Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Miscellaneous topics on Carnatic music
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anuvaramban
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#1 Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by anuvaramban » 12 Jan 2019, 19:27

Prānam

An Interesting video popped up that brought me to notice the observation: *Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam*
Is it?

Here's the video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6-BeZV7X5A

What do you think about Dushyanth's response? What are your thoughts on this observation just the same?
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Sachi_R
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#2 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by Sachi_R » 12 Jan 2019, 20:00

Thanks for the link!

Dushyant has articulated the topic background and his own attitude very well.

For me, Bhaava is the same as Rasa, or emotive content. There are many Bhaavas - just like there are nine Rasas in Naatyashaastra.

Now, however I look at our Carnatic Saahitya from the great vaaggeyakaaras, they are invariably speaking in the Bhakti Bhaava. We must remember that there are navavidha or nine forms listed of Bhakti. There is the Bhakti of Hanumaan, Aandal, Meera, Arjuna, Yashoda, Naarada, Raadha, Purandaradaasa, Diikshitar, Shyaamaa Shaastri, Thyaagaraja.

Of course one can create and enjoy Carnatic music without Saahitya or Bhakti Bhaava. But to sing words of the Bhakti Bhaava - based sahitya, and pursue a path asking people to strip the meaning from words and eschew Bhakti is a kind of vandalism. It is just like singing a love ballad and saying that I don't care for love or the words in the ballad and am simply making some sounds. Or singing the national anthem and saying I don't care for any patriotic or nationalistic emotion and I don't care for the meaning of the words, "Adhinaayaka Jaya He" and just care for the notes like GaaGaGa Ri Ga Ma.

Maybe we should encourage musicians who disown the Bhakti element to sing only music without saahitya containing the Bhakti Bhaava. That would be the beginning of intellectual honesty.
Last edited by Sachi_R on 12 Jan 2019, 20:12, edited 1 time in total.
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VK RAMAN
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#3 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by VK RAMAN » 12 Jan 2019, 20:03

How does one see bhava only if one is hearing and not be present while singing or watching the performance?
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anuvaramban
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#4 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by anuvaramban » 12 Jan 2019, 20:17

Sachi_R wrote:
12 Jan 2019, 20:00
Thanks for the link!

Dushyant has articulated the topic background and his own attitude very well.

For me, Bhaava is the same as Rasa, or emotive content. There are many Bhaavas - just like there are nine Rasas in Naatyashaastra.

Now, however I look at our Carnatic Saahitya from the great vaaggeyakaaras, they are invariably speaking in the Bhakti Bhaava. We must remember that there are navavidha or nine forms listed of Bhakti. There is the Bhakti of Hanumaan, Aandal, Meera, Arjuna, Yashoda, Naarada, Raadha, Purandaradaasa, Diikshitar, Shyaamaa Shaastri, Thyaagaraja.

Of course one can create and enjoy Carnatic music without Saahitya or Bhakti Bhaava. But to sing words of the Bhakti Bhaava - based sahitya, and pursue a path asking people to strip the meaning from words and eschew Bhakti is a kind of vandalism. It is just like singing a love ballad and saying that I don't care for love or the words in the ballad and am simply making some sounds. Or singing the national anthem and saying I don't care for any patriotic or nationalistic emotion and I don't care for the meaning of the words, "Bhaarata Jaya He" and just care for the notes GaaGaGa Ri Ga Ma.

Maybe we should encourage musicians who disown the Bhakti element to sing only music without saahitya containing the Bhakti Bhaava. That would be the beginning of intellectual honesty.
Thanks for sharing your observations - I tend to agree on your conclusion regarding intellectual honesty.

I was under the impression that rasa and bhaava are two different albeit related notion: cf.
1. https://www.wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book ... 09700.html and
2. https://www.wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book ... 09702.html
(time permitting)

Thanks
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anuvaramban
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#5 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by anuvaramban » 12 Jan 2019, 20:27

VK RAMAN wrote:
12 Jan 2019, 20:03
How does one see bhava only if one is hearing and not be present while singing or watching the performance?
Great observation! There is a definitely a difference between listening live and listening to a record of the same. With technology, I find that there is more retained in the recorded version - video even more so? (curious about all the factors here)

Additionally, I feel that given this attrition in enjoyment of bhaava rendered in recording compared to live, I find it is a good point to include in the argument for intellectual honesty that Sachi observed above.

Thanks
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Sachi_R
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#6 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by Sachi_R » 12 Jan 2019, 20:37

I am sorry, I am unable to zero in on the portion you want me to read. My understanding of Bhaava as being the basis of rasa or emotive presentation of sentiment is somewhat reflected in this sentence in that link:
As they cause the Sentiments relating to various kinds of Histrionic Representation to pervade [the heart of spectators], they are called bhāva (States) by those who produce a drama.
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anuvaramban
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#7 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by anuvaramban » 12 Jan 2019, 21:07

Sorry Sachi for not stating things clearly. I linked to those portions of NatyaShaastra to express that they are related notions in aesthetics capturing certain subtle distinction(s). My understanding is best expressed via the following duality: While rasa is emotional substance, bhava is emotional process (as I continue learning, I hope to make a better one-line pitch explaining the difference). Ofc, this is just academic banter at this point since I believe I understand what you meant in the first post. My links are purely meant to be for leisurely perusal.

Thanks
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sureshvv
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#8 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by sureshvv » 12 Jan 2019, 21:10

VK RAMAN wrote:
12 Jan 2019, 20:03
How does one see bhava only if one is hearing and not be present while singing or watching the performance?
You hear the bhava. Even when watching you may mei marachi and close eyes.
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maadhu
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#9 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by maadhu » 13 Jan 2019, 08:48

I agree with Dushyant - sahitya or lyrics is as equally important as the music. Classical carnatic music is Bhakti laden, one of the reasons why vocal music is so popular
Sachi_R wrote:
12 Jan 2019, 20:00
Maybe we should encourage musicians who disown the Bhakti element to sing only music without saahitya containing the Bhakti Bhaava. That would be the beginning of intellectual honesty.
May be we should ask TM Krishna to stop singing the sahitya of Thyagaraja/Shyama Sastri/Dikshitar et al. You will know he is two faced when he tells you Chakkani Raja is art music. Really curious to know how many will attend his concerts, If he does not sing the sahitya.
VK RAMAN wrote:
12 Jan 2019, 20:03
How does one see bhava only if one is hearing and not be present while singing or watching the performance?
That's an interesting observation. Being brutally honest, with all due respect, Most of the instrumentalists don't even know the full lyrics and meaning of the songs that they perform on stage, barring a few like Lalgudi Jayaraman who give importance to lyrics/sahitya. If I listen to his Enna Thavam seidhanai or any other song for that matter the Bhava still comes out. That's because of 2 reasons - 1. I as in audience know the lyrics and the meaning 2. The Artist who is playing knows the lyrics and the meaning well, he then weaves the sangiti in such a fashion to bring out the bhava/emotion/meaning
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shankarank
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#10 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by shankarank » 13 Jan 2019, 11:03

Before he parrots out these rAgAs are universal, music is universal , would he care to do an exposition on what is great about Mozart's music himself since he is expositioner. Why parrot media vibes? Yeah tourists from Europe also flock to Carnatic concerts and carnatic musicians also tour Europe, alas in America only Mylaporeans show up now a days! Stupid! Americans and texas cowboys have trouble acknowledging the universality of music!

I cannot believe a harikatha exponent, especially representing vaishNavite tradition will venture to discuss these things under the aegis of liberal media debating terms and assumptions and concepts.

https://youtu.be/G6-BeZV7X5A?t=256
RAmaYaNa and Mahabharatha and pure Sanskrit were developed in great urban centers by the riShis who were forest dwellers and all the vAggEyakkaras went to urban centers to get this knowledge. Like tyAgarAja was born in urban center of tiruvvaiyAru teeming with traders and vaira vyApAris.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ind ... 232173.cms

Yes he went to urban center of Vijaya Nagara and rAmAyaNA was not known in his what is now a village until then!

All the bhagavatas were proselytizers who took great pure Sanskrit milled in well learned urban centers to villages where people knew nothing, to civilize them, like the missionaries, who came from Europe.

Typical urbanite talking to an urbanite! Dushyant hailing from urban center of Bangalore is taking vaishNavisim of Srivilliputtur or Melkote to the urban villagers of Chennai who know nothing about rAmAyaNa or Mahabharatha!

And Carnatic musicians , as all their name prefixes indicate, reared their art in great urban centers and took it to know-nothing filled villagers of Chennai!
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RSR
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#11 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by RSR » 13 Jan 2019, 11:38

Sachi_R wrote:
12 Jan 2019, 20:00

For me, Bhaava is the same as Rasa, or emotive content. There are many Bhaavas - just like there are nine Rasas in Naatyashaastra.

Now, however I look at our Carnatic Saahitya from the great vaaggeyakaaras, they are invariably speaking in the Bhakti Bhaava. We must remember that there are navavidha or nine forms listed of Bhakti. There is the Bhakti of Hanumaan, Aandal, Meera, Arjuna, Yashoda, Naarada, Raadha, Purandaradaasa, Diikshitar, Shyaamaa Shaastri, Thyaagaraja.

Of course one can create and enjoy Carnatic music without Saahitya or Bhakti Bhaava. But to sing words of the Bhakti Bhaava - based sahitya, and pursue a path asking people to strip the meaning from words and eschew Bhakti is a kind of vandalism.............

Maybe we should encourage musicians who disown the Bhakti element to sing only music without saahitya containing the Bhakti Bhaava. That would be the beginning of intellectual honesty.
---------------------------
Cannot agree with Sachi Sir, more. I notice that most of the persons mentioned are of Vaishavite persuasion. Shyama Sastri and to some extent Dikshithar were worshippers of Devi. The whole Tamil oaduvaar tradition is of saivaite leanings. Some classical pieces of Dikshithar are on devathas of astrology.
It is the astrology aspect, which I believe cannot be clubbed with bakthi. Perhaps, 'secular' vocalists , can sing only such krithis of Dikshithar which deal with navagrahams. !
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RSR
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#12 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by RSR » 13 Jan 2019, 11:45

VK RAMAN wrote:
12 Jan 2019, 20:03
How does one see bhava only if one is hearing and not be present while singing or watching the performance?
What is there to 'see' in a CM krithi rendered with bhaavam? How about all those radio programs of earlier decades? The bhaava is conveyed by 'sound' and not 'sight' .
Radio programs, 'plate music' and casettes and CD's can and do bring out the bhaavam better without the 'visual' component.
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arasi
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#13 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by arasi » 13 Jan 2019, 16:26

Radio commentary of cricket matches were precious in our growing up days. Is that all the old time fans are satisfied with, when test matches are on these days? I doubt it.
When it comes to VKR, the live performance is even more relevant. His life is meaningful because of the bhajan music which is very much a part of his life.
To this day, we greatly cherish the old temple concerts and concert hall experiences because the visual and the ambience added value to our musical experience...
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RSR
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#14 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by RSR » 13 Jan 2019, 17:44

Even today, how do cricket-fans follow the match down-under, ? only by the live blog and occasional tweets . ( were it not for TV?).. A cricket match is to be seen. to get the full experience. ---that too, only if we have binoculars. Otherwise, though physically present in the gallery , we simultaneously listen to commentator. They are more knowledgeable and pepper the commentary with anecdotes. ( vizzy? any one?). CM is hardly of that category. Bajans ofcourse are. During this music season , would any sabha allow bajan performance on stage? though they have honoured a musician who promotes varkari tradition, they wont and should not. to prevent the concert from becoming a pop music session of Jackson-fame. or Madonna. Bajan sampradhaya allows participants to join the group singing. ..like what we do in Thiruvaiyaru Utsavam.
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SrinathK
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#15 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by SrinathK » 13 Jan 2019, 22:20

Bhakti naturally occurs in anything in which a massive amount of life is invested - although Bhakti is a general term that at one level encompasses the entire gamut of both devotional and emotional experience, mostly it refers to the proactive investment of life into anything, powered by underlying feeling, but also supported by intelligence.

Bhava happens when beyond a certain level of intensity of feeling, a person is overwhelmed out of the noise of his thinking mind and touches a dimension of experience beyond thoughts and ideas and even time. It essentially causes you to melt and dissolve boundaries for a while. This can happen as a consequence of putting enough bhakti into something and developing it to the point where starts acting as a living force in itself. It can also happen through someone else who has built up enough energy into their activity, like music. Music has got it's own energy and beyond a certain point, it behaves no different from a consecrated object.

Rasa is a particular manifestation of a certain emotional colour to feeling. Feeling is the energy of life, without it, everything is lifeless and uninspired. But feeling as I understand it, is essentially colourless - bhAva can happen even without a particular sentiment. But when it takes form of a particular flavour, then it is called rasa.
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kcn
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#16 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by kcn » 14 Jan 2019, 04:56

I have a theory for this, there are many ways to bring bhava into music. Perfect pitch combined with aesthetic sense always brings bhakti in me as a listener, even if the singer may only be experiencing the beauty of music and not necessarily bhakti. That's why we can get bhakti listening to alapana and instrumental.

However, what kills bhava and bhakti for me is narcissism.
Example: https://youtu.be/OFJqzoWPEGM

If I watch this, I cannot get bhakti. If I hear it, I do!!
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sureshvv
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#17 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by sureshvv » 14 Jan 2019, 10:20

kcn wrote:
14 Jan 2019, 04:56
However, what kills bhava and bhakti for me is narcissism.
Example: https://youtu.be/OFJqzoWPEGM

If I watch this, I cannot get bhakti. If I hear it, I do!!
You are right about narcissism hindering communication of bhakthi bhava but your example is wrong on multiple counts. I am glad you are able to hear it though :)
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Sachi_R
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#18 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by Sachi_R » 14 Jan 2019, 10:36

Image

Each new post shows a different aspect. Apart from semantics and our individual understanding of words, I feel all these seven factors operate in creating the Bhakti Bhaava through Carnatic music.

By the seventh factor, I mean that even the ability to feel Bhakti is the result of divine grace. If grace is missing, We may not get to experience any bhakti even if the first six factors are conducive. That would be a very wretched state indeed!
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shankarank
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#19 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by shankarank » 14 Jan 2019, 20:46

RSR wrote:
13 Jan 2019, 11:38
It is the astrology aspect, which I believe cannot be clubbed with bakthi. Perhaps, 'secular' vocalists , can sing only such krithis of Dikshithar which deal with navagrahams. !
tithirvishNustatavArO nakshatram vishNurEvaca
yOgaSca karaNamcaiva sarvam vishNumayam jagat

From tamizh nationalists: The five headed snake is actually the representation of tithi, nakshatra, yOga, karaNa and vAra. The chakra is symbolic of solar system. ViShNu was a siddha who lived eons back ( 4000 years exactly) and was an astronomer or at least an observer lying on nilAkkal (moon stone!) watching the skies.

May be they should try compositions on different themes like this :

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dw4Whu1WoAARLYJ.jpg:large
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shankarank
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#20 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by shankarank » 14 Jan 2019, 23:16

From NeeDamangalam Bhagavathar: arasan paNattil kovil kaTTiyE ANDi (kaithi) Anarkal vAdavUrarum rAmadAsarum
They ( mANikka vAsakar and Bhadrachala rAmadAsar) built temple using kings money and got improverished/imprisoned.

Even in physical expression, the bhakti of a Saivaite and a VaishNavaite looks exactly similar.

I am asking something very simpler. NRI(s) put down your own money to build CM Nagar. Nah Invest not even donate and get rich not impoverished! Show your bhakti!
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RSR
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#21 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by RSR » 15 Jan 2019, 08:22

Asrtrology says that a person's life is decided by the planetary positions , ( and nothing can be done about it) . It is a sort of tyranny! ( like the most prevalent belief among hindus influenced by Jainism and Budhism) that your fate in this life is decided by your actions in the past life. Though it puts fear in the minds of people and make them avoid bad actions, there is no place for God either in astrology or in cycle of birth theory. In a sense then, both are a-theist.
As the demon in Silambu says " sey thavam illaarkku deivam varam koda' ( செய் தவம் இல்லார்க்கு தெய்வம் வரம் கொடா). Thus, even the Gods will not care to save people who have not led a pure life in earlier lives.- Like the modern theory which says Criminality is in the genes . and the criminal is not responsible for his actions!
The concept of Bakthi, is different. It believes in the Grace of God. It leaves everything in the hands of the Almighty. and at some stage of maturity does not ask anything but the Grace of God. except 'dhaasana madiko enne, swami'. ' Thy Will be done'. Singing the praise of the Divine , itself is the reward. That , I believe is the core concept in all the works of CM . As Sachi puts it nicely, even such faith needs Grace of God.
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arasi
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#22 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by arasi » 16 Jan 2019, 09:19

aruL illA vAzhvukkup poruL illai--A life without grace doesn't mean much...
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shankarank
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#23 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by shankarank » 16 Jan 2019, 09:22

RSR wrote:
15 Jan 2019, 08:22
Astrology says that a person's life is decided by the planetary positions
When astrology says person's life, it is not same as persons fate ( which means some end result, or interim state!). It only talks about the experience a person might undergo during various phases of his/her life. jyOtiSha has specific principles about predicting the times of death and I have heard from vidvans in discourses that , there are specific injunctions within the SaStra that all predictions of the practitioner will become false, if they were to predict the death of somebody.

And whatever our SAstras say are only for those who seek into it, and hence they perceive validity in it. They are not some universal claims. The claim about past actions , past life again is for those who might have questions about inexplicability of certain experiences in their life.

The approach to bhakti can take several forms and surrender to your iSHTa devata ( not translatable to God, neither the concept of ISvara) is one form for you. Somebody else confined to their homes, may fill pages and pages of Sri Ramajayam.

Plus if you can surrender so easily, why all this grammar, structure and construction be required. It should be simple and straight forward. The sampradayas engage us in the dimensions we tend to incline, to the level of complexity that matches our own constructions, ties and knots ( I guess the technical term is upAdi - quoting a very familiar poster in this forum)!

None of these are like the spraying of beliefs performed by various "religions" publicly using freedom of religion.

And we cannot make such claims about what is the core aspect of CM either. Somebody claimed mridangam is not music. They did not even bother to qualify it. Like say the art of mridangam or the concept behind it's practice and playing etc.

Such claims should be challenged and fought to the core!
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shankarank
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#24 Re: Bhakti is THE source of Bhaavam

Post by shankarank » 16 Jan 2019, 10:37

Sachi_R wrote:
12 Jan 2019, 20:00
Of course one can create and enjoy Carnatic music without Saahitya or Bhakti Bhaava. But to sing words of the Bhakti Bhaava - based sahitya, and pursue a path asking people to strip the meaning from words and eschew Bhakti is a kind of vandalism.
There are plenty of us who don't know KannaDa or Telugu or Marathi. But as Dushyanth narrates, down south if somewhere someone sings Ramdas Kirtanas, the person does experience the rAgA, but the person commits to singing it and repeating it because the person subscribes to the sacredness of it. Not because I enjoyed the music, as I didn't know the rAgam and the lead singer is not a great endearing singer either.

A more superceding claim is that music has tantric basis , in that sounds, letters and their formation have a specific effect on people.

In fact it can be claimed with lot of evidence that, the music and dance traditions in India have roots in tantra.

This is not an argument against whatever you might imply by "Bhakti", but only against the "meaning" part. "Meaning" is not essential! Mainly because the country has Sanskritic culture and several encodings of it , from childhood rituals on!

The word sAhitya , thus, does not translate to lyrics in any shape or form.

And there is every reason to believe that all through the golden era, listeners have eschewed singers who might have , pada Suddhi, in favor of singers who explored the sanskriti in sangIta.

And we have discussed one - Thodapalli Lokanatha Sharma ( intentionally misspelling his inTi pErU just to convey that I am not lying when I claim I have listened to him, since that is how his name was written in tamizh on the slate board in the entry to Music club , IITM - I think 1989 IIRC.). People simply ignored him.

But then pada Suddhi does not always result in clarity of meaning, as I did not understand what he was singing either. I was drawn to his pada Suddhi by itself!

There is thus, a mountain of evidence against your claim on "meaning". Not necessarily Bhakti or Bhavam however.
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