SAILING THROUGH ‘SAMSARA IN THE LIFEBOAT OF’SATSANG’
The glory and power of Satsanga, is fathomless. It rejuvenates the heart, mind and soul with immense positivity. There is an abundance of ‘Bhajan Mandalis’ in Rajasthan, with each group exhibiting its flair and uniqueness with a different style. Likewise, there is a legion of folk deities in the region too. Worshipping any of them results in reaching out to the same cause, to enlighten human beings and lead them to the path of devotion.
Gulla Ram and his group of six other fellow musicians are no less than the perfect blend of sincerity, discipline and dedication. Their group’s forte is to perform spiritual and devotional hymns or ‘bhajans’. Gulla Ram is settled in a small hamlet in Bishala village, near Barmer, Rajasthan. He and his group members hail from the Meghwal community of Rajasthan. A renowned clan, they claim to have descended from Rishi Megh, a sage who is known to have the potential to bring rain from the dark clouds with the help of his prayers. The word Meghwar is derived from the Sanskrit words ‘megh’, meaning clouds and rain, and ‘war’, meaning a group, son and child. Literally, then, the words Meghwal and Meghwar refer to the people who belong to ‘Meghwar’ lineage.
Gulla Ram and his family members earn their bread primarily through farming, and some minor labour work at the time of off-season. Performing ‘bhajans’ at Jamma-jagrans is not a very lucrative option for Gulla Ram’s group, as there are no standardized rates for their performances anywhere. Despite immense talent, they have never got an opportunity to perform outside of Barmer. But their unexplored virtuosity still manifests itself in the form of their passion for music. Each member in Gulla Ram’s group feels that devotion is very important in life. ‘Satsanga bhaav’ empowers one to get rid of all the troubles in life. The vedas even state that one can break the vicious circle of life and death, and attain Nirvana if one is engrossed in devotion while treading the path to seek Absolute Truth.
The most laborious person from the group is Gulla Ram’s grandson, Bharat. Devotional music is deeply embedded in their family tradition. Bharat inherited this art from his father, who, according to his community was an exceptionally talented musician. But unfortunately, he passed away two years ago. His father’s demise was a turning point in his life. He realized how important it is for musicians to record and document their art. For instance, the old folk songs and hymns tend to alter with time as they are not present anywhere in written format. This can have dire consequences and can be disrespectful to the creator of the song. For an artist, recording is a memoir of his original creations, an evidence of his hard work, an account of his passion for music.
Bharat firmly believes that there ought to be balanced in life. He fully acknowledges the role of education in one’s life. He himself as a child used to commit two hours daily to his studies and two hours to his musical training. He is making his own children follow the same set of values in their lives. He wants artists to be educated so that they are aware of their rights and are well acquainted with their art and it’s origins.
Gulla Ram gets disheartened to see deserving artists unemployed. Just for the sake of money, talented musicians have to take up other jobs to avoid financial instability, and they tend to forget the real purpose of their music. He is fully aware of how desperately musicians like him need a bigger platform to share their music.
The gist of the hymns is to learn wisdom from the saints. They are our saviours. One should follow their advice, and thereby one shall be guided to his destined goal. We can relate to the unnecessary activities as wanderings in the desert of Samsara. There are a few oases in this desert and they are the saints. One ought to drink deep from them and proceed to the source, the original home, which is the Absolute Truth. Once the ship is steered fearlessly in the ocean of Samsara, one can transcend to the other shore of immortal life.