Most of the time Udaipur is considered as a city worth travelling for all those natural souvenirs it has, and only a few people know that this beautiful princely city has other countless treasures too which unfortunately remained concealed beneath the era passed.
The land of Mewar has given birth to number of unsung heroes who had dedicated their lives to promote various subjects of Arts, Sciences, Architectures, Music, and Philosophy etc. Udaipur is the birth place of many trend setters who were either left ignored or disappeared from the glorious History of Mewar.
A few of them are living far from the glitter of materialism but still continuing the river of their exceptional comprehension and vast experience flowing.
One such personality is Dr. Pandit Rajshekhar Vyas who is gifted with innumerous qualities, talents and incredible insight in various fields of History, Literature, Music, Art and Architecture.
He has written and published nearly 30 books, 35 research papers and almost 500 articles on music, history, painting, culture, vastu-shastra and religious theories. He had also served the state government of Rajasthan as a District Education Officer, Lecturer and Head Master cum Research Officer at DIET, Udaipur. He is also known and admired for his extra ordinary oratory skills when he delivers speech on the above said subjects.
Out of his many books, some of the most distinguished are Mewar ki Kala aur Sthapatya, Bharat ka Itihaas aur Sanskriti, Rajasthan ka Itihaas aur Sanskriti, Architectural Glories of Mewar (the most detailed description of monuments/temples of Mewar region with their vastu designing), A Dictionary of Hindu Temple, Mewar Sculptures etc.
Pandit Rajshekhar Vyas was honored by the first President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad in 1954 for his achievements in the field of Indian Classical Music. Besides this, there are other countless awards and recognitions to his credit. He has also been honored for his extra ordinary contributions in social and educational reforms by number of government and non government organizations.
Dr. Pandit Rajshekhar Vyas has done his master’s degree in Arts, he is B.ED and PhD. He is also interested in Sports, Religious scriptures, Vedas and Literatures. Pandit Ji has also guided 25 research students in their work; five of them had researched in field of music under his supervision.
Out of various qualities, Pandit ji is also named among a few Indian musicians who are still keeping alive the tradition of playing Rudra Veena. At present, he is the only one in Udaipur who is playing and teaching the disappearing art of Rudra Veena and its technical characteristics.
An avid admirer of Ustad Ziauddin Dagar who used to make his own Rudra Veena, Pandit Rajshekhar Vyas follows the same principles and carried out a research on the concept of Ustad Ziauddin Dagar at Maharana Kumbha Sangeet Parishad in an attempt to keep this art alive.
Dr. Rajshekher Vyas was influenced to play Rudra Veena for the first time when he was 8 years old from his uncle Pandit Chandra Shekhar Vyas and later on he was trained by legendry musicians Ustad Ziauddin Dagar and Ustad Moiuddin Dagar.
He has been taught on the strong conviction that Rudra Veena is the only musical instrument through which the real cosmic sound called “Saam” or “Naad Brahma” can be observed if played and meditated meticulously.
Today this 72 year old musician is teaching only a handful of students who proved their sincerity in learning the fading art of Rudra Veena. He is comprehensively indulged in conceptual writings and behaviors of Rudra Veena and Dhrupad in his spare time.
Rudra Veena, unlike other Indian chordophone instruments similar to the ordinary Veena has two big and rounded resonators made of gourd which is called ‘tumba’ fixed with a cylindrical structure known as ‘dandi’. The major difference between ordinary and Rudra Veena is the sound quality and size, the size of Rudra Veena is bigger than ordinary veena.
The Legend of Rudra Veena
There are many stories behind the existence of Rudra Veena, there are strong evidences found in Hindu mythology where Rudra Veena is depicted as an instrument of Lord Shiva who is believed to be the creator of this diverse musical device.
Rudra Veena was also popular during Mughal Rule and was considered as mother of all string instruments. It started vanishing soon after the decline of Mughal Rule in India; one main reason of its disappearance is its very unique way of assembling as this art is known to limited number of families who indulge themselves in making of this veena.
At present only a few families in India know the secret of making Rudra Veena. For many centuries this musical instrument had ruled number of music passionate but today it is on doorstep of desertion.
Pandit Dr. Rajshekhar Vyas, devotee of Goddess Saraswati is one among a few masters who are doing great efforts to keep this mystical art alive. Pandit ji states, “I just can’t imagine spending a single day without playing Rudra Veena in my daily routine and I take it as worship”.