#48-Practice Towards Progress Aiming Excellence !!

Concentration, Dedication and Devotion are inter-related terms symbolising the aspiration to succeed. They can be collectively called as ” Sraddha”.

Remembering the proverb “Sraddhaavaan Labhathe Jnaanam”.

Deep Dedication becomes Devotion. Extreme dedication and affection to a chosen ideal matures into Devotion. The absorbed state of mind at that stage is Bhakthi. Tyagaraja says Knowledge of Music without devotion or Bhakthi is valueless in his well known Dhanyasi krithi “Sangeetha Jnanamu Bhakthivinaa Sanmaargamugalade”. The Sanmarga or right path is open when there is a unison of music and devotion (Sangeetham and Bhakthi).

The goal of human aspiration to succeed is to attain Perfection or Excellence. So we practice till that perfection is attained. The quality of Perfection is Latent in all human beings. It means that this concept of Perfection is already existing in all of us, but not yet developed or manifested. It is hidden or concealed. To take it further, this can be explained as the clouds of IGNORANCE that envelopes or covers this quality of PERFECTION.

How to clear away this IGNORANCE or AVIDYA ? Here comes the mission of PRACTICE OR SAADHANA TILL PERFECTION IS ACHIEVED.  Next question is How to Practice ? The answer is nothing but “PRACTICE WITH SINGLE MINDED CONCENTRATION” (Ekaagrachittha Nirdhyaadaa – as mentioned in Lalitha Thrisathi Namam). In such a state, the aspirant sees only the goal. When Perfection is attained through continuous Practice, ignorance automatically disappear. To quote a simile, Clouds clear away when the Sun shines brighter OR when the lamp is lit, the darkness is dispelled.

Here let us remember the story of Arjuna and the parrot’s eye.

Dronaacharya called Yudhishtira, the eldest of the Pandavas and showed him the wooden parrot that is tied on the tree. The Guru asked him. What can you see? Yudhishtira started to name everything that his eyes could meet. Guru told him to go back to his place and said your arrow will never hit the bird’s eye. One after the other all brothers were called forth by the Guru and the same question was asked. Finally, he called his most favourite disciple Arjuna and asked the same question. He replies – “I can see only the eye of the bird.” Again the Guru asks, can you not see me, the tree and the sky above ? Again Arjuna replies, no Master. I see only the bird’s eye and nothing else, without changing his vision to look at his Guru who was questioning him. Undoubtedly Arjuna emerged the winner and his brothers learned a good lesson – The Power of Concentration.

Bhakthi is one method of honing emotions to Perfection to realise the goal of “Self-Realisation”. The other methods are Karma and Jnaana. The Musical Trinity were representing these three paths. Syama Sastri was a Karma Yogi. He devoted all his life to the service of Kamakshi. That was the path he chose to hone his emotions. Dikshitar was a Jnaana Yogi.His bhakthi was subdued and undemonstrative. He identifies himself as the Nirguna Parabrahma. Tyagaraja chose the Bhakthi marga to hone his emotions. All the three attained the Supreme Stature !!

The ignorance mentioned above can be related to the art one practices and how to achieve excellence in it or can be related to the art of seeing the Paramathma within oneself through INTENSE CONCENTRATION, DEDICATION AND DEVOTION. !!!



3 thoughts on “#48-Practice Towards Progress Aiming Excellence !!

  1. Excellent article on devotion and reaching to excellence.. Could you share with us, how we can structure our daily practice of music (esp instrumental) to try to move towards excellence.

    Thanks and best regards

    • Instrumental or vocal, if a student practices 6-7 hours everyday without fail continuously for 5 years, he /she can be among the most sought after musician.

      Best wishes

      • Thanks. I was looking for guidance on how do you structure a practice of say 2 hours daily. Sing/ play alankarams in different ragas, varnams, followed by kritis etc.


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