Learning Music
  • Hi all,

    I am in a questioning spree (suganya kathu adichituthu pola). I
    wanted to ask this for a long time, but my work kept me away.
    Probably Ram can give a better answer.

    People who follow Cho's 'Hindu Mahasamudram' in Tuqlaq might have
    come across this. Nothing to do with casteism, and request people to
    take it in a matured way.

    Many of the scriptures, like Manusmrithi lays strict rules for
    Brahmins and one thing is Brahmins should not involve themselves in
    Music and Dance. Basically Brahmins should not get involved in
    lougeegam or things which are of pleasure in nature. But in recent
    times we find that the music and dance field is PERCEIVED, I repeat
    perceived to be dominated by Brahmins. Even one of our neighbours
    once told me "enna erundhalum unga aalunga solli kututha than
    ozhunga sangeetham varum". Such is the perception people have where
    as people from other community also have equal pandithiyam in
    carnatic music and Barathanatiyam.

    My question is, when the earlier scriptures prohibited Brahmins from
    learning Music and Dance, when and how the transformation came in.
    Because in the past century we can see that Brahmins have dominated
    the carnatic music arena. Can anyone throw light on this
    transformation? When did brahmins came out of this line and entered
    into the area prohibited for them.

    Ram, do you have an answer for this? Please help.
  • Satish
    Does it really say so in the Manusmriti? I'm surprised, mainly since even gods and goddesses are supposed to be very fond of music.. phrases like "sangeetha rasikam", "veena, venu, mridanga vaadhya priyam", etc keep repeating in many of the slokams. Singing a song is part of most religious functions also.
    I dont know about dance - it is possible that dance was wholly taken over by the devadasi system until people like Rukmini Devi and Balasaraswathi made it mainstream.

    As far as Brahmin dominance(for lack of a better word) of carnatic music, I think this is a new phenomenon. There were many stalwarts of music in the last century who were not brahmins (Rajamanickam Pillai, Naina pillai, even our M.S. Subbalakshmi, and MLV, Brinda, Mukta) Many major percussionists and nadhaswaram players were (and still) not Brahmins. I dont know why the presence of other castes is going down.. is it not enough focus on tamil isai and more focus on sanskrit? Would love to know what PS members think.

    The good trend is that atleast in the US, most kids learn music or dance, irrespective of their caste. Tamil isai is also catching up among all public and artistes.
  • Hi,

    The answer to the basic question of yours lies in another of Cho's works -
    "Enge Brahmanan?". Moving away from merit/attitude based varna system,
    towards a parent-based creates confusions like this. For a
    ritual+meditation+introspection lifestyle (what Manu says), music/dance
    will be major deviations. However, sanatana dharma has progressed to view
    God as a friend/lover etc. In that scenario, restrictions on music/dance
    (which can themselves propel a person towards God), sound anachronistic.

    My respect for Hinduism is mainly for the freedom it gives me to
    debate/improve what was said before. I find other things in Manusmriti (e.g.
    for a particular crime, a person is born a dog) which are logically
    imperfect but completely satisfy the intention (keeping people away from
    doing wrong deeds). Would have helped if someone like Adhi Shankaracharya
    had given a fresh look at Manu smritis.
  • Manusmriti can be compared to modern day rule book for various grades and workers / executives in offices / departments. What happened over a period is that though people changed the roles title remained based on the ancestry.

    Hence, comparing manusmriti with present day life and caste by birth would be totally inconsistent.

    One should not forget the saying ��CHANGE IS THE ONE THING THAT REMAINS UNCHANGED��.

    Whatever one does, they have to do with full devotion, determination and dedication without any attributes to whatsoever.
  • Dear SPS,

    It seems I have not put forth my views properly.

    I am in agreement with what have been stated by you. It would have been in different words.

    I am to follow the Principles enshrined in our Constitution, enacted
    50 years back, suitable to present day life-style than looking at
    Manu or Kaudilya, who put forth certain principles thousand years
  • I feel music is part of hinduism.In Sama veda the
    expression is in the form of music and in many yagnas
    veena recital is apart.

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