“Art is nothing but a steadfast pursuit of truth and beauty” – Chitravina N Ravikiran.
VIJAYADASHAMI is more a Student’s Day than a Teacher’s Day. It’s a day of new learning, beginnings and resolutions for a student of any subject including life. It’s a day to examine one’s convictions, set new goals, renew promises to uphold one’s ideals, make fresh pledges to pursue one’s calling even more truthfully… and follow through with action.’
— Chitravina Ravikiran
This year’s Vijayadashmi turned out to be an exceptional one, attended simultaneously by students from various parts of the world virtually.
Ravikiran ji gave invaluable insights into music which covered the core requirements for the true progress of any student at any stage of music. The maestros ability to explain each and every point in the most lucid manner, along with the narration of his own childhood training, discipline and background, made the session even more enlightening. I share with you a synopsis of this wonderful interaction.
The ‘mind’ is what makes a person. Practice of music essentially involves training our minds in the ‘ ideal’ manner, resulting in Equanimity. This in turn bestows the strength and fortitude to face crisis and also the balance to not be over enamoured by praise or popularity. Thus, the mind is the Key defining factor for development of musicianship.’
Success and Failure:
According to John Greenleaf Whittier, ‘success is failure turned inside out.’
‘Success and Failure – Treat These Two Imposters Just The Same..’ says famous poet Rudyard Kipling
Ravikiran ji explained that one needs to develop the ability to distance oneself from both success and failure, and ups and downs, by not being over-swayed by success nor over-dejected by failure as both praise and criticism may come from the very same people!
Praise is a trap into which even the greatest achievers in any field can fall.
Ravikiran ji gave a beautiful solution to handle this: ‘Praise should be taken graciously but not seriously. It is extremely important to see the source of praise and criticism and handle it accordingly. The critique of legends should be taken more seriously than the praise of near and dear ones.’
‘Remaining steadfast in our faith and awareness, pursuing the correct methods and following the feedback from our gurus, will always keep us in good stead. At the end of the day, we are our own critiques, and, our own judges.’
Regularity and Discipline:
To achieve anything in life, regularity and discipline are the two major requirements. Ravikiran ji recommends absolutely strict inflexible discipline at the initial stages that gradually develops into what he terms as positive inertia and enhances regularity.
Endurance and Excellence:
One must passionately feel protective about the raga grammar, tala essentials, maintenance of tempo and aim to project the beauty of all these with aesthetics at the forefront. Right approaches and techniques are the foundations of the enduring excellence.
Delivery is the cornerstone of excellence. Ravikjran ji explained that while the content is taken care of by gurus, the secret of good delivery is polishing of a composition for a minimum of a few hundred times. It takes at least 30-40 mindful renditions even to perceive the, intricacies and beauty of each line or phrase.
The Effort to Become Effortless:
One must practice until complex and fast phrases do not seem fast to the musician but only seems fast to the listeners! That is when those phrases are considered fully developed. The musician should be able to zoom in precisely into any part, and identify each single note or error.
Optimalisation of energy:
The quest for perfection is to not to be lax about anything, to always pay full attention and energy. Nothing less, but nothing more as well. Giving 200% for what just requires 100% makes the music sound like an overcharged battery. Optimal energy without any extra movement is to be cultivated.
Time is of essence, and one should aim to achieve correctness as fast as possible, for nothing comes without solid effort.
“All the musicianship at ones command is of no use if the voice or the instrument cannot bring out the notes with Clarity, Purity, Flexibility, Mobility and Stability”.
The icing on the cake was the release of Shri Ravikiranji’s composition – UTTAMA MANAVARE in the raga Begada – A first of its kind song in honour of ideal students
which describes all the beautiful qualities of an ideal student.
‘The ideal student is always in pursuit of higher truths of Life, be it through music, dance, math or any subject. While those like Purandara Dasa, Kabir, Oottukkadu Venkata Kavi and Tyagaraja have created phenomenal compositions on greatness of gurus, this piece (composed around 3-4 years ago) is probably the first to highlight the ideal student and is inspired by exemplary attitudes of the greatest musicians and achievers as well as my historic and mythological heroes.’
— Chitravina N Ravikiran in Facebook
This Vijayadashmi session was truly unique and it opened new doors of enlightenment in the minds of all music aspirants. With the blessings of our revered guru on this auspicious occasion, we all hope that we can uphold our ideals, resolutions and goals truthfully and most importantly, progress in the right direction.
Article By Nupur Joshi
Nupur Joshi is an Indian classical vocalist, based in Mumbai. She is trained under Dr. Vikas Kashalkar and Shalmalee Joshi in Hindustani classical music and in Carnatic classical music by Shri Chitravina Ravikiran for the past many years. She has performed at many prestigious venues throughout the country.