“The Knowledge that knows what knowledge is:
That’s the knowledge that’s mine”……..Kabir
What a Sunday morning!!!
Ate the best poha ( Aval uppuma ), made by my brother-in law, who just landed from Bombay! Sitting around with your family and enjoying breakfast together, talking about many things, what can I say!! The great joys of life!! We discuss poha making across the Indian terrain, and somehow land in Bombay. My brother-in law recounts his days as a professor in IIT and how, a decade ago, it used to be quite difficult to arrange for a screening of movies by great directors like Satyajit Ray and Akira Kurosawa. Today, at the touch of a button, you can pretty much access anything under the sun, so easily!!
It is indeed so much more easier for enthusiastic learners and researchers to find vast material on a single topic, that presents data from various sources, in the world of digital media! Gone are the days when you check out various books from a library, and read through volumes, to find references and points of view, on a chosen topic !
The Digital World
Agreed that digital media makes life simpler by providing exhaustive information about any given topic, some verified and quite a few non verified, but going back to the original source of information, certainly opens up newer possibilities for different insights into the same. Besides, proper understanding of other’s interpretations is possible only when you are already steeped in a tradition, where you have assimilated the core processes in place, in its purest form, without any dilution.
As an accomplished musician, I can vouch for the fact that, one’s learning of classical music directly from the Internet, will be incomplete, unless and until, a certain level of mastery has been achieved, under the guidance of a guru, for a considerable number of years! A good ear, can only take you so far, as to imitate everything you hear ! At best, it’s still only an imitation! It is in the understanding of the nuances and the ways in which they function and fecilitate melodic flow, that makes even that imitation, complete! This is true for any form of music, be it classical or popular!
In our culture, the teacher as the torch bearer of a tradition, is irreplaceable!! Without a guru, all learning remains peripheral. In fact, if the guru so aspires for you, that you carry their tradition forward, their blessing alone, can make your assimilation complete!! The syllables gu and ru, in Sanskrit mean, the remover of ignorance, by throwing light upon darkness.
I guess I am feeling the need to write this, cos, having had the great fortune of training under stalwarts like Tanjavur Sri.S.Kalyanaraman, Sangita kalanidhi Smt.T.Brinda, Sangita Kalanidhi.T.Viswanathan, Pandit Manikbhua Takurdas , Shirley Meier, Smt.Rita Rajan, Smt.Suguna Varadachari, and having been a judge in music reality shows for almost two decades, I have come to observe how the yardsticks for great singing or musicianship, has gotten redefined, and sadly, people’s abilities to discern the same, diminish!!
I sincerely hope and pray that parents of talented kids and the kids themselves, don’t get carried away by the Internet or media attention they get. Cos when “so little” seems to be enough to make you popular, take you around the world and give you material gains, it is human to get distracted and hence very hard to get back your focus to learning! Such kids tend to yearn for constant attention in every endeavour of theirs and could get frustrated very early in life!! They are so hung up on getting noticed on social media, that the joy of learning is something they don’t relate to, anymore! Real sad!
I am grateful to my parents and gurus, for guiding me through the years, and letting the child in me, BE! That my gurus took great pride in me and considered me good, will always be the best award I can ever get in this world!! It’s their validation of my calibre, that always empowers me and removes all insecurities. I wish that you all find your own GURU, the only way to knowing not just a knowledge system, but to get to know your true SELF! God Bless!
The great philosopher/poet Kabir says :
Well…. That of the Guru, cos he alone can show me who Govind is!”