Photographs courtesy Mallika aka Eve's Lungs
Since Saturday evening I've been trying to find the words to express what was, essentially, inexpressible. Not only is the Akatha Kahani an untellable story, the experience of it is also very hard to describe in mere words.
I can give you the bare bones of it- three women: an author, a singer and a dancer share their experiences and understanding of Kabir and how his couplets, songs and teachings have impacted their lives. All three of them relate their individual experiences. They sing together, in amazing harmony. The poetry and the wisdom of Kabir, unaccompanied by any musical instrument, set to the compositions of Kumar Gandharva, creates magic.
The first few couplets speak of the need for a Guru, a teacher, one who can show the path.
Avdhoota yugan yugan hum jogi speaks of a timeless, joyful spirituality.
A gentle request to the restless mind is soothing:
Dheerey dheerey re mana, dheerey sab kuch hoey.
Mali seenchey sau ghada, ritu aavey phal hoey.
(Slowly, slowly, oh mind, all will happen, but slowly
The gardener may pour a hundred pots, but the tree will bear fruit only in season)
Jhini jhini beeni chadariya is a beautiful song in which Kabir speaks of the Creator as a master weaver, who weaves an exceedingly fine cloth. One can imagine Kabir at his loom while he sings this.
The body, of course, is mortal, and one day the soul shall leave it: Ud jaayega hansa akela.
Archana's expressive hands and eyes brought tears to many an eye while this was sung.
The three singers' voices combine in a haunting harmony to evoke the powerful attractions of Maya, the great swindler: Maya Mahathagni hum jaani.
A final dance, to the song Nirbhay Nirgun Gun Re Gaaunga, is uplifting and beautiful.
The programme is over, and all of us are deeply moved by it.
I have rarely been at such a loss for words- this brief account is merely factual- it is far removed from the actual experience of Akatha Kahani.
I would like to express my thanks to the Almighty who orchestrated all the events leading up to this Untellable Experience.
My heartfelt thanks to Jaya, Bindhu and Archana for far far more than this beautiful programme.
Edited to add: Sue reminded me of this beautiful song which Bindhu sang on special request:
Naiharva hum ka na bhave. Bindhu's voice is rich and deep and truly beautiful.