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Qawwali music - a spiritual expression

Sufism - Meeting the beloved

At the heart of the Sufi mystical experience lies the Zikr or remembrance of God. In its musical expression through the Qawwali, it has become synonymous with the name of Amir Khusro, whose musical idiom facilitated a unique synthesis of the Persian and Hindu-Braja cultures. His prodigious literary and musical experimentation is a unique effort at creating a universal Sufi language of Love and he forged a new mystical Sufi consciousness. This could have been a forerunner of the Nirguna Bhakti movement.

Khusro's compositions are rooted in the theme of separation from the Beloved, a metaphor for the God within. His verses bring out the intense Sufi longing to merge into this state of mind. His Qawwali music touches that inner space in every listener, transporting him to a different dimension beyond the outer world of duality.

"Thou hast taken away my identity by a single glance, By making me drink from the cup of love, thou hast intoxicated me by a single glance" sang Khusro and to this day the song is part of every significant Qawwali presentation. He alludes to the mysterious paradox of love, referring to it as a tempestuous river, into which those who enter must drown, but at the same time, paradoxically, only those who drown get across.

~ Pranav Khullar

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