Musical Heritage of India by Akbar Hussain Taronto Canada


Ancient Indian wisdom is like an ocean of knowledge. It contains the essence of all human knowledge in a disciplined and spiritual way. Many years ago an American friend asked me why Indian music is so blissful and empowering. I told him that our music was primarily developed as an offering to the deities and gradually it developed into an art but retained its original form and intentions. Indian music has a long history and traditions. There is an important philosophical standpoint in this tradition which relates to the origin of the sound. We believe that sage Narada introduced the art of music to the earth. The “AUM” sound (Nada) pervades the whole universe also represents the origin of creation and divinity. Existence in the entire cosmos vibrates with an energy that is audible to a sage as a humming vibration. This rhythm is produced by the atoms of the universe vibrating at different frequencies. It is a unique sound not produced by two things striking one another.


In our traditions, we also consider Nada as Brahma too. In human society, words carry our emotion, love, and devotion. There was no life when there was no sound. We can very well opine that if the so-called “Big Bang” theory which created this universe and that started with a pervasive sound then the “AUM” sound was the beginning of the beginning. This ushered the era of our quest for the Ultimate one. The earliest roots of Indian music is traced in the Sama Veda. This part of the Vedas is also considered as the earliest human literature compiled on music. It explains the grammar of music, mantra, chanda, linguistics, and above all, a philosophical reflection of the world view of the sages.


The ancient Indian wisdom is always secular and generous in its perspectives. The treasure now we claim as ours was not created by one person. It was a united effort by many sages who had different views and explanations but all came down to one in essence. They agreed to find a unity in diversity which is still our way of life. Indian music is not a pastime rather it creates a new world for us and opens up new vistas of understanding and appreciation. Our music refreshes us, replenishes us, expand us and restores us. Our music is an enlightened way to our hearts.

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