Monday 2 August 2010

Miracles of Veena

Maithraayanniya Upanishad states-"A drop of blood as it circulates within a human body takes along with it one breath of the human being. This drop of blood along with one breath takes nearly 7 minutes to circulate within the human body. Similarly, when the veena string is plucked once, the nada wave emanating from it takes nearly 7 minutes to travel back and forth between the bridge of the veena to the base fret of the veena."

The different properties of the woods used have an effect on the tonal characteristics of the veena. The grain pattern of the jackfruit wood used is important for veenas. The choice of wood plays a vital part in the aesthetics of the instrument.
Veena playing is not only about chemistry between 'nadam' of the veena and 'life-force energy' of the player. The interaction between human-body cells and the wood grains in the veena are equally thought provoking. Coming to think of the interaction between cells and grains/ 'nadam' and kundalini', we are able to understand how types of veena affect the player. The veena, appearing deceptively innocent has a potent nature and life of its own which can directly affect the player (provided he/she adapts the posture and breathing patterns required for veena-playing).
Continuous practice on a good veena (wood of fine quality due to seasoning at spiritual places, temples, on the banks of holy rivers or under a banyan tree, thereby devoid of doshas) yields results corresponding to the nature of the veena such as- sudden spurt of energy, sense of positivity, improvement in complexion, lush hair growth (in the case of middle-aged and the old, reduction in hair fall), shedding fat, agelessness, youthful looks etc. Playing on such veenas bring about good fortune, spiritual elevation and general prosperity. While such is the case with good veenas, one should watch out for any untoward events, ill health, bad luck, general disharmony, deterioration in physical complexion/ lack-lustre looks, fatigue, depression etc while playing on certain veenas. While all events and circumstances in life cannot be attributed to the veena one is handling, continual turn of bad events or atmosphere could certainly be attributed to the veena one is handling at the time of occurrence of bad happenings. This could be due to doshas in the wood, alignment of the frets (bad 'melam' of the veena dandi) etc. I have seen a veena that was made only on full moon nights. The veena maker would keep the wood aside on all other days except full moon nights to periodically transform the wood into a veena. Such veenas contain great spiritual powers and also lend a heavenly glow to the player.
Even the size of the veena plays a major part in affecting the player. It is essential for the player to feel comfortable while running his left hand across the dandi and plucking the strings with his right hand. Any strain on his/her biceps, elbows, hands and the chest region means the veena he/she is handling is not the corresponding size of the player. Normally a Saraswathi veena measures roughly upto 24 and a half 1/2 inches from the base note to the top note and 4 and a half feet from the simha mukha to the end of the kudam. Any addition or subtraction even by an inch or two to the length of the veena could be due to the size of the kudam (right side of the veena), resulting in an overall distinction in size yielding corresponding effects on the player. An ideal veena merges with the player to become his/her extension.