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Preserving the ancient tradition of Dhrupad music: New school proposed for India
by Global Good News staff writer
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9 April 2009
The ancient sounds of Dhrupad, the primordial music of the Vedic civilization of India, once reverberated in temples and courts, yet nearly fell silent over many centuries. A recent concert has given the venerable art form new breath and the promise of a school to preserve the great tradition.
Dhrupad, the earliest form of Ghandarva Veda music, utilizes the dynamics of sound reverberating inside the body to enliven the subtlest levels of consciousness. Pandit Ashish Sankrityayan, a master Dhrupad singer, recently performed in MERU, Holland before an assembly of leaders of the Global Country of World Peace—the worldwide educational organization established by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Founder of the Transcendental Meditation Programme.
Using Vedic mantras—sounds which have no literal meaning—to produce precise vibrations, the singer also performs specific gestures, called mudras, which direct the energy of the sounds within the body. Said Pandit Sankrityayan, 'Dhrupad uses the power of sound and movement to operate at a very subtle level of 'no sound'—prana—which is primordial consciousness.'
'In ancient times, Dhrupad was performed to enliven the fine level of intelligence of the Rajas and the collective consciousness of the people, the fine level of intelligence that keeps everything administered according to Natural Law,' said the Global Country of World Peace leader who invited Pandit Sankrityayan to Holland.
One of only ten remaining master Dhrupad singers, Pandit Sankrityayan dedicated his life to the preservation of this tradition years ago, after learning that Maharishi was very pleased with his performance. Pandit Sankrityayan expressed his heartfelt feeling that 'Dhrupad is imperiled. There is a last thread remaining, and it is a matter of great concern to me that it is preserved and continues.'
Everyone present was deeply inspired by the performance. Raja Harris Kaplan, Raja (Administrator) of Invincible India for the Global Country of World Peace, assured Pandit Sankrityayan of the organization's support for his desire to establish a school 'to train the young generation in this precious aspect of Vedic knowledge which Maharishi valued so much'.
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