Seeing the recent Mumbai blasts, I feel ashamed of the hatred that clouds the human race. Animals attacking each other for food is understandable but after the unlimited achievements of human beings, it's bizarre to see us kill each other.
My parents were my natural gurus. My mother Rahat Jehan Khan and my father, the poet and sarod mogul, Hafiz Ali Khan Saheb made me realise that music was my way of life. I therefore now carry that whole era with me. Be it onstage or off stage, I am constantly soaked in music.
According to my father, all of us have a common God. The power that gives us birth and takes us away from this world is one and the same, not two or three or ten. With due respect to all spiritual gurus and so-called educational and religious institutions, why is nobody effectively conveying this simple truth that all of us have a common God, be it the preserver, the protector or the destroyer? In India, despite many religions, cultures, ways of life, we all depend on each other. This dependence is the essence of our strength.
Music offers proof of God's unity in all of us. Like flowers, water, colour, fragrance and air, it does not belong to any particular religion. It's interesting that although man has created i-pods, cell phones, fax machines and many other gizmos, in all these years, no one could create a thirteenth note!
This shows that the twelve universal notes of music were not created by man but came from some cosmic powers thousands of years ago. We musicians are humble representatives of great pillars like Swami Haridas, Mian Tansen, Swami Thyagaraja, Syama Sastri, Muthuswami Dikshitar, Swati Thirunal and Baiju Bawra. They were truly saints who paved the way for where our music has reached today.
I hope India becomes a superpower in the years to come, but a superpower full of love and compassion towards every religion and every soul. Like-minded people need to work collectively towards peace and unity.