Author Topic: Aksharamanamalai  (Read 269 times)

Jyoti

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Aksharamanamalai
« on: October 26, 2017, 12:42:00 AM »
Is the refrain to be chanted after every verse?

Does verse 2 start with Azhahu or Azhagu?
On this site the text is given as Azhahu sundaram pol... but it think this could be a typo...

Jewell

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Re: Aksharamanamalai
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2017, 02:31:16 AM »
Dear Jyoti,

Somewhere it is written Azhahu and somewhere Azhagu. It seems that difference is only when the letters are spelled individually,but i am not sure,it is only guessing. Maybe both are correct. Members who know Tamil language could say more about it.

Here You can learn to chant it,verse by verse, on sriramanamaharshi.org:
https://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/portfolio-item/sri-arunachala-akshara-mana-malai-english/

And here is the chanting of the whole text:
https://youtu.be/QiWbwhfbekw

With love,

Ravi.N

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Re: Aksharamanamalai
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2017, 09:04:50 AM »
Jyoti/Jewell/Friends,
Good question and well responded by Jewell.

1.Is the refrain to be chanted after every verse?
Yes,the refrain as indicated by Bhagavan in his own handwriting ...the Refrain is 'Arunachalasiva,Arunachalasiva,Arunachalasiva Arunachala!Arunachalasiva,Arunachalasiva,Arunachalasiva Arunachala!'....Bhagavan indicates this after every single verse in Akshara mana Malai.

2.Does verse 2 start with Azhahu or Azhagu?
It is written as  Azhagu ...in pronunciation there is least stress on the letter 'g' ...it is there and yet not emphasized...Listen to the verse in the link provided by Jewell and see how the transition through the letter 'g' is done with the least stress....This is applicable to the next verse,verse no 3 as well which begins as 'agam pugundheerthun'.
Interestingly the word 'agam' in tamizh is derived from 'aham' in sanskrit...They mean 'I', the Self...and this indicates that 'G' and 'H'are linked  phonetically...Interestingly in English these are alphabets adjacent to each other....so,it looks like all languages are linked in some such fashion...all have evolved out of breath and its manipulation....Even in the physical world there is no sound without Air!...Sound does not travel in vacuum.

In as much as there is a connection between breath and  sound as can be appreciated from our small discussion above....we may well appreciate the linkage between prana and sound and the Vedic mantras  (for example the Gayatri Mantra which is the foremost of the mantras) are such sounds that can refine the prana and the mind of the chanter/listener...and this in turn depends on how correctly they are chanted;even a small slip here or there can totally distort the sense.

This goes to show why the Vedas are to be learnt orally and not from written texts...and why a special 'caste' called 'Brahmins' evolved to specialize in learning it orally and dedicate their lifetime to chanting the Vedic mantras.

The so called rational mind considers this as usurping of 'privilege' by the 'Elite' community-the Brahmins....there is no elitism involved in this but only Total Responsibility and Dedication....Only those who can dedicate their life exclusively to this onerous responsibility can undertake it...and it is not just the 'individual' but the entire 'Family' who need to be dedicated towards this ... this is the raison d'etere behind the social fabric that evolved organically as the 'caste system'....Each and everyone had a clear responsibility and duty, a vocation  to be discharged towards the whole of creation...and without any sense of superiority or privileges.

This is a vast subject and it is not possible to cover it in any measure here...but all the same it is an opportunity to see how the temporal and spiritual are inextricably linked and not disconnected from each other.

Namaskar
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 09:11:09 AM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

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Re: Aksharamanamalai
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2017, 10:12:16 AM »
Friends,
I have always found that these verses as also other chants(particularly the Gayatri mantra) are best chanted without any tune...they are meant to be chanted in their natural rhythm...the tune is a needless addition that only distracts from the true sense...Interestingly Nochur Sri Venkatraman (warmly recommend his talks in English on Akshara mana malai) mentioned this very thing in his latest talk in Rishikesh a few days back.
Here is the link to the talks:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNOz9Jd7Te0
Namaskar

Jewell

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Re: Aksharamanamalai
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2017, 04:45:23 PM »
Dear Sri Ravi,

Quote
and this in turn depends on how correctly they are chanted...

Indeed,i always felt it is very important to pronounce the words correctly,which means that vowels also should be accented correctly -
Quote
This goes to show why the Vedas are to be learnt orally and not from written texts
.


Thank You very much for the link! It is such beautiful talk...

With love,


ksksat27

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Re: Aksharamanamalai
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2017, 06:49:17 PM »
the famous tune from sri ramanasramam daily parayana itself is a sort of tune only.  the tune used by RMCL group is simply awesome and arising deep devotion...there is simply no denying of that fact...

nowadays unni krishnan, vijay shiva have tried tunes to aksharamanamalai... 

one youtube video has nice tune for arunachala ashtakam...

some tunes deeply captures the wandering mind...is not it?

we cannot attribute that tune restriction to beautiful verses of Bhagavan Ramana. 

veda metres are different and that cannot be changed...

but the devotional poems further makes one melt with very good tunes...

Ravi.N

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Re: Aksharamanamalai
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2017, 10:13:31 PM »
ksksat,
There are kritis which are meant to be sung...and great composers indicate the Raga and tala in which it should be sung...and even then it needs to be rendered carefully without pada cheda (Mutilaton of the words) ...but stotras or chants are best chanted to get the true sense of what the words indicate....and certainly such a chant need not be a staid thing but may have a simple straight tune as dictated by the meter in which the verse is composed....and this ensures that all the words are rendered properly....This is how the chant in Ashrama is rendered.
It is not that I do not appreciate the rendering in tune form...they are nice ;yet the split up of words/or stretching of words,phrasing and pause are often done to fit into the tune and this ruins the original sense of the verse....Further there are some nindha stuthi that are in stark contrast to the pleading type...and there are some that are of the threatening type and some seeking Reconciliation...there is so much of variation in Bhava and underlying it all is the sense of urgency, seeking union with the Divine... and all this is rendered in uniform tune without any differentiation...These are better appreciated when chanted simply...This is the distraction that I have alluded to.
The whole purpose is to lead the chanter to dwell in the inner sense...and no music can enter that portal of Silence....Even the best of music is jarring there.
Namaskar
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 10:44:50 PM by Ravi.N »

srkudai

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Re: Aksharamanamalai
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2017, 11:19:33 AM »
Dear Ravi ji,
         :) I have a doubt here.

I am aware that Gayatri mantra, for example, has a certain chanting style that needs to be maintained. one cannot simply sing it.

But ... lets say someone does not "Feel" Devotion during simple chanting but feels it more during the singing by some singer ...

chanting in a certain way helps calm the mind. we can clearly see it by doing it. it needs no other proof.

Devotion also calms the mind.

Which should be given preference ?


Let me rephrase the question slightly different way...

suppose i go to a swami and ask for a mantra and he gives me gayatri ... and suppose i am a devotee of sri ramakrishna. simply saying ramakrishna uplifts me in devotion, but chanting gayatri also calms but is not of any devotional importance to me ...
just the name of sri ramakrishna is not a mantra in itself  in the traditional sense ...

should i chant the name of sri ramakrishna or gayatri which the swami gave me ? what is the way to decide ? pure devotion or proper chant ?? ofcourse a combination would be great ... but often times i may be devoted to a local deity for whom there is no chant as per shastras also ! :)

Love!
Silence

srkudai

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Re: Aksharamanamalai
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2017, 11:35:57 AM »
:) this is also my personal doubt Ravi ji.

Ravi.N

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Re: Aksharamanamalai
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2017, 11:37:32 AM »
Udai garu,
Do you have a doubt really?

Something is better than nothing...and a definitive thing is better than something...is it not?

Singing induced devotion and devotion induced singing?....There are grades of it in between and to each one it may vary depending on where he is.

What I have said is actually quite simple....In Akshara Mana malai,the words have a deep sense and to fully appreciate it,it demands total attention...For instance a stotra like Bhaja Govindam is sung by the doyen among singers ,MS Amma....and these are listened to in a spirit of ''Devotion''(within quotes) but whether the true inner spirit is grasped is a moot question...the melody can lull one into this sort of 'pramada'.

Hence the need to get to its purest sense through Chant wherein the words and their inner sense are given due attention....This is all that I have referred to.

It is not that I am trying to link it to the way Vedic mantras are to be chanted....Just mentioned the much greater Rigor that needs to be brought into play there....and today everything gets popularized and consequently diluted!...have heard some stotras rendered in Rock style as well.

To summarize...To derive the maximum benefit,the verses have to be internalized and the deepest import have to be contemplated...and this needs freedom from a 'raga' 'tala' timeframe and the urgency to move onto the next verse to keep the 'tune' going.

This in no way is meant to say that people who find such a 'rendering' appealing should refrain from it...If they find such a thing appealing,they may do so by all means.
Namaskar





srkudai

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Re: Aksharamanamalai
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2017, 11:45:37 AM »
Dear Ravi ji,
          :) I really understand the import of what you are suggesting.

This is a purely personal question really -- just linked to the context.

For example: i have been chanting a particular mantra of my ishta daivata ... not very often but off and on.
and then my guru gave me gayatri ... he ensured that i chant it properly by making me repeat it in proper intonation.[very kind of him]

now i am in a fix. i do see that chanting gayathri calms the mind ... but when i chant my ishta daivata mantram i do have a feeling that i am connecting with my ishta daivata , which is not there in gayatri ...

i was seeking your advice on that. perhaps out of place to link it to this post , sorry for that. I have also posted this question to Ramakrishna Mission let me see what they have to suggest.

Love!
Silence

Ravi.N

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Re: Aksharamanamalai
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2017, 12:11:28 PM »
Udai garu,
We may take up your question in the rough notebook thread...or if you think it is important to discuss it in a separate thread you may kindly open it ...as you feel appropriate.

The Reason that I have emphasized the 'exactitude' in chanting properly is on account of how the question got initiated in this thread by Jyoti....there was this eagerness to know the 'exact' way it has to be spelt and pronounced...and I have only appreciated this sort of Shraddha and it is certainly laudable that someone not familiar with the Tamizh language wants to know it whereas a million/billion tamils will not give a second thought to it!...The entire drift of what I have posted springs out of this sort of earnestness of the question.

Namaskar

srkudai

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Re: Aksharamanamalai
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2017, 12:14:14 PM »
I agree with your observations on this Ravi ji.

Jyoti

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Re: Aksharamanamalai
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2017, 08:50:17 PM »
Thanks for all the answers.  :)
I try to learn the Aksharamanamalai, but it's difficult for one who doesn't speak Tamil (or any other Indian language).

ksksat27

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Re: Aksharamanamalai
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2017, 03:01:31 PM »
Dear Ravi ji,
          :) I really understand the import of what you are suggesting.

This is a purely personal question really -- just linked to the context.

For example: i have been chanting a particular mantra of my ishta daivata ... not very often but off and on.
and then my guru gave me gayatri ... he ensured that i chant it properly by making me repeat it in proper intonation.[very kind of him]

now i am in a fix. i do see that chanting gayathri calms the mind ... but when i chant my ishta daivata mantram i do have a feeling that i am connecting with my ishta daivata , which is not there in gayatri ...

i was seeking your advice on that. perhaps out of place to link it to this post , sorry for that. I have also posted this question to Ramakrishna Mission let me see what they have to suggest.

Love!
Silence

Uday

actually your question is very nice...  actually it leads to some complex matters of mimamsa and advaita...

somewhere you touched this topic as well... about local deity having no proper reference to shashtras etc and how to do sadhana in such a case

actually it is very true...it happens... i have researched this topic so much

first my perception is, you should stick to your local ishta deivam where the flow of devotion is so much... that will yield you fruits...


I asked this question to same traditional advaita teacher Subbu sastry I believe. I forgot. 

i asked something in similar lines.... in summary he answered that if there is real devotion, no matter what the form is, what the invocation method is, one gains merit as far as brahma lokham

Bhagavan also tells clearly in Ulladhu Narpadhu that "eppayarit evuruvil yethuvinum" ... very clearly the devotional invocation will lead one to very high state...

And Maha Periaya says in devithan kural that appaya dikshitha the traditonal advaitain has told like Shiva, Vishnu and Amba with all their incarnations are Self Realized deities and hence liberation can be obtained by simple devotion to them.

nothing else is required....

what i asked was, if someone worships a guardian deity who is not Self Realized, what happends to the sadhaka...