Anandam an audio CD featuring songs of Tagore with Vedic verses by Sayan Mukherjee (Vedic Songs), Debasish & Rohini Roychowdhury (Tagore Songs), Barun Chanda (English verse) was released by Pt. Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Smt. Bharati Roy, Smt. Chaitali Dasgupta on Hindusthan Records, at Starmark, South City Mall, Kolkata.
The idea of “Anandam” has been a recurrent one in the works of Rabindranath Tagore. Not only is it central to his philosophical writings, but curiously, it also appears to be a leitmotif in his songs. The concept of “Anandam” is not to be confused with happiness as opposed to sorrow, it is distinct from “such” (happiness) or “duhka “(sorrow). “Anandam” is best translated into English as “bliss”, which is definitely not the antonym of “sorrow”On the contrary, the concept of “ananda” involves a sublimation and transcendence of both happiness and sorrow. In his song like Ami jakhon chhilem andha, Rabindranath wrote: “ I’ve received you as bliss beyond the shores of happiness and sorrow” (duhha sukher pare tomay peyechhi ananda). This song describes the extremely painful path of attaining bliss.
This idea of “anandam” can also be traced in the ancient Indian literature of the Vedas. With his father Debendranath’s training, Rabindranath was initiated and exposed to the Vedas in his formative years. In this recording efforts are made to juxtapose Vedic verses with Tagore’s songs to trace the resonance of the ancient in the works of the modern composer. The Vedic hymns are also interpreted in English in the commentary to help listeners who are unfamiliar with the ancient Indian language.
The songs also cover eight ragas belonging to the eight “praharas” of a day. It would be interesting to notice how Rabindranath, the music composer, has ingeniously played upon the ancient philosophy to create exquisite songs, deceptively simple yet rich, acceptable to a rational and secular mind.