By Bindu Chawla
July 13, 2018
The ornate tomb of Sufi poet Jalal-ud-din Rumi in Konya, Turkey, has been done up more like a venue for weddings. It symbolises that his dying was a uniting with the Beloved. That is how Sufism looks at love’s earthly journey as well. The poetry of Bulleh Shah, for instance, says that it is when the beloved’s ego dies that her spirit is released for union with the lover, in this world itself.
The one recurring image that has surfaced in the poetry sung in Hindustani music, in Khayal and other forms is that of the ‘Mitwa’, or the lover. In fact, the ‘friendly friend’, the Mitwa’s appearance in life marks the end, or a ‘dying’ of the cycle of karmic relationships.
Choosing ‘Miturang’ as his pen-name, musician-composer Pandit Amarnath abundantly celebrates the concept of the Mitwa in a hundred different nuances, to recharge Sufi poetry for the khayal, and lift it from its ‘Bairan Saas-Nanadiya’, or ‘wicked mother-in-law and sister-in-law’, modes to the level of Sufi haiku.
In a song in the raga Kaunsi Kanhada, Pandit Amarnath speaks of the ‘avtaran’, or the ‘divine coming’ of the Mitwa, to make a home in the temple of the heart. In the raga Durga, He is the ‘nirgunia’, one without qualities, who has become the ‘sagunia’, one with qualities, face and form, who also enacts the play of ‘Moha’, or love.
In the raga Shree, he repeats that as the ‘Niraakar’, or formless He, is the ‘Paramatma’, and as the ‘Saakaar’, or the one with form, He is the Mitwa. In the raga Janasammohini, the Mitwa is said to appear unfailingly.