Music, Kids And God
By Sudha Jagannathan
Last Updated: 20-02-2020 8:13PM
It is a hot Sunday afternoon as we reach Panruti in Tamil Nadu. A few kilometers away from this place is a small village called Poovarasankuppam. Situated in this tiny village is an old temple, constructed around the 7th century by a Pallava king for Lord Lakshmi Narasimha. Even as we walk into the temple, we could see the low ceilings. There is a big corridor inside the sanctum sanctorum. From a distance, one can get an extremely good view of the deity with Lakshmi on the Lord's lap. Goddess Lakshmi here looks at her Lord with one eye and blesses the devotees with the other. After all, everyone wants to be blessed by the Goddess. We reach this temple around 3 p.m. The darshan closes at noon and re-opens only at 4 p.m. With so much time still to go for the darshan to recommence, we aren't sure what to do in the meanwhile. Suddenly, a thought crosses our mind. Why not we play flute? Luckily, we have brought our flutes. As we commence our unscheduled flute-session before the Andal sannadhi, there is none along the long corridor in the front.
We start playing a few small kritis we have by-hearted. The flute seems to produce a resonating sound within the temple precincts. Within a few moments of our playing, we see a few children gather around us. We continue to play the little things we have learnt. Slowly, the shy kids watching us from a distance come a little closer. A sense of curiosity is palpable on their faces. They giggle. They whisper into themselves. A few seconds later, we urge them to come closer. We engage the reluctant kids into conversation.
After initial reticence, they open up slowly. Each one is keen to out-compete the other in answering us. Like us, these kids too have come to have the Lord's darshan. They have come from a nearby village. The girl kids tell us how they make it to their school in Villupuram every day. ``We are also learning music,'' some of them murmur. What music do you learn? We ask them. They tell us incoherently what the school teaches them. Will you sing a song? We ask them. Each one says the other is a good singer! As they shyly push each one into singing, someone informs us that the darshan has re-started. The girls promise us that they will come back and sing after the darshan. All of us disperse to have our date with the Lord. As we come out of the sanctum sanctorum, the kids gather around us. Can we sing now? As we prepare for their singing session, they take us to a corner to fulfill their promise. A few among the shy kids begin singing - rather whispering - one by one in low tones! As we listened to them, their faces glisten. We could see happiness and a sense of fulfillment in their faces. If the instrument of Lord Krishna has the power of attraction, the music has a bonding effect. Well, the kids have left an indelible impact on us.
Nice to go through the write up. You can see the innocence with the children only. When they sing shyly, see each other and laugh and join together and sing, we forget everything and try to be one with them. Visit a temple and get an experience like this means you are very lucky. Flute make wonders while playing. Keep it up. All the best.S. Prabhu
Good piece. Have been wanting to visit this temple for a while. Good to hear that the flute is having an influence on the kids as well, in addition to the Lord.
(This was first published in 2008)