By Johan Vedel.
Should I describe my music teacher, his good qualities would be the best way. In this short article, I will mention some instances in which I see these qualities showing. First of all, he is a musician of God’s grace. Also he is a singer of no mean merit. His way of playing makes one feel a great amount of awe. His playing is most powerful, sometimes even going beyond the ability of the instrument, becoming one with it. I experienced this myself.
When I mentioned this to him, his answer was, it is God’s grace. This way of relating to the divine world is apparent on many occasions. Seldom will he let an opportunity pass to use the well-known expression inshallah, may it be God’s will. This is his humility in relation to the divine that often shows it self in whatever he does. As an example: we will make a concert, inshallah, inshallah we’ll do the bandhi, which is the act of bonding with a teacher in the Indian tradition.
His wife just gave birth to a boy. Before this, he told me, you will become an uncle, inshallah. This, I believe, makes for a relaxed, open way of relating to life. It also shows his belief, that everything happens for the best.
My teacher often has a light, happy mind. At the same time, he is very serious with his music. He does not allow negative circumstances to overtake him, mentally. He doesn’t sleep very much, only 4 or 5 hours at night. Normally this is something that happens to experienced meditators, but in this case, I believe his music has the same effect.
Amongst other qualities is the fact that he never puts himself above anyone in status, maintaining a relationship of the heart instead of a relationship of status. This way of relating to people is something that he generally does to his students and friends. There is no distinction as to whether this person is a student and this person is his family. His students are all his brothers and sisters, and they become a part of his already quite extensive family. Half a year ago he gave bandhi to an older man, who wanted to learn music from him. This concluded with the words, welcome to the family.
Wherever he performs, he is one of the most venerated and respected musicians, even though he is quite young, 38. He once played at an all-night concert at which he accompanied no less than 9 different musicians, including his father. At another occasion, he arranged an impromptu private concert, played to me via Skype.
I was in Spain and had had quite a great chock. A person that I know, had verbally attacked me, and I had to escape as fast as I could. My Guruji and I had set up a lesson on the day after. I told him that today my brain was working only on half speed, to which he called upon his nephew, asking him to play me the raga Shyam Kalyan, a raga of the night. A tabla player joined him at a later point and thus made the experience more complete. Some days later, he called me again to make sure I was alright. He is also one of the few Indians that I know who speaks Norwegian. The reason for this is quite clear: he has been trained musically to listen, remember and learn. This can be used in other areas of life, such as to learn languages. One of his students lives in Oslo, and has taught him quite a good deal of Norwegian.
My Guruji is to me a source of inspiration in the way that he carries himself through life, and his often worriless, light state of mind in so doing. This is my Guruji as I see him. Here is music by my teacher and his father:
Ustad Kamal Sabri plays the sarangi. His father, Ustad Sabri Khan, is probably the best sarangi player from the older generation. Ustad Kamal Sabri lives in Delhi and is the seventh generation in a family of sarangi musicians. His music linage is called Senia Moradabad Gharana. Moradabad refers to an area outside of Delhi.
His music publications include Family Lineage, Rivaayat, Best of Indian Sarangi and Sarangi Meditation.
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