My friends Geeta and Koushik who introduced me to Dakshina Dwaraka sent an invitation separately and another through the group’s bulk mailing system to attend a program called Maargita Ganesha yesterday. As my readers know we are just about to conclude our annual Ganesha festival and this program was arranged as part of the festivities by the relatively new group featured above. I attended the program and came away from it with great admiration for the two artists featured in the program.
Sushruti Santhanam, with who my readers are familiar through my earlier blog post started the program off with an introduction about Maargita Ganesha. I paraphrase her in this blog post as it was a great learning experience for me too. I learnt some very new things about Ganesha, the path and the links to music and worship.
Maarga in Sanskrit means the path. Many of my readers exposed to Buddhism will connect the word with its Pali equivalent Magga. In this context, the path refers to the path to moksha / liberation. The focus of the event yesterday was on how Indian art uses the path to liberation from form by creating form. Sushruti explained how Ganesha becomes the liberating force and how the created form – music and sculpture become the path. In the music part of the program which I was able to attend fully Sushruti talked about capturing the form and spirit of Ganesha through the exquisite compositions of Muthuswami Dikshitar who takes complex metaphysical and mythological ideas and sculpts them deftly with the chisel of language and music grammar to produce aesthetically evocative compositions. Such creativity is what the Maargitha tradition of music represents.
That introduction was follwed by some mindblowing renderings of Dikshitar’s compositions by Sushruti accompanied with great panache by Ms. Sowmya Jayabharadwaj; Shri H. Venkatraman on the mridangam, and Ms. Mahati Venkatraman on the tambura.
The recital was followed by a lecture by Guru Ravindra Sharma, a sculptor, artist and a thinker who shares a very deep connection with the ethos and spirit of the creative communities of India. His talk centered around the aesthetic journey of sculpture, its rules, materiality and metaphysics. He explained how this form of intense creative engagement in connecting physical material to supra-rational significance and the creation of form, Ganesha in this instance, becomes the Maarga in sculpture.
To me, it was a learning experience and I hope to get to know more about the subject from both these remarkable people.