This post is a continuation of my previous post The Origin of Music – Sangeethothpaththi – Part1
The swarās Shadjam, Gāndharam and Madhyamam were born in the family of Celestials. The Panchama was born in the line of Pitrs and Rishabham and Dhaivatam belongs to the family of Rishis. Nishāda was born in the family of Asurās. The presiding deities for the sapta swaras are Agni, Brahma, Saraswathi, Siva, Vishnu, Ganesha and Surya respectively.
Swara Devathās and their Position
Shadjam – Nabhi/Abdomen, Rishabam-Hridaya/Heart, Gāndharam -Kantam/Neck, Madhyama-inner tongue, Panchama-Nose, Dhaivatam-Teeth and Nishādam-Lips are the position of swaras. It should be understood that these are not the only positions from which the swara sounds. For instance, the name Shadjam indicates that it emanates from six positions or sthānas.
Sapthaswara Pushpam or Flowers of Sapthaswaras
जाती चेम्बक पुन्नाग मल्लिक: केतकि तद
करवीरम् पद्मपुस्ह्पम् स्हद्जादीनाम् प्रसूनकम्
Jāthi chembaka punnāga mallika: kethaki thadha
karaveeram padmapushpam shadjādeenaam prasoonakam
Jāthi , Chembakam, Punnakam, Mallika/Jasmine, Kethaki/Thazhampoo, Karaveeram/Arali and Padma Pushpam /Lotus are the flowers offered for these devathās
The nivedyam offered for these devathās are
दध्यन्नम् पायसम् भक्ष्यम् चित्रान्नम् पिष्ट युक्ताय
शुद्धात्न्नम् तण्डुलम्चैव षड्जादीनां तु भोजनं
dadhyannam paayasam bhakshyam chitraannam pishta yukthaya:
suddhaannam thandoolamchaiva shadjaadeenaam thu bhojanam
Curd Rice, Pāyasam, Bhakshanam (variety food), Chitrānnam (variety rice), Flour, Plain rice, and Rice Grain are the nivedyam offered to the swara devathās
Sapthaswara Vāhanam / Vehicles of Swaras
हंसस्च सिंह भेरुन्दोउ हरिणा: सितसालुव:
शुक शारी क्रमातेषां षड्जादीनां तु वाहका :
Hamsascha Simhabherundow harina: sithasaaluva:
sukasaari kramaatheshaam shadjaadeenam thu vahakaa:
Swan, Lion, Bherundam, Deer, White cuckoo, Parrot, Mynah are the birds respectively.
Summary of the above slokas
Swara Devatha Position Flower Nivedyam Vehicle
S Nābhi/Abdomen Jāthi Curd Rice Swan
R Hridayam/Heart Chembakam Pāyasam Lion
G Kantam/Neck Punnāgam Bhakshanam Bherundam
M Tālu/Inner Tongue Mallika/Jasmine Chitrānnam Deer
P Nāsika/Nose Ketaki/Thāzhampoo Flour White Cuckoo
D Dantha/Teeth Karaveeram/Arali Plain Rice Parrot
N Oshtam/Lips Padmam/Lotus Rice Grain Mynah
Why these names for Saptaswaras ?
Shadjam – Since the Swara is sounded from 6 positions such as nose, neck, heart, inner tongue, teeth and lips, the swara is named as Shadjam. Since this swara is also the cause of producing other six swaras R G M P D N, it is named so. Mythologically , Shadjam swara resembles the cry of a Peacock. This swara devathā was first seen by Agni.
Rishabham – The air/vāyu that rises up from the Nabhi, touches the neck and the head and produces the sound that resembles that of a bull’s bellowing. Hence the swara is named as Rishabham (the Sanskrit name for bull- Lord Siva’s vehicle). This note captivates the heart of the listener and is said to originate from the heart. This swara devathā was first seen by Brahma.
Gāndharam – The air/vāyu that rises up from the abdomen/ Nābhi, touches Hridayam and Kantam, three strategic positions, and hence the name Gāndharam. This swara is the important note for Gāndharva Vidya and represents the word in the form of Gāna or Sangeetham, and hence termed as Gāndharam. Mythologically the swara resembles the bleating of goat. This swara devathā was first seen by Chandra/Moon.
Madhyamam – The air/vāyu that rises up from the abdomen/ Nābhi touches the heart and shines in the middle portion. The swara is centrally located between the other swaras G R S on the lower frequency and P D N on the higher frequency (SRG-M-PDN). Hence, aptly named as Madhyama swara. The swara resembles the Call of Heron. This swara devathā was first seen by Vishnu.
Panchamam – The air/vāyu that rises up from the abdomen/ Nābhi touches Hridayam, Kantam, Sirassu (head) and Oshtam (lips). Since the swara touches the five strategic positions including the Nabhi, the swara is named as Panchamam. The swara resembles the Call of Cuckoo. This swara devathā was first seen by Nārada.
Dhaivatham – The air/vāyu that rises up from the Nabhi touches Hridayam, Kantam, Sirassu (head), Tālu (inner tongue) and Dantha (teeth). Since the swara touches the six strategic positions including the Nabhi, the swara is named as Dhaivatam. The name also means worshipable. The swara resembles the neighing of the horse. This swara devathā was first seen by Thumburu.
Nishādam – Since the Saptak ends with this swara, the name Nishāda. The swara resembles the trumpet of elephant. This swara devathā was first seen by Thumburu
The readers may wonder, these swaras are just a form of sound or nāda and how flowers, ornaments, janma naksthra, weekday etc are assigned to them. Modern researchers may criticize this concept. It shows the mindset that if we do not understand a concept, that concept is wrong. Experts who have learned this Sāstra in accordance with lakshya and lakshana, from the Great Gurus who were nadōpāsakas, according to strict upāsana krama and bhakthi, will definitely be able to understand the divine subtlety. Subtlety cannot be seen, it should be felt within oneself.
These Sapta Swara devathās have Dhyāna Slōkas, Beejāksharās or Mantra syllables, Yantrās, Chakrās and other relevant details to prove that they are like any other GOD / GODDESS seen as per Hindu Mythology. When these swara devathās are worshipped through shōdasha upachārās, their spiritual presence is felt by the Upāsaka. When such an Upāsaka sings Raga Deepakam, lamps will be self-illumined (Great Musician Tānsen), when such an Upāsaka sings Amrithavarshini (Muthuswami Dikshitar) or Megh Malhar (Tānsen’s daughter), it brings torrential rains and Malayamārutham brings gentle cool breeze, to quote a few examples.
देवIधीनं जगत् सर्व मन्त्राधीनं तु देवतम् |
ते मन्त्रा ब्राह्मणाधीनां तस्मात् ब्राह्मण देवता ||
“Daivadheenam Jagathsarvam Manthrādheenam thu dhaivatham…
the mantra brahmanādheenām thasmāth brāhmana devathā“
The universe is under the power of GOD; the GOD is under the power of Mantras; the Mantras are under the power of the noble souls and therefore such souls are Godly.
When the mantras itself takes the form of Swara Devathās which in turn becomes Sangeetham, it bestows Eternal Supreme Bliss – Bhukthi and Mukthi. May the Swara Devathās bless us to attain Divinity and the Knowledge of the Self through Bhakthi (devotion) and Sādhana (practice).
This post is dedicated to all great Nadopāsakās the world has ever seen!!
Courtesy : Sangeetha Damodaram, Sangeetha Makarandam, Sangeetha Kalpadrumam
The Series Continues….Part -3 Dhyana Slokas of Sapta Swaras