Sri.Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha,Bangalore

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Srivaishnavism   - Book Preview

  •   In regard to protection of individuals , Vedanta Desika says " Pradanahethuhu Swatantrya Vishitaa Karuna Hari " meaning Grace of God is the main factor . The question is how to get his Grace ?? Bhagwan Ramanuja has addressed this from the point of of view of ordinary people and has expounded the Saranagathi approach - basis of Srivaishnavism.
  •  With the advent of science ,vedic approach to universe is gaining recognition. Meditation is no longer considered a mere ritual.The vedic approach has been that our planet (Earth) is a part of the universe and the systems of the universe have influence on the life in our planet.The human beings have a major role to play in this regard. All vedic philosophies aim at this objective.
  •  Srivaishnavism aims to God -Realisation within the frame work of our normal worldly activities.This aspect has been effectively brought out in this book.This book brings out in a simple language the elements of Srivaishnavism for Layman , elaborating various points discussed under the subject of Srivaishnavism . The emphasis is on practical aspects as the main objective of Srivaishnavism is to earn the grace of the Lord by an individual .It is modelled as a self instructor for use by by persons who do not have much specialized knowledge.Starting from the the lineage of teachers ,the book discusses Tatwa Thraya (three realities) , Karmas , Forms of Eshwara , Pancha Samskara , Rahasya Thraya mantras , How to do Saranagathi , Path to Moksha etc .The book also discusses daily routine of a Srivaishnava . The daily routines have been simplified to a minimum level. It will enable a beginner to make a beginning in right earnest and gradually improve. Appendix-1 gives the daily meditation procedure and will help one to practice daily meditation. Appendix-2 gives a simplified version of Saligrama Aradhana . The presentation also covers a comparative study of Vedic approach and modern scientific researches .The examples and references to scientific studies including the ECG to assess the impact of Srivaishnava mantras on individuals  and presentation  has been such as to create an interest in an individual to follow the principles of Srivaishnavism.
  •  It is hoped that this book will create interest in a number of persons and help them to follow the path of Srivaishnavism.The book has been popular with those who want to practice the concepts of Srivaishnavism and elevate one's personality. Presentation of this book as a gift on various occasions is also common . The book is  nominally priced at  Rs 50/- in India and US $ 5 abroad .  Copies are available with Sri Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha , e-Mail : [email protected]

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Sandhyavandanam- Book Preview

 A number of individuals after the success of the book on Srivaishnavism requested the sabha to bring out a book on Sandhyavandanam .

 Great Sages like Manu , Parasara , Yagnavalka , Gautama and others , with a view to establish a society of nobility , have prescribed a few Samskaras or rituals. These Samskaras are integral part of Hindu Dharma and are meant to improve the quality of humans. Sandhyavandanam is one such Samskara and is meant to improve the health of body and mind and also improve intellectual quality. It is a 'Nitya Karma' or daily ritual to be performed at 'Sunrise' and 'Sunset' . Vedic tenets recognise an energy body external to our physical body.This acts as a via media between the individual and the universe. Cosmic radiations are absorbed through chakras in this energy body. 

 Sandhyavandanam or Sandhya prayers consists of  (a) Purification (b) Offering Arghyam (c) Meditation through Gayathri . By purification , it is meant to condition ourselves to receive cosmic radiation and not just superficial cleaning.

 A statement by our sages states : 'Sandhyahino Ashuchih Nityam Anarhah Sarva Karmasu .  Yada Anyat Kurute Karma Na Tatra Phalam Ashnute ' meaning one who does not perform Sandhyavandanam is ever impure and as such not qualified to perform any religious act. Inspite of this if he performs any religious act , there will be no benefits. This illustrates the importance given to Sandhya Prayers in our tradition.

 The book has been brought out as a self instructor type with meanings , explanatory notes to meet the needs of the present generation. Thus , one can perform Sandhyavandanam with understanding . The book has been organised as under :

Chapter -I is devoted to general information and covers Vedic tenets , significance and time of performance of Sandhyavandanam and a few scientific facts.

Chapter-II is devoted completely to various rituals forming part of Sandhyavandanam.Not only correct performance of the rituals have been explained with photographs but also explanatory notes have been added to bring out the significance of the rituals.

Chapter -III (Along with Annexures) is devoted to Hymns in the three Veda Sakas. Hymns have been given in Sanskrit ,Tamil and Kannada scipts for Yajur Veda to cover a wide range of people.Hyms for Rig and Sama Sakas are given in Devanagiri script .

Chapter-IV covers meanings of important Hymns included in Sandhyavandanam.

Chapter -V covers other important Vedic rituals. Rituals like "Yagnopavitha Dharanam " ( Changing of sacred thread) etc for the benifit of those residing at places where facilities of a teacher or guide are not easily available.

 Basically ,the conventional Vedic style of Sandhyavandanam has been followed in the book but the findings of modern science for better appreciation of the various rituals and the Hymns have been included in the book.The approach is that Sandhyavandanam should not be looked upon as a mere ritual but as a Vedic prescription for development of personality with healthy body and mind. The presentation in the whole book is from practical aspects , the objective being that every individual should avail the benefits of Sandhya periods.

 This book has proved a good success and many have even taken the book to present it to others on the occasion of " Upananynam" - Sacred thread ceremony.The book has been nominally priced at Rs 50/- in India and US$ 5 abroad .Copies are available at Sri.Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha ,  e-Mail : [email protected]



Vedic  Pranayamam - Book Preview

 Well wishers of the sabha after the success of  the  books  on  Srivaishnavism  and  Sandhyavandanam  requested the sabha  to  bring out a  book on  the importance of Pranayamam . Accordingly , the book titled  'Vedic Pranayamam - An elixir for health and prosperity'  was conceived.

 Great Sages like Manu , Parasara , Yagnavalka , Gautama and others , with a view to establish a society of nobility , have prescribed a few  Samskaras or rituals. These Samskaras are integral part of Hindu Dharma and are meant to improve the quality of humans. Sandhyavandanam is one such Samskara and is meant to improve the health of body and mind and also improve intellectual quality. It is a 'Nitya Karma' or daily ritual to be performed at 'Sunrise' and 'Sunset' . Pranayamam is an integral  part of   Sandhyavandanam . Vedic tenets recognise an energy body external to our physical body.This acts as a via media between the individual and the universe. Cosmic radiations are absorbed through  chakras in this energy body. 

 The discussion in this book is limited to Vedic  Pranayamam , taught at the time of Upanayanam and also forming part of Sandhyavandanam . Our sages have given a format for Pranayamam.this format is discussed in the light of research of human body through  Kirlian Photography , brain studies etc. It will be seen from these discussions that the format for Pranayamam given by our sages is indeed unique and helps a great deal in preserving our physical health and also develop personality .

 Chapter-1 is a General Introduction and covers Respiration ,  Human body , Human brain , Nadis , Chakras and Sources of Energy.

 Chapter-2 discusses about various Mudras and Meditation and also the importance and benefits of the Mudra.

 Chapter-3 discusses about Vedic Pranayamam , Ashtakashara  Pranayamam and also Agarbha Pranayamam

 Chapter-4 discusses about Pranayamam Mantra Japam and it's procedure. For benifitting various section of the society the procedure has been included in  Devanagiri , Kannada and Tamil scripts. This section also includes a discussion on  Vyahriti Mantra Japam.

 Chapter-5 covers briefly about Upanayanam and Sandhyavandanam , basically an excerpt from the sabha's  publication ' Sandhyavandanam'

 Chapter-6 covers the Physical exercises like stretching the spinal cord and deep breathing or abdominal breathing basically to help the flow of energy all over the organs of the body.

 Chapter-7 covers Art of Living in today's deteriorating environment with a hectic life style . Certain prescriptive details are given to be followed by an individual based on the tenets of Srivaishnavism.

 Chapter-8 is the conclusion and ends with the prayers to the Lord .

 This books on Sandhyavandanam and Srivaishnavism  have  proved a good success and many have even taken the book to present it to others on the occasion of " Upananynam" - Sacred thread ceremony. As a supplement for these books  it  is expected that the book on Vedic Pranayamam will also prove to be a big success .  The book is  nominally priced at  Rs 50/- in India and US $ 5 abroad .  Copies are available with Sri Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha , e-Mail : [email protected]


Vedic  Approach  to  Healthy Living - Book Preview

A good health is what everyone seeks. Our sages (rishis)  have found that proper absorption of all pervading life energy (cosmic energy) is the key to health. Only input our  body gets is the food intake. The body has to process this input to build necessary  infrastructure for handling all  human activities-both physical and mental. For doing this,the body needs motive power (very similar to electricity in industrial plants).This motive power is supplied by life energy. The absorption of motive power by  the body is an involuntary process (that is, it takes place  without any effort on our part). However, lifestyle, food habits and other acts, have influence on motive power. Hence, our sages prescribe some corrective measures,  referred to as traditions (or Achara) etc. This booklet  presents a few simple measures for healthy living. They may appear trivial but they have a great potential. This can

be practiced by one and all. The whole exercise takes only  a few minutes. The sabha feels that these measures are a

must in the present day living conditions. 

This  book  also  contains  two  addendums  viz. " Vedic Ritual  - Aposhanam - Significance "   and  " Why Darbha grass  is  used  in Vedic Rituals "

The book is  nominally priced at  Rs 50/- in India and US $ 5 abroad .  Copies are available with Sri Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha , e-Mail : [email protected]


Upanayanam - Book Preview

 Well wishers of the sabha after the success of  the  books  on  Srivaishnavism , Sandhyavandanam  and Vedic Pranayanam  requested the sabha  to  bring out a  small 4 page pamphlet for distribution during Upanayanam function which was very well received . The present book was conceived as  an elaboration of the 4 page pamphlet in detail alongwith several other useful information brought together to serve the needs as a handbook for Upanayanam .

 Accordingly , the book titled  'Upanayanam '  was conceived and modelled as a handbook covering all aspects of the ritual including importance and significance.

 Great Sages like Manu , Parasara , Yagnavalka , Gautama and others , with a view to establish a society of nobility , have prescribed a few  Samskaras or rituals. These Samskaras are integral part of Hindu Dharma and are meant to improve the quality of humans. Aksharabhyasa  &  Upanayanam are two such Samskaras devoted to education . Upanayanam means 'taken near' meaning that the boy is taken near a teacher for education. It is a Samskara to provide the boy with faculties to meet the change from childhood to boyhood.

 The discussion in this book  covers all aspects of the ritual including importance and significance . The book is of aprox 80 pages covering comprehensively the Upanayanam ritual and serves as aa guide to those performing the ritual .After explaining the 'Suthras" on the subject the book discusses in detail (i) The preliminaries activities (ii) the main upanayanam ritual (iii) Post upanayanam activities .For better appreciation of the subject , appendices are included covering use of Panchangam , significance of Darbha grass , list of items required for upanayanam and a few exercises recomended .

 Chapter-1 is a General Introduction

 Chapter-2 discusses about various Suthras

 Chapter-3 discusses about  Preliminary activities like selection of date and time (muhurtham) , invitation , Pandal in front of the house etc

 Chapter-4 discusses about  the dais or mantap , Udakashanti  ,Palighe  ,Raksha Kankana l , Nandhi and then about the main Upanayanam ritual.

 Chapter-5 covers the Post Upanayanam activities with stress on Sandhyavandanam , Gayathri Japam etc

 Chapter-6  is the Conclusion . For better appreciation some Appendices have been introduced .

 Appendix-1 covers a guide to use Panchangam

 Appendix-2  covers Kolam or Rangoli .

 Appendix-3 covers Dharbha ( Kusa or holy grass )

 Appendix-4 covers the list of items required for Upanayanam

 Appendix -5 covers some physical exercises that are recommended  like Stretching of Spinal Cord ,Deep breathing or Diaphragmatic breathing ,Cleaning of respiratory track Massage of feet  during feet cleansing

 This books on Sandhyavandanam , Vedic Pranayamam and Srivaishnavism  have  proved a good success and many have even taken the book to present it to others on the occasion of " Upananynam" - Sacred thread ceremony. As a supplement for these books  it  is expected that the above book on  Upanayanam  will also prove to be a big success . The book  is  nominally priced at Rs 50/- in India and US$ 5 abroad.  Copies  available at Sri.Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha , e-Mail : [email protected]

Vedic  Wedding  ( Sri Vaishnava Tradition ) - A  Guide  & Wedding Souvenir - Book  Preview 

Vedic weddings are colourful and wears festive look. Srivaishnava weddings in addition add serenity to the

wedding - bride dressed as ‘Andal’ and groom dressed as ‘Narayana’. Vedic weddings are not just restricted to

external appearance. The rituals incorporate powerful veda mantras that have great impact on the individuals. This souvenir discusses in depth Srivaishnava vedic weddings.

Chapter 1 discusses vedic concepts of human anatomy, concept of marriage, format, power of mantras and

homam. Chapter 2 discusses the approach in the selection  of bride and groom, time and date of marriage, etc. Chapter 3 discusses activities before wedding such as lagna patrika, invitation, arrangements, etc. Chapter 4 discusses the rituals on the marriage day such as vratam, jatakarma, ceremonial breakfast, Kasiyatra, exchanging of garlands, swing ceremony, etc. Chapter 5 discuss the main marriage ritual starting from kanyadanam and upto Lajja homam. Chapter 6 discusses post marriage rituals such as grihapravesham,

pravishya homam etc and also traditional form of   concluding vedic rituals. Chapter 7 summaries whole  process and importance of main marriage ritual. Main marriage ritual incorporates powerful veda  mantras and homams, particularly the lajja homam. It helps to bring divine grace and blessings not only for the  young couple but also for society at large (prosperityof kalyana mantaps proves this point)  .  In the preparation of this souvenir, we have taken help form the following:

“Samskara Maha dadihi” by Dr. Prof. A Ananta Narasimhachar   “Yajusha Purva Prayoghna” by S. M. Krishnamachar  “Hindu Samskaragalu” by Dr. T. V. Satyanarayana.  “Lakshmi Kalayana Vaibhogam” by Nrisimhapriya  “Upanayanam”  and  “Vedic  Approach  for healthy living”  by  Sri Thillasthanam Swamy  Kainkarya Sabha .

Most importantly we would like to express our  gratitude for the Rishis who have given vedamantras for  vedic weddings through this souvenir.

We earnestly hope that this book  will  serve  as  a  souvenir .   The book  is  nominally priced at Rs 50/- in India and US$ 5 abroad.  Copies  available at Sri.Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha , e-Mail : [email protected] . Note :  Limited  paper back copies  available  . ebook  available . 

Vedic Rituals - Their  Relevance Today 

This  Pamphlet  is  compilation  based  on  the  lecture  given  by  Sri . V.R.Narasimhan Iyengar  , Hon President  of  Sri Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha  , at  the  Indian  Institute  of  World  Culture  on Aug 5th , 2012  on  the  occasion of  ( Late )Mannargudi  Prof . V. Gopalaswamy  Iyengar  memorial  lecture  organised  by  the  Sri Ramakrishna  Students Home on  the  founder's  day  in  association  with  the  Indian  Institute  of  World  Culture . This  is  for  free  distribution  .

VishiShtaadvaitha -Highlights and its relevance today -  Book Preview

This  small  booklet  of  22  pages   was  brought  out  as  an  add  on  with  some  additional  information  on  the  earlier  book  by  the  sabha  on  Srivaishnavism . This  book  is  dedicated  to  the  memory  of  the  Late  Mannargudi  brothers Sri. V Narayana  Iyengar  and  Prof Sri. V. Gopalaswamy  Iyengar . 

The exact origin of Srivaishnavism is not known clearly. Followers of this tradition consider Lord Sriman Narayana as their supreme teacher and surrender to him totally. The story of Prahlada proves the existence of this tradition in Krita yuga. Now Alwars (of Dwapara and Kali yugas) are recognized as promoter of this cult. It remained as such till Ramanuja (20th Cent.), gave scientific explanation quoting vedic references. Srivaishnava cult after Ramanuja is known as VishiShtaadvaita.

The “Principle of Surrender to God” or SHARANAAGATHI, is the central theme of VishiShtaadvaita, In various sections  of  this  book  we  can see what this principle tells us about the man-God relation. The  book  has  been  organised  under  the  following  chapters .

1.0 INTRODUCTION       2.0 MAN GOD RELATION      3.0 SHARANAAGATHI AND ITS IMPACT ON HUMAN LIFE CYCLES 

3.1 FORMS OF SHARANAAGATHI      3.2 PANCHASAMSKARA AND SRIVAISHNAVA MANTRAS 

4.0 FORMS OF ISHWARA (GOD)      5.0 ALWARS AS THE PROMOTERS OF SRIVAISHNAVA CULT     5.1 DIVYAPRABANDHAM      6.0 GURUPARAMPARA    7.0 RAMANUJA’S FAREWELL MESSAGE    8.0 VISHISHTAADVAITHA’S RELEVANCE TODAY     9.0 CONCLUSION 

The book  is  nominally priced at Rs 50/- in India and US$ 5 abroad.  Copies  available at Sri.Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha , e-Mail : [email protected]

HOW  GOD  REGULATES  HUMAN  LIFE  ( Ramanuja’s Vishishtaadvaitha – in the light of discovery of Dr Higgs Boson – Relevance & Significance )

This  is  a  recent  publication  12 pages  is  dedicated  to  Sri Ramanuja Charya  and  available  only  in  ebook form . The purpose of this booklet is to correlate ancient concept with modern scientific knowledge for betterment of humanity . The  book  has  been  organised  under  the  following  chapters  .

1.0 INTRODUCTION      2.0 RAMANUJA’S CONCEPT OF LIFE & UNIVERSE

3.0 SOURCES OF ENERGY FOR HUMANS   4.0 SARANAGATHI

4.1 RAMANUJA’s EXPLANATION     4.2 BIO ELECTRICITY     4.3 ENERGY MIX

4.4 INFLUENCE OF MEDITATION ON BIO ELECTRICITY

5.0 TIME OF MEDITATION      6.0 OTHER BENEFICIAL RITUALS     7.0 IMPORTANCE OF BODY ENERGY REGULATION     8.0 EFFECT OF UNREGULATED ENERGY   9.0 REFERENCE     10.0 CONCLUSION 


This  ebook  is  available  for  free  distribution  .


Perumal Tirumozhi - English translation  of  Pasurams 

This  ebook  is  an  english  translation  of  the  Perumal Tirumozhi . The  Perumal  Tirumozhi ( Celestial Songs  in Praise of  the  Lord ) by  Sri Kulasekhara Alwar  has 105 songs in Tamil divided into 10 groups each  of  approx. 10 songs . Each  group  is  called a   " Dasakam" and  dedicated  to  one  subject which  more  or  less  conform  to  his  life  experiences . The  whole  work is a  beautiful literary work  with similies and metaphors for  clear  understanding . Every  effort  has  been  made  by  the  sabha the  english  translation is as  close to  the  original as  possible . This  ebook  is  available  for  free  distribution .

Pancharathna Kritis- Meanings and significance

(Music notation in English & text in Devanagari)

By  G Dwarakanath  ,  Vasantha Vallabha Music Academy  Bengaluru

PANCHA RATNAS

Ratna means a gem and pancha is five. Pancha ratna krithis are thus the five gems of musical composition. But this is a gross under-statement if one were to consider the quality of these songs whether from the angle of musical experience, or entertainment, or the effect on those who study the meanings of the songs - there is nothing to match these compositions. The songs can permanently change man's attitude to life, God and material things for the better.

There are many ways in which these songs have been interpreted. There is an organic link between these songs that is sure to baffle any student of music. The most reasonable of these interpretations seems to be that the five songs are rather an autobiographical narration: the first song is a formal stothram or a prayer by Thyagaraja to Sri Rama, seeking His grace. After reciting this, the poet seems to have developed a sort of depression or diffidence that Rama may not bother to respond because of the poet's own past doings as a result of which, let alone Rama, even an ordinary rich man or a saint would not bother to protect him. That is the theme of the second song, Dudukugala. But at the end of the second song the poet gets suddenly confident that God after all is compassionate and would not hesitate to protect his devotee even if that meant going against the rules he had himself proclaimed earlier. This is the theme of the third song, Saadinchene. In charanas 6 and 7 of this song, the poet again praises Rama in various ways and prays for his grace. In the last charana the poet reveals that without physically appearing before his devotee Rama did respond by giving advice on how to meet problems faced by the devotee on different occasions. This is a startling revelation of the poet¡¦s continuous dialogue with Rama. After this song the poet says that thinking constantly of God increases the joy within. That is the theme of the fourth song, Kana kana ruchiraa. At the end of this song the poet's natural humility asserts itself and he sings what perhaps is the grandest musical composition - endaro mahaanubhaavulu. There are, he says, countless other great persons who have had God experience and the divine joy that it gives. Among these are uneducated but innocent persons, educated people who suddenly realise God and surrender to him, sinners who come to sing about God to purify themselves and learn music for that purpose, experts in music also well versed in puranas and itihaasaas, and great devotees like Naaradha.

The pancha ratnas are again a storehouse of ancient musical traditions that had been in vogue till the life time of the Great Trinity - Muthuswamy Dikshithar, Syama Sastri and Thyagaraja. One or two examples would be topical: Matanga Rishi in his Brihad Desi has a separate chapter on what he calls Alankaaraas. After dealing in earlier chapters with how to develop ragas, Matanga asks what is the use of a beautiful woman without ornaments that can enhance her beauty? He proceeds to describe thirty-two alankaaraas or ornaments for this purpose. One can find these alankaaraas in these songs beautifully blended with the ragas making them an unforgettable joyous experience.

These alankaaraas should not however be confused with the suladi alankaaraas composed by Purandara Dasa for beginners and which serve a much broader purpose.

A 10 or a 15 gamaka system is in vogue nowadays. They seem to satisfy normal needs but it is desirable that students make a study of the original alankaaraas to be on surer ground.

Another example of these ancient musical traditions is raga and swara rasaas or emotions. The poet does not use the dhaivatha in the raga Nata for the first song, Jagadaananda Kaaraka. The reason is the shatsruthi dhaivatha that is used in Nata raga, denotes bibhathsa or fear and revulsion. Since the krithi itself is set in a joyous mood, this swara being against the general mood of the song, is not used. According to Venkatamakhi this does not mean that the swara can be completely eliminated. It continues to be there but is not stressed, the singer gently gliding over it.

About  the  Author :

Gomatam Dwarakanath, the author, is a science and law graduate of Mysore University. Born in Bangalore, he belongs to an orthodox family of srivaishnavas, followers of Ramanuja. His ancestors hailed from Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu and had migrated to Maloor in Channapatna district of Karnataka around the year 1780 during the Carnatic wars and consequent unsettled conditions in Kancheepuram. By tradition, the family members had always studied Telugu, perhaps due to the influence of the Vijayanagar empire under which Telugu was the state language almost in the entire South India. In 1946, at the age of 12, the author had started learning music under an able vidwan and subsequently had some advanced training in this field in the Ayyanar College of music started by the late T.Chowdiah. He joined The Hindu newspaper in Chennai in the editorial department in 1957 and retired in 2001 as Associate Editor. In Chennai he came into contact with many eminent musicians, chiefly Thanjavur Sankara Iyer, an eminent composer who taught him not only many rare krithis of Thyagaraja from the original Umayalpuram notebooks but also such ideas as a raga not being limited to the arohana and avarohana, and a janaka raga having some nuances of a janya raga also and so on. Having Tamil as the mother tongue, a native of Telugu country studying Telugu in school and college and growing up in Bangalore in the Kannada country helped him in being familiar with these languages, besides Sanskrit which he learnt. It is with this advantage that the classics were studied. 

This  book  is  available  for  Rs  100  in  India  and  US$ 10  abroad . For  your  requirements  please  contact  Vasantha  Vallabha  Music  Academy Bangalore  email : [email protected]   or  [email protected] 

Forgotten  Chapters  of  Music - And 22 Kritis of Saint Thyagaraja on the science , Art & Beauty of Music 

These are painful times for lovers of classical Carnatic music and more so for Carnatic music itself. This music has to a large extent lost its popularity among the masses and connoisseurs. Forty or fifty years ago one could see concert halls overflowing with eager audiences and at temple festivals most of the people listening and intently enjoying nadaswaram playing. All these now seem to be distant past dreams. Barring a few, most concerts nowadays attract meagre audiences in Chennai. The position in other cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Tiruchi is still not that bad but there too things are at best at a standstill.

This situation is not peculiar to Carnatic music – the outlook for classical music is equally bad in the western countries also where concert hall authorities are making Herculean efforts to attract audiences back to the halls but with little success and sales of classical music albums have been continually falling, with many well known companies producing such albums having already closed shop. Some critics have called modern classical music a „torture‟, and the U.S. Army is actually using classical music to torture prisoners.

Whatever the situation in the west, in South India the general complaint from lovers of classical music is that barring a few very senior vidwans, what can be called great or haunting music is largely missing in present day concerts of others. There has been no concerted effort to study what is „great music‟.

The reason, an elderly musician points out, for this state of affairs is that the quality of musical training which learners today get is poor and when they later attempt to sing in concerts they are unable to attract attention. It is not the fault of the newer musicians or that of their teachers. Young people learning music today are as intelligent and talented as the great musicians of yesteryears but they are not getting the right kind of lessons.

It also needs to be noted that classical music has practically ceased to be a fulltime profession and most present-day musicians do love the art but cannot make it their profession because of poor earnings and have to toil in some other profession to earn a decent income. This may be one reason for the disappearing appeal of classical music, but there are more valid reasons.

This writer, while trying to write the meanings of some of Thyagaraja‟s songs on music, practically came to a halt at the song, Vara raga laya, where there is the saint‟s remark in the anupallavi that „those who do not have a deep knowledge of the nuances of swara, jati and moorchana differences, are bragging they are experts in swara, raga and laya‟. An effort to find out what this means by studying the Brihad Desi of Matanga, the Sangeetha Ratnakara of Sarnga Deva and the Chaturdandi Prakasika of Venkatamakhi led to the only conclusion possible – that Carnatic music has lost its moorings and is now a rootless system which is unable to produce great music and attract listeners. The situation is so bad that most musicians do not even know the difference between a sruti and a swara and are using these terms as synonyms.

The ancient traditions which were adhered to till the life time of the Great Trinity (Dikshitar, Syama Sastry and Thyagaraja) started losing ground thereafter and has now been practically forgotten. After Venkatamakhi finalised the 72-melakartha scheme, to a large extent he and more fully his followers thought that the old ideas about swaras and ragas, swara and raga rasas and the like were all outdated and anachronistic, and could be forgotten. And the overenthusiastic fans of Venkatamakhi‟s ideas even started talking indecently about people who did not agree with them. And it is to these people that Thyagaraja has given his spirited reply.

Is it necessay at all to revive the old ideas? Is it not possible to encourage musicians to devise new forms of music to restore the popularity of classical music? To answer the second question first, attempts have indeed been made in this direction but they have been largely failures. New ragas were formulated like Kadanakuthoohalam and some ragas mentioned in the older lists like Mohana Kalyani were sought to be popularised through new compositions. But these ragas have not developed to the same extent as older ragas like Kalyani or Kharaharapriya had done and have remained just peripheral ragas. Newer forms of compositions like javalis have also been attempted but after a few years of listener interest they too are losing ground rapidly. What have stood the ground are the new compositions that faithfully adhere to the standards and patterns set by the Trinity.

It is also interesting to note that some western musical instruments like the violin, with adjustments to fit into our system, have made a grand entry. Repeated experiments and adoption of a particular fingering technique have resulted in that instrument now being used to produce the finest shades of our classical system. Such attempts have however not succeeded in the case of the harmonium, piano and such other westrn instruments.

Nothing in life remains static and major changes do take place which often alter the very way we live and think. Carnatic music, as it exists today, is the result of at least three waves of changes, reforms and innovations brought about by great musicologists at various points of time.

The first major reforms were in the 16th century when Purandara Dasa rescued the system from imminent disintegration by formulating basic reforms including a new system of teaching music to students. He also started a new era in the contents of the songs composed. He was the first to compose songs on the daily life of the people and even making fun of many of their doings. This revolutionised the whole system. The keerthana structure attained its full form due to his efforts.

Next in importance is the formulation of the 72 melakartha scheme by Venkatamakhi in the 17th century, which also revolutionised the way the ragas and swaras were grouped. It was like the periodic table in science. The new system also enabled the evolution of a notation system to preserve the original tunes. Venkatamakhi himself did little to popularise the use of his melakartha system because he thought that more than half of his 72 melakarthas were useless. It was left to his descendant Muddu Venkatamakhi and later a famous scholar, Govindacharya even to give proper names to these 72 ragas which Venkatamakhi had not done.

It was not until the appearance of the three great composers Syama Sastri, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Thyagaraja in the 18th-19th century that the system saw the next wave of reform. Dikshitar even composed short songs in the English music style. Thyagaraja also composed a few songs in English tunes but his major reform was the system of sangathis in the krithis which elaborated the ragas and also, like Purandara Dasa, songs on more mudane themes like the daily life of the people.

Through all these reforms, it is useful to note that some things remained unaffected.These are the identification of the 22 srutis, formation of swaras from srutis and of ragas from swaras. The concept of swaras and ragas as living beings is also one such development that has remained unaffected.

To return to the first question again, it seems there is no alternative to reviving the music system to the levels that the great trinity of Dikshitar, Syama Sastri and Thyagaraja had taken it. And to do that it seems unavoidable that the basic formulations are well understood. This is the aim in a small way of this book which can also be useful as a basic textbook.

The book is broadly in two parts: the first part consists of ten chapters explaining how music was developed by our ancestors, and the second part a group of twenty-two krithis of Thyagaraja exclusively devoted to the now almost forgotten aspects and details of the science, art and beauty of our music system.


This  book  is  available  for  Rs  100  in  India  and  US$ 10  abroad . For  your  requirements  please  contact  Vasantha  Vallabha  Music  Academy Bangalore  email : [email protected]   or  [email protected]