1000 Sitarists perform together for world peace

21st November 2008

Lakhs throng to witness a historic concert by the Art of Living

Noida: The Art of Living today hosted a historic event, Brahm Naad, where 1000 sitarists performed together on one platform, in a first-of-its-kind concert. Slated to find its way into the Guiness Book of World records, the proceeds of this initiative are dedicated to the relief and rehabilitation of flood-ravaged Bihar .

At the event, His Holiness Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was also felicitated by Live Earth, which has been founded by Kevin Wall, in partnership with former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore, to highlight the notable work done by the Art of Living for the Mission Green Earth Stand Up Take Action 2008 – a project which envisages the plantation and nurturing of 100 million saplings, across the globe, to help reduce global warming. The evening also saw a pledge by the audience in support of the Art of Living’s anti-tobacco campaign which is being supported by the Ministry of Health and WHO.

Brahm Naad, conceived by the Art of Living founder and spiritual guru, His Holiness Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, has a two-fold purpose: to popularise Indian classical music even while uplifting its practitioners and to epitomise the universality and unifying power of music to spread the message of peace and harmony.

His Holiness Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said, “Music connects the individual to the universal spirit. Music is that rhythm and harmony that flows from the universal to the individual; from the cosmos to the finite.” Stating that music uplifts the mind and body, he urged the youth to take up classical music.

The music for this 1000-piece sitar orchestra is based on ancient ragas from the Gandharva Veda, namely Raga Gara, Bageshri and Hansadhwani, which conceptualises the all encompassing love for the Divine through the fascinaion and pull of love, the anguish of longing and the ?nal culminaion through divine union.

As a tesimony to India’s muli-ethnic heritage and cultural vitality, sitarists from all re- ligions, castes and secions of society, came together in this celebraion of unity and harmony. These included sitarists ranging from 6 -70 years of age, including visually chal- lenged sitarists, child prodigies, young students from renowned schools of classical music, aristes from All India Radio, senior praciioners of this art, among others. Sitar exponents from Australia, USA, France, Abu Dhabi and states across India, including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra

Assam, Utar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi & NCR, among others, were part of this historic ensemble. Sitarists also included students from various schools and universiies namely Shaniniketan, Gandharva Maha Vidyalaya (across India), Bhatkhanda Music School, Vishwabharai University, Delhi University, Banaras Hindu University, Gorakhpur University and Sangeet Kala Academy.

Present, among the audience, were eminent dignitaries including Ms. Ambika Soni, Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma (Santoor exponent), Raja and Radha Reddy (renowned Kuchipudi dancers) and Ms. Erika Mann, Member of European Parliament, among others. This iniiaive is also being supported by the Ministry of Culture & Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India. Speaking at the programme, Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma said,

“This is a miracle happening. This has been possible due to the blessings of Gurudev. I am privileged to be here.”

When the strings of 1000 sitars were plucked in unison, all barriers, de?niions and prejudices were transcended. Capturing the con?uence of spirituality with music, the evening was a triumph of the brilliance of Indian classical music and a spectacular demonstraion of this ancient legacy of India