Music and a monk ‘Baba’

I first solemnly assert about my little perception on the vast ocean of music. To portray Ustad Allauddin Khan’s (known as Baba Allauddin Khan, October 8, 1862 – September 6, 1972) life with some more words is like finding pearl from deep sea. From Shenia to Maihar Shenia gharana (Genre) his life is a big journey.  He was born in Shibpur village in Brahmanbaria (presently in Bangladesh). Baba took his first music lessons from his elder brother, Fakir Aftabuddin Khan. Later in his early age he went to Kolkata and managed to become a disciple of Gopal Krishna Bhattacharya (known as Notu Gopal) with help of a physician named Kedarnath. After death of his guru (master) he turned to instrumental music and mastered on many aboriginal and foreign musical instruments under the tutelage of Amritalal Dutt, a cousin of Swami Vivekananda and music director of the Star Theatre. Later great veena exponent Ustad Wazir Khan took him under his auspices and taught him Sarod. It is said that one day he stood in front of Nawab’s (the Nawab of Rampur) vehicle and begged to become Wazir Khan’s disciple and his steadfastness pleased Nawab finally.
All these are just pieces of his life. But beyond everything, a deep yearn for music always kept him obsessed with pursuit.

Baba Allauddin Khan composed many new ragas like Prabhakali, Saraswati, Shovavati, Hem Bhairav, Hemant, Hem Behag, Manj Khamaj, Madhavasri, Madan Manjari (named after his wife).  A true seeker only could unfold the supreme knowledge, Baba made it with his meditation (sadhana).
Now let me explore the unique width of Indian ragas in connection with the religious perspective. The Indian music has its origin in Vedas as it’s evolved from the intricate and extended chants of Samaveda. A sound balanced with Swar (connotes a note in the consecutive steps of the octave), Taal (repeating rhythm pattern) and raga (a melodic framework in Indian classical music), go well in sync with the cosmic vibrations, the highest religion is established. Indian Ragas in different forms thus by being manifested in varied auras worships male and female deities. It is simply a premier chanting of cosmic mantras and process of rousing the Kundalini (the supreme knowledge; according to Hindu Shastra it is a form of divine feminine energy).  We all know the cosmic sound ‘Aum’ represents consciousness of soul. It reverberates in the universe to balance the whole creation.
Baba with his pious feat has painted a signature in the page of cosmic conscience. His rare is a monk. Apart all gullible religious belief he has made it to a truth how the highest practice of music could serve the whole humanity. Belonging to the Muslim community he has chanted the mantra of Bhairavi (An Indian Raga) with the highest call of humanity and made an exclusive mark in the realm of religion. He did a great for all of us.
All hardships of his life and finally becoming a monk of music unfold an era. Today in between pains of turbulence and intolerance we should not forget to remember this great life and how a divine deed being made beyond all narrowness of evils of thought. Baba is not only a great composer and musician of 20th century above all he is soul-reflect of the humanity. He is the confluence of three truths Raga, Swar and Taal. In the name of supreme humanity he will remain all-pervading in the mind craving for singing the soul.    

 

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