India has been spiritual country and around the world known for the place that is associated with Yoga prominently, among other things. Yoga is a way to connect with supreme brahma and there are various different methods to attain this.Bhakti, Raj, Hatha, Gyan ,Prem and Naad(sound) –as some of the methods publicly practiced .There are many other ways to achieve this.
Naad yoga is a way to find oneness by means of music and sound .There have been various exponents who practiced and even created different processes and popularized those methods.
Music,as we all know came into existence –per mythology to demonstrate the feelings of love, anger and per scriptures and believes Shiva is credited for this.
Veena , Mridanga and Venu are three divine instruments per Hindu belief systems and even certified to be the oldest complete instruments. The veena is the most ancient stringed instrument of India. It is one of the three principal musical instruments mentioned in the vedic literature, the other two being the venu (flute) and Mrindanga.
Veena is normaly symbolicaly associated with Saraswathi , while Mridanga with Gannesha, Nandi and Venu with Vishnu and Krishna .
While the mention of Veena (let us call it Saraswathi Veena is described in scriptures which are as old as 5000 Yrs old) . It is interesting to note that veenas with various numbers of strings, starting with the ekatantri (single string) veena to one with one hundred strings are mentioned in vedic texts.
In 20th and 21st centuries and starting 16th century , with confluence of Hindustani, Carnatic musicans and music by many means –only Vichitra Veena , Rudra Veena, Dattatreya Veena , Brahma Veena -Hindustani, Saraswati Veena , Chitra Veena-Carnatic are practiced and known , while Narada in Sangita Makaranda mentions a variety of veenas like kachchapi, kubjika, chitra, parivadini, jaya, ghosavati, jyeshta, nakuli, mahati, vaishnavi, brahmi, raudri, ravani, sarasvati, kinnari, saurandri, ghosaka etc.
Such is the divine nature of Veena(and so for Mridangam and Venu) is that salvation or liberation can be attained effortlessly by playing veena, as mentioned in some of the shlokas per vedic letarteure.
Some of the Shlokas go further and describes that by seeing and touching the veena, one attains the sacred religion and liberation. It purifies the sinner, who is been guilty of killing a Brahmin. The danda, made of wood or Bamboo, is Siva, the string is Devi Uma, the shoulder is Vishnu, the bridge is Lakshmi, the gourd is Brahma, the navel is Sarasvati, the connecting wires are vasuki, the jiva is the moon and the pegs are the sun. The veena thus represents nearly all the Gods and Goddesses, and is, therefore, capable of bestowing all kinds of divine blessings, benediction and auspiciousness
Having understood all this , we have lack of artists and sincere students, practitioners available for Veena today .Add to this a serious query needs to be started reading where and how other kinds of Veenas have vanished .
My riyaaz is doing good for the last few days and the music season in South is gearing up .Especially in Tamilnadu/Andhra/Karnataka/Kerala ; the gaan sabhas and thyagaraja aradhana mahotsavas will be in full swing.
After I got back from Udaipur and Jaisalmer,never knew if I can regain the speed and clarity on my instrument but now everything is settled ; just need to increase playing by a few more hours(!) and it’ll all be done.
It was a soothing feeling when I was introduced to a few colleageus of mine as musicians.Interestingly -Venkatachalam is a very good flute player(Carnatic Classical) and Ramya is a decent singer (Indian Classical) .Hope we could jam some time.
Looking forward for ‘Gaaja Baaja’ at Pune during February and meeting with Guruji for a taalim during 24-26th January in Mumbai.It has been really a long time I went to Pune.
Just going through Deepak dada’s (Deepak Raja-whoes book titled –Khayal Vocalism: Continuity within Change) was published recently and below few lines/translations are taken from his blog.Its about -“Music is not just about music…”.
“The knowledge of music becomes an effective means of attaining one-ness with Lord Shiva; for by the knowledge of music, one attains to a state of absorption and it is by attaining such a state that one-ness with Shiva could be obtained… One ought not to indulge, out of delusion, in worldly songs…”
Skanda Purana, Suta Samhita. 18.104.22.168-16
“To the yogin whose spirit attains a unified state in the uniform bliss engendered by delectation of objects like music, there occurs an absorption and anchoring of the mind in that bliss. Where there is a continuous and long flow of sounds from stringed instruments, one becomes freed of other objects of cognition and becomes merged in that ultimate and verily of the form of that Supreme Being.”
“We adore the Supreme Being of the form of sound (Nada Bramha) which is the one bliss without a second, and the light of consciousness in all beings that has manifested itself in the form of the universe. By the adoration of sound (Nada) are also adored God Bramha, Vishnu, and Maheshwara, for they are the embodiment of sound.”
Sharangadeva in Sangeet Ratnakara, 1.3.1-2
“One attains the Supreme Being by practicing continuously the chanting of the Samans (the sacred Vedic mantras set to music) in the prescribed manner and with mental concentration. The singing of the songs Aparanta, Ullopya etc… the songs composed by Daksha and Bramha, constitutes indeed liberation. One who knows the correct playing of the lute, has mastered the subtle semitones, and understands the rhythms, attains the path of liberation without any strain.”
Yajnavalkya Smriti, 3.4.112-15
“O Mind! The knowledge of the science and art of music bestows on a person the bliss of oneness with the Supreme Being. Music such as is accompanied by the blissful oceanlike stories of the Lord which are the essence of love and all the other sentiments blesses a person with oneness with the Lord. Music such as that cultivated by the discerning Thyagaraja bestows on a person affection (for fellow beings), devotion (to God), attachment to good men, the Lord’s Grace, austere life, mental concentration, fame, and wealth.”
Sangitajnanamu in raga Salagabhairavi by Thyagaraja
“O Mind! Drink and revel in the ambrosia of melody; it gives one the fruit of sacrifices and contemplation, renunciation, as well as enjoyment; Thyagaraja knows that they who are proficient in sound, the mysic syllable OM, and the music notes – which are all of the form of the Lord Himself – are liberated souls.”.
Ragasudharasa in raga Andolika by Thyagaraja
“Two Bramhana lutists are singing to the lute; this thing, the lute, is verily the embodiment of beauty and prosperity; and these musicians of the lute do verily endow him (the patron) with prosperity.”
Taittiriya Bramhana, 3.9.14
“These that sing to the lute indeed sing of Him (the Supreme Being) only; hence it is that they attain riches.”
Chandogya Upanishad 1.7.6.
“Whatever poetic utterances there are, and the songs in all their entirety, are aspects of Lord Vishnu, in his sonant form.”
Vishnu Purana. 1.22.84