Celestial Discharge: Ravi Shankar, Master Musician

India surely counts Pandit (wise teacher) Ravi Shankar’s death, yesterday, Dec 11, as a huge loss.  The master of the sitar has served as a cultural icon and a bridge from that country to the rest of the world.

Visit RaviShankar.org to learn more about this great musician and listen to some of his work. His family tells us that he underwent surgery, which had been expected to alleviate long standing health problems. The heart valve replacement surgery occurred last Thursday, in San Diego, but his 92 year old body was unable to recover from the ordeal.

In November Ravi Shankar made his last public performance, with his daughter Anoushka wearing an oxygen mask. His long and productive life certainly speaks favorably for continuing to work as long as one is able.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paid respects to Ravi Shankar, calling him “National Treasure” and ambassador of India’s cultural heritage. Shankar had been recognized in 1999 with the title Bharat Ratna, which means Jewel of India, the highest award for civilians in any field of endeavor.

The world will be missing beautiful music coming from this master. Prayers for Ravi Shankar, his family, and his chief musical heir, Anoushka Shankar.