Deities like Sadashiva and Sharada, Sages like Matanga, Kashyapa, Narada and Tumburu, and realized souls like Sri Shyama Shastry, Sri Muttuswamy Dixita, Sri Tygaraja, Sri Sadashiva Brahmendra, Swami Haridasa, Smt. Meera Bai are glorious examples of the varied range of musical influence in our galaxy of spiritual starts. Music has always been a popular and sacred tool that is deciphered through the shravaNendriya (ears) and experienced through the heart. The scriptures say:
Shishurvetti pashurvetti vetti vetti gAnarasaM phaNiH |
The essence of music can be experienced by all creatures – from a child to an animal to a snake. In other words, music has the power to touch, reform and influence the entire creation. Like swarA-s are of core importance to the Veda-s, nAda is the soul of Music. The life of nAda lies in sAhitya or lyrics. Again, the essence of nAda is best conveyed through sAhitya. nAda or melody is like the fragrance of a flower which attracts one immediately. sAhitya is like the color and texture of the flower which slowly begin to dawn on the rasika, the two together resulting in Ananda or bliss.
saMgItamapi sAhityaM saraswatyAH padadwayam |
Sangita and Sahitya form the lotus feet of Sri Sharada Parameshwari. By holding on to both of these, one attains tanmayatva and gradually obtains chitta shuddhi, which can prepare one to perceive the truth of the Upanishads and thus realize the self. Hence, Sangita is a valid tool for saguNopasana, which can gradually lead one to the Nirguna Brahma Tattva. Sangeetha is thus validly seen as a part of both Bhakti Yoga and Laya Yoga. The seven notes from shaDja to niShAda correspond to the Yogic frequencies of the seven energy centers in the body. Sangeetha Yoga has been glorified by sages like Bharata in nATyashAstra, Narada in nAradIya shikShA, Matanga in Brhaddeshi and by later scholars such as Pratapashaila in sangItachUDAmaNi, Jayadeva in his Ashtapadi-s, Shargadeva's well known Sangita Ratnakara, Venkatamakhi-s chatrudaNDI prakAshikA, chatura dAmodara's Sangita Darpana, Pundarika Vitthala's Sadraaga Chandrodaya, Govinda Dikshita's Sangita sudhAnidhi, Subbarama Dikshita's Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini etc. It was Sri Vidyaranya of Sri Dakshinamnaya Sringeri Sharada Peetham who coined the term `karNATaka saMgIta' for the first time and codified the paddhati in his work sangItasAra.
To safely claim gAdharva vidyA to be a shAstra, there is an associated guru paramparA as well:
sadAshivaH shivA brahma bharataH kashyapo muniH
mataMgo yAShTiko durgA shaktiH shArdUlakohalau |
vishAkhilo dantilashcha kaMbalo.ashwatarastathA
vAyurvishwAvasU rambhArjunau nAradatumburau ||
Anjaneyo nAtR^igupto rAvaNo nandikeshwaraH
swAtirguNo bindurAjaH kShetrarAjashcha rAhulaH |
rudrasenashcha bhUpAlo bhoja bhUvallabhastathA
paramardI cha somesho jagadekamahIpatiH ||
vyAkhyAtAro bhAratIye lollaTodbhaTashaMkhakAH
bhaTTAbhinavaguptashcha shrImatkItidharo.aparaH ||
sangIta is defined as:
gItaM vAdyaM tathA nrtyaM trayaM sangItamuchyate |
Geeta, Vadya and Nrtya form the triad of Sangeetha. Alternately,
rAga swarashcha tALashcha tribhiH saMgItamuchyate |
Such Sangeeta is extremely pleasing not only to shishu, pashu and phani but to Pashupati as well:
gItena prIyate devaH sarvaj~naH pArvatIpatiH [The all-knowing Parvati-pati is pleased by music].
gopIpatirananto.api vamshIdhwani vashaM gataH |
sAmagAnapriyo shambhuH vINAsaktA saraswatI ||
Though infinite in form, Lord Krishna is completely enchanted by the music of his own flute. Shambhu, the greatest of ascetics, is pleased by sAma gAna and Saraswati, the goddess of learning, is ever interested in playing Veena.
nAda yoga is effectively summarized in the following shloka:
nakAraM prANanAmAnaM dakAramanalaM viduH |
jAtaH prANAgni samyogAT tena nAdo.abhidhIyate ||
`na' means prANa and `da' refers to agni. The yoga of prANa and agni – results in nAda. It is this nAda which is present as mandra in the heart, Madhya nAda in the throat and the vocal sound called tAra which emanates from the mouth.
tatrasyAtsaguNadhyAnAdbhuktiH muktistu nirguNAt |
tasmAdatra sukhopAyaM shrImannAdamanAhatam |
gurUpadiShTamArgeNa munayaH samupAsate ||
There are two modes for Dhyana: saguNa and NirguNa. By Saguna Dhyana, one attains Bhukti and by Nirguna, Mukti. By nAdopAsana (Ahata and anAhata corresponding to these two) as taught by Sadguru, one achieves bliss – by attaining both Bhoga and Moksha. Thus, Sangita can be an effective way to achieve chitta shuddhi, like other upAsana karmas, and lead one towards Moksha obtained solely by anusandhana of the Upanishad Vakya after attaining the necessary chitta shuddhi.
bhava shankara deshika me sharaNam