Trance Music

| 1 MINUTE READ | Drumstruck @ Temple

As I bend through the doorway to enter the temple compound, a punching staccato drumbeat collapses onto me. I approach the shrine. On the far side are drummers. Behind them men dancing amidst the clash of cymbals. Beside me three men with blaring horns that punctuate the percussion.

Above the shrine is a neon sign that says ‘Tat Tvam Asi’. It means ‘that is you’.

The idol in the inner sanctum. The pulsating sound thudding into the air. The people swaying and soaking it in. The impervious night sky and all the trees in the city.

Beneath the veil of appearances, all of it is you.

From a place of conservative ritual, the temple transforms into an arena of transcendence. The sober folk pray and move away as usual. A few of us remain with the raw vulnerability of the rhythm. I close my eyes. The music overtakes me. Obliterates both the distractions of hope and illusions of order.

I have heard the tabla maestro Zakir enthrall a full house at the NCPA. And now I have heard this. An unheralded artist. A humbler setting. An equal music.

These men are neither famous nor wealthy. They probably earn just enough to get by. My thoughts betray a devalued era where money is the measure of most things. And the idea of enough is archaic.

But what is it that makes them such a joy to behold? This uplifting music performed as a submission towards all that is sacred.

The body seeks comfort
the heart hunts for meaning
the spirit lives in freedom

Only one of them
enables us
to calmly endure
the absence of the others

and dissolve into a drumbeat

45 thoughts on “Trance Music

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    1. Music needs no knowledge ….music if it touches one’s inner core ..is food for one,’s soul….it leaves us free to dream without boundaries….

      however traditional
      stories behind traditional music adds flavor….and takes one to an era gone by….

      Music is beautiful

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Your description makes us feel as if we are present there .The music is very nice. this kind of music is played in many South Indian temples .I really wonder the efforts made by those people. I do not understand the music but their efforts and the drum beats always enthrall me . Thanks for describing lucidity.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I enjoyed the music, and I understand what it means to the worshipers. Thank you.

    Could you, Ananda, read and watch my tomorrow’s post – 24 December – about an Indian man
    who was extraordinary, and a film was made about his life?

    Joanna

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I too find music from the subcontinent particularly effective at inducing altered states.

    Perhaps my most unexpected experience of fleeting samadhi occurred at a soiree at a private home in Trivandrum in response to a live performance by a Baul musician. It was probably my first real hint of what bhakti means.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So richly described Ananda, an immersion into the rhythm itself. A wondrous compliment to the music, the artists, the sacred scene. “Obliterates both the distractions of hope and illusions of order.” Love that.

      Like

  4. Dear Anand,

    Wonderful narration of dumbstruck by drumstruck. Contentment and passion form
    the bedrock of their living. There are so many nadaswaram players and accompanying
    tavil players in and around Tanjore who pursue their passion performing in temples. That is how the art survives. So many of them come and play during the annual Thyagaraja Aradhana in Thiruvaiyaru. My cousin Paiyu and I used to wonder how these people make a living.

    Many of the leading musicians like Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer had their early
    training under nadaswara Vidwans. As a four-year old kid I remember a Nadaswara vidwan coming home to give music lessons to my cousin (my Periappa’s daughter).
    Please remember, these nadaswara Vidwans had to learn vocal music simultaneously.
    All instrumentalists per se take a vocal training, then only they can bring bhava in the
    rendering of krithis.

    Affectionately
    TPS Athimbaire

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Lovely. You use words so well, Ananda, as a teacher must to move others. With the ‘impervious sky’ above and my ‘raw vulnerability’ within, I am ready to know that the stillness of spirit both allows the need for comfort and meaning and obliterates them both, so that I might ‘be and not-be’.
    We are all one another’s teachers. I am so fortunate to have been here/now to receive.
    Kindly, K

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anand, I loved your narration.
      So sublime and Divine.
      As usual ,you have penned your thoughts so beautifully, that the reader can actually feel they are present.
      The music is divine.
      Thanks a lot Anand for sharing your beautiful experience.
      God bless
      Mina.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have heard the tabla maestro Zakir enthrall a full house at the NCPA. And now I have heard this. An unheralded artist. A humbler setting. An equal music.

    These men are neither famous nor wealthy. They probably earn just enough to get by. My thoughts betray a devalued era where money is the measure of most things. And the idea of enough is archaic.

    But what is it that makes them such a joy to behold? This uplifting music performed as a submission towards all that is sacred.

    The body seeks comfort
    the heart hunts for meaning
    the spirit lives in freedom

    Only one of them
    enables us
    to calmly endure
    the absence of the others

    and dissolve into a drumbeat…

    This is poetry…where mind dissolves in the heart -or- intellect dissolves in emotions.
    ================================================================
    “Life” has many dimensions…each person lives in one’s own dimension of own creation for comfort.
    These different dimensions are not comparable, as their formats are very varied…and individualized.
    Music = Organized Sound!
    Noise = Disorganized Sound!
    But there will always be varied perceptions & realities on what is “Organized”…???
    Thus everyone lives – with no knowledge of what is “Life”…!!!

    Like

  7. Beautiful post Ananda! Feeling the music and your words deeply in my heart. “ The body seeks comfort
    the heart hunts for meaning
    the spirit lives in freedom

    Only one of them
    enables us
    to calmly endure
    the absence of the others”❤️💕❤️

    Like

  8. “The spirit lives in freedom”
    So beautiful, liberating, and appropriate.
    I can understand the submergence of the senses in a rhythm that uplifts and also touches the deepest recesses. It’s sublime.
    Thank you for sharing your experience and also the wonderful music. What a beat! 🙂

    Like

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