Candlelight Practice (Jyoti riyāz)

In olden times, many ustads and pandits used to do candlelight practice, also known as jyoti riyāz

Two major concepts should be kept in mind when doing candlelight practice:

1) You must play one composition until the candle burns out
2) You must stare into the flame jyoti while practicing

Candlelight practice should not be done at a very fast speed. It is better to take a Tāl versus a particular composition (e.g. Tīntāl or jhaptāl ṭhekā versus a kāydā).

It is also very important to have the Tānpurā drone and perfectly tuned tabla during candlelight practice.

Fire has four basic elements: heat, sound, light and darkness. This is why fire is worshiped in traditions around the world.

Staring into the fire is called Trāṭak. When playing a ṭhekā and doing this, after some time (after weeks in fact), one feels that the taal and the flame elements begin to merge and drive one into unknown areas. It’s a kind of experience that cannot be described in words.

Sometimes one feels that the sound of the theka disappears and reappears. Sometimes one feels that the flame appears and disappears. Sometimes one feels that both disappear and reappear. That is the time when you meet total emptiness – the gap where all secrets reside.

I strongly recommend anyone who has the desire to explore deep experiences through music to try this practice. You will not be disappointed.