| Students at Hariprasad Chaurasia’s music school Vrindaban Gurukul in Bhubaneswar that follows the guru-shishya tradition. Telegraph pictures |
Bhubaneswar, Aug. 24: Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia’s Vrindaban Gurukul, situated just four kilometres away from the Khandagiri-Udayagiri Jain caves, could take you back hundreds of years in time.
Nestled amid the tranquil settings of nature, the music school has revived the guru-shishya practice of imparting education where disciples live under the aegis of the guru to gain knowledge — a tradition that existed ages ago.
The Gurukul in the capital was established last year on the lines of Pandit Chaurasia’s music school in Mumbai that has been an abode for aspirants of music since 1996. The disciples, handpicked by the flute maestro himself, are given free of cost boarding and training in music.
“This school is my gift to Orissa, the state where I grew as a musician working for years at the All India Radio, Cuttack,” said Pandit Chaurasia, who was here last week to spend time with his students.
“The ancient concept of Gurukul was immensely effective and lets a disciple grow holistically. For anyone who wishes to enhance his God-gifted talent in art and music, the best way is to surrender to the guru and learn from him every moment and not just under the strict schedules of formal classes. Thus, they live at the guru’s house,” he added.
The school thus does not follow any strict class timings.
“We do not provide a certificate course and thus are not bound by the limitations of class timings. The disciples residing here learn something round the clock and make riyaz a habit. That is how an artist develops his skills,” said the flute exponent.
As is the norm at the Mumbai Vrindaban Gurukul, any ardent aspirant of music is welcome to visit the Bhubaneswar-based music school, too. Pandit Chaurasia may select the candidate gauging his passion to learn.
“Since we provide free accommodation, we can accept only about 15 students. Hence, only few are chosen to reside and learn in the Gurukul. But we have many day scholars,” said the guru.
The state government provided the land and funded the construction of Vrindavan Gurukul, Bhubaneswar. Classes began in March this year. At present, well-known young flute player Sameer Rao, a disciple of Pandit Chaurasia, looks after the students and imparts training during the regular classes for day scholars as well as those residing at the Gurukul. But the guru himself visits the students about twice a month to instruct them.
“We follow daily rituals of prayer at the temple situated at the Gurukul. The resident students cook their food and we sit together discussing music and playing the flute for hours together,” said Sameer.
The disciples feel blessed to be a part of the Gurukul.
“We are lucky to be here under the tutelage of guruji. I have been at the Gurukul for around six months and it has been a dream come true for me, living here along with passionate musicians,” said a young disciple, Aratrika.
The remarkable architecture of the Vrindaban Gurukul lends a touch of serenity to the scenic environment of the school where the talented young musicians also practice various musical instruments, classical vocal and even meditation and yoga.
“All musical instruments are a media of expressing gratitude to nature and God. Vrindaban Gurukul is dedicated to Lord Krishna, the greatest ambassador of music, especially flute,” said Pandit Chaurasia.