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September 2011

Response to T.M.Krishna's article "Poetics of Performance"
published in the Weekly Magazine edition Dt.12th December, 2010
- Sandhyavandanam Madhva Muni Rao, Bangalore
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It was pleasure in reading Mr.T.M.Krishna's article "Poetics of Performance" published in the Weekly Magazine edition Dt.12th December, 2010.

He had raised the question "Is this Rasa evoked from the Bhava born out of poetry? Similarly, does pure art music serves lyrical content evoke a Rasa?" for discussion.

I am presenting my humble contribution to the discussion:

Effects of Rasa are of three categories, serving the discerning Rasika(s). They are:

- Effects of a set of words, conveying/depicting a heightened/expected state of feeling/emotion. Music or melody incapable of touching the heart or stirring the mind, with only obsessed with the power of a word or a set of words.

- Effects of a set of words aided and abetted by Angitka/Abhinaya or musical expression, depicting a heightened / exalted state of feeling/emotion. Music or melody acting as a good medium for better understanding and appreciation.

- Effects of a pure and powerful nada- a swara or sublimely beautiful garland of Swaras, without either aided or abetted by angika depiction or a word or a set of Words, conveying/depicting, a heightened or exalted state of feeling or emotion. Rasika transcends the power of word or a set of words, which only act as a structure or scaffolding.

Rasikas and performers use one, two or all of them to achieve the aesthetic experience. But, the last category really is the Ultimate, because the noble, pure and powerful nada, strikingly makes one totally unaware of the Self, a state of thought less ness, begetting potent energy, transcends the Self to achieve Universal Self gaining Bliss, Unalloyed Love and Peace!

Primitive humans at first realized and used the sounds and made sounds to serve for safety and security- a physical existential need. Gaining in intelligence, observing and imitating the other living beings and nature's play with sounds, resultant pleasant experience, started using the objects-stones, wood, creepers and finally the vocals for creating and achieving the ear pleasing sounds. Progressing further through the use of vocals, inventing and use of the power of words and the instruments for making Music, achieved the judicial usage, to sway the heart. Turning inward and becoming religious, found and realized the Ultimate- Omkara Nada - all powerful and all pervading - through the effect of noble, pure and powerful Nada - a note, two or a set of three notes - depicted by A-U-M - the symbolic representation of Pranava or Omkara Nada, serving the Chitta.

Thus the folk/tribal- predominantly rhythmic, with lesser use of words and the melody, the light music- predominantly melody and words, with lesser emphasis on rhythm and the Light Classical music - judiciously using all the three forms- rhythm, melody and the words and finally, Celebrating Excellence, the Classical Music - with heavy use of melody - rhythm and words, with good sense of proportion, developed.

To the majority of the rasikas, who have not taken minimal efforts to know or learn the intricacies of the Classical music, Rasa is invariably evoked from the Bhava, born out dominating Poetry. To the minority of rasikas, who have taken, at least minimal efforts to know or learn the intricacies of the pure art music (Classical Music), Rasa is evoked, sans lyrical content.