Wednesday, January 27, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 180 (Vol #3) Dated 27 Jan 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 180 (Vol #3) Dated 27 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 822 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.)


78. Sabdam has been there forever encompassing all space. It is the limitations of our hearing due to which we are not able to receive or recognize that. For those with extra sensory perceptions, this all pervading sound can be audible. Now we are too dependent on our ears and believe only in what can be heard by the ears. To the famous saying, 'seeing is believing', we can add another, 'hearing is believing!' That is how we respond to the world around us.

79. Because of such narrow perceptions our views and believes are rather conditioned. We say sunrise and sunset. We know that the sun is just there as effulgent as ever, while it is the earth that is going around the sun. So the sunset and sunrise are only as seen by us and not the reality. When the sun light is spread all around, we are not even aware of it. But when the all encompassing sunlight is divided in to a small part as through a hole in the roof, then only it is within our comprehension. We are capable of catching only the micro part (kanda) of the macro whole (akanda)!

80. Another thing. Let us say that we are sitting under a pandal. (Pandal is a temporary roof made of interwoven palmyra leaves.) Let us say that the sunlight is passing through and we are seeing the patterns on the ground. If the hole was round or squire or triangular, the shape of the light on the ground will be similar to the hole through which the light passed. Like water taking the shape of the utensil in which placed, so also light does not have a shape or form. Shape or form means that it is bounden by the space. Like light, sound is also not qualified by space!

81. Let us say that the light is coming through the hole at an angle of 45 degrees to the vertical or horizontal. We also have to look at that angle to see the sun. Otherwise we will only see the wide open blue sky. During that if an eagle or crow flies overhead for a fraction of time its shadow falling on the hole may hide the sun. Then we will know that the bird was seen because of the sunlight falling on the bird. That is, to comprehend something that is 'akanda' (vast, huge, permeating the whole), we need some agency that can help us to comprehend.

82. I will give you another example. All around us there is the air of the atmosphere. We say that it is hot and humid and that there is no air. But then if we hold in our hands a fan and move it ever so slightly, we can feel the presence of air. That is you interpolate something in what is 'akanda' and sort of cut it or beat it or disturb it to be able to understand and or comprehend. This is known as 'abhighata'. Sound is also like that. Its all pervasiveness is not within the ambit of our understanding. But when we beat our two hands together, (i.e., abhighata), then we can hear the sound! Similarly when our vocal chords are moved in various ways, what is all pervading 'akanda', becomes smaller waves in the air and so becomes audible.

83. In the 'akanda' swaroopa, the Sabdam that is peaceful like the wide spread ocean, we create some disturbance by our vocal cords, tongue and teeth, like bubbles in the water. That is known as 'spotam'. In the silent ocean of sound, to create some bubbles or boils or pimples is 'spotam'! The sound created by 'abhighatam' is 'aahata sabdam'. 'Aahata' means beaten. Here there has to be two elements, of one doing the beating and the other getting beaten. When there is no second party to beat or nudge, then it is 'akandam and poornam'! Thus the sound that is there self created without the other to beat, that is known as 'anaahata dwani'. This 'akanda sabdam' is there in the wide open spaces of the universe and also in the sky of the heart (hrudaya aakaasa) of individuals. This is the sound of life. All the music, speech and instrumental music is created by some movement or beating and that is only 'aahata dwani'!

84. The alphabets of various letters are all a type of 'spotam'. The 'sapta swara-s' of 'sa ri ga ma pa da ni sa' are another type of 'spotam'. When we talk we use the consonants and vowels without sapta swara-s. In music we use words made up of letters known as 'akshara-s' and sapta swara-s . While playing on the instruments such as violin, flute and so on, we create only the various sounds as per the notes of the music. This spoken word is a peculiar capability of human beings only. Animals can be trained to respond to these sounds. Some birds such as mina and parrot can copy some of these sounds!

85. Knowledge of Our Ancestors in the Science of Sound. The books on Sangeeta Saastraa-s give out in detail as to how these musical instruments such as Veena (a stringed instrument in which the plucking of the string produces the sounds), Flute and Naayanam (both wind instruments in which the air is blown through one end and the air coming out through some holes creates the sounds to be manipulated), Violin or Fiddle (in which the finely taut strings of the bow are rubbed against the strands of the instrument, which is manipulated by the pressure of the fingers), Mrudang and Dhavil (percussion drums played on by fingers and or stick), Ghatam (a mud pot on which fingers beat notes), Ganjira and Jaalra are to be made. This means that our ancestors were very clear about the intricacies and subtle points of how sound can be produced by various means! The length of the strings or strands in Veena, the leather to be used in the percussion instruments, the distance between the air holes in the flute / nayanam are all too intricate and subtle.

86. In the Tala Vadya-s, namely, Mrudang, Dhavil, Ghatam, Ganjira, there are no sounds to show the different swara-s. But they create some sounds of musical value. Their right and left surfaces produce certain variations of sound. What sort of material go in to treating of the leathers in preparing to be used as the right or left surface of the instrument and the method of how they should be tightly held in place is all very scientific. Each instrument is an engineering marvel of years of practice and experimentation. Each part of Mrudang for example is to be of precise sizes and measurements.

87. Let us look at the Nayanam, that is also known as Nadaswaram. The Nayanam that is longer than two feet are known as 'Paari Nayanam'. The one and half feet version is known as 'Timiri Nayanam'. In this the Sruti (pitch) will be higher. There can be another in between these two known as 'Idai Paari'. There are clear cut instructions as to the type of wood to be used, which leather for which instrument, materials to be used for the strings and so on. For one instrument we should not be using wood from different trees, so as to keep its longevity on equal basis and the sound created is mutually complimentary ('sunaadam').

88. In old Tamil literature much intricate and subtle points about the 'Yaazh' has been given. Thiru Gnaana Sambandar has sung a 'Yaazh Moorip-padigam', on reading which one is astounded by his depth of knowledge about music! Adi Sankara too reveals his musical expertise through the 69th sloka in Soundarya Lahiri, starting with the words, "gale rekhas tisro".

(To be continued.)




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