Bhakti Movement to be Spread Through SaveTemples Musical Band
(A Project of Global Hindu Heritage Foundation)
The mission of Global Hindu Heritage Foundation is to practice, preserve, propagate and protect Hindu Temples and Hindu way of life. Over the last seven years GHHF has undertaken many steps to make people aware of the need to take more active role in preserving the richness of Hinduism, protecting the Temples, enriching wide variety of cultural and social talents and skills, infusing bhakti and encouraging them to participate in the Hindu rituals, customs and festivals.
SaveTemples Music Band (SMB)
Under the leadership of Kalaratna Maestro Dr. Ghazal Srinivas, GHHF is planning to start a Savetemples Musical Band with a mission to take the bhakti movement to the public and other places such as Parks, schools, jatras and annual festival events. Music has played significant role in establishing the traditions, morals and culture in India. P. Sambamurthy observes,“India is a land of hoary musical traditions and culture. Music is part and parcel of life in India. Not a single event takes place in the life of an individual or society without some kind of music or other. The arts of music and dancing are integrated in India’s religious and cultural life.” This is the tradition Savetemples Music Band will continue and propagate the need for reviving the musical tradition in religious and cultural spheres of life. SMB will be used as a vehicle to make people aware of the need to preserve and protect the Hindu Temples and how they can play vital role in championing the cause of restoring, renovating and maintaining the Temples across the state and the country.
Musical chanting can be traced to VEDAS, the oldest scriptures known to mankind. They are considered divine revelations with sounds and rhythms found in the cosmos. In fact the whole universe is created with sound. Vedas talk about Bindu, Brahmanda (cosmic egg), Hiranyagarbha (Golden womb), Bindu Visphot (Dot or point explosion) and Nada. According to the Vedic concept of creation, it was sound and NOT light that appeared first. In Vedic texts, it is called Nada Brahma or 'The Sound Celestial'. Vedic sages stated that the evolution of the Brahmanda ('cosmic egg') was caused as a result of an explosion of anu (atomic) that produced infinite waves of sound, which were responsible for cosmic expansion. It can be described as Bing Bang theory. The sound that caused the explosion was a monosyllable called Aum. Since AUM is related to the beginning of the universe (and also to the dissolution of the universe as well), Hindus consider it the most sacred syllable. Hence Vedic mantras commence and end with Aum. In fact Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananada Swamiji observed based on Puranas that“The music even stimulates the flowers to give scent and also animals to give milk, and through music our diseases vanish. The melodious music, anyway all music is music, no problem, both the melodious tunes and soft melodies are especially effective; because each note corresponds to one nerve.” According to Shiva Samhita: "There is nothing as effective as nada to merge the mind.”
Efficacy of Namasankeertana
All the Puranas have unequivocally declared that by mere chanting of God’s name (Namasankeertana), one crosses the ocean of birth and death. Swami Sivananda enunciates the usefulness of namasankeertana as he narrated the dialogue among these five elements: food, rain, Agni, vayu and akash. In their individual responsibilities, each said it was not their fault that not having good and enough food to feed the people. Akash concludes by saying that if people do “Kirtan daily the whole atmosphere will be purified. There will be abundant rain and abundant crops… If you really want peace and plenty do kirtan, purify the atmosphere and propitiate Lord Hari. Sankirtana is the bestower of eternal bliss, immorality and abundant food which helps a man to do his worship, meditation and attain the goal of life.” Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji who composed more than 6000 songs emphasizes the usefulness of Divya Nama Sankirtana. He says, “Namasankeertana removes fear, drives away evil thoughts and establishes peace and mental satisfaction. Set apart at least five minutes every day for Namasankeertana. That assures both health and the blessings of realization. It was Rama nama japa that raised Valmiki into Maharishi and gave him the power and inspiration to make the greatest epic “The Ramayana.”
In Andhra Pradesh, Bhajans and Keethans composed by Annamacharya, Thygaraja, Ramdas, Kshetrayya and many others have great impact on the way Hindus live. These Keerthans brought listeners closer to Deities such as Lord Balaji, Sita Devi, Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, and Swara Devata etc.They even shaped the moral fabric of the society. These poets wrote their Keerthans on their chosen Gods describing their qualities, their devotee’s experiences and apprehensions, and their romantic adventures. Many of their compositions espoused the morality, dharma and social customs for the welfare of the society.
For many centuries, Bhajans, Krithis, and Keerthans have played significant role among Hindus and other religious people in sprouting spirituality, increasing the religiosity, enriching the knowledge about different Gods and Goddesses, developing unwavering faith toward deities, shaping the personality of the individuals, instilling morals and ethics, appreciating the saints who devoted their life singing the glory of their chosen Gods, and bringing happiness and joy to all the listeners.
Indian music has used many ways to express their feelings (bhavasa) to experience and express the divine, connect them to the chosen Deities, and help develop appreciation among the listeners of all ages and languages. Rishis, saints, singers, composers, and others have used variety of forms expressions such as chanting hymns, padams, varnams, geethams, krithis, keerthans, Bhajans, Ragas, rasas, etc., by using wide variety of instruments. Temples have played a significant role in providing the atmosphere for expressing the presence of divinity to the listeners. Broadly speaking bhakti is referred to as religious devotion where the divinity and divine presence are expressed with emotions, sentiments and passion. It is simply defined as intense love toward the divine. The bhakti movement established itself by the 5th century in South India through the efforts of Shaiva nayanars and Vaishnava alwars. With the impetus of Vedas and the inspiration of numerous saints and poets, Bhakti movement spread into all regions of Bharat. Adi Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Madhwacharya, Vallabhacharya, Tukaram, Mirabai, Eknath, Jnaneswar, Kabirdas, Nimbarkar, Tulasidas, Swaminarayan, Chaitanya Prabhu, Alwars, Nayanars, Purandara Dasa, Kanaka Dasa, Annamayya, Thyagaraja, Ramadas, Kshetrayya, and great many saints all across India have firmly established the roots of Bhakti movement.
Singing of Bhajans and Keerthans composed and written by these holy saints touched the hearts and soul of all Hindus across the globe. Thousands of similar compositions on different Gods are found in all the scriptures such as Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana, etc. This vast ocean of sacred songs provide thrilling experience to the listeners as they are sung by highly talented artists accompanied by many musical instruments such as Veena, Violin, Mridungam, Tabla, Morsing, and others. In fact many Gods and Goddesses such as Anjaneya, Narada, Saraswathi Devi, Thumbura, Ravana, Lava and Kusha, were experts in Hindu tradition of music. Many instances are found in the our sacred literature that singing by saints and bhaktas of different Gods in Temples made even presiding deities come alive and sing and dance with the singers. It may not be an exaggeration to say that integration of music and religion is more complete in Hindu religion than any other religion. The voluminous volumes of songs found in the literature is astounding and beyond imagination.
The following sloka reveals that the Gods leave their Heavenly abode and come to earth to listen to the songs of bhaktas. Lord Narayana tells Narada thus:
Naham vasami vaikuntena yogischadaye rahi
Mantrakta Yatra gayanti thatra thishanti Narada.
“Oh Narada! I dwell not in Vaikunta, nor in the hearts of Yogis, but I am there where my devotees sing.”
Broadly speaking that music is considered the language of Gods. In fact all the Gods and Goddesses are associated with some instrument connected to music. Saraswati plays Vina, Krishna uses flute, Lord Shiva plays Damaru (drums), Lord Vishnu hold Shanku, Narada roams around the world glorifying Lord Narayana with Tambura, Hanuman plays Cymbals, and Nandi believed to be expert in Mrudangam. Hence there is a popular adage that musicians are the closest to Gods and Goddesses. It is considered fastest route to reach the Almighty. This rich tradition came down from the hoary past and continues to dominate and shape the musical world across the globe.
Savetemples Music Band will concentrate on the keerthans composed by Thyagaraja, Annamayya, Ramadas, Kshetrayya as well as numerous compositions found in Vedas, Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, and other scriptures. There are hundreds of saints all across Bharat who composed thousands of Keerthans, Bhajan and Krithis. Here is list of popular and famous Telugu poets who composed songs glorifying the Gods and Goddesses.
Jalpesan got angry with his brother, Thyagaraja, for refusing to accept King’s treasure, he threw away the Rama Pattabhisheka Murthy in Kaveri River. Lord Rama came into his dream suggested where he could be found. He went and picked up his Rama from the lake, carried him over his head with tears flowing down on his cheeks, with great love and respect. After installing him in the puja room and sang with fervor the song “Rara maa intithaka” and “Etla thorikithivo,” wondering how he got him back when people around him tried to take him away from him.
In another experience, when he went to Thirumala to have darshan of Lord Venkateswara, curtain was drawn after the morning puja.He sang a song ‘Thera theeyakaraathaa’ pleading Balaji to open the door. When he finished the song the curtain was opened to the surprise of the archakas who honored him with Parivattam.
Once Thyagaraja was told that Rama would appear if he chanted Rama Nama 96 crore times. When he finished chanting Ram and Lakshman appeared standing at the threshold of his house with their bow and arrows and vanished at once.
Tallapaka Annamayya (1408-1503) wrote 32,000 kirtanas ranging from classical pieces to folk songs. He was hailed as ‘padakavita pitamaha’, Sankirtanachary’ and ‘harikirtanacharya’. Annamacharya has composed many Krithis on Lord Venkateswara, Alavel Manga, Ranganathar, Kanchi Varadaraaja, Vishvaksena, Garuda, Anantha, and Hanuman, as well as festivals of the Lord. His composition “ippuditu kalaganti nellalokamulaku nappudagu tiruvenkatadreeshu ganti” says that he saw the divine vision of Lord Venkateswara in his dream.Annamayya was believed to have composed one song a day for his deity, Lord Venkateswaraof the temple on Tirupati Hill.
Kancherla Gopanna (c. 1620 – 1680), is popularly known as Bhakta Ramadas, Bhadrachalam Ramadas or Bhadradri Ramadas composed nearly 300 songsthat include Tarakamantramu, Ye Teeruga Nanu in Nadanamakriya, Adigo Bhadradri in Varali, Anta Ramamayam, O Rama Ni namamu in Poorvi Kalyan, and Paluke bangara mayena. He lived in the village of Nelakondapalli near Bhadrachalam, Andhra Pradesh and is renowned for constructing a famous temple for Lord Rama at Bhadrachalam. His devotional songs to Lord Rama are famous in South Indian classical music as Ramadaasu Keertanalu. Even the doyen of South Indian classical music Saint Thyagaraja learned and later improved the style now considered standard krithi form of music composition.He also wrote Dasarathi Shatakamu, a collection of nearly 108 poems dedicated to the son of Dasaratha (Lord Rama).
He was born and lived in a village called Movva, which is less than one mile from the famous Kuchipudi village. Known as Mahakavi Kshetrayya, he was a prolific Telugu poet and composer of Carnatic music. He composed a number of padams and keerthans. He is credited with more than 4000 compositions, although only a handful have survived. He composed his songs on his favorite deity Lord Krishna (Gopala) in Telugu language. In most of his compositions, Kshetrayya has used the mudra (signature) "Muvva Gopala" as a reference to himself, which is also a name for the Lord Krishna in Kshetrayya's village Movva in Krishna District.
Savetemples Music Band is conceived to sing Bhajans, keerthans, and Ghazals to stimulate interest among people, instill bhakti, infuse peace of mind, create positive vibrations, energize the society and enrich the culture.
GHHF is planning to launch the Savetemples Music Band on August 28, the day of Krishna Janmashtami. GHHF initial expenditure is to provide the uniform for the Band Team, consisting of 8-10 members.
As many of you know that SaveTemple Office was opened in June 2012 in Hyderabad. Office is located in Khairatabad. Four full time employees are working on the update of our website, Aalayavani Web Radio, Aalyavani magazine, conducting various activities to preserve and protect Hindu Temples and Culture. Our budget is approximately 2 lakh rupees per month. We request your generous donation to conduct activities to promote unity among Hindus and restore the glory of Hinduism.
Please DONATE. Your donations are appreciated to continue the work.
NOTE: GHHF is exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c) 3 of the Internal Revenue code. Our tax ID # 41-2258630
Please send your tax-deductible donations to: Global Hindu Heritage Foundation, 14726 Harmony Lane, Frisco, Texas 75035
You can go to http://savetemples.org and pay by PAYPAL.
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