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.


Aakash said...

hi amma...before i read u r post Veena was just another music instrument for me... but i now understand it..and eagerly waiting for your next post on 'yaali mugham'..

Legolas said...

Very very interesting read... I am most impressed by the research that has gone in. The 24 frets being akin to the 24 syllables in the Gayatri mantram as well as the the vertebral column was quite a revelation. Very nice... Take a bow :-)

gayatri said...

Hi Aakash,
Thanks a Ton :-)I am happy that you now look at the Veena from a different perspective. :)
I will soon post about the Yaali Mugham as well.
(and yaar blog pe to amma mat likh yaar. ;) people wil think i am ur mom)

gayatri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gayatri said...

Thankyou Legolas.
This is something people have been doing research on since quite a while and what I have posted is purely what I have read and what I feel to be true. I am happy that you liked whatever I wanted to share.

vaibhav joshi said...

Amazing thing is that the power of co-relation can be so strongly used to describe hings the way we want to describe it...

When i read such posts it does fasinates me bcz it shows the bent of mind the writer has... and its largely highlighting ur vendantic knowledge ;)

Maddie said...

Hey!!! been a follower of ur blog for some time...

nice post and good research on Venna... Being a voilin player, was able to relate to all this better...hope to see more post on the instruments in future


gayatri said...

Thanks Vaibhav! I have No vedantic knowledge. Like i mentioned it was just a compilation of facts that I have read and some of my interpretations. I am glad you liked it!

Thankyou Madhusudhan! :-)
I will surely try and post more on instruments.


krishmetal said...

nice compilation...interesting in its own way...very similar to the guitar....

gayatri said...

Thanks Krish! :)

kunal said...

Oh wow..dat was some gyaan..cant say that i haven't been amazed.. :) ..god..giv this girl some brains..she is wasting away in this corporate world..

SP said...

Hi Gayu, nice post. Of course, nothing new for all of us, but well written - it obviously comes from the heart. And that is what pleases the reader. Continue with the good work! :)

gayatri said...

Thanks Kunal
Thanks Priya........:)

Larry McCay said...

I just spent the better part of the day listening to South Indian music - so stumbling on to your post here was perfect! I love your enthusiasm for your instrument.

These correlations remind me very much of what the jazz guitar great Pat Martino describes in the Nature of the Guitar - you should try and track that down - it is fascinating.

If for no other reason than people can correlate and see their music in their everyday lives.


Sounds of Consciousness

gayatri said...

Thankyou Larry!

Will surely look up what Pat Martino had to say. Am sure that it would be an interesting read!


Mistress of Art said...

Hey..very informative post... :) Actually have a doubt..I need to tune my veena to G-sharp..And have been at it for more than a couple of hours now..Could you please let me know how to do the same ??

gayatri said...

Hello Mistress of Art. Thankyou for visiting. To tune your Veena to G Sharp would suggest you use a thin string - preferably String number 32.You should be able to do it then.