SGS Putugam

SGS Puttugam

By Puttuadmin1 on 02 Jul 2019
Relation between devotion and music

Bhakti is the simplest of all the paths to realize the Supreme Truth. Saints and sages have all propagated the path of bhakti. Adi Shankara initially preached Jnana yoga but later found that path of bhakti was simpler than path of knowledge.

Path of devotion (bhakti marga) makes use of music (nada). The entire universe is immersed in nāda. Nāda exists in everything around us. The birds, the winds, the rains and even the busses plying on the road create nāda. There can be no movement without music (nāda). There is nothing which is free from influence of nāda. The Supreme Lord created the universe out of nāda. The supreme destroyer Shiva, performs cosmic dance which is filled with nāda.

The saints have been bringing light to the masses by singing in praise of Him. Tumburu, Narada, Meerabai, Surdas, Tyagaraja, Purandaradasa, Kabir and many others have carried the divine light on the strength of nāda. Their messages have withstood the test of time and the songs composed by them have been sung from generation to generation. Bhakti and nāda are inseparable.

The seven swaras, the 72 melakartas, the numerous Shruti are the component manifestations of nāda. From them are born raga and rāgini. Rāga and Rāgini are not mere combination of notes. Each is a Devata or Devi. Even as each devata is endowed with divine powers and gunas.

It is said that Tansen could light the lamp by singing a particular raga and that it resulted in his temperature rising as if fire was burning in him. It is also known that his body fires were quenched by a cloud burst induced by another raga. There is truth in all these stories.

Once a well known vocalist was to give public performance. But to his utter dismay he found his throat had gone hoarse. When he told me of his predicament, I asked him to begin his concert with a particular raga which has the quality of clearing hoarse throat. Following my advise he gave the concert with ease. Singing a particular raga with full devotion provides all accompaniments of various instruments.

Our ragas and raginis are endowed with immense power. Sadhana on the right lines brings about beneficial results whereas an improper understanding and non-appreciation of the qualities of the raga can lead to disastrous consequences. A famous violinist was blessed with a well-endowed son soon after playing a raga everyday. Another person lost his life by refusing to sing a particular raga at a certain time.

There is intimate relationship between music ang God. But this relationship is established only when nada is approached with reverence and devotion. Pursuit of music in this way is nadopasana which is distinct from music for mere enjoyment and recreation. Music charged with devotion brings one closer to god and it is nadopasana.

Sages from time immemorial have enriched music with their devotion The tradition of music has been immortalized by the efforts of saint singers such as Tyagaraja.

(Speech at department of music, University of Delhi. Source Bhaktima Oct 1976)