What does a great Guru impart to a deserving Sishya?

Apart from giving the knowledge of a system, technique and ragas, most importantly a great guru shares a certain “Drishti” (sight, incite or vision) with his deserving sishya who is willing to perceive and accept it with gratitude. My father-guru would always say, “I am beholden to my gurus for giving or showing me a drishti in music, so that I am able to interpret a raga in its true colours as far as I understand. They had such Drishti that the entire raga presented itself in all its splendorous brightness. I can only see some lights flickering now and then”. (The humility of this man was simply phenomenal). This, I suppose, is a great gift, a treasure that a great guru can bestow upon a truly deserving sishya. Drishti in music is the vision to see, feel and experience the soul/atman of every raga. It is much more than a codified and quantified grammar of the raga. It is how the raga behaves, lives and reveals itself. Grammar of a raga is only the skeleton. It has to be infused with flesh, blood and a soul to make it come alive and here comes the role of Drishti which is imparted by the guru if you are worthy of receiving and accepting it.

Since I learnt at the feet of a great guru, I will venture to give a concrete example which could baffle some musicians/maestros, albeit by sticking my neck out. Many musicians truly say that the Komal Gandhar of Todi is of a lower Shruti. But not many of them have perceived the nature of Komal Rishabh in Todi. The Shruti of Komal Rishabh in Todi is affected by the lower Shruti of Komal Gandhar and it is of a lower Shruti! One of the mysteries of Todi is manifested by the communication between these two Ragaswaras. How lower in Shruti these two ragaswaras are, has to be learnt from a guru who has this Drishti.  I am grateful to God, guru and the Gharana who have taught me to realize these insights in music.

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