Gunateeta Sang: Spirituality Through Music at its Epitome


By Namrata & Vivek Sinha

HOUSTON: Gunateeta is one who has achieved the perfect balance of all the “gunas”, or one who has transcended earthly ties and can see everything in the divine light.  It is said that to even get the chance to observe such a being is available only to those who are blessed with abundant good fortune and perhaps earn it through great effort.  Houstonians were fortunate to dive into this spirituality led by none other than Sangeet Martand Padma Vibhushan Pandit Jasraj-ji at the concert at Stafford Centre Performing Arts Theatre on July 26, presented by the Center for Indian Classical Music of Houston (CICMH). Almost 150 members of the Saadhana Pariwar of Pandit Suman Ghosh were doubly fortunate to also get some one-on-one time with the legend himself on July 28 at the event, very aptly titled Gunaateeta Sang or “With the Gunateeta”, in Anjali Center, Sugar Land. Guests included dignitaries like the Consul General of India, P. Harish and his wife Nandita.

The Grand Guru of the institution was greeted with a traditional “aarti” and the auspicious blowing of the conch shell. Led by their Guruji, the disciples then presented their humble musical offerings to their Bade Guruji. A Ganesh Vandana in Raag Kedar by the youngest disciples was followed by a chhota khayal in Raag Saraswati by the entire Saadhana Pariwar. While the Sangeet Martand smiled and nodded appreciatively during these two compositions he was moved to tears by the soulful rendition of the Nandakumarashtakam in Raag Bageshri as the 3rd offering.  The composition, originally created on this shloka a couple of decades ago by the Sangeet Martand himself, had been completely forgotten by all, including him. His worthy torchbearer, Pandit Suman Ghosh felt that there could be no better gift than to recompose the shloka and train his disciples to render it as a humble offering to their Bade Guruji. The disciples, knowing the unique thought behind the effort, gave it their musical best. After an emotional pause at the end of the presentation, the Sangeet Martand said that when a disciple goes a few steps ahead of the Guru, then the Guru is assured a place in Heaven and that Pt. Ghosh had ensured this place for him. He praised the composition itself, lauded certain parts of it as exceptional. He also spoke highly about the musicality, energy and involvement in even the youngest disciples of the Saadhana Pariwar who performed there.

After formal felicitations and a brief address by the Consul General of India, the floor was turned over to the Grand Guru, who shared anecdotes about his illustrious musical journey with great warmth and wit.  He spoke fondly of Pt.Ghosh’s uncle – Ujjwal Roy who was convinced that young Jasraj’s destiny lay in singing rather than playing the tabla. His determined insistence with the family and Pandit Jasraj’s Guru changed the course of musical history.

Despite recent serious health-issues, the maestro extended his blessings to his beloved disciple Pandit Ghosh’s Pariwar beyond his spoken words – through a delightful teaching of one of his own compositions in Raag Bahaar – to the surprise and delight of the gathering.

Pandit Ghosh is well-known as a Guru of exceptional abilities and dimensions, which makes learning under him a complete spiritual experience. He himself also sets the example as one of the most respectful, dutiful and caring disciples of his own Guru – an aspect which seems to have been well-imbibed by his own disciples. This fact was brought into sharp focus on the Sunday when the disciples of the Saadhana Pariwar dedicated themselves to their Grand-Guru’s seva. The rare evening with the Gunateeta – the Sangeet Martand – only bolstered the well-known fact that, in a learning process, experiential realization may have a clear and decisive edge over theoretical knowledge, when the subject is Indian Classical Music.