Aim of Playing

Veena “VEENA VAADANA TATVAGNAHSRUTI JAATI VISHAARADAHTAALAGNASCHAA PRAYAASENAMOKSHA MAARGAM SA GACHHATI” It is believed and proved that Veena prevailed from the Veda yuga. The above given sloka of Yaagnanalkya might have given encouragement and enthusiasm to many scholars for investigation and experimentation. The present day Saraswati Veena having 24 frets fixed to wax mela facilitates to play any raga. The Sarva Raga Mela Veena of Raghunatha Bhoopala is today’s Saraswati Veena. Prior to Saraswathi Veena, the Veenas which were used were not as convenient as Saraswathi Veena. The production of Saraswathi Veena is the result of many experiments conducted by sages and vanikas. The above verse quoted from Yagnavalkya Sruthi might have encouraged the researchers. This is what yaagnyavalkya Sruthi says. It is believed that Indian music in general had Veena as the guiding star for its development. All the fine arts of our country are not meant for just worldly pleasures or gains. They are the path_ways to liberation or Moksha which is the ultimate goal of every human being.Vaaggeyakaaraas, musicians (vocal and instrument) all have the final aim to attain Moksha through music. The music bestowed upon us by our trinity (Tyagaraja, Dikshita and Syama Sastry) have shown the path to liberation. Yagnavalkya has confirmed through the above verse that “Mastery of genuine Veena technique, expertise in the secrets of sruti and insight into the mysteries of rhythym are a guarantee of a safe and smooth passage to liberation”.In the above verse Yagnavalkya refers about Veenaa Vaadana Tathvagna. It means one who knows the spirit behind Veena playing.

Playing of Veena is different from playing it after grasping the spirit of it. If one knows this spirit the sage intends that one gets liberation without any difficulty (Prayaasa). What is the meaning of the word ‘difficulty’? Or the words ‘without difficulty’?To attain NO MIND state, all other paths expect from a SAADHAKA (spiritual practitioner) a very vigorous discipline. During that period the Saadhaka has to experience mental and also physical difficulties. By the word difficulty (Prayaasa) the sage intends all this. Without knowing what ecstacy he gets, a Saadhaka, has to toil to attain that steadfastly. This is called as penance (Tapas). But the Saadhana of playing Veena is not like that. Even in the practicing stage itself one tastes the ecstacy (may be for shorter time)! That is why the sage says ‘without difficulty’. By music one gets Sattwa, that smashes the evil tendencies based on Rajas and Tamas. Sattwa generates love towards all. With the knowledge of all this, if one plays Veena that makes him liberated.Tyagaraja Says in his kirti “Sangeeta Gnanamu” that Bhrungi, Natesha, Sameeraja, Ghataja, Matanga, Naarada have all done upasana through music. He tells to the mind that there is no other way other than Sangeeta Gnanam (knowledge of music) and Bhakti (Devotion) to attain salvation.Our Upanishads say –MANAYEVA MANUSHYANAAM BANDHA MOKSHA YOH KAARANAM- i.e., it is only music and nothing else can save the mind from bondage . Tyagaraja’s music and his compositions are filled in with high Vedanta and Bhakti. Hence he could explain everything so clearly.NYAYANYAYAMU TELUSUNU, JAGAMULUMAYAMAYAMANI TELUSUNU, DURGUNAKAYAJAADI SHADRIPULA JAYINCHUKAARYAMU TELUSUNU TYAGARAJUNIKI (SANGEETA GNANAMU)

Tyagaraja knew all the above because his knowledge of music was filled with bhakti. In the last charana of his Saramathi raga kriti Tyagaraja explained one more secret.“VEENA VADANA LOLUDAU SHIVA MANO VIDHA MERUGARU”What is the mental state of Lord Siva while he is playing Veena? If a Veena player knows this state, he too attains liberation. This is the main advantage. In addition practice of Veena gives joy, happiness, name and fame and also serves as livelihood. Hence it serves both the ends and purpose of the life.