Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Swami Vivekanand Speech at Madurai

Complete works of Swami Vivekananda

Vol III Compilation of lectures of Swami Vivekananda from Colombo to Almora


The Swami was presented with an address of welcome by the Hindus of Madura, which read as follows:

Most Revered Swami,

We, the Hindu Public of Madura, beg to offer you our most heartfelt and respectful welcome to our ancient and holy city. We realise in you a living example of the Hindu Sannyasin, who, renouncing all worldly ties and attachments calculated to lead to the gratification of the self, is worthily engaged in the noble duty of living for others and endeavouring to raise the spiritual condition of mankind. You have demonstrated in your own person that the true essence of the Hindu religion is not necessarily bound up with rules and rituals, but that it is a sublime philosophy capable of giving peace and solace to the distressed and afflicted.

You have taught America and England to admire that philosophy and that religion which seeks to elevate every man in the best manner suited to his capacities and environments. Although your teachings have for the last three years been delivered in foreign lands, they have not been the less eagerly devoured in this country, and they have not a little tended to counteract the growing materialism imported from a foreign soil.

India lives to this day, for it has a mission to fulfil in the spiritual ordering of the universe. The appearance of a soul like you at the close of this cycle of the Kali Yuga is to us a sure sign of the incarnation in the near future of great souls through whom that mission will be fulfilled.

Madura, the seat of ancient learning, Madura the favoured city of the God Sundareshwara, the holy Dwadashântakshetram of Yogis, lags behind no other Indian city in its warm admiration of your exposition of Indian Philosophy and in its grateful acknowledgments of your priceless services for humanity.

We pray that you may be blessed with a long life of vigour and strength and usefulness.

The Swami replied in the following terms:

I wish I could live in your midst for several days and fulfil the conditions that have just been pointed out by your most worthy Chairman of relating to you my experiences in the West and the result of all my labours there for the last four years. But, unfortunately, even Swamis have bodies; and the continuous travelling and speaking that I have had to undergo for the last three weeks make it impossible for me to deliver a very long speech this evening. I will, therefore, satisfy myself with thanking you very cordially for the kindness that has been shown to me, and reserve other things for some day in the future when under better conditions of health we shall have time to talk over more various subjects than we can do in so short a time this evening. Being in Madura, as the guest of one of your well-known citizens and noblemen, the Raja of Ramnad, one fact comes prominently to my mind. Perhaps most of you are aware that it was the Raja who first put the idea into my mind of going to Chicago, and it was he who all the time supported it with all his heart and influence. A good deal, therefore, of the praise that has been bestowed upon me in this address, ought to go to this noble man of Southern India. I only wish that instead of becoming a Raja he had become a Sannyasin, for that is what he is really fit for.

Wherever there is a thing really needed in one part of the world, the complement will find its way there and supply it with new life. This is true in the physical world as well as in the spiritual. If there is a want of spirituality in one part of the world, and at the same time that spirituality exists elsewhere, whether we consciously struggle for it or not, that spirituality will find its way to the part where it is needed and balance the inequality. In the history of the human race, not once or twice, but again and again, it has been the destiny of India in the past to supply spirituality to the world. We find that whenever either by mighty conquest or by commercial supremacy different parts of the world have been kneaded into one whole race and bequests have been made from one corner to the other, each nation, as it were, poured forth its own quota, either political, social, or spiritual. India's contribution to the sum total of human knowledge has been spirituality, philosophy. These she contributed even long before the rising of the Persian Empire; the second time was during the Persian Empire; for the third time during the ascendancy of the Greeks; and now for the fourth time during the ascendancy of the English, she is going to fulfil the same destiny once more. As Western ideas of organization and external civilisation are penetrating and pouring into our country, whether we will have them or not, so Indian spirituality and philosophy are deluging the lands of the West. None can resist it, and no more can we resist some sort of material civilization from the West. A little of it, perhaps, is good for us, and a little spiritualisation is good for the West; thus the balance will be preserved. It is not that we ought to learn everything from the West, or that they have to learn everything from us, but each will have to supply and hand down to future generations what it has for the future accomplishment of that dream of ages — the harmony of nations, an ideal world. Whether that ideal world will ever come I do not know, whether that social perfection will ever be reached I have my own doubts; whether it comes or not, each one of us will have to work for the idea as if it will come tomorrow, and as if it only depends on his work, and his alone. Each one of us will have to believe that every one else in the world has done his work, and the only work remaining to be done to make the world perfect has to be done by himself. This is the responsibility we have to take upon ourselves.

In the meanwhile, in India there is a tremendous revival of religion. There is danger ahead as well as glory; for revival sometimes breeds fanaticism, sometimes goes to the extreme, so that often it is not even in the power of those who start the revival to control it when it has gone beyond a certain length. It is better, therefore, to be forewarned. We have to find our way between the Scylla of old superstitious orthodoxy and the Charybdis of materialism — of Europeanism, of soullessness, of the so-called reform — which has penetrated to the foundation of Western progress. These two have to be taken care of. In the first place, we cannot become Western; therefore imitating the Westerns is useless. Suppose you can imitate the Westerns, that moment you will die, you will have no more life in you. In the second place, it is impossible. A stream is taking its rise, away beyond where time began, flowing through millions of ages of human history; do you mean to get hold of that stream and push it back to its source, to a Himalayan glacier? Even if that were practicable, it would not be possible for you to be Europeanised. If you find it is impossible for the European to throw off the few centuries of culture which there is in the West, do you think it is possible for you to throw off the culture of shining scores of centuries? It cannot be. We must also remember that in every little village-god and every little superstition custom is that which we are accustomed to call our religious faith. But local customs are infinite and contradictory. Which are we to obey, and which not to obey? The Brâhmin of Southern India, for instance, would shrink in horror at the sight of another Brahmin eating meat; a Brahmin in the North thinks it a most glorious and holy thing to do — he kills goats by the hundred in sacrifice. If you put forward your custom, they are equally ready with theirs. Various are the customs all over India, but they are local. The greatest mistake made is that ignorant people always think that this local custom is the essence of our religion.

But beyond this there is a still greater difficulty. There are two sorts of truth we find in our Shâstras, one that is based upon the eternal nature of man — the one that deals with the eternal relation of God, soul, and nature; the other, with local circumstances, environments of the time, social institutions of the period, and so forth. The first class of truths is chiefly embodied in our Vedas, our scriptures; the second in the Smritis, the Puranas. etc. We must remember that for all periods the Vedas are the final goal and authority, and if the Purânas differ in any respect from the Vedas, that part of the Puranas is to be rejected without mercy. We find, then, that in all these Smritis the teachings are different. One Smriti says, this is the custom, and this should be the practice of this age. Another one says, this is the practice of this age, and so forth. This is the Âchâra which should be the custom of the Satya Yuga, and this is the Achara which should be the custom of the Kali Yuga, and so forth. Now this is one of the most glorious doctrines that you have, that eternal truths, being based upon the nature of man, will never change so long as man lives; they are for all times, omnipresent, universal virtues. But the Smritis speak generally of local circumstances, of duties arising from different environments, and they change in the course of time. This you have always to remember that because a little social custom is going to be changed you are not going to lose your religion, not at all. Remember these customs have already been changed. There was a time in this very India when, without eating beef, no Brahmin could remain a Brahmin; you read in the Vedas how, when a Sannyasin, a king, or a great man came into a house, the best bullock was killed; how in time it was found that as we were an agricultural race, killing the best bulls meant annihilation of the race. Therefore the practice was stopped, and a voice was raised against the killing of cows. Sometimes we find existing then what we now consider the most horrible customs. In course of time other laws had to be made. These in turn will have to go, and other Smritis will come. This is one fact we have to learn that the Vedas being eternal will be one and the same throughout all ages, but the Smritis will have an end. As time rolls on, more and more of the Smritis will go, sages will come, and they will change and direct society into better channels, into duties and into paths which accord with the necessity of the age, and without which it is impossible that society can live. Thus we have to guide our course, avoiding these two dangers; and I hope that every one of us here will have breadth enough, and at the same time faith enough, to understand what that means, which I suppose is the inclusion of everything, and not the exclusion. I want the intensity of the fanatic plus the extensity of the materialist. Deep as the ocean, broad as the infinite skies, that is the sort of heart we want. Let us be as progressive as any nation that ever existed, and at the same time as faithful and conservative towards our traditions as Hindus alone know how to be.

In plain words, we have first to learn the distinction between the essentials and the non-essentials in everything. The essentials are eternal, the non-essentials have value only for a certain time; and if after a time they are not replaced by something essential, they are positively dangerous. I do not mean that you should stand up and revile all your old customs and institutions. Certainly not; you must not revile even the most evil one of them. Revile none. Even those customs that are now appearing to be positive evils, have been positively life-giving in times past; and if we have to remove these, we must not do so with curses, but with blessings and gratitude for the glorious work these customs have done for the preservation of our race. And we must also remember that the leaders of our societies have never been either generals or kings, but Rishis. And who are the Rishis? The Rishi as he is called in the Upanishads is not an ordinary man, but a Mantra-drashtâ. He is a man who sees religion, to whom religion is not merely book-learning, not argumentation, nor speculation, nor much talking, but actual realization, a coming face to face with truths which transcend the senses. This is Rishihood, and that Rishihood does not belong to any age, or time, or even to sects or caste. Vâtsyâyana says, truth must be realised; and we have to remember that you, and I, and every one of us will be called upon to become Rishis; and we must have faith in ourselves; we must become world-movers, for everything is in us. We must see Religion face to face, experience it, and thus solve our doubts about it; and then standing up in the glorious light of Rishihood each one of us will be a giant; and every word falling from our lips will carry behind it that infinite sanction of security; and before us evil will vanish by itself without the necessity of cursing any one, without the necessity of abusing any one, without the necessity of fighting any one in the world. May the Lord help us, each one of us here, to realise the Rishihood for our own salvation and for that of others!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Mother Teresa becomes saint Teresa

Indians are happy that one of us has been recognized as a saint for the third time.

It is of course, a proud moment for us. Mother Teresa, the symbol of passion for the poor and the down-trodden and the statue of love and compassion, has become the Saint. Mother Teresa is transformed into saint Terresa.

However, this transformation required two miracles to happen within five years of her departure from life. As soon as these two miracles were reported, the process of canonization started.

However, the question arises as to whether we should believe in miracles or should we develop a scientific approach. If we believe that through the faith of Mother Teresa, an ulcer can be cured, don’t we strengthen superstitions and illogical rituals?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Issues and Challenges in Music Pedagogy

In last one-and a-half century, we have seen many forms of teaching and learning music right from traditional guru-shishya tradition to music being taught in schools and then in universities as an independent subject. The performing art becoming a curricular discipline brought many transformative changes including a heavy input of theoretical content, number of ragas or genres to be learnt in a given time and practical knowledge to be imparted to a large group in a classroom situation. Research and specialization also became very important in the university set up. Many deemed universities sprang up in order to confer degrees to learners in music also. Although CBSE and other state education boards have their respective syllabi for both vocal and instrumental music yet in schools, it is generally taken as a hobby kind of a subject and the situation has not changed even after the introduction of Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation System. In schools, music also becomes the vehicle of promoting certain values patriotism, small and nuclear family, environmentalism etc. Traditional one-to-one way of learning music still has its own hold off-course, with its new incarnation as Ee-guru. Now, it is not only classical music which is learnt and taught; it is light music with Casio which is equally popular. Moreover, in this Global scenario, when genres are blurring music pedagogy is undoubtedly changing. Therefore, the music education is to be looked at with a wider perspective including both formal and informal set ups with all the stakeholders involvedlearners, teachers, ustads/pundits, parents, institutions, curriculum planners, policy makers, entertainment industry etc. It needs to be researched from historical, sociological, psychological, monetary, policy and many other angles as well.

Naadnartan intends to take cognizance of these and other issues of music education in the form of a seminar, to be held on December 9th-10th, 2016. It would not only bring out a proceeding of the papers presented but we are also thinking of what policy interventions we can plan for. Kindly send your abstract, not exceeding five hundred words in English or Hindi by August 15th, 2016. Abstracts received after that will not be entertained. The approval of abstracts would be intimated around August 31st, 2016.

The paper may be related to any of the themes given below and even beyond:

1.      Music in schools:


1.2.Inculcation of values/quest for self expression and liberation

2.      Music in Universities:

2.1.Creative choice/dying subject

2.2.Classroom challenges and administrative hassles

2.3.Curriculum and content: Theory-Practical balance

2.4.Issues in music research

2.5.Education of dance forms in Universities

2.6.Music beyond formal pedagogy/ECA (Extra Curricular Activity), Inter-college, Inter-universities competitions/youth festivals

3.      Music catering to specific demands:

3.1.Genres other then classical music-Gurmat sangeet, Sufi sangeet, Rock music, Fusion, Fol etck in terms of pedagogy

3.2.Music accompaniment and other skill based curricula

4.      Looking at instrumental music from school to universities

5.      E-guru from e-pathshala to re-incarnation of gurukul through internet

6.      Issues related to deemed universities

7.      Private tutoring and commercialization: from classical to casio 


Kindly send your abstracts through E-mail: naadnartanjdm@gmail.com

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Politics over Nationalism

Recent discourse on nationalism in the light of JNU controversies needs a thorough review.

In the parliamentary debates and elsewhere, our elected representatives barring the N D a and allies, tried to insist upon the point that “nationalism was a dangerous idea because it was fascism in disguise,” as the noted journalist Tavleen Singh puts it.

During TV shows the same argument was put forward by numerous communist leaders and their sympathisers. Some of them quoted Tagore as the staunch opponent of the term nationalism. They forgot that the same Tagore had returned his Nobel Prize as he loved India and could not tolerate the colonial forces oppressing Indian aspirations. Had he not been a nationalist he would not have considered himself as an Indian and returned the highest honour.

At a critical time, when the world is facing the grave threats from the extremists and the terrorists all over, when the U S, supported by the European Union, is trying to control the world by the international agencies like the united nations organization, the world Bank, the international Monitory Fund etc., when Islamic fundamentalism, strengthened with the Arab support, is ready to use its devastating forces on innocent men and women world over, we cannot run away from our responsibility which calls upon all lovers of India to join hands for sacrificing our self-interests for the greater cause of assuring the safety and security of our motherland.

What is nationalism?

Nationalism is nothing but one’s love for his country and his motherland. When the British established their oppressive rule in India, this very feeling of nationalism inspired common men and women of the nation sacrifice their lives in the struggle for the liberty of the motherland from the blood sucking clutches of the colonial regime. Martyrs like Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh Bismil etc. made the supreme sacrifice for the independence of India. Netaji moved many steps forward and established the Indian National Army for the same cause wherein, thousands of the Indian soldiers, who had been previously fighting under the British flag, joined Netaji in his noble mission. It was through these greatest of efforts of our common masses enlightened with the sentiment of nationalism that we attained our freedom after millions of our youth dedicated all that they could, including their lives, in honour of the motherland that they loved passionately and could not tolerate that someone see mother India with evil eyes.

The present scenario:

Now let us see the meaning of nationalism in the present context. In J N U campus, people hurled abuses upon our motherland, they shouted slogans vowing for the disintegration of India, showed disrespect to our judiciary by referring to the decisions of the highest judiciary as “judicial killings”, and the students who were present there, remained silent. They maintained calm and composure. They could not think that insulting India was equal to insulting Indians as India consist of Indians. They could not connect themselves with India. Hence, the anti-national elements kept on raising highly objectionable slogans and the JNU students kept on watching the situation. No objections raised, no protests were made, no frustration was expressed, and no remorse was seen. After a while, some of the students tried to protest but these voices were suppressed in the name of right to expression. In favour of the antinational elements, many voices were heard stating that it was the right to expression in respect of the sloganeers. Later on, the Print/Electronic media advocated the same and tried to justify the antinational elements in the name of right to expression. Therefore, it is high time that we consider the idea of freedom of expression in terms of our national interests.

I shall not go into legal complications – let the legal fraternity take legal decisions. Neither shall I go into the constitutional provisions regarding the freedom of speech. There had been lovers of India even before we got our constitution. My only concern is the integrity and security of India. The actions which have the tendency to weaken the unity and integrity of our country, the expressions which can give strength of justification to our enemies, the behaviour which is unworthy of being an Indian and above all, the freedom which may lead to strengthening of terror networks has been and is the reason to worry to me.

When we consider the recent occurrences of JNU, we find that anti-national sentiments have been systematically working there for long. These happenings cannot take place in just some days or weeks. In the name of freedom of expression, antinational sentiments are being encouraged in the University campus. Maoist insurgents have joined hands with Kashmiri separatists. Communists are giving political support to this. Congress is supporting the same in the hope that it may weaken BJP and hence it may prove to be to their benefit. Presently, other political parties also think in terms on joining hands with congress and communists in order to weaken the BJP. Thus, the political support which is seen in the JNU row, is more in terms of dislodging BJP than the support to the freedom of expression. The political class thinks, most of the time, in terms of its political interest. Divided opposition cannot withstand the majoritarian BJP approach. To make a dent in the ruling regime, opposition needs one or the other issue. JNU anti-national brigade has given them a big one. Communists are comparing the arrest of their student leader with the emergency rule of the congress. And the irony is that the congress has no objection to this comparison. Questions are raised over the sedition charges clamped upon some of the students. Police action against the anti-national elements is considered as an attack on the autonomy of the Universities. The opposition is trying to make it an issue of atrocities on Dalits connecting the JNU issue with the suicide of a student in Telangana University. The government of the day is charged with political interference in the autonomy of universities and institutes. And the last but not the least, nationalism is being compared with fascism.

However, no government can tolerate anti-national approach; be it by some students of JNU or Kashmiri terror brigade. In the name of freedom of expression, if we condone the antinational slogan raising, if we do not curb antinational sentiments, if we let the antinational forces work unnoticed, no surprise then, that the insurgent views would evolve and revolve unregulated. Terror outfits would be easily able to brainwash innocent men and women and very soon an army of nexels, a brigade of home grown terrorists, and an antinational force of India’s own citizens would be challenging our forces. We will have to face a civil war. We have seen the same in Punjab. The political class used Sikhs as a tool to weaken the then Government of Morarji Desai. In this process, Sikh devotee Sant Bhindranwale became a terrorist. Our forces have to flush out the terror forces in his leadership from the Golden Temple through an Operation called the Blue Star, wherein, hundreds of our soldiers were martyred. In that home grown insurgency, Pakistan played a crucial role. The same is being repeated in JNU, where our intelligence agencies are clearly observing nexus between the Kashmiri terror outfits like the Lashkar and the Maoist insurgents. I request the political class to review the situation and stop encouraging these anti-national elements. In my view, one or the other political party will win the battle of democracy and gain power. Elections would come and go. Political parties shall keep on changing hands. But if India is not strong, if our national forces are dented, if we do not feel any pride in considering ourselves as Indians, if we permit nationalism being insulted in the name of freedom of expression, if we do not curb the anti-national forces, if we keep on indulging in the petty political selfishness, if we keep on using religious minorities as vote banks, if we let the society divide in the lines of caste and languages, all democratic institutions are bound to collapse. In the event of democratic institutions being collapsed, no freedom can survive, let alone the freedom of expression.

Let us not support those who raise or support anti-national slogans. Let us deal with them with firm hands. Had we taken action against Arundhati Rai right at the time when she supported Kashmiri separatists, the present situation would hav3e been avoided. And as JNU row found support in political class as well as the Media, the same antinational feelings are spreading in other universities too.

Therefore, let us stop encouraging antinational elements.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pranayama: Tecniques and Benefits

All the methods of pranayama are described in the classic scriptural texts and each pranayama has its own importance. However, a practitioner will find it hard to practice all the seven types of pranayama on a daily basis. Therefore we have formulated a sequence and time for all the seven pranayamas with our experience and divine blessings of god and teachers.

This revised process takes around 20 minutes and a practitioner reaps the following benefits with regular practice:


1. Overcomes vata, pitta and kapha problems.

2. Maintains the functioning of the digestive system and cures all the stomach diseases.

3. Relieves the diseases related to the heart, lungs and brain.

4. It is beneficial in cases of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, constipation, gastric trouble, acidity, respiratory problems, allergy, migraine, high blood pressure, kidney diseases, sexual diseases in men and women and even fatal diseases like cancer.

5. It can prevent hereditary diseases like diabetes and heart problems.

6. It prevents aging and is beneficial in controlling hair loss, prematurely hair getting grey/white, wrinkled skin, poor eyesight, forgetfulness, etc.

7. The seven-step pranayama process gives a natural glow and shine on the face.

8. It purifies the chakras and arouses their strength, thereby providing spiritual strength and arousal of kundalini.

9. It keeps the mind calm, peaceful and cheerful and overcomes depression.

10. It is helpful in contemplation and also gives the strength to meditate for several hours.

11. It relieves us of all the physical and mental problems along with negative conditions like anger, lust, greed, attachment and ego.

12. It cures all physical problems, removes foreign particles from the body, etc.

13. Negative conditions are replaced with positive ones and the practitioner remains happy and cheerful.


First Process of Pranayama: Bhastrika Pranayama

Sit in any meditative posture and breathe in deeply with both the nostrils and breathe out with full force. This is known as Bhastrika pranayama. This can be done in three ways depending on the capacity, slow, medium or fast. People with weak heart and lungs should do it slowly. A healthy person and old practitioners (experts) should increase the pace gradually. This pranayama should be done for three to five minutes.

Resolution at the time of doing Bhastrika Pranayama:

Breathe in deeply and think in the mind that the divine strength, energy, purity, peace and happiness present in the universe are entering into your mind along with the vital life energy. You are filled with divine strengths.


Special Points for Practicing Bhastrika Pranayama:

1. Patients of high blood pressure and heart disease should not practice this pranayama at a fast pace.

2. Do not fill the air into the stomach and do not expand it. Breath into the diaphragm, the stomach will not expand but the ribs and chest will expand.

3. Practice it for less duration during summers.

4. In case of kapha and sinusitis, people suffer from nose blockage.

Such people should close the right nostril and breathe in through left nostril and then repeat it on the other side. Then they should breathe in and out from both the nostrils.

5. This pranayama should be done up to five minutes regularly.

6. Keep the eyes closed and chant Aum mentally with every breath.


Benefits of Bhastrika Pranayama:

1. It overcomes cold-catarrh, allergy, respiratory diseases, asthma, chronic cold, sinusitis and other kapha related problems. It strengthens the lungs, heart and brain and gives pure oxygen.

2. It cures thyroid problems, tonsil problems and other throat problems.

3. It maintains the equilibrium of all the three doshas and evacuates toxic and foreign substances from the body.

4. It stabilizes the mind and prana, and is helpful in the arousal of kundalini.


Second Process of Pranayama: Kapalbhati Pranayama

Kapal means brain and bhati means glow, shine, brightness, light, etc.

The pranayama which gives a natural glow, brightness and shine to the face is known as Kapalbhati. It is slightly different from the previous one. In case of Bhastrika, breathing in and out are done with equal force and pace, but in this case the breathing out is done with full force and breathing in is done automatically as a reaction to throwing out the air. Breathing out process is done with full concentration. This contracts and expands the stomach and strengthens mooladhara, swadishthana and Manipur chakras. This should be done for at least five minutes.


Resolution at the Time of Doing Kapalbhati Pranayama:

At the time of practicing this pranayama, the practitioner should think that he is throwing out all the problems of the body. Along with the breath the problems are getting relieved. The person should throw out the air with this feeling whatever it might be, doshas, anger, lust, greed, hatred, jealousy, etc. Think that diseases are getting relieved while breathing out to reap full benefit.


Time for Practicing Kapalbhati Pranayama:

It should be done for three to five minutes. Take rest in between whenever you feel tired in the beginning. After one or two months, practice it for five minutes without stopping. This is the complete duration. Initially, the person could suffer from stomach or backache but it will get relieved gradually. The people with pitta nature should do it for two minutes in summers.


Benefits of Practicing Kapalbhati Pranayama:

1. It increases glow, brightness and shine on the face.

2. Overcomes all kapha related diseases like asthma, allergy, sinusitis, etc.

3. It is beneficial in case of heart, lung or cerebral problems.

4. It reduces weight, diabetes, gastric trouble, acidity, kidney and prostrate problems.

5. Constipation is also cured with five minutes of regular practice. Diabetes is controlled without medicine and it also reduces excess fat from the stomach by four to eight kilos within one month. It opens blockages of the heart.

6. The mind becomes stable, calm and cheerful. It removes negative conditions and depression, etc.

7. It purifies the chakras and circulates a divine energy.

8. This pranayama is beneficial for the health of the stomach, pancreas, liver, spleen, intestines, prostate and kidney. This pranayama is sufficient to cure almost all the stomach problems, which even asanas cannot do. It also strengthens weak intestines.


Third Process of Pranayama: Bahya Pranayama (with Tribandha)

1. Sit in padmasana or siddhasana and breathe out completely at one time.

2. Do moolbandha, uddiyana bandha and jalandhara bandha and stop the breath (externally).

3. Remove the bandhas and breathe in slowly.

4. Inhale and without stopping inside, breathe out and repeat the process as mentioned in the previous steps. This can be done three to 21 times depending on the capacity.


Resolution at the time of doing Bahya Pranayama:

Think mentally that all the diseases, doshas, negative energies are going out from the body as you throw out the air. Strong resolution at the time of doing this pranayama relieves all problems and gives instant results.


Benefits of Practicing Bahya Pranayama:

This is a harmless pranayama and overcomes playfulness of the mind. It increases digestive fire and is beneficial in case of stomach problems. It makes the mind sharp and bright. It purifies the body, overcomes seminal problems, night pollution, early ejaculation and other humour related diseases. This pranayama has special strength on all the stomach organs and initially the practitioner could feel some pain in stomach or weakness. Therefore it should be done with all the bandhas.

Fourth Process of Pranayama: Anulom-Vilom Pranayama

Method of closing the nostrils: Close the right nostril with the thumb and (alternately) the left nostril with the little finger and ring finger. The hand should be raised slightly above (it should not be in front of the nose).

The left nostril denotes the moon, strength or calm, therefore this pranayama begins with left nostril.

Close the right nostril with the thumb and inhale from the left nostril. After inhaling close the left nostril with ring finger and little finger and exhale from the right nostril. The pace of inhaling and exhaling should be increased gradually. Breathe in and out with full force and maintain the pace of respiration either slow, medium or fast depending on the physical strength. Fast pace of inhaling and exhaling creates loud sound in breathing. After breathing out completely, close the left nostril and breath in from right nostril. Then close the right nostril and breath in from left nostril. This is one cycle. Repeat it several times. In case of slight tiredness, take rest in between and repeat. Begin the practice from three minutes and increase it up to ten minutes. Regular practice for a few days increases the capacity of the person and the practitioner can do it for five minutes without stopping. Everybody practice it for at least five minutes and maximum ten minutes but not more. During summers it should be done for three to five minutes.

Regular practice for five minutes arouses the energy accumulated in mooladhara chakra and helps in arousal of kundalini. Chant Aum mentally with every breath. This makes the mind suitable for attaining the stage of contemplation.


Resolution at the Time of Doing Anulom-Vilom Pranayama:

Think that sushumna nadi is getting aroused with the friction of right and left nostrils. Imagine that a divine light is moving upwards till sahasrara chakra.

Think that the whole body is enlightened with a divine light. Imagine the presence of divine light inside and outside the body and visualize Aum Kham Brahma.

Think that the divine energy, strength and knowledge are present on all the four sides of the body, that almighty god is filling celestial energy in the body, take in the energy. Guru is the only source of inspiration for getting this energy and guru combines with heavenly feelings.

Anulom-Vilom pranayama done in this manner gives physical, mental and spiritual benefits. Mooladhara chakra arouses a light and arouses kundalini, the divine knowledge will flow upwards and gain tremendous energy.


Benefits of Practicing Anulom-Vilom Pranayama:

1. This pranayama purifies 72 crore 72 lakh ten thousand two hundred and ten nerves. Purification of all the nerves makes the body strong, bright and healthy.

2. It cures joint pain, arthritis, gout, Parkinson's disease, nervous weakness, vata diseases, urinary problems, humour related diseases, seminal loss, acidity, pitta, cold, catarrh, chronic cold, sinusitis, asthma, cough, tonsils and other kapha diseases. It cures tridoshas.

3. It opens heart blockages. Regular practice of this pranayama opens around 30 to 40 percent blockage within three to four months. We have experienced it practically on several patients.

4. It overcomes the irregularities of cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL or LDL, etc.

5. It replaces negative thoughts with positive thoughts. It helps in keeping the mind happy, fearless and enthusiastic.

6. In a nutshell pranayama purifies the mind, body and virtues. It cures all the ailments and the mind becomes capable of contemplation.

7. Repeat this pranayama 250 to 500 times, the energy present in the mooladhara chakra moves upwards and helps in the arousal of kundalini.

Note: See the cautions and methods of arousal of kundalini for further information in this regard.


Fifth Process of Pranayama: Brahmari Pranayama

Inhale completely, press the base of the nostrils with the little fingers, close the ears with your thumbs, keep the index fingers on the forehead, close the eyes and place the ring and middle fingers on the closed eyes. Chant Aum with the mouth closed (only the humming sound) and inhale. The sound resembles the sound of a honeybee, hence the name brahmari pranayama. Repeat it at least three times and maximum up to 21 times.


Resolution at the Time of Doing Brahmari Pranayama:

Imagine the synchronization of celestial power with divine strength.

The practitioner should think that god is showering his empathy, love and happiness on him. He or she should visualize a divine light in the agya chakra and removing all the ignorance present in the mind. The practitioner should feel that he or she is getting eternal wisdom.

Pranayama done with such pure thoughts helps in reaching contemplation.


Benefits of Practicing Brahmari Pranayama:

It overcomes playfulness of the mind and is very beneficial for meditation. It is beneficial in cases of mental stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.


Sixth Process of Pranayama: Aumkara (Udgeet Pranayama)

All the above-mentioned pranayamas should be followed by udgeet pranayama. Our eyebrows resemble the shape of Aum. The body and the entire universe are full of Aum. It is not an individual or a shape; it is a divine strength, which is circulating in the whole universe.

As a knower, the practitioner should inhale and exhale so slowly that he or she should not feel the sound of respiration. The breathing should be so gentle that even a piece of cotton kept in front of the nose should not move. Try to feel the respiration from within. In the beginning you will feel it only at the tip of the nose but gradually you will experience it deep within. In this way chanting Aum for some time helps in contemplation of mind. The practitioner will be able to concentrate the mind and get engrossed in Aumkar. Gayatri mantra should also be chanted after understanding its meaning along with Aumkar.

This will help the person in getting engrossed in the true form of god, which gives happiness. This should be practiced at bedtime also in order to enjoy sound sleep. It overcomes bad dreams and gives sound sleep.


Seventh process of Pranayama: Nadi shodhana pranayama

In the beginning, close the right nostril and inhale from left nostril just like Anulom-Vilom pranayama. Stop the breath inside and do moolbandha and jalandhar bandha. Remove jalandhar bandha after sometime and exhale very slowly from the right nostril. Then inhale from right nostril and do kumbhaka, stop the breath inside and exhale very slowly from the left nostril. This is one complete cycle or nadi shodhana pranayama.

It is very beneficial if done with full concentration without pressing the nostrils. It helps in concentrating the mind and gives a lot of stability. There should not be any sound at the time of inhaling and exhaling. It should be done from one to three times or more. In the beginning, the ratio of poorak, antah kumbhaka and rechaka should be 1:2:2. For example, poorak, antah kumbhaka and rechaka should be done for 10, 20 and 20 seconds respectively. Gradually, the ratio can be increased to 1:4:2. Bahya kumbhaka can be added later and then the ratio can be 1:4:2:2. This pranayama should be done at a very slow pace. Focus on pace of respiration and its intensity instead of number of repetitions. This is more beneficial, and inhaling, controlling and exhaling the breath is the actual result of this pranayama.

There is no need to take rest in between. Chanting Aum or gayatri mantra mentally is favourable while doing this.


Benefits of Practicing Nadi Shodana Pranayama:

The advantages are similar to Anulom-Vilom pranayama.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Your Breath Can Change Your Life

Five minutes of pranayama is enough for all-round wellbeing, writes yoga teacher CARRMINE IREENE


Breathing is the most important biological function. On an average, a person takes 15 breaths per minute, making it 900 breaths in an hour and 21,600 breaths in 24 hours. In every conscious breath, we touch the higher power of the Self to reach the sheath of the soul.


Way To The Soul

Yogic breathing consists of four parts - pooraka or inhalation, abhyantara kumbhaka or retention of the inhaled breath, rechaka or disciplined complete exhalation and bhayakumbhaka or retention after exhalation.

In pranayama, the sadhaka uses the body as a sacrificial altar. Inhalation is like pouring ghee on the altar, exhalation is the flame blazing out from the yajnakunda.

Retention is in the form of mantra, an offering so that the Self merges and dissolves in the Universal Soul or Paramatma.

Below the navel is a great nerve centre which stores the extra prana and this is the hawankhunda of the body where incineration takes place.

When you breathe through the left nostril you are awakening the human consciousness and breath drawn in through the right nostril awakens divine consciousness. When the breath is held either inside or outside the body it embraces shakti to enlighten the mind and attain spiritual bliss.

As you ascend in inhalation the sound resembles 'so' and in descending exhalation, the sound resembles 'hum'. This is the 'sohum mantra' that we repeat unknowingly throughout life. To be aware of this mantra and the breath that we keep taking is the first step towards pranayama that takes us to the soul's doorstep.


The Divine Path

With every passing thought, our energy gets consumed, depleting our prana and creating ambush on our path. Breath is the messenger of the body. Every action of life comes from kama or desire that is creative energy which leads us to moha or attachment. If kama is not handled well, it can turn to madha or arrogance and krodha or anger. The highest and purest form of desire is karuna or compassion. When you inhale and hold the breath within your body, compassion is awakened and there is a renewal and reversal of arrogance. Greed is destructive and gives rise to ahamkara or ego which paves the path of insecurity and jealousy and nibbles prana away. As you start inhaling through the opposite nostril, the manipulative ego gets anchored with the Self and there is no room for greed and undesirable emotions. The belly is the meeting point of matter and soul and bhayakumbhaka is its apex.


Breath Control

In part one, you inhale through your right nostril, blocking the left nostril with the little finger of your right hand. In part two, you hold the breath inside the body, closing the right nostril with the thumb. In part three, you exhale through the left nostril, releasing the little finger while the right nostril is closed. In part four, you hold the breath outside after a complete exhalation. Repeat the round by inhaling now through the left nostril in part one and proceed to complete the cycle as before.


Benefits Of Pranayama

1. Pranayama frees the mind from any clutter that is obstructing soul growth

2. Helps memory and concentration and improves focus and balance

3. Tackles the problem of insomnia and anger, bringing peace and calm

4. Improves the health of the heart, lungs, brain and the digestive system

5. Corrects the metabolic rate to overcome obesity and helps in weightloss

6. Builds up immunity and helps you fight infections and diseases

7. Purifies the aura and alleviates energy loss

Five to 15 minutes of pranayama can bring about a dramatic change in your physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being.

Mobile Phone culture and its effects

1 Introduction:

Mobile phone has become an essential necessity not only for the urban population but for the rural masses also. In India, it is nearly as old as a quarter of a century, yet it has become the most used channel of communication between individuals. Newly emerging highly sophisticated handsets, loaded with numerous apps and functions, are rapidly replacing PC's and have become multi-functional and multi-facetted. We can listen to our favorite music, watch TV, access news, perform business transactions, book tickets, and express ourselves on blogs and social networking sites just by tapping of our fingers on its screen. The world has shrunk into our palms in the form of a sleek mobile phone. It is in the light of aforesaid characteristics of mobile phones that a deep study relating to the effects of the mobile phone on individuals as well as communities has become mandatory.

When we see the mobile telephony in the context of Indian Subcontinent, we find that people use mobile phones more like a social status rather than a mode of wireless communication.

In the words of Assa Doron and Robin Jeffrey, "In the West, the smart-phone revolution was beginning to make its mark, but up to then, mobile phones were just another telephone, often associated with 'work', rather than 'play'. In India, for millions who never had the luxury and opportunity to communicate through a household fixed-line, the arrival of the cheap cell phone was a revolution, and everyone wanted to have at least one in the family--usually the men, but increasingly women too."

In the electronic/print media, news relating to hazards of mobile phones keeps on coming at regular intervals. The younger generation is gradually getting addicted to them so much so, that many schools had to take preventive measures and restrict the students from bringing the mobile phones in the school premises. Mobile handsets have become a kind of identity of an individual especially in the metros. Studies have shown that the adolescents sometimes, face psychological problems on account of the mobile phones. Hence, the technology is proving to be as well a boon as a bane.

Indeed, we know from the history of technology, including the history of the Internet, that people and organizations end up using technology for purposes very different from those initially sought or conceived by the designers of the technology. Furthermore, the more a technology is interactive, the more it is likely that the users become the producers of the technology in their actual practice. Thus, society needs to address responsibly the questions raised by these new technologies. And research can contribute to providing some answers to these questions. To look for these answers, we need knowledge based on observation and analysis. Rather than projecting dreams or fears of the kind of society that will result in the future from the widespread use of wireless communication, we must root ourselves in the observation of the present, using the traditional, standard tools of scholarly research in order to analyze and understand the social implications of wireless communication technology. People, institutions and business have suffered enough from the prophecies of futurologists and visionaries who promise and project whatever comes into their minds on the basis of anecdotal observation and ill-understood developments. I take exception to such approaches.

Instead, the purpose is to use social research to answer the questions surrounding the transformation of human communication by the rise and diffusion of wireless digital communication technologies.

Monsoon is angry with us

It is generally stated that India is dependent on agriculture. Our economy is mostly based upon agricultural products. Agricultural land need irrigation. Irrigation in our country, is mostly depends upon the rains which take place during the monsoons. Therefore, if monsoon gets angry with us in India, it hampers our economy very badly. This year we could not have a good monsoon. In Karnataka, Government is distributing funds to the temples in order to please the god of rains. Stock market is shrinking and economy of the country is showing depressing signals. Therefore, it is very important to know as to what really the monsoon is and how it is so very important.


What is monsoon?

The word monsoon is derived from the Arabic word mausim meaning season. The most famous monsoon is the Indian monsoon. The intense rainfall in these regions can cause massive flooding and destruction of crops. In dry climates, monsoons are an important replenishment for life as water is brought back into drought-stricken zones of the world. Part of the reason India gets such an intense monsoon season is due to its elevation. The higher the land mass, the higher the likelihood of the development of a low pressure zone. The Tibetan Plateau to the north of India is one of the largest and highest plateaus on Earth.

The earliest explanation for monsoon development came in 1686 from the English astronomer and mathematician Edmond Halley.

Halley is the man who first conceived the idea that differential heating of land and ocean caused these giant sea-breeze circulations. As with all scientific theories, these ideas have been expanded upon.

During most of the year, winds blow from land to ocean making the air dry. Winds originating from land are called continental.

During certain months of the year, the winds begin to blow from the ocean to the land making the air moist. Winds originating over a body of water are called maritime.

This moist ocean air is what causes monsoonal rains over many countries.


Why Do Wind Patterns Shift in a Monsoon?

Differential heating occurs when the sun heats the land and oceans. Incoming solar radiation heats landmasses faster than large bodies of water. In tropical and sub-tropical climates, solar heating is most intense in the summer months. As the land heats throughout the summer, a large low pressure system builds over the land. The heat from the sun also warms the surrounding ocean waters, but the effect happens much more slowly due to the high heat capacity of water.

Therefore, the ocean temperatures as well as the layer of air above the oceans stays cooler longer. The cooler air above the oceans is moist and more dense creating a high pressure zone relative to the pressure above the landmass.


Winds flow from high pressure areas to low pressure areas due to the pressure gradient. Once the temperature conditions on the land and oceans change, the resultant pressure changes cause the winds to change from a land-to-ocean direction to an ocean-to-land direction. Monsoon season does not end as abruptly as it begins. While it takes time for the land to heat up, it also takes time for that land to cool in the fall. This makes monsoon season a time of rainfall that diminishes rather than ends.

Monsoon seasons can actually fail bringing intense drought and famines to many parts of the world. From 1876-1879, India experienced such a monsoon failure. To study these droughts, the Indian Meteorological Service (IMS) was created. Later, Gilbert Walker, a British mathematician, began to study the effects of monsoons in India looking for patterns in climate data. He became convinced that there was a seasonal and directional reason for monsoon changes.


It is a natural supposition that there should be in weather free oscillations with fixed natural periods, and that these oscillations should persist except when some external disturbance produces discontinuous changes in phase or amplitude. According to the Climate Prediction Center, Sir Walker used the term 'Southern Oscillation' to describe the east-west seesaw effect of pressure changes in climate data. In the review of the climate records, Walker noticed that when pressure rises in the east, it usually falls in the west, and vice versa. Walker also found that Asian monsoon seasons were often linked to drought in Australia, Indonesia, India, and parts of Africa.


Jacob Bjerknes, a Norwegian meteorologist, would later recognize that the circulation of winds, rain, and weather were part of a Pacific-wide air circulation pattern which he called as "Walker circulation".


New Theories on the Causes of Monsoons

Theories of the development of monsoons have stood firm for over 300 years. Classical thinking on monsoons is that their development is sparked by the differential heating of land and ocean as described above. But in a recent NASA Earth Observatory release, those ideas may be changing. Geoscientists at the California Institute of Technology have been working on new ideas as to exactly why monsoons develop.

Two researchers, Schneider and Simona Bordoni of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, used computer models to re-create an Earth with no landmasses. Surprisingly, they found that differential heating was not a necessary component to creating monsoons. Instead, they concluded monsoons arise because of an interaction between tropical air circulation and large-scale turbulence in the middle latitudes. The large middle latitude disturbances modify circulation in tropical regions causing rapid circulation changes which can bring on the characteristic high surface winds and heavy rainfall of the monsoon.

Whatever may be the causes and effectsof the monsoons, the important thing is that anger of monsoons can create havoc in the country. Therefore, it is very crucial for our meteorological department to devise a system whereby we can predict the monsoons in advance and more accurately so that we could curb some of the ill effects of a bad monsoon.

It is not the blistering heat that is keeping the farmers away from their land of a little over an acre (0.4 hectares). Most Indian farmers have no access to irrigation systems. They depend on the monsoon rains that fall between June and September. This year the rains have not come. "No rain, nothing," says Sharmila, as she flicks away flies with the edge of her scarlet sari. The family has been unable to plant its main sorghum crop, she says, and their buffaloes are becoming "diseased", a euphemism for starving.


India is experiencing its worst monsoon in years. Summer rains constitute around 80% of the country's annual rainfall. But from June to mid-August, when most crucial planting takes place, the rains were 29% lower than average. In Uttar Pradesh, they were down by more than 60%. Rice, the biggest crop sown during the monsoon, has been worst affected, along with sugar cane and oilseeds. Rainfall has increased in some areas in recent days. But it has come too late for many crops, which require an even sprinkling through the hot summer. Heavy showers now could even damage already reduced crops of sugar cane.

Fresh rainfall may prove more helpful to winter-sown crops such as wheat, which rely heavily on water from reservoirs, whose levels remain far below average.

To mitigate the damage from the poor monsoon, the government is encouraging farmers to plant more winter crops. India's economy is closely tied to its fickle summer rains. Agriculture accounts for 18% of GDP. More importantly, it employs 60% of Indians, many of whom now seem certain to curb their spending this year. A bad monsoon can also reduce power production: hydropower provides a quarter of India's electricity.

In 2002, when monsoon rains were down by 19%, GDP growth slowed from 5.8% to 3.8%. But as agriculture shrinks as a proportion of GDP—it made up 30% in 1990—the impact of poor monsoons is reduced. This year industrial output in June surged by its highest annual rate in 16 months, nearly 8%. Still, many economists have shaved a percentage point off growth estimates for the year, to between 6% and 7%. The government, meanwhile, has said it has enough food stockpiled from two years of healthy harvests to prevent high inflation. Let us pray to the god of rains for better monsoon management so that the anger of monsoons may be cooled down.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Aanand: The Classic

Directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee

Produced by Hrishikesh Mukherjee

N.C. Sippy

Written by Bimal Dutta


D.N. Mukherjee

Hrishikesh Mukherjee

Biren Tripathy

Starring Rajesh Khanna

Amitabh Bachchan

Music by Salil Choudhury

Cinematography Jaywant Pathare

Editing by Hrishikesh Mukherjee

Distributed by Digital Entertainment

Shemaroo Video Pvt. Ltd.

Running time: 123 minutes

Country: India

Language: Hindi


Anand (Hindi: आनंद, Urdu: آنند) is a Hindi film written and directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee and released in 1971. It starred Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan in lead roles; Khanna played the title role. The dialogues were written by Gulzar. They have a lyrical and poetic touch as the characters of Dr. Bhaskar Banerjee (played by Bachchan) and the dialogue writer of film, Gulzar, are poets in the film and in reality.

Indiatimes Movies ranks the movie amongst the "Top 25 Must See Bollywood Films". It is listed in "Hrishikesh Mukherjee's best films"


The story is about Anand Sehgal (Rajesh Khanna), a cancer (lymphosarcoma of the intestine) patient who believes in living his life to the fullest. He comes to Mumbai to live his last days there and to meet his friend Kulkarni (Ramesh Deo). Contrasting Anand is Bhaskar Banerjee (Amitabh Bachchan), a sober doctor, upset with life and the dark reality of his nation. Bhaskar's tête-à-tête with Anand makes him notice the colours behind all the despair and complexity in one's life and teaches him a lesson. After spreading happiness everywhere around himself and changing the lives of many, Anand, as destined, leaves them all, which inspires Bhaskar to write a book on his life.

The film is a narrative, as Bhaskar writes in his diary about his life before Anand, his first meeting, how his relationship with him changes from a doctor-patient to a friend and then to a friend for whom he can do anything, and how a dying man changes his way of thinking to a great extent.


Rajesh Khanna as Anand Sehgal

Amitabh Bachchan as Dr. Bhaskar Banerjee

a.k.a. Babu Moshaye

Sumita Sanyal as Renu

Ramesh Deo as Dr. Prakash Kulkarni

a.k.a. Dost

Seema Deo as Suman Kulkarni

Lalita Pawar as Matron

Durga Khote as Renu's mother

Johnny Walker as Isa Bhai

Asit Sen as Bhaskar's patient

Dara Singh as Pahalwan.


1971: National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi:

Hrishikesh Mukherjee, N.C. Sippy

1972: Filmfare Best Movie Award: Hrishikesh Mukherjee, N.C. Sippy

1972: Filmfare Best Actor Award: Rajesh Khanna

1972: Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award: Amitabh Bachchan

1972: Filmfare Best Dialogue Award: Gulzar

1972: Filmfare Best Editing Award: Hrishikesh Mukherjee

1972: Filmfare Best Story Award: Hrishikesh Mukherjee


The musical score for the film was composed by Salil Chaudhary.

The lyrics were written by Gulzar and Yogesh. Gulzar wrote the poem "Maut To Ek Kawita Hai" which is narrated by Amitabh Bachchan.





Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli

Manna Dey


Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaaye

Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaaye


Maine Tere Liye Hi Saat Rang Ke Sapne



Na Jiyaa Lage Na

Lata Mangeshkar




Earlier Hrishi da had approached Lata Mangeshkar to work as a music director for this movie as she had already worked as a successful music director in Marathi movies under the pseudonym of "Anandghan".

But she gracefully declined the offer and decided to sing for the film than composing it.

MakingAnand was originally supposed to star famous Bollywood actors Kishore Kumar and Mehmood in the lead roles.[2] One of the producers, N.C. Sippy, had earlier served as Mehmood's production manager. The character Babu Moshai was to be played by Mehmood. Hrishikesh was asked to meet Kishore Kumar to discuss the project. However, when Hrishikesh Mukherjee went to Kishore Kumar's house, he was driven away by the gatekeeper due to a misunderstanding. Kishore Kumar (himself a Bengali) had done a stage show organized by another Bengali man, and he was involved in a fight with this man over money matters. He had instructed his gatekeeper to drive away this "Bengali", if he ever visited the house. When Hrishikesh Mukherjee (also a Bengali) went to Kumar's house, the gatekeeper mistook him for the "Bengali" that Kishore Kumar had asked him to drive away. The incident hurt Mukherjee so much that he decided not to work with Kumar.[2] Consequently, Mehmood had to leave the film as well, and new actors (Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan) were signed up.

Film expert and musicologist Rajesh Subramanian opines that the Hrishikesh Mukherjee shot the film in 28 days.

The character of Anand was inspired by Raj Kapoor, who used to call Hrishikesh Mukherjee as "Babu Moshay". It is believed that Mukherjee wrote the film when once Raj Kapoor was seriously ill and he thought that he may die. The film is dedicated to "Raj Kapoor and the people of Bombay".

Later, Anand was remade in Malayalam, with the name Chitrashalabham (Butterfly) starring Jayaram and Biju Menon.

Great Muthuswami Dikshitar

Muthuswami Dikshitar (March 24, 1775 – October 21, 1835) was a South Indian poet and composer and is one of the Musical Trinity of Carnatic music. His compositions, of which around 500 are commonly known, are noted for their contemplative nature and for capturing the essence of the raga forms through the vainika (veena) style that emphasises gamakas. They are typically in a slower speed (chowka kala). He is also known by his signature name of Guruguha which is also his mudra (can be found in every one of his songs). His compositions are widely sung and played in classical concerts of Carnatic music.

The musical trinity consists of Dikshitar, Tyagaraja (1767–1847), and Syama Sastri (1762–1827)[2] although, unlike the Telugu compositions of the others, his compositions are predominantly in Sanskrit. He also had composed some of his Kritis in Manipravalam.

Muthuswami Dikshitar was born in Tiruvarur (of Thiruvarur district in what is now the state of Tamil Nadu) to a Tamil Iyer Brahmin couple Ramaswami Dikshitar(discoverer of Raaga Hamsadhwani) and Subbamma, as the eldest son. According to the account of Subbarama Dikshitar, Muttuswami Dikshitar was born in the manmatha year, in the month of TamilPanguni under the asterism Krittikaa. He was named after the temple deity, Muttukumaraswamy; legend has it that he was born after his parents prayed for a child in the Vaitheeswaran Temple. He had two younger brothers Baluswami, Chinnaswami and a sister Balambal.

In keeping with the Brahminic educational tradition, Muthuswami learnt the Sanskrit language, Vedas, and other important religious texts. He obtained his preliminary musical education from his father.

While he was still in his teens, his father sent him on a pilgrimage with a wandering monk named Chidambaranatha Yogi to gain musical and philosophical knowledge. Over the course of this pilgrimage, he visited many places in North India and acquired a broad outlook that is reflected in many of his compositions.

During their stay in Kashi (Varanasi), his guru Chidambaranatha Yogi, presented Dikshitar with a unique Veena and died shortly thereafter. The samādhi of Chidambaranatha Yogi can still be seen in Sri Chakra Lingeshwar temple at the Hanuman Ghat area in Varanasi.

According to legend, his guru asked Muthuswami to visit Tiruttani (a temple town near Chennai). There, while he was immersed deep in meditation, an old man appeared and asked him to open his mouth. He dropped sugar candy into his mouth and disappeared. As he opened his mouth, he had a vision of the deity Muruga and Dikshitar burst forth into his first composition "Shri Nathadi Guruguho" in the raga Mayamalavagowla.

This song addressed the Lord (and/or the guru) in the first declension in Sanskrit. Dikshitar later composed kritis in all the eight declensions on the Lord. These are mostly with epithets glorifying the guru and have very few references to Lord Muruga or specifically to the deity in the saguna form, as at Thiruthani.

He then went on a pilgrimage visiting and composing at the temples at Kanchi, Tiruvannamalai, Chidambaram, Tirupathi and Kalahasthi, before returning to Tiruvarur.

Muthuswami Dikshitar attained mastery over the Veena, and the influence of Veena playing is evident in his compositions, particularly the gamakas. In his kriti Balagopal, he introduces himself as a vaiNika gAyaka, "a player of the veeNA". He experimented with the violin, and among his disciples, Vadivelu of the Thanjavur Quartet, and his brother Baluswami Dikshitar pioneered the use of violin in Carnatic music, now an integral part of most Carnatic ensembles.

On his return to Tiruvarur, he composed on every deity in the Tiruvarur temple complex including Tyagaraja (an amsha of Lord Shiva), the presiding deity, Nilotpalambal, his consort, and the Goddess Kamalambal an independent deity of high tantric significance in the same temple complex. This is when he composed the famous Kamalamba Navavarna cycle, filled with exemplary sahityas which proved to be the showcase of his compositions.

These navavaranams were in all the eight declensions of the Sanskrit language and are sung as a highlight of Guruguha Jayanti celebrated every year. He continued to display his prowess by composing the Navagraha Kritis in praise of the nine planets. The sahitya of the songs reflect a profound knowledge of the Mantra and Jyotisha sastras. The Nilotpalamba Kritis is another classic set of compositions which revived dying ragas like Narayanagaula, Purvagaula, and Chayagaula

At a young age, Dikshitar was also exposed to the music of the Western bands at Fort St. George. At a later stage, Dikshitar composed some forty songs to several (mostly western folk) tunes loosely adopted to ragas such as sankarabharaNa. This corpus is now known as nottusvara sAhitya (etym. nottusvara = "notes" swara).

The influence of Celtic and Baroque styles in these compositions is quite evident (e.g., Sakthi Sahitha Ganapatim, to the tune of voulez-vous dancer,[6] Varashiva Balam). There is an erroneous belief that these were composed at the behest of CP Brown, the Collector of Cuddappah. This is not possible as the two could have never met. Muttuswami Diskhitar had left Madras by 1799. Brown came to Madras only in 1817, learnt Telugu in 1820 and moved over to Cuddappah the same year.

On Deepavali day, in 1835, Dikshithar performed puja as usual and asked his students to sing the song "Meenakshi Me Mudam" in the raga purvikalyani raga.

As his students sang the lines "Meena lochani pasa mochani" he raised his hands and saying "Sive Pahi" and left his mortal coil.

His Samadhi is at Ettayapuram ( Mahakavi Bharathi's Birth Place), between Koilpatti (14 km) and Tuticorin.

Muthuswami Dikshitar died on 21 October 1835. Dikshitar had a daughter but it was the descendants of his brother Baluswami who have preserved his musical legacy, and his compositions have been popularized due to the efforts of people like Subbarama Dikshitar and Ambi Dikshitar.

His total compositions are about 450 to 500, most of which are very widely sung by musicians today in Carnatic music concerts. Most of his compositions are in Sanskrit and in the Krithi form, i.e., poetry set to music. Muthuswami Dikshitar traveled to many holy shrines throughout his life, and composed krithis on the deities and temples he visited. Dikshitar is considered to have composed on the widest range of deities for any composer.

Each of his compositions is unique and brilliantly crafted. The compositions are known for the depth and soulfulness of the melody — his visions of some of the ragas are still the final word on their structure. His Sanskrit lyrics are in praise of the temple deity, but Muthuswami introduces the Advaita thought seamlessly into his songs, resolving the inherent relationship between Advaita philosophy and polytheistic worship. His songs also contain much information about the history of the temple, and its background, thus preserving many customs followed in these old shrines.

Muttuswami also undertook the project of composing in all the 72 Melakartha ragas, (in his Asampurna Mela scheme) thereby providing a musical example for many rare and lost ragas. Also, he was the pioneer in composing samashti charanam krithis (songs in which the main stanza or pallavi is followed by only one stanza, unlike the conventional two).[10] Dikshitar was a master of tala and is the only composer to have kritis in all the seven basic talas of the Carnatic scheme. Dikshitar shows his skill in Sanskrit by composing in all the eight declensions.

For richness of raga bhava, sublimity of their philosophic contents and for the grandeur of the sahitya, the songs of Dikshitar stand unsurpassed.

Muthuswami Dikshitar composed many kritis in groups. The List of compositions by Muthuswami Dikshitar describes those groups and compositions that belong to each group. 'Vatapi Ganapatim' is regarded his best-known work.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Role of the Computer in promoting Indian classical music

Indian classical music has a long and illustrious tradition. From Vedic chants to Raga music, the tradition has to undergo many changes. We hear of Deepak Raag,  which could light lamps and Raga Megh Malhaar which has the capacity to cover the skies with black clouds, resulting in showers. However, we do not have any clues about those Ragas as we did not have any means of preservation of music. Through books only theoretical knowledge can be preserved. But music, being a practice based fine art, cannot be explained by theoretical means only. One needs practical knowledge of each step in music. It is only through practical demonstration that one can explain various secrets of musical skills. It is in this context that the modern technologies of recording music prove to be very useful in the preservation of musical art.
Although music scholars like Bhatkhande,  Vishnu Digambar Paluskar  etc., tried their level best to preserve our traditional music, but initially, in India, All India Radio  took the cause of preservation and promotion of music. It was only with the establishment of radio broadcasting under official auspices in the 1930s that music became a matter of administrative attention. David lelyveld  points out that, for the British authorities in charge of creating a broadcasting system for India, music was at best a lost leader, a device for getting customers into the store.  According to Lionel Fielden,  the first Controller of Broadcasting, music was "'padding' because it does not instructor inform," even if it made up about most of all broadcast time.  They were basically concerned about the political content of news and radio talks and therefore music received very little attention.
All India Radio employed two European musicologists, John Fouldes in Delhi and Walter Kaufmann in Bombay,  to administer Western musical programming but also to experiment with a new Indian music.
All India Radio remained under Department of Communication, Department of Information and Broadcasting, Department of Information and Arts for periods ranging from 1 to 4 years and finally has been under the Department of Information and Broadcasting since September 10,1946 which  became an independent ministry after independence. At the time of independence, there were a total of nine stations in undivided India, five others being run by princely states.  There were six radio stations in India located at Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Tiruchirappalli and Lucknow covering 2.5 percent area and 11 percent population. The remaining three went to Pakistan at Peshawar, Lahore and Dacca.
Presently, All India Radio is doing a good effort in preserving and promoting classical music. Although most of the time dedicated to the classical music has been diverted to other kinds of music. Previously, there were several classical music programmes but presently, many of classical music features have been stopped.
Advent of computer:
Now we come to the point of computer in relation to Indian classical music. Every sphere of life has been influenced by computer. Music is no exception either. Through computer, now it has become very easy for us to preserve the artistic skills of music. Digital recording has come to be very cool and handy. Anybody can record audio/video presentations just through a click of mouse. Although the era of recording began as Thomas Alva Edison  invented the recording tool called phonogram, but it had to go through various stages before becoming so handy and effective.
Let us begin with the description of an experience of a common American family and some other neighbours during the initial stages of the music-recording technology. The episode has been taken from the book titled, “Music in America Imprint.” 
Any town, in the United States of America.
Time: any evening of the year 1905.
The family and several neighbors stand in the parlor of a modest home, staring with equal parts of curiosity and skepticism at one of the technological marvels of the day. Staring back at them is the unblinking eye of a megaphone-shaped brass horn. It protrudes about two feet from a small wooden cabinet with a crank on one side and a felt-covered metal plate on top. The marvel is a phonograph, or “talking machine,” as it was commonly called in those days.
The gentleman who is the master of the machine, and perhaps the owner of the house takes a heavy black disc, grooved on one side and smooth on the other, and places it over the spindle with the label facing up. He turns the crank several times, gingerly sets the needle on the outermost groove, and hurries back to his chair. Everyone stares at the phonograph in eager anticipation. The disc spins quickly, and above the whooshing and crackling the machine begins to sing. It sounds to them like actual voices and instruments, although in miniature. It is hard to believe that little more than a needle and a record can bring the performers to life, just as if they were right there in the parlor.
After three minutes of rapt attention, the small audience breaks into spontaneous, unselfconscious applause and calls for more. Before the man can replay the record, a small child runs to the machine, peering under the table and jumping up to look into the horn. Everyone laughs when it becomes clear that the boy is looking for the musicians. After each record is played several times, the crowd disperses, with everyone wondering if wonders will never cease.
This old-time experience of some Americans may seem unremarkable, but it reveals a revolution in the making of recorded music. Those gathered around the phonograph were experiencing music in ways unimaginable not so many years before. They were hearing performers they could not see and music they could not normally bring into their homes. They could listen to the same pieces over and again without change. And they ultimately decided what they were to hear, and when, where, and with whom. All of this was made possible by the distinctive characteristics of sound recording technology.
In around 1906, recording machines came to India through different recording companies. When the technology of capturing music first was invented, the audiences took it with amazement and wonder. Some amount of disbelief was also associated with it. Many musicians in India thought that it would steal their voice; and on this very account, many great exponents of music, initially did not give their accent for recording their compositions to big recording companies. Gradually, they came to terms with the new invention and the recording Industry flourished. Many great musicians were aware of the fact that the recording Industry would permanently preserve their compositions. However, this fact was taken in two different manners by most of the musicians. Some thought that by recording the composition, it would become immortal and shall remain even after their lives would be no more. People would remember them through these recorded compositions. Others thought that their relevance would decrease after they gave the composition to the recording companies – whatever money the company might pay in return.
Those were the days of moving cylinders, compact cassettes and rolling tapes. But now all of these things have been outdated and obsolete. Now all audio/video recording is done through computers. We have computerized digital studios where high quality recording takes place.
Simple recording for self-learning or memorizing music lessons can simply be done through smart phones and tablets. The new generation of music learners is using mobile phones very frequently in order to record musical compositions, taught in the classrooms.
Music on the Internet:
Now let us learn a bit about the basics of the internet in short. Tim Berners-Lee  developed the World Wide Web (WWW) for the CERN.
You would have heard the phrase used “surfing the world wide web” this refers to browsing the net and retrieving information. To browse the net one needs an Internet connection and a web browser.  The web browsers that are mainly used are Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Netscape Navigator etc.
How does the Web works:
What was initially developed as a language of the internet, was a language called “Hypertext Markup Language” (HTML). Presently, many more internet languages have been developed. For example, Java, XHTML etc. The protocol that is used is “Hypertext Transfer Protocol” (HTTP). The protocol facilitates the transfer of data between the server and the client.
HTML or java, whatever the language is chosen, tells the browser how to display the page, including the design of the displayed page and its various parameters like what type of formatting, how the graphics are placed etc.
Let’s say you wish to access http://www.yahoo.com. One types the address in the Title bar. The browser requests for information from the server for www.yahoo.com. Data is sent and received using the HTTP protocol. The web browser interprets the HTML code and displays the web page.
This is how the internet functions.
Hence we can say that internet is a network of numerous computers through a network called World Wide Web or WWW. This network uses a protocol named as hypertext terminal protocol or HTTP in short. Through this protocol, the data is sent and received. Various computers exchange the data through the languages available, like Java, HTML etc. Data is defined as the input we give into our computer through different input devices like the keyboard, the mouse, the microphone etc.
The data which is exchanged is displayed through various output devices like monitor, printer or speakers.
After understanding in brief, as to how the computer and internet functions, let us now come to our basic point. How musical compositions are preserved on the internet?
This question can be answered in more than one ways. However, here let us limit only to the topic.
On the internet, there are various websites which provide you space for archiving musical compositions. This space is provided in two ways.
The first kind of providers provide the free space. However, we have to abide by their terms and conditions. The second kind of providers are those who give you space on demand. They charge an annual fee for the space provided. On this second kind, we can develop our own website. Many of our music maestros have their own web space and hence their own website.
Pundit Debu Choudhury, PT. Ravishankar, Tabla maestro ZaqirHussein etc. have their own website.
However most of the music lovers are dependent upon the free space provided by various websites.
First and the foremost of such website is the YOUTUBE.
 On this page, we can create an account or login through our google account and upload the music of our choice. We can share the uploaded link with our friends through th3e social networking sites like Facebook,  Twitter  etc. thus, the music uploaded by us can be heard/viewed by millions of people worldwide.
It is through this facility that we can popularize our music or our compositions. YouTube is full of so many compositions of classical music. Record your choicest music on your personal computer and upload it on the YouTube. Share it with as many people as you like. And you’d see that your composition is very popular. You can also have the facility to know as to how many times your uploads have been viewed.
Many musicians have created their own channels on you tube. By subscribing to these channels you can always be in touch with the new uploads.
Other sites also give you sharing facilities. Drop Box,  Send Space,  Googled rive  etc. give you varying amount of space to upload your choicest composition to create an archive.
Thus, we see that computer and the internet have given us various facilities whereby we can preserve our tradition of Indian classical music. We can digitally record music. We are aware that digital recordings are very good in quality. The tapes/cassettes can betray you over a period of time but the digital recording is very handy to use and very easy to preserve. It takes very little in comparison to the previously used methods. On a small pen drive of 32 GB, about 4000 hours of audio recording can be stored. This pen drive can be taken easily from one place to another. Presently, we have very small chip sized memory cards which can be installed to your smart phone and thus any kind of music can be stored and reproduced.
We can record a lecture in the class and can share it with the students or our friends who were absent from that lecture due to a variety of reasons. Just record anything and instantly share it on Facebook only if you have an account on that site. It has become very easy to share, store, record and preserve our music in these days.
Problems relating to music on the internet:
Now we come to the problems one encounters on the internet. We are aware of the fact that no system/method is free of fault. Every method has some side effects. Howsoever beneficial it may be, every system comes with some of the obstacles as well as hurdles. Internet and computers have also some of the problems which we need to know about.
Gharana system has collapsed now-a-days. Many reasons can be told on this. But one of the reasons is the recording facility that comes so accessible and handy.
In olden times, music teaching was very private. After very rigorous tests only, the music maestro would give you the Mantra of the art. But now, we can easily record whatever is taught to us. And the Guru would never have the least doubt. Thus, one has not to go again and again to his Guru. Initially, this doubt was expressed by many artists when the recording companies came to India. But after the institutionalization of music, the teaching has become very transparent.
Secondly, there are copyright issues. When one launches a Music album or CD in the market, just one person buys it and uploads on the YouTube. Now, everybody can download the CD without any cost. Thus, the marketing of the music Album is hampered and the musician is not able to earn even the initial cost which he had invested in making the music Album.
Many Hindi Movies/feature films are shared on YouTube and other data-sharing websites. Thus, most of the people watch the movie in the comfort zones of their respective homes. Now-a-days, we have large-screen Televisions which give us the effect of home theatres. Thus, many films are suffering heavy losses.
Thirdly, people copy tunes from the musical compositions and sell them as original tunes. We are aware of many copy-cats in Hindi cinema. Gulshan Kumar, the former owner of Super Cassette Industries LTD., began copying songs of the then popular playback singers like Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi, Mukesh etc. many court cases were also initiated against T series Super Cassette Industries but no solutions can be availed.
But on the whole, there are more benefits then side effects of the new technologies like computer and internet.
Through these technologies, we can preserve the traditional Gharaanedar compositions and thus contributing to promote and popularize our rich heritage of Indian classical music. Learners can take advantage of recording music lessons on their mobile phones. We have online music tuitions these days. Through computers, we can earn foreign currency for our country by giving music tuitions abroad through different chatting applications like skype  etc.
We can share musical compositions with anybody howsoever far away he/she may be, through a computer and internet services. We can popularize our own musical compositions through internet sites like YouTube etc. we can download many traditional classical music compositions through YouTube and many more music download sites. Almost all the movie melodies are available on the internet. Most of the classical compositions are also available on different internet sites. Great music legend like Ustaad AmeerKhan, Pt. Jasraj, Pt. Bheemsen Joshi, Kumar Gandharva, Kishori Amonkar etc. can be heard and viewed on YouTube. Sitting in the comfort zone of our drawing rooms, we can listen to these classical composition.
Music of India has benefitted a lot through the new technologies like computer’s digital recording facilities and the various musical sites on the internet. After the advent of these technologies, the preservation and storage of musical compositions has become very easy. Now-a-days, most of the music archives use these technologies. Cassettes and tapes have replaced CD’s, USB Pen Drives and microchip memory cards. These small cards can be inserted even in our mobile phones and thousands of classical music compositions can be stored over these devices.
But of course, every technology has its good and bad effects. Computer and internet are no exceptions. But we should try to find a solution to suppress such bad effects and utilize the benefits. We should not afraid of some shortcomings which certainly are yet to be resolved. We should rather use these technologies to exploit the benefits. Even a small knife can be used both ways; we can use it to chop vegetables or it can be used to stab somebody. It is for us to decide the usage. Hence, we cannot blame technologies if we use it negatively. Nuclear energy can be either used to produce electricity or to make atom bombs. It is for us to decide as to how we use it. In case of music also, it is for us to take corrective measures if some of us are using the technology in the unacceptable and inappropriate manner. Therefore, we should use the technology to get advantages and not to misuse it.
To conclude, we can say that computer and internet can be used in a judicious manner and all the benefits can be exploited to enrich our great tradition of Indian classical music.