Here in Nepal, there are perhaps less entertainment options than in the West. But quality entertainment can be found in Nepal, sometimes free, especially for those curious and appreciative of the realities of a culture different than one’s own. I am not Nepali, nor am I Tibetan, but it is possible and a healthy endeavor to feel curiosity for other cultures and systems of thought, despite modern culture in general might consider them as inferior. These days, only economic development seems to be the mark of progress, a way of thinking which unfortunately is also propagating to non-westerners.
As traditional cultures become absorbed into the global economy, it is a luxury to still have access to wonderful concerts of Indian music, ragas, in a traditional setting, free to all. This happens here in Kathmandu, in one of the temples at Pashupatinath. At which date and at what time? On full moon days, when the sun sets, where the sky is still both clock and calendar.
Getting there is part of the experience, as the spatial journey in stairs, temples, and ancient scenery takes one to a temporal journey enriched by a local audience. The musicians’ instruments are also of a different nature, and it takes a while for one’s ears and mind to accustom and feel at ease with the full range of sounds.
Ragas begins slowly, so it is from the start that one can start appreciating each individual instrument. However, when the music plays slowly, one may instead get distracted, though in thoughts only, one has to keep silent. But if one lets the mind be the music, the concert will feel entrancing. The variety and harmony of sounds as well as the raga’s particular way of chanting can be experienced as something really unique. Then towards the end, when the instruments play faster and it is easier to synch into the rhythm, just enjoy, resting in the full moon’s play.
~ Julio from Spain