Pandit Omkarnath Thakur     


Presenting a feature on Omkarnath Thakur - musician extraordinaire and a model for every self-respecting Bharatiya.

Pilfered from: "Great Masters of Hindustani Music" by Smt. Susheela Misra, Hem Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 1981.

Rajan Parrikar
[ Originally posted on RMIC by Rajan Parrikar as part of Great Masters Series. ]

Pandit Omkarnath Thakur
After listening to Pandit Omkarnath Thakur's music once, Mahatma Gandhi is said to have remarked : "Pandit Omkarnathji can achieve through a single song of his, what I cannot achieve through several speeches."

Such was the impact of Omkarnath Thakur's personality and his music on listeners. Besides being a successful musician, he was also endowed with an impressive personality who combined in himself many wonderful qualities of head and heart. The story of his early boyhood years is really a moving one, filled as it was, with struggles, privations, and poverty. But instead of being crushed under all this suffering, the boy's strong character, his inborn talents, and his fine qualities emerged with a rare brilliance out of the purifying fires of suffering. Omkarnathji's life-story proves how one who is destined to achieve greatness in life, will emerge triumphant, however adverse the circumstances might be. Such real-life stories strengthen one's belief in the Hindu theory of Samskara the accumulated knowledge, goodness, culture etc. that one has earned through previous births.

Omkarnath was born on 24th June 1897 in village Jahaaj, in District Bhadaran (Cambay now). He was the fourth child of his parents. He had two brothers and one sister, named respectively Balakrishna (aged 12), Ravi Shankar (aged 4), and Parvati (aged 8).

His paternal grandfather Pandit Mahashankar Thakur, and father Pandit Gauri Shankar Thakur had been brave warriors in the services of Nana Saheb Peshwa and Maharani Jamnabai respectively. But, contact with a Yogi named "Alonibaba" changed the entire life and outlook of Pandit Gauri Shankar. He began to lose interest in all worldly affairs, and was initiated into Pranav-Sadhana or meditation of Pranava or "AUM" to which he began to devote more and more of his time. As his fourth child was born during this period of his life, he named the boy "Omkarnath".
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