Subscribe for Newsletters and Discounts
Be the first to receive our thoughtfully written
religious articles and product discounts.
By registering, you may receive account related information, our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. Please read our Privacy Policy for details.
.
Share
Share our website with your friends.
Email this page to a friend
By subscribing, you will receive our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. All emails will be sent by Exotic India using the email address info@exoticindia.com.

Please read our Privacy Policy for details.
|6
Your Cart (0)

Barahmasa: Songs Of Twelve Months

Article of the Month - September 2009
Viewed 34061 times since 15th Sep, 2009

...Continued from Page 1

« Previous Page

SHAD-RITUS IN OTHER SANSKRIT TEXTS AND CANONICAL LITERATURE

Rtu in Sanskrit Literature
Rtu in Sanskrit Literature

 

As regards the full length Shad-ritu-varnan in proper natural sequence, its earliest examples are found in the poetry of Kalidasa, though there are opinions that the genre had attained its fully evolved form during the period in between him and Ashwaghosa. Nature description is the core of many of Kalidasa's works - Kumarasambhava, Meghdoot, Raghuvansa among others; however it evolves in its fullest accomplished form in the Ritu-samhara. Running into six cantos the Ritu-samhara describes in detail the six seasons of the year as per Indian calendar and how with each change in the season the mood and behaviour of a young lover alters. In the Meghdoot the intensity of love-longing is far deeper. However, the Yaksha in exile weaves his passion only around the clouds and thus season description confines only to the rains. Most of the subsequent Sanskrit texts - Bhattikavya by Bhatti, Kiratarjuniya by Bharavi, Shishupala-vadha by Magha, Naishadhacharita by Shriharsha among others, have come out with season-descriptions occupying sizeable space in each.

 

The Citrasutra of The Visnudharmottara Purana (Sanskrit Text with English Translation)
The Citrasutra of The Visnudharmottara Purana (Sanskrit Text with English Translation)

Subject-matter in regard to season-description has its presence in canonical literature at least since 3rd-2nd century B. C. with its first appearance in the Natya-shashtra by sage Bharata. Basically a work of dramaturgy the Natya-shashtra directs how seasons should be represented in a drama, especially on the stage through an actor's performance - acts, gestures, facial demeanours and the like. In his Kavyadarsha, Dandin mandates that an epic should essentially include the descriptions of ocean, mountains, seasons, the moon and the sun rise, parks, gardens, water-sports and pleasures of love. The observations of Bharata and Dandin are quite brief aimed at giving some broad guidelines. It is however Rajashekhara who in his Kavyamimansha comes with all aspects of season description including each season's basic characteristic features, each season's months-wise division, temperament of each month, imagery that a poet should use in representing a season, besides how the human mind reacts to a particular season. Thus, while on one hand Rajashekhara summarized how the seasons were portrayed in prior literature, on the other, he laid the canonical standards for those aspiring to portray seasons in their writings. As in most other things, Puranas also showed interest in season-description. The Matsya Purana has a whole chapter dedicated only to the month of spring and the Samba Purana alludes to different colours of the sun in the six ritus. The Chitra-sutra in the Vishnudharmottarpurana prescribes certain general rules for the depiction of each of the four seasons.

SHAD-RITU VARNAN V/S BARAHMASA

Broadly, the genre known in the Sanskrit literature as ritu or shad-ritu-varnan is known in the literature of masses or in vernacular literature as Barahmasa, though while in the shad-ritu-varnan the annual calendar is classified into six parts, in Barahmasa, it is in twelve. In ritu-varnan the description of nature's changes is season-wise formalized and is often impersonal, in Barahmasa, it is more subtle, puritan, personal and intimate. The ritu-varnan aims at describing the aura and magic of nature as it emerges with the change of a season, or as conventionalised, though at times conjoining with it also the singer's emotions, the kernel of Barahmasa is the turmoil of a loving mind that each of nature's changes stimulates. The nature is dragged into the world of human emotions and represents the singer's own vision of it. Being formal and impersonal, shad-ritu-varnan is the genre of gentry and its literature, but intimately felt in the blood the songs of the twelve months, that is, everyday life, of lovelorn heart belong to unsophisticated, uncultivated folk. Actually, it is immaterial whether the poet perceives the cycle of time in the frame of six seasons or the twelve months, what matters is how he perceives it - formally and impersonally, or intimately and subjectively.

The Kumarasambhava and the Ramayana both are epics, but, while the Ramayana represents an amalgam of various folk traditions, the Kumarasambhava is a classic observing all set norms of poetics and other conventions. This variously characterises the nature description in the two great texts. Rama, whose divinity often reveals in the Ramayana and who is represented as Ayodhya's prince, on monsoon's onset gives vent to his feelings as would an ordinary village lad. Clouds gathering in the sky remind him of how Bharata and Sugriva are with their wives and in their kingdoms while he is without both. Such subjectivity does not reveal in the nature description of the Kumarasambhava, though it is also in context to Parvati doing penance for winning Shiva's love. Thus the ritu-varnan in the Ramayana is in Barahmasa vein, while that in the Kumarasambhava, in shad-ritu-varnan. Most Barahmasas are based on the lunar calendar having months as Chaitra, Vaishakha, Jyestha, Asadha, Sravana, Bhadaon, Ashvin, Karttika, Agrahayana, Pausha, Magha and Phalguna. Each two of them are respectively the months of Basant, Grishma, Varsha, Sharada, Hemanta and Shishira.

TYPES OF BARAHMASA

Adi Granth Paintings Raga-Ragamala & Barah-Maha
Adi Granth Paintings Raga-Ragamala & Barah-Maha

 

The Barahmasa has two basic forms, one, literary, and the other, oral. Literary Barahmasas are a part of the written literature and are endowed with poetic merit and compositional uniformity. In its other form Barahmasa is found in many oral traditions from Gujarat to Bengal and in entire north and central India. Several texts have just a part of Barahmasa, sometimes formalized as chaumasa - four months, chhayamasa - six months, or athamasa - eight months. In literary tradition there are two types of Barahmasa, one, viraha, and the other, religious. The religious Barahmasas are further divided into two categories, one spiritual, and other, personal or mundane. Kabir often talks of self as Rama's consort every moment longing to meet Him. Sikhs' first Guru Baba Nanak and fifth, Guru Arjan Deva, wove around twelve months the yearnings of his self to unite with the 'Karta Purukh' - the Creator, in the Barahmasa vein.

 

The twenty-second Jain Tirthankara Neminatha renounced the world when his marriage procession reached the house of Rajimati or Rajala, his bride. This unique situation of Rajimati's separation from Neminatha and its pangs have been the theme of a number of Barahmasa both in Jain texts and oral tradition. Kabir's metaphor and Guru Nanak's songs of twelve months comprise the spiritual type, while those of Rajimati, the mundane. Rajimati's does not class as the viraha Barahmasa, not only because it is the theme of Jains' religious texts but also because, even when personal, Rajimati's yearnings are for a Tirthankara, the highest divinity in Jain sect. The intensity of Rajimati's love for Neminatha had such sublimity that it transformed her into the Siddhi, an ascetic divine status to which none of the wives of other Tirthankaras could rise.

However, Barahmasa, oral or written, as a genre, has broad five types, namely, religious, farming-related, narrative, viraha, and the Barahmasa of chaste woman's trial. As suggest Thera-gatha songs, the religious type must have been the earliest, though its mystic dimensions might have been its later development after the emergence of devotionalism of which love was considered as the best ritual. In its initial form religious Barahmasa might have been a popular means for spreading the religious massage of Buddha and Mahavira in their respective religions. In some parts, especially Bengal, a farmer's activities round the year, described month-wise, and his pathetic condition in contrast to his enormous labour, comprised the theme of Barahmasa poetry. Almost all Barahmasas are composed in narrative form; however, some of them have epical stretch and its narrative aspect is more accentuated. Most popular form of the genre is viraha Barahmasa. The genre has yet another type sometimes known also as kutani or duti-kavya - poetry of go-between. It portrays efforts of a hero trying to seduce a woman separated from her husband through a messenger. A part of the poem comprises dialogues between the lovelorn and duti in which the duti persuades her by various temptations, and the other, the dialogue between the lovelorn and her sakhi - friend, who advises her to forget her faithless husband and enjoy the boon of her youth.

ENORMITY OF BARAHMASA MODEL IN LITERATURE, ART AND MUSIC

Saint Bulleh Shah The Mystic Muse
Saint Bulleh Shah The Mystic Muse

 

 

 

 

Not only literature, miniature painting and even music have resorted to the Barahmasa model for seeking in it narrative continuity, vivid imagery, intense emotions, lyrical fervency, rhythmic vibrancy and dramatic conflict of the worlds of man and nature, besides its mystic connotations. The mystics like the early 16th century poet Malik Mohammad Jayasi, Hindi poets like Keshavadasa, Senapati, Datta, and Deva and poets of regional languages like Mulla Daud, Bulle Shah

 

 

 

Krishna as Raga Hindola
Krishna as Raga Hindola

 

 

 

 

 

among others have resorted to Barahmasa motifs and technique. Most of the Ragas in the classical music are set in accordance to various seasons - Hindol to Basant,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ritu Grishma Varsha Sounds of the Seasons (Audio CD)
Ritu Grishma Varsha Sounds of the Seasons (Audio CD)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deepak to Grishma,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raga Megha
Raga Megha

 

 

 

 

 

 

Megha to Varsha,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadabahar Bhairav (Audio CD)
Sadabahar Bhairav (Audio CD)

 

 

 

 

 

Bhairava to Sharada,

 

 

 

 

 

Ritu Sharad - Hemant Sounds of the Seasons (Audio CD)
Ritu Sharad - Hemant Sounds of the Seasons (Audio CD)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shri to Hemanta,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ritu Shishir Basant Sounds of the Seasons (Audio CD)
Ritu Shishir Basant Sounds of the Seasons (Audio CD)

 

 

 

 

 

 

and Shishira to Malkosha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illustrative from its initiation Indian miniature painting has borrowed a lot from literature in general but Barahmasa in particular, which is one of its most important themes. It usually comprises twelve leafs serializing various seasons, sometimes the festivals occurring during such seasons, such as Holi in the month of Phalguna. In some series Radha replaces the lonely heroine. However, in most other cases it is a nayika separated from her loved one, usually a warrior, in whose context the cycle of the changing seasons is depicted. Paintings from hill states, Rajasthan and even smaller schools from Central India have resorted to Baramasa genre. Datia, one of the schools of painting in Central India, has painted a timeless series of Ashtayama, another form of Barahmasa series, now in the collection of State Museum, Lucknow.


FOR FURTHER STUDY:

Prabandha Kosha (Rajashekhara) : edited by Muni Jinavijaya, Shantiniketan, 1935.

Rig-Veda Samhita : edited by F. Maxmuller; English translation by H. Wilson, Poona.

Valmiki Ramayana : Gita Press, Gorakhpur, 1976

Vishnudharmottarapurana : Bombay, 1912; English translation by Priyabala Shah, Baroda, 1961.

V. P. Dwivedi : Barahmasa, New Delhi, 1980.

Charlotte Vaudeville : Barahmasa in Indian Literature, Delhi, 1986

Danielle Feller : The Seasons in Mahakavya Literature, Delhi, 1995

W. G. Archer : Seasonal Songs of Patna District, Man in India, v. XXII, 1952

O. D. Dalal (ed) : Neminatha Phagu in Prachina Kavya Sangraha, Baroda, 1956

Agar Chand Nahta : Barahmasa ki Prachina Parampara, in Hindi Anushilana, V.S. 2010

« Previous Page

Post a Comment
 
Post Review
  • Good Article. Even in the SANGAM LITERATURE of the south one can find a lot of information about the different seasons and not only that they even divided the area of living depending on the nature of the place like hilly , desert etc., with distinctive characters of thereon.
    by Shyamala R on 11th Oct 2009
Testimonials
I’ve received my blue scarf and I am delighted. I am impressed by your professionalism. Thank you so much! I will place another order soon.
Celine, France
Received the consignment in time. Excellent service. I place on record your prompt service and excellent way the product was packed and sent. Kindly accept my appreciation and thanks for all those involved in this work. My prayers t the Almighty to continue the excellent service for the many more years to come. Long live EXOTIC INDIA and its employees
N.KALAICHELVAN, Tamil Nadu
A very thorough and beautiful website and webstore. I have tried for several years to get this Bhagavad Gita Home Study Course from Arshavidya and have been unable. Was so pleased to find it in your store!
George Marshall
A big fan of Exotic India. Have been for years and years. I am always certain to find exactly what I am looking for in your merchandise.
John Dash, western New York, USA
I just got my order and it’s exactly as I hoped it would be!
Nancy, USA.
It is amazing. I am really very very happy with your excellent service. I received the book today in an awesome condition. Thanks again.
Shambhu, New York.
Thank you for making available some many amazing literary works!
Parmanand Jagnandan, USA
I have been very happy with your service in selling Puranas. I have bought several in the past and am happy with the packaging and care you exhibit. Thank you for this Divine Service.
Raj, USA
Thank you very much! My grandpa received the book today and the smile you put on his face was priceless. He has been trying to order this book from other companies for months now. He only recently asked me for help and you have made this transaction so easy. My grandpa is so happy he wants to order two more copies. I am currently in the process of ordering 2 more.
Rinay, Australia
I would just let you know that today I received my order. It was packed so beautifully and what lovely service.
Caroline, Australia
Subscribe to our newsletter and discounts
Share with friends
Related Links
"This middle path lies in between extreme asceticism on one side, and extreme indulgence on the other…. When standing under a Ashok tree, tired and exhausted, she raised her right hand for seeking support of a branch of the tree…. The unique balance that defined his entire life was pre-determined in this duality….One day, in the palace garden he frightened his attendants…. He ate less and less till his diet reduced to a sesame seed, and himself, to a mere skeleton…. Seven days after the attainment of enlightenment gods sent food for breaking his fast…. However, he postponed his ‘nirvana’ for three months till he visited the places he had reminiscences of."
The Light That Enlightened Millions
(The life of Buddha in the popular mind)
"The Bhagavad Gita, while describing the qualities of a wise person says…. This verse is vividly illustrated in the story of king Rantideva occurring in the Srimad Bhagavatam…. He did not believe in hoarding, was above all attachments and was highly patient…. They were all trembling due to starvation and thirst….bowed to the dogs and their owner…. What I want is only this: That I be able to go and live in the hearts of all beings and undergo sufferings on their behalf, so that they may become free from all miseries."
An Example of Living Vedanta: The Story of King Rantideva
"Only a certain fraction of this karma is chosen by God in order to form the blueprint of our next birth…. The fruit that one experiences in this birth is due to prarabdha and a portion of the present agami…. Similarly, a fish in the Ganga does not accrue punya because of always living in Ganga…. A good karma can be annulled by a bad karma and a bad one by a good one…. Sometimes we also hear that prarabdha cannot be got rid of. It has to be spent through…. Bhagawan Vyasa says that for the full result of the karma to manifest, three things are necessary…. Then how to understand the statement that prarabdha should unavoidably be experienced?"
Theory and Practice of Karma: Some Salient Features
"Once as he was engaged in puja, a saint came to visit him….Like a true householder attached to his family, Gajendra sported in the water with his wives, children and friends…. Understanding that his end was imminent, they all slowly withdrew, till Gajendra was left alone…. If we reflect on it calmly, we will realise that there is no house in the world where the story of Gajendra does not play out…. The one who is careful towards the end is able to reform his death…. Gajendra’s hymn of praise is one of the greatest philosophical poems in the annals of world literature."
Moksha of Gajendra: Liberation by The Formless God
"Vyasa Ji explained through a story how it came to be that the Pandava's marriage with a single wife was in conformity with dharma….The gods, along with their king Indra, were sitting on the bank of a river when they saw a beautiful golden lotus floating on its waters…. Both were playing a game of dice…. On hearing Shiva’s words, Indra started shaking with fear… Without death, the burden on the earth becomes too much…. Her birth had the sanction of all the three Gods - Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu."
Devi Draupadi: Resolving the Paradox
" Contrarily metaphysicians and theologians perceived his form as it manifested in the Upanishads and Puranas….The ‘Advaita’ philosophy also contends that the entire Creation is just the extension of One…. Dance illustrates one of the ever-first cosmic acts with which Shiva seems to have tamed violent motion and separated from it rhythm, moves that communicated emotions and states of mind – human mind and the cosmic, and disciplined and defined pace…. Unlike Vishnu who resorted to dance for accomplishing a contemplated objective, Shiva has been conceived more or less as a regular dancer performing for accomplishing an objective as also for pure aesthetic delight…. Unfurling locks of hair and his snakes floating into space portray the dynamics of the act."
Shiva, the Nataraja
"We assume that our happiness is the result of an interaction with external objects…. Suppose that an individual is deprived of sleep and food and pleasurable objects for a long time and then all of them are simultaneously offered to him…. Actually, seeking the answer to this question is the most significant pursuit in life…. The veil comes up again and the duality returns…. In this background, we can now analyse the nature of dukha (grief)."
Ananda: Understanding the True Nature of Happiness
"But to pull this statement out of context and give it as an advice for anyone is far from correct…. But how is one to recognise the guru? Obviously, he will be able to understand the difficulties of the disciples and clarify to them the meaning of the scriptures on the basis of logic and experience…. They will have to search in their own neighbourhood only….The guru chosen by him should be at least better than himself!…. Of course, if the ideal guru whose features have been enumerated in the beginning is available, then the sadhaka should immediately go and surrender to him…. It is just like going to another teacher for higher education, after completing the education in a school."
The Qualities of a Guru and How to Find One
"Here is a fragment from one of the most poignant episodes of Indian history…. This piece of history is from the Mahabharata…. She was dying with shame but inside, like a true kshatrani (woman of the warrior race), she was burning with anger…. I have heard that women who follow dharma were never brought before a public court….Greed is the destroyer of dharma. I do not desire a third boon…. Draupadi was as forgiving as mother earth herself…. Just then Arjuna saw his dear friend Bhagawan Krishna approaching him…. “Leave him, leave him. He is a brahmin and worthy of our worship. Their mother should not cry, like I have at the death of my children."
Analyzing the Eternal Dimensions of Dharma Through Itihasa (History)
"It concedes that for an orderly social life a division into four groups based on the principle of varnadharma is necessary…. Each individual sometimes acts in a sattvika manner while at other times he may act in rajasic or tamasic manner, which means that the manifestation of a particular guna depends on circumstances…. Though all the three gunas are present in everyone, different persons are driven to act differently…. The karma that I have to perform should depend on my inherent gunas and should have the ability to regulate these gunas…. There is no instant transition to moksha…. An individual has to make his way towards moksha only through worldly life."
Varnashrama Dharma: A Logical View
"During one such sacrifice, nine spiritually charged men entered the sacrificial hall….As for Bhagavat Dharma, it is the dharma spoken by God directly from his own mouth…. Like a person eating food finds himself gratified simultaneously in three ways…. We are all constantly taught by spiritual texts to offer or dedicate all our actions to God. However, the question remains as to how to practically carry out this injunction…..The only fruit of wealth is dharma... Therefore, there is no need for the Vedas to enjoin us to these things for which we already have a tendency….The real intention of the Vedic injunctions in these matters is to make a person abstain from them…”
Nine Teachings from Nine Yogis: The Essence of Bhagavat Dharma
"Actually, the one who worships Bhagwan Vishnu should get rich and the one who worships Shiva should become an avadhuta like Him…. Then he works hard again to acquire wealth. I render all his efforts futile…. However, Bhagawan Vishnu is not like that, it takes longer to please Him…. As a consequence, they later harassed the great God Himself…. On the seventh day, he bathed in the holy waters of Kedarnath and began to cut his head with an axe to offer into the fire…. The boy bowed respectfully before the demon and asked…. No one who commits sin against a great person can be safe and happy in this world."
Shiva and Vishnu: A Unique Aspect of Their Worship
"She has always believed that this would redeem her of her distress….A coconut, otherwise an ordinary dried fruit or the source of edible, or at the most, beauty oil, has always been revered as an auspicious object effecting good and well-being and the food that gods most loved….The tree in the Buddhist tradition was later identified as Bodhi-tree, seated under which Buddha had attained Enlightenment….Body gestures and symptoms, signs, indications among others must have been the early man’s tools of communicating oneself and knowing and understanding the world around….Kirttimukha was initially conceived as a mystical mask….Lion does not figure in the wide range of animal toys or figurines excavated from Indus sites."
Auspicious Symbols in Indian tradition
"Whenever he gets the time, he should go and live amongst people who have given up worldly life…. A wise person should serve his body and family only to the extent that is functionally necessary…. The person who lays claim on the surplus wealth is nothing but a thief…. He should share all objects of enjoyment with everyone, right down to dogs, sinners…. Such is the attachment to one’s wife….How despicable is this body, which if buried is going to become the food of worms, or excreta if eaten by animals….Since a son is to thus revere his elders even after their death, what to say that he is expected to serve them when they are alive…. The person wishing to follow the path of dharma should steer clear of the five forms of Adharma."
Narada Teaches Yuddhishtra a Householder’s Dharma
"Who would not satisfy his wife who is but his better half?…. Later, he took a bath, performed pranayama and meditating silently on the pure, eternal light, repeated internally the Gayatri Mantra…. Once it so happened that goddess Lakshmi was out of Vaikuntha…. Despite being older, they always maintain the appearance of five-year olds…. Seeing the great saints he welcomed them with reverence…. It is never for one single purpose but to fulfil many functions at the same time…. He ensured for them a glorious death."
God’s Lila, Understanding the Collective Impact of Avatara
Show More
TRUSTe online privacy certification
Language:
Currency:
All rights reserved. Copyright 2016 © Exotic India