All this started because of my helplessness. When I finally saw that I couldn’t do anything for my loved one when he was swallowing the pain of his scary headache without voicing a syllable, I was desperate. So I went through, what felt like a gargantuan number of websites, listed a few ragas, Ahirbhairavi, Bhimpalas, Hindol, to start off with, found some nice songs and felt pretty sure that I was doing something helpful. Thus started my venture into music therapy. But then, I didn’t feel connected with these songs. I felt as if I was holding a fistful of sand. The tighter I tried to hold on, the faster they slipped away. I doubted my ability to hold on to the songs with a scary headache. Thus I gave up on the institution of music therapy.
It’s funny how you look for something with no success and one day you just stumble upon it when least expected. That was how I found the song, “Ba Phalguna Ravi Darshanake”. Phalguna is the last month of the year, the very end of winter, the unfortunate one who does not get to watch the glory of the sun. The poet thus invites Phalguna, the month, to witness the glorious, emerging sun.
The words are so powerful that my I started hyperventilating. I felt lightheaded when I listened to the song for the first time. “Well,” you may say, “that’s what happens when you hold your breath for so long, honey. Your body needs oxygen.” But that, my friends, was an experience out of this world.
Kuvempu has always been a devotee of nature. It shows in every piece of his creation. So there was no surprise in the opening lines where he compares nature and the forest to a temple.
As you might have well guessed, I did listen to the song over and over, but I couldn’t get over the powerful words and the bold, yet soothing music. IÂ’d also once made a mental note to get up early the next morning to check whether the sun actually rises the way the poet describes. He says that the sun ascends as a golden ball, bathing in the okuli (saffron water) and that from the sun flows the river of the spirit of life. Somehow, I was not so impressed when the same was said by my teacher in primary school in different words – “sun is the source of all life forms”.
The poet says, “Pratibheya homagniya mele kavi mana taanuriduridele” which translates to, “The poet’s heart is awakened by the ocean of talent around him.” I have no doubt that anyone who hears this would glow and find bliss.
When you listen to the closing lines of the song, a warmth seeps into your heart and peace settles over your mind. You feel alive and well. I feel a rush of gratitude towards God when I take in such rich words, and when I can feel the way I felt towards the song. If this is not music therapy, I don’t know what is.
Aparna R (Computer Science and Engineering)
Illustration by Granthika Chatterjee (Biotech)