Since a very young age and as long as I remember my self music was always a good friend in my life. Through music I could express my self, communicate and see the inner journey of my soul beyond any mental limitations.
Inspired with various stories about the power and healing qualities of music I felt the musicians like special spiritual personalities or saints.
I did not study music from the childhood as it is happening usually, but I was always open like a child whenever I was coming in contact with it. A sensitive and dedicated listener in each period according the style of music that I was interest.
Since my very first steps as a seeker in this life journey, with all common thoughts and questions about the origin of the soul, where is coming from, where is going, its development, any question that focus my mind gazing in wisdom of universal laws, my interest was in sciences like astronomy, astrology, the nature and effect of music and sound.
Μy teenage period was overshadowed by a non efford of all these qualities, but the interest remain within me.
Some time around the age of 25 I felt the need to do something more important in my life, something with a meaning, something that could allow me to live more freely and focused in some path that would bring joy.
In than moment my most close friend, Music, called me.
One day it happen to listen a concert of Indian classical music. An experience than touched me deeply, even I could not understand its qualities and nature, but mainly due to the depth and respect I felt from the musicians.
That night I felt an intense calling for travel to India, to experience its magic and mystery.
Next year I was already traveling in India for few months, carrying a Sitar with, imagining when I will return to Crete I would play with it music like Rock songs from my favorite bands.
In few Sitar classes I had with Ross Daly I got much inspired by his advice to spend some time in India studying more methodically. So the next year I went to Varanasi to meet a teacher Rabindra Narayan Goswami.
I got surprised when I found out that he was the same person that I first listen to this music few years ago in that concert in north Greece.
I also felt familiar with him with much respect, so I spend there about the next 12 years , about half year in Crete and half in Varanasi.
For some period I studied few instruments too, like Sitar, Saz and Cretan Lyra.
I was fascinated with both musical cultures like Indian classical and Cretan traditional music too, and still I keep studying and practice them both.
I felt the freedom that their nature has in both sound and word, a simple, clear, beautiful and rich approach.
Through time I felt that I should focus more in one of them. I would say it was a difficult choice since I liked them both. I choose to focus more in Indian classical music, mainly because I got charmed by the endless possibilities of expressing through it, the serious approach taken of it in India and its method.
Grateful to come in contact with this certain style of music, its spiritual dimension, the presence of my teacher R. Goswami and his interest for teaching me. A student has to be serious and systematic in studying and practicing but without the help and support of a teacher is very difficult or probably not possible to walk in this path..
Since a very young age I used to see a dream repeating time to time. While I was in my home land and could not feel well, or feeling some kind of tension within me, I used to walk for days to a distant place very different from the one I lived and when I reached there I was meeting people familiar to me, welcoming me, experiencing peace within me. That dream was repeating to me for many years, until I went to Varanasi, and since then I never saw it again.
Searching for a spiritual path I felt that it would be next to music and that made me feel comfortable and familiar with that idea. For many years I had the chance to work in summer with tourism in Crete, so I could make enough money for being in India every winter season.
I remember my self in a room all day, many hours practicing the Sitar.
Soon I found my body find difficulties for a comfortable position to practice so I started taking yoga classes. Not really interested for that science in the beginning, but through time I got more very excited practicing it.
A very special science studying our self through the bodily poses and the use of the breath.
Through time my interest about yoga became grow so I started studying its classical and important texts and practicing different types of meditation.
All these activities were very familiar in the daily life of Varanasi.
But after a certain period of trying and practicing some method of meditation I was coming back to the same question, why not use the sound of a musical instrument that I play as a tool of concentration the mind, so I was giving up the other meditation practices..
At that time also a message within me shouted that I should start study astrology and the nature of the planets.
Then I had the chance to meet Margaret Mahan, a woman that spend long periods in India too, and she taught me the basics of the science of Vedic astrology. The next year I met my Vedic astrology teacher Ram Kumar Mehrotra, and with him I spend long time studying the coming years,
Through the wisdom of astrology I gave and keep giving many answers to my self, mainly understanding more with acceptance and respect whatever happened or going through in my life and also answers about existential matters too.
The daily life was with classes and practice in Sitar and later the Surbahar with spending much time in the astrology office looking horoscopes with my teachers and of course lot of time enjoying the indian chai (tea) in the ghats of Varanasi.
Surbahar is a musical instrument very simular to the Sitar that I heard for the first time in the yearly festival of Dhrupad mela in Varanasi (a style of Indian classical music that I loved more that any other). After some years practicing the Sitar I started studying the Surbahar with the same teacher.
I felt very familiar with that instrument that it became my main way to express my musical self during that period and I had the chance to play in many concerts with it in India, mainly in house concerts as it is usually happens in India and also in the festival of Dhrupad mela.
An instrument I also saw at that period by a good friend Dudu Elkabir studying it was the Rudra Veena.
I never felt more impressed by any other musical instrument I my life before.
The simplicity in looking, the really deep and lasting sound of it touched me in a very special way.
Very often we see in our lifes that we avoid what touches deep and truly our soul so I did not made effort to come in contact with the Veena, and preferred to stay with the Sitar and Surbahar keeping in mind that I will play that instrument some time in future. Whenever I had the chance to listen to it live I was always attend any concert and enjoyed its sound.
Two musicians that influenced and inspired me deeply but I never met them since they were not in life the period that I came to know about them is Nikhil Bannerjee in Sitar and Zia Mohiuddin Dagar in Rudra Veena.
Through their recordings I felt that the sound can take the soul so far in the endless universe. I felt that there are no limits, races, nationalities. I felt that the mind could stop running here and there, and the soul could experience a freedom. I felt free.
At times I was wondering why I choose this time of music, that not only it will take so many years to study it but it demands a devotion of a lifetime, facing the question of why do I it, what relation do I have with it, what will it come out of it and so many similar questions too..
For all these questions through these recordings I could get the answer in my soul experiencing a sound that takes the soul far from the bodily limitations.
In the period I stayed in Varanasi and also while traveling around India I had the chance to see many concerts in some houses and some festival scenes.
Accompanying my teacher with the Tanpura in his concerts gave me many experiences too.
I also played with many other musicians and practiced with the two main percussion of this music, the Tabla and the Pakhawaz.
After of about 10 years of practicing the Sitar and Surbahar I felt more clear that I should not avoid to come in contact with the Rudra Veena and if I would do it I would feel sorry one day.
So I came in contact with Bahauddin Dagar. With him I was already feeling intimacy so I asked for his help.
The next year I had my first Rudra Veena and I observe my self being happy and keep that same spirit and enthusiasm for it since all these years.
I continue my classes with my teacher R. Goswami following him with the Veena.
I remember my self with a innocence will to desire to deepen in music but with time passing my ego grow making ideas and needs out of it.
A period came that I could not get any satisfaction and the desire to learn more and more Ragas, complicated Talas, a desire to play any concerts.
A desire that did not allow my mind to see clear how much work I had to do more for getting the basics of the practice, drifting for making quick steps, often not finding my self happy.
Also observing other musicians with similar views I started wondering if I walk in this path proper.
One day I listen my inner voice telling me that whatever care I do for my musical instruments I should do also with my body. So I started a more serious and daily approach in my yoga practice.
The way I came in contact within my self through the Asanas and Pranayama brought another approach in the way I was treading my musical instruments and the sound coming out of them.
Soon came in my mind the thought to practice a method of meditation, and I felt to give a try to the technique of Vipassana, so I started taking courses.
That meditation method attracted my interest much and I applied in my daily life since then.
Certain reasons was that it was not opposite to the music I was practicing, since I do not input any outer object (in that case I would have preferred to do it with through sound) but I focus my mind in the natural respiration of the breath and observe sensations in and out of my body. In that way my mind was becoming more fine in concentration and more aware with acceptance in so many teaching that this universe offers in daily life. I remember after my first retreat in Vipassana meditation I could listen the sound coming out from the strings of the Rudra Veena more deeply.
In the same period I started studying with Bahauddin Dagar and felt that im starting from the very beginning again, but through time I felt so happy and grounded with my relation with music, that made me more peaceful and happy.
I was not so interested to learn much but more to remain in few and deepen as much as I could not imagine before.
Also a musician from the same tradition, Pushpraj Kosthi influenced me much, in a very special, beautiful and truthful way, made me experience more grounded.
For some period I was spending time in the Dagar family Gurukul (school) near Mumbai, and felt again like home, deepen in practice and come more close with a legend of the Dhrupad tradition Fariduddin Dagar.
Day by day, I feel more and more small in front of the sublime of this music, so attracted by its magical and spiritual qualities and grateful that I am a part of this group of people that practice this kind of music in the planet today.
Good friends and musicians I met and co-existed and spend time together today some are not in this life but they remain in my heart and keep inspiring me.
Other friends bring me a great respect whenever I realize and see their own path growing.
I also feel much inspiration from musicians that are playing different styles, like musicians from Crete and I learn much from them for my own path.
It is said that word is the language for humans, music is for the Gods.
Today my main focus is at the practice of Rudra Veena, and keep playing the Sitar and Surbahar.
Coexisting with nature, the possibilities or limitations of each instrument, the music remains the same whenever I would express it, something that I enjoy much.
I feel grateful to my teacher Rabindra Narayan Goswami and that is expressed every moment when my fingers are touching the strings of an instrument, and in this life I would like to dedicate to him whatever comes out though that path.
Grateful also to my teacher Bahauddin Dagar amazed by his respect and aproach in that path and more of all the love he is sharing with us.
Much respect and deep salutation from my soul to Pushpraj Kosthi as one of the real yogis I met in this life thouth the path of sound, that so humbly and truthfully sharing to us.
A praise of a favorite musician Ali Akbar Khan is,
after 10 years of practice you may satisfy your self,
after 20 years maybe the audience,
after 40 years maybe your teacher,
after a lifetime maybe God.
Is a long path to enlightenment, there are many dangers and obstacles that each one made in his/hers way…
Step by step ‘walking it’ everything becomes more clear.
With music as a good friend in that journey, each step feels more happily.