In the world of foreign seekers who dedicate their lives to classical Indian music
I grew up in the company of European music and I was always fascinated by classical music. The journey that started from Iran in search of it came to a halt in India. I listened to Indian music wholeheartedly. At the same time, the deep voice of Pakhawaj touched the soul, and the mind gave consent – This is my instrument. I stayed in India for about four months. But today all the wisdom till now has been erased by this time. Discipline, perseverance, unconditional love. What did I not learn here? In this culture, I was constantly changing.
A student of biophysics working as a researcher in an environmental optics laboratory in Budapest Hungary and an artist who learns pakhawaj from a devout guru like Guru Pandit Mohan Shyam Sharma. These two dimensions are in the same person. An angle that is very different from each other and yet connected by a different bond. When my friends, who are looking at me from the outside, often ask me such questions, I see a different level of relationship between these two spaces within me.
Saying that science subjects like physics and biology are only useful in the laboratory and for answering physical questions, it hurts to be surrounded by a fence. It would not be necessary to know the logic behind everything. However, how chaotic it would be if there was no science in the traditional rules of Indian raga singing and the movement of tones in it. Even the visible rhythms have subtle calculations of the volumes, and the rhythm has the exact math, so it has all the thrill.
This is all I have been experiencing for the last ten years.
In this sense I came to the realm of Indian music a long time after I was born at the age of eighteen or nineteen, listening to European music and growing up in the music of guitar and drums. I had a passion for traditional art, so I thought I should listen to the music of the world beyond Europe, and that’s how it started, starting with Iran. The journey to India was inevitable, or in fact, Iranian music aroused my curiosity about Indian music.
But when I started listening to Indian music, I saw the deep-rooted thoughts in it, the evergreen seeds of its association with nature, and realized the uniqueness of this music. Then I started listening to Pandit Nikhil Banerjee Vilayat Khansaheb Ustad Shahid Parvez and of course Pandit Ravi Shankar playing the same instrument in different styles. I was fascinated by the Indian sound and the musical elegance in it, but this relationship was not going to be one-sided by me, so I decided to make friends with it and the way to understand it was education.
I indeed got a guru who taught tabla in my own country, but I soon found out that this teaching created more curiosity in me. During this time all other music was closed to my mind and of course my ears too and I took a strict vow to listen only to Indian music.
It was a vow taken by a man like me who grew up in a foreign land and was raised on different music to understand Indian music. While listening to Dhrupad in this music, I felt that the powerful sound of Pakhwaza coming with the accompaniment of voices is touching not only the mind but also the soul.
In the concert in front of the Guru, I saw Pandit Mohan Sharma accompanying many eminent artists. Our first meeting was on skype. The Guru had an instrument and the disciple who wanted to learn it was sitting empty-handed. Listening to the history of Pakhwaja, I was confused as I did not understand the context of many things I heard.