The origin of sound was experienced in great depth. On this basis, Panini says, ?Atma, the soul, is that basic foundation where the sound originates. That is its first form. It is a subject of experience. It cannot be heard with the help of any instrument. This form of sound is para.
Later, when, with the help of the intellect and meaning, the spirit sees a picture of an object or an action, it is called pashyanti or pictorial. A picture of whatever we say, is first formed in our minds. So, the second phase is pashyanti.
Next, after inspiring the energies of the mind and the body, starts a muttering which cannot be heard. This muttering rises and with the help of the breath, comes to the throat. This form of sound has been called madhyama.
All these three forms cannot be heard. Then, rising further, the muttering, with the help of the touch parts above the throat, comes out in various forms of sound as the sarvaswar, vyanjan, yugmaakshar and matra. This sound, that can be heard, is called vaikhari. All knowledge, science, behavior and expression of communication is possible only through this.
Expression of Sound
We see here, how minutely our sages had studied the sound that emits from the mouth and also which part helps each letter to come ourT. Their analysis is so scientific that you cannot bring out that sound from any other part or in any other way.
Ka, kha, ga, gha, nva?These have been called kanthavya because they come out from the throat (kanth) when you try to pronounce them.
Cha, ccha, ja, jha, iyan?These have been called taalavya because while pronouncing them, the tongue touches the palate (taalu).
Ta, tha da, dha, na (V] B] M] <] .k)?These have been called moordhanya because pronouncing them is possible only when the tongue touches the upper part of the hard palate (moordha).
Ta, tha, da, dha, na (r] Fk] n] /] u)?These have been called dantavya because the tongue touches the teeth (dant).
Pa, pha, ba, bha, ma?These have been called oshthya because they can be pronounced only when the lips (oshth)meet.
Science of the vowels
The pronunciation of all alphabets, compound words etc. is based on vowels. Hence, that was also studied and experienced in great depth. As a result of this, it was established that vowels are of three kinds:
1. udatta?loud voice
2. anudatta?ignoble or low voice
3. swarti?medium voice.
They were analysed even more minutely. This became the basis of music. Seven notes were accepted in music, which are known by the symbolic signs of sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni (do, ray, ma, fa, so, la, ti) These seven notes were divided into three basic notes.
Ucchairnishaad, gandharau neechai
Sheshastu swarita gyeyah, shadaj
Nishaad and gaandhaar (ni, ga) are loud; rishabh and dhaivat (re, dha) are low and shadj, madhyam and pancham (sa, ma, pa) are medium.
With the different combinations of these seven notes different ragas were created. The various sound waves created by the singing of the different ragas have an affect on humans, animals and nature. Even this has been very minutely analysed here.
With the specialised chanting of some particular mantras, certain vibrations are created in the atmosphere. These have special effects. This is the basis of the science of spell, chanting or the mantras. It sensibility can be experienced by listening to the chanting of the mantras or meditating under the dome of a temple.
From ancient times, there are many references to the singing of the various ragas and their impacts. There are different ragas for different moods?for the evening, or morning; for joy, sorrow, excitement, pity. Earthen lamps would light up with the singing of raga Deepak and it would start raining when raga Megh-Malhaar was sung. We find similar examples in modern times too.
1. The famous vocalist, Pandit Omkar Nath Thakur, went to Florence, Italy in 1933 to participate in the All World Music Conference. At that time, Mussolini was ruling. Panditji told Mussolini about the significance of the Indian ragas. He replied, ? I have not been able to sleep for the past few days. Tell me if your music has some speciality.? At this, Pt. Omkar Nath Thakur picked up his taanpura and started singing raag Pooriya (Komal Dhaivat). In a short while, Mussolini fell into deep sleep. Later on, he praised Indian music wholeheartedly and ordered the head of the Royal Academy of Music to record Panditji'svoice and song.
(This book is available with Ocean Books (P) Ltd., 4/19 Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi-110 002.)