Kahe Kabir- Mann Na Rangaaye

यह पद समाज को ललकारता है-

मन न रंगाये रंगाये जोगी कपरा
आसन मारि मंदिर में बैठे, ब्रम्ह्म छाड़ि पूजन लागे पथरा
मन न रंगाये।

कनवा फड़ाए जोगी जटवा बढो ले
दाढी बढ़ाये जोगी होई गैले बकरा

जंगल जाये जोगी धुनिया रमौ ले
काम जराए जोगी होय गैले हिजरा

मथवा मुड़ाए जोगी कपड़ा रंगो ले
गीता बांच के होय गइले लबरा

कहहिं कबीर सुनो भाई साधो
जम दरवजवा बाँधल जैबे पकरा

It may seem that Kabir is mocking the sadhus and those who make a living out of the 'god industry' I myself see it also as a satire about society in general- where whoever dons whatever garment, they do not do justice to that garment. Though people choose many trades and professions to make a living, they do not immerse in that line of work honestly.

I am translating the meaning of this pada as I have understood it- not in verse but a mere translation in that format

Doesn't colour (his/her) soul, colours only the garment

Sits cross legged in place of worship (temple/mandir)
Instead of god worships stone idols

Sitting in jungles mid austerities,
Thinks of controlling lust, and become a eunuch;

By shaving off hair and colouring (external) garment
Just pays lip service to the Gita

So says Kabir, listen to this my friend
( i do not know how to translate this yet!!)


Kabir Demo Workshop- reflections

Yesterday, as per schedule, we had a demonstration of the Kabir Singing Workshop, and as per my expectations seven people came! The number seven has its own significance for me and I could not miss it at all yesterday when these musical notes came around.

Of course many more wanted to, but could not and naturally enough it is not always easy for people to come for demo-s unless they know what they stand to gain.

So here is how we went about it. I had decided to go with one song- Jaag piyaari ab ka sovae...for it is a simple melody and when we teach people of varying abilities together, it is something I feel everyone can pick up. I shared with everyone the raga that it is largely set in, and then the tala in eight beats- we started one line at a time. I know it was a new experience for some that they had never sung in their lives.

But the sense I got from everyone was that they were happy, relaxed and peaceful with the singing. I took a feedback on a feedback form, just to be sure that I do not miss out on any criticism that comes my way - the only regret everyone had was that it was too short! Everyone has shown interest in wanting to come back and/or take this idea to their respective institutions or organizations.

So what is the Idea behind these workshops?

The idea about the workshop came to me, like I said in one of my earlier posts here, that after I wrote my paper for the Canadian Journal of Music therapy in which I spoke about my own recovery, largely using Kabir's poetry for my health and rehabilitation. It occured to me that many people love Kabir and may be they would stand to gain if I could teach them a bit of singing, and let them experience Kabir inside them, and not just hear it from another throat.

It goes without saying that music teaching is more difficult than music performance, especially for someone who is performance ready. But I feel the need to arrive at an inner balance to balance out these two things, so that my musical ideas also get married to my social altruism; empower people to carry home Kabir into their throats and therefore heart, and possibly open the pathways for their own healing and wellness too. So in effect I am looking at music teaching as also contributing to the wellness of those who participate.

This is the intention that I am starting with- I hope it would find a room in many hearts. The aloofness of musicians who come and perform and enthrall others for a few hours, does not mesmerize me any longer, though it has its own merit. I wish for music to transform, for that is the future of music now- not just musical performances, and all resources towards that alone.

Music belongs to civilization and not just musicians so only when we get past our own selfishness and egoistic craving for adulation byothers, will we transfer it to others, else simply spray it around and leave the scene feeling victorious. That reminds me of the song, Hum ko mann ki shakti dena, mann vijaya karein, doosron ki jay se pehle khud ko jay karein. It is important that we conquor our own greed and lust for power and applause first. Why bother about how much the world applauds us? If we cannot conquor ourselves, we will continuously seek that applause from the world around- if we do, it may not really matter so much.

This is my journey and my struggle- to do what I want to and not necessarily that which brings me fame or money- they are evanescent, not knowledge. And spreading knowledge is the best that I can offer to the world. SO this is one such thing- my best for the rest.


Making Song, Making Sanity- via Kabir+

Pardon me in case you come looking for this entry- I have moved it to a new location. Kindly check it here -

It was not in sync with the Kabir blog that this blog is meant to be.
Thank you for your interest in my writing.


Kabir is like a wave that Returns

I recall that every year one way or another, some stirring happens in the name of Kabir...as though a wave keeps returning back to the coast with varying amplitudes. Somehow I also wonder if by the time a calender year ends, how Kabir makes an appearance in my life.

What a mystical relationship I feel sometimes, that goes through its own cycles or circles, and on and onward.

So here are the things that finally happened THIS YEAR-

First of all, I decided about the idea of Hamsadhwani Enterprises, and to bring music into its center and not the remaining arts, as I did in the past. Music pedagogy has always been a serious concern for me, partially because of the difficulty in receiving musical training myself. On a tangent, I am reminded of my master Kabir, who kept looking for a guru who would give him deeksha and show him the path of god (the way I did, after every single music teacher of mine) And then when he found his own Ram(and through him me too)...there was so much he created. In other words, teachers were always the same- full of their own knowledge and not really bowed under its weight or responsibility!

Secondly, out of the blue I read about the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy and decided to contribute something in qualitative research. I have always felt that Kabir and me are so close to one another, or rather his poetry is such an expression of me, that to write one paper can only be the start of a longer expression, which would necessarily be a book. The first paper I have written in music therapy (for a journal) is about Kabir (!). Just today I signed the document handing over copyrights in part to the Canadian Association of Music Therapy and part to myself for using the paper. Wow! I felt very honored.

When I opened this blog to write just now, I saw that the one lower entry talks of my idea of Kabir singing workshop from 16th July! In other words I thought about it that long back. So the workshop idea becomes the first service that we would offer from Hamsadhwani, and that is the next little idea.Number three.

The fourth idea was Pranab's- to make a video...and we got down to it, in a jiffy. Just recorded it and canned it on 3rd Dec 2013. Look at some of us here, shot by Sabyasachi, the editor :) We look like a band of crooks...happy after a robbery- Two are also a bit worried about the consequences.
The team that was involved with the recording of the Kabir video. L-R: the young lad who came with the lights and studio equipment, Dhananjay, tabla artist, Me- voice (just in case my role was not clear!!), Amarpreet, harmonium artist, and Pranab- filmmaker and the spirit behind this whole team coming together.
So now from the sense I get is that the video will be made of a satirical song- mann na rangaaye rangaaye jogi kapda 

So this is at the time of writing this, I have planned a demo-workshop of Kabir singing, on the next weekend. Let us see how it goes. The response that I have got thus far is heartening mostly- may be I am only tuning into those who are supportive.

I am NOT mentioning here about the new Kabir compositions that happened this year, because that is a part of life every now and then.


The Kabir Singing Workshops

This idea of doing the workshops actually came to me when I finished writing my paper for the Canadian Journal of Music therapy , about my journey of healing through engagement with Kabir's poetry. Me and Prof Ajit Dalal spoke much about my musical repertoire over the last many years.

In any case he and me are planning to set up a Hansadhwani research project in music therapy, so why not use bhakti singing we thought? It may happen that way, as singing is something that instantly lifts people from the glooms that their mind plunges them into.

But this workshop idea came just like a flash to me, for i have seen for years and years people running after listening to Kabir. I thought why not let them search for their Kabir within themselves too, the outer can be accompanied by an inner journey too. So this is the genesis

Prof Girishwar Misra was so thrilled to see the whole conception that he said, it could become a movement in society! That is the work that others can do, and Shabnam Virmani really did bring Kabir into the centerstage for young people around with her great movies. I am simply someone who loves Kabir, loves people and would love to join the dots...wherever I can. I see myself as a collaborator of a different nature- perhaps toward empowering people by adding to their skills

The seed has been sown and I spoke with many. Let's see for every idea has its own life, its own time and its trajectory. Hamsadhwani is just learning to walk- the flight would have to be of the ideas alone.


A Many Stranded Musical Braid I Weave

If I see my musical life as a braid- the one which has several strands in it, a dominant strand is represented by Kabir. It is very astonishing how deeply Kabir runs through me- like an inner guru, an ego ideal, a prominent strand of my consciousness, a lens to examine the world around with and my own voice sometimes calling out to the almighty.

Just now i was writing my first article about my own musical recovery from illness and in that I saw how dominant Kabir's presence is- to the extent that i understood it cannot be summed up in one article alone (since for this one i have a word limit of about 8500) For long I knew Kabir was someone who merited a lot more work from me, as part of my musical journey. I hope I will be able to accomplish it.

For now once I wind off this article/paper I hope to share it more openly, including the story of my long illness and how debilitating it has been. The idea of course being to empower others who may be going through the same or similar pathways.

So though Kabir is one strand, however prominent it may seem, it is not the entire braid- and i am thankful for that to my own inner guru, which was once projected on Kabir, the other strands of my musical journey are equally deep, meaningful and sublime. But for this paper all my inquiry is being done from the point of Kabir only- how his poetic voice becomes my voice, how my voice finds a calling in his voice and then how the dichotomy ends and i become one with my inner voice, which now comes to me from all sides that i can pay heed to.

END OF JOURNEY if you think about it- for this marks the end of my fragmentation.

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...