Monday, February 24, 2014

Barahmasa, Ritusamharam

Glancing at the amaranth’s blossoming sprays
Glowing in exquisite loveliness just-revealed
Loveliness that rightly belongs to the beloved’s face
How can a responsive heart not flutter in pain
Stung by proud Love’s flying arrows, my love?

These radiant, finely crafted, lines might come from Kalidasa’s classic work, the Ritusamharam, but, reading them, come rushing into mind, instantly, miniature paintings, made in Rajasthan or the Pahari area, centuries later. The setting is always intimate, romantic: lovers seated in a balcony or on a marble terrace, gazing into each other’s eyes while the beauties of the seasons ... HERE.
Barahmasa meaning twelve months are based on the lunar calendar comprising months of Chaitra, Vaishakha, Jyestha, Ashadha, Shravana, Bhadrapada, Ashvina, Karttika, Agrahayana, Paushya, Magha and Phalguna. Each two of them are respectively the ritus or seasons of Vasanta, Grishma, Varsha, Sharada, Hemanta and Shishira.

 Winter called Shishir - in the months of Magh and Phalgun
English calendar months are Jan and Feb [approximately]

Magha: forests and gardens echo with the sweet notes of peacocks, pigeons and koel and bees hum as if they have lost their way, all ten directions are scented with musk, camphor and sandal, sounds of Mridangam are heard through the night.

Phalguna: the fragrance of scented powders fills the air and young women and men in every home play holi with great abandon
Barahmasa Music

The raga melodies of classical Indian music are in harmony not only with the time of the day or night but also with the seasons of the year.Each raga is personified by a color, the overall mood bhava, the nature surrounding the hero and heroine (nayaka and nayika).   The raga elucidation as envisioned in Indian music is a delightful amalgam of art, color, poetry and music.

As regards the seasons and the ragas,most of the ragas in the classical music are set in accordance to various seasons. In this month of winter:


Shishira (Magha -  Phalguna): the transitory season of cool days; the diminishing phase of winter; the season of cool comfort gladdening the hearts of lusty women with Malkaush  Raga sung in the chill and silent nights of winter .

 It is said; the Seasonal Ragas can be sung and played any time of the day and night during the season with which they are associated despite the usual rule.

I love the song ˜Door reh kar na karo baat (Muhammad Rafi based on the raga from the movie Amaanat, Starring Manoj Kumar and Sadhana. The song sung by Rafi sahib. Rafi’s   music has a strong aesthetic appeal. It touches the soul and has the power to lift us out of the ordinary, to elevate our experience beyond the everyday and the commonplace. His love for soft ragas like Malkos exemplifies this. It  produces a therapeutic effect on the listener


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