The Veena is a distinct musical instrument that has its roots in the indigenous culture. the veena is an essential part of Indian music and culture, with a rich history that dates back to Vedic literature and the great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. The different forms of veena mentioned in these texts demonstrate the diverse evolution of this musical instrument. The veena has not only played a critical role in Indian music but has also been used in religious and cultural practices.
Veena is an ancient Indian musical instrument that has been present for centuries. The descriptions of the veena in Vedic literature suggest that it may have been designed differently than the present-day version. Additionally, there are several different forms of veena mentioned in the Vedic literature. The use of veena in Vedic rituals can be traced back to Vedic period where the priest and performer chanted gathas alternately while the wife (Yajamani) played on the veena. The veena can be found in various brahmanas and sutras, with mentions of veenas with various numbers of strings, starting from the single-string veena to one with one hundred strings.
The great Indian epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, also mention the veena. In Ramayana, there is a reference to the Vipanchi veena with nine strings. The veena is referred to as laya and tantri in some places of the epic. Valmiki, the author of Ramayana, declared the historical poem contained within the seven notes and can be sung to the veena, which is pleasant to sing and adapted to the three measurements of time. The princess Lava and Kusa are said to have used the Ekatantri veena in the Ramayana Gana in Lord Ramas court.
By comprehending its design and structure, we can draw parallels with the human body and understand their similarities.
Veda Vidwanmani and erudite scholar Vidwan Yeda Torey Subramanya Sarma has written and published two books in Kannada language in 1936, “Sandhya Vandaneeya Tatvartaha” and “Veda Prakasike,” which reveal the secrets of Veena. According to the author, Veena has 24 frets, 4 strings on the frets, and 3 strings on the side. The first string, Sarani, represents RigVeda, the second string, Panchama, represents YajurVeda, the third string, Mandara, represents Sama Veda, and the fourth string, Anumandra, represents AtharvaVeda. The 24 frets signify 12 Sruthees in two octaves and represent the 24 letters (Aksharas) of Gaayathri Manthra.
The human spine stands straight from the Mooladhara (the seat of the body) up to the head. Just like the 24 frets of the Veena, the human backbone has 24 divisions. The distance between each fret in the Veena is broad in the lower octaves and becomes less while proceeding towards the higher octaves. Similarly, the human backbone is thick at the Mooladhara, and the distance between each ring becomes less while proceeding towards the Brahma Randhra.
The Mandara Sthaayi Swara as played on the veena begins its journey in the human body at the base of the human spine and as it moves up towards the Brahma Randhra located in the Sahasrara, the pitch or musical note increases. The sound produced by the combination of prana (life) and agni (fire) originates from the Mooladhaara at a low pitch and travels up to the Sahasrakamala, passing through the Swaadhisthana, Manipoora, Anaahata, Visuddha, Aagna, and the Shadchakras. As the sound travels through these chakras, the pitch increases.
The 13th Century Musicologist Sarangadeva in his musical treatise ‘Sangeet Ratnakara’ elaborates the divinity of veena as:
Darsana sparsane chasya bhoga svargapavargade |
Punito viprahatyadi patakaih patitam janam ||
Danda sambhuruma tantri kakubhah kamalapatih |
Indra patrika brahma tumbam nabhih sarasvati ||
Dorako vasukirjiva sudhamsuh sarika ravih |
Sarvadevamayi tasmad veeneyam sarvamangala ||
“To observe and touch the veena is said to bring about religious merit and freedom from worldly bondage. It is believed that the mere act of interacting with the veena can cleanse a person who has committed the heinous sin of killing a Brahmin. According to this belief, each part of the veena represents a different deity. For instance, the danda, or the main body of the instrument made of wood or bamboo, is a symbol of Lord Shiva, while the string is believed to embody the divine feminine energy of Goddess Uma. The shoulder represents Lord Vishnu, the bridge represents Goddess Lakshmi, and the gourd represents Lord Brahma. The navel of the veena is associated with Goddess Saraswati, while the connecting wires symbolize the snake deity Vasuki. Furthermore, the moon is said to be embodied in the jiva, or the central resonating chamber of the veena, and the pegs are associated with the sun. The veena, thus, is considered to represent a conglomeration of various gods and goddesses, and is believed to possess the ability to bestow divine blessings, auspiciousness, and overall positivity in the lives of those who interact with it”.
Veena is an instrument that can eliminate sins and grant liberation since it contains all the divine beings within it. This concept is reflected in the verse that states that Veena is the only instrument that holds such a holy position and playing it generates upasana shakti. When a person plays Veena, they can become completely absorbed in the nadam and ignore the existence of the universe since everything in nature is a form of Nadopasana..
According to Sadguru Sri Shivananda Murthy as noted by great scholar Prof. Veerabadraiah Sir, Sadguru Sri Shivanandamurthy has said that by manipulating, disciplining the shatchakras one can hear the Anahata nadam in the center of the body. This is attaining the first stage through Nadopasana.The second stage is the Brahmadi lokam and the 3rd the Brahmanubhooti. (Salvation-for attaining salvation Pranavopasana is Katha yogam. If examined, this katha yogam is also Nada Brahma Upasana. This Pranavopasana is in the Anahata Chakra (Centre of the chest). This Pranavam (OM) the most inner sound of inhaling and exhaling breath is nothing but the Parabrahmam, the Paramatma. It is this which exists in the Jivatma (soul) and in the Trimurty’s (the paramatma).Thus it is seen as Nada Brahmam. Based on this a human does Pranavopasana in Anahatam and attains salvation. This is the main point in Kathopanishat. When one becomes master of this, Nadam becomes the body. This is what Tyagaraja said in his Kriti “NADA TANUMANISAM” and revealed the great secret.
Ultimately, veena is tan appropriate instrument for practicing nada yoga to attain Moksha which indeed is the main purpose of veena sadhana
Anahata Nada is a concept from the Indian spiritual tradition of yoga, which refers to the inner sound or vibration that is said to be heard during deep meditation. This sound is believed to be the manifestation of the divine energy within us, and it is often associated with the heart chakra, which is said to be located in the center of the chest.
While the concept of Anahata Nada is not well-studied in scientific research, there are some theories about the scientific basis of this phenomenon. One theory is that Anahata Nada is related to the phenomenon of tinnitus, which is the perception of sound when there is no external sound source present.
Tinnitus is thought to be caused by a variety of factors, including damage to the inner ear, exposure to loud noises, and stress. It is also associated with changes in neural activity in the auditory cortex of the brain.
Some researchers have suggested that the inner sound experienced during meditation may be related to tinnitus, but with a positive connotation rather than a negative one. In other words, the sound may be interpreted as a positive, transcendent experience rather than a symptom of a medical condition.
Another theory is that the inner sound experienced during meditation is related to the concept of binaural beats, which is a phenomenon where two slightly different frequencies are presented to each ear, creating the perception of a third frequency.
Research has shown that exposure to binaural beats can lead to changes in brain activity, including increased relaxation and altered states of consciousness. It is possible that the inner sound experienced during meditation is related to binaural beats, and that this phenomenon may contribute to the positive effects of meditation on the body and mind.
While there is still much to learn about the scientific basis of Anahata Nada, the concept remains an important part of the spiritual practice of yoga, and many people report experiencing a profound sense of peace and connection when they hear the inner sound during meditation.