Shri is yet another raga, that makes me feel pure and sublime.

“Just as one may distinguish between kinds of ragas, one may also distinguish between different kinds of rasas that a raga evokes,” begins Bharathi Prathap, a performing artist from Bangalore trained in the Agra Rangilla gharana tradition of Ustad Faiyyaz Khan.

“My favourite raga is Lalit because it blends several rasas of joy and pathos. It also suggests the atmosphere of early morning freshness. Having said that, I must reiterate that every raga, when learnt from the Guru, for those moments when it is being elucidated, occupies a very special place in my heart. My Guru Lalit Rao devotes three sessions to a raga, in order to bring out its beautiful elements and subtle nuances. Invariably, each session unfolds different aspects of the raga, and one is able to develop an automatic affinity to and involvement with the raga.

Pure and sublime

“Shri is yet another raga, that makes me feel pure and sublime. In fact, I think it takes me close to divinity itself. Bandishes, like Hari Ke Charan, when sung at sunset, bring to the fore the quality of the sandhiprakash ragas: twilight turning into night. Same is true of Bhageshwari, another favourite of mine, which is predominantly enveloped in Shringar rasa; it is joyful with traces of karuna.

“Actually, as we are taught to understand the bandish, and as each bandish is coloured with a single emotion, ragas can evoke different emotions, appealing to different sensibilities, each depending on the sentiment of the bandish. At one end of the spectrum, one is compelled by the musical imperative: to immerse oneself in the emotion that the lyrics of the bandish evoke. At the other is the musical directive exercised in the choice of raga, which depends on the self rather than the outside,” concludes Bharathi.

JYOTI NAIR