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Philosophy of music

Manjari Sinha |

Inspired by the thriving success of the Sharngadeva Prasang (seminar) and the Sharngadeva Samaroh (festival) at Aurangabad, the Mahagami Gurukul brought this much acclaimed festival to the music lovers of the Capital too. Mahagami Gurukul Aurangabad, supported by the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya and the Habitat World, Delhi, organised the 7th Sharngadeva Prasang, a two-day seminar focused on the 13th century scholar Sharngadeva and his musical treatise Sangeet Ratnakar at Sannidhi Sabhagar of Gandharva Mahavidyalaya followed by the 7th Sharngadeva Samaroh, a two-day dance festival, at the Stein auditorium of the  IndiaHabitat Centre this past week.  

Kapila Vatsyayan was conferred with the Sharngadeva Samman on this occasion. During the seminar, Urmila Sharma from Varanasi elaborated the philosophical aspects of Sangeet Ratnakar; Vidwan Nandkumar from Mysore gave a lecture demonstration on Prabandhas in Sangeet Ratnakar, Ritwik Sanyal from BHU profoundly deliberated  upon the  Dhrupad Tradition and Sangeet Ratnakar; and Karuna Vijayendra from Bangaluru spoke on the Nartan Adhyay of Sangeet Ratnakar with special focus on Desi Karanas. Observers and artists were welcome to participate in process-oriented workshop and interaction with the scholars in the afternoon sessions. 

The two-day festival of dance, Sharngadeva Samaroh, held at the Stein auditorium of the India Habitat Centre, presented Odissi recital by Madhavi Mudgal and her disciples on the inaugural day and Kathak by Parvati Dutta and the Mahagami ensemble on the second evening. Madhavi opened her Odissi solo with the traditional Mangalacharan as an invocation to Shiva. This was followed by Bihag Pallavi and the Ashtapadi “Kshanamadhuna…” from Jayadeva&’s Geet-Govinda. 

Next, Madhavi took the role of Guru while conducting the beautifully-choreographed Pallavi by two of her disciples as a duet. The beauty of this Pallavi, composed by Pt Madhup Mudgal and announced as Hamir Pallavi, was that although starting with Raga Hameer, it seamlessly traversed the contours of Raga Kedar and Chhayanat also, providing ample artistic scope to Madhavi for her lyrical choreography. The same was true of the concluding Madhurashtakam, which was performed by the whole ensemble after the solo Abhinaya on Odia Pada by Madhavi. Madhurashtakam was also composed by Pt Madhup Mudgal in a Ragamala matching the content of each and every Sanskrit Shloka of Vallabhacharya. No wonder the music and dance together left the audience mesmerised. 

The thoughtfully conceived and beautifully-choreographed Kathak by Parvati Dutta and her disciples from Mahagami ensemble, Aurangabad, next evening, opened with the Nadopasana from Sangeet Ratnakar and Surya Aaradhana in a moving solo by Parvati Dutta. The soulful Aalap on Sarangi by Sandeep Mishra and vocal by Manoj Desai in Raga Bhupali paved the path of the melodiously sung verses in a Dhrupad format set to Chautaal. The lahera and theka continued in the same Raga and Tala for the traditional repertoire of Kathak from Thaat to Aamad, Paran, Tode, Tukadethe, and the poetry of Bols, the mnemonics of Kathak in a variety of Chhandas, interspersed in between the Antaras of Dhrupad concluding with complicated Tihaai of nine chakkars, thrice, concluding with the brilliant footwork. 

The Mahagami Ensemble presented “Vasant-Varnan”, inspired by the Sanskrit Shloka “Drumah sapushpaah…sarvam Priye chaarutaram Vasante…” from Ritu-Samhaar of Kalidasa, very thoughtfully composed in Raga Vasant, also set to Vasant Tala of a challenging cycle of nine beats. It was followed by a Dhrupad composed by Tansen in Megh-Malhaar set to Sool-Tala, describing the rainy season. The Padhant with Sargam during Tatkar, or the group divided into two, responding to each other during the Sawal-Jawab sequence with Tabla by Vivek Mishra and Pakhawaj by Sukhad Munde was an imaginative approach to the usual repertoire. 

A Thumari “Muratiya man mein basi more Shyaam…” presented sensitively by Parvati as a solo brought the performances to the climax with her moving Abhinaya. Pt Birju Maharaj was there to bless his disciple Parvati Dutta for her versatility and sincere dedication to the art form. He said, “I teach ‘Kit Dhaan Dhaan Dha’ to many disciples but she is perhaps the only one who has captured the philosophy of ‘Dhyaan’ in that ‘Dhaan’.” He reiterated, “Our classical arts like music and dance are the simplest and direct way to reach Him. Every ‘Dha’ takes us to His dhyaan. We create his ‘Aakriti’ in space all the time, even the Prhant of Bols is no less than His Upasana.” Maharaj also obliged with a glimpse of his impeccable footwork, ginti ki tihais, and a few Bandishes that left the audience spell-bound.