• Veena has 24 frets – 4 strings on the frets and 3 on the side.
• The top 1st string Sarani indicates – the RigVeda, 2nd string Panchama indicates – Yajurveda, 3rd string Mandara indicates – Sama Veda 4th string Anumandra indicates the Atharvaveda.
• All these 4 strings bear the Suddha Satva guna.
• The 24 frets get their importance from the nada produced from them and not from the metal used.
As we see in the universe the three states viz., creation, sustenance, and merger (Srusti, Sthiti, and Laya). Even in Nada, we see the same three states. Likewise, the 24 frets representing 12 Sruthis in two octaves (24) indicate the 24 letters (Aksharas) of GAAYATHMANTRAHRA. “TAT SAVITUR VARENYAMBHARGO DEVASYA DHEEMAHIDHIYO YONAH PRACHODAYAT”
Veena has been compared to the human body:
• The human backbone (Spinal Cord) stands straight from the Mooladhara (the seat of the body) up to the head. In the top of the head exists the Brahma Randhra.
• Just like the 24 frets of the Veena, the backbone has 24 divisions. According to the anatomy, the backbone has cervical, 12 thoracic, and 5 lumbar vertebrae.
• In Veena the distance between each fret is broad in the lower octaves and becomes less while proceeding towards the higher octaves. Similarly, the backbone is thick at the Mooladhara and the distance between each ring becomes less while proceeding towards the Brahma randhra.
• The Mandara Sthaayi Swara starts from the seat point of the human backbone and as it proceeds towards the Brahma Randhram situated in the Sahasrara the pitch or shruti increases. It is here where the life of music is situated
• The nada born out of the union of prana (life) and Agni (fire) starts from the Mooladhaara at low sruti and reaches the Sahasranama crossing the Swaadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddha, Aagna, the Shatchakras. In this course, the sruti (pitch) increases.
• This shows the resemblance between the Daivi Veena and the manmade Veena. So it is definite that to attain Moksha the path to be followed is nada yoga and for practicing nada yoga Veena is an appropriate instrument.
Saarngadeva has pointed out, that each part of Veena is an abode for a particular deity. “SARVA DEVA MAYEE TASMATH VEENEYAM SARVA MANGALAA PUNAATI VIPRAHATYADI PATAKAIH PATITAAN JANAAN” As all the deities reside in Veena it is Sarva Magala because all sins are driven away by playing the Veena.
“INDIRA PATRIKAA BRAHMA TUMBURNAABHIHI SARASWATEE-
DORIKO VAASUKIR JEEVAH SUDHAA MSUH SAURIKA RAVIH”
The above Verse describes the deities and their places in Veena. G.N.Balasubramanyam in his book ‘Veena’ has said:
DANDI – SHAMBHUTANTRI – UMA-KUKUBHAM – KAMALAAPATI (POT-KUNDA)
PATRIKA – LAKSHMI-TUMBA – BRAHMA-NAABHI – SARASWATI-DORIKA – VASUKI-JEEVALA – MOON-FRETS – SUN
Hence Veena is considered to be Moksha dayaka liberating instrument. Many Gods have played many instruments but only Veena has been given a Godly sacred position.
According to Sadguru Sri Sivananda Murthy, the veena nada becomes a part of our body if played for 120 hours. It means that the Nadopasakas did internally (inside the mind or body) and that which is done externally by playing the instrument becomes one and Upasana Shakti is generated. Here it is appropriate to remember the Kriti. ‘Meenakshi Me Mudam Dehi’ of Dikshitar. He attained Moksha (liberation) while playing Kriti on the veena.
Nada is of two varieties, Ahata Nada and Anahata Nada. The Ahata Nada is born out of the union of Prana (life) and Agni (fire). The inner sound that travels from the Navel (Nabhi) to the throat is Anahata Nada. Hence the teeth and the tongue have no role to play. This Anahata is a nadam that pervades the entire universe including inhaling and exhaling. The entire nature is nothing but Nadopasana. Thus the person gets immersed in the nadam and cuts out the existence of the universe. Hence there is no diversion of mind and life. This is Anahata.
Sadguru Sri Shivanandamurthy has said that by manipulating and disciplining the shatchakras one can hear the Anahata nadam in the center of the body. This is attaining the first stage through Nadopasana. The second stage is the Brahmadi lokam and the 3rd the Brahmanubhooti. (Salvation – for attaining salvation Pranavopasana is Katha yoga. If examined Katha yoga is also Nada Brahma Upasana. This Pranavopasana is in the Anahata Chakra (Centre of the chest). This Pranavam (OM) the most inner sound of inhaling and exhaling breath is nothing but the Parabrahmam, the Paramatma. It is this which exists in the Jivatma (soul) and the Trimurty’s (the Paramatma). Thus, it is seen as Nada Brahmam. Based on this, a human does Pranavopasana in Anahatam and attains salvation. This is the main point in Kathopanishat. This is what Tyagaraja said in his Kriti “NADA TANUMANISAM” and revealed the great secret.
1) “RAGA SUDHA RASA PANAMU CHESIRAJILLAVE MANASAYAGA YOGA TYAGA BHOGAPHALA MOSANGEYSADA SIVA MAYAMAGUNADOMKARA SWARAVIDULU JEEVAN MUKTULANUTYAGA RAJU TELIYU” (RAGA SUDHA RASA)
2) “NADA ROOPUDAWANI VININEY SRI NADHANINNU NAMMITINI” (YE PAPAMU CHESITIRA)
3) MOOLA DHARAJA NADA MERUGUTEYMUDAMAGU MOOKSHAMURAKOLAHALA SAPTASWARA GRUHAMULAGURUTEY MOOKSHAMURA? MANASA
The review and analysis of Thyagaraja kritis give us the knowledge which we can get by studying Brahma-Sutras and Upanishads. To understand Thyagaraja’s Kritis and play them on Veena is nothing but yoga. It is like acquiring great knowledge of yoga which is the pathway to liberation. Veena consists of all deities and this itself is the yoga sadhana for attaining salvation.