Raag Bilaskhani Todi the brings back life in dead body. Yes, that;s the legend of Hindusthani Classical Music. Gem of all musical forms. Let’s see the historical fact or myth or day dream without any biasness.
Bilash Khan was Tansen’s youngest child! just keep this information in mind in the begining.
Tansen passed away on April 23, 156 … The last is a golden chapter in the history of Indian classical music.
The cause of death was his music and King Akbar himself .Knowing the plan of playing and singing Raag Dipak,his daughter Swarasati became very angry. With the proper application of that Raag Dipak, not only the lamp will be in flame, but the singer himself is also likely to be burnt out of the heat. So at first he was depressed nothing happened, mean while trying to please his Emperor Jalaluddin Akhbar Tansen got in to the mood of the music and burnt by the heat radiated out of Raag Deepak’s. His girl Saraswati sang Megh Malhar at the behest of her father and tried to save him by starting rain through that Raag but by then it was too late! Today he and his all act is all a legendary tell.
Mia Tansen, one of the jewels of Akbar’s ‘Navaratnasabha’, laid to rest at the age of eighty. A mourning decree was issued for a month.
But protests erupted over how Tansen’s funeral would be conducted. The Hindu society declared that Tansen was the son of a Hindu family. Name Ramtanu Mishra, father Mukunda Mishra (Makaranda Pandey in the sect) was a devout Brahmin and a Devine singer too. Although a Muslim woman (Husseini Begum, Tansen’s wife) with whom he fell in love and converted to Islam, Hindu blood was still flowing in her body. So his last rites should be in Hindu scriptures.
But the unwilling Islamic society heads, imams and common people refused. They said Tansen was converted to Islam. Therefore, the last journey of the emperor of music should be observed according to Islam.
Akbar was perplexed about Tansen’s funeral. Riots may erupt over Tansen’s funeral situation was tensed. At that time, Tansen’s daughter Saraswati (Tansen had five children – Hamirsen, Suratsen, Tanras Khan, Saraswati Devi and Bilas Khan. They were all high quality singers and musicians) came up with her father’s advice about final rituals. Tansen trusted most on his daughter Saraswati.
Saraswati said that her father had predicted that such a situation would arise after her death. So he gave a wonderful instruction to complete his last rites. And that instruction is – song.
The singer who will be able to breathe life into Tansen’s dead body even if it is a little bit under the influence of his song, the last rites will be performed according to his religion for this ‘gem’ of Akbar’s ‘Navaratne’.
Akbar is surprised this is an impossible task! Singing the life of the dead body? Is it ever possible? Assured Tansen daughter – Yes possible! That quality is present in Indian classical music. Needs spiritual pursuit, knowledge and sincere service.
It is impossible for Akbar to remember this proposal till the end. Elite of both Hindu and Muslim communities also agreed to the proposal. … Tansen’s body is preserved.
Then began the battle of that breathless song.
In a word, it was impossible to find a resurrection melody, because there was no singer after Tansen in all of Hindustan at that time, who had such divine power, whose melody could bring life to the body of the dead.
Yet the song began, at the invitation of Emperor Akbar, a crowd of the world’s best masters and musicians gathered at the court of Agra.
Three days, three nights have passed. Master songs are being sung day and night. Meanwhile, Tansen’s body has been decorated with flowers, perfume, ice and medicine. It seems that she is sleeping in complete peace, now she will wake up and sit in the custom of tying her to Tanpura in the rage of ‘Vrindavani Sarang’ created by her guru Haridas Swami. … for three days there was a flood of melody in the royal court, while Tansen remain dead. Even after doing so many things, all the arrangements are going to fail !! … Even there is no singer in the World who is equal to Tansen! .. Who can do this impossible !! .. Akbar was disappointed.
Suddenly, on the 26th of April, the light of dawn is still late … The curtain of night is moving little by little. … A poor fakir came to the royal court on slow legs! .. He said, he wants to try once ….. Will Fakir look good there? !! … Fakir but steadfast. … he seems desperate to try one last time.
Sur Rasik Akbar nodded looking at his two bright eyes.
Fakir sat at Tansen’s feet and started his song. What a surprise! At that moment, the whole environment seemed to change …. Everyone was enchanted by the strange magic of the unknown unearthly melody of anger! … the sweetness of that morning’s rage, as if the morning was waiting for it! No one has ever heard of that anger. No one ever thinks that there is such a song .. what a singer! What a training! .. What a melody! … Everyone is fascinated, amazed at every move, even as if they have lost the language of the mouth! …. At that time, a strange scene was seen ….. … !!
Fakir is singing without expression. As if all his entities, senses, awakenings have been absorbed in the pursuit of the Absolute Merciful God. Then when the fakir took an extraordinary gamk! …. Everyone was shocked to see the dead Tansen’s right hand trembling …. Over time it was seen that Tansen’s right hand was pointing the finger at the unknown singer. … time seemed to stand still for a few moments. Then it’s all over.
Applauses all over fell in the Raj Sabha. Everyone looked at the fakir with tears in their eyes. … Fakir stood up with his head bowed after the song. Strange serenity on his face. The only question on everyone’s face then – who is this fakir? This is not an ordinary man! Even King Akbar himself was stunned. But the fakir did not want to give his identity at first. He later introduced himself at the request of everyone present ….
He as Bilas_Khan … Tansen’s youngest child !! … at a young age, to practice Sufism had left home.
The Raag he sang that day is his own composition. Name – #bilaskhanitori.
Before leaving the court that day, the emperor wanted to give a gift to Bilas Khan. Bilas Khan said that after his death, he should be given a place next to his father. ….. Father and son are still lying side by side in Gwalior.
Some Legends recording found in YouTube
***Wikipedia says “Legend has it that this raga was created by Bilas Khan, son of Miyan Tansen, after his father’s death. It is said that while trying to sing Todi, his father’s favorite raga, in the wake of his father, Bilas was so grief-stricken that he mixed up his notes. That gave birth to this raga, and that Tansen’s corpse moved one hand in approval of the new melody. (There is a similar legend, differing only in detail, about Tansen’s Todi.)”
Important recordings souces given in Wikipedia
- Amir Khan, Ragas Bilaskhani Todi and Abhogi, HMV/AIR LP (long-playing record), EMI-ECLP2765
- Nikhil Banerjee, Morning Ragas, Bombay 1965, LP record, Raga Records. (Audio CD released June 1996; iTunes 2000).
- Ravi Shankar, from the 1950s