The strains of the seven notes begin at a point in space and time and end there. The silence and formlessness that exists at the beginning of a note, pervades through it and is present at the end too. Being with that space and timelessness is meditation.
It was one of those Sunday afternoons that slipped by so fast at the Sri Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama in Che­nnai. In a quiet corner of the premises, audience were held spell bound by Vedant S Bharadwaj’s bhajans and abhangs of Mira Bai, Namdev, Tukharam, Sur­das and Kabirdas.
It was not just music alone. At the end of each soulful rendering, the audience, drawn in by the subtle vibrations of devotional music, had the opportunity to listen to the meaning and also meditate. Swami Bodhamayananda who organised the programme guided the participants into meditation.
The purpose of music is to bond with the divine in oneself, says Vedant. The connecting theme of all poets was bhakti. Each one was soaked in God. There was no master to tell them to compose on Krishna or any other god. The languages might be different — Bhojpuri, Avadhi, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, but the devotion to God had no parallel, said Vedant who has been singing music for over 20 years and also has a rock band.
Students of the Hindu Senior Secondary School, Chennai sang a couple of bhajans such as Ekadantam, Sangeetha Swarangalin Thaye and Ram Hain Bhajan Kar Man. Vedant, who continued with the bhajans, explained the meaning of Nau Kinare Lagao Prabhu — Bring my boat (myself) to the shore, O Lord. The boat is old and it may sink into the river but I completely rely on you to bring it ashore.
Where does God reside? Someone asked Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. “Bhakta hriday bhagwan bhaitak kana,” he replied. The heart of the devotee is the drawing room of God, quoted Swami Bodhamayananda who called it a heart-melting experience to listen to the Namdev abhang jeeva prane ek vittal chanava.
The words are moving and meaningful. He described the vittala consciousness as follows: Teertha Vittala (all holy waters), Kshethra Vittala (all places of worship), Mata Vittala (the mother), Pita Vittala (the father), Guru Vittala Guru Devata Vittala (the master and his master), Bandhu Vittala Gothra Vittala (all relatives and the lineage), Nidhana Vittala Nirantara Vittala (patience and eternity). Another soulful song was Jo bhaje hari ko sada sohi parama pada paayega by Brahmanand — the one who constantly thinks about God reaches the supreme state of being.
What hours of lectures and talks
on spirituality cannot achieve, a single song can. That is the impact that music has on our life. While listening to music, the choice is to follow the tune, lyrics and rhythm and also be constantly aware of the field of silence and space in which the music is happening.
This is the divinity that we always seek to connect with and it is possible through Nada Yoga.