Wednesday 10 June 2009

Hazrat Inayat Khan/Saraswathi Veena


Hazrat Inayat Khan ,who was born in a family of musicians in Baroda on July 5th, 1882, was a sufi teacher from India who started the "Sufi Order in West"(nowcalled "Sufi Order International" in the early part of the 2oth century).Though his family background was Muslim,he was also steeped in the Sufi notion that all religions have their value and place in human evolution.
Very early in life Inayat Khan shaped into a versatile linguist with a remarkable mastery over a several languages such as Sanskrit,Gujarathi,Marathi,Urdu,Hindi,Persian,Arabic and English!Alongside his academic studies,young Inayat did excellently in the five years music course of the Baroda Music Academy and excelled in both instrumental and vocal music.What was more remarkable was that he excelled in both Carnatic as well as Hindusthani music.He composed beautiful religious songs and poured his soul into them as he rendered them.He wanted to attain God through his music.In 1909 he had recorded his music in India,during one of his concert tours.
During my brief stay in Delhi last year(during my husband's assignment in Jindal Steel),I had set out on a massive hunt for his recordings,but could not find them.I was pleased to find a book of his on music,in an old,dilapidated book shop in the middle of a busy market area,and that too in the basement!
What he said:-
"I GAVE UP MY MUSIC BECAUSE I HAD RECEIVED ALL I HAD TO RECEIVE".To serve God one must sacrifice the dearest thing,and I sacrificed the dearest thing to me. I had composed songs,I sang and played the veena; and practising this music I arrived at a stage where I touched the music of the spheres(I shall elaborate on this in my next posting).Then every soul became for me a musical note and all life became music.Inspired by it ,I spoke to the people,and those who were attracted by my music listened to them instead of listening to my songs.Now if I do anything,it is tune souls instead of instruments;to harmonize people instead of notes."
Legendary musicians, musicians who have been practising the art in privacy and away from the media/public glare,renowned and not so well-known teachers are all nada yogis even without intending to be so!The fire of knowledge has been kindled within them at some point of losing themselves (samyoga) in the sheer melody of their own music.The sadhana over a period of time ( it is not the period of time,but the intensity of involvement that matters) results in the practitioner becoming his music ("You become your subject").Hazrat Inayat Khan's statement in the same book-"I played the veena until my heart turned into the same!" bears testimony to the fact stated above.
I cannot help but understand the feelings of shock and remorse any musician could go through when he or she is unable to pursue nadayoga(due to ill-health/ageing/accidents/black magic by a third person),especially at an advanced stage.At this juncture, it is important to realise that the nada once established within,is bound to remain forever within them ,and that they themselves become the embodiments of nada.All the practice in the past would have accumulated the fire of knowledge within the core of their beings to lead them towards the most supreme of all nadayogas,"AUM".