This is a fundamental treatise of Karnataka music and marks the rearguard in the renaissance of Indian music. It has launched a crucial, conceptual revolution which has metamorphosed this musical system into an enduring and attractive paddhati. It has been profoundly influencing every since it was written. This influence will remain undimmed in the foreseeable future.
This is written in Ten chapters: Vina, Sruti, Svara, Mela, Raga, Alapa, Thaya, Gita, Prabandha and Tala.
This is being issued in two volumes: The first volume consists of the critically edited Text, English Translation, Text-Critical Comments, Critical and Explanatory Notes, Several Indexes and a detailed Critical Introduction. The second volume is a detailed commentary of Caturdandiprakasika called Makhihrdaya, which would be published in due course.
About the Author:
He is an internationally acclaimed authority on Indian mnusic and dancing. He is broadbased in several physical sciences, humanistic and indological disciplines, he has published numerous books, books including critical edition, translation, commentaries, annotations, monographs, original creative works and research papers on Indian music, dancing and other cognate subjects. He has received numerous academic distinctions awards and honors. He is a guide and examiner for doctoral examinations.
He is widely acclaimed for his systematic contributions in the intradisciplinal and interdisciplinal bases of modern Indian musicology and dance logy.
His critical edition, translation, critical introduction and commentary etc. of Pandarika Vitthala's Nartananirnaya has been recently published in three volumes in the kalamulasastra Series.
Caturdandiprakasika of Veñkatamakhin (c. 1650 AD.) appears in the rearguard of the renaissance of Indian music and is a basic document of Karnataka music. It documents a crucial, conceptual revolution in this music, ushering in its modern era. Every musician, musicologist and composer of this musical system has been profoundly influenced by it directly or indirectly ever since it was written. This influence is unlikely to be dimmed in the foreseeable future. It may therefore be rightly regarded as a sangita-kalamula-.sastra.
The title caturdandiprakasika’ means ‘illuminator of four dandis’. ‘Dandi’ means division, corpus or flagstaff. The title is apposite because it seeks to define and describe the four genres of the then performed entirety of music viz. Alapa, Thaya, Gita and Prabandha. This scheme of classification was popularized, if not actually originated, by Tanappacarya, the paramaguru of Veñkatamakhin, by not only systematizing it but by profusely composing in each genre to serve as performance models. The work is written in Sanskrit in a simple, direct, self-assured style and is divided into ten chapters or prakaranas viz. Vinã, Sruti, Svara, Mela, Raga, Alapa, Thaya, Gita, Prabandha and Tala of which only the first eight chapters and about two-thirds of the ninth are available now. The contents are arranged in logical progression (sopãna-marga). The first seven chapters are highly original and brilliant and contain bold, revolutionary concept which have laid the foundations of modern Karnataka music. The eighth chapter is an unacknowledged borrower from the Sangitaratnakara. The author is largely indebted to the same source and even more so to its commentary by Kallinatha for the Prabandha chapter. The author is famous for his mathematical scheme of tabulating the 72 melakartas, which has attracted even the doyens of Hindustani music. This scheme was followed up, vitalized and rendered performance-worthy by Veñkatamakhin’s nephew, Mudduvenkatamakhin in his Ragalaksanam (which is, by and large, confoundedly attributed to Veñkatamakhin himself by most scholars). Even though both these treatises were composed within the last three hundred fifty years, no trace of their original manuscripts may be found today. This has created problems in editing and textual criticism which are both interesting and challenging.
Veñkatamakhin was a polymath. He lived in an age in which cultural change and stability coexisted in a dynamic equilibrium with historic continuity. He was profoundly learned, indeed authoritative, in many .sastras adjacent to, and distant from, music, such as the Veda, Vedañgas, Purvamimsã, Vedic Trigonometry, Advaita, Tarka, Vyãkarana, Kãvya, Alamkãra and Chandas, in many of which he has written outstanding treatises. He was also a political activist. He was a singer, vina-player, music historian, musicologist and music composer of merit. He studied music with his father Govinda Diksita, his elder brother Yajnandrãyana Diksita and their guru, Tãnappacãrya. It is to elucidate and commemorate the contribution of Tãnappãcãrya that he has written the Caturdandiprakasika. Venkatamakhin was a great devotee and a mantrasiddha and had performed the vajapeya and other great sacrifices. Thus he was at once a staunch upholder of sampradaya and of modernity, thus proving that the two are not mutually exclusive. The Caturdandiprakasika reveals both stances and must be studied in this light. The present work is a humble attempt in this direction.
Caturdandiprakasika is now being issued in two volumes in the Kalamulasãstra Series: This first volume relates to the Text and consists of a Critical Introduction, the original Text, its English Translation, Text-Critical Comments, Critical and Explanatory Notes and several Indexes to the Text, This volume includes two innovations: all the peripheral allusions and issues in the original text are conserved, organized and commented upon in the Critical and Explanatory Notes, allowing the actual commentary to focus on the purely musical and musicological content. Secondly, in order to facilitate ready reference to the Text-Critical Comments (TCC) and Critical and Explanatory Notes (CEN) for any given portion of the Text wherever available, the numbers and padas of such Slokas are given at the bottom of the respective Translation (i.e. odd-numbered) page. It is hoped that these reader-friendly devices will he found helpful.
The second volume consists of the commentary on Caturdandiprakãsika,
somewhat hopefully called ‘Makhihrdaya’ and is a critical and comparative
study of the original Text. A third volume, relating to the Ragalaksanam,
containing a Critical Introduction, the original, critically edited Text, its English ‘translation, Text-Critical Comments, Commentary and Indexes, will follow as a final member of the triad.
I am very thankful to Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, former Academic Director of
Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi for asking me to prepare these works for inclusion in the Kalãmula-ãstra series. I am beholden to Pt. Satkari Mukhopadhyaya, Coordinator (Kalakosha) of the Centre for his constant support, courtesy and friendship as well as for one collative source. I thank Prof. Dr. N. Ramanathan, Dean of the School of Arts and Professor and Head of the Department of Indian Music, Madras University, Chennai for some collative material. I am very thankful to my friend Mr. Roland Mann, lately of the McKinsey and Co., London for his excellent editorial advice. I acknowledge with pleasure the help I have received from the eminent scholar in Vyãkarana and Alamkara Sri H.V. Nagaraja Rao Sr. Research Assistant (Retd.) Oriental research Institute Mysore and vidwan Umakanta Bhatta renowned scholar in Nyaya in respect of Sanskrit grammatical usage. My sincere thanks are due to Dr. K. Soundararajan M.A. Sri N.S. Sharadaprasad M.A. of the Kuvempu Institute of Kannada Studies Mysore University and my wife Smt. Gowri Sathyanarayana M.A. RBP for correcting proofs. My hearty thanks are also due to my son sangeetha Vidwan R.S. Nandakumar for his help in collation proof correction and in the preparation of the indexes.
I thank Sri Jainendra Press for their Skillful typesetting this difficult work and for the neat get up of this work.
Caturdandipraksika of Venkatamakhin is a fundamental document of Karnataka music and may be appropriately called sangita kalãmula-sastra. The most important among its contributions is a scheme of mathematical tabulation of mela. Every musician, composer, musicologist, teacher, student and music lover of this musical system has been enjoying the practical benefits of this scheme ever since it was proposed and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Venkatamakhin composed the work to illuminate the four divisions (dandi) of the entirety of the music of the times viz. alapa. ,gita. thaya and prabanada as a tribute to his paramaguns (teacher’s teacher) who originated or popularized such a classification of musical materials of the system. The work is written in Sanskrit ‘in ten chapters dealing respectively with vina, sruti, svaram mela, raga, alapa, thaya, gita, prabandha and tala. About a third of the penultimate and the whole of the final chapter are now not available. Venkatamakhin’s contribution is preserved for us because his nephew, Mudduveñkatamakhin translated the theory of the former into living practical music and perpetuated the contribution.
Venkatamakhin was a polymath. He lived and’ worked at a tune in which cultural change and stability coexisted in a dynamic equilibrium with historical continuity. He was profoundly learned, indeed an authority, in several sãstras, some of which were adjacent to music and others distant from it. Thus he was an eminent scholar in Veda, Vedãrigas, Purvamlmãmsã, Vedic Trigonometry, Advaita, Tarka, Vyakarana, Nyãya, Alamkara and Chandas, in some of which he has written outstanding treatises. He was a political activist, a singer, vina player, music historian, musicologist and a music composer of merit. He was yahnika like his great father and brother.
It is strange that invaluable as the contributions of Veñkatamakhin and of Mudduveñkaamakhin are, they have not yet been accorded the serious and critical study they deserve. This lacuna is sought to he filled by the present triad which are being published in the Kalamulagastra series of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. The first of the Triad is Critical Edition, English Translation, Critical Introduction, Exegetical and Critical and Explanatory notes and several indexes of the original text viz. CDP, published in 2002 as next in the Series.
The second volume of the Triad is the present work, somewhat ambitiously called Makhibrdaya. It consists of a purely musicological study, critical and comparative, of Caturdandiprakasika, set in a historical perspective. It inaugurates a modern era in Indian musicology of critical analysis and interpretation devoted to a single musicological text. With an interdisciplinal approach, it organizes enormous musicological information in a compact format. It hopes to strike a balance between appreciation and criticism of Venkatamakhin and his contributions. One of its main objectives is to provide a historical continuity to the subject matter both in its entirety and in its divisions so that the author’s personality and his work are placed in the perspective of totality and distance of both the past and contemporaneity. The study is, at the same time, quite detailed and draws upon a wide range of textual testimony, including florilegia and manuscript sources. No pains are spared to preserve accuracy of the information provided. All data are fully documented immediately after their presentation.
Makhibrdaya adopts the following scheme in its composition. ft is written in eleven chapters, such that, excepting the mela (which runs to two separate chapters), each chapter parallels a corresponding chapter of the Caturdandiprakasika and bears the same title. Because Mela is the central thesis of the work, it is treated in two large chapters called Mela in Theory and Mela in Practice. Each chapter of the work (except Mela in Practice) opens with a summary of the contents of the corresponding chapter of Caturdandiprakasika and then takes up a discussion of the contents in more or less the same order. The original sources are mentioned in abbreviations throughout Makhthrdaya, but are fully named at the page bottoms in chapters on Rãga Descriptions and Prabandha in which they are densely used, to aid memory. All information is referred to by the names of authors, rather than by the name/s of their works, but is scrupulously documented, immediately after the presentation, in terms of the relevant work such that a colon (:) is preceded by the progressive divisions of the work (e.g. chapter number and verse number) and is followed by the appropriate page number/s. This method is used to provide immediacy to the documentation and to avoid cluttering up the page with footnotes. A large number of diagrams and tabular statements are included in the work for ready visualization of the ideas and concepts; these are serially numbered within each chapter where they occur. Each chapter, its divisions and sub-divisions carry appropriate numbers and headings. A standard, diacritically marked, italicized script is employed to mark non-English words. The work is provided with an appendix at the end carrying a detailed index to technical terms, an index to names (including authors), an index to works cited, an index to place names and finally, a bibliography, in order to facilitate quick and ready reference.
Makhihrdaya carries a reader friendly appendix of indexes and bibliography.
It is a companion volume to the critically edited and translated text of
Caturdandiprakasika already published in the same series.
The third volume of the Triad consists of Ragalaksanam ascribed to Mudduvenkatamakhin brought out in a critical edition in the original Sanskrit, an English translation, a commentary, introduction and indexes. This is a logical sequence to Caturdandiprakasika; for, it carries the theory of melas and of their derivative rãgas to a logical conclusion of practical music. It forms the basis for all subsequent attempts to preserve and perpetuate the seventy two melas envisaged by Veñkatamakhin, to the exclusion of all other schemes proposed after Venkatamakhih (which are described in detail in the fourth chapter of Makhihrdaya). A noteworthy feature of this work is that its commentary provides lists of all songs in each genre which have been composed in ragas described in Ragalaksanam from the time of the author till recently. This work will complete the present project. It is under print and is hoped to be published soon.
The enormous delay in issuing Makhihrdaya has caused much anguish and frustration to both writer and publishers for reasons beyond our control. The authorities of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts and Motilal Banarsidass have been exemplary in their patience, courtesy and helpfulness, for which I thank them. Both have spared no pains in rigorously maintaining excellence in the quality of this publication.
I am specially grateful to Sri R.S. Nanda Kumar, who has toiled for long hours far beyond midnight for months at his computer, triumphed over incompatibilities, technical problems and unforeseen snags. I owe the appendix of Makbihrdaya to his labor of love.
I am very thankful to Padmasri Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, former Academic Director of the Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts, New Delhi, for asking me to prepare this Triad for inclusion in the Kalãmulaastrã Series. I thank Sañgitãcarya Sri T.S. Parthasarathy, Fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi and Prof. N. Ramanathan, Former Head of the Department of Indian Music, University of Madras, Chennai, for a manuscript copy of Srutisiddhantaprakasa of Hulaguru Krishnacharya. I am very thankful to my friend Mr. Roland Mann lately of Mckinsey and Co. London for his invaluable editorial advice. I am thankful to Sri N.S. Sharada Prasad of Kuvempu Institute for Kannada Studies University of Mysore, Mysore for his efficient reading of proofs.
I thank Sri Jainendra Press for their Skilful typesetting of this difficult work and for its neat printing.
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