Tuesday, March 31, 2020

VEENA SUTRAS - 8

SARASWATHI VEENA:- When I say Saraswathi Veena, it means the original acoustic seasoned Jack Wood Veena. The "Veenas" made out of Cashew, Kodukkapuli and Thoongamunji tree wood are not to be included under the Saraswathi Veena category. These instruments sell under the name of "Veena" owing to their shape but they are totally devoid of divine properties and characteristics which are inherent in Jack wood. Only seasoned Jack wood Veena has the innate purity and divinity required to enhance the tone of the instrument to celestial levels. To know about how the prana of the player is invoked while playing Veena kindly refer to my earlier posts-Veena/Gayathri Mantra/ Upanishads, Veena Rahasya and Deiva Veena-Maanushi Veena. 

WOOD AND PRANA OF VEENA PLAYER- How does a Veena produce sound? The sound you hear a Veena producing is a result of that air vibrating within the instrument. How does this happen? Plucking a string causes the string to vibrate. The vibration of the string causes the top of the Veena to vibrate, the vibration of the top of the Veena enters the hollow (kudam) causing the bottom of the Veena which in turn passes through out the Veena Dandi causing the entire Veena to vibrate. The air caught within the Veena vibrates along with the Jack wood of the Veena. An acoustic mike picks up the acoustic vibration of the entire instrument. The complete acoustic mechanics of any stringed instrument completely depend upon the way in which the various pieces of wood transfer the vibrational energy of the strings into the box of the air. Different kinds of wood resonate differently and thus transfer that energy differently, and as such, the kind and quality of wood of a Veena makes all the difference in its sound.
During the Veena rendition, the  pranic energy of the Veena player travels through the wood grains of Jack wood heightening the resonance of the Veena which in turn invokes the Ojas of the Veena player. The mutual interaction of the Jack wood Veena and the  the Veena player fuses the player and the Veena together in a golden glow.
The most important point to note is that the Veena player's energy which travels through the wood grains of the Jack wood Veena during the Veena play does not leave the Jack wood as soon as the player stops playing. The Veena player's energy remains intact in the Jack wood as well as the hollow dome and 'dandi' of the Veena!  Through his rendition the Veena player secures his life outside his body and inside a Veena! What is the significance of a Saraswathi Veena which contains human prana? And on the other hand what happens by transmitting one's energy to random wood?  

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

VEENA SUTRAS - 7

KODUKKAPULI TREE

CASHEWNUT TREE


THUNGAMOONJI TREE
The wood that brings out the true resonance of a Veena is Jackfruit wood. Like Saint Thyagaraja's famous "Pancharatna Krithis" there are "Pancharatna Vrikshas". They are the 1)Jackfruit tree, 2) Blackwood Tree, 3) Margosa Tree, 4) Sandal Tree and 5) Coconut Tree.
I have already elaborated on the divine aspects of Jackfruit tree in my earlier postings. Apart from the Jack wood's  unique characteristics, the wood is also known to be absolutely fibrous and with not many pores. Above all the Jack wood , through appropriate seasoning is immunized to climatic changes.
The magnetic mike is the undesired third party that has caused the divorce between Veena and the wood which is the core and basis of Veena's inherent acoustic nature.
The advent of digital mixer-mikes (which are capable of producing tonal razzle-dazzle in place of true tones) has reduced the importance and involvement of wood to zero levels.
I have gathered information from my good technician friends (nearly 5 of them- names withheld on request) that 3 types of wood are being used in the making of a Veena. The reason is - 1) The functioning of the wood in Veena is rendered impotent by magnetic mike, 2) Scarcity of Jack wood and legal ban on cutting Jack wood in certain areas.

Wood from KODUKKAPULI  TREE, CASHEWNUT TREE and THUNGAMOONJI TREE (Samanea Saman in English also known as the Sleepy Tree, a highly Tamasic tree) are also being used for making Veenas. Sometimes Jack and the above mentioned three trees are mixed and marketed as "Veenas".

Sunday, March 22, 2020

VEENA SUTRAS - 6

"A Veena transforms into an electric veena when a contact mike/pickup is attached to its body"- is the statement of a layman who's ignorant of different types of contact mikes/pickups and their functioning. 
THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF CONTACT MIKES/PICKUPS (1.Magnetic mike which cuts off original acoustic quality of Veena and 2. Acoustic contact mike which enhances the true acoustic quality of Veena):-
MAGNETIC MIKE:- Veena is transformed into an  ELECTRIC VEENA when this mike is attached to its body. The magnetic mike makes contact only with the strings of the Veena and suspends the acoustic properties of the wood in the instrument. Only magnetic strings are used for magnetic mike. The wood's resonance is not picked up by this mike. Therefore the advent of Electric Veena had begun only with the introduction of magnetic pickups. Saraswathi Veena naadham is absent in this Veena and instead produces curious guitar/mandolin/ alien tones. To cover up for the missing true naadham an Electric Veena  artificially colours and jazzes up its dead-wood tone through advanced/modern mixer-mike systems.

ACOUSTIC CONTACT MIKE/PICKUP:-This picks up the basic resonance of wood as well as the strings enhancing the true quality of a Saraswathi Veena. Original Saraswathi Veena is essentially an acoustic instrument and is not designed to function like an electric guitar. When Veena attaches a magnetic mike to function like an electric Veena (making Veena sound like a bass/electric guitar) the acoustic core of Saraswathi Veena responsible for producing the "Veena Naadham" is sacrificed. For samples of true tone of Veena refer to my article on this blog- Golden Era- Glory of Original Acoustic Saraswathi Veena by yesteryear legends ( the legends featured here are using acoustic mikes).

For further clarification one may check out different contact mikes used for acoustic guitars and electric/bass guitars.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

GODDESS DURGA -TAROT/ORACLE CARDS

SEKHMET
Sekhmet in Doreen Virtue's Goddess Guidance oracle cards and The Strength tarot card (Celtic Cross, Rider-Waite etc.) represent Goddess Durga. This is a great card to draw as it assures Divine protection and extraordinary courage of the querent despite ominous surrounding cards. 
Sekhmet is an Egyptian lion Goddess. Sekhmet is the Goddess of Sun, war, turmoil and ultimate healing. Even from the point of view of pronology Sekhmet sounds close to Shakthi. Amazing that this Egyptian Goddess has a beejakshara- Sem. I also happened to stumble across  a mantra ( wish I knew its origin)- Om Sem Sekhmet Durgaya Namaha. Many are unaware of Durga-Sekhmet connection and that They are worshipped together in mantra form!
THE STRENGTH TAROT CARD

The Persian/Iranian Goddess Anahita who appears in divine oracle readings and psychic predictions is a Goddess of water, fertility and protector of women. Pronology relates Anahita with the Heart Chakra (Anahatha Chakra). This Goddess is a Guard of the mankind and the Persian counterpart of Goddess Durga. (DURGA lexigram/anagram- GUARD).
ANAHITA

Thursday, January 23, 2020

VEENA SUTRAS - 5

While a layman is not sure why there are some guitar-like sounds coming from a Veena, it's a fact that even the brainiest of tonal adjustments on the amplifier connected to a magnetic pickup of a Veena cannot get rid of guitar-like sounds. 
Magnetic mike which picks up Veena's magnetic strings sans wood erases the true voice of Veena. 
Acoustic mike which picks up the true tone/ Veena Naadham from the seasoned jackfruit wood ennobles the player and the listener. The true tone of Veena is sattvic in nature.

                                           VEENA NAADHAM-SATTVIC IN NATURE

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

VEENA SUTRAS - 4


Chi. Sumithra- True tone of Veena

I found this little one's (Chi.Sumithra) impressive rendition of a Pancharatnam on Veena at such a tender age  (on youtube). Purity of true, acoustic tone of her Veena were added features that caught my attention. May God bless her!

MAGNETIC PICKUP- Gives lot of gain in the amplifier. This pickup is sought after for providing artificial depth and continuity of tone, facility for gimmicks (usage of only left hand without plucking with right hand) and it picks up only strings and rejects the core of Veena which is jackfruit wood. Consequently the  Veena sounds like an electric guitar or a mandolin or a sitar.

ACOUSTIC PICKUP- Picks up the wholesomeness of true tone that comes from seasoned jackfruit wood. Tone is enhanced by the combined energies of the Veena player and the jackfruit wood. For details please  refer to -1) Miracles of Veena, 2) Grace of Veena, 3) Acupressure on Veena for tonal enhancement, 4) Eternal Grace, 5) Deiva Veena-Maanushi Veena, 6) Cruel act of dismantling Veena, 8) Veena/Gayathri Mantra/Upanishads,9) Veena Rahasya and 10) About the Veena in this blog.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Moola Nakshatra (4)



                                                       THIRUGNANASAMBANDAR

Veyuru Tholibangan Vidamunda Kandan
Migha Nalla Veenai Thadavi 
Maasaru Thingal Gangai Mudimel Anindu Yen
Ullame Pugunda Adanaal
Naayiru Thingal Sevvaai Budhan Vyaazhan Velli
Shani Paambu irandum Udane
Aasaru Nalla Nalla Avai Nalla Nalla 
Adiyaaravarkku Migave


MEANING:- The Divine One who has taken into His Body His feminine soulmate (Goddess Parvathi) with bamboo like shoulders, Whose throat has stains of the poison He swallowed, Who plays the Veena faultlessly, Who wears the blemish-free Moon and the flowing River Ganges on His Head, He has entered my heart! Therefore the planets Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and the the two Nodes (shadowy planets) Rahu/Ketu will not harm me in anyway. They will only do good, good and very good for me!!

The above is the first stanza of Kolaru Pathigam authored by one of the brightest of 63 Nayanmars, Thirugnanasambandar. In the first verse itself the great Nayanmar has established not only the supremacy of Veena in spiritual texts, the fact that Lord Shiva plays the Veena in tune with the Universe has also been stressed here.

Thirugnanasambandar was born in the Nakshatram Moola. His birth took place at a time when Jainism and Buddhism were strong religious influences in India.
A child prodigy and God-gifted, Thirugnanasambandar at a tender age of 3 sang Thodudaya Seviyan which is the first Thevaram Verse when Goddess Parvathi fed him milk in the Sirkazhi temple.  

Thiruneelakantha Yazhpanar one of the 63 Nayanmars. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva and an exemplary Veena exponent. Thirugnanasambandar would compose the lyrics and Thiruneelakanta Yazhpanar would set the tune for Sambandar's lyrics and render the same on His Veena. Thirugnanasambandar's heart always melted at the divinity of Thiruneelakanta Yazhpanar's rendition of the Veena. Thiruneelakanta Yazhpanar felt very fortunate to be with Thirugnanasambandar and together they travelled to many temples, spreading Saivism through Their divine music and literature. rics and render the same on His Veena.      
Slowly Yazhpanar started developing a sense of ego when he mastered the art of composing music for Thirugnanasambandar's lyrics. That was when Lord Shiva wanted to rectify Yazhpanar's egoistic thoughts. At this juncture, Thirugnanasambandar and Yazhpanar reached Lord Shiva's temple in Dharmapuram, (presently in Puducheri district). Inside the temple, Thirugnanasambandar in divine ecstasy started to recite verses in praise of  Lord Shiva. Despite supreme efforts Thiruneelakanta Yazhpanar could not reproduce on His Veena whatever Thirugnanasambandar was chanting. In frustration and humiliation Yazhpanar wanted to break the Yazh (Veena) and end His own life. Lord Shiva appeared before the duo of Thirugnanasambandar and Thiruneelakanta Yazhpanar and took the Veena from yazhpanar. Lord Shiva Himeself set the tune for Thirugnanasambandar's lyrics and played them on the Veena and danced to the tune at the same time. This divine spectacle shattered the pride and ego of Thiruneelakanta Yazhpanar. Due to this divine incident the Lord in this temple is known as Yazh Muri Nathar. In this temple Lord Shiva is shown playing the Veena!! All Veena aspirants will benefit from worshipping here.

YAZH MURI NATHAR TEMPLE, DHARMAPURAM, KARAIKAL DISTRICT


In Yazh Muri Nathar temple Thirugnanasambandar's birth star is celebrated as Guru Pooja in the tamil month Vaikasi on the day when moon is in the constellation of Moola.

Thirugnanasambandar's heart always melted at the divinity of Thiruneelakanta Yazhpanar's rendition of the Veena. Thiruneelakanta Yazhpanar felt very fortunate to be with Thirugnanasambandar and together they travelled to many temples, spreading Saivism through Their divine music and literature. 

The Veena developed from Yaal or Yazh ( harp without frets which is played with both hands) during the period of Thirugnanasambandar. The Veena with frets and the concept of gamakas originated during the lifetime.

Dr. Premalatha, musicologist states (in her thesis Music through Ages), "The biography of Thirugnanasambandar marks an important stage in the development of the concept of gamaka and incidentally of the fretted Veena. The strings of the yazh were tuned to the notes of suddha scales. Since it was a plain instrument there was no provision to manipulate the grace and quarter tones in Megharaga Kurinji."

P.S: Kolaru Pathigam contains powerful affirmations. The word "Nalla Nalla" (Good Good) is repeated in all the verses. In modern times we have authors like Louise L.Hay writing about the manifestations of affirmations. The practice of positive affirmations has been implemented many centuries ago by saints like Thirugnanasambandar. Thirugnanasambandar's affirmations invoke nothing less than the planets and above all the Divine Grace of the Lord Almighty Shiva and His Divine Consort, Goddess Parvathi! Kolaru Pathigam is a magic sloka for mitigating problems arising due to planets in transit as well as in the natal chart.


Monday, January 6, 2020

VEENA SUTRAS - 3

NEED FOR DISTINCTION BETWEEN ACOUSTIC ORIGINAL VEENA AND ARTIFICIAL ELECTRIC  INSTRUMENTS IN THE NAME OF "SARASWATHI VEENA"

Magnetic pickup/strings use the " Saraswathi Veena" only for the sake of appearance and as a disguise. The magnetic pickup/strings reject the acoustic properties of jackfruit wood. The"kudam" or "resonator” is reduced into a dummy piece as it’s energy is not picked up by the magnetic pickup/strings. Magnetic pickup/strings depend wholly on the amplifier for artificial tonal adjustments. Where the magnetic pickup/strings are concerned the form or shape of the instrument and the kind of wood used in making the instrument are of no significance and therefore totally negligible.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Sri Viswaguru Vidyaranya Swami, Narasaraopet, Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh

SRI VISWAGURU VIDYARANYA SWAMI ASHRAM

Main Temple Inside Ashram Where Bhagavanji's Samadhi Is Worshipped

Bhagavanji Sri Viswaguru Vidyaranya Swami
Pooja on Bhagavanji's Brahmaleena Mahotsavam Day
Serene and peaceful morning in the ashram- walking around the ashram I tried to capture the moments on my mobile camera..... Mathaji's Samadhis, Yaagashaala, the distant temple of Medha Dakshinamurthy on top of the hill (Kotappa Konda) which is not visible due to cloudy weather......
BHAGAVANJI SRI VISWAGURU VIDYARANYA SWAMI, NARASARAOPET, ANDHRA PRADESH

Starting from left (Mathaji Chidvidya Prabhadevi (attained siddhi), Mathaji Vidyasukha Prabhadevi (attained siddhi) and Mathaji Sadvidya Prabhadevi).

Bhajans rendered by MALLADI BROTHERS
Music composed by A.K.RISHAL SAI
Album produced by my husband E.V.RAMAKRISHNA

Bhagavanji, as He is reverentially called by His devotees, Sri Viswaguru Vidyaranya Swami attained Brahmaleenam (Immersion in Brahman) on Sapthami thithi in the month of May, 1999. Shortly I will be posting translations of His works ( in Sanskrit)- Anugraha Bhashanam and Bhagavad Bharathi


Saturday, December 21, 2019

Total solar eclipse in Moola Nakshatra- Veena practice

                                                           GODDESS SARASWATHI
Total solar eclipse is going to take place in Moola nakshatra on 26th December roughly between 8.00 am to 11.30 am. Eclipse of Sun in Moola nakshatra, 4th pada (in transit at 09:46 degrees) occurs when Moon (in Moola, 4th pada) passes between Earth and Sun, completely blocking Sun from Earth's view. Other planets involved in the eclipse and transiting Moola nakshatra are Mercury, in Moola, 1st pada  (00:53 degrees) and Jupiter in Moola, 4th pada (11:09 degrees). Two other planets Saturn in Poorvashadha 4th pada  (26:34 degrees) and Ketu in Poorvashadha 1st pada (14:26 degrees) are in the same zodiac (Sagittarius/Dhanur Rasi) though not in the eclipsed constellation which is Moola.
Moola being the seat of Saraswathi is ideal for practising original acoustic Saraswathi Veena and listening to Saraswathi Suktham of Rig Veda. Practice of Veena during this particular eclipse will yield abundant benefits. Prayers to Lord Anjaneya ( belonging to Moola Nakshatra) also yields great results

Friday, December 20, 2019

Acoustic Veena in Cinema


Earlier Veena functioned entirely as an acoustic instrument. Veena never had a contact mike    (or even an acoustic pickup) while recording in studios.  In studio recordings Veena was recorded by a normal voice mike (placed on a stand) and facing the instrument. Amazingly this proved to be the best and most sensitive mike which had the capacity to pick up the most minute details and nuances of Veena music. In recent times Veenas are plugged in even inside recording studios, whether it is in Cinema/All India Radio/Compact Disc recording studios. The Veenas use pickups/contact mikes that are directly plugged into the recording console or into a portable amp/speaker in front of which a voice mike is placed. Veena loses its natural tone when plugged in for studio recordings.

Late Sri.Chittibabu had recorded his Veena in many films of my father, film music director, late Sri.G.Aswathama.
                                                         LATE SRI.G.ASWATHAMA
In all my father's songs Sri.Chittibabu'sVeena was recorded directly by a stand mike and without the usage of contact mike/ pickup. 
LATE SRI.CHITTIBABU

My father's hit song from the telugu film "Annaa Thammudu" in the year 1958 -Veena by Sri.Chittibabu (Use earphones)

Myself
All through my involvement in the field of Cinema (films in Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil from the year 1965 to 2000) I had used the voice mike for my Veena and I had never used the pickup/contact mike for recording and re-recording sessions. My concerts for the All India Radio were also recorded through the voice mike and without pickup/contact mike.


MY ACOUSTIC VEENA (WITHOUT PICKUP/CONTACT MIKE FOR THE TITLE MUSIC OF A TAMIL FILM IN 1976) (Use earphones)




MY ACOUSTIC VEENA (WITHOUT CONTACT MIKE/PICKUP FOR A TAMIL FILM SONG, 1977) (Use earphones)

MY ACOUSTIC VEENA FOR A TELUGU FILM SONG (1998) RAJAHAMSA (Use earphones)


MY ACOUSTIC VEENA AND MY VOICE ( the song required an amateur female singer. Primarily I was assigned to play Veena in this song and after much thought from my side the decision to mix my amateurish voice was taken in the last minute.) WITH S.P.BALASUBRAMANIAM IN RAJAHAMSA (1998). 
(The English wordings I sang as shown on screen are wrong and hilarious!!) The correct words are- First BGM "Is this love or is that how I feel? Is it magic or is love so real? I want to find this place of ecstasy so is this love, someone tell me please." Second BGM-" Love is a special thing it never grows old. It can make you laugh, it can make you sing, it can't  be bought, it can't be sold!" 
(Use earphones)


FEATURED POST

VEENA SUTRAS - 8

SARASWATHI VEENA:- When I say Saraswathi Veena, it means the original acoustic seasoned Jack Wood Veena. The "Veenas" made out o...