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Anand Murdeshwar
David Philipson
Devendra Murdeshwar
Harshawardhan Kaulgi
K.L. Ginde
Lyon Leifer
Naresh Kumta
Nityanand Haldipur
Rasbihari Desai
S.N. Purohit
Vishvas Kulkarni
V.G. Karnad
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Feature >> Anecdotes

Rasbihari was asked by Guru bahen Dr Lalita Rao regarding the disposal of the fund that was there with the Pannalal Memorial Committee to the Ramkrishna Mission. Rasbihari was more than happy with this decision. He said that, “Guruji too would be very happy and this I can say with so much confidence because Guruji had once personally talked to me very highly about the institute and how he would wish to be associated with the Mission. I vividly remember the whole conversation that we had one day and I am proud to narrate it. It was one of those routine days of Guru Shishya discourses, Guruji having played his favourite morning Raga Miyan ki Todi – laid the flute on his lap and closed his eyes, a if in meditation. After a while he opened his eyes and gave an enlightened look at me. I, then instinctively and all of a sudden put forward a question, which was perhaps too personal I feared. However I could take such liberties since he always treated me like his son. I asked him,” Guruji, you have been playing the flute regularly day in day out since past so many years, I wonder how long you think you will continue to play?”

On hearing the question, Guruji, once again closed his eyes and went into a trance, few seconds later he opened his eyes and said, Rasbihari, I have already decided that one day I would wish to become a monk and stay in Ramkrishna Mission for rendering my service. Knowing fully well that a person willing to become a monk has to sacrifice everything and all the possessions, I approached Swami Sambuddhanandji and told him about my desire and stay at the Ramkrishna Mission all alone, no matter even if I have to sacrifice my flute. On hearing this Swamiji immediately said that Pannababu you are allowed to become a monk and stay in the Mission alongwith your family and also there is no need for you to sacrifice your flute. This special privilege given to me is nothing but the blessings of Lord Ramkrishna Paramhansa” he said. This only showed his total devotion towards Ramkrishna Paramhansa for whom he was willing to give up his life, his breath – his flute and fulfill his desire.

- As narrated by Pt. Rasbihari Desai

Once Pannababuji’s student and later son-in-law, Shri Devendra Murdeshwar along with other students decided to test him. They decided on Raga Shree among themselves and wanted to see whether Shri Pannalalji would be able to decipher their sentiments without their telling him. As they waited with bated breath after tuning the Tanpura, Pannababu emerged from the room, with blood red eyes and immediately announced that he would be playing Raga Shree that day! Such was his immense penetration and divine power, that he sensed the vibrations of his numerous students, who were rendered speechless with wonder and admiration.

- As related by Shri Anand Murdeshwar

Yet another story relates to Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khansaheb and Shri Pannalal Ghosh. As Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khansaheb was singing, Shri Pannalal Ghosh entered the concert hall, being greeted by Bade Ghulam Ali Khansaheb as “The Lion of Bengal.” Ustadji was performing a composition in a difficult tala and the entire audience mistook the khali for the sam, whereas Shri Pannalal Ghosh’s palm moved in perfect time to the beat. Moved, and observing this perfect harmony with his composition, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan immediately exclaimed, that this was the reason why he referred to Pannababu as the “Lion of Bengal”, which truly the great maestro was.

- As related by Shri Anand Murdeshwar

This story relates to the emperor of Bansuri, Shri Pannalal Ghosh. Once Shri B.V. Keskar, the famous information and broadcasting minister visited the flute maestro. Pannababu, in his hospitable way, treated him to some Indian sweets, but it was an embarrassing moment, as there were no tea leaves in the house and no money to buy them either. Pannababu announced that tea would be served after half an hour. In the meanwhile, Shri Keskar told Pannababu, that he had been chosen as the conductor of the National Vadya Vrinda in Delhi and also offered a token sum of Rs.10, 000 to the maestro. Such was the divine intervention at this critical point. Tea was purchased immediately to be served to the gathering.

- As related by Shri Anand Murdeshwar