Thursday, December 13, 2012

Respect and gratitude to Ravi Shankar for sharing his music with the world

Today the people of the world are paying their respects to Ravi Shankar, and extending their sympathy to his family and loved ones.

Here is the audio of a short remembrance which aired today on NPR (here is the written version of the same broadcast).  It contains some samples of his inimitable sitar-playing, as well as some recordings of his own perspectives on the music that he shared with the world.

The chosen quotations are poignant; in the first (beginning at the 2:32 mark) he says:
Well it sort of is a combination of shanta and karuna, which means the tranquility and also a sadness.  And this sadness is something which is like wanting to reach out, and not finding it -- whether for a lover, or for God.
Previous posts which have discussed something related to this subject can be found here and here.

In the second (beginning at about 3:20), he explains that his sitar guru taught him as the most important lesson:
that we have to earn our livelihood, and for that we have to perform and accept money.  But: music is not for sale.  The music that I have learned, and I want to give, is like worshipping God.  It's absolutely . . . like a prayer.
In the video clip above, we can see and hear a glimpse of that sentiment.  The music is evocative, but perhaps even more moving is the joy we can see in the expressive sitar master as he plays -- the joy in the music and in playing and communicating with his daughter as he plays.

It's absolutely . . . like a prayer.