What does a learner take from the taleem by the Guru ?

Musical taleem from my father-guru was not just a lesson or a class. It was more of a valuable and unforgettable session with him because he had a treasure to share with his disciples. The time spent with him cannot be measured by hours or days or months or even years. It was an experience of a lifetime in music.

“What you are getting is not just knowledge, Son, but a sacred Vidya”, he would say.

I for one knew how sacred he held this Vidya to be. Knowledge can be got from any source, but what you get from the Guru is the ‘experience’ of music. Not just the technique of singing, but the music itself, provided you are willing to accept it in that spirit. That is because the Guru has spent an enormous amount of time with music, lived it all through and so he is a maker of music.

As a learner, I would be drowned in this sea of musical experience of my Guru. He often told me

“When you are in the world of music, nothing else exists,”

He would say and take me into its realms where I would be struck dumb with all that he had to show. An unquestioned devotion to the Guru and to what he represents is required of the learner. It is not enough you have paid his “fees” and you expect him to teach for a stipulated period and the “lesson” is over! The Guru-shishya relationship is something more profound than material gain for him. This relationship, this bonding between the two is on a higher plain of spiritual experience to both. And both the Guru and the shishya owe an allegience to each other. This is what we call the guru-shishya parampara. Performing arts have thrived in our country due to this unbroken tradition.

A learner takes not just the music from his Guru. He takes a way of life from the Guru and what he represents. From every session with the Guru, the learner takes his ideals, aims, the depth of his application, in short, his concept of the meaning of life. The singing session “lesson” is only a small part of what the learner takes with him. The learner takes a whole new vision from his Guru. In a Vidya like classical music which is imparted by a Guru, the voice and the ear together form on complete organ and the learner learns it through aural-oral means. And a good Guru will always tell his shishya that nothing must be allowed to interfere with the regularity of the hours devoted to taleem from him. Masters therefore said that music is “guru mukhein” i.e through the Guru.

By Panditji