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Rhythms in Healing Music

Rudrapatna Shankar Ramesh

Nada Sagara program for Meditation & Healing Concert; April 6, 2015; Sydney, Australia

First of all, I would like to thank my late father Sri R V Shankar and my mother Smt. Sathyavathi for putting me into Sri Swamiji's divine fold when I was just one year old. My parents, who are staunch devotees of Sri Swamiji since many years, have dedicated their peaceful life to Sri Swamiji. The divine blessing showered by Pujya Swamiji on our family is immeasurable. 

 

When my mother placed me at Sri Swamiji's feet I was barely one year old. Appaji held me in His arms and specifically told my mother to have me trained in Mrudangam. Following the divine instruction, my mother put me under the tutelage of Vidwan Sri P G Laksminarayana. After the initial training from him, I started getting Mrudangam lessons from Vidwan Sri M A Krishnamurthy. Those were the days when Sri Swamiji used to sing Bhajans for hours at a stretch on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Sri M A Krishnamurthy was playing Tabala and Mrudangam during these Bhajan sessions. As my mother vividly recalls, I used to sit in the front row and watch my Mrudangam Guru accompany Sri Swamiji during Bhajans. 

By the grace of Sri Swamiji, I began to perform and accompany musicians in the concerts held at the Ashram and also at various auditoriums. 

 

One fine day I was ordered by Sri Swamiji to play Mrudangam on the Vijayadashami day during the Navaratri Divya Nama Sankeertana. I was filled with immense joy but fear took over joy and I was really not confident enough to accompany Sri Swamiji. On that memorable day of my life (Vijayadashami of 1986) Sri Swamiji gave me all the courage and told me to play without a fear. It is my firm belief that from that day onwards, it is Sri Swamiji Himself who is playing Mrudangam through me. 

 

It is always a unique experience playing with Appaji. The divine energy simply flows through all the accompanying musicians and their talents will be effectively used by Appaji for healing people. 

 

The divine rhythmic patterns may apparently seem technically incorrect. On meticulous analysis, one will realize that these patterns are very creative, traditional and that the math perfect. The permutations and combination are indeed a topic to be studied and can provide rich material for research. These rhythm patterns are very much evident in Pancha Tattva Raga Malika, an album in which the great Mrudangam maestro Guru Karaikudi Mani, my respected Guruji, has given laya support to Sri Swamiji’s divine music. In this album Sri Swamiji has played melodies in all the Pancha Nadas. 

  • Chaturashram-4 

  • Trisram-3

  • Khandam -5 

  • Misram- 7 and 

  • Sankeernam-9 

 

This album has all types of rhythm pattern, permutations and combinations in all the five nadas where the technicality of the pattern is unquestionable. Sri Swamiji went on playing for hours with total ease during the recording of this album. 

 

In the year 1988, another incident which I remember is the 'Nada Brahma' album recording in which Sri Swamiji has sung played the whole keertana 'Kalatraya' in a state of Samadhi. The divine music was just flowing and almost everyone around were in tears. That was really a memorable, inspiring and divine experience for me as it happened in my first tour abroad with Sri Swamiji. 

 

On and off the stage, the various experiences that we, the musicians have felt and the blessings we have received are immeasurable for which we are indebted to Pujya Sri Swamiji forever. 

 

I am really very lucky and blessed to be with the 'Celestial Message Troupe' and humbly prostrate to Sri Swamiji for giving me this great opportunity to accompany Him...

 

I am very grateful to Pujya Sri Swamiji for giving the world all those magnificent meditational melodies since decades, thereby healing countless people. I pray Pujya Appaji to let His dancing fingers play so that the divine music may flow for generations to come. 

 

Jaya Guru Datta