Tuesday, January 05, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 172 (Vol #3) Dated 05 Jan 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 172 (Vol #3) Dated 05 Jan 2010.
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from the last para on page No 790 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitam. blogspot. com constantly updated.)

GAANDARVA VEDAM

USE OF A USELESS THING

1. There is Artha Saastra which talks about money matters, status, position, trade and business. So, it is useful in daily life. Krushi Saastram is about agriculture, making food available to the society. There is a Paaka Saastram telling us of the methods of cooking food, including all the culinary delights. It teaches us as to how to cook and get rid of hunger. The Yuddha Saastram of Dhanur Vedam tells us as to how fight a battle and sort out social pests or troublesome neighbouring states. Ayur Vedam teaches us as to how to take care of the human body to prevent the onset of diseases and the cure. To-day I am going to talk to you about Gaandarva Vedam, which has none of these apparent usefulness! Is not the introduction good?

(Having said so, Periyaval kept quiet for a few minutes. Then he continued with a smile.)

2. Having said that I have opted to talk about a subject that has no utility, I waited for some time to see your reaction. Despite hearing my statement, none of you have preferred to question me as to why I am wasting your precious time and or leave this place either! You continue to be sitting there with ardent desire to know as to what is this useless subject. I can clearly see that it is not just good manners that you are waiting to hear me further. If such was the case, you would be sitting there with apparent reluctance! But what I am seeing written large on your faces, is spelt as, 'c u r i o s i t y' ! It is in this curiosity that is the reason for 'Gaandarva Vedam' without any utility still, assuming the status of Saastram and a Upavedam!

3. So, despite not having any utility value, it has something that attracts human beings attention. That is why even after I had declared the subject to be useless, you are all keen to know as what I am going to say further. Listening to me is not going to satisfy your hunger, neither is there any expected income, nor is your illness if any going to be treated. But it is clear that you are still interested in knowing what I am going to say. It is this 'interest in passing time interestedly', that is keeping you all riveted to your seats!

4. I gather from this that, though there is no direct utility in Music, Dance and Drama; there is some thing in them that gives some pleasure, wholesomeness and satisfaction to man's intellect and mind. As evidence of that, here just now, so many of you are patiently waiting to listen to my talk about this business of entertainment, which we lovingly refer to as 'time-pass'! Some how, this has an important role to play in human being's life. It need not earn a living but for which we are ready to spend our resources of time and money.

5. Basically it is Sangeetam(Music), inclusive of the allied forms of dance(Nrutyam) and drama(Natakam), that is called the Gaandarva Vedam. Now you can include Cinema and Television possibly. In Gaandarva Vedam the main authority is the Bharata Saastram, which includes classical singing, instrumental music and dance. In all discussions and conferences Bharata is much quoted as having given the definitions to all the technical words and nuances of classical music. As far as dance is concerned, though some subtle differences are said to be in the various dance forms of Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathakali and so on, as having evolved from different parts India, the main discipline is known by the name of Bharata Natyam only!

6. For that matter you do not have to be an expert to note that Katha is story telling and Kali is dance, put together makes it Kathakali! So basically all the rules of music and dance originated from Bharata Saastra only. This does not deny however the vast differences between the various disciplines of dance forms known by different names in the present world. Some time back the Government agency for research and revival of these classical arts was named 'Sangeeta Nataka Academy''. Some people objected to the fact that the word 'Natya' was missing from that name. Their reply was that the very word 'Sangeeta' includes vocal and instrumental music and dance forms, as dance forms are always with the music only. The very word Sangeet can be translated as, 'with music'!

7. Similarly Natakam cannot be separated from Natyam as both are from the root word 'Nata' indicating movement. In Tamil we call it 'nadappadu', 'nadippadu', for moving and acting respectively. Dance and drama together in Tamil is known as 'Koothu'. For example Siva in the primordial dance form is known as 'Nataraja' the king of dance and in Tamil as, 'Koothapiraan or Ambalakkoothan'! Thus the words 'natan, natee' are all synonymous with 'natikan or natikai' in Tamil, which stand for the word 'actors' of either sex!

8. In dance with music they play act all the nine different emotions sans make up, in poetical form with facial expressions and various 'mudra'-s of the hands. In drama the same play acting takes place to the accompaniment of stage arrangements and appropriate make up. In dance much is left to the observer's imagination, that is as realistically shown as possible in drama / cinema. Movement by the face, hands, and body parts, emotional movements of expressions and the development of the story through such movements; makes these forms of dance, drama and music complimentary to each other inseparably!

9. In Tamil these forms are called, 'Iyal, Isai, Natakam'. Iyal is natural and very close to reality with all possible movements of the dance. Isai is music that goes with the dance. Natakam is the drama. That is why there is dance thrown in at various points in the narration of the story in a drama, however much realistic the drama may be. Without music and dance, the narration is considered too dry and bland. There is back ground music to evoke the feelings as appropriate to the narration of the story. In a pure dance display there is no talk. But, somehow with music and bodily movements, it is able to convey the 'Bhaava' to the observer's satisfaction. Similarly in a pure music concert, none of these things are there. Still simply the words of the song sung within the parameters of Raaga, Swara, Laya, Taala, Aalapana, Kaarvai, Gamakam, takes one's breath away with the apparent freedom the singer is able to exhibit, limited only by his or her imagination!

10. Singing, dance and drama put together are the contents of Gaandarva Veda. It will not give us money. Your stomach will not be filled by them. Yes. The people who have taken these as a profession do earn a living, There is a whole world of make believe there, rather over shadowing all other professions and ways of life! What is meant for ones own or family's food may be happily spent in seeing a dance or drama or cinema. Though there is no utility, there is some apparent satisfaction. If you buy vegetables or fruits, they could be eaten. For the same price if you buy some flowers and put it in flower-vase, it does give some pleasant satisfaction to the eyes and possibly impart some fragrance to the environs. There is some utility there!

(To be continued.)

Sambhomahadeva.

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