#25-The Origin of Music – Sangeethothpaththi-Part 1

शङ्करं पार्वति नत्वा द्रुष्टवाचेदं वचो ब्रवीत

संगीता शास्त्रम् हे नाथ ! मह्यं वद  सुखप्रदम्   ||

shankaram pārvathi nathwaa drushtwaachedam vacho braveeth

                  sangeetha sāsthram he naadha ! mahyam vada sukhapradam              ||

Once Pārvathi bowed respectfully to Lord Parameswara and asked. “Oh Lord! Could you please explain about the science and origin of music that gives transcendent bliss to all the creatures in this Universe ? ”.

Lord said to his consort. Hey ! Pārvathi. Please listen carefully. I created the Panchabhoothās and the Saptaswarās that form the base of Sangeetha Sāsthra from my 5 faces.

From the face Sadyojātham, the Swara Gandhāram (Ga) and the element Earth / Prithvi was created. From Prithvi, instruments like Drums or Avanadha Vadyam – Idaikka, Timila, Maddalam , Mridangam which uses animal skin evolved.

From the face Vamadevam, the swara Dhaivatham (Dha) and the element Water / Ap was created. From Ap, instruments like Conch were created.

From the face Aghoram, the swaras Shadjam & Rishabha (Sa and Ri) and the Fire / Thejassu element was created. From the Thejassu, Kaamsya Vaadyas or Gongs – chengila, ilatalam and kuzhitalam were produced.

 From the face Thathpurusham, the swara Panchamam and the element Air / Vāyu was created. From Vāyu, Randhra Vaadyas /Sushira Vaadya  instruments like Pullaankuzhal (flute), Kombu etc were created.

 From the fifth face Eesaanam, the swaras Madhyamam and Nishadam and the element Ether / Akāsham were born. From Akāsham, Stringed instruments or Tata Vadyaas like Veena etc were born.

Saptaswara Devathas and the days they were born

Lord Shiva continues to Parvathi about the birth of these swara devathas on particular weekdays as per the following sloka.

भानु  वारे  स्वर  षड्ज :ऋषभ  सोम वारक :

गान्धार  कजवारे  च मध्यमो  बुधवरक :

पञ्चमो  गुरुवारे  च  सुक्रवारे  च  धैवथ  :

निषादो  मन्दवारे  च  शृणु  देवी  स्वरोथ्भवं

Bhaanu vaare swara Shadja : Rishabha Soma vaaraka:

Gaandhaara Kajavaare cha Madhyamo Budhavaraka:

Panchamo Guruvaare cha Sukravaare cha Dhaivatha :

Nishaado Mandavaarae cha Srunu Devi Swarothbhavam

Swara Devatha            Born on           Colour of the Swara                Emotions/Rasa of Swaras

            S                                Sunday                    lotus pink                        Adbutham /Surprise and 

                                                                                                                                      Veeram / Valour

             R                               Monday                  Light Yellow                        Roudram / Anger

             G                              Tuesday                  Golden color                         Shāntham / Peace

            M                            Wednesday                   White                                 Hāsyam / Humour

             P                               Thursday                     Black                                  Sringāram / Romance

             D                              Friday                         Yellow                      Bheebatsam/Disgust/Fear     

             N                              Saturday             Chitra Varnam                            Kindness / Karuna

Great Rishis like Bharatha, Mathanga and the like learned this Sangeetha Sāsthra from Lord Shiva and spread it for the welfare of the entire universe.

Saint Tyagaraja hints the origin of music in his krithis  Nada Tanu manisam Sankaram in Raga Chittaranjani where he sings Sadyojaathadi Panchavakthraja SRGMPDN vara sapthaswara. 

The Significance of Music

जप कोटि गुणं ध्यानम् – ध्यान कोटि गुणो लय:

लय कोटि गुणं गानं  – गानात्परतरं नहि

“ Japa koti gunam dhyaanam – dhyaana koti guno laya:

laya koti gunam gaanam – gaanaathparatharam nahi “

  • Doing meditation or dhyaanam just once with a pure mind is equal to chanting a manthra one crore times. 
  • If you are able to unify yourself or enter the state of absolute laya or consciousness, it will be equal to doing dhyaanam a crore times.
  • Singing sweetly just once in perfect alignment with sruthi and layam is equal to unifying yourself with the Absolute Self a crore times.
  • There is nothing more superior than the divine music which leads to eternal happiness that bestows both Bhukthi (materialistic) and Mukthi (Salvation).

Courtesy : Sangeetha Damodaram, Sangeetha Makarandam, Sangeetha Kalpadrumam

Read Part 2 – 

#26 – Swara Devathās- Sangeethothpaththi – Part 2

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4 thoughts on “#25-The Origin of Music – Sangeethothpaththi-Part 1

  1. Extremely well written and educative. Carnatic Music is one of the path towards spiritual awakening. Thank you very much for this write-up.

    I have a query. Why is Carnatic Music referred as Gandharva Vidya? Thanks to clarify.

    Venkatesh Kikkeri

    • It is common knowledge that music is born from Sama Veda, the saamans representing the earliest songs.According to Bharatha’s Natyasasstra, it was Brahma who created the Natya Veda, taking the art of effective speech from Rig Veda, Abhinaya from Yajur Veda, Gana or music from Sama Veda and Rasa from Adharva Veda. This became the fifth Veda and was named Natya Veda.

      After the period of Saman singing , we have the second period called Gandharva or Marga. Gandharva Vidya or Gandharva music is also Sama Sangeetham. Sapta swaras were already established in Sama Gaanam. Gandharvas were celestial musicians who were professional singers. Constituents of Gandharva Gaana are Swaram, Padam and Talam. This is what that’s being practiced today in the form of Carnatic Music. All these three constituents find place in the present day music also. In ancient time, it was referred to as Gandharva Vidya.

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