Friday, December 26, 2008

Bhairav - Heralding the Dawn...!

You must experience this – the early dawn, a bit of chill in the air and the calm and serene ambience! You and the world around you are in complete harmony with each other. May be some misgivings about the night-that-was, a little anxiety about the day-to-come, but the promise of the bright sunshine to follow gives your soul the confidence that everything will just be fine! You actually yearn for this serenity forever but life often denies you these small pleasures. This, precisely, is the essence of Raag Bhairav!

One of the oldest raags in the Hindustani tradition, Bhairav takes its name after Lord Shiva and also follows the nature of this supremely serene yet powerful deity. Employing all seven notes in the octave, this sampoorna raag is also the main melody of Bhairav thaat and is sung in the early dawn. With tremendous potential for interpretation and improvisation, this is a favourite melody for vocalists and instrumentalists, alike. ‘Ahir-Bhairav’, ‘Bairägi-Bhairav’, ‘Shivmat-Bhairav’, ‘Bhavmat-Bhairav’ are some of the variants of this raag and all are equally popular. ‘Mero Allä Meherbän’ is the one of the most popular compositions sung by Pt Jasraj in his inimitable Mewati style and personifies Bhairav with its emphasis on the higher notes of the octave. A sample of ‘Bairägi-Bhairav’ can be found elsewhere in this blog under the "For your listening pleasure...". Do experience the ambience first hand!

Popular music has also made extensive use of the ambience created by Bhairav. Remember Raj Kapoor and Nargis in ‘Jägo Mohan Pyäre’ from ‘Jägate Raho’? This immortal song typically exemplifies Bhairav’s intensity and ability to generate confidence. ‘Mohe Bhool Gaye Sänwariyä’ by Lata Mangeshkar also brings out the ethos superbly. Raag Ahir-Bhairav also features prominently in film music. The famous Manna Dey song ‘Poocho Na Kaise’, or ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ number ‘Albelä Sajan Aayo Ri’, adapted from a traditional bandish, are the perfect examples of this raag. ‘Man Aanand-Aanand Chhäyo’, Vanraj Bhatiya’s haunting composition from Shashi Kapoor’s ‘Vijeta’, is also based on Anand-Bhairav, a rarely sung melody of Bhairav lineage.

Life has become too hectic to enjoy early morning serenity every day. But dig out a cassette or a CD and listen to Bhairav and indulge in the ambience to herald a new dawn in your own mind!

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