Friday, August 20, 2010

Sufism on Veena

Hazrat Inayat Khan

Noor Inayat Khan

The Sufi saint and Saraswathi Veena player, Hazrat Inayat Khan had authored several books regading abstract and unstruck sound ('anahatha shabda'). He used Veena as his vehicle to attain self-realization. His daughter, Noor Inayat Khan (visit website for more details about Noor) was a fine musician herself and played the Saraswathi veena. She authored the book, Sufi Princess. Noor Inayat Khan was born in the year 1914 in Moscow, Russia to Hazrat Inayat Khan and Ameena Begum. Almost all her youth was spent in Paris. After her father's demise in 1927 and the declaration of the 2nd World War and the invasion of France, Noor had no option but to move to England and she returned to France (Paris) in 1943 as an Allied spy radio operator. Captured by the Gestapo, she was held in solitary confinement and subjected to cruel interrogation methods. Despite the torture, Noor never revealed her identity to her captors. At the age of 29, in the year 1944, she was executed by the Gestapo. England and France posthumously awarded her the "George Cross" and "Croix De Guerre" respectively.
In one of his innumerable Sufi messages Hazrat Inayat Khan has stated that the Sufi knows of the past, present and future, and about all things in life, by being able to know the direction of sound. Every aspect of one's being in which sound manifest has a special effect in every direction. The knower of the mystery of sound knows the mystery of the whole Universe. Whoever has followed the strains of this sound has forgotten all earthly distinctions and differences, and has reached that goal of Truth in which all the Blessed Ones of God unite. Space is within the body as well as around it; in other words the body is in the space and the space is in the body.
This being the case, the sound of the abstract is always going on within, around and about man. Man does not hear it as a rule, because his consciousness is entirely centred in his material existence. Man becomes so absorbed in his experiences in the external world through the medium of the physical body that space, with all its wonders of light and sound, appears to him blank.
This can easily be understood by studying colour. There are many colours that are distinct by themselves, yet when mixed with others of still brighter hue they become altogether eclipsed; even bright colours embroidered with gold, silver, diamonds or pearls serve merely as a background to the dazzling embroidery. So it is with the abstract sound compared with the sounds of the external world. The limited volume of earthly sounds is so concrete that it dims the effect of the sound of the abstract to the sense of hearing, although in comparison to it the sounds of the earth are like that of a whistle or a drum. When the abstract sound is audible all other sounds become indistinct to the mystic.


ShyamalaSajnani said...

What a lovely article, thank you for posting it.....

Veenaagayathri said...

Thank you Sham !

butterfly Surya said...

Nice. Thanx for sharing.

Veenaagayathri said...

My pleasure, thank you!

Unknown said...

Oh how wonderful - never knew this. Thanks for sharing....

Veenaagayathri said...

My pleasure, thank you!

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how a sufi saint was destined to practise veena to realize himself. He could have easily picked sitar, which is his traditional instrument.

As far as Noor Inayat Khan is concerned, it is incredible how someone so young and beautiful and who has also handled the veena brilliantly is meted with such cruel ending.

Best regards,


Veenaagayathri said...

Dear Mr.Srivathsan,
I agree wholeheartedly!
Best Regards,

Classical Guy said...

Dear Akka

I have heard a lot on sufism. But a person like Noor is a surprise. Fantastic article. I wish in general, all the kids are encouraged by their folks at home to hear a lot of carnatic music from their tender age :-)

Veenaagayathri said...

Dear Sri.Balaji,
Thank you, I agree that children have to be told about our rich musicat tradition and encouraged by elders at home!

wordsword said...

Gayatri gaaru, i was surprised to read this article. Because this is something very unusual and thank you very much for bringing it to light .And is there any such sufi song you would love to play it and one that lifts our spirit.

I really feel privileged to talk to you, something i have never imagined. Thank you very much.

Veenaagayathri said...

Thank you very much for your kind appreciation! I am familiar with many numbers of Abida Paveen and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. I haven't tried them so far, sufi is all about loving devotion to God and that way I love to play "Devi Brova" in Chinthamani.
Thank you and regards,

wordsword said...

Gayatri gaaru, i am really excited to see a reply for my comment. And coming to the one u mentioned that u would love to play "devi brova" . Madam once my guru taught this song in bhairavi raagam again its on devi its " anu dinamu maruvakanay nee.........."

Such a nice song i was completely mesmerized by this song and it was sounding too good on veena. It was as if i am pouring out all my heart and soul at the divine feet of mother. such wonderful soul stirring lyrics, especially this song has the heights of Himalayas and depths of the great oceans. Madam i want to know if have done any recording of that song.

Also i came across one online article in which u have mentioned about this doing of sadhana during nights with lights and fans off. please it would be great if u tell about it madam.

Excuse me, if my comment was a bit lengthy.


RADHASHTAMI - 23rd September, 2023