By Anindita Baidya
On the occasion of his 150th Birth Anniversary, I gathered up enough courage to write some lines. I am too small to write anything about Gurudev so I decided to pen down only about my experience with Gurudev’s works.
I was introduced to Gurudev when I was baby. I knew him as the man with interesting hairstyle, a long beard and intense eyes, in that large photograph in the drawing room of our quarter at Ranchi. That photograph never ceased to send some waves of awe as well as fear, perhaps because of that long beard. I remember a dream when I was a child; I dreamt that Baba and I were onboard a bus and he pointed towards a person saying, “Look, Rabindranath is travelling in the same bus” and I saw this man with that same long beard, counting some cash! I talked about my strange dream in the morning and my Ma only smiled.
Later, Gurudev came into life in the form of institutionalised, organised music school affiliated to the Rabindra Bharati. However, even before that, I was already growing up fantasising holidays as ‘Aaj dhaaner khete, rodru chhayaaye...” and admiring the mystery of ‘Aalo amaar aalo’., courtesy my mother. And my music teacher introduced me further into Rabindrasangeet.
At that age, I did not quite understand the meaning of those lyrics. ‘Aamraa shobaai raja..’ for me, was a beautiful, enjoyable song, the notations being simple, in Daadra tal which could for sure fetch me a distinction at the exam. However, my first song in presence of a crowd, I remember, was ‘Tumi kemon kore gaan koro hey guni!’ during my Part I examination when I was very small. The examiner and the room full of examinees appreciated my song. My last song sung in an exam was ‘Chorono dhoritey diyo go amaare...’ about 23 years ago! Everyone will agree that this is not an easy song to sing! With mind occupied with not missing the rhythm, following the tabla, I had sung it with low self confidence!
The best part of Rabindrasangeet to me, has been the Sanchari; I just loved the change in the tune and the graveness of the Sanchari. Be it, ‘Chomokibe phaagunbero pobone...’ or ‘Chiro-pipaashito baashonaa bedonaa...’, I just loved to repeat the Sanchari again and again.
My academics changed into love, dedication and worship only after my vagabond spirit was released from the boundaries of organised learning. Strangely, only after I stopped taking lessons in music that I started enjoying it.
From songs, I was introduced to Gurudev’s dance-drama and of course poetry.
But Gurudev as the philosopher, I recognised only after I started my job-life. When life had rendered to me some share of sadness and happiness, loss as well as benevolence, I took a quiet shelter in his works.
During difficult days at work, Gurudev’s works based on the Upanishad were my source of sustenance. I went to work after listening to ‘Shobaaro majhaare tomaare sheekaar koribo hey...’, I marvelled at the infinity of the cosmic power with ‘Bhubono joraa aashono khaani...’, I gathered strength with, ‘Aamaar poraan binaaye ghumiye aache Amrito-gaan...’.
What attracted me most was that Gurudev’s writings on the Almighty never described any form; Almighty was not a man or a woman, not even a human form. The unending power was described as ‘Groho-taaroko chandro topono, byakulo druto bege, koriche snaano, koriche paano, Akkhyo kironey...’. Almighty was a ‘Satya-sundoro’.
Gurudev’s works helped me tide over my father’s death when I understood that death is the beginning of an eternal bliss with the ever present stream of light. ‘Amar ei deho khaani tule dhoro, tomaar ei devalay e prodeep koro..’ and thus I let go off my father knowing that one day I will also be one with that light!
At the border of India and Pakistan at Wagah, I once stood, questioning what made human beings divide and harvest aggression when we all are same. Gurudev’s words, ‘..where the world has not been broken into fragments by narrow domestic walls....’ strengthened my thoughts and I believed that I was not wrong!
Gurudev has thus been in every nuance that life has offered. What could be more passionate than ‘Momo hridayo rokto-raage tobo chorono diyechi raangiyaa’ and ‘......tobo odhoro ekechi shudha-bishe mishe momo shukho-dukho bhangiyaa’.
What could be a more retiring submission than, ‘Tomaare koriyaa niyo go amaare, felonaa amaare chhhoraaye...!’
I had sung this song 23 years ago with a low confidence, in presence of the examiner but today when I stand before no examiner but only before the Almighty, tears do not stop while humming, ‘Bikaaye, bikaaye dino aaponaare, paari na phiritey duyaare duyaare..’ when I am tired but then Gurudev is there to lift up the spirit with, ‘Klaanti maar khoma koro Prabhu..’
So here I am, in full awe and inspiration with Gurudev but not one bit of ability to write about the great Philosopher.
In love, worship, music, prayer and life’s rhythm, my humble salutation to GURUDEV!