Birth of 'Saba' Prateeksha

मेरे सतगुरु पकड़ी बांह नहीं तो मैं बही जाता

कागा से हंसा किया, जाती बरन कुल खोये
दया दृष्टि से सहज सब, पातक डारे  धोये

The ways flowers of two colours mingle with one another- so ought humans to.
I have sometimes shared with others and more than that felt inside me that I do not just sing Kabir, I live by the words of Kabir, as I am sure do scores of others who are touched by Kabir in a significant way. I have internalized the philosophy and the lens of Kabir to look at life and for a lot of reasons I pick up the lens now and then, and usually there is a solution there for me for whatever the lens is picked up for.

For long years I have toyed with my name. I am sure most people are very comfortable with their own names and most in fact love their names. I have had a love/hate relationship with mine. I have always found it a bit inadequate or a verb; whereas I would much rather have been an emotion or an adjective:)!! Who can debate with parents why they named their children a certain way- strange are the reasons for naming children.

This uneasiness has made me want to change my name now and then,and as my closest friend will bear testimony indeed I did that at every possible juncture.

There are two things that are very significant in the final arrival at Saba Prateeksha- one is Kabir and the other is ghazal. Kabir being the influence he has been in my life has made my worldview completely beyond religion. To me the most important thing is the human being and the human mind, and religion the least significant. Kabir himself was born in a Hindu family and brought up by Muslim weavers- Niru and Nima, who were his adoptive parents. Is there any difference between parents? Kabir also mocked both Hindus and Muslims in his time for their ignorance and appeasement of god. So with such a person as a guide and ego-ideal I certainly could not remain confined to my Hindu-Brahmin Identity, because I did not feel comfortable in it for a long time. Or even if I did, I knew it did not completely define who I was.

The next significant thing in my singing-life after Kabir has been ghazal and I have been able to adopt the format of the ghazal simply because I love the Urdu language and the culture it represents, its etiquette and its poetry. To come to terms with ghazal singing I felt my name Prateeksha was not proper for representing ghazal. It was too complex a sound, for the Urdu language does not have letters like Pr or ksha. I sought advice and was suggested the name Naheed Anjum by the same person who had inspired me to sing ghazal, the poet-mathematician, Dr Naseem Ajmal. So that did it!! I even performed in Nepal with the name, Naheed Prateeksha...and then came Saba finally, because somewhere Naheed was not doing the trick for me in my ears too!

I became neither Naheed Anjum nor remain Prateeksha Sharma- but i merged the two of them to become Saba Prateeksha- half of this and half of that; the end of duality in my mind, in my name and in my work. Thanks to my master I have dropped the trappings of all that I was born into- whether name, birth, caste or clan. These were the lines I opened this blog post with - from a raven a swan I have become, due to my master says Kabir, says Saba Prateeksha.

To the ignorant this is a sign of me becoming Muslim; for why have I chosen a Muslim name say some. to the wise this is me becoming my integrated self. To myself- I am finally at home- in my own name, in my own self. At peace - for this is the end of the split that I aspired for always. And hereafter the world shall see the birth of the musician. May the music with each one make them complete.

The flowers showing here were grown by me long back outside my house

Satguru mohae bhaavae

From my four CD Kabir album, called Kahe Kabir, this is one bhajan that I am now in a position to share. It was recorded when I was i...