Birthday Felicitations

New Delhi (India)

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Evening Program, 75th Birthday Celebrations – New Delhi (India) Sunday, March 22nd 1998

[Transcription starts at 2:27:47 of video]

I really don’t know what to say but always after a program, I try to say something about it. Firstly, the first gentleman who was here – Jagganath Mishra – I must say, he brought all the atmosphere of Indian sweet culture in the villages very beautifully. For example, I’ve seen that only in India, poets have described the mischief of the children, the walking of the children – their gait, their style, their…every little bit of it. But nowhere in any country, I’ve seen, children have been described so sweetly, small little children, how they walk, how they fall and how they do mischiefs, but this is Indian speciality. That is our literature, all over you’ll find poetry describing the play of Shri Krishna, maybe of Shri Rama and all kinds of things… wonderful. Even there was a Christian gentleman who got converted, he also has written a beautiful poem about Christ’s childhood, but I haven’t seen anywhere in the literature, in the Christian community or Christian people, that they have described Christ as a child – how he was, how he looked, how he walked. It’s very interesting, and that’s what I felt today when there he was describing the… swing that we have for this season – we call it as the Vasanta, means the …as the Spring – very bad at translation. So the spring, you see during springtime in India in the villages, they put up big, big long swings and… under the trees, the mango trees. You see, it’s so beautifully described all these things. This is another thing of Indian literature where they do not describe only the love affairs – you see this one point. Also, describe the relationship with others and with nature and how the whole community is playing the Holi maybe or this swinging and all that… so beautifully described. I wish some of the Sahaja Yogis could take to that now and when they write their poems or they get into literature, they write about the children – how they walk, how they are mischievous, how they fall down. It’s a very sweet thing and makes life much sweeter with all these things. Also about nature, wherein the nature people have gone – not for just a picnic or anything – but just to enjoy nature. It would be a very good idea and that would really show that you have imbibed some of the suggestions – or we can say, descriptions – of Indian life. It was very sweet, you know. I really enjoyed his style of describing village life. It is so sweet and shows how people love each other and express their love. There’s no carnal love, nothing of the kind, but very pure love between say Yeshodaji and Radha …I was surprised how it was described so well. So he brought out through his shehnai – he’s a master, I must say of shehnai… such a shehnai I have never heard before, I must say – it was great and what a find.

[audience applauds]

Atcha… Then you know Ajit Kadkade. … he has been always coming and singing songs and describing about various things Today he sang Marathi songs – whether it is Marathi or Hindi, is just the same to you, so makes no difference. But in Marathi songs, also the mood is very different from Hindi songs because he was singing, you know, one song very sweetly about Shri Krishna. He stands with His leg, you see, crossed … so he said this langla – means ‘a lame fellow’ – how can he be God? What sort of a god it is? Very sweet. The whole description was very sw… sweet and at the same time, it started raining so, you see, it’s an indication that now it’s cooled down, you see… it has to cool down, and the way it all related – you understand so many things happen in Sahaja Yoga because they’re connected. You have heard his songs before and he is a very… very sensitive person and he feels for all of you – he himself is a Sahaj Yogi and he has written many poems on Sahaja Yoga. Today he didn’t sing them except for Brahma Shodhile.

Now the third one I enjoyed very much was the dance. I always admire Kuchipudi the best because it has power, where they express all their feelings very clearly, very sweetly, everybody can understand. And also they have the footwork and all that – you have seen how she worked on that thali and how she danced. So these are all the techniques of Indian dancing which is different from, I should say western dancing but as many Indians have learnt western dancing, you can also learn Indian dancing, you see it’s not difficult. And there are some Russian girls who are learning Indian dancing in Russia. I was surprised that, to see they are learning there. But it’s very easy to understand Kuchipudi, that’s the easiest thing to understand because it’s very expressive. So I’m very happy to see her dance like this, and she’s a Sahaja yogini, her husband is a Sahaja yogi who is a filmmaker, can you imagine? Such a simple man like him. So it was a very high standard program, I must say because I never expected one after another such nice program coming up and, after her dance, we had you, people, here. I have heard you separately – not together so many – when there are people I know, they are from different countries, I know them. I have heard them separately as I say. But I have never heard them together and your music, it has to be done collectively. Sometimes you hear the individual play, but it has to be collective with the composer’s things before you and it is to be done in a very meticulous manner. Extremely meticulous. I was surprised some Indians got up and went out, but if you go to any hall in the west for a concert or anything like that or [UNCLEAR] or anything – you are not even supposed to [cough?]

so much respect is to be given. But for Indian music, you can walk about, talk to people – nobody minds that – because perhaps people are very liberal but I think that one must respect – respect the artist and the art otherwise art won’t grow. So now we have here some very nice musicians. I was surprised that none of them made any mistakes: that’s the best part of it though they were coming from different countries, and they did it so well and with such speed and understanding. I wanted them to play this Binati Suniye because, in India, we don’t have any notation, can you imagine? We don’t have any… composers. Only thing is we have to go through rigorous… training, rigorous training for at least, I don’t know, I used to think that it’s at least twenty years or thirty years but nowadays I find the western people get it in three years – something special about them – and after that only, they can start singing with their own originality, with their own expressions. They don’t need. They themselves are composers as if they know the whole knowledge – how to build up, how are the melodies are, ragas are, how far to go, how to express – and they are left to themselves to do it. Now there’s a rapport between the audience and between them so that rapport works and they know how to play. This is another style – I would say both styles are all right. There’s nothing wrong in any style or another style, but for Indian style, you have to go into rigorous training and if there are people who are [UNCLEAR] sitting here, then it can be found out that you are making mistake, you are doing this… But normally it is very enjoyable in the same way as your music is. You had composers and composers and they are different, different types of people – we couldn’t play all of them today – but perhaps I like all of them very much and I enjoy western music equally the same as Indian music as well as south Indian music. I… music is music. I mean, I don’t understand that this music is superior, that music is superior – there’s nothing like that. They’re all different types of music and, only thing is you must have a sensitive ear to enjoy it. One’s enjoyment is abstract – it is not according to the country, according to any style or anything. Everywhere music has developed and we should learn to appreciate, to enjoy every type of music. I am very happy and thankful for the way you have played your orchestra, it was really remarkable. I never thought that you all would join together like this – though I’ve heard Austria is very good and also Romania is very good, they have so many good musicians there. But for Indians, it’s a treat because they have never heard Mozart, I think – very few people must have heard him. Of course, he was a great master, no doubt. Vivaldi, Verdi… all of them, tremendous people no doubt. But I had a chance to go abroad and I had a liking for music so I could hear them. It’s a chance, a great chance for Indians here to hear all these great composers, so thank you very much for that.