Raga Unveiled - The History and Essence of Northern Indian Classical Music. A film by Gita Desai

Raga Unveiled Reviews

Gisela Litchgarn, Farmington, CT
March 19, 2009

For those like us, who love India, its ancient culture, its depth of understanding human nature, its beauty and wisdom, Raga Unveiled is a most welcome film! While the West has much to offer the East, the same is true in reverse. How much the East has to offer the West is well illustrated in this colorful, subtle and beautiful presentation! The concept that we learn best when we look up to a master who in turn has looked up to his/her master etc. ad infinitum, is one of the basic principles of the East that has yet to get acknowledged fully, understood and appreciated in the West. For this great humility (a rare commodity not easily acquired) is required in continuity of this great oral tradition that goes back thousands of years! It seems to us where that unusual combination of humble admiration and regard, loving surrender, discipline and respect (even loving service) for the guru exists, the mind gets emptied, as it were, of irrelevant and self-absorbed clutter and thus leaves room for maximum learning! This sophisticated film, analyzing the many components of a raga and its evolution, illustrates these principles in depth, while leaving room for simplicity, beauty and the capacity for single-mindedness and enjoyment seen in the musicians as well as the audience——in the process creating something greater that raises the mind to a higher plane!

“Sound” is the beginning of music and in India Sound and “Om” and mantra and music are all interlinked and related to God Realization. In fact many, if not all activities, tend to strive toward that universal goal: God! So ragas and music are just one more way to achieve it! Discernment is required when choosing a guru or master, as he must be worthy of that upward regard. India, being the land of masters and gurus, has mastered the art of maximum learning, whether it be mastering the body and mind as in yoga, or in sound as in raga! The complexity of the raga is broken down to the level where it is easily (or more easily) understood. This is a fine artistic achievement well worth seeing as well as experiencing!

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