The Magnificence of the Saraswati Veena: Unveiling the Spiritual, Health, and Musical Wonders

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As a musician and performer, it becomes apparent that our subconscious evaluation of qualities occurs whenever we engage with someone or something. Upon discovering the greatness within the subject, we naturally proceed to assess its magnitude. This discourse focuses on the vINa, prompting us to evaluate its characteristics upon encountering it.

During the assessment of the vINa, it is worth considering the individuals associated with its mastery. For the average person, the following figures come to mind:

  • Saraswati, known as vInApAni, vainikOllAsini, vainikOdhAriNi, and kachapIvINApAni.
  • Shiva is referred to as vInAdhara.
  • Narada Muni, who holds the EkataMtIya vINa and is also a veenApAni.
  • Rishis and Munis, who traditionally played the shatataMtri vINa (an ancient version of today’s santoor) while reciting the Veda.
  • Kaliyuga Kalpataru Sri Guru Raghavendra Swamy, renowned for playing the Saraswati vINa, accompanied by Lord Balakrishna’s dance.
  • Purandara Dasa, who composed and sang devotional songs to deities like Vishnu, Shiva, Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Durga using the tambura, a form of vINa.
  • Mirabai, also employed the tambura while composing and singing about God.

While recognizing the greatness of the vINa through these individuals suffices, one can further appreciate its spiritual significance by reflecting on the words of the esteemed sage Yajnavalkya:

“वीणावादन तत्वज्ञः श्रुतिजातिविशारदः तालज्ञश्च अप्रयासेन मोक्षमार्गं स गच्छति”

This verse indicates that a skilled vINa player, possessing knowledge of musical intricacies and rhythmic systems, effortlessly treads the path to liberation.

After acknowledging the vINa’s greatness, the subsequent task involves comprehending it. Understanding its magnificence can only be achieved through practical experience, active engagement, and personal involvement, surpassing mere reading or learning. However, comprehending the vINa’s complete greatness is simultaneously impossible and possible. Individuals with limited spiritual attainment, like myself, find it impossible to grasp its full magnitude. Conversely, divine entities such as Devi Sarasvati, Rudra Deva, Brahma Deva, Vayu Deva, and Devi Lakshmi can comprehend it entirely.

Devi Sarasvati, the embodiment of knowledge, art, expression, creativity, and music, possesses an unfathomable ability to perceive Lord Vishnu in every sound and vibration. Our understanding falls short, leaving us in awe of this capacity. We resemble frogs in a deep well located on an infinite shore, oblivious to the vast horizons beyond. Even if the frog were to escape the well, it would remain ignorant of its existence beyond those infinite shores. This analogy represents the unfortunate disparity between modern-day humans and the confined frog. Returning to the main point, when Devi Sarasvati utilizes the medium of sound (Nada) to perceive Vishnu, it underscores the utmost importance of Nada as a tool for realizing the divine. This realization profoundly emphasizes the vINa’s greatness, as it serves as the source of Nada. Paintings and idols often depict Devi Saraswati holding the vINa, symbolizing this significance.

By examining the vINa from a health standpoint, we discover its potential to enhance muscle reflexes, hand-eye coordination, and hand-ear coordination. The intricate relationship between the 24 frets of the vINa and the 24 movable segments of the spinal cord creates a fascinating resonance phenomenon. When the frequencies produced by the vINa align with the natural frequencies of the spinal cord segments, a profound physical connection is established. As a result, the vertebral column vibrates in harmony with the vINa’s nAda, positively influencing nerve efficiency and stimulating the chakras of the body. However, it’s crucial to note that these effects can only be fully realized with a well-tuned vINa.

Moving on to the psychological aspect, we explore the profound impact of music on the mind. While Western thinkers and scientists debated the influence of music on the mind in the past, they eventually discovered its positive effects. However, centuries before their discoveries, the spiritual scientists of Bharata had already recognized and demonstrated the power of music. The vINa, as the embodiment of music itself, possesses the ability to influence the mind in various ways. Consider the soothing effect of a sweet lullaby on a child’s sleep or the increased concentration experienced by individuals who study while listening to music. Music brings order to thoughts, promoting mental clarity and focus. When we consider the impact of music on the mind, it becomes apparent that playing the vINa, whether through singing or utilizing external instruments, can have a profound influence on memory, mental agility, convergent thinking, imagination, creativity, and confidence.

From a devotional and spiritual perspective, the practice of vINa offers a path to greater efficiency in our spiritual journey. Control over our thoughts is crucial for this journey, and the vINa provides a range of tools to enhance our capabilities. By honing our memory, analytical capacity, creativity, imagination, confidence, and thought stability through vINa practice, we can achieve a deeper connection with our devotional and spiritual aspirations. It is intriguing to note that the 24 segments of the human vertebral column align not only with the frets of the Saraswati vINa but also with the syllables of the Gayatri mantra and the various forms (chaturviMshati rUpA’s) of Vishnu. This alignment underscores the profound spiritual significance of the vINa and its potential to elevate our spiritual experiences.

Finally, adopting a higher perspective, we recognize that we are akin to vINa, played by divine entities such as Devi Saraswati, Shiva, Vayu, Lakshmi, and Vishnu. Surrendering ourselves to their skillful hands allows us to transcend our limited human nature. Devi Saraswati, the goddess of speech and knowledge, plays the vINa of divine wisdom. Shiva, who governs the mind and thoughts, plays the vINa of our innermost being. Vayu, the deity of life force, plays the vINa that animates our existence. Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance, plays the vINa that encompasses all material manifestations. Vishnu, the supreme deity, plays the vINa that governs time and the existence of all things. Recognizing our connection to these divine forces, we must humbly allow them to tune our vINa as they see fit and guide us on our journey. By surrender surrendering to their melodies, our purpose will be fulfilled, and we can harmonize with the cosmic symphony they orchestrate.

Genuinely understanding and experiencing the vINa’s grandeur proves challenging to convey through textual information alone. Words fall short, as they merely describe the known and finite. Nevertheless, any endeavor to express the greatness of experiencing the vINa, even through words, would undoubtedly be immeasurably valuable to both myself and interested readers like yourselves.

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