Indian classical music meditative, cathartic: Nithya Rajendran
She uses Indian classical music to help working professionals and students explore its potential for enhancing creativity, focusing concentration, destressing, managing moods and emotions. She is a one-of-a-kind Indian artiste practicing this alternative method and is changing the mental wellness scenario of the country.
Saurabh Tankha had a chat with Nithya…
How can Indian classical music help professionals and students enhance creativity, concentrate better, destress and manage their moods and emotions?
Indian classical music is meditative and cathartic in nature. It allows emotional expression, collective cathartic experiences with others and even peaceful meditative states. These are immensely useful for any demographic needing to be creative, needing leadership skills and needing to manage the stresses of everyday professional and personal life. Even youth can benefit from achieving inner states of peace and emotional equilibrium to being forth their creative best. This would also help them deal with newer issues they face such as alienation and anxiety resulting from the impact of technology, social media and climate change.
How are you reaching out to people to ensure maximum benefits?
Music Vruksh is an umbrella under which I offer concerts, lecture demonstrations, teaching and workshops to help people appreciate the awesome beauty and depth of Indian classical music. My faculty are extremely qualified and capable people that I am very lucky to have. They have understood the sensitivity of the cause, which is, the need for Indian classical music to be accessible to one and all for its emotive, cathartic and spiritually healing potential. We use concert demonstrations in different platforms, as well as and online and offline forums, to reach people.
How successful have you been in trying to bring both the forms of music – Hindustani Classical and Carnatic Classical on the same stage through single artiste presentation? Why is it necessary to do so ie bring the two together?
Carnatic and Hindustani classical music share the same roots. So, the inherent nature and goal remains common, that is, using music as a way to reach inner spiritual heights. Using single artist performances, which bring both forms together, helps me integrate audiences better. Audiences from both sides of the Vindhyas identify and feel connected with me. So, there is no question of a divide that sometimes happens in jugalbandi formats.
Success is not an absolute term. I experience an immense feeling of success when even a lay person can be moved by a raga of either form of classical music. Having said that, I am happy and blessed that Music Vruksh’s efforts are being increasingly noticed, and more and more people are beginning to come into the fold of both forms of classical music through the classes I offer, and the concerts or demonstrations where I have been fortunate to be invited to perform. My goal is to keep moving the numbers up, and to get more and more people under the influence of classical music, either as listeners or as students.
You are qualified in Economics and Mass Communication, have worked with leading ad agencies and actively involved in photography apart from being a classical vocalist trained in Hindustani and Carnatic music. Which of these roles is closest to your heart and why?
Music has always been my first love. But I must admit that my ability to communicate and hone skills that are required to push Indian classical Music out there, have come from experiences in other professions. Communication, and making a case for a cause, is often as important as the cause itself. Through interviews like this one, and articles that I regularly write, I am trying to convince people to give Indian Classical Music a shot, to give it a chance to move and transform them. It could either be through urging them to come to my concerts and hear my case through the concert demonstrations that I do, or through urging them to start learning this musical form.
Tell us more about Music Vruksh and how successful has it been in achieving the aim with which it was established?
Music Vruksh is my venture established a few years ago. I started bringing all my Indian classical music work under this banner, because my focus shifted sharply at that time. It shifted from being a solely self-oriented musician who just loved to sing, do concerts and get validation for my art, to someone who began to realise the immense impact it can have on others who listen to or learn this form of music. I wanted this aspect of my effort to gain momentum. The headway made so far us very satisfying. My efforts are beginning to bear fruit. More people come up to me wanting to learn music or to understand and appreciate it better. More people are beginning to understand its immense spiritual potential. For that I am grateful. But I have a long way to go. The effort will be endless because the potential is endless. The whole of humanity can benefit from this.
Why, in your opinion, has there been this growing need for life coaches and mindfulness practitioners lately? It wasn’t the case till some years back?
Well, this is a question with a complicated answer. There are so many dynamics at play here. Technology, social media, climate change, mutated viruses, reality shows, fast foods, increasing population and income divides, and socio-economic and even larger humanitarian issues that have come about because of the above. I feel we should accept the problem and deal with it rather than questioning why it came about in the first place. We are dealing with shorter attention spans among youth, more stress-related illnesses, depression, anxiety and ideological wars. This is the reality we are forced to accept today. The way to deal with this is an inside-out approach. This means each of us has to heal emotionally and spiritually from within. Classical Music and meditative practices can help immensely with this. Hopefully as we become more centered and peaceful, the world will begin to mirror this state.