Ustad Bismillah Khan the Shahnai maestro had a personal encounter with Sri Krishna in spite of being a Muslim. The legendary Ustad had great respect for Sri Krishna; and that could have prompted the merciful Lord to appear to him in person.
Once Ustad Bismillah Khan was traveling by train from Jamdshedpur to Varanasi. It was a coal run passenger train and Ustad was traveling in the third class compartment. From an intermediate rural railway station, a young cowherd boy boarded the bogey in which Ustad was sitting. He was a dark and lean boy; and he was holding a flute in his hands. Slowly the boy started playing his flute. The supreme quality of his music surprised the maestro Ustad who didn’t even know the ‘raga’ the boy was playing. Ustad immediately recognized that the boy was none other than Sri Krishna, the Supreme God Himself . The nectar flowing out of Krishna’s flute filled Ustad’s heart with ecstasy; and tears of joy started pouring out of his eyes.
After the stunning performance, Ustad called the boy near and presented him with a coin requesting him to play the song again and Krishna obliged. This happened again and again until Bismillah Khan’s wallet became empty. Young Krishna got down at the next railway station and disappeared.
In fact, Ustad was en route to participate in a music concert at a Kumbha mela (a Hindu religious gathering of millions of devotees). At that concert, Ustad presented the new raga which he had learnt that day from Krishna. This melodious raga was greatly appreciated by the audience who begged Ustad to sing it many times. The music scholars around couldn’t make out the name of the raga and they asked Bismillah Khan about it. Ustad replied that the name of the raga is ‘Kanharira’.
The next day’s newspapers contained headlines about the melodious new ‘raga’ invented by Ustad Bismillah Khan. Having read it, Hariprasas Chaurasya, the legendary musician (flutist), asked about the ‘Kanharira Raga’s’ details from Bismillah Khan. Ustad revealed the truth and sang Kanharira; and Hariprakash Chaurasya, the topmost Flutist in the world, burst into tears of joy.
‘Kanharira’ is a divine gem in Indian music, as it originated from the lotus lips of Sri Krishna, the God of Gods !!!
Once, Lord Krishna asked his devotees what they would like to become in his hands. Some said the lotus, some the conch, some the chakra and so on, but no-one mentioned the flute.
Krishna advised them to become his flute. He said that in the human structure, as in the flute, there are 8 main spots: the five organs of perception, mind, intellect, and ego.
"If you get rid of your ego and become like a hollow reed flute, then I will come to you, pick you up and breathe through the hollowness of your heart and the captivating melody will emerge in the form of eternal joy. But if you continue your attitude of dislike, hatred and jealousy, I will distance Myself from you, as you will be useless for My purpose."