Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Monday, Jul 28, 2003

About Us
Contact Us
Metro Plus Delhi Published on Mondays & Thursdays

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Quest | Folio |

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Thiruvananthapuram    Visakhapatnam   

Printer Friendly Page Send this Article to a Friend

Musical prayers, soulful notes

If you find it daunting to propitiate the navagrahas, try the musical path. ANJANA RAJAN speaks to Ashwini Bhide Deshpande, who has composed the music for Sony Music's nine album series, `Navagraha Puja' releasing shortly... .


ASTROLOGY MAINTAINS that the movements of the celestial bodies influence the outcome of our every activity, and there are ways to propitiate them when `badly placed'. The nine deities or navagrahas of Hinduism are the sun, the moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and Rahu and Ketu. The last two are the nodes of the moon. According to myth, Lord Vishnu hurled His discus at a demon who was surreptitiously mingling with the Gods to take a sip of the nectar of immortality. Since the demon had already consumed some of the nectar, he did not die, but was divided into two.

It is common to hear people bemoaning the detrimental effects of Shani or Saturn. The advantage of most people being afraid of displeasing Shani is reaped by the many beggars at every traffic intersection in Delhi on Saturdays, who proffer greasy tins equipped with a small oil lamp and incense for obliging motorists to drop their offerings into.

Propitiating these deities to bring about a change in fortunes might entail elaborate pujas, fasts and other rituals, and like many aspects of organised Hindu religion, has spawned a lucrative industry, both literal and virtual. Now Sony Music has produced a set of albums dedicated to the Navagraha puja, composed and sung by Ashwini Bhide Deshpande, renowned Hindustani vocalist of the Jaipur Atrauli gharana.

Hitherto better known for her classical recitals, she says it was the musical rather than the religious aspect that attracted her to this project, conceptualised and scripted by Prerana Thakur. "Initially I was hesitant. It was such a big project and I had never done such a thing in Sanskrit." But as she got immersed in the project she enjoyed it and is proud of the eight months of work that have gone into it. The music, which is based on ragas, "but you cannot call it raga gaayan at all," is a combination of shloka chanting and rhythm-based songs. All the parts have been performed in full, without the use of computerised facilities like looping or cutting and pasting for repetition, she emphasises.

She has used veena, sitar, flute, tabla, pakhawaj, manjira and tanpura and other natural instruments but also the electronic keyboard for effect, as chanting with a background of tanpura alone can sound "khaali" on amplification, she explains. The music has been arranged by Kamlesh Bhadkamkar.

Ashwini Bhide who has been accompanied by singers Raghunandan Panshikar and Ravinder Sathe, feels that while the albums can be followed while conducting a puja, as they contain the shlokas for each ritual step, they are just as good to hear for the music alone. And according to Sony Music, listening to them "with utmost devotion" is a "manas puja to each graha".

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Thiruvananthapuram    Visakhapatnam   

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Quest | Folio |


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |

Comments to : thehindu@vsnl.com   Copyright 2003, The Hindu
Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu