Haveli Sangeet by Chandra Prakash

A private gathering in Delhi, India on July 26, 2009 featuring Haveli Sangeet by Chandra Prakash of Ajmer. Accompanying on pakhawaj is Krishna Gopal Sharma of Vrindavan and on sarangi is Sudhir Kumar Bamanya of Bhilwara. According to the artist, this poetic piece is presented in Raag Adana (melodic framework) set to Aadi Taal or Chaanchar (rhythm cycle of 8-beats). The poem was written by Nagari Das, a mid-18th century (b. 1699, d. 1765) figure who belonged to the Nimbarka Sampradaya of Vaishnava thought. Nagari Das is the Vaishnava pen-name of Raja Sawanta Singh of Kishangarh (Ajmer, Rajasthan).

In this poem, the poet narrates a lovely scene in which Radha, or possibly one of the sakhis, urges Krishna to swing slowly since her cloth (sari) gets entangled with the tree branches when he swings quickly & forcefully.

This is not a “stage performance” as we know it. It is called ‘raag sewa’ and is part of a larger worship ritual in Krishna temples throughout India where it is believed that along with offerings of shringaar (ornaments, finery, etc.) and bhog (milk, sweets, etc), offerings of music are also necessary to please Krishna.

नागरी दास
by Nagari Das

एहो लाल झूलिये तनक धीरे धीरे
O Kṛṣṇa, swing ever so slowly.

काहे को इतनी रमक बढ़ावत, द्रुम उरझत चीरे चीरे ।
Why move so forcefully?, in the branches
of the trees my cloth (sari) gets entangled.

जो तुम झुकि झुकि झौंटन के मिस आवत हो नियरे नियरे
You, on the pretext of swinging to & fro,
come closer & closer (to me)

नागरी दास डरात न काहू लेत भुजन भीरे भीरे ॥
Nagari Das says “No one is frightened by the tricks you play.”
(in taking ladies close to you in the name of protecting them)

Recorded & produced for Underscore Records with artistes’ permission by Sudev J Sheth.

Delhi, India

29 July 2009

References: McGregor, Ronald Stuart. 1984. Hindi Literature from its Beginnings to the Nineteenth Century. Edited by Jan Gonda. Vol. VIII. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, p. 158-59

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