The New Indian Express
By B Sudharsan | ENS Published: 11th August 2014 06:00 AM Last Updated: 11th August 2014 12:50 AM
CHENNAI: It was an evening worth reminiscing. World-renowned musician and Buddhist nun Ani Choying Drolma’s music performance at a fund raising organised by MUKTI Charitable Trust was laced with devotion, ardour and a whole lot of gusto.
The scene at the hall reflected serenity and peace, analogous to emotions that echoed in Ani’s facial expressions. Two small statues were on display alongside Ani – one in seated and another in upright position — adding beauty to the tranquil feel. Ani, who was seen in traditional Buddhist attire, made audience go rapt with soul-stirring numbers.
Ani began with an invocation song – a hymn. In Buddhism, the first song is believed to drive away negative energies. It was a composition by Guru Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to Tibet. As the audience sat, all in attention mode, Ani explained about the mantras from the Himalayan Buddhist culture. She invoked the blessings of Lord Buddha through the chant. The chant took the gathering to a contemplative and transcendental state of mind.
Before rendering the second piece of music, Ani offered her gratitude to the spiritual leaders. “The songs I’m about to render are compositions by great Buddhist leaders who had done years of meditation and contemplation on Buddha,” she said with a smile.
Her eyes spoke the unspoken words and her smile made the audience feel at peace with themselves. While delivering the song, she added versatility to the musical piece by using a drum and a bell – both of which she played herself while singing the song. She said, “This sound is to wake you all up from ignorance and invoke Bodhisatvas from all directions.”
Terming her next melody a modern spiritual song, Ani said that a few orthodox Buddhists had reservations about the same as it had a Western touch to it. “There’s a feeling that nuns shouldn’t sing songs. But, with the blessings of my guru, I’ve been able to understand the essence of life and pursue music as my passion. Teachings of Buddha have been of great help to me,” she said.
Her next song, Mitho Muskan, had a wonderful message to convey – see just smiles and only smiles on all the faces.
Ani then went on to chant a mantra of compassion and Gayatri mantra. She ended with a feast song, a long one which is normally sung when one offers prasad to the guru. The audience was visibly enthralled and the claps that followed the event divulged their happiness. Later, on request from one among the audience, Ani sang the Sanskrit mantra Om Mani Padme Hum, as the audience joined in chorus.
Renowned carnatic musician Aruna Sairam was present at the event. Art works by Indian artists, which were on display at the event, were auctioned as part of the fund-raising process. The works struck a chord with the element of quietude and peace.