Thursday, February 04, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 184 (Vol #3) Dated 04 Feb 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 184 (Vol #3) Dated 04 Feb 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 842 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.)

121. There have been many greats who have achieved considerable expertise in Gaandarva Vidya. They have left enormous saastraa-s and sahitya-s for posterity. Bharatha Rishi is foremost amongst them. Then there have been many more. Narada, Agasthya, Matanga, Anjaneya and Nandikeswara, have been great singers, composers, sahitya karta-s and
saastra karaka-s!

122. Many of the Raagaa-s have names indicative of being evolved as an offering to the deities of the Hindu pantheon of Gods. Thodi is known as Hanuma Thodi. Kalyani, Sankara Aabharanam, Bhairavi, Shanmukha Priya, Rama Priya, Karahara Priya and so on. From the available palm leaf scriptures we get to know of Saarnga Deva, Somadeva, Ramamadya, Govinda Dixit who was an authority in Adwaita philosophy too, his son Venkata Mukhi, are all those who have written books organising the ocean of knowledge in a scientific manner. Near Pudukkottai, in the Kudumia hills, Sanskrit inscriptions on stone, on Sangeeta saastra have been identified.

123. Though through out India, there was one method of classical singing, after the arrival of the Muslims, classical music got separately identified as Hindustani in North India mainly and as Karnatic classical in South India. Amongst Sahitya Karta-s cum composers, the earliest historically known figure is that of Jayadeva, who was of the 11th century A.D. Then we must mention Purandara Dasa. The South Indian classical music possibly got named Karnatic Classical due to his influence. Jayadeva sang mainly on Sri Krishna’s exploits, mainly deliberating on Gopi’s love for Krishna. So also Purandara Dasa sang on Krishna mainly. Narayana Teerta was another luminary who has sung the ‘Krishna Leela Tarangani’. Then one can think of Oothukkaadu Venkata Subbhaiyar who has written extensively sang the ‘Krishna Gaanam’ in Tamil, which is very suitable for dance. Bhadrachala Ramdas mainly sang on Sri Rama.

124. For Karnatic classical there are three main exponents of music known as the ‘musical trinity’ who were singers cum composers cum sahitya karta-s. They are Thyagaraja Swami, Muthuswami Deekshidar and Syama Sastry. Amongst them Thyagaraja Swami has mainly sung devotional songs on Sri Rama, though he has authored some on other Gods, such as Siva and Ambal. Muthuswami Deekshidar has sung on all Gods, not leaving any! All compositions of Syama Sastry on the other hand were focussed only on Ambal!

125. Gopala Krishna Bharathiyar, Muthu Thandavar and Marimutha Pillay have mainly sung extensively on Siva, that too Nataraja. Arunachala Kavi Rayar has composed what is known as ‘Rama Natakam’. Mayavaram Vedanayakam Pillay was a Christian, who believed in the oneness of all Gods. So he has sung some songs of high merit addressed at the one God acceptable to all religions, virtually dwelling on Adwaita Vedanta! Somehow the Indian tradition has been mainly devotionally oriented, never straying in to ‘secular themes’ of this worldliness!

126. Folk Songs/Music. There is a division of this tradition concerned with folk songs. But in India such music and dance is also some how or the other, religiously connected, though they cannot be called classical! For example, there are Karagam, Kavadi Attam, Poi Kaal Gudirai, Themmaangu, Kaavadi Chindu, Nondi Chindu etc. It is human nature to sing while doing any repetitive work, like the farmer when working on the fields ploughing the land, or while watering the fields.
127. There used to be a man made device known as ‘Ertram’! This was a long wooden plank held high up over a water well, with the centre held on a fulcrum. In actual fact it was not really a plank but three or four logs held together, with serrations so that while it is slanting the farmer will have some grip for the feet. On one end there was a huge leather bag that would go right down lower than the water level in the well and get filled with water on its down ward dip. By then the man walking the plank with the help of railings on either side, would be at the centre. Now once bag is filled, the man will laboriously start walking in the opposite direction away from the centre. Though the water could weigh much by now, he makes use of the principle of fulcrum and gravitation to lift the water to ground level for irrigating the fields! It is boring repetitive hard work. This is where singing is natural and useful!

128. Similarly the man lifting or pulling loads, rowing the boat, de-husking the rice and so on; would all do their work while singing. The hard labour becomes bearably pleasurable with music. When many people made up of both men and women are working, singing helps in increasing the efficiency. Some how in our context, even in such situations the songs were invoking the divine powers for more rains and blessings!

129. Music has that power to make physical labour easy and increase the efficiency. More over, whatever the complaints or grumbles, needs or demands, music enables you to let off steam, thereby lessening the heavy loads on your minds and giving you peace on mind. Lullaby is a clear example of how music can grant peacefulness! However much the child’s mischievousness, take it on your arms or place it in a swing, singing a few strains of a ‘thaalaattu’ song and see how promptly it comes under the effect of the song! Even a violent snake is charmed by the sound of the ‘bheen’!

130. From the time one is born (lullaby / thalattu) till ones death (dirge / pilakkanam), we are constantly, inseparably accompanied by music . Mostly these were assets of woman only. In the olden days, the children were taught all the morals and good behaviour, through her songs. That the mother goes away for early morning shift in factories and offices, even before the children wake up in the morning, is the scene from modern day drama of real life!

(To be continued.) Sambhomahadeva.



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