#26 – Swara Devathās- Sangeethothpaththi – Part 2

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

                                                                                                                    (Variety food)

M                            Tālu/Inner Tongue            Mallika/Jasmine                 Chitrānnam                 Deer

                                                                                                                     (Variety Rice)

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.

MadhyamamThe 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.

NishādamSince 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

Related Posts

#15- Mythological origin of the swara

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

#26-Swara Devathās- Sangeethothpaththi – Part 2

#27-Dhyana Slokas of Saptha Swaras-Sangeethothpaththi – Part 3