Wednesday, September 22, 2021

SRIVIDYA VEENA (3)- KUNDALINI YOGA (SARASWATI VEENA-23)

SHANKARACHARYA OF SHAKATAPURAM MUTT, SRI KRISHNANANDA THEERTHA MAHASWAMI, SRIVIDYA PEETHAM
 
                                    VEENA SHYAMALA/ RAJAMATHANGI 


90S, SANSKRIT COLLEGE, LUZ, CHENNAI-

It was an auspicious full moon day in the month of August in the 90s (I do not recall the exact year). The campus of Sanskrit college in Luz, Chennai was crowded with devotees of Sri. Shankaracharya of Shakatapuram Mutt which is Srividya Peetham.
I stood waiting in the queue wearing a 9 yards saree, my hands full with bags of fruit and flowers and a huge plate to place them at the time of offering to Periyava of Shakatapuram Mutt, Sri Krishnananda Theertha Mahaswami.
I was thrilled and eager to take the Rajamathangi and Veena Shyamala 'upadesham' from Periyava.
"Did you know that Veena has a beejakshara?" Preparing for the upadesham Periyava asked me matter of factly.
"No". I shook my head.
He proceeded with the upadesham, I felt sanctified as I left Sanskrit college. And fully authorized to play whatever little I knew of Veena.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

SRIVIDYA VEENA (2) KUNDALINI YOGA (SARASWATI VEENA-22)


 
                             (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.
RECEIVING THE GANGA DEVI AWARD FROM FORMER GOVERNOR OF ANDHRA PRADESH, SRI. KRISHNA KANT, IN THE PRESENCE OF SRI. SIVANANDA MURTHY IN VIZAG.

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....)


Friday, September 17, 2021

RAANIKA NEE KOSAM SAKHI.........



1969- In Vijaya Garden studios, during the recording of super hit song 'Raanika nee kosam sakhi...' with Ghantasala Uncle. Music direction by my father, Sri.G.Aswathama for the telugu movie, "MAYANI MAMATHA".

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Saturday, September 11, 2021

SRIVIDYA VEENA- (1) KUNDALINI YOGA (SARASWATI VEENA-21)

VEENA VENKATARAMANADAS

Many years ago Veena was held vertically by yesteryear practitioners in order to keep the spine erect (the above is the only  photo I managed to find. Veena Vidushi Tata Bhanumathi's (Puducherry) father late Sri.Tata Somayazulu used to hold the Veena vertically, I have had the fortune of witnessing this personally).


SRIVIDYA VEENA (KUNDALINI YOGA)-

I always wondered if it was only me who observed that Goddess Saraswati did not place the 'sorakkai' (left side dome of Veena) on the left thigh!

Further, there is no authentic text that demands any particular posture for Veena playing. The recent practice of holding the Veena horizontally across the left thigh has many disadvantages in the areas of health and spiritual benefits. In my personal and professional experience I have realized that an erect spine plays the foremost role in Veena playing.

Saraswati Veena made of pure jackwood is ideal for kundalini activation. The posture plays an equally important part as the sruthi  and laya suddham (perfection in tune as well as rhythm). If you ask me, posture is the primary most important factor. 

Veena practice for professional reasons maybe set aside as the focus on posture can disturb intellectual planning unless the player has mastered the erect-spine-posture.

 To start with at least half an hour should be allotted for kundalini practice on an authentic Saraswati Veena made of jackwood. Contact mikes, whether they are contact mikes for acoustic Veenas or electric Veenas (where magnetic strings are used and the wood grains are shunned) are not be used during this practice session. Mikes are to be avoided in order to gauge the enhancement of the 'naadham' (resonance). 'Naadham' is the measuring scale of the rising life-force energy which is sponged off by the wood grains of the Veena's jackwood and reflected as 'naadham' or resonance of the Veena.

If the practitioner is young, energetic, hale and healthy the practice of posture becomes easy and demands slight variations only. Placing the Veena's left side dome (Sorakkai) on the left thigh requires the player to stoop over the Veena dandi (especially in the case of a tall or broad-shouldered player). Instead of placing the sorakkai on the left thigh the player should find something (like a pile of cushions, thick cloth material, small stool covered by cloth etc.) to be able to raise the Veena to the required height on the left side in order to avoid stooping over the Veena. At the same it is necessary to balance the height of the right side dome ('kudam') in order to achieve the correct inclination. The right side is not to be raised to the level of the left side, but only to the extent where the player is able to play the Veena with his/her shoulders pushed back, chin raised and most importantly with his/her spine erect. (TO BE CONTINUED.....)

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

CONCERT IN MYLAPORE SAIBABA TEMPLE IN LATE 60s.


LATE 60s, after my concert in Mylapore Saibaba temple- spiritual stalwarts and siddhas from Shirdi attended the concert. I am seated on the floor.

 

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