Pandit Jasraj didn’t start his musical journey as a singer. As a boy, he was a tabla player and an accompanist to his elder brothers. The story of his decision to become a vocalist is fascinating, and shows the relevance of self-esteem and courage in success.
In 1945, he accompanied his elder brother Pandit Maniram to Lahore for a concert. Back then, tabla players had a relegated stature and usually not treated at par with vocalists. Jasraj was miffed on being offered a seat below the level of the singers during the performance. To pacify his little brother, Pandit Maniram let him sit alongside on the dais, and the concert went smoothly. The next day, however, a second event triggered Jasraj’s ire. During a discussion with a well-known musician who was visiting Maniram-ji and was being critical of another contemporary artiste, Jasraj disagreed, coming to the latter’s defense. But he was ridiculed by the critic as less knowledgeable, being a tabla player. That was the last straw. The young lad was deeply pained by two back-to-back humiliating episodes. He vowed to become a singer, and approached his brother Maniram to train him, who gladly agreed. A momentous decision that changed the course of his life. One needs raw determination at times to find one’s calling. This may evolve over a period of time, or, as in Pandit Jasraj’s case, in a flash. The important thing is to seize the moment. It can push us to touch our true potential. It spurred Pandit Jasraj on his musical quest and, through his sadhana*, touch divinity. Om shanti (ॐ शान्तिः)
*Sadhana (साधन) – Sanskrit: “Anything that is practiced with awareness, discipline and intention of spiritual growth can be considered Sadhana” Reference: https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/4994/sadhana