Swadeshi Indology Conference at Bengaluru : Karnāṭaka Śāstrīya Saṅgīta

Bharat is one land of the many. It is a true exemplar of ‘nānātve ekatvam‘, i.e. unity in diversity. A land with such diverse geography, climate, flora, fauna, and people would make it difficult for anyone to conclusively say that Bharat is just one nation and not an agglomeration of several different nations.

Despite the differences in customs, traditions, ideas, and artistic modes of expressions (especially music and dance), what truly binds the people of Bharat is sanātanadharma. It is because of sanātanadharma that two different Bharatiyas from remote corners of Bharat may understand the artistic creations of each other. It makes it possible for the unbroken chain of Bharatiya samskṛti to survive despite several attempts by antagonistic external and internal forces.

For centuries, there have been multiple attempts by parties with vested interests in systematically destroying bhāratīyasamskṛti.

These Breaking Bharat Forces (BBF-s) have come as harmless secular guests bearing gifts. We Bharatiyas, being Bharatiyas, have welcomed them with open arms for a loving embrace. However, they have used and still are using deceitful tactics and destructive strategies to ensure domination in different domains specifically through sanitizing Bharatiya samskṛti of bhāratīyatā. It may seem rather innocent on the surface, but they have sly designs which the common uneducated secular may never understand.

Bharatiya kalā is an integral aspect of Bharatiya samskṛti. It has always been associated with sanātanadharma, especially, sangīta and nāṭya. Having their origins in the veda themselves, it is sampradāya to include aitihāsika and paurāṇika themes or elements in sangīta and nāṭya performances. Sangīta will be the focus henceforth.

Bharat has two dominant schools of sangīta – Carnatic (karṇāṭaka) and Hindusthani. Of these, the former is the more ancient one.  Karṇāṭakasangīta has been perfected over millennia by the ancestors of Bharatiyas and is a separate śāstra on it’s own. It has thousands, if not tens of thousands, of exponents.

Source:  swadeshiindology.com

Kalā is always meant to evoke rasa in the hearts of the like-hearted audience (sahṛdaya-s). Bharatiya kalā intends on evoking all the (popularly accepted) nine rasa-s. The sāhitya of karṇāṭakasangīta, true to its roots in the veda, predominantly deals with bhaktirasa. The kṛti-s in karṇāṭakasangīta achieve this by expressing one or many of the forms of bhakti (navavidhabhakti), i.e. śravaṇa, kīrtana, smaraṇa, pādasevana, arcana, vandana, dāsya, sakhya, and ātmanivedana.

Being a Bharatiya kalā, the object of a saṅgītasādhaka‘s bhakti has always been a deity or a guru in sanātanadharma. It has always been an inspiration, sustainer, and promoter of bhāratīyasamskṛti and sanātanadharma throughout the history of Bharat. karṇāṭakasangīta is such an integral part of sanātanadharma that any typical day in the life of a Bharatiya includes a kṛti (composition) in karṇāṭakasangīta in the original or other forms (śloka-s, mantra-s, and modern movie songs set to rāga-s and tāla-s of karṇāṭakasangīta). Being such an integral part of Bharatiya samskṛti and sanātanadharma, karṇāṭakasangīta makes for a perfect target for BBF-s.

However, having observed the importance of kalā in supporting samskṛti, over the past two centuries, BBF-s have been attempting to seize control over all Bharatiya kalā-s, including karṇāṭakasangīta.

Let us look at two instances. There has been a fledgling attempt to establish a new recent non-sanātanī teaching lineage in order to de-sanātan-ize karṇāṭakasangīta. In addition, some artistes of karṇāṭakasangīta were lured to sing songs in praise of non-sanātanī deities. These, and many more moves with questionable ulterior motives, may convince the ignorant Bharatiyas (as well as the ignorant rasika of karṇāṭakasangīta) on the (pseudo-)secular origins of music in Bharat.

It is to counter such false narratives that a few Intellectual kṣatriya-s (IK-s) have dedicated their lives to bringing out the truth. One such IK is Śrī Rajiv Malhotra, a Bharatiya sanātanī entrepreneur based out of the USA, who has been working for the cause of dharma for over two decades. Through his non-profit initiative, Infinity Foundation, he has been organising several seminars and conferences meant for intellectual mathana and clearing the untruths surrounding Bharatiya samskṛti and sanātanadharma.

Infinity Foundation’s Swadeshi Indology conference series began in 2016. There have seen 4 editions so far, focusing on different aspects of Bharatiya samskṛti and sanātanadharma. The fifth edition of the Swadeshi Indology conference is all set to be organised on the topic Karnāṭaka Śāstrīya Saṅgīta – Its Past, Present And Future, on March 30, 2019 at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Race Course Road, Bengaluru. More details can be found online regarding the conference at swadeshiindology.com.

This one-day conference is set to feature lectures and paper presentations centered around karṇāṭakasangīta. A plenary session by Padmabhushan Dr. R. Nagaswamy will be on ‘Music – Classical and Folk’. Academic paper presentation topics include those touching upon the kṛti-s of Tyāgarāja and Muttusvāmi Dīkṣitar (two of the trinity of karṇāṭakasangīta), the extent of current rampant experimentations in karṇāṭakasangīta, patronage of karṇāṭakasangīta, non-translatable words of Indic origin in karṇāṭakasangīta, a historical overview of the non-sanātan-ification of karṇāṭakasangīta by BBF-s, and the so-called domination of karṇāṭakasangīta by a certain “patriarchic” “sectarian” group in the sanātanī society. There is also a panel discussion to be held to discuss the current trends in karṇāṭakasangīta.

The conference is a brave attempt to bring to attention of the world the current apocalyptic trajectory of karṇāṭakasangīta and what a sādhaka, rasika, sabhānāyaka (typical chief of sabhā-s), dātā (donor/patron) or a mere prekṣaka (bystander of all this process, typically a common sanātanī) must do to salvage what is left of karṇāṭakasangīta and to take it further to the future generations.

It is ultimately our dharma to protect and propagate the tradition as it was taught to us. Paying back the ṛṣiṛṇa, the debt we owe to the ṛṣi-s for having given us the śāstra-s, is part of every sanātanī-‘s pañcamahāyajña (fivefold great yajña).

Those interested in joining the movement and contributing what little they can in any form to the cause are urged to do so.

-by Shri ABHINAV K.


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