“Sakal chya pari hari naam bola….vasudev ala re vasudev ala….”
This morning as I was hurrying around my house getting ready to leave for my office I heard a beautiful voice, loud and clear, singing from the streets below. A ‘Vasudev’ was singing away to the rhythm of chiplya.
He was still there singing as I left for my work, but as I was passing by him, he suddenly called out to me, saying, “Tai..gadi sutli tari pudhchi milel…pan ayushya sutudeu naka” (It is fine if you miss your train, you will get the next, but don’t miss out on your life).
And seriously his comment has left me pondering all this while. I have done a bit of introspection, but that’s a tale for another time. For now, let’s talk about the Marathi folk culture of “Vasudevs”:
Maharashtra has a lively and a vibrant folk culture and traditions of songs, dances, music, and theater. Vasudev is a dance form performed by the people who are believed to be the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Incidentally, the word Vasudev means a son of Vasudeva or Lord Krishna himself.
The dancers are dressed in long flowing kurta (mostly white), dhoti, cotton red belt, long conical red hat with peacock features on it, incense sticks stuck on hat and belt and carrying a long bulging red bag, anklets tied to the legs, singing to the rhythm of the taal (chambal), ghungrus (anklets) and “chiplya”!
What a beautiful sight to see!
The songs which typically praise Lord Krishna are sung combined with soft whirling moves. On special occasions like childbirth, marriage etc a night long performance is requested from these Vasudevs, and that is called as “Gondhal”.
They perform for alms and generally are seen around in the morning, welcoming yet another beautiful day and singing the anecdotes from Shri Krishna’s life and pursuing the people to perform selfless acts. Their nomadic tribe is also named after their profession “Vasudev”.
Most importantly even if the Vasudev goes around singing and dancing on the street he is not regarded as a beggar. In fact, his songs give an insight into the rich Indian philosophy, ethics and a great deal of social responsibility along with bhakti (devotion).
Certainly, a Vasudev’s comment has made me reflect on many things!
© 2019 Ashwini Nawathe, Kaleidoscope of My Life
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