Thursday, July 28, 2011

Raga & Rabindranath

You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount.
At the hear of time, love of one for another.
I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times...
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
What better words to describe Rabindranath’s intensity as a philosopher, poet and songwriter than these? And that we remember him to this date as the greatest poet of all times “in life after life, in age after age, forever”?
I can’t remember where I heard the first Rabindrasangeet of my life. It was just about everywhere, in every nook and corner of my parental home and I stumbled upon it at all times....Baba crooningAmar matha noto kore dao hey tomar choronodhular tole.. in the shower, Mamma humming Aaro aaro probhu aaro aaro.. in the kitchen as she moved her ladle in a soft Rabendrik dance motion, and the morning radio that religiously had a slot for threeRabindrasangeet each morning as I struggled with my Bonny Mix and shoe laces and rushed to school. 
I did not understand the depth or meaning of these songs as a child, but like nursery rhymes, Abol Tabol and Thakumar Jhuli, they were a part of my growing up. My bed time story was Birpurush, the car-stereo always boomed with Debabrata Biswas; Pochishe Boishakh was as important as my own birthday, and Gitabitan found a place on the bed-side table. Baba was an ardent Gurudeb follower and Mamma’s Viswabharati background built up an ambience that cultivated Tagore in everyday life.
I remember my first solo dance performance on stage. I was barely five then and Kothayo amar hariye jawar nei mana was nothing but a lyrical fairy tale to me. What my innocent mind didn’t understand was that there was a deeper philosophy hidden beneath those seemingly simple words. Only later in life, as I began to discoverTagore’s unrestricted spiritualism in his writings, through his philosophy, did I realize how this was all reflected in the way he composed music.
The words found new meaning; the aestheticism was not lost in translation as alphabets transcended the level of sensory perception and evolved as more profound, sensitive and spiritual realizations. And then an open, boundless, unrestricted, uncorrupt mind that saw no horizon, no boundaries, was revealed to me.
Since then there has been no moment in my modest life, neither in wakefulness nor in dreams that is not influenced or inspired by the poet of all poets. Tagore’s profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verses have found life in my personal expressions in all human form; making it difficult to sift Puja, Prem from depiction of Prokriti in everyday life sometimes. Beyond the conservative understanding, they all seem to merge in a more metaphysical overlap.  
Have I not sat by the window on many afternoons watching a storm rise over the horizon, the low dark nimbus clouds caressing the tips of the rice fields, humming softly to myself...
Tumi Jodi dekha nahi dao koro amaye hyela? Kemon kore kaate amaar emon badol byela?
and revisited my inner self over and over again....?? Was it Puja, Prem or Prokriti?
Does it not lead me to think even deeper? Is there actually a line of demarcation? Isn’t everything around us including ourselves a part of that greater scheme in nature, a piece of that divine design called life? What is not divine then?
Jogoto juure udaar shure anando gaan baaje, shey gaan kobe gobhiro robe bajibe heeya maajhe
Batasho jolo akasho aalo, shobare kobe bashibo bhalo, hridoyo shobha juriya tara boshibe nana saaje
Tagore is not just a poet we read to enrich our literary acumen, he’s not just an artist who saw the world on a canvas different from others, he’s not just a composer who blended his poetry with music in a magical communion; Tagore, to me, is a philosophy, a harbinger of life that teaches us to live, to laugh, to love and above all, to win with pride and battle failures with courage, in life after life, in age after age, forever....
As the world joins hands to celebrate the greatest poet’s 150th birth anniversary, I shall leave you with these thoughts from Gitanjali....
My song has put off her adornments. She has no pride of dress and decoration. Ornaments would mar our union; they would come between thee and me; their jingling would drown thy whispers.
My poet's vanity dies in shame before thy sight. O master poet, I have sat down at thy feet. Only let me make my life simple and straight, like a flute of reed for thee to fill with music.
Philosophically yours

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