The month of Shravan (Savan) marks the beginning of the festive season with a series of festivals across several months up to Diwali, the festival of lights.

This year, to mark this month that is observed with devotional fervour by Hindus all over the world, the Auckland Indian Association and CIPA (Centre for Indian Performing Arts) is hosting an evening of devotional music at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre, New North Road, on Friday 12 August from 7:30pm onwards.

Titled Meera Bhajans, the event will feature timeless devotional songs of legendary poet-saint Meera Bai that have been immortalised by India’s nightingale Lata Mangeshkar, who passed away earlier this year. They have been set to music by her gifted brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar, who is known for his uniquely rich, complex compositions.

Mira Bai belonged to a strong tradition of devotional poets in medieval India who expressed their love of God through analogy of human relations like a mother’s love for her child, a friend for a friend, or a woman for her beloved. The popularity and charm of her lyrics lies in the sweetness of emotions which she expresses for her beloved Lord Krishna. It is this that has kept the hundreds of songs that she sang popular across the length and breadth of India down the centuries.

One of Auckland’s most gifted singers, Kishori Telang, will sing the bhajans in her wonderfully mellifluous voice accompanied by equally accomplished musicians Dharmesh Parekh on the keyboard, Akhilesh Madhur on the tabla, Akshaiy Narayanan on flute and Mrunal Niphadkar on side rhythms.

Meera Bai’s devotionals are both in Rajasthani and Hindi and the lyrics with translations will be displayed on a backdrop as the songs are presented, to enhance the appreciation of her beautiful words especially by those unfamiliar with the languages.

The event will conclude with aarti performed by Devram Ji Raval, priest of the Radhakrishna Temple at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre and mahaprasad for all who attend.

It is fitting that Meera Bhajans is being held just ahead of one of the first major festivals in the holy month of Shravan – Krishna Janmashtami – that celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, which falls on 19 August this year and will be celebrated at the same venue by the Auckland Indian Association. 

While the event is free to attend, registration is necessary for catering purposes. Please register early. The link to register is: https://forms.gle/oSBW39T7etkAzk5L6  

Meera Bhajans is organised by CIPA in association with Mohan Nadkarni Foundation and is part of the Mohan Nadkarni Centenary concert series 2022-23.