One hundred thirty years of legacy has been carried forth by this troupe since the time of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa. Indeed, Andul Kali ? Kirtan Samity hailing from Kolkata has been solemnising devotional songs composed by Sri Premik Maharaj for all these years. The fervent zeal amongst the public led to hosting kirtan performances by a 15-member team of sadhus at four venues spread over Delhi and NCR that included Ramakrishna Mission, C.R. Park, Kali Bari and India International Centre in the first half of September. At India International Centre, the alfresco event was hosted under the aegis of Impresario India, widely known for promoting cultural events.
Kirtan as such configures the usual image where the name of a God is invoked with the accompaniment of khol (a percussion double sided drum) and kar-taal (cymbals). But Andul Kali ? Kirtan has conjured up a disparate concept. They have brought about a rare m?lange of shakta and vaishnava padavali. This esoteric admixture renders an exquisite splendour. Besides their kirtan abounds with the exposition of Dhrupad, Baul, Prasadi among others. They have been the avant-gardes of Kali-kirtan performers throughout India.
Andul Kali-Kirtan troupe of sadhus has entwined a remarkable history of Ramakrishna Paramhansa'sassociation with it. It has been narrated in Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita about Ramakrishna'sgliding into a reverie on hearing one of Premik Maharaj'scompositions. The particular song meant ? the tusker of mind has gone out of control in the grove of venomous worldly possessions. The memoirs of Swami Akhandananda also mentions that in 1896, this troupe had mesmerised the then devotees with their stupendous performance at Dakshineshwar Kali Temple while commemorating Ramakrishna'sbirth anniversary.
Taking a trip down the memory lane, in 1901 Swami Vivekananda was instructed by Sri Maa Sarada Devi herself to visit the Samity to accord invitation to the sadhus to host their kirtan at Belur Math every year on the occasion of Thakur Sri Ramakrishna'sbirth anniversary. Since then, it has become a trend for the Samity to perform at Belur Math every year during Thakur Ramakrishna'sbirth anniversary. Once, it so happened that Swami Brahmananda (Rakhal Maharaj) started dancing amidst the performance of this Samity and drifted into a trance of ethereal bliss. At this critical juncture, Sri Maa noticed through her inner eyes that Ramakrishna in his heavenly body was dancing in tandem with Rakhal Maharaj. Had Rakhal Maharaj been allowed to continue with his enraptured dancing, he would have permeated into the esse of his preceptor. Out of this apprehension Sri Maa ordered a disciple to whisk away Rakhal Maharaj from the place altogether. This vanguard Samity has been bestowed upon a heritage status by several nodal agencies.
Their performances in Delhi sent ripples of rhapsody across the audience accentuating in a permeating effect. It reached its crescendo when the sadhus stood up to gambol to the rapturous lilt. The gathering ? la belle ?toile wrested a communion. The audience had transcended the mundane squalor of parochialism. The pervading kirtan had filled the cockles of their heart.
(The writer can be contacted at [email protected])