Re: Stories from my Learning Sitar Time Part 2
- Thank you, Adesh. I will be eagerly waiting for the next chapter.
--- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, 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 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
> 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
> --- 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