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A tour of India by Ac. Vijayananda Avt.


from the book 'Anandamurtijii, as I knew Him' by Ac. Vijayananda Avt.




Ma'rga Guru composed 5018 songs, both the words and the melodies. The remarkable thing is that until 1982, no one realized that he had any music skills at all. In fact, he hid his musical talents from everyone. Many a devotee had sung for him, yet he never gave a hint that he was an authority on Indian classical music. He was also well-acquainted with styles of Western, Chinese, and Middle Eastern music.




On 14 September 1982, he composed the first Prabha't Sam'giita (Songs of the New Dawn) in the peaceful environment of Deoghar, Bihar. This was the beginning of a flood of beautiful songs rich in language, ideas, melodies and rhythm. In only eight years, he composed over five thousand songs without neglecting his other activities and many engagements. He was able to do this remarkable feat because he knew how to manage his time to the utmost.




For most composers, a quiet atmosphere is needed to compose songs, but I never noticed anything of the sort in his case. He would be walking in the garden, narrrating some botanical history when, suddenly, he would compose a song. Or, once, he was listening to the monthly reports from the district secretaries. One moment he was rebuking some of them for their unsatisfactory work, and the next, started humming a Baul (Bengali mystic) song of the Ajay Valley style. He used to compose songs while walking or eating or even in the middle of taking reports anytime of the day or night: dawn, noon, evening, midnight. Nobody could predict when he would call the dictation team to note down his new compositions.




This hectic flow of song composition sometimes had its peculiar moments. Around three o'clock one night at Lake Gardens, the master wanted to dictate some songs. We were sleeping downstairs. Suddenly, his personal assistant called out loudly from the balcony "Ga'n! Ga'n! (Songs! Songs!)". Some of the neighbours were awakened by the shouting. They mistook the word ga'n, for "gun" and thought that Madhumalainca was being attacked by hoodlums. Rushing to their windows, they were suprised that there was no hue and cry, no commotion. The next morning they found out the truth of the matter from us and we all had a good laugh together.




Song composition didn't stop even for meals. On one occasion Ma'rga Guru was sitting for dinner with his family. He called me in and asked me to look up the etymology and meaning of a particular English word from the dictionary. I looked it up the information and gave it to him. He said, "An English song has come into my mind. I want to use that word in this song. The word is not used nowadays in the same sense as it was some time ago." Then he dictated the words as he ate and taught us the melody as well.




Ma'rga Guru used his mealtime break to do several things together. For instance, he would use this time to be with his visiting relatives. He would tell educative or moral stories, and speak with each family member starting with the youngest. Asking them one by one about their studies and other work. At other times, he would check printing errors by listening to us read out from newly published books or dictate songs. Every moment was used to its fullest.




By 28 December 1983, Ma'rga Guru had written a total of 1130 songs. During the DMC at Anandanagar, he composed eleven new songs despite the heavy schedule of meetings and programmes. Then he left for a tour of northern India after the DMC. In Deoghar he composed another fifteen songs in five days. He toured all over India from Deoghar: Patna, Betia, Gorakhapur, Allahabad, Kanpur, Agra, Phatepur Sikri (Rajasthan), Goyalior, Banda, Varanasi, Daltonganj (Bihar), Tatanagar and finally returned to Calcutta on 8 April. During this time he inspected many units and branches of Ananda Marga: schools, homes, hostels, presses, master units, ja'grtis and free medical clinics; gave Personal Contacts to many devotees and conducted General Darshans and DMCs in many places. But the songs didn't stop. In three short months, he had written a total of 349 songs.




He visited historical and cultural sites along the way in this tour, and composed exquisite songs in honour of the personalities or the places concerned. He stayed for a short time in Kanpur, a town of the ancient Shurasena kingdom, which was once under the rule of Ugrasena, the maternal grandfather of Lord Krs'n'a. There he composed a song calling forth the memory of Vrajaraja ("King of Vraja"), Lord Krs'n'a:




Come, O Lord Krs'n'a,


To Vrajabhumi — the hallowed land You walked upon


and now have forgotten.




Your favourite River Yamuna no longer swells 


Your melodious flute no longer resounds there. 


Your playmates no longer frolic under the familiar kadamba trees 




The gopiis no longer cover their butter pots in fear of You


They still believe you belong to them alone. 


The gopiis search everywhere for you — 


On the riverbanks, 


under the tamal trees 


and in the streets of Gokul.




March is the spring season of Holii, the festival of colours. The people of Mathura and Kanpur were happily enjoying the festivities, squirting each other with syringes full of coloured water. Perhaps Ma'rga Guru, seeing their joyous celebration, imagined that Lord Krs'n'a has returned to Vra'jabhu'mi (Krs'n'a's native land) in this sweet month of springtime:




I wonder, have You secretly returned


To Vrndavan in the verdant spring?


Do you remember Your forgotten love


And those who dearly loved You?




Is that You who has come this dawn to the tamal groves


Spraying the elixir of life through Your water toy


You have inundated the world with the thrilling melodies on Your flute 




The festive joy of Vrndavan


Has now has spread all over the world.




He left for Agra. On the way, they passed the birthplace of Suradas, a great musician. As soon as he remembered this, Ma'rga Guru offered a tribute to the memory of Suradas by composing this song:




You gave language to ideas


You infused melody to language.




Suradas, you are like a mighty god


You have annihilated the demon of staticity


Human beings were degenerating


And the light of progress was fading


You showed the way


And led them to effulgence.




My mind overflows with your rapturous music


Sitting in this shady bower


I offer my adoration to you.




Then He arrived in February at Agra, home of the Tajmahal. He retold the history of the Tajmahal, a token of Shah Jahan's eternal, radiant love for his late wife, Mamtaz:


Commemorating Mamtaz 


you built the Tajmahal


sparkling white.




You were determined to break the barriers of time 


You used all that humans have at their disposal 


Your love-saturated mind was like the lofty Himalayas.




But time will take its toll and people will march on pauselessly 


Forever will this duel between humans and time continue.


 


Phatepur Sikri, situated in the middle of the Rajasthan, inspired Him by its endless stretches of sandy desert:




The green trees disappear


The arid desert casts its pall


Yet I love you, O Rajasthan - land of heroes!




How sweet and refreshing


This bond of loving hearts knows no distinction




Between green trees and dry desert


Under the canopy of the same sun and moon


And by the beat of the same resounding drums and bugle


Our minds keep marching in the same pageantry


Amid the same joys and sorrows


In a dancing spree.




In the cool breeze of autumn


The white swans come flying from the chill north


In biting cold and golden sunrays


Comes the clarion call of the far-off Friend.




From there He went to Bharatpur, the famous bird sanctuary. Wild camels and other animals find refuge and countless multi-coloured birds from distant lands nest there:




Camels, ships of the desert, trudge along the dreary sands


What a form of beauty in our variegated earth


They go on working from dawn to dusk under all conditions.




The green fields are lifeless here 


The Mother Earth is dreary


The planet keeps orbiting through the vast blue void 


The bird sanctuary is surrounded by the plum and acacia trees 


Warbling birds pour forth from the trees in their delight


Our minds recapture rare moments of love in this magic grove.




On this tour, He climbed up the hills of the Himalayas. On 6 March, travelling from Jammu to Bilaspur by car, He composed the following song on the glory of the devata'ttna ("infused with divine spirit") Himalayas:




You, the mighty and resplendent Himalayas, 


You are the monarch of all mountains, 


The very soul of the gods and goddesses. 




You are the abode of all serenity


In awesome grandeur you stand forever sheathed in snow 


You are the glorious abode of Lord Shiva - Mahakaola 




Thousands of glaciers roll down your feet 


O guardian angel, ever standing with head held high 


The clouds out of the sea shower upon the plains by your grace.