MusicAlive was established in 2009, with the aim of promoting person centred participatory music and arts practice in mental health and older age health care settings. I was facilitating a music group on a particularly overcast autumn day in the Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland in 2014, when a distinguished-looking gentleman approached me on the conclusion of the session. "To complete your musical education," he said "you really need to visit India". I had no plans to, but as luck, or maybe destiny would have it, within a year, that’s where I found myself.
The ‘Benign & Beautiful’ writings I learn are a distillation of Mr. Garg’s experiences and wisdom on how to lead a happy life, told in proverbs. Krishan has been able to pick up the entire proverbs from Mrs. M. P. Garg on a recent trip to India. It consists of almost 1,500 proverbs. The more I read, the more they resonate with me. Coming across a book, Dreamtime, by the Irish writer and philosopher John Moriarty, I read that he is of the view that until the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, Ireland shared much in common with or ‘belonged to’ Asia. Moriarty is also of the view that, since the nineteenth century, we in Ireland have walked away from a native language that was a way of seeing and knowing things.
Mr. M. P. Garg passed away on January 10, 2018. Krishan, Sudhir and their family wished to celebrate the legacy of this remarkable man and so we discussed how this might be done. It then dawns on me that many of the proverbs also resonate powerfully with the values MusicAlive aspires to in informing its work. By coincidence, photographer Aoise Tutty Jackson, an associate artist with MusicAlive, will be travelling in India in the spring of 2019. Aoise too is bitten by this benign but beautiful bug and is keen to help disseminate the writings to a wider audience. Her beautiful images accompany each proverb and capture both the thorns and roses of daily life in India and indeed life wherever it is found.
From a shortlist of 60, the final 30 proverbs chosen in this book serve as a reminder to the associate artists at MusicAlive of many of our core values, as we mark the 10th anniversary of our work in community and healthcare contexts.
For this edition of the book, Gaelic translations have been added to each proverb. The Gaelic and Hindi languages share a common Indo European heritage and so this seems appropriate. As Mr. Garg’s writings show, they also seem to share a way of seeing and knowing the world.
MusicAlive is fortunate and grateful to another of our associate artists, Deirdre Ní Luasaigh, for her beautiful translations.
We hope you derive as much pleasure from this book as we have had making it. At times when the world darkens, we hope Mr. Garg’s words will provide some light and love.
Go mbeannaí Dia sibh - Namaste,
Kevin O’Shanahan, Founder of MusicAlive, October 10, 2019