This past Mother's Day, Radha Madhav Dham gave up their stage to one of India's renowned bansuri (bamboo flute) players: Surmani Rajendra Teredesai. Also performing were renowned tabla player Gourisankar, as well as Manasi Joshi-Singh who accompanied on tanpura. After prasad lunch, the community of Austin and satsangis alike were invited to convene in the Shree Raseshwari Radha Rani Temple to experience a special kind of meditation from the same instrument Krishn plays to call His beloved Gopis.
On any day, one can come to Shree Raseshwari Radha Rani Temple and hear its superb acoustics and appreciate its felicitous setting for musical performances from the humble offerings of the harmonium and dholak players who perform during the satsang services. And those are just the technical aspects. Lest we forget, Shree Raseshwari Radha Rani Temple is imbued with the Divinity of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj himself. From deep down in its soil, in which the foundation was laid, from the embryo of its design, the vision of its structure, throughout its construction, to every last minute detail, this temple carries this Divine uniqueness. So when, on this past Mother's Day, renowned Indian musicians came to play their "captivating, melodious, and soulful" music here, perhaps what could be overlooked was how such a thing of greatness differentiates itself from the infinite greatness of God. That is why it was so important to report that after the concert, Rajendra Teredesai made it plain to us that during his performance here, he felt so inspired that he "could have played all night." He expressed how he felt "grateful to play in such a beautiful and Divine atmosphere," and wishes to "return soon and perform for the devotees at Radha Madhav Dham." And he added that "it felt like I am praying in Vrindaban; I feel free to humbly offer my prayer to Lord Krishn in the form of my music," and in so doing, preserve the purity of my music playing here."
The setting in the Radha Madhav Dham Temple hall was a superb environment for such an intimate concert presentation. Decorated in Mother's Day pink with colorful, painted-silver balloons floating about the stage, the players came dressed in orange and yellow. The music filled the hall creating such a relaxing atmosphere that one could close their eyes and feel the devotional vibrations raining throughout the Raseshwari Radha Rani Temple.
Sunday afternoon, when Rajendra Teredesai sat down to play his bansuri, the audience began to understand just what Rajendraji describes in his performance as a "Divine Conversation." After the concert, Rajendraji graciously allowed us to talk with him candidly about it. He described that when he plays how he loses himself and allows the vibrations from the flute to be a conduit to his offering to Krishn. He says, "He (Krishn) takes over and supplies me with the energy to perform all night long sometimes."
Many dedicated, spiritual people have reported to him that after his performances throughout India and abroad that they experience true roop dhyan of Krishn's form. Rajendraji said that it is to his Guru's credit (the legendary Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia) that he is able to share this 'divine conversation' with his audience, because "that is what it is all about." He said, "For me, music is not entertainment, absolutely it is a religion for me, it is dharma."
Also noteworthy is that Rajendra Teredesai comes from a long lineage of musical teachers that establishes him as true musical master and artist in the Indian tradition, where Guru transmits his knowledge to his disciples, who then become masters themselves and pass on their knowledge as well. Rajendra Teredesai described his ganda bandh ceremony, where this bond between disciple and Guru is solidified with this specific ritual.
In the second part of the concert, the two artists, Rajendra Teredesai and Gourisankar, began to have their own conversation (popularly known as 'jugal bandhi'), that at first began as a simple and playful repertoire between them as each responded to the other's musical phrases. Then it evolved as the phrases became more and more complex and lively. Rajendraji always led it by playing a short phrase on his flute to set up Gourisankar to recreate the same phrase on his tabla. And though the two instruments are of completely different musical classification - the flute a wind instrument and the tabla a percussion instrument - the two masters went on to thrill the audience with a type of frolicsome, improvisational game likened to a teasing of a cat and mouse. At one point, Gourisankar had to concede to Rajendra Teredesai; unable to respond to his bansuri's unique phrases that were beyond the tabla's capability. He could only raise his tabla as a form of surrender. The crowd cheered and the musicians continued.
One concert attendee commented: "It was amazing how the two musicians played so synchronously. It was like they spoke the same musical language, each intuitively reading the other." The two players had indeed never even met each other before this concert. So it was an amazing example of the improvisational characteristics infused in the Indian music tradition.
Rajendra Teredesai performed for Radha Madhav Dham as a charitable donation, but for whoever is interested, Rajendra Teredesai is currently producing a set of five CDs, one of which is available for purchase from his website and/or amazon.com. It is titled "Divine Dimensions."
Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat (JKP) was founded by Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, our beloved Shree Maharajji, the fifth prime Jagadguru in the last 5000 years.
Founded in 1990, Radha Madhav Dham Temple and ashram serves as the national center of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat in the United States and is one of the largest Hindu Temples in North America.