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Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Conversely, there is the law of “nishkama karma” it says that for every action in which there is no embedded expectation, there is a reaction that is far greater than the action. This comes from a source other than that which is being acted upon. Newton’s third law can be experimentally proved while the law of “nishkama karma” can be proven experientially. Check out things through experience. It is a very powerful mechanism for validating the truth.

Today the young person has got a lot of freedom to explore. With the internet, the mobile phone and the television the youth is being exposed to the best and the worst at a very early age. In previous generations, social and familial structures had created some norms based on the experience which had to be adhered to. But with globalization, all rules have broken down and the inexperienced teenager (or even sometimes the small child) is left to find her own way.

One often wonders why our ancestors called the world an illusion when in fact it seems so real! Watching a close relative with her newly acquired daughter suddenly provided me with an answer. The mind keeps on flitting when actually we want it to be fixed as expressed in a Beatles song “To keep my mind from wandering”… This is an extremely difficult task and even after many years of medita¬tion, great people have failed in this endeavor.

Ustad Bismillah Khan was one of the finest human beings I have ever met. He was a great musician – we all know that. But he used music to transcend it. “Yeh to ek ibadat hai (This is just a prayer)”, he would say. He was on a different level, and it showed on his face – almost childlike and smiling. At namaaz time, he would request all guests to leave. He was one of the most beautiful examples of our composite heritage.

As a child, my parents took me to many ashrams. I have fond memories of watching The Mother playing tennis at Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, of the smell of freshly baked brown bread and of witnessing the table football game there. I remember the serenity of the Shahenshahi Ashram in Rajpur, the beautiful bhajans of the Swamiji and the gushing waterfall not very far away. The Shivananda Ashram in Rishikesh was very special. Swami Chidananda had an all-pervading glow in his eyes. He would attract people without speaking a word.

A young person today is much more aware than someone a few decades ago. This could be due to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and the technological revolution. However, time is required for information to become knowledge. A greater time lag is needed for it to transform into wisdom. Once a direction becomes clear through knowledge, a lot of hard work is required to acquire wisdom. The process also needs patience, a certain degree of faith and an open mind, all of which are at a premium today.

An era has ended with the passing away of Ustad Rahim Fahimmuddin Dagar.  Artistes of his times like Pt. Malkarjun Mansur , Smt. Gangubai Hangal, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Pt. Ram Chatur Mallicik, Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar, Ustad Asad Ali  Khan & other’s used music to transcend the form. They had reached a stage when they had very few desires left. I remember visiting Pt. Ram Chatur Mallk’s residence in Darbhanga, Ustad Bismillah Khan’s barsati room in Varanasi & Smt. Gangubai Hangal’s little house in Dharwad.

When Ustad Asad Ali Khan passed away a few years ago, it suddenly struck me that future generations would not possibly hear the Rudra Veena played in the majestic ‘Khandarvani’ style, that he had mastered. A legacy passed down through many generations has only one doubtful inheritor. When the tiger was getting extinct the dwindling numbers were carefully recorded & great efforts were & are being made to make sure that our children and their progeny do not miss out on this beautifully evolved animal.

Swami Vivekananda once asked Swami Ramakrishna how he could also see God. Swami Ramakrishna replied that experience (anubhav) was one of the greatest aspects of life. It is through this that one can have a glimpse of the Almighty. He went on to say that Swami Vivekananda had read too much and that came in his way not allowing him to experience the truth. This day and age is particularly designed for ‘experience’. Faith has fallen to an all-time low and can only be revived in an individual by his or her own personal experience.

SPIC MACAY, recently concluded its International Convention at IIT Delhi commemorating forty years of the movement . When we started  at the very same precincts  most people were of the opinion that there were many more important problems that faced humankind. Many of my colleagues, friends and relatives often asked me the question (without actually asking me) as to why I was wasting my time on 'Gaana Bajaana' when I could use it to do good research work.