Relationship of indian philosophy and religion to their music

Hinduism and Music - Hinduism - Oxford Bibliographies

relationship of indian philosophy and religion to their music

Religion in India is characterised by a diversity of religious beliefs and practices. India is a secular state with no state religion. The Indian subcontinent is the birthplace of four of the world's major religions; namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Many other world religions also have a relationship with Indian spirituality, such as the. Indian philosophy, the systems of thought and reflection that were developed by the the nature of knowledge (epistemology), ethics, and the philosophy of religion. In relation to Western philosophical thought, Indian philosophy offers both. The Society for Indian Philosophy and Religion seeks to meet a need among philosophers, scholars of religion, specialists of Asian Studies, and other scholars.

Beginning roughly in the fourteenth century ce, poet-saints created repertoires of Hindu devotional songs that combined both musical and poetic properties of rasa. The emergence of the devotional repertoires was significant for the spread of vernacular musical practice across regional, linguistic, and sectarian borders.

relationship of indian philosophy and religion to their music

The most widespread form of Hindu devotional music is bhajan -singing. The concept of bhajan relates both to a specific vocal genre and to the performance practices necessary for communal singing.

As genre and repertoire, the bhajan is remarkably accessible, consisting often of a very brief text, in which textual formulae, particularly forms of the names of Hindu deities e. The relatively simple texts also ensure mobility, making it possible to move bhajan repertoires across linguistic borders and to gather them in such ways that they could become the primary song form accompanying Hindu pilgrims.

Musically, too, formulae, such as antiphonal patterns in which a leader is followed by a chorus singing the same text and melody, invite rather than encumber participation. The social context of bhajan -singing is communal, both when performed privately and when performed publicly.

Homes, temples, and community centers sometimes called bhajan halls serve as the gathering place for the intensive performances. Modern technologies, particularly the widespread and inexpensive dissemination of bhajan s on audio cassette, continue to make devotional song one of the most widely practiced of all musical genres in South Asia at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Buddhism Buddhist music is important in modern South Asia not so much because of extensive presence, but rather because of the ways it contains fundamental historical-aesthetic concepts about the ontology of music and because its practices provide bridges to the music of East and Southeast Asia. Buddhism survives into the twenty-first century primarily in the north and the northeast, especially Tibet, and in the south, almost entirely in Sri Lanka. The musical practices of the two areas of South Asian Buddhism differ considerably.

Monasticism dominates Tibet, and musical practices there represent the ritual practices of monastic life, itself an epistemological realization of the cycles of birth and rebirth. Historically, Buddhism has provided a theological impetus for unity and egalitarianism in Indian religion.


The rise of Buddhist thought in the centuries following the Buddha's life c. From the earliest centuries, Buddhism opened up new possibilities for the contemplation of the external world primarily through mental and spiritual processes. Contemplation, moreover, achieved its highest form through various practices that required discipline, in particular that which takes place in monastic settings. For Indian musical practices, the fundamental principles of Buddhism have been significant for several reasons.

Aesthetically, Buddhist thought opened epistemological possibilities for resolving the tensions between elite and vernacular musical practices. In Buddhist devotion, contemplating sound itself is the most efficacious form of meditation. The sound universe of Buddhist devotion is encountered through various forms of ritual and worship. The contemplation of sound requires both the listening to and the production of music.

relationship of indian philosophy and religion to their music

Chanting is particularly important as a communal experience, in which vocal performance requires an intense awareness of the relation between individual melody lines and the overall texture of the group's chants; in other words, Buddhist chanting entails heterophonic singing, in which individuality and communality are at once distinct and merged.

Melodic ideas remain anchored in an understanding of the Buddha's teachings, that is, in a practice known as sarabhanna, in which a sustained choral sound elongates text across slowly moving pitches virtually devoid of ornaments.

At the same time, Buddhist musical practice contains many of the structural features of Indian music. Critically important, for example, is that sound be unbroken, which in turn means that chanters employ overlapping phrases.

Weighted tones, moreover, anchor chanting, and because of the seeming absence of phrases, the sound of chanting produces a sense of deployment around a drone pitch. Sustained choral chanting and the maintenance of an unbroken flow of sound characterize Tibetan Buddhist worship.

relationship of indian philosophy and religion to their music

In Tibet, however, percussion instruments—bells, cymbals, and drums—produce a much more articulated feeling of pulse and rhythm, in which the temporal qualities of music are not entirely anchored to sacred texts. Tibetan instrumental ensembles may become quite large, and monastic repertoires may become highly stylized and distinct from chanting. Though Buddhist religious and musical thinking so emphatically provides a framework for music in South Asia, musical practice is by no means unchanging.

Buddhist repertoires are diverse, as are the ways Buddhists achieve unity and devotion through the contemplation of sound and music. Islam From the first settlements of Muslim peoples in South Asia in the eighth century ce until the sixteenth century, when the Persian-speaking Mughal Empire established a firm foothold in North India, Islam became an increasing presence in South Asian culture and music.

Despite its proscriptions against music in some contexts, Islam offered South Asians an alternative approach to the cultivation and performance of music. As a whole, Muslim music making was more egalitarian than that of Hinduism, and just as Islam attracted converts because of the openness of its religious doctrines, so too did it multiply the possibilities of music making, in both sacred and secular domains of society.

The Concept of Emotion in Classical Indian Philosophy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

In many areas of cultural and musical life, Islam proved to be flexible, encouraging regional diversity in the music of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, and Bengal, all of which can claim classical music systems of their own in the twenty-first century.

The Muslim regions also fostered extensive musical exchange with the Middle East and Central Asiawhich enriched the diversity of musical genres and introducing new instruments and instrumental ensembles.

The Indianization of music that has led to unity throughout India has an historical counterpoint in the Muslim areas of the North, namely Islamicization. Roughly speaking, Islamicization results when a musical concept, form, theoretical system, or ensemble structure undergoes a transformation allowing it to express the cultural distinctiveness of North India or Pakistan. One of the earliest forms of Islamicization is evident in the cultivation of Mughal miniature paintings from the sixteenth century onward.

Imported with the Mughal settlement from Persia, miniature-painting frequently included musical subject matter revealing the many ways in which music and musicians were crossing religion-based musical boundaries.

relationship of indian philosophy and religion to their music

Islamicization is particularly prominent in the modern era—for example, in the modes of popular music that make room for devotional practice e. In this sense, Islamicization is far less a process of restricting musical activity than a means of expanding the religious significance that South Asian musics have worldwide.

The musical genres of Muslim South Asia fall into two general categories: In the case of both categories it is critical to understand just how music finds its place in Islam. Scriptural pronouncements about musical practice in Islam are very much open to interpretation, both because of their ambivalence and because of their paucity.

South Asian practice, especially in Pakistan, where Islam is also the state religion, suggests a fairly orthodox and literal interpretation of the position of music in Islamic society. On one hand, music in the strictest sense, especially music including instruments, does not have an official place in the institutions of public worship.

Sacred musics in Muslim South Asia respond to these positions in various ways, and their reception throughout the world thus varies as well.

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Devotional music in Muslim South India is very widespread, and it provides aesthetic and cultural continuity across the borders of the three largest nations with Muslim populations, namely India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The shrines and saintly lineages around which certain repertoires coalesce have local and international aspects, which reveals the extent to which the borders of the northern parts of South Asia have remained contested through history.

Discussion Points Some of the questions that will allow us to outline the discussion are: The abstract should highlight the line of research, theoretical basis and methodological proposal or analytical process. It should state the importance of the proposal simply and clearly.

relationship of indian philosophy and religion to their music

If a panel is proposed as a consolidated research group, the AMEST Academic Committee shall respect the proposal and the participation of each member of the group. In the case of suggestions for round tables with members who are not part of a consolidated research group, the AMEST Scientific Committee shall evaluate the proposals and make the final selections.

They will make the final selection of all the speakers and round tables that meet the theoretical and methodological requirements.

Hindustani Classical Music and Spirituality | Mahavidya

Rulings The results of the accepted papers will be announced in September Buddhism as a religion is practised mainly in the foothills of the Himalayas and is a significant religion in SikkimArunachal Pradeshthe Ladakh district in Jammu and KashmirDarjeeling in West Bengal and the Lahaul and Spiti districts of Himachal Pradesh.

Besides, a significant number of Buddhists reside in Maharashtra. Ambedkar embraced Buddhism in order to escape the casteist practices within Hinduism. Ambedkar is a crucial figure, along with Anagarika Dharmapala of Sri Lanka and Kripasaran Mahasthavira of Chittagong behind the revival of Buddhism in India in the 19th and 20th centuries. The effective religion in Sikkimwhich joined the Indian Union in making it India's 22nd state remains Vajrayana Buddhismand Padmasambhava or Guru Ugyen is a revered presence there.

Jainism is a non-theistic Indian religion and philosophical system originating in Iron Age India. As ofthere were Punjab is the spiritual home of Sikhs, and is the only state in India where Sikhs form a majority. There are also significant populations of Sikhs in neighbouring ChandigarhDelhi and Haryanawhich were historically part of Punjab.