God exists in everyone

"I believe that God exists in everyone"

There is no difference between music and spirituality, says Santoor maestro

Pandit Shivkumar Sharma

My relationship with God is of affection and respect. I do not believe in rituals of going to tirth sthans (religious places) and pooja paath, but right from my childhood while learning music I have felt a close relationship existing between music and spirituality. As I started performing on stage and matured, I realized that there was really no difference between the two. It is one and the same. It connects God with the human soul.

Sometimes this strange connection with God happens to me while performing. If everything is all right, there is no disturbance, in front of me, my audience is reciprocative and my mood is right then I get lost in my own music. I forget that there is audience sitting in front of me. I forget that I am performing in an auditorium. I forget that there are so many people listening to me. At that time it is only he and I. I cannot put it into words, but I connect with him intimately. Once the playing is over I just cannot speak. I am there physically, but in mind and soul I am not with people.

I still don"t know how to accept praise and appreciation from the audience. It is a little embarrassing. When I go back to my hotel room, I sit there in complete bliss. That is God for me. It happens once in many times but I get united with him for those few hours. In fact I see myself - my persona through my music only. I believe that God exists in one self. I firmly believe in the saying, "Naada Brahma - music is God," because I have experienced it personally.

I remember that , as a child, in my hometown Jammu, there was a Shiva temple next to Tavi River. One had to crawl through a cave to reach the Swayambhoo Shiva, whish means that the Shivlinga was there by nature, no one had made it. I used to crawl through with my Santoor when no one would go there and play the instrument.

At that time , God Shiva was my Guru, my audience and my guide. While playing for him, I discovered so many new techniques that weren"t taught to me. I would visualize more.

As told to Neelam Gupta ( Delhitimes@indiatimes.com)