Music this Month
Swami Vivekananda, apart from being an ideal traditional Hindu monk, was also a poet, a social reformer and many many more in one. He was also an accomplished singer, a musicologist and a composer. Music was in his blood. His father Vishwanath Dutta, an attorney, his and grandfather, Durgaprasad, were both good vocalists.
Even as a student, Swami Vivekananda, then Narendranath Dutta, compiled an anthology of music called Sangeeta Kalpataru. For his deep, powerful and sonorous voice he himself was quite an accomplished Dhrupad singer. Because of the then Calcutta musical ambience, he was well acquainted also with kheyal, thumri, bhajan and kirtan. Moreover, he could play pakhawaj, tabla, sitar and esraj with effortless ease. Swami Vivekananda was the foremost disciple of Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1836). And Ramakrishna himself, as is well known from the Kathamrita volumes by Mahendranath Gupta, was a fountain head of bhajan-kirtan and devotional dancing. The first encounter of the swami with his guru Sri Ramakrishna was a momentous event when Vivekananda sang the song “Mano chalo nija-niketane”. Wherever and whenever the two met, Ramakrishna would ask and Vivekananda would respond with the relevant song in his sonorous voice. Once on such an occasion, Swamiji’s singing “Nibida andhare ma tor chamoke o ruporashi” caused the guru to enter into instant Samadhi. This month, you have this song as the song of the month.
Besides singing such the songs of the Brahmo Samaj, called Brahma Sangeet, Swamiji often sang his own compositions as well. For instance, “Nāhi surja nāhi Jyoti” is one of his compositions which, in Bengali, may remind us of the Katha Upanishad passage, “Na tatra suryo bhāti, na Chandra tārakam …” . Of all the Upanishads the Katha Upanishad was Swamiji’s favourite.
[Text: Pran Gopal Paul]
Music This Month
Nibida āndhāre Mā …
Music is divine. Properly used, music leads to the Divine. Sri Ramakrishna, Mother and Swamiji, all loved music immensely. Bhagavan Sri Chaitanya Deva began the tradtition of kirtana. All for God. The tradition of music is ancient, It is Veda itself. Each month, we bring you news and contributions about music.
Mrs Prajnaparamita Bhattacharya
is the Contributing Editor
of this page.