From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ravi Shankar: Classic music high enough

Saraswati Veena (Photo by Sreejithk2000)
During a 1967 interview with KRLA Beat, Ravi Shankar made this statement:  The message I'm trying to get through is that our music is very sacred to us… because it is a music that has been handed down from our religious background for our listeners.

In trying to distance himself from the "high hippies" of the day, Shakar added:  If one hears this music without any intoxication, or any sort of drugs, one does get the feeling
of being intoxicated.  That's the beauty of our music.  It builds up to that pitch.  We don't believe in the extra, or the other stimulus taken, and that's what I'm trying my best to make the young people, without hurting them, of course, to understand.

Ron Ragel reports on "The origins of the sitar" for  He compares sitar music to Hinduism itself, in that both are discovery-based rather than personality-based.  Ragel explains that the word "sitar" (describing the perhaps best known of the Indian classical instruments) is of Persian origin.  It has been strongly linked with 13th-century Persian scholar and Sufi mystic Amir Khusro (along with others before and since).

Ragel also states that the sitar derives from the veena, which is mentioned in the Vedic texts "as the divine instrument of the Goddess of the Arts and Learning namely Saraswati the one who has given the knowledge of the musical notes."  He emphasizes:  Indian classical music and dance are all seen as valid expressions of spirituality.    


Copyright December 13, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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