‘The music of religion’
Tukaram had said that the biggest happiness that one can find lies in the ability to forget oneself and experience the greater happiness of the universe. I believe he said that the most happiness one can find for oneself is in selflessness.
Universal happiness, it is said, can also be found in music, and it is in this music that several traditions of the Godhali are said to originate. Music, Mr. Haridas said, is a story in itself. Where we are all time-keepers and managers, all at once, just like Math is based on formula, music is based on the laws of time. The greatest music tradition of the Gondhali, is that of Kirtan. Apparently, God is believed to have said that to alleviate the suffering arising out of the ‘Kalyug’, one must utter the name of God through these kirtans.
While I am a non-believer, I do relate to this to an extent in the way that at the end of a particularly terrible day, I find calm and solace only in music. The bibliophile that I am, one would think I should be able to find that same feeling of utmost balance while reading a book, but to the contrary. It is rightfully so that people believe that the glory of any higher power would be vested in music, it is really just that versatile. Religion has influenced the making of so much beautiful music. The Sufi music is one such example of the brilliant manifestation of spirituality in music, the Christian Christmas carols almost make you forget about how betrayed you felt when you found out Santa isn’t real and the lullaby sung exclusively by grandmothers that are really just hymns but you forget all of that separation for a while, the Gayatri mantra and its astounding capabilities of getting you attentive, focused and ready to go in the morning.
The Kirtan tradition, as they call it, is one among four traditions of prayers. I believe these four demarcations are first in a long line of fragmentation, and if one were to follow the flowchart of religious chanting carefully, one would be successful in identifying the reason why Indian culture and tradition is so varied, yet carrying similar forms and ideas.
While the Kirtan tradition is of prayer to Krishna, the Shiv tradition is of prayer to Shiva, the Shakti tradition of prayer to Parvathy and the Vaishnav tradition the one of prayer to Vishnu. Here would lay an interesting demarcation between Hinduism and Judaism, Christianity and Islam. While the three insist on referring to God as the single creator and preserver, Hinduism, while acknowledging the existence of a creator does not prescribe the same worship to him as it does to the preserver or the destroyer. The only acknowledgment he receives is that his creation, supposedly this world, is named after him i.e. ‘Brahmayog’.
Hinduism therefore speaks of a creator, but not of creationism. Hinduism, in my opinion, is mostly math. The good and the bad that you do gets added up by the universe’s very own accountant ‘Chandragupt’ (Not Chandragupta Maurya, Mr. Modi), who keeps your account open till death comes and swoops you into his arms, and then, verdict day at heaven’s doors.
Read the rest of the story in the last part – The Conclusion.
Author – Anitha Krishnamurthy
Come. Drum. Be One