Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lord Krishna and Ustad Bismillah khan

(This narration is based on an interview of Ustad Bismillah Khan, reported by Dr.Madhu Vasudevan of Malayala Manorama daily)

Ustad Bismillah Khan, the Shahnai maestro, had a personal encounter with Sri Krishna. In spite of being a muslim, the legendary Ustad  had great respect for Sri Krishna, and that could have prompted the merciful Lord to appear in person .

Once, Ustad Bismillah Khan was traveling by train from Jamdshedpur to Varanasi. It was a coal run passenger train and Ustad was traveling in the third class compartment . From an intermediate rural railway station, a young cowherd boy boarded the bogey in which Ustad was sitting . He was a dark and lean boy; and he was holding a flute in his hands. Slowly the boy started playing his flute . The supreme quality of his music surprised the maestro Ustad who didn't even know the ‘Raga’ the boy was playing. Ustad Bismillah Khan immediately recognized that, the boy is none other than Sri Krishna, the Supreme God Himself. The nectarine Nada-Brahman (Brahman in the form of music) flowing out of Krishna’s flute filled Ustad’s heart with ecstasy; and tears of joy started poring out of his eyes.

After the stunning performance, Ustad called the boy near and presented him with a coin requesting him to play the song again. Krishna obliged. This repeated again an again until Bismiillah Khan’s wallet became empty. Young Krishna got down at the next railway station and disappeared.

In fact, Ustad was en route to participate in a music concert related to Kumbha mela (a Hindu religious gathering of millions of devotees). In that concert, Ustad presented the new ‘Raga’ (which he learned that day from Krishna). This melodious ‘raga’ was greatly appreciated by the audience who begged Ustad to sing it many times. The music scholars around couldn’t make out the name of the ‘Raga’ and they asked about it to Bismillah Khan. Ustad replied that the name of the Raga is ‘Kanhaira’.

Next day’s news papers contained headlines about the melodious new ‘Raga’ invented by Ustad Bismillah Khan. Having read it, Hariprasas Chaurasya, the legendary musician (Flautist), asked about ‘Kanhaira Raga’s' details from Bismillah Khan. Ustad revealed the truth and sang Kanhaira; and Hariprakash Chaurasya, the topmost Flautist in the word, burst into tears of joy.

‘Kanhaira’ is a divine gem in Indian music, as it originated from the lotus lips of Sri Krishna, the Stealer of Hearts!

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