Songs of the Devotee
The dark-skinned Hindu God Krishna inspires a lot of things. Music, paintings, sculpture and presently even an animated TV series give homage to his divine and sometimes mischievous activities. Krishna, after all, is the most fun of all the gods in the massively complicated Hindu pantheon. The keertans in the cover story are dedicated to Krishna's lila or 'play' that takes place when Krishna has gone out with his friends to play by the river Jamuna. The keertans are held right here in Dhaka, and this particular artiste is from Barisal. Keertan singers do more than just sing; they inspire 'bhakti' in the crowd, they fill the room with a kind of irresistible religious fervor.
Out of all the traditions of devotion within Hinduism, 'bhakti' is the most personal, the most direct and the most emotional. Music is the way to inspire that kind of frenzied worship. Music is immediate, music affects in a way free from empty formalism. That freedom, that unadulterated devotion, is the heart and essence of 'bhakti'.
From the Insight Desk
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