


Just as there is a space between
the clouds in the sky,
there is a space between your thoughts.
This space is the doorway to the divine.


Breathe consciously with total awareness.
Slow down your breathing
until you can see a little space -
a gap.

That gap is most important.
Remain in that gap. It will get wider.
Dive into that space. Dive into the inner abyss.


You are simply watching the breath.
It goes in and comes out.
And there is a stop behind the belly button.
Stay in that stop for a fraction of a second.


Like a breeze meditation comes to you.
The sunlight is always there,
you only need to open the door.

Do not expect anything from meditation.
Just sit casually and watch your breath,
stay in the stop.
Soon that stop will stay with you.
When you walk, God walks with you.
And you are walking in God.

The End of Knowledge


Perception which is learned phenomenon
is knowledge.
Perception which is pure phenomenon
is intelligence.
Unless you renounce knowledge
you cannot attain intelligence.


Simply observe through
intuition and inner awareness.
This is samadhi in action.
Apply your whole awareness to an object
and gain direct knowledge of that object
This is samyama.
Let your daily operating awareness be your bible.

Friday, December 17, 2010

From ‘Along the Path of Music’ by Prabha Atrre

Text from the book interspersed with videos from youtube. See

It is common to being a new disciple’s training with raag Yaman. Yaman is like a vast ocean whose limits are beyond sight.…………… Yaman – one of the main raags having all the seven notes – straight, simple, ascending and descending

[Raag Yaman is traditionally sung during the first quarter of the night (Pratham Prahar). From See
For Kishori Amonkar’s rendition ]

Hirabai Badodekar………. Blessed are those who have heard it. Hirabai’s khyal presentation was marked by a peaceful elaboration of the raag developed through aalaap note-by-note, a fluent and clear rendering of taans and an appropriate amount of stress on rhythm with neatly sung sthaai and antaraa.

Hirabai’s singing was ascetic, not romantic. Her music did not sing of romantic love, but rather that of divine love…….

Amir Khan ………. The gaayaki of Kirana gharaanaa is, no doubt, comparatively confined to the middle (madhya) and the higher (taar) octaves, whereas Khansaheb’s gaayaki dwells mostly on the lower (kharj) octave. The terrain of the lower octave notes is, on the whole, somewhat dry and rough. But Khansaheb had made the kharj so smooth like velvety green grass …………… That is why his gaayaki has acquired a three-dimensional form ……….. Deep, soul-searching, introspective, impressive, aristocratic, superlative – these are the many epithets that can be applied to his music …….. had a mystic touch, a resonance (jawaari) ……… Sitting on the stage, Khansaheb’s figure looked like that of a seer of music in deep meditation – calm, seemingly detached from the audience with no body-movement and hardly any flourishes of the hand

Khansaheb’s singing was not what dazzled suddenly. It's hypnotic effect would spread very slowly. One reason why it was so is that his singing was not aggressive and flashy. There was a total surrender, a meditative trance. Khansaheb is one artist who indulged in deep thought, had an artistic vision, carefully preserved the eternal value of music and never ran after popularity or fame.

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan ………… “Kaa karun sajani …….. ”……… That was my first introduction to Khansaheb and his music.

His music had cast a spell on me

Khansaheb’s voice is actually quite masculine, full of weight and expansive; at the same time soft like butter, tender, delicate, fluid, wide ranged; on the whole commanding.

Khansaheb had an extraordinary creativity. One could never predict how he would suddenly slide from one note to another………. Even after half an hour of elaboration he would come up with something ‘new’. To experience that one has to listen to his Pahadi or Sindhubhairavi.

One was always amazed how such delicate notes could emerge from such a massive physique.

Kirana artists have voices that are thin, sharp and high-pitched. But Bhimsenji’s [Bhimsen Joshi] voice is quite the opposite – broad, dense, wide ranging, capable of prolonged spans. And yet it can lay claim to sweetness and melodiousness – the benchmark of the Kirana gharaanaa. Variation in tone is an asset of Bhimsenji’s voice that adds to the enjoyment of this music. When he elongates the taar shadj or weaves a taan in taar saptak in a low tone, it is a source of unique pleasure and invariably elicits spontaneous applause.

Everybody cannot sing thumri because it demands certain versatility in voice modulation, a sensuous emotional expression, suitable temperament and imagination.

[ ]

I am very happy that my very first composition in raag Maaru Bihaag ‘Jaagoo main saari raina …….’ Has been immensely popular and when one talks about Maaru Bihaag they refer to my recording.