Times have changed. “I don’t have time to eat, no time to see, no time to read!” But if we are in search of truth here is some valuable time you can spend! No google search can pick up information from the current media about the distinguished veena maestro Ranganayaki Rajagopalan passing away with no fan fare of the cameras, news or publicity! Thanks to YouTube I have something to bring to the public!
This is a personal tribute to Ranganayaki Rajagopalan. While standards of living have changed, the standards of life cannot change. It may be hidden some where! Ranganayaki had hidden the truth about life for those who sought her to discover this through her music. She got several honours for what she accomplished in veena music when that was important for the institutions and media to recognise! But noteworthy students and scholars from all over the world sought her music for the life enriching values music of a culture holds in an artiste, in her music and life, to enrich their own and the humanity.
This audio-visual tribute is to a person who symbolises the values that artistes of yesteryears held in their lives and Arts. Here is a long story made short-the story of an ‘architecture becoming an architect of a strong inner space holding the ancient wisdom and truth about the devotion to music and the Giver.
The architect of Ranganayaki, as a veena artiste was Karaikudi Veenai Sambasiva Iyer (1888-1958) whose music was respected for what he was. He was the only one who, she believed, gave her all the spiritual strength to wade through the struggles in living. I have experienced the life of this artiste between 1958 to 2018. Her inner strength outwitted her physicality. She got tremendous clarity in what she should do in her life. She showed to those who could understand: “Music is more important than Me”. She never ever used the ‘me in music’. This clarity was due to her inner strength which grew day by day till her end pooh-poohing the debility she experienced through Parkinson’s. This is what I wished to capture, however little, through the visuals you would see in this YouTube presentation. I had captured her when she was physically, terribly weak even to move from her bed to make music and when she was in her peaks of physical strength and vitality in making music.
The architect of building the spiritual strength to withstand the soul’s need to bathe in the musical Ganges, to purify the mind from the smears hidden in our living, is no more now! Her life would certainly inspire the searching minds to identify such souls among us and bring to light to humanity. Let us adore them, follow them to build new edifices to hold valuable musical content that would elevate the mind and heart.
Ranganayaki Rajagopalan, has risen in my respect and love, as the primary torch bearer of the Karaikudi Veena tradition. She will ever remain in my memory as my eldest sister, who was the personification of truth, humility, piety, a self effacing, unassuming, simple person who led a beautiful life of music, devotion to her Guru, and gratitude for the great Giver! I am sure those who knew her will agree with me! Her blood kins should feel proud of her achievements, her goodness, grandeur and glory!