Sachi R

Obiter dicta on music, men and matters

Archive for October, 2009

The walking stick

Posted by rsachi on October 31, 2009

I saw a speciality walking stick store in the Hiltopia mall in Shinjuku this morning. The lady, Ms Nagae, told me it’s the only one of its kind in Tokyo and 26 years old! Visit I am going to post a video clip of Poirot’s elegant and expressive silver-topped stick the moment I’m back home.


Posted in The walking stick Hercule Poirot Charlie Chaplin Hilton Tokyo Shinjuku | Leave a Comment »

The dance of Shiva

Posted by rsachi on October 27, 2009

I took this photo in 2005 in Prambanan, Indonesia.

(scripted using Baraha)

In my previous post, there is a link to Pandit Chhannulal Misra’s recitation of the sutra to indicate how Shiva is the originator of our music and literature.
I loved this sloka and researched it. I reproduce below the quote from; the explanation of the sloka is presumably by the Sage of Kanchi:

Nrttavasane Nataraja-rajo nanada dhakkam navapancavaram

Uddhartukamah Sankadisiddhanetadvimarse Sivasutrajalam

I will speak briefly about this stanza. The silent Siva remains still [as Daksinamurti]. But the same Siva [in another form of his] keeps dancing all the time and it was from his dance that the science of language was born.
Nataraja is the name of the dancing Paramesvara. “Nata” is a member of a troupe which also consists of the “vita” and “gayaka”. The nata dances. Nataraja is the king of all dancers– he who cannot be excelled as a dancer– and he is also called Mahanata [the great dancer].
“Nrttavasane. . . ” Nataraja performs an awe- inspiring dance. It seems to bring together all the dance that all of us have to perform, the rhythms of all our lives.
Nataraja has a drum in one hand, called the dhakka or damaruka. The tala of this drum (the time kept by it) is in keeping with the “footwork” of the dancing god, the movement of his feet. The beat of his drum is referred to in the words, “nanada dhakkam”.
When Nataraja dances, Sanaka and his brother sages, Patanjali Vyaghrapada and so on stand round him. They are great ascetics, so they are able to see the dance. At the close of the dance, the concluding beats(cappu) produced fourteen sounds. It is these fourteen that are referred to in the stanza (“Nrttavasane”, etc) as “navapancavaram”; “nava” is nine and “panca” is five, so fourteen in all. “Nanada dhakkam navapancavaram.
The fourteen sounds produced by Nataraja’s drum are the means by which the reality of Siva is to be known and experienced within us in all its plenitude. Nandikesvara has commented upon the fourteen sounds in his Sivabhaktisutra.
The fourteen sounds are recited at the upakarma ceremony. Since they emanated from the drum of Mahesvara(Nataraja), they are called “Mahesvarasutras”. Human beings can produce only inarticulate sounds on the musical instruments played by them. The hand of Paramesvara is verily the Nadabrahman and Sabdabrahaman incarnate, so his cappu on the damaruka at the conclusion of his tandava sounded as a series(garland) of fourteen letters:
1. a i un; 2. rlk; 3. e on; 4. ai auc; 5. hayavarat; 6. lan; 7. nama nana nam; 8. jha bha n; 9. gha da dha s; 10. ja ba ga da da s; 11. kha pha cha tha tha catatav; 12. kapay; 13. sa sa sar; 14. hal-iti Mahesvarani sutrani.
Though the musical instruments do not produce articulate sounds, they create the impression of producing the phonemes of human speech. If this be so in the case of instruments played by humans, why should not the drum beaten by Nataraja during his pancakrtya dance produce articulate sounds?How did Panini make use of the fourteen sounds? He created an index from the sutras to vocalise the letters or syllables together. According to the arrangement made by him, the first letter or syllable of a sutra voiced with the last letter or syllable of another sutra will indicate the letters or syllables in between. For example, the first syllable of “hayavarat”, “ha”, and the last letter of “hal”, “l”, together make “hal”. This embraces all the consonants in between. Similarly, the first letter of the first sutra, “a”, and the last letter of the fourth sutra together form “ac”-this includes all the vowels. The first letter of the first sutra and the last letter of the fourteenth sutra together form “al” – it includes all letters. “Halantasya” is one of the sutras of Astadhyayi. “Al” itself has come to mean writing. “A-kara” is the first letter in all languages. In Urdu it is alif; in Greek it is alpha. Both are to be derived from “al”. So too “alphabet” in English. Here is another fact to support the view that, once upon a time, the Vedic religion was prevalent all over the world.

We know thus that the prime source of grammar is constituted by the Mahesvara-sutras emanating from the drum of Nataraja.

Posted in the origin of music sanskrit grammar Shiva Siva drum cosmic dance sage of Kanchi Prambanan Indonesia | Leave a Comment »

Singer extraordinary – Pandit Chhannulal Misra

Posted by rsachi on October 25, 2009

I have been listening to Hindustani music for decades and yet did not know of this wonderful musician until today when You Tube introduced me to him.
He is a great ambassador for Banares. He gives a very interesting meaning for the word Banares here. (right click and open a new window).
He says beautifully that Banares is the home of music since the original musician Shiva has made it his home! Also that  “Banaa ras” is their motto.. to make music!
Listen to his music here,

Posted in great Hindustani music Chhannulal Mishra pandit Channulal Misra Chhannulaal Mishra Maru Behag Benaras Banares Kirana gharana Hindustani music Bhimsen Joshi Thumri | Leave a Comment »

Agatha Christie’s Poirot

Posted by rsachi on October 24, 2009

I am watching this exquisite TV series, I bought a whole lot of DVDs.
The 1930’s period setting, the character sketches, the acting, the dialogue, are all quintessential British humour. Of course David Suchet is incredibly good.

Watch the You Tube video. I am sure you will soon grab the DVDs!

Here is a link in Wikipedia

Posted in Sachi_R rsachi Agatha Christie DVD Hercule Poirot BBC Accorn David Suchet 1989 period art deco famous detective excellent drama | Leave a Comment »

Todi on the Mridangam – Umayalpuram K Sivaraman

Posted by rsachi on October 23, 2009

I think the most salubrious situation for musical excellence is a well-tuned veena and mridangam in conversation, in the hands of two maestros who have no care in the world so they can pursue the ethereal bliss that music can shower on us. There is no quieter place on earth for such a tête-à-tête than a recording studio and in this instance we have Emani Sankara Sastry and Umayalpuram Sivaraman collaborating in an AIR concert. Emani plays a Todi RTP and I give below the pallavi portion to show what heights they both can reach, especially the mridangam maestro.
Can you immerse yourself in the Todi that the mridangam maestro plays? The sensitive accompaniment, the sparkling sound, the deep base, the strokes that sound like a stringed instrument? And Todi in all its splendour, with the Ga, Ma, Pa and Dha and the other notes dancing at his finger tips?
Blessed are we to have such a great musician like Sri Sivaraman giving us blissful music for so many decades. Nothing can express our gratitude to this maestro ever.

Todi Pallavi and Tani

Posted in Umayalpuram Sivaraman mridangam veena Emani Sankara Sastry AIR Todi maestro concert | Leave a Comment »

Ten do’s for enjoying Carnatic music

Posted by rsachi on October 18, 2009

I have listed here the ten things I have learnt over time that will make me enjoy Carnatic music more deeply and lingeringly:

  1. Be on time for the concert.
  2. Buy a ticket.
  3. Respect each artiste- every moment of music is a gift- fresh and enjoyable.
  4. Listen. Don”t sing along.
  5. Keep your knowledge to yourself. Don’t try to impress others.
  6. If you do put tala, be discreet and correct.
  7. Listen totally. No chat, paper or mag.
  8. No toilet break.
  9. Applaud if you enjoy. It is a good exercise.
  10. Go home and savour the lyric later. It is a good after-taste.

Posted in Sachi_R rsachi Carnatic music Karnatak music do's to enjoy a concert enjoy Carnatic music more deeply and lingeringly | Leave a Comment »

iPhone smiles

Posted by rsachi on October 17, 2009

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The Festival of Light

Posted by rsachi on October 17, 2009

As we celebrate light, let’s remember
Darkness nourished us till our arrival.
Light plays on our beings much like joys and smiles
But darkness prepares us for this Festival of Lights!

Posted in kannada baraha happy deepavali shubhashayagalu deepaavaliya festival of Light darkness nourish Lights | Leave a Comment »

Gandhi and Obama

Posted by rsachi on October 12, 2009

Mahatma Gandhi was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1937, 1938, 1947, and a few days before his assassination in 1948.The fact that he was not awarded the Prize was regretted by the committee publicly when the Prize was awarded to the Dalai Lama. If you read this item at, you will learn that it was because the Nobel Peace Prize was somewhat exclusive to Europeans and Americans during Gandhi’s time. The postage stamp in the picture is from UK in 1969.
Now the Nobel Prize has been awarded to Obama. Obama became the President of USA less than a year ago on a vote for change, a change from the policies and beliefs that precipitated wars and economic crises big time. Obama is a great orator, but he has not achieved anything to win a Nobel Peace Prize!
Gandhi’s life is remarkable. I found this report in the Time magazine archives from 1931:

The same frayed sandals that carried St. Gandhi on his illegal salt march through India 19 months ago carried him last week up the crimson-carpeted stair of Buckingham Palace. Flunkies in scarlet & gold bowed the small, unrepentant lawbreaker into the Picture Gallery. There at the head of the receiving line stood George V in striped trousers and morning coat, Queen Mary in a shimmering silver tea gown and Edward of Wales (who had flown down especially from Liverpool) dressed like his father. The Lord Cham berlain, the Earl of Cromer, advanced through a horde of 500 tea guests, some of them Maharajas wearing pearls as big as butterballs.

  “Mahatma Gandhi!” announced the Lord Chamberlain. George V at once looked up. The sandals carried the Saint to His Majesty who stretched out a royal hand. Mr. Gandhi took it firmly, shook it warmly. He then placed his own hands palm to palm, bowed to Their Majesties as a Hindu priest bows when imparting benediction.

Queen Mary smiled approvingly. Mr. Gandhi was not in “morning dress” as the royal invitation had requested (TIME, Nov. 9) but he was wearing a loincloth wider by a thumb’s breadth than usual, and a shawl of homespun. Queen Mary saw nothing unseemly, betrayed the merest flicker of interest as she espied the Mahatma’s dangling dollar watch.

 King George drew Guest Gandhi into the royal study. There the King-Emperor took a dish of tea, the Mahatma sucked in a bowl of goat’s milk sent up from the palace kitchen.

 Among buzzing guests in the Picture Gallery several startled the rest by recalling that this was not the first Gandhi-George V meeting. In 1901 the Indian community of Durban, South Africa welcomed the then Duke & Duchess of York, now Their Majesties, with a reception at which Lawyer M. K. Gandhi made the principal address. In 1901 impotent Ad- dresser Gandhi was bedight in the latest British fashion. Last week potent St. Gandhi created a sensation by leaving the royal teaparty before no other guest. “Personally I have very little time for social functions,” said he. “Both Their Majesties were charming. I also liked the Prince of Wales.”

British Reporter: Did the King give any encouragement to your hope for Indian independence?

St. Gandhi: Only God gives encouragement, not Kings.

 Badgered by correspondents to tell what his host had talked about, Guest Gandhi replied, “It would not be dignified for me to tell you what the King said,” and explained why.

 “Our conversation consisted mostly of pleasantries. There were questions and answers about the weather and its effect on a man so recently come from India as myself.”

 Shortly from Bombay the Mahatma received a cable signed by leading spirits of his Indian National Congress. They begged him to quit the Indian Round Table Conference in London because it has shown no sign of recommending independence for India. Promptly St. Gandhi announced: “I will sail for Bombay from Genoa on the 29th. … I feel that I’m wasting my time here, but I’m willing to stay in London until the end of the Conference, which I expect will be in a fortnight. Then nobody can accuse me of impatience.”

Posted in Time magazine Mahatma Gandhi Nobel Peace Prize Gandhi and Obama Peace U.K. King George Queen Mary St. Gandhi M. K. Gandhi | Leave a Comment »


Posted by rsachi on October 10, 2009

I just posted a web album..a Sunday in Sydney. Check it out in the box

Weekend Sydney

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