In our previous article we tried to explain about the scientific meaning of vedic dance, music and how it is used to awaken our spiritual consciousness and helps to reach to THE ONE. In case if you have missed it, take sometime to go through it @here. Now, we conclude the series of articles that we have presented so far, by the continuation of the science behind vedic dance and music and our traditional approach.

Great saints such as Purandaradasa, Tyagaraja etc. have demonstrated that the divine music is a means of spiritual realization. The classical Music in the Vedic Hinduism belongs to the path of yoga namely, Nada Yoga. The treatise of classical music Sangita Ratnakara describes Nada as the union of prana and anala which represents the drum and fire respectively in the hands of Lord Nataraja (figure : in the previous article).

The acoustical knowledge of ancient Hindus manifested in several musical instruments. One distinguishing feature of Mridangam and Tabla is interesting. The sounds of a percussion instrument provides the rhythm and not melody. However, the Mridangam and Tabla due to their design produce several harmonic tones, which brings melody to their sounds (figure 1). This brings a pleasing quality to rhythmic sounds. It is for this reason the classical music and dance emanating from Vedic origin not only is a spiritual path but also provides joy to mind and senses.

Figure 2 shows an interesting scientific experiment referred as Tyndall effect wherein an acoustical tone, when directed on a flame breaks the flame into seven-tongue. In Vishnusahasranama, the seven-tongued fire is referred as a name. This phenomenon of effect of sound or vibrations on flame plays an important role in Vedic yajnas. The sacred fire represents the god or goddess worshipped in a yajna. Thus one can see that the Vedic literature encompasses universal phenomena in nature and cosmos. The Vedic rishis have the abilities of spiritual and scientific insight along with saintly qualities. It is the pursuit of truth objectively by rishis that brought multi-faceted nature to Vedic Hinduism and has made it relevant and useful for all seekers in the past, present and future.



Figure 1: Harmonic Tones Of Tabala

Figure 2: Effects Of Sounds On Flame(Tyndall Effect)


Vedanta, Yoga and Meditation

It is well known that Vedanta, yoga and meditation have become very popular around the world. However, it is to be noted that they have their source in the eternal Vedas and Vedic Hindu literature. Vedanta refers to not only ending portions of the Vedas but also the essence of the Vedas that emphasize the spiritual knowledge (Jnana). Vedanta deals with the relationship between the God, universe and individual soul. Although there are several Vedantic approaches such as Advaita, Vishishtaadviata, Dvaita etc., they all refer to the Vedas as the transcendental authority and Bramhan as the Independent and Ultimate Truth (Bramha Satyam). Important qualities such as devotion, compassion, forgiveness etc are emphasized for spiritual development. The need for an acharya or guru is essential in understanding and practice of scriptural guidelines. The important role of karma has to be understood. Thus Vedanta through the Prasthanatrayi, namely Upanishats, Bramhasutras and Bhagavadgita has become the universal and eternal philosophical foundations of Vedic Hinduism. The Bhagavadgita is a shastra (scripture) for both Bramhavidya and Yoga.

It is important to note that yoga and meditation have their roots in Vedas and Vedic literature. Vedanta and yoga are the theoretical and practical aspects in the pursuit of realization of Bramhan. The sole purpose of yoga is the realization of original and normal state. Yoga is not merely restricted to poses and acrobatic postures with impressive demonstrations. The Katha upanishat, Bhagavadgita and Patanjali’s yogasutras are some of the important major references on yoga. It is to be noted that the Ashtanga Yoga of Vedic Hinduism is a systematic approach to reach the spiritual goal of original and normal state of bliss. Ashtanga yoga means eight-limbs of the yoga. Meditation is the seventh step in this approach. The eight-fold Ashtanga yoga briefly consists of Yama (self-control) and Niyama (disciplines) dealing with practices related to physical and mental disciplines. Asana deals with the practice of physical postures integrating the flexibility of the body and breathing patterns.

Pranayama deals with the control and regulation of Prana or vital forces. Pratyahara deals with the practice of withdrawing the consciousness from the multiplicity of thoughts and directing it toward the inner-self. Dharana deals with the development of the ability of the mind to focus and contain a sacred object. Dhyana is the meditation or continuous concentration on the sacred object. The nature and quality of the object of meditation is extremely important. The continuous concentration is compared to that of an unbroken flow of oil and non-flickering flame of a lamp. These seven steps lead the seeker to Samadhi referring to the level of original and normal state and super-consciousness. The order mentioned in this Ashtanga yoga is important.

A yogi who has realized and is established in this original and normal state is able to provide genuine guidance as a sadguru or acharya to the sincere and devoted seeker. Ashtanga yoga through its scientific and practical approach deals with all aspects of human development such as physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual development. In the words of a seer-yogi Sriranga Sadguru, " The customs and habits, the dress and ornaments, the manners and etiquette, the conceptions of right and wrong and of good and evil, the learning, literature and the various arts like music, the political thoughts, views regarding all action and the consecratory ceremonies, etc., of the Indians (Bharatiyas) are all permeated like the warp and woof by Ashtanga Yoga."

Vedic triadic approach

In figure 3 a simple Vedic triadic approach is shown to describe any effort to seek knowledge and particularly spiritual knowledge. The three lines represent the three essential components required for spiritual seeking are Sadguru, Shastra and Anubhava. The Sadguru refers to the guiding energy in the form of mother, father, acharya, spiritual mentor, etc., who helps and directs the individual to gain knowledge and discriminate between right and wrong. It is a life-force of subjective importance. The Shastras refers to the body of knowledge (Vedic literature), which has sustained the test of time and space.


Figure 3: A Vedic triadic approach

The shastras include infinite large collection of sources as shown in figure 1. Shastras represents the perennial objective source that includes rituals to vedanta. The shastras include resources for all levels of enquiry. The following of rituals provides required refinement for the mind. The historical masterpieces such as Ramayana and Mahabharata illustrate the Vedic principles applicable to human beings. The vedantic literature such as Advaita, Vishishtaadvaita and Dvaita etc provide the Vedic truths at the fundamental levels. Then there are shastras for arts, music, science, medicine etc. The third important component Anubhava means the experience of the seeker. In the course of time, the three lines should advance towards concurrence, which is indicated by the reduction of the triangle size. The concurrence assures that the seeker’s experience is concurring with those of Sadguru and Shastra. The non-concurrence indicates disparity between the three components and need to be worked at. It is a dynamic process to be carried out by the seeker.

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