(1977-HANUMAKONDA, ANDHRAPRADESH) SRI SIVANANDA MURTHY IN HIS POOJA AND WITH HIS FAMILY. The photographs were taken when I was invited to perform in Warangal. Concert was organised by the devotees of Sri Sivananda Murthy in the year 1977.
Most of the content about Veena and the instrument's spiritual benefits in this blog was given by Sadguru Sivananda Murthy in 1998, during one of my many visits to His ashram in Bheemli, Andhrapradesh.
1996, BHEEMLI, AP-
After His morning pooja Sri Sivananda Murthy sat down to talk. Excerpts regarding Veena-
CONVERSATION IN TELUGU-
"Wear an abdomen belt." His face had the serious look of someone who was imparting the most precious secret.
My eyes opened wide, "Abdomen belt in concerts?" I could well imagine the discomfort of performing for 2 and a half to 3 hours, with an abdomen belt around my waist.
He watched the confusion and doubt on my face. He said vehemently, "But you can't waste precious 3 hours!"
I didn't answer as I tried to figure out how it would feel to play Veena with an abdomen belt. I looked at him uncertainly.
His voice was serious, "How many concerts do you have in a month?"
"Hmmmm...minimum 10, sometimes 15 to 20."
"All for 3 hours?"
"Not less than 2 hours."
"Just look at how much time you are losing!"
I nodded in agreement.
His voice was firm, "Every minute of Veena playing is precious. You need to apply your Veena playing to your kundalini. While you are immersed in playing you will not be able to maintain posture. You will naturally stoop." He paused to look at me. I nodded.
He continued, "To keep the base of spine erect you need to wear the abdomen belt. Your mooladhara to Swadhishtana to Manipura chakras will be held in alignment and erect by the belt."
I said hesitantly, "I am only worried if it will be too tight. If it's like that I may not be able to give my best because of the discomfort...." my voice trailed off.
"Start by playing Veena with the belt at home."
Looking at Him decisively I nodded in agreement. "I will, I will buy one immediately."
His face relaxed into a gentle smile.
"Good. Any other doubts?"
I smiled hesitantly as I shook my head negatively, unable to express my fears of managing the heaviness of silk saree on an abdomen belt. As though reading my mind He smiled gently and said, "It's a matter of getting used. Try to wear something comfortable on stage and nothing too heavy so that the abdomen belt won't be an added weight."
My eyes widened. Finding my voice I said in reverence, "I will surely do as per your instructions. Please bless me!" (TO BE CONTINUED....)