The ritual of Ganda Bandhan in musical culture is almost always a deeply spiritual experience, bordering on the surreal, not only for the student and the teacher but also for those present at the event. Ganda is the thread used in the ceremony and Bandhan refers to the act of the tying of it.Ganda Bandhan is regarded by musicians, musicologists and music lovers to be the most important and auspicious ritual in Pakistani and North Indian classical music tradition.
Tradition dictates that a Mauli, also known as a Kalava or a Charadu is used as the Ganda. Cotton strings are spun in the form of a yarn, and died bright red and yellow to make this particular kind of thread, which continues to be the most commonly used for the ganda bandhan ritual, even though musicians of certain gharaanaas prefer the use of threads of seven colours, whereas some prefer highly intricate and embroidered gandas. Some Hindu musicians tie knots in the thread while reciting Sanskrit mantraas to invoke Brahma and to ward off evil forces. The thread is considered sacred and dipped in sundal, kumkum or chandan. During the ceremony, the Guru ties the ganda to the wrist of the Shagird which formalizes the relationship between the two. The tying of the thread symbolizes a commitment of honesty, love, devotion and education that the Guru and Shishya make to each other. Once the bond has been established through the tying of the thread, the two become like parent and child. This bond can never be broken.
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