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Inculturation: the OTHER christian conversion tactic
2/2 (Continued.)

4. About this that RS wrote in the context of Karnatic music:

Quote:ignorant as i am about classical music, i find that sometimes it is amazingly evocative. i once listened to a thumri, and i had never even heard the word thumri before, and it affected me greatly emotionally -- i suppose this is what 'rasa' means: the evocation of emotion in the viewer/listener.

Rasikas of Karnatic music experience more than an offical "rasa": the 8 (9?) rasas are more applicable to Hindu acting, dancing and harikatha I think than to Karnatic music/singing.

We're told there's

- vIram, Abhuta (surprise, wonderment), hAsyam (amusement),

- bhayAnaka (fear, terror), bhIbatsa (revulsion, displeasure), raudram (kopam),

- shRungAram (I think this is particularly romantic love, not the more general kind), karuNa. (And optionally: shAntam.)

- Of these, we can rule out Karnatic music causing the "rasas" of bhIbatsa, raudram, bhayam in the listener.

- Usually aabhuta, vIram and hAsyam can be ruled out too, since I'm not laughing at/amused by Karnatic music, nor do I feel "heroic" afterward (unless it's interwoven with harikatha. Or I suppose the Hanuman chalisa which is more a stotram than a Karnatic song - though I'd say dhairyam or plain energetic rather than vIram even in this case). There's a little bit of wonderment when one hears about the extent of the Gods, but not sure that's exactly what is meant with aabhuta (sounds more like an effect of harikatha).

- Except for those who feel romantically inclined toward their iShTadevas - as some Hindoos certainly do (e.g. Meera Bai) - Karnatic music is not really about bhaktas feeling romance towards the Gods.

* Some of Bharatiyar's poetic compositions are indeed about romance though, including between Hindoo humans.

* Some stotras include bits about the wondrous romance between the Divine Couples among the Gods.

* Other stotras - like a surprisingly touching one contained in The N2 - certainly concern the romantic feelings that some bhaktas feel towards their Gods - in particular Vishnu as Krishna, since that's usually his field.

Still, most Karnatic songs are not about that (so if you feel it, it's not usually the intended consequence: half the songs are about the Divine Parents being the Divine Parents, or the shishu Krishna, or the Saviours Murugan or Sita-Rama-PerumAL granting mokSha, or ... etc).

- Karunai is a unidirectional sentiment going from the Hindoo Gods towards their Hindoos, while bhakti is the reciprocation from the Hindoos to their Gods. So Hindus won't feel "karuNai" for their Gods... Ruling that out too.

- Shaantam is a possible effect of Karnatic music but is apparently not always officially seen as a rasa, so... leaving it out. (Also, shantam hasn't got so much to do with a *relationship* of listener to the subject of Karnatic songs which are the Gods. Moreover, it is an effect that can be achieved by birdsong too and hence doesn't require the sAmam or Karnatic music)

So methinks that at most - of all the official rasas - Karnatic music can occasionally evoke shRungaram in Hindoo humans... <- And I don't think most Hindoo listeners feel that, nor that most Karnatic songs even have that "rasa" as their intention. One can admit to generally being "infatuated" with the magnificence of the Gods, as one is with the universe or nature, but "romance" is a different and very particular thing. (At least, what I *think* shR^ingara means, whereas I do use the English word "romantic" for a much wider range of things.)

I think it isn't really about the rasas when it comes to Karnatic music.

What the Rasikas feel is a oneness with the music and its intent/purpose. Karnatic songs have the same goal as the SamaVedam - and are even shown to derive from the Samam: it deeply pleases the Gods and attaches the Hindoo singers and listeners to the Gods. The overarching "sentiments" are Bhakti (in the direction of Hindoo singer/listener towards the Gods), and pleasure in the reverse direction of the Gods towards the Hindus (who are already karuNai, but in any case not as evoked in the Hindoo listeners, but in the Gods listening!)

More than that, the saptaswaras are embodiments of the Hindoo Gods - e.g. various Gods and Goddesses are specifically described as not just enjoying listening to songs, but being present/embodied in the saptaswaras themselves. Consequently, for the Rasika to feel one with the swaras and raga, is a sort of... worship of the Gods.

Next to that, the lyrics of Karnatic songs are always about attachment of the Hindoos to their Gods and for imparting [accurate] knowledge of the Gods.

- Be it songs on shrI rAma by the composer famously named after KamalAmbikA's husband (i.e. TyAgarAja, Shiva's name), or songs on Krishna by PurandaradAsa and other songs on PerumAL by AnnamAchArya,

- Be it songs on devI by shyAma shAstri, a great shAkta,

- Be it songs on various Hindoo Gods by more recent composers like PApanAsam Sivam, and the composer of "koovi ayaizhthAL" (on Murugan), and their highnesses Mysore Maharaja (who mostly composed to chAmuNDI, of course) and Swathi Tirunal etc,

- Be it the sacred verses/songs of Tiruppugazh (on Murugan, Arunagirinathar I think) and Thiruppaavai (ANDAL on Krishna/Vishnu), or the songs incl virutams from Ilango Adigal's Cilappadikaaram on Krishna and other Vishnu avataras famously sung by MSS. Be it the sacred Tevaram, or sung versions of TiruvAchakam,

- Be it the songs of Muttuswami Dikshitar, another shAkta (another expert L-upasaka, who was taught knowledge of the Gods first hand by his other iShTadevam and personal Guru, The Guha himself. Hence dIkShitar's signature inserts of "Guruguha" into his songs). He composed on as many Gods as he could, e.g. the eternal favourite "angArakam-AshrayAmyahaM" to "Hariharaputra" to kShetra/kuladeva-specific songs like the melting "akhiLANDeshwarI" and "Jambupate" filled with details of the Subject Deity and Kovil's sthalapurANa. He has also made songs starting with all the "vibhakti-s" in Samskritam. MuttuswAmi, like all the other Hindoo composers, was an expert on the Gods. And that expertise/intimate knowledge of the Gods is precisely what he is passing into Hindoo listeners - making those who listen carefully into experts on the Gods as well. DikShitar was a Tamizh Hindoo living in Andhra (as many do), but he composed in Samskritam to reach as many all over India as would listen to Karnatik - including occasionally compositions in northern rAgas. And all this while still benefitting those who didn't understand the language of the lyrics but yet can appreciate the music and recognise the names of the Gods therein. He visited many kShetras (as other Hindoo composers did) to capture these along with their presiding Deities in his Karnatik songs. Such songs become mental Yatras to the sacred Teerthas of the Hindoos, so all can who can hear can get (repeated) darshanam of the Gods there. He knew that not all Hindoos had the good fortune of knowing to recite the Vedam so, being a Vedabrahmana who IIRC knew this stuff well, his whole purpose in his Navagraha Kritis was to capture the Navagraha mantras from the Vedam in sacred songs that every Hindoo could sing without worrying whether they got the notes and pronunciation perfectly right, and yet get exactly the same result of receiving the benediction of the Hindoos' beloved Navagrahas. Like Arunagirinathar's Tiruppugazh etc, Dikshitar's krithis are all considered mantras in their own right, as they are direct transfers made by the will of the Gods.

These are not "normal" people. They are Expert Hindoos. What they are teaching - what you should be *hearing* - is their imparting their Expertise via their songs: they teach heathenism, the Hindoo kind. TyAgarAja is to have obtained the vision of rAmachandra before dying; I think dikShitar passed away hearing his songs on devI (meenAkShI?) and is also to have seen his Gods during his life. ShyAmA shAstrI can hardly have avoided seeing his Divine Mother the devI after what he had been composing, etc.

When you pick Karnatic singers to listen to, you must hear *THIS*. What must be evoked in the listener is the same as what the composers felt and hence aimed to capture in their songs. I think the word Hindus use is "bhakti", was it. Whatever the word, what I allude to is what Julian felt for his Gods, which was described by Gibbon as being a "sincere and devout attachment" etc, and which Julian explicated rather candidly in his Hymn to Helios: where, even in translation, IIRC it uses the word "affection". But one can call it 'attachment' even: It's a tie that binds very surely, it binds the Gods to the Hindoos. To know them is to be fastened securely to them - they're stuck to their Hindoos as much as the Hindoos are to them - and that's what these songs will do. Which is why you must pick *Hindoo* singers (i.e. those attached to their Gods) - like the famous MSS from TN, or the famous MSS from KN or the famous Tamizh sisters residing in Mumbai, or MRS with his regal voice, etc. Not christian teachers teaching philosophy at Hellenistic schools. I mean, not progressive people who care only about the "art" or "pure culture" of Karnatic music or the "expertise/skill/accomplishment/performance" of it (the south is full of experts in Karnatic music rendering), let alone cryptochristians.

I don't mean to pick apart what Rajeev Srinivasan said, but one can feel 'emotions' about all kinds of music, from all parts of the world. However, that description universalises Hindu classical music. I am probably not allowed to comment on all kinds of Hindu music, but on Karnatik music at least: there is nothing "universal" about it. Its aim is not to evoke mere emotion, its aim - as its effect - is exclusively Hindoo. And so too its origins.

Unless Hindus make this absolutely clear, then tomorrow - and Elst has made a start in turning Hindu classical music into "(mere) art" and "Indian classical" - it will lead to christos declaring that they have as much right to use Hindu ragas including Karnatik music to evoke "(mere) emotional" sentiment in the sheep.

There is nothing "universal" nor anything merely "vanilla Indian" in Karnatik music, it is *exclusively* native Hindoo.

(Note I'm not denying Rajiv Srinivasan felt something. I'm sure he did. I just wish he hadn't left it quite so late as to get to appreciate it now: else what did his kids get to learn all this time?)

Oh, and my favourite versions of Krishna Nee Begane Baaro are the ones sung by my aunt and mother. Sadly, not available on CD. Maybe I'll record it someday...


On this -

Quote:These are not "normal" people. They are Expert Hindoos. What they are teaching - what you should be *hearing* - is their imparting their Expertise via their songs: they teach heathenism, the Hindoo kind. TyAgarAja is to have obtained the vision of rAmachandra before dying; I think dikShitar passed away hearing his songs on devI (meenAkShI?) and is also to have seen his Gods during his life. ShyAma shAstri can hardly have avoided seeing his Divine Mother the devI after what he had been composing, etc.

1. Muthuswami Dikshitar did indeed pass away at the end of his life while listening to a song on Meenakshi, and a very appropriate line from there.

2. Of shyAma shAstri it is also confirmed that he saw the Gods: he is famous for having regularly seen Devi throughout his life. Predictably she chose to appear to him as Balakumari, wearing ringing golusu and being generally playful (as she is well-known to do), whenever he withdrew to do his puja and compose.

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Inculturation: the OTHER christian conversion tactic - by Husky - 06-14-2012, 10:27 PM

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