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The Taste of Peace and Practice of Love in North Indian Drumming

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  1. Introduction
  2. Siva's damaru as the source of knowledge for the Vedic Rshis
  3. Abhinavagupta's tantric philosophy
  4. This union of tension and tranquility
  5. The practice of music
  6. Conclusion

The knowledge gained by practicing the North Indian tabla drums situates the musician within two spiritual modes of the Hindu tradition: the tantric, via rasa, and the yogic, via bhakti. Is there a limit to the spiritual efficacy of such musical practice? Citing the lack of ?common measure between the ends to which riyaz and yoga are used as a means,? one scholar contends that riyaz is primarily a ?means to acquiring an artistic skill.? However, he concludes that musical ?riyaz essentially reflects the spiritual modality of bhakti.?

[...] Banares Baj: The Tabla Tradition of North India,?Asian Music v IIIn 2 Russel, Corvin. ?Philosophical Reflections On Tal and Tabla.? Bansuri: Volume Sahai, Sanju. www.tablaonline.com Interview Shankar, Ravi. Sounds of India. Columbia Records Sharma, B.N. Rasalocanam. Jaipur, India: Sharma Simon, Robert Leopold. Spiritual Aspects of Indian Music. Delhi : Sundeep Simms, Robert. ?Some Thoughts on the Meaning of Riaz in Hindustani Music.? Bansuri: Volume Simms, Robert. ?Aspects of Cosmological Symbolism in Hindusthani Musical Forms.? Asian Music. Vol. XXIV, no Fall 1992. [...]


[...] But in the devotion of bhakti-yoga, the ascetic practice of cilla, the tantric taste of rasa, the deep understanding of rhythmic cycles, and physical entrainment with these metaphors of cosmic order, there is potential for moksa. As Abhinavagupta claims, indifference is the basis of such release. At one point he concludes that actually one of the permanent mental states from sexual passion and laughter up to amazement may be posited as the basis of tranquility- insofar as liberation is achieved by him who perceives that the entire realm of sense objects is incongruous.?[xvii] If the musician practices with the view of engaging sense-objects toward their transcendence, using time cycles to escape the cycle of temporal existence, and creating physically produced sound to reach the sound of the unproduced, the practice of tabla is a paradox of tantric sadhana. [...]

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