Day 2 of the 11th Naada Bindu Festival (NBF) 2021

The second day of the 11th Naada Bindu Festival, on 11 February 20221, continued with much festive fervour with a variety of events. Here is an account of participant Shri Satish Shenoy’s experience:

The first session was by Swami Tejomayananda (founder Chancellor of Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth). My learnings from his session are:

  • Whenever anything wonderful happens, we say ‘I Did It’ – we do nothing.
  • Purpose of life—the alienation of sorrow and attainment of happiness.
  • In any activity, it is the ‘anand’ that attracts us, not the activity. Like the ‘anand of playing cricket’ not the game itself
  • Example of vatsalyabhav is a cow giving birth to the calf, which is very messy but the cow licks up all the mess. It is the mother who cleans up the child when dirty.
  • In material life, we always remember the past, but Bhagwan is not like that.
  • Once a person remembers God, God remembers him a hundred times.
  • A person may be capable but not compassionate or the person may be compassionate but not capable—God is both.
  • We should remember God at all time and not only when in difficulty.
  • Bhagwan is my shelter and protector.
  • Bhagwan maaf nahi karte but saaf karte hai.
  • Whenever we sin, we live in fear.
  • We know God is protection, but we seldom seek ONLY His protection.
  • Valour on the battlefield, valour in charity, in compassion and sacrifice.
  • No qualification is required to go to God.
  • Someone asked Swami Tejomayanada—I am a sinner; how can I go to the temple? Swami ji told him that going to the temple is very much required for such people.
  • Go to the temple ‘as you are’—no need to show off.
  • Success is relative—as a joke – more the success, more the relatives.
  • Relative is not absolute.
  • On fear: First, we have the fear of whether we will get and after getting what we want, we live in fear of losing it.
  • The most secure place is at the feet of God.
  • We all want peace—not that kind of peace that can be broken into pieces

Hari Priya and Shanmukh Priya

The sisters spoke about the perfect ambience at Chinmaya Vibhooti which is like a creative field with hills around, that effuses energy and moments to cherish forever. If the personal discipline that is practised here at the venue is practised all over the country, then India will be like heaven. Hearing them sing today, I thought to myself, are they Priya Sisters or Trans-sisters? Two people, one voice. One can hardly see their lips move and they sit still on stage. Yet they sing beautifully. It’s a moment that I will cherish forever!

Lalgudi Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi

The siblings’ concert was a masterpiece. Not one unwanted phrase or sangati did one perceive. Each piece was given its due. The tuning was perfect, showcasing the essence of Lalgudi bani. Their father had mastered every nuance of ragas that Vijayalakshmi conveyed through her rendition. Equally proficient, GJR Krishnan matched her note by note. I recollect Vijayalakshmi once saying, ‘I enjoy playing duets with my brother’. I enjoyed listening to them both.

Ken Zuckerman

He began by talking about Khansaab, his guru. Khansaab was so demanding and knew exactly how each one of his disciples was performing. He would not slow down for any of his students but that pulled them up. He would show up thirty minutes before class time and make his students play before him in a separate room. He recollected that the biggest honour for him was when his Guru asked him to play and he wanted to record it. He was a patient teacher and an immaculate performer and like most of us, very moody. Once when his Guru was in Switzerland, Ken went to pick him up from his hotel in the biting cold. The Guru was in a very bad mood. He was furious because he had not got hot water for his shower. When he was in the green room before the concert, he was so angry that he deliberately played the ‘sa’ incorrectly—the lack of hot water was still hurting him and Ken felt he was in hot water! But when the concert started and he hit the first note, he was transformed into another world… that’s when the music starts, that’s the subject. Listening to all this, brought on a cold sweat and tears in my eyes.

Pt. Venkatesh Kumar

Venkatesh Kumar’s Hindustani vocal concert was a blend of intellect and emotion. There are fixed roles in every concert: our notions are very clear on who leads and who follows. Hence, we commonly say the vocalist and his accompanists. But great masters have always known that these compartments rarely exist the way we imagine them. Great music never takes shape in private, individual space—the vocalist and his accompanists are in a constant give and take mode. The Hindustani music concert by Pt. Venkatesh Kumar was a perfect example. His passion and devotion were infectious. His emotions soared with the flights of the raga. The intense music left us spellbound.

Dr. Prabhavathy P. N.

Dr. Prabhavathy P. N. (Assistant Professor, School of Kalayoga) recited a melodious Krishna bhajan. Dr. Prabhavathy was born to a family of artistic lineage and started training in the Carnatic vocal tradition at a young age. She continues to perform, conduct workshops, and lecture on Music.

Pt. Bhajan Sopori

A veteran instrumentalist, Pandit Bhajan Sopori gave a scintillating performance. We could make out that in the live performance the audience would have sat glued to their seats as the entire auditorium came alive with enchanting ragas played by Pandit Sopori. Hailing from Sopore in Kashmir, Pt. Bhajan Sopori belongs to Sufiana gharana of Indian classical music. One of the comments he made stands out—the rich music, performing arts and the culture was the identity of the country and one has to be deeply familiarised with it. The accompanying artists on the tabla matched the tempo of Pt. Bhajan Sopori.

Pt. Nayan Ghosh

His words reminded me of my younger ‘listening’ days. He said just listen to music, even if you cannot differentiate between ragas or if you don’t understand taal. Listen to recordings, live concerts… anything that you can. Then the music will unconsciously grow onto you. As you grow in hearing, you will be in a position to enjoy the music. So I say ‘Thank you for the music’ with due respect to ABBA. Pt. Ghosh then spoke about how the tabla speaks. When we as humans speak, we use all parts of our mouth—the tongue, the lips, the upper palate and jaws. Our expressions come from our pitch and tone. The same is true of the tabla.

Vijay Ghate

He said he was more in sports and always with friends. He attended a 3-day music fest organised by ITC where Pt. Zakir Hussain was accompanying the artists. Till then he never thought that the tabla could have so much melody. It affected him so much that for two days he was only crying and could not even eat. He then made up his mind to focus on the tabla. His said his master was a ‘terror’. The students always felt that the Guru did not know how to smile as they had never seen him smile. He never told them that they played alright—not even with his eyes. We used to crave for Guruji’s ‘wah wah’. Praise is sometimes bad and there is no enemy bigger than praise. Music has taught him how to appreciate genuine praise.

Patri Satish Kumar and Pt. Abhijit Banerjee

This seemed to be a war of words through oral notes. At times soft, at times loud, free-flowing and so melodious. There was so much emotion and I was happy that I was not made the judge as to who won. They both won my heart… I must add.

What a show! Great going!