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Re: [kuzhal isai]

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_alum.calberkeley.org)
Date: Tue Jul 18 2000 - 11:30:53 PDT

M.S.HARI (Madabhushi Sarangarajan Hari) writes:
> You [Sri M.G. Vasudevan] have mentioned "nadhopaasana". May I request 
> you to kindly clarrify whether you hold it equal to one of the Upaasanas
> out of the 32 vidyaas mentioned in Upanishads or a sort of 
> accessory to practice one amoung the upanishad-vidyaas? 

Dear Sri Hari,

As you well know 'upAsana' is meditation, is just another way
of describing 'bhakti'.  It is also described as 'nidhidhAysana',
or deep contemplation on God, without any break whatsoever in
one's meditation. For this reason it is also called 'dhruva-smRti',
or 'firm remembrance'.  Or, to quote Bhagavad Ramanuja himself,
'sneha-pUrva-anudhyAnam bhaktir abhidhIyate' -- firm meditation 
filled with extreme love is known as bhakti.

Now, the key to this meditation is getting to a stage where
one can continuously visualize the Supreme Lord in one's mind,
and not have any break in one's enjoyment and appreciation 
of the Lord's auspicious and edifying attributes, his 
kalyANa-guNas. For this purpose, the Upanishads as we find
them today describe 32 varieties of such meditation, known
as 'brahma-vidyas'. But by no means should these 32 be
considered the *only* brahma-vidyas, as their whole purpose
is to make the loving on Lord uninterrupted. Anything which
is helpful to this purpose can be accepted. For example,
the ashTAnga-yoga of Patanjali is not systematically described
in the Upanishads as being part of the brahma-vidya, but it is 
accepted in our philosophy as an integral part of all of
these meditative exercises.

This is where nAdopAsana or meditation through music is
helpful.  Music is both generative of love of God (because
of the descriptions of kalyANa-guNas) and also helps keep
one's mind firm in the remembrance of God. This is obvious
to anyone who sings devotional music.

Now, when it comes to such great saints as Purandara Dasa, 
Tyagaraja, etc., but there is no doubt that their devotional 
music were vital to their upAsana. This, no one can deny.

Let's take a more obvious example. Is there any doubt that
anusandhAnam (musically or otherwise) of Divya Prabandham 
is helpful to someone engaged in Upanishadic meditation?

>From this standpoint, there is no reason a bhakta of bhagavAn
should shy away from devotional music or even the term 'nAdopAsana'.

dAsan,
Mani

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