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Piya Milenge – Meeting The Divine

Geetha Patil

The Kabir Society of America organized a musical program entitled, ‘Piya Milenge – Meeting the Divine’ on April 06, 2024 from 4 PM to 7 PM at MIT Tang Center, Wong Auditorium, Cambridge, MA. The auditorium full of lovers of folk songs assembled on a rainy day to enjoy soulful melodies and poetic expressions of Kabir and other Hindi poets associated with Nirgun-Bhakti in the vigorous and joyful folk style of Madhya Pradesh’s Malwa region.

The musical evening aimed at exploring divine harmony as elaborated by Kabir an Indian mystic saint of 15th century. Kabir is famous for both his profound mystical insight and his sharp social commentary. Padma Shri Prahlad Singh Tipanya and his troupe of four musicians that included Ajay Tipanya on Dholak, Devnarayan, Sarolia on Violin, Dharmedra Tipanya on Harmonium, Priyal Maheswari on Manjira (small cymbals) from his hometown presented brilliantly the devotional songs based on the mystical poems (Dohas) of Kabir. Tipanya is recognized as a remarkable exponent of Kabir's music and explaining their meanings in simple words to the audiences. He sang some of Kabir’s best-known Bhajans playing the tambura (a five-stringed plucked and strummed instrument originally from Rajasthan), and Kartal (a percussion instrument played with the fingers of the left hand). Tipanya represents a stream of creativity renowned in India for its self-examination and commitment to acts of devotion. He received the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi award for his unique Malwi folk music and singing style.

Pradeep Shukla welcomed and thanked all the audiences for their interest and participation. Sangeeta Prasad, secretary of Kabir Society of America (KSA) who also acted as moderator of the program spoke about the Kabir Society and its mission to utilize diverse media, methods, and platforms to promote awareness of the positive messages and literary works of Kabir, the mystic poet born in Varanasi during the 15th century CE. She said that Kabir addressed the societal challenges of his era with simplicity, using everyday language and examples from common life to advocate for harmony, equality, fraternity, devotion, and discipline. He also thanked other organization such Sangam, LearnQuest Academy of Music, and Massachusetts Cultural Council and other dignitaries for their support and encouragement. Singer Tipanya and his troupe were honored by the dignitaries with flower bouquets.

Prof. Linda Hess, Emerita faculty in Religious Studies, Stanford University, offered onstage translation of powerful Bhajans the musicians sang to the audiences. Priyal Maheswari, a well-known Yoga teacher from Chicago also provided translations to the narrations given by Prahlad Singh Tipanya in between his singing.

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