In the previous episode, we had witnessed an extension of an important point on how music brings Bhagawan closer to all of us. We’ve seen this in the context of Bhagawan Bala-Krishna playing the flute and the sweet music emulating from it is attracting all his friends including the cows and other animals towards Him. Thus, we can witness clearly here that music is one best method through which the “Jeevatma” can come closer to the “Paramatma”. It gives a divine opportunity for this union to happen. In these lines, we’ve witnessed the significance of music and how it binds us with Bhagawan. As we sing with our hearts and minds open towards Bhagawan (Also referred to as “Naama-Sankeertana”), Bhagawan’s heart melts with joy and with that, He automatically brings us closer to Him.
This, obviously requires certain parameters of music to be in their correct places – There are two important parameters when we talk of music. One is the “Sruthi” (Pitch and the scale upon which we’re singing) and the other one is “Laya” (The rhythm aspect of music). More than these two, there is something called “Bhava” in music, wherein this takes care of the message that every composition tries to present. Thus, it is not enough if we sing in the correct “Sruthi” and the “Laya”. It is the “Bhava” that is of most prominence. The meaning, emotions and the message that is packed into the song needs to be exhibited, and this is what attracts Bhagawan more. Thus, the combination of these three important elements in music together, makes it very special for Bhagawan.
As we’ve concluded in yesterday’s episode, we shall now witness a few examples as to how people have attained the highest “Moksha” through music. The moment we think of this context, three prominent personalities would strike our mind immediately – Saint Thiyagaraja Swami, Purandaradasa and Meerabai. Many of us might know that Saint Thiyagaraja is also referred to as “Thiyaga-Brahmam” is a renowned, prolific and the most celebrated composer in Carnatic Music. His compositions are packed with “Bhakti” and every composition of his, conveys a unique message to the audience and to Bhagawan as well. Thiyagaraja Swami’s “Ishta Deivata” (Favourite deity) is Bhagawan Rama and thus, most of his compositions are on Bhagawan Rama. In his compositions, Thiyagaraja Swami brings out different “Rasas” of “Bhakti”. For instance, some of his compositions bring out his happy mood, some bring out a very emotional and sad mood, etc. As Thiyagaraja Swami was longing for Bhagawan Rama profusely through his various compositions every passing day, how can Bhagawan Rama be silent and not respond? During the last days of Thiyagaraja Swami’s divine incarnation, Bhagawan Rama made sure that He appear in front of Thiyagaraja Swami, along with Lakshmana and Mother Sita. This happened in this very Kali Yuga only, around 300 years ago. As Thiyagaraja Swami was enjoying this blissful experience of having Bhagawan Rama’s divine “Darshan” as a token of all what he has done so far, he slowly attained the highest “Moksha” with this great vision. Thus, we can see how music takes one towards “Moksha”, if performed with a noble heart and mind.
Another big example is Purandaradasa. Purandaradasa is often referred to as the father of Carnatic Music, with his “Ishta Deivata” being Bhagawan Krishna. (He refers to Bhagawan Krishna as Bhagawan Vittala in many of his compositions). He clearly explains in one of his compositions as to how one can attain “Moksha” through music. The composition reads as follows:
“Tamburi meeti dava – Bhavabdhi dhaati dava!
Taalamu tatti dava – Surarulu seri dava!
Gechayaketti dava – Khalaradaya metti dava!
Gaanamu paadi dava – Hari muruthi noti dava!
Vittalana nodi dava – Vaikuntake odi dava!”
Here, Purandaradasa lays down a clear roadmap as to how one can attain “Moksha” through music – He says that if we sing with the “Tanpura” (An instrument that ensures that we sing to the correct “Sruthi”) and with the correct “Tala” (“Laya” or Rhythm), Bhagawan Hari (Vishnu) runs towards us with bliss and joy. Also, the one who sings with absolute devotion towards Bhagawan Vittala, melts His heart and in turn, Bhagawan Vittala catches the devotee’s hands and takes him voluntarily to “Vaikunta”! Such is the significance of music in driving us through to the “Bhakti Maarga”.
The third example that we would be discussing today is Meerabai. Many of us might know that Meerabai was a prolific composer of “bhajans” and “Abhangs” in Hindi. Her “Ishta Deivata” was Bhagawan Krishna Himself. Many of us might be knowing that Meerabai was experiencing innumerable amounts of tortures from her family members and they were constantly discouraging her from singing for Bhagawan Krishna. However, Meerabai was firm in her resolution and she knew nothing in the outside world other than her Bhagawan Krishna. Thus as days, months and years progressed, Bhagawan Krishna’s heart melted and He appeared in front of Meerabai, who was constantly singing her bhajans, without even knowing that Bhagawan had come near her. Thus, we might have read that Meerabai merged with Bhagawan Krishna once and forever as she was singing!
Thus, for today, let us understand how music plays an important role in us attaining “Moksha” and let us realize that if we sing with our open hearts and minds, Bhagawan is definitely going to respond. We shall wait till the next episode to continue with Sage Paraashara’s description of the “Krishna-Leelas” further! Stay tuned! 🙂