The ephemeral and the eternal…..

I saw brilliant visuals coming out of Kashi on Monday and felt elated about the indescribable feeling of achievement by the one act of reasserting and recreating one’s timeless heritage that had been wilfully suppressed by the invader and even more cruelly by the illegitimate offsprings they left behind. How can we , as the oldest extant civilization on the planet accept the deliberate, prolonged attempt at trying to erase the legacy of mankind?

I was reminded, looking at the visuals of Modiji entering the calm, chilly waters of the Ganga and praying to the Supreme Being, asking for moksha for one’s forefathers and as he proceeded to the amazing new Vishwanath complex, of the story of Bhagirath getting the Ganga to descend from the heavens to the earth in order to ensure Bhagirath’s predecessors achieved permanent salvation.

Human inhabitation has always been around sources of water. All of the great civilizations have thus sprung up in river basins. The Gangetic Basin (as well as that of the Sindhu) therefore sheltered human settlements and allowed growth and development. The story has been narrated in a different idiom beautifully by the genius of Pandit Hariprasad Chourasia in his Soundscape album on the theme of Rivers. The album was released nearly 30 years ago by Times Music and I loved this piece which I heard on the way to and back from Ruby Hall. The rushed journey to the hospital to start cases are 7 am lasted barely 7 minutes. But the introduction on the Car Audio was enchanting enough to keep me entranced with the music reverberating in my head as I did the cases under the spell. I was actually waiting to get back to the car knowing the journey back to the clinic would take at least twice as long and I would be able to get through the rest of the composition en route. What better way to soothe the nerves , nourish the soul and escape the stress of city traffic than this? My brief, recurring escape to achieve Nirvana.

The beautifully narrated story in the nearly half an hour composition that makes so much sense if one knows the Gangavataran narrative. The parallels are all only too apparent. The piece opens with a mélange of sounds– the wind blowing across the desolate landscape of the Earth. The wonderful solemn flute piece, the soul stirring Pakhawaj piece that truly gave me goosebumps in the car, the wonderful orchestration of the guitar, santoor and of course Pandit Hariprasad on the Flute. The composition takes on first a more vibrant mood as Ganga is compelled to descend to the earth, and then a more beatific, placid one as the river flows calmly to its destination.

As a standalone piece of music, it is superb. Soul stirring and sublime once one takes the context into the frame.

Stay safe, folks, stay calm, happy and healthy. The Winter is easily one of the mildest we have had in the last 35 years. Every single time it starts getting colder, the clouds come in, ensconcing the earth in a thick layer of warmth.

By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

2 replies on “The ephemeral and the eternal…..”

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