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Stories from my Learning Sitar Time Part 2

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  • adesh_widmer
    Stories from my Learning Sitar Time Part 2 I enjoy recalling the time around 1977 when my wife Ajita and I were not yet students of Sri Chinmoy, but were being
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 30, 2004
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      Stories from my Learning Sitar Time Part 2

      I enjoy recalling the time around 1977 when my wife Ajita and I were
      not yet students of Sri Chinmoy, but were being unconsciously
      guided. I always had the feeling of some protection and guidance
      even at that time.

      In Sri Lanka, the two of us got a tiny room in the house belonging
      to the friend of our new Indian music teacher, the late P.V.
      Nandasiri. The room had two windows - one on each side - that were
      even with the ground. People from the street could see right into
      our room. As Europeans, we were quite an unusual site for the Sri
      Lankans, and the windows gave these village people ample opportunity
      to feed their curiosity. Some came close to the window to stare at
      us. Children used to call "hello" to us. The youngest child of the
      landlord called us not by our names, but just called us "hello" (he
      was about 2 years old).

      The room had a cupboard, a table, one shelf and our two beds in it -
      and was completely full, leaving hardly any space to turn oneself.
      The furniture was half used by the house owner, and so we had almost
      no space for our own things. Only one of us could sit on the ground
      and practice his instrument in this room; the other one had to
      practice in the living room, which was adjacent with no door. So it
      was rather difficult to concentrate on your own practice without
      getting disturbed by the other one.

      In the room was also the water pump for the well. This pump was on
      every morning and evening for 30 minutes - not too loud, though.
      (The water for bathing had to be pumped up into a watertank above
      the roof so as to get running water in the house.) Sometimes we had
      crickets hiding in some corner of our room, making a real noise
      during the night. Luckily, there was a very very nice servant boy
      who found them, caught them by hand, and put them into the grass
      outside.

      We did not get up at 6 a.m. for meditation at that time, as we went
      to bed mostly quite late after getting lessons at our teacher's
      house. But every morning at 6.30, the house owner switched on the
      radio full blast with news and advertisments. I still remember the
      sound of it. Of course, we did not understand a word. Anyway, it was
      a start into the day.

      Still now when I remember, I do feel sorry for the landlady who was
      home all day and had to endure the noise (rather than sound) of our
      practice the whole day long - just exercises - no songs or melodies.
      And this from two different instruments, each played in its own way.
      Every afternoon she used to sleep in another adjacent room with only
      a curtain, and as we were not at all used to sleeping during the
      daytime, we still went on practicing. When we asked whether it
      disturbed her, she answered "no, no." I think she really did still
      sleep, although after a few months we found out that a Sri Lankan
      would never say "yes" to such a question. Although a Sri Lankan will
      answer with a simple "yes" or "no," it is the sound and the way of
      saying this "yes" or "no" and the nod of the head in a certain way
      which indicates the grade of his agreeing or not agreeing at all
      with what is asked.

      The first thing our teacher was worried about when he arranged this
      room for us at his friend's house was our food. He said: "But the
      food will be a problem." He knew that we would not be able to eat
      this hotter than the hottest rice and curry - and we were already
      vegetarians at that time. I told him: "I don't want this to be a
      problem." But it turned out to become one of the biggest problems
      for us.

      More next time
      Adesh


      --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, adesh_widmer
      <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      >
      > Stories from my Learning Sitar Time Part 1
      >
      > (or how Sri Chinmoy guides his students long before they actually
      > become his students)
      >
      > In 1976 when I was on my first trip to India (I was 22 and my wife
      > Ajita was travelling with me), we went into a music store and asked
      > for a sitar to hold. When I held it in my hands, such a thrill went
      > through my body that I knew I must learn to play this instrument.
      >
      > At home, after a few weeks I bought an instrument in Switzerland,
      > and I did not feel playing it was very difficult.
      >
      > In January 1977, a great sitarist gave a concert in my home town. I
      > tried to see him, leaving a message at his hotel, but he was not in
      > the mood to see me. So at the concert that evening, I had a real
      > spiritual experience, of which I can only remember that it gave me
      > another push to learn this instrument. At that concert, Abarita was
      > distributing leaflets for a lecture which we later attended. We even
      > visited the Sri Chinmoy Center in Zurich, where there were only a
      > handful of students at that time. Our veil of ignorance was however
      > too thick, and we did not yet become students of Sri Chinmoy (it
      > took another 10 years). I remember that I helped promote another of
      > Abarita's lectures. Then I found a job in a cinema for a few weeks.
      >
      > I did not know what to do with my life. I practiced sitar without a
      > teacher, read spiritual books (not Sri Chinmoy's however), and
      > planned to go to India. We applied for an Indian visa, but were
      > refused; so I somehow got an inner message to go to Sri Lanka
      > instead.
      >
      > Within one or two weeks, Ajita and I were on a plane (Air Ceylon) to
      > Sri Lanka.
      >
      > In Sri Lanka we again went to a music store and inquired whether
      > they might know any teacher I could learn the sitar from (and Ajita
      > the violin). They said that they didn't know anyone, which I knew
      > was untrue - but we had learnt from our trip to India that we just
      > have to wait and see. So we waited for perhaps another 20 minutes in
      > that (quite small) store.
      >
      > Suddenly one of the workers said, "Here is a teacher." What Luck!
      > Sri Lanka's best musician he was, which of course we did not know,
      > but we asked him whether we could learn music from him. He agreed.
      > His name was P.V. Nandasiri (he passed away in March this year.) He
      > said he will come to see us at our hotel - he really visited and
      > gave us our first lessons in tabla, as I had no sitar at hand yet.
      > To know the basics of tabla is essential to learn real Indian
      > Classical Music.
      >
      > He visited us every other day, and at last he said that as we came
      > all the way from Switzerland just to learn music, he would also take
      > the matter very seriously and teach us everything he could. He
      > arranged for us to stay at the place of a friend of his who was a
      > film producer. This was only five minutes walking distance from our
      > teacher's house.
      >
      > more follows.
      > Adesh
    • kamalakanta47
      Thank you, Adesh. I will be eagerly waiting for the next chapter. Kamalakanta
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 1, 2004
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        Thank you, Adesh. I will be eagerly waiting for the next chapter.


        Kamalakanta

        --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, adesh_widmer
        <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        >
        > Stories from my Learning Sitar Time Part 2
        >
        > I enjoy recalling the time around 1977 when my wife Ajita and I were
        > not yet students of Sri Chinmoy, but were being unconsciously
        > guided. I always had the feeling of some protection and guidance
        > even at that time.
        >
        > In Sri Lanka, the two of us got a tiny room in the house belonging
        > to the friend of our new Indian music teacher, the late P.V.
        > Nandasiri. The room had two windows - one on each side - that were
        > even with the ground. People from the street could see right into
        > our room. As Europeans, we were quite an unusual site for the Sri
        > Lankans, and the windows gave these village people ample opportunity
        > to feed their curiosity. Some came close to the window to stare at
        > us. Children used to call "hello" to us. The youngest child of the
        > landlord called us not by our names, but just called us "hello" (he
        > was about 2 years old).
        >
        > The room had a cupboard, a table, one shelf and our two beds in it -
        > and was completely full, leaving hardly any space to turn oneself.
        > The furniture was half used by the house owner, and so we had almost
        > no space for our own things. Only one of us could sit on the ground
        > and practice his instrument in this room; the other one had to
        > practice in the living room, which was adjacent with no door. So it
        > was rather difficult to concentrate on your own practice without
        > getting disturbed by the other one.
        >
        > In the room was also the water pump for the well. This pump was on
        > every morning and evening for 30 minutes - not too loud, though.
        > (The water for bathing had to be pumped up into a watertank above
        > the roof so as to get running water in the house.) Sometimes we had
        > crickets hiding in some corner of our room, making a real noise
        > during the night. Luckily, there was a very very nice servant boy
        > who found them, caught them by hand, and put them into the grass
        > outside.
        >
        > We did not get up at 6 a.m. for meditation at that time, as we went
        > to bed mostly quite late after getting lessons at our teacher's
        > house. But every morning at 6.30, the house owner switched on the
        > radio full blast with news and advertisments. I still remember the
        > sound of it. Of course, we did not understand a word. Anyway, it was
        > a start into the day.
        >
        > Still now when I remember, I do feel sorry for the landlady who was
        > home all day and had to endure the noise (rather than sound) of our
        > practice the whole day long - just exercises - no songs or melodies.
        > And this from two different instruments, each played in its own way.
        > Every afternoon she used to sleep in another adjacent room with only
        > a curtain, and as we were not at all used to sleeping during the
        > daytime, we still went on practicing. When we asked whether it
        > disturbed her, she answered "no, no." I think she really did still
        > sleep, although after a few months we found out that a Sri Lankan
        > would never say "yes" to such a question. Although a Sri Lankan will
        > answer with a simple "yes" or "no," it is the sound and the way of
        > saying this "yes" or "no" and the nod of the head in a certain way
        > which indicates the grade of his agreeing or not agreeing at all
        > with what is asked.
        >
        > The first thing our teacher was worried about when he arranged this
        > room for us at his friend's house was our food. He said: "But the
        > food will be a problem." He knew that we would not be able to eat
        > this hotter than the hottest rice and curry - and we were already
        > vegetarians at that time. I told him: "I don't want this to be a
        > problem." But it turned out to become one of the biggest problems
        > for us.
        >
        > More next time
        > Adesh
        >
        >
        > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, adesh_widmer
        > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > >
        > > Stories from my Learning Sitar Time Part 1
        > >
        > > (or how Sri Chinmoy guides his students long before they actually
        > > become his students)
        > >
        > > In 1976 when I was on my first trip to India (I was 22 and my wife
        > > Ajita was travelling with me), we went into a music store and asked
        > > for a sitar to hold. When I held it in my hands, such a thrill went
        > > through my body that I knew I must learn to play this instrument.
        > >
        > > At home, after a few weeks I bought an instrument in Switzerland,
        > > and I did not feel playing it was very difficult.
        > >
        > > In January 1977, a great sitarist gave a concert in my home town. I
        > > tried to see him, leaving a message at his hotel, but he was not in
        > > the mood to see me. So at the concert that evening, I had a real
        > > spiritual experience, of which I can only remember that it gave me
        > > another push to learn this instrument. At that concert, Abarita was
        > > distributing leaflets for a lecture which we later attended. We even
        > > visited the Sri Chinmoy Center in Zurich, where there were only a
        > > handful of students at that time. Our veil of ignorance was however
        > > too thick, and we did not yet become students of Sri Chinmoy (it
        > > took another 10 years). I remember that I helped promote another of
        > > Abarita's lectures. Then I found a job in a cinema for a few weeks.
        > >
        > > I did not know what to do with my life. I practiced sitar without a
        > > teacher, read spiritual books (not Sri Chinmoy's however), and
        > > planned to go to India. We applied for an Indian visa, but were
        > > refused; so I somehow got an inner message to go to Sri Lanka
        > > instead.
        > >
        > > Within one or two weeks, Ajita and I were on a plane (Air Ceylon) to
        > > Sri Lanka.
        > >
        > > In Sri Lanka we again went to a music store and inquired whether
        > > they might know any teacher I could learn the sitar from (and Ajita
        > > the violin). They said that they didn't know anyone, which I knew
        > > was untrue - but we had learnt from our trip to India that we just
        > > have to wait and see. So we waited for perhaps another 20 minutes in
        > > that (quite small) store.
        > >
        > > Suddenly one of the workers said, "Here is a teacher." What Luck!
        > > Sri Lanka's best musician he was, which of course we did not know,
        > > but we asked him whether we could learn music from him. He agreed.
        > > His name was P.V. Nandasiri (he passed away in March this year.) He
        > > said he will come to see us at our hotel - he really visited and
        > > gave us our first lessons in tabla, as I had no sitar at hand yet.
        > > To know the basics of tabla is essential to learn real Indian
        > > Classical Music.
        > >
        > > He visited us every other day, and at last he said that as we came
        > > all the way from Switzerland just to learn music, he would also take
        > > the matter very seriously and teach us everything he could. He
        > > arranged for us to stay at the place of a friend of his who was a
        > > film producer. This was only five minutes walking distance from our
        > > teacher's house.
        > >
        > > more follows.
        > > Adesh
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