Wednesday, December 11, 2019


                                                                  JACKFRUIT TREE


There is enough evidence of sacredness associated with the Jackfruit Tree. Lord Krishna has always chosen the Jackfruit tree to either appear under it as Guruvayoorappan or to instruct the King of Manipur (in the 18th century) in his dream to carve out His images from it. 7 images of Lord Krishna were carved out of the Jackfruit tree and placed in temples in Manipur and Assam. In Imphal , Sri Govind temple has one of these 7 idols.
Lord Krishna had appeared as Guruvayoorappan under Jackfruit tree and the same is being worshipped in Sri Krishna temple in Neyyattinkara, Kerala.
Jackfruit tree is recognised as a sacred tree of Kaliyuga and known as the "Protector Tree" (Chaitya Vriksha). The leaves of the Jackfruit tree are an antidote for snakebites. One of the Pancha Mahavadyas used in rituals in Kerala temples  is Idakka (originating from Lord Shiva's Damaru) which is made out of Jackfruit wood. Idakka is also known as God's own instrument! It is believed that the divine vibrations of the Jackfruit wood Idakka activates the kundalini  (life-force energy) of the player as well as the listeners.
Another instrument made out of Jackfruit wood is the divine thavil, which is a percussion instrument for nadaswaram. Senior most and renowned thavil vidwans swear by the quality, age and seasoning of the Jackfruit wood. They highly recommend Jackfruit wood from Sri Lanka. Mridangam, the masterly percussion instrument gets its majestic tone from Jackfruit wood. 
While the Idakka, Thavil and Mridangam respect their God-given timbre and revel in the wood-generated tone by using only acoustic mike, it's surprising that many Veenas have disregarded the divine significance of  Jackfruit wood by patronising the usage of magnetic pickup.  
The magnetic pickup recognises only magnetic strings. Magnetic pickup has no use for the  Jackfruit wood and disconnects itself from the God-given vibrations that emanate from this sacred wood. The true tone of Veena is lost once the Jackfruit wood's resonance (naadam) is cut off. Therefore Veena loses its original richness of tone while the skeletal magnetic strings serve only in transforming the tone of the Veena into that of an alien electric guitar. 
On the other hand magnetic mikes facilitate gimmicks like the rendition of the entire gamut of 2 octaves on the Veena dandi and producing sound by using just the left hand and without using the right hand for plucking the string (owing to its uncharacteristically even and continuous tone) which is often misinterpreted as virtuosity and technical brilliance. Further, due to the inaccessibility of  Jackfruit wood, the magnetic mike seeks to replace the tonal richness of Jackfruit wood through advanced mixer-amplification system in order to glamourise the anaemic tone of strings sans wood. 
The true tone of an acoustic Saraswati Veena is not unnaturally even and monotonous like that of a magnetic-pickup Veena , the true tone of an acoustic Saraswathi Veena comes from Jackfruit wood. The rich wood-vibrations bring out wholesome nuances and musical aesthetics through tonal modulation that elevate the player spiritually.

Refer to previous postings ( Pure tone of acoustic Saraswati Veena and Golden Era- Glory of Original Acoustic Saraswati Veena by Yesteryear Legends for true tone of Veena).

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RADHASHTAMI - 23rd September, 2023