Friday, July 31, 2009

VEENA – What makes it so Special?

I often have my friends asking me what is so unique about the Veena. As a child I could just say, that I liked the nadam (Sound) and the instrument fascinated me. Over a period of years, and even today as I continue to learn and play my Veenai, I started to become more curious about the instrument and did my bit of reading, research (which is a continual process)
I have penned down in simple terms what makes the Veena so special.

The Veena has four main strings and three other strings on the side. This may be compared in its own way.
There are four directions, four Vedas.

There are Four Stages of life – Dharma, Artha, Kama, moksha.
In Christianity there is the cross which is four sided, and there are four Gospels.
The four main strings of the Veena may be compared to the above.

The three strings on the side help to maintain rhythm and need to be strummed accordingly. They may be compared to Brahma – The creator, Vishnu – The Protector and Maheshwara – the destroyer. They may also be compared to the Christianity doctrine of Trinity – which talks about the unity of father, Son and the Holy Spirit in one God Head.

To put in very simple terms, the Strings of the Veena symbolize Balance and reiterate the fact that a balance between the Body, mind and Soul is very important and essential for any human being to lead a spiritually enriching life

There are 24 frets on the Veena. The Gayatri mantra is said to have 24 syllables. Each fret of the Veena may be compared with a syllable of the Gayatri Mantra.
They may be compared with the vertebrae of the Spinal Cord.

There is Yaali Mugham (dragon face) on one end of the Veena. It represents the triumph of Good over Evil. There is a story behind the face of the dragon, which I will definitely share soon.

The Biradai (the big screws used to tune the Veena) represent the characteristic of ‘Control’. If any biradai gives way in the course of playing the veena, the tuning is affected and the actual harmony/ divinity is disrupted.
Hence it is very essential to ensure that the Veena is perfectly tuned.

By now I probably would have atleast a few who would agree that the Veena is something very divine and any person who gets an opportunity to be associated with the Veena is blessed!

This post can simply go on and I assure you that I will definitely do my bit in posting more on this divine instrument which I consider to be a part of my family.