Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Pandit Shree Datt Sharma Has Left Us

By Joanne Sullivan (Divya)

Pandit Shree Datt Sharma has left us. The loss is large and farther away than the haze of mountains off in the distance. Yet the depth and reach of his singing - if you could call it that - opened worlds like you might open a personal letter that went to your innermost core. Hearing him was being with him and was always a mysterious exploration of unknown primordial forces which somehow were also your very pulse.

He more than sang. His whole body reached higher and deeper with each Hiranyagarbha mulling over a Creation occurring right here and now. Yes, he stepped from a centuries old Vedic tradition but he was as current and relevant as the moment. When he sang he held me in his chest pocket, the one right over the heart. Out of pure zero, you could almost see him pulling galaxies in, placing this hue, breathing that mountain, this blue sky of countless skies into existence. He was not styleor skill or mastery though indeed he was all of that. From stillness into stillness, he was both Lord and servant of a creation-in-process.

He always had an infinitely kind glance.  You felt like he really knew you. Though he was greatness itself, his graciousness was more than the superficial words and smiles of mere pleasantries.  “You may come sit in the cottage while we practice if you like,” he said to me once. I did go. I am not a celebrity or an important person. I felt so at home and just sat and drank it in, absorbed the whole while, yet knowing that I could not fully grasp all the rich nuances of his singing.

The first time I heard him was in Rishikesh at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama. It was months later before I saw him again as Bhola Shankar Dabral escorted him into the Meditation Hall. I gasped “God has just arrived.” I did not know it was he who was coming to sing again and I was thrilled.

It would be impossible to describe the worlds that this Dhrupad master invokes when he sings. But he has been more than a master singer of the art of Dhrupad singing. He has been a friend to many of us and feels so much more like family than just a friend. So many of us will miss him. I personally wish I had heard him more, had prepared myself more before each concert he gave here. He was a treasure that continues to give in ways we can never fully know. His daughter often sang with him and his son also joined them at the March 2013 event when Swami Veda embarked on his long silence, making an intaglio of that momentous time in sound-and-silence.

Pandit Shree Datt Sharma’s children feel like whole new mountains pushing up out of his oceanic depths and the music that he was and is. When a man’s art seems to exceed the mere man and the fragility of life as we know it, is it excessive to say that the divinity of that pure soul lives on - as is, was, and ever shall be?

Pandit Shree Datt Sharma, we shall miss you and look for you in the rose-golden dawn.



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