Arts and Cultures - Raag Bhairavi on Shehnai by Ustad Bismillah Khan

Arts and Cultures

Dr Archana Verma

Indian classical music has many musical modes (Raaga in Indian languages) - musical texture of different notes to combine a musical performance. Traditionally, a song, dance and musical performance began at dusk and continued throughout the night, ending at the dawn. In Hindu tradition, practices of all art forms themselves are acts of devotion. Indian raagas are usually ascribed to various Hindu deities. The presiding deity of the dawn is the Goddess. The raaga that is dedicated to her is called the Bhairavi (literally, "The Goddess"). Because of this, a musical concert ending at dawn always ended with a recital of Bhairavi raaga, in vocal and instrumental forms. Nowadays, a concert has been shortened to one or two or three hours, but the tradition of ending the concert with Bhairavi is still followed in the Indian classical music. Bismillah Khan was one of the greatest musicians of India; Shehnai was his specialised instrument. His family performs the morning music outside the Shiva temple in Varanasi. That is, Lord Shiva wakes up to their performance of Bhairavi in the morning on Shahnai. Here is a tract of Bhairavi from Bismillah Khan.