Gentle Bamboo Solutions

Avadhanam – The Art of Concentration


Yesterday, I was feeling a little down due to all the news of suffering and death around the world and wanted to just take a couple of days off. I was expressing this general feeling of sadness to Rakshith and how I needed to take my mind off work for a while. He introduced me to something called Avadhanam, and said I’ll enjoy it.

He was wrong. Enjoy is too mild a word. It pretty much changed my world view about development of skill, pursuit of knowledge and erudite entertainment. I could spend the next year just listening to an Avadhani. It is a form of performance art where there’s sublime wordplay, a treasure trove of poetry, amazing linguistic skills, deep literary knowledge, unbelievable improv skills, world-class memory, exemplary patience, and a few dozen other skills all rolled into one surprisingly entertaining package.

It’s not for everyone, of course. But for those who like this sort of stuff there’s no better way to spend time. I happen to be that kind of person.

In the hopes that you are that kind of person too, I share here a link to a TedX talk by R Ganesh, a master practitioner, explains what it is about:

If you feel interested in this sort of stuff, look up for an actual Avadhana on YouTube. If you understand Kannada, look no further from R Ganesh – he’s an absolute master. There are tons of videos in Kannada – which is the language in which I am consuming this art form. There are other videos in Telugu, Tamil, Sanskrit, etc. that may appeal to you if you are more comfortable in those languages. In my searches, I have not been able to find in other languages besides this, so that might be an issue if you don’t understand any of these languages.

Give it a shot. At worst you’ll be bored and turn it off. At best, you’ll find an ideal of knowledge that you will want to strive towards achieving yourself.

Wannabe Avadhani,