Mantra is a sound formula. It is a vibratory composition. Commonly people understand stutis and shlokas as mantras, but real mantras do not carry any dictionary words.
A musician needs two types of people in the audience – those who really understand the depth of the music and those who may not understand its full depth, but offer financial support for the musician.
In Indian culture, the concept of indebtedness or obligation plays a strong role. As humans, we are being obliged by God, children have an obligation towards their parents, students are indebted to their teachers.
I always tell my students that music has to be digested. Laya (variations of rhythm) have to become a part of you. The experience that one gets when music becomes apart of your being is incredibly beautiful.
Today, a young man and his father came to my music school. The son wanted to take tabla lessons at our institute and he had been referred to me by a music friend of mine. At Rhythm Riders, we take very few new local students as a quality control measure more than anything else. I told him this, yet the father persisted saying that his son wanted to learn more seriously . His son had been learning from someone else for 4 years, but now finding a tabla teacher who could take him forward was very important. I could see that the boy was talented and very interested in music, so I conceded and gave him a chance to play.
Man is alienated from himself. He has become that which he is not and that creates confusion. This confusion is the biggest hurdle to his spiritual growth.
There was a full-grown tree, a mango tree. It was standing alone, being nice to everyone. One day, a young child from a nearby colony came to play under the tree. The tree fell in love with the child at first sight. The tree was happy watching the child play in its full innocence. After some time, the child returned home. Once he was gone, the tree happily recounted the memory of the child and waited for him to return.
In my initial years of working in America, my student Sejal and I used to conduct small workshops. At this point, I was a new name to American audiences, so it was usually a small audience (10 – 15). Even though there was small attendance, EVERY workshop I found someone who went onto become a devoted student who did many things for me over and spent great amounts of time with me. It was a sign of how my luck worked so well in America.
It was 1975 or 1976. I came to know that Ustad Allarakha was to be in Ahmedabad to accompany Pandit Ravi Shankar. It was a program arranged by Sur Singar, an organization that I was a young youth volunteer for.
I received news of Ustadji’s arrival and that he had checked into a hotel across from Town Hall (I can’t recall the name). I reached to the hotel at 8:30am with a small bouquet of flowers. I knocked on his door. I distinctly remember how he looked when he opened the door. He looked royal and you see his immensive personality. I gave him the bouquet, took his blessings and introduced myself.
I am very pleased to inform you about the wonderful tabla textbook that my dear American student, Sejal Kukadia has written. I am very proud of her and wish her all the best. The book is beautifully done and I know it will be a great resource for all. If you wish to purchase it, please contact Taalim School. Information about this guide to tabla is below.