The passing away of legendary playback singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam (SPB) has made me recall my expertise of listening to his songs from after I was in major faculty. Whereas SPB sang over 40,000 songs throughout 16 languages, for me he’ll dwell on within the half-a-dozen songs he sang for one Telugu film. To me these songs spotlight the unparalleled energy that music possesses to germinate paths of discovery.
For many people from the South, SPB is synonymous with the Telugu film Sankarabharanam. Although Tamil is my mom tongue, the extremely melodious songs sung by SPB on this film left an indelible mark on me. At a younger age, when Carnatic music can appear to be Greek and Latin to somebody who didn’t be taught it, these songs bought deeply rooted in my psyche. Once I now surprise why these songs had such a profound influence on my younger thoughts, it turns into clear that the songs and the film — as complementary to one another as a lamp and its wick — uplift and encourage in a approach that I’ve discovered nonpareil.
The great thing about Sankarabharanam is that it’s however step one of an unimaginable journey of discovery. SPB’s songs have been an important step that drew me into this journey. Over time, I’ve watched the film greater than a dozen instances, and every time, I found one thing new.
On every event, I’ve been drawn into watching the film after I felt like listening to one among its everlasting songs. After marvelling on the devotion the songs induce, I’d really feel impressed to unlock their which means. Then, my urge for food whetted, I invariably watched the film to know the context of the track. This course of, from melody to which means to context, has been a deeply enriching private journey, because it has helped me perceive the non secular ethos we inherit as Indians.
Track with a message
A line from the final track within the film, ‘ragalanantalu nee veyi roopalu bhava roga timirala pokarchu deepalu,’ captures fantastically the essence of this ethos. ‘Your hundreds of kinds are just like the infinite variety of ragas that dispel the darkness of worldly bondage’. That the divine could be attained by way of music (Nada Bramhan), by way of selfless motion (Karma Yoga), by way of pursuit of data (Jnana Yoga) or by way of honest devotion (Bhakti Yoga) is a credo that carries in its embryo the reality that the divine could be attained by way of unshakeable religion in any faith.
On this context, I’ve realised how secularism within the Indian ethos is totally different from the Western conception. The refined however essential distinction is akin to the distinction between the numbers 0 and 1. Although adjoining to one another, metaphysically the numbers seize opposites: 0 conveys nothing whereas 1 captures entirety. The Western conception resembles the quantity zero, that’s, no faith, whereas the Indian idea of secularism resembles the primary, that’s, taking within the entirety of all religions, paths, faiths and beliefs. By being all inclusive, the Indian conception makes no distinction amongst them.
The movie’s title track captures the numerous nuances of our non secular ethos and the position of music. A key stanza describes music as life or essence (sangeetame pranamu) in addition to the staircase (ganame sopanamu) for advaita siddhiki, to achieve the state of Advaita or non-duality, the place the worshipper and the worshipped merge into one another; for amaratva labdhiki, to realize immortality; for satva sadhanaku, endeavor penance to realize concord inside oneself and thereby with the universe and all its beings; and for satya shodhanaku, the pursuit of the everlasting reality.
SPB’s songs on this film uplift one in so some ways. Take the track ‘Shankara, nada sharirapara.’ Each time I take heed to it, I’m moved not solely by the bhakti embedded in it but additionally by the influence that pure devotion is proven to have on the divine. As SPB entreats the divine together with his extremely excessive notes that few can match, the clouds burst, affirming godly disapproval of social discrimination. The track additionally goads one to pursue one’s convictions regardless of social criticism.
SPB’s final track within the movie is by far the very best because it embodies the advantage of niswartha seva or selfless service: ‘Dorakuna itu vanti seva?’ (Will I be blessed with the privilege to serve you?) It presents the best which means to us public servants because the divine permeates each residing being on this planet. Subsequently, serving the folks selflessly is final service to the lord.
For providing us this inseparable complementarity between divine songs and an inspiring film, SPB, you might have lived your individual phrases amaratva labdhiki, that’s, gained immortality. Such lives should solely be celebrated and never mourned.
The author is the Chief Financial Advisor to the federal government.