Friday, February 11, 2011

Saraswati Puja

After 3 flights from Brisbane via Kuala Lumpur and Delhi (where I managed to reach check-in 5 minutes before closing), I arrived in Varanasi the day before Saraswati Puja, in honour of the Hindu goddess of music and learning. There has been a home concert for Saraswati Puja each year for more than 50 years and it has hosted many great musicians including Pt Ravi Shankar, Pt Nikhil Banerjee, and Pt Kanthe Maharaj, who used to play 2-3 hours' tabla solo each year.

Guru-ji's students Manishankar and Gautam

Guru-ji's youngest son Debabrata

This year the puja coincidentally fell on the 7th anniversary of Guru-ji's passing.

I opened the concert with tabla solo in basant taal (9 beats). Saraswati Puja is also known as Basant Panchami (5th day of spring), so this was the perfect chance to play the material I'd learnt in basant taal last year from Sri Govinda Chakraborty, a senior student of Guru-ji.

From the day after Saraswati Puja, people take their statues of Saraswati from the previous year down to the Ganges River and throw them in with much ceremony. The most exciting processions are organised by various student groups who play loud pop music and dance crazily, feeling the spirit in a big way.

1 comment:

John Brisbin said...

Looks beautiful Shen! Thanks for sharing the pictures and a bit of the story. Looks like you have been diligent and respectful with the teachings...good on'ya!