Gunateeta Sang: The Sangeet Martand Blesses his Grand-Disciples


By Namrata Sinha

HOUSTON: When the inaugural event of the year, is an afternoon spent with the Sun of Indian Classical Music, Sangeet Martand (Martand = Sun) Padma Vibhushan Pandit Jasraj Ji – we know that Houston can expect a lot of great, exciting things this year from The Center for Indian Classical Music (CICMH). Gunateeta Sang, a signature event of CICMH where the Gurukul members have the opportunity to interact closely with one who is above and beyond the ‘gunas’ (Gunateeta) and spend an afternoon immersed in musical meditation, was held on Sunday, February 7.

The event began with a heartfelt welcome to all the Gurus – Pandit Jasraj Ji, Pandit Suman Ghosh Ji, Pandita Tripti Mukherjee Ji and Shashikala Ghosh Ji – with a traditional aarti and tika accompanied by the sounds of conch shells.  The ambience of quiet spiritual introspection, with beautiful altars on either side of the stage and an audience that waited in pin-drop silence for the Gurus to take their seats, set the stage for the musical tribute that Pandit Ghosh’s disciples offered to their Grand Guru – the repertoire spanned compositions in Raags Gunakali, Ramkali and Hindol and a few shloks and bhajans. The energy and emotion of the renderings touched the Grand Guru, making him emotional at several points. Impressed by the precise rendering of complex taans, he even asked for them to be repeated.


Once all the Gurus were honored, “Bade Guruji”, as Pandit Jasraj Ji is fondly referred to by his grand disciples, was invited to share his thoughts and blessings with the assembled audience.  He made this an interactive session and opened the floor up to questions from all – and the questions poured in!  From his musical journey (trust your instincts to guide you), to the process of composing (the meaning of the poetry attracts just the right music, I am merely a conduit) to what his disciple Pandit Ghosh was like as a student (the signs of greatness were visible early on).  His ready wit, humor and accessibility created indelible memories for those present.  He then formally taught his assembled grand-disciples a composition in Raag Gyankali. Both the raag and the composition are the creations of his spiritual Guru Maharaja Jaiwant Singh Ji Waghela.

His recently observed 86th birthday was celebrated with a large cake cutting and singing of the birthday song by all present, followed by a beautiful ‘Pushp Aarti’ a floral felicitation of the Grand Guru by all disciples – led, as always, by their Guruji Pandit Suman Ghosh and Guruma Shashikala Ghosh.  The opportunity to personally offer their respects and the enduring vision of their smiling grand guru surrounded by rose petals, is something that will remain in everyone’s hearts and minds.

The evening concluded with dinner, where true to Indian hospitality norms, the dignitaries were served by the disciples before the disciples themselves enjoyed the sumptuous dinner. The organizational skills and sheer elegance of the décor, a signature of all CICMH events, was evident here as well.