A warm tribute to the maestro from Vedic Heritage in LI

By Nilima Madan

The beacon of India’s pride in Indian classical music has left us. Now a ‘Divya Jyoti’, Sangeet Martand Padma Vibhushan Pandit Jasraj Ji is in heaven to offer his divine musical renderings to the gods.

He was given the title of ‘Ved Shiromani’ by Gurumaa Jyotishanand Saraswati, who founded Vedic Heritage Inc. (VHI) in Hempstead, NY. He knew Gurumaa since his early teens and always mentioned her like his sister. She was his first student, but he addressed her as Maa or Divine Mother.  

At Vedic Heritage Hanuman Temple, Pt Jasraj was called Mamaji and was loved for his special expression, “Jai Ho”! He believed in living in the present and to always do what one is passionate about. He exemplified it – he took his last class with students in New Jersey on August 16 and died the next morning. He used to say, steep steps are difficult, but they take you to your destination, and of course his emotional ‘Dīvāna banānā hai to dīvāna banā de varna kahīñ taqdīr tamāsha na banā de’. His devotion to music was unparalleled and his personal guide was ‘Lord Krishna’ himself.  

VHI will be forever indebted to Pandit Jasraj ji for his blessings for nearly four decades and his numerous performances in the Pandit Jasraj Auditorium at Vedic Heritage in Hempstead, as well as in the Hanuman temple where he visited every time he was in New York to meet Gurumaa and graciously sang impromptu to Hanuman Baba. He was the premier at all two-day Indian Classical Music and Dance Annual programs at VHI where maestros from India performed with him and amateur artists were encouraged. He was founder of the Mewati Gharana and his disciples Pandita Tripti Mukherjee, Renu Jain, Ratan Mohan, Aditya Kumar and others often accompanied him at his performances here. His memories etched in pictures and videos are unique to VHI.

May his soul achieve Nirvana and Sadgati, and may Hanuman Baba give strength to his family, his disciples and students. He will forever stay in our hearts, and he will kindle our souls through his evergreen divine musical offerings which will be heard and remembered for centuries.

Pt Jasraj performing aarti at the VHI Hanuman Temple. Pandit Jasraj Institute of Music director Tripti Mukherjee also seen in the photo.

Images courtesy of VHI and (Photos: VHI)

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