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Ustad Allaudin Khan

Ustaad Allaudin Khan MY REVERED GURU

A famous disciple of Wazir Khan and an extraor- dinary teacher and performer himself is Ustad Allaud- din Khan of Maihar in Central India. This saintly and learned man became my revered guru, and it is to him that I owe my devotion and love for my mu- sical training.

I saw him for the first time at the All-Bengal Music Conference in December, 1934. In contrast to the other musicians, who were wearing colorful costumes, turbans, and jewels, and were bedecked with medals, he seemed very plain and ordinary, not at all impres- sive. But even in my immaturity, it did not take me long to realize that he had qualities that far outshone the gaudiness of his colleagues. He seemed to shine with a fire that came from within him. Although I did not know enough about music then to discern his musical greatness, I found myself completely over- whelmed by everything about him. Baba has always been a strict disciplinarian with his students, but he had imposed upon himself an even stricter code of conduct when he was a young man, often practicing sixteen to twenty hours a day, doing with very little sleep, and getting along with a minimum of material things. Sometimes, when he practiced, he tied up his long hair with heavy cord and attached an end of the cord to a ring in the ceiling. Then, if he happened to doze while he practiced, as soon as his head nodded, a jerk on the cord would pull his hair and awaken him. From early childhood, Baba was ready and de- termined to make any sacrifice for music. Indeed, his entire life has been devoted to music.

Allauddin Khan was one of the sons of a quite well-to-do peasant family in Bengal. They did not have a great deal of money, but were very rich in the land they owned and the animals they kept. His fam- ily were Bengali Muslims, converted to Islam only three or four generations before. The village they lived in was predominantly Hindu, and they all spoke Bengali. And so, even though his family were Muslim, Baba knew all the ways of Hindus and was well ac- quainted with their customs and ceremonies. Later, he was to follow a way of life that was a beautiful fusion of the best of both Hinduism and Islam.

His father used to play the sitar for the family and for his own pleasure. And Baba's older brother, Afta- buddin, was a very talented and versatile musician who, too, did not perform professionally but played solely to express the music he felt within himself. In his later years, he became a very religious man and was revered equally by the Hindus and the Mus- lims who knew him. So it was natural that the mu- sical inclinations of little Alam, as my guru was called by his family, were intensified by listening to his father with the sitar and his brother playing a variety of instruments, including the flute, harmonium (a small, boxlike keyboard instrument), tabla, pakhawaj, and dotara (a plucked-string instrument with two strings). Young Alam used to steal into the little music room at home to try to play some of his older brother's musical instruments - and was frequently punished for it. When his family realized that Alam had this burning love for music, they became worried that he might decide to be a professional musician and did not encourage him, for music was not thought of as a respectable profession for a young man. When young Alam wanted to leave his home and devote all his life to music, his brother, the influential one in the family, refused to let him go. The family much preferred that he take up regular studies in a school.

Baba has told us that by the time he was eight he could no longer take the strict discipline and enforced study of books. He hated studying and was constantly being punished for pursuing the thing he loved most - music. So, he left his family without saying a word and traveled to a nearby village, where he joined a party of traveling musicians led by a very famous player of the dhol. (Though the drums known as dhol or dholak are found all over India in different sizes and shapes, the dhol mentioned here is indige- nous to Bengal. It is a one-piece drum with two faces and is played with the hand on the right side and with a stick on the left.) Baba told the musicians he was an orphan, and they accepted him into their group, feeling sorry for the lonely little boy. Then he traveled with the musicians as they toured, and they reached the city of Dacca, the capital of the present East Pakistan. While he was a member of this mu- sical group, Baba had the opportunity to learn to play quite proficiently many varieties of drums-the dhol, tabla, and pakhawaj-and he also took up the shahnai and some other wind instruments-clarinet, cornet, and trumpet. During all the time Baba toured with this troupe of musicians and later stayed in Dacca, he did not communicate with his family. They were of course distraught when they realized he had left. They searched and searched for him, but finally had to give up.

BABA'S EARLY ADVENTURES

The first forty years of Baba's life were full of adventure, and he underwent many unusual, almost unbelievable, experiences through his intense love of music. Baba was never clear about how long he was with these musicians or how much time he spent in Dacca, but he says that he arrived in Calcutta when he was about fourteen or fifteen. I remember his tell- ing me about the hardships he suffered there.

He went to one of the most famous Bengali singers of the day, Nulo Gopal, a very devout and orthodox Hindu. Baba instinctively thought it might be better if he said he was a Hindu himself when he approached this teacher, so he took a Hindu name. Nulo Gopal saw the tremendous ardor and talent for singing this boy had, but he warned Baba that he himself had learned music in a very old, traditional style and said that he would teach Baba only if Baba had the pa- tience to learn in the same way. That is, Baba would have to learn and practice nothing other than the sargams, palta, and murchhana (solfeggio, scales, and exercises) for twelve full years. Only then would Nulo Gopal start teaching all the traditional compo- sitions. This, he said, would not take a very long time, because Baba would already have a firm background! Baba did agree to the arrangement, and arduously de- voted himself to his study, but unfortunately, after only seven years or so, Nulo Gopal died. Baba was so grieved by his death that, out of respect to his teacher, he took an oath never to take up singing as his profession. According to Baba, the excellent training he received from this guru in those seven years caused his musical sensitivity to grow to such a degree that he could notate in his mind as well as on paper any music he heard. This ability was to prove very helpful to him later.

During the seven years Baba was learning with Nulo Gopal, he took a job at the Star Theatre (run by Girish Ghosh, the father of Bengali drama) as a tabla player in the orchestra to make a little money, and he had some training in the playing of the violin from an outstanding Indian Christian teacher. Baba also participated in the frequent orchestral parties held by a prominent composer, Habu Dutt, who was the brother of the famed Swami Vivekananda. Habu Dutt had studied both Eastern and Western music and maintained an orchestra for which he composed in raga and tala framework; he used all the Western instruments as well as a few Indian ones. This later inspired Baba to create his own ensemble, the Maihar Band, which was quite famous for many years.

It was often frightening just to hear Baba talk about the hardships he suffered as a young man in Calcutta. The little pay he received at the Star Thea- tre and occasional extra income he got by playing a recital here or there all went to pay for gifts or offer- ings he brought to his teachers-fruits or sweets-in gratitude for their giving him lessons. Most of the time he had his one meal a day at some anna chhatra, a food dispensary provided for the poor by some rich families. (Until very recently, these existed in all the large cities as a common form of charity.) The rest of the day Baba either went hungry or nibbled at a handful of chick peas and drank the water of the river Ganges. He had no one particular place to stay. Sometimes he took a room in a cheap boarding- house, and other times he stayed in the stable of a wealthy family.

When he was in his twenties, Baba went to a city called Muktagacha, then in eastern Bengal, now in East Pakistan. It was here, at the court of Raja Jagat Kishore, that he heard the celebrated sarod player of the time, Ustad Ahmad Ali, and for the first time, he experienced the full effect of the musician and the beauty of the music. In his studies under Nulo Gopal, Baba had felt he was approaching the field of strict classical music, but when his guru died, he thought he had reached only the threshold of the musical sanctuary. He realized he needed another good teacher to elevate him to a higher level in his playing and understanding. So, he decided just then, in the Raja's court, that he must take this musician as his guru and learn to play the sarod. Baba's burning desire to learn and a recommendation from the Raja per- suaded Ahmad Ali to accept the boy as his disciple. When Baba began learning from Ahmad Ali, he gave up all his old dilettante musical interests and devoted himself solely to the sarod. The next four years or so were spent living and traveling with his ustad, serving him in every way, even cooking, and learning and practicing music as much as he could.

After some time, Ahmad Ali left the court and traveled to his home, the city of Rampur, taking Baba with him. By this time, Baba had learned a great deal of the art and technique of the sarod and had ab- sorbed most of the knowledge of his ustad. Some- how, he felt that Ahmad Ali was a bit apprehensive about Baba's proficiency and was afraid that Baba might outdo him as a musician. One day, it happened that his guru called Baba and said that he had given him enough taleem (training) and praised him for achieving a fine standard of musicianship. Now, he said, it is time for you to go out and perform, and establish your own reputation, following the tradi- tion of sikkha, dikkha, and parikkha (derivations from the original Sanskrit of shiksha, diksha, and pariksha, which mean training, initiation, and evalua- tion).

Since Rampur was the most important seat of Hin- dustani classical music, Baba was overjoyed when he learned there were almost five hundred musicians who belonged to the court of His Highness the Nawab of Rampur. Out of these, at least fifty ranked among the foremost artists and were famed throughout India. They included singers of dhrupad, dhamar, khyal, tappa, and thumri, as well as players of been, sursringar, rabab, surbahar, sitar, sarangi, shahnai, tabla, pakhawaj, and many other instruments. At the head of all these musicians was the truly great Wazir Khan himself, a member of the Beenkar gharana, and thus of the family of Tan Sen. He was the guru of the Nawab and, in his seat next to the Nawab's throne, enjoyed a position that was unique at that time. After taking leave of Ustad Ahmad Ali, Baba went on a kind of musical "binge," and he met all the ustads and studied a little with a great many of them for a year or so. He was completely intoxicated with the ecstasy of meeting all these great musicians. After Baba settled down a bit, he decided he must finally go to learn from the greatest musician of them all, and the one about whom he had heard so many stories - Wazir Khan.

A GESTURE IN DESPERATION

Ustad Wazir Khan, a direct descendant of Tan Sen, was the greatest living been player of the time. Filled with enthusiasm and bubbling with hope, Baba went off to meet him, but the sentries who guarded Ustad Wazir Khan's gates, frowning at the young man's shabby dress and poor appearance, denied him entrance. In despair, young Allauddin Khan rather melodramatically decided that he would either learn from this great master or give up his life. Nour- ishing these severe thoughts, he bought two tola weight of opium with which to kill himself if neces- sary. But fortunately, he met a mullah (Muslim priest), who dissuaded him from such extreme meas- ures and suggested another plan.

The mullah composed a letter in Urdu on behalf of the young aspirant, explaining how he had come all the way from Bengal especially to learn from Ustad Wazir Khan, and if that were to prove impos- sible, he would swallow a lump of opium and end his life. But there remained the problem of present- ing the letter to the Nawab. While the spirit of des- peration was mounting, young Allauddin happened to hear that the Nawab would soon be on his way to the theater, so he stationed himself on the road, hours ahead, and as the Nawab's vehicle finally ap- proached, he threw himself down in front of it. The police dragged young Allauddin Khan away to face the Nawab, who, when he heard the whole story, was so impressed by the fervor of a young man ready to use such grave methods that he called him to the palace to play for him.

Baba gave a very impressive performance on the sarod and on the violin, and then was asked if he could handle any other instruments. The Nawab was quite amused when Baba, replying, boasted that he could play any instrument available in the palace. So, all the instruments were brought out and, to the astonishment of everyone present, he did just that - one by one, he played them all, and quite deftly, too ! The Nawab asked him if he had any other talents, and Baba said that he could write anything played or sung. The Nawab was overwhelmed when Baba did this easily on the first attempt. The Nawab then sang him a very difficult gamak tan, a complicated embel- lishment in a phrase. Fortunately, young Allauddin had detected that the Nawab was becoming a little annoyed at the thought that such a young man might know more than he, and so he meekly replied that such a tan would be difficult to write down. The Nawab was so pleased at this that, in a benevolent mood, he sent for Ustad Wazir Khan and recom- mended young Allauddin to him as a deserving stu- dent. The Nawab himself called for a large silver tray full of gold sovereigns, sweets, material for new clothing, a ring, and new shoes. All these were given to Wazir Khan on behalf of the disciple, and the binding ceremony between Wazir Khan as guru and Allauddin Khan as shishya took place on the spot.

As Baba has said, from the time he moved to Cal- cutta until he came to Rampur, he had communicated with his family and had visited their home several times. His family, hoping they could give him a reason to stay with them, forced him to take a wife on one of his visits, and later, had him marry a sec- ond time. (Muslims may marry up to four times.) But to their horror, Baba ran away from home on the day after each marriage ceremony. His fanatic love for music left no room for such things as marriage or a family then.

In his first two and a half years as a disciple of Wazir Khan, Baba more or less had the duties of a servant and errand boy to his guru and was not really being taught music by him. Baba was rather unhappy about this, but he still spent as much time as he could practicing what he had learned from Ahmad Ali and others on the sarod. Then one day, there came a telegram to him in care of Wazir Khan, asking him to come home immediately because his second wife had tried to commit suicide and was critically ill. She was an extremely beautiful woman, and the peo- ple of her village had tormented her, saying she could not keep her husband at home for all her good looks, and teased her to such an extent that in her unhap- piness she tried to kill herself. Wazir Khan had the telegram read (it was in English) before passing it on to Baba. He was shocked and not a little angry to learn about this, because Baba had told him that he was completely alone and had no family. Imme- diately, he summoned Baba. After being interrogated, Baba tremblingly revealed the truth. When the great man heard the story, he was deeply moved. He real- ized that this was a young man with an unheard-of, abnormal desire to learn music, a love so strong that he would forsake anything else in life, including the love of two young and beautiful wives.

In tears, Wazir Khan embraced Baba, saying he had never realized any of these things, and he felt ex- tremely sorry that he had not paid any attention to Baba in those two and a half years. Then he advised Baba to go home for a while, and as soon as he had straightened matters out, to return to Rampur. Wazir Khan promised that he would consider Baba as his foremost and best disciple outside of his own family, and said he would teach him all the secrets of the art of music that the members of Tan Sen's family pos- sess. "I'll teach you all the dhrupad and dhamar songs," he said, "and the technique and different baj [styles of playing] of the been, rabab, and sursringar." He qualified his vow, however, by saying he could never permit Baba to play the been, because it is tra- ditionally restricted to the Beenkar gharana - his fam- ily - and he warned that if Baba were to play it Baba would never have an heir and his family would die out. Then Wazir Khan further explained that it would be quite possible for Baba to use all the tech- niques and styles of playing the been on the sarod, and he agreed to teach him to play the rabab and sursringar, two instruments that were going out of use at that time.

Wazir Khan did indeed keep his promises. Baba told us that many years later, when he was serving His Highness the Maharaja of Maihar, one day news arrived that Wazir Khan was on his deathbed. Baba rushed straightway to Rampur to be with his guru. Wazir Khan blessed him before he died, saying that Baba's name and the names of his disciples would live forever and carry on the great tradition of the Beenkar gharana and the glory of Mian Tan Sen.

THE REMARKABLE ''IMPURIST''

Few people have any idea of the contributions Baba has made to the world of music, especially in the in- strumental field. Above all, I feel, he is responsible for enlarging the scope and range of possibilities open to an instrumentalist. He has led us away from the confines of narrow specialization that prevailed in our music really through the first quarter of this cen- tury. Until then, one player would do only music of a light and delicate nature, and another would per- form only romantic compositions, some musicians were purely spiritual and others emphasized the "ma- terialistic" side of the music - the wealth of embel- lishment. Because Ustad Allauddin Khan, as a young man, was taught by so many masters, he learned a variety of styles of singing and playing and acquired a good many instrumental techniques - wind and bowed and plucked-string instruments, and even drums. And so he very naturally incorporated in his playing of the sarod some of the characteristics of diverse vocal styles and of the playing styles asso- ciated with a number of different instruments. He is known mainly as a sarod player, but he also per- formed on several other instruments. He was equally well known as a violinist, and as he did with the sarod, he played the violin with his left hand. Three stringed instruments that he did not perform on in concerts are the been, the sitar, and the surbahar, although he was acquainted with their techniques.

Musicians who follow Baba's example may now choose from a great many vocal and instrumental styles-alap, dhrupad-dhamar, khyal, tarana, tappa, thumri-and synthesize, creating a whole new con- cept in interpretation and performance. Baba faced much criticism in the beginning, as indeed, some of us, as his disciples, have been and are still facing. Early in his career, he was reproached for not playing "pure sarod" when he performed and was criticized for bringing other techniques into his playing. I myself, when I began public appear- ances, faced the charge of not playing "pure sitar" and of having sarod techniques in my music, because I had learned from a sarod player. And I remember clearly that even into the late 1930s, sitar playing was restricted to a very limited dimension, and the players kept to their favorite specialized areas of music. There were some who used a small sitar for the "authentic" sitar baj (here baj means style of playing) and played only medium-slow Masitkhani gats with simple tans (or phrases), a style of composition created by Masit Khan. There were others who played only medium- fast Rezakhani gats and still others who used a rather large sitar and played it more or less in the way one plays the surbahar (a large, deep-sounding instru- ment with very thick strings). I have heard the well- known sitarist Enayat Khan play the alap, jor, and jhala (first three movements of a raga) on the surba- har, then put aside that instrument and take up a small sitar to do the fast Rezakhani gat. His father, Emdad Khan, is known to have done the same thing.

The criticisms of "impurity" of style are likely to come from other musicians who use the same instru- ment, and they and their admirers can cause quite a storm of differing opinion. Also, musicians who do not belong to one strong and well-established gharana are often open to harsh judgments. A musician who is a member of a certain gharana may - and often does - change his style, enriching and expanding it after hearing other musicians and interpreting their ideas in his own way. But, if questioned about this, he has recourse to the shelter of his gharana. He can claim that there is a precedent for what he has done and trace it back through his own gharana's traditions. Often, though, I am amazed that a musician who upholds the highest tradition can be cruelly criticized if he also happens to be a creative artist and brings about many innovations. The great Tan Sen and then Sadarang and even Allauddin Khan faced this sort of criticism early in their careers, but later their "in- novations" became part of our musical tradition, and , were well established through their disciples. That is one of the beauties of Indian classical music - that since the Vedas it has never stood stagnant, but has kept on growing and being enriched by the great creative geniuses of successive generations.

As a teacher, Baba aims at perfecting the hand and finger technique of the student. No matter what in- strument the student may choose, Baba insists that the student who shows promise should also learn to sing the palta, sargams, and other song compositions, carefully delineating the scope of the raga and its distinctive notes and phrases and correctly using the microtones, or shrutis, to give the proper effect to the music and make it come alive. The reason for this is, of course, that the basis of our music is vocal, and it is composed primarily of melody, of embellishment, and of rhythm; any melodic phrase, with or without a definite rhythm, that can be sung can also be played on an instrument, with each instrument's own fea- tures bringing a special quality to the sound. Ac- cording to our tradition, even the instrumentalists are required to have a moderate command of the voice. This makes it easier for them when they take on the role of teacher to instruct their students, merely by singing the gats, or tans, or todas, or even the alap, jor, and jhala. Along with the ability to sing the melodies, Baba recommends that his students learn to play the tabla and acquire a good knowledge of taladhaya (rhythmics). In mastering the funda- mentals, the student learns all the technique of prop- erly handling the instrument of his choice, working in the particular idiom, tonal range, and musical scope of a given instrument by practicing scales, palta, sargams, and bols taught by the guru. Gener- ally, Baba starts with basic ragas like Kalyan for the evening and Bhairav for the morning, first giving, many pieces of "fixed music" in the form of gats, tans, or todas based on the raga. By "fixed music" I do not mean music that is written down as it is in the West; rather I am referring to what we call bandishes, which literally means "bound down," but in this con- text means "fixed." These are vocal or instrumental pieces, either traditional compositions or the teacher's own, that students learn and memorize by playing over hundreds, even thousands, of times, to be able to produce the correct, clear sound, intonation, and phrasing. Thus, Baba lays a solid foundation for the student to know the sanctified framework of the ragas and talas.

When the student, after some years of training, has fairly good control of the basic technique of the in- strument and has learned a few more important morn- ing and evening ragas (Sarang, Todi, Bhimpalasi, Bhairav, Yaman Kalyan, Bihag, and so on) and has some mastery of the fundamentals of solo playing, then he may expand his creative faculties and is encouraged to improvise as he plays. But he has to be careful not to impinge on the purity of the raga. That is, his playing must be correct both in technique and interpretation. The right feeling of a raga is some- thing that must be taught by the guru and nurtured from the germ of musical sensitivity within the stu- dent. Unlike some other musicians, Baba has never been stingy or jealous about passing on to deserving students the great and sacred art that he possesses. In fact, when he is inspired in his teaching, it is as if a floodgate had opened up and an ocean of beautiful and divine music were flowing out. The disciple spends many hours simply listening to his guru, and then he endeavors to fill up the frame of a raga with impro- vised passages born out of the compelling mood of the moment or enlarged through his own attempts at improvisation as his understanding grows and he becomes more familiar with a particular raga. At first, the student may improvise only a fraction of his performance, but as his musicianship matures, so his confidence grows, and he improvises more and more. It is, in a way, like learning to swim. It is exhilarating in the beginning to feel your own body moving through the water, but you are afraid to swim far and there is always the fear of losing control somehow. So it is with a raga. You are always a little afraid at first that you will make mistakes, play the wrong notes, and go out of a raga or lose count of the rhythm as the raga carries you along, but your confidence keeps growing, and one day, you feel you have complete control over what you are playing. A truly excellent and creative musician of the Hindustani system will improvise anywhere from fifty to ninety per cent of his music as he performs, but this freedom can come about only after many many years of basic study and discipline and organized training (if he has a good deal of talent to begin with), and after profound study of the ragas, and finally, if he has been blessed with guru-kripa, the favor of the guru.

When I myself start to perform a raga, the first thing I do is shut out the world around me and try to go down deep within myself. This starts even when I am concentrating on the careful tuning of the sitar and its tarafs (sympathetic strings). When, with con- trol and concentration, I have cut myself off from the outside world, I step onto the threshold of the raga with feelings of humility, reverence, and awe. To me, a raga is like a living person, and to establish that in- timate oneness between music and musician, one must proceed slowly. And when that oneness is achieved, it is the most exhilarating and ecstatic moment, like the supreme heights of the act of love or worship. In these miraculous moments, when I am so much aware of the great powers surging within me and all around me, sympathetic and sensitive listeners are feeling the same vibrations. It is a strange mixture of all the intense emotions - pathos, joy, peace, spirituality, eroticism, all flowing together. It is like feeling God. All these emotions may vary according to the style and approach of playing and to the nature and princi- pal mood of the raga. We Indians say that in a per- formance of our classical music, the listener plays a great role. It is this exchange of feeling, this strong rapport between the listener and the performer, that creates great music. But wrong vibrations emanating from egoistic, insensitive, and unsympathetic listeners can diminish the creative feelings of the musician. Al- though I am not a Tan Sen, at times I have seen miracles happen with my music. Perhaps my playing does not cause rain to fall from the skies, but it has made tears fall from the eyes of my listeners. The miracle of our music is in the beautiful rapport that occurs when a deeply spiritual musician performs for a receptive and sympathetic group of listeners.

A LEGENDARY TEMPER

Besides being famous for his performances and in- novations in music, Baba was also very well known throughout the musical world for his temper. I was rather apprehensive about meeting him for the first time in person. But I still remember how surprised I was when I found him to be so gentle and unassuming, endowed with the virtue of vinaya (humility) in the true Vaishnav spirit. It is only when he is wrapped up utterly in his music that he becomes a stern taskmas- ter, for he cannot tolerate any impurities or defects in the sacred art of music, and he has no sympathy or patience with those who can. His own life has been one of rigorously self-imposed discipline, and he ex- pects no less from his students. Baba's views on celi- bacy and especially on intoxication through alcohol or drugs are extremely rigid and severe. He strongly in- sists that the students follow brahmacharya - for the disciple, a traditional Hindu way of life that includes only the absolute essentials of material needs. This way, with no thoughts of fine clothes, fancy foods, sex or complicated love affairs or anything else that satis- fies and encourages physical desires, the student can channel all of his powers and forces, both mental and physical, into the discipline of his music. Music, to Baba, is a strict, lifelong discipline that requires long and careful training, and if a student is not prepared to regard music in this way, he had better not take it up at all.

Unfortunately, Baba no longer travels or performs now, although on special occasions he may be seen playing the violin or conducting the famous Maihar Band (an ensemble of Indian and Western instru- ments) of which he is still the director. He also con- tinues as Principal of the Maihar College of Music which he attends every day. In 1952, Baba was made a Fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi (National Academy of Performing Arts), and in 1958, he was awarded the Padma Bhusan, an honorary title for out- standing citizens, by the President of the academy. Viswa Bharati, Tagore's university, gave him the hon- orary degree of Doctor. Thus, honor and recognition came to him in the evening of his life, but he remains, following the saying in the Geeta, unmoved and un- ruffled as he pursues his work and the study of music, never bothering, never worrying or looking back. Baba himself believes he is well over a hundred years old, and his centenary has already been marked. His true age is not known, because records have not been kept, but what does it matter if he is over a hundred or nearing a hundred? What he has accom- plished in his lifetime many others could not do if they had three hundred years to live. He is respected and well regarded by everyone, including the most orthodox Hindu Brahmins, as a rishi, responsible for safeguarding traditions, for developing, teaching, and passing on to disciples the art of music.

There are so many things one could add about Ustad Allauddin Khan. He belongs to a school that seems so far removed from our modern industrial era, and yet, in every way, he has been ahead of his time, injecting a new significance and life into Indian in- strumental music. With him will pass an era that upheld the dedicated, spiritual outlook handed down by the great munis and rishis who considered the sound of music, nad, to be Nada Brahma - a way to reach God.

Posted on RMIC by Rajan Parrikar as part of Great Masters Series
From: My Music My Life by Ravi Shankar (1968)

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