The Conference

As we march ahead, the Fourth International Veena conference aims at exploring the facets of the divine instrument Veena

According to Hindu philosophy, the word for pure sound is Nada Brahma. Nada has also been described by some as the energy of Brahma and it is believed that the propitiation of Nada leads to the attainment of Moksha (salvation) which is the ultimate goal of human life.

Matanga has described in his Brihaddesi thus:
“There is no song or music without Nada, there is no musical note without Nada, there is no dance without Nada and the world is filled with the essence of Nada”.

Music has a tremendous effect on the mental state of human beings as it results in peace, concentration, relaxation, spiritual elevation, and meditation which are the principles of yoga and meditation. The practice of yoga techniques such as breath control and mental concentration are also closely allied to the study of the instrument and vocal music. The sound of Veena when expressed in a divergent unhurried way is as effective as the cosmic Nada which propitiates in a person’s mind and calms the thought process. Well-known Carnatic sages and Veena players of Yester years dedicated themselves to this Nada and the rendering of the songs happened in a submission to the higher self. The nature of ragas resonates with the subliminal nature of the mind. In the days of the yore a single raga was chosen and remarkable amounts of time – hours and days were spent in it which resulted in the effect of a particular raga percolating in the minds of the renderer and the listener resulting in a subconscious positive shift. Such an outcome was possible because of the different therapeutic effects each raga had on the listener and the performer. In today’s fast-paced world, it would be an amazing idea to bring back such olden-day methods of rendering the Kriti’s and playing the Veena by the Carnatic sages and seers wherein reminisce of the concert is felt even days after the concert due to the heart spontaneously submerged in bhakti bhava during the long concerts. This slowing down of the mind greatly benefits society’s mental and overall health.

In the learning scenario these days there seems to be a tearing hurry to learn all aspects of Veena and enter the stage to gain popularity as a performer these days. However, a great deal of meaningful benefits and profoundness of Veena playing is lost through this process. The arrival of one on the stage is a natural progression when learned at a steady-slow pace and the outcome is different from a speedy want of public performance and recognition. The current day norm seems to be of giving kacheri in ‘only for profit’ Western rock concert-style implying a ‘celebrity’ culture and exciting the listener’s mind through fast-paced performance. A deep subliminal experience is lost due to this.

The curators of the Veena conference Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Asthana Vidwan, Vidwan Madukaram Prashanth Iyengar, hope to change this attitude back to how music was rendered in the earlier days – of deep-dwelling raga and bhava. The soothing outcome of any song was the result of the mind immersed in bhava and was not an intention. Also, ekantha sevam used to be the norm in the olden days. This is a devoted purpose-filled service to the deity in temples. This can be a low resource possibility nevertheless a populist engaging way to offer music at the Lotus Feet of the Lord and this help set a divine spiritual experience that charges up the spiritual atmosphere of all devotees alike. The focus shifts from the person rendering the music to the music itself. The soulful Nada or the music presented becomes bigger than any single person. Such selflessness in music has a meaningful effect and this holds a longer future for Carnatic music and the instrument of the Veena.

By these and many more aspects some of the senior artists organizing the Veena conference hope to inspire younger players too much deeper, dramatic versions and spiritual delivery of music that reverberates like the olden days in a large sense of the community through such focused events. The future lies in shifting from the individual self to the sense of community that the soulful music binds. There is an unparallel experience gained by the pursuer of the Veena by such attempts.

Through these ideologies in their fullest capacity and merit, the connoisseurs of Veena are taking the onus of bringing the days of yore and their glory to their present-day relevance. A dedicated, enriching, and engaging three days long conference will throw a significant amount of time and understanding to the creative, cultural, spiritual, holistic, and divine outlook in learning and playing of the Veena inviting more everyday people into the foray and enlarging the authentic Indian heritage and culture through knowledge and meaningful exposure.

Why is our event unique?
An all-around well-researched documented approach to bring forth the characteristic change in the field of Veena music is the need of the hour in the field of arts. Hence, not just getting carried away by the abstractness of the entire experience of playing Veena some of the experts who are conducting the conference are careful to throw light on some physical aspects to such as the ‘correct’ posture that is to be maintained while playing the divine instrument. This is backed by methods understood and presented by physiotherapists.

Bridging the gap between the old and the new the conference will share significant knowledge on the sound and its technical aspects needed for Veena playing such as mike and pickup. A few other noteworthy points will be the use of modern technology and gadgets that will enhance the experience of Veena playing. These value additions are boon to upcoming learners and artists alike in the field of Veena music.

The conference goes in-depth science involved behind playing the instrument. This is being made possible by coming together of research scholars of different caliber from different parts of India who have worked exclusively on the instrument of Veena. The researchers will give an interesting paper presentation understandable by both laymen and experts in the field.