Can Carnatic musicians sing Christian songs set to Carnatic music?

Carnatic music has its own tradition and goals confined to Hinduism.

Can Carnatic musicians sing Christian songs set to Carnatic music?
Can Carnatic musicians sing Christian songs set to Carnatic music?

Carnatic music should not be the carrier of those Gods. Carnatic Ragas are carriers of specific deities, particularly Vedic deities

A huge furore is being witnessed now in the social media and among ardent followers of Carnatic music over reports of popular Carnatic singers singing songs on Christ set to Carnatic music. The reactions have been varied but one cannot deny the agenda of cultural appropriation behind this trend. Having tried many techniques for harvesting the Hindu souls right from the times of Roberto de Nobili of the 16th century by donning the Hindu symbols, the Christian marketing team seems to have come around to getting popular Hindus of the day to don the Christian robe. That these Hindus happen to be or are supposed to be the torchbearers of Carnatic music is the reason behind the instant outrage against them.

Dr Nithyasree Mahadevan says that she sang the songs to “to bolster communal peace and harmony”

For the Carnatic music lovers, taught by the Tyagaraja Kriti “Sangeeta gnaanamu” that devotion is the purpose of music this response is something odd. Aren’t there others to take care of communal harmony?  As one who grew up in gurukul type of learning from her own mother and illustrious grandmother Smt D.K. Pattammal, she owes an explanation whether this was the goal with which she was groomed in Carnatic music. Her grandmother had sung for national causes but could she ever have thought that her prized granddaughter is going to use the skills learned from her to praise Jesus someday? Let Nithyasree do soul searching.

Another musician, Chitravina N Ravikiran came in support of O.S. Arun with a justification that

“..more listeners from diverse religions are likely to end up becoming Carnatic fans where they may end up getting hopelessly impacted by the predominantly high majority of songs on Hindu deities!”

What a childish thought! Is there any missionary compulsion for Carnatic musicians to increase the number of Carnatic fans? What they could not achieve by their songs on Hindu Gods, they want to achieve by singing on Jesus Christ!  By his own logic, the new fans are going to come for the songs on Jesus and Carnatic music is only a means. The popularity quotient of these musicians is an additional attraction. And these musicians are willing to sell their image to attract more people sing their songs on Jesus!

In support of his view, he quoted his concert at Madison Square accompanied by artists from different religions and wondered if it made them betrayers of their religion?

They aren’t, for, they gave the instrumental support only to show their talent in fusion music. It was meant to be an entertainment in which they set the music to their tunes and not to Carnatic tunes.

Similarly he or Nithyasree or any other Carnatic musician is free to sing any western song or a song on Jesus in Christian music, but definitely not in Carnatic music. Carnatic music has its own tradition and goals confined to Hinduism.

This is unacceptable to the Magsaysay awardee T.M.Krishna for whom the current uproar “comes from an RSS-BJP, a very extreme right-wing kind of thought process.” He says that “music belongs to everybody; it belongs to Rama, it belongs to Jesus, to Allah and even to atheists. The best thing musicians can do is sing and I’ll do the same”.

He is free to sing about any God, but should he use Carnatic music for that is the question. He rejects the idea of Moksha or Bhakti related to Carnatic music and accuses that Carnatic music is not taken to masses. This kind of thought processes of modern day musicians had led to the current situation.

In this backdrop let us look at the basic questions heard around us.

  • Should Carnatic musicians sing on Gods of other religions?

They can sing if they want. It is individual freedom.

  • Can they use Carnatic music for songs of other religions?

No, they can’t. Carnatic music should not be the carrier of those Gods. Carnatic Ragas are carriers of specific deities, particularly Vedic deities. There is a tradition still continuing in our temples to invoke Vedic Gods by means of specific Rāgas meant for them. In a temple ritual called “Nava Sandhi Koutthuvam” approved by agamic tradition, the nine directional Gods (including Brahma at the centre) are worshiped by means of specific Rāgas and Tālās. In Srirangam temple, akasha is worshipped as the 10th direction!

Rāga is a unique Indian innovation that traces its origin to Sāma Veda. The multi-tonal Vedic chants with different notes called svarita, udatta and anudatta are the basis for rāgas. The folk music of Tamil Sangam age has a parallel to this system and one finds that each of the 5 landforms of that period had their own Pa (Rāga) and Tālā. They were all directed at the deity of this land. What is important is that the Paṇ of a land and deity was not used for another land and another deity. Will Nithyasree and others take a leaf from them? Nithyasree’s song on Jesus is in Sankarabharanam, the Rāga of Jewel of Sankara! That much for their respect for Carnatic music!

Before they want to step into singing for other Gods, they must know that there is so much to explore in Carnatic music and folk music, a facet of it is found in the 17th chapter of Silappadhikaram. Here is a sample from the lecture- demonstration of S.Swaminathan and Uma Swaminathan titled “Indian Musical Heritage”.

  • Why shouldn’t they, after all, isn’t music Universal?

The straight answer is no for Carnatic music for other religions. Music is universal, but the only common music for all people is perhaps the lullaby that calms down a child. But it has an identity in Carnatic music as Rāga Neelambari. Once the child grows up music becomes exclusive for regions, developed by the indigenous people. Every religion has its own music. Christian songs are best heard in their music. Would it sound good to hear about Rama and Krishna in carols? The same holds good for Jesus in Carnatic music.

There is also the concept of Metres that can be traced to Vedas. All the poetic creations including Ramayana by Valmiki are set to certain metres and were musical in rendition. Why a certain metre is given preference over the other is by itself a subject for research. The development of Carnatic music from metres is also worthy of research. A highly trained and successful singer is expected to be a guardian of these concepts and through that the musical tradition itself. It is comparable with how the Vedic pundits are expected to safe guard the Vedas and the temple priests, the temple tradition. When a singer violates this, it is proof enough that he or she has not imbibed the concept and tradition of Carnatic music.

  • Do we complain against persons of other religions singing on Hindu Gods – a popular example being K.J.Yesudas?

We don’t find fault with anyone singing Hindu Gods. Nor do we find fault with those singing gods of other religions. We only say sing in the say that is suitable for those Gods. Yesudas didn’t sing Hindu Gods in Christian music. His long innings in Carnatic music has a lesson for all those who want to take Carnatic music to Christianity. By his continuous connect with Carnatic music Yesudas had become a Hindu himself which we could see in his trips to Hindu shrines and recently to Sabari Mala by following due rituals meant for that pilgrimage. It underlines the fact that one becomes what one sings or thinks.

The Christian songs that the new age singers promote would definitely alter their receptiveness to Hindu Gods in due course. Their followers from Hindu fold would also fall a prey to that trend by starting to sing their songs on Jesus. So a reverse osmosis is very much possible. This is in addition to the underlying motive of conversion by cultural appropriation.  Will the singers realise that they are becoming tools of conversion?

Note:
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

Dr Jayasree Saranathan

Dr. Jayasree Saranathan is a researcher, writer and astrologer with a Ph.D. in Astrology. Her research areas include Indology, Hindu Epics, Tamil Sangam literature and Astro-meteorology.

47 COMMENTS

  1. It is sad that we forget to understand GOD takes avatharas throughout the world. Jesu, Mohamad Nabhi, Buddha et al., are take avataras in different parts of the world speaking different languages. Thus, Krishana in India can be Jesus in Jerusalem and so on. We pretend to be pure Hindus but ask your self do you live like a real Hindu performing historical rituals? Music, Knowledge and inventions belong to the whole Vasudeva Kudumpakam. Mayavaram Vedanayam Pillai was a Christian and his ong “Karuna Laya Nidhiye” is about Jesus yet Karnatick Musician sing as though it is a devotion to Lord Parameswaran. There is no such thing as Hindu GOD or Muslim GOD or Christian GOD or anything. It is an ultimate inner eternal feeling of happiness without regard to the enviornment. Let the Christian sing and it is not going to destroy Hinduism. What destroys Hinduism is phony Hindus who have become selfish and do not care about other human beings. Yes, Chrisitian conversion is about making poor people pay 10% of their earnings to Church and creating Pedophiles. It is the Politicians who should prevent conversion as we may become slaves to Christian Church as in the West. Karnatik music does not depend on any one. It will thrive even if Hinggins Bhagavar sang Ennaramum undan saanidhil irukka vendum ayyaaa.. If we belive in our GOD, he/she will take care of it.

  2. An article worth reading. Reveals many hidden facts not easily understood in the normal course. Musicians are just instruments who render a composition of some author or their own. Where they render another author’s composition, they have no right to meddle with the sahitya. In addition, as the author rightly points out, Carnatic music is devoted to deities worshipped by indigenous people and hence belongs to them. To assume that some silly singer can manipulate Carnatic music and aim to get endorsement from the public is utter nonsense. T. M. Krishna unfortunately does not realise the heavy weight of Carnatic music and he is a weak weight lifter. The weight of Carnatic music will crush him. That day is not far.

  3. Why only Christians ate trying these kind of things? For them religion is a tool to enslave people and control the world. No spiritual religion will do sich cheap things that is imitating other religions to convert ppl and create instability.

  4. If T.M.Krishna has the guts, he should present a full concert glorifying the Gods of other religions. He should also announce that his concert is intended to praise Gods of religions other than Hindus. Yes!. He may succeed in presenting a concert with audience conspicuous by their absence.

  5. An artist has the freedom to do what he wants to do while creating a work of art. But in that process if he causes hurt to someone else he should exercise restraint. If a painter wants to paint Hindu goddesses in the nude in the name of artiststic freedom that is certainly not welcome!

  6. It is a complete stupidity to deny any GOD of any faith. There is only one universal GOD, but people of different faith call GOD with different names or see him in different forms.
    The main problem is with these crazy / fanatic religious pandits who are separating GODs in different faith to keep their religious powers in their own faith.
    I pray to the only one universal GOD to punish these crazy religious pandits and make this world a better place for all.

    • Who says God is one? Why not half God or Quarter God? Who gave you this number? What religion you are talking about? How do you know that God is “1”? Who are you to say this? Do not tread into an argument about which you have not even spent one second of time. Keep quiet.

  7. Once Sri Thygarajar was asked to sing in praise of a king for which he was promised lot of wealth. But Sri Thygarajar declined saying that his tongue could only praise Lord Rama. Now these shameless singers are stealing his composition to make money. Let the curse of Sri Thygarajar be on these singers. Let us boycott these singers henceforth.

  8. Muthuswamy Dikshadar has written 40 Sanskrit kirtans – because of his influence with British rulers, Venkatakrishna Mudaliar used to take Dikshadar along with him to the Fort – after watching the band performance the Dikshadar brought out the idea of including violin in Carnatic music – Muthuswamy Dikshadar beginning to observe keenly the violin music format – only thereafter he wrote the 40 Sanskrit kirtans – these Sanskrit kirtan are till date called the English Notes –

  9. We hindus are fully responsible for this and we become extinct if our tolerance goes beyond the limit and as a result these incidences are happening and will happen

  10. Nithyashree has sung on Prabhakaran a rank terrorist who was responsible for the death of so many people. All musicians have freedom to sing on whomever they can as long they do not claim any service to music, community etc. Their only aim is to earn money in $$ from any thing they do. They are all business owners catering to multiple customers as long as their profits grow. Profit is their only motive and people who claim they do service are only fooling themselves.

  11. Dear maam
    The day tmkrishna packed his kit half way a concert we know how much respect he has for his audience. The day he refused to sing during holy Margazhi we know good influences are moving away from him.
    Nityashree money matters more now. Pray for sadhbudhi.

    Let us not worry much about shallow comments of few without understanding pristine nadhabrahmam.

    Thanks again for yr services

  12. All My christian friends should be in their limits. DON’T PROVOKE HINDUS LIKE THIS. If you do so, we will retaliate. For your action there will be equal reaction.

  13. Wow…. Just wow…. I am pretty sure that day is not far away when Christians are outright banned from even attending carnatic concerts. But I promise, till the day I die, I’ll enjoy carnatic music. I’ll make whatever compositions I see fit. I am a metal guitarist primarily and have been using carnatic ragas in my riffs and solos for the longest time. Now let’s trigger some ‘sanatana dharma’ folks, shall we?

    All my metal songs were literally about death, darkness, chaos, atheism and so on and so forth. I enjoy them heavily and so do my friends(from all religions too… Take a moment and wrap your head around that) . That is the the only thing that matters to me. Anybody who is offended can do whatever they like. Kill me, stone me… Whatever. I’ll not bullied by some cavemen into surrendering my artistic freedom. Just to be clear, I use carnatic ragas because they are freaking amazing to listen to and to my ears, is the peak of melodic exploration in any genre of music. When I want harmony in my music, I will stick to western music because carnatic music is totally lacking in complex harmony or even basic harmony, one could argue. Are we clear?

    And also…. I AM A CHRISTIAN BY BIRTH. I don’t go around telling people to convert to Christianity. Some idiots do and that is not my problem. If you guys are not insecure about your religion, that should be the same state of mind you all ought to have, logically.

    For crying out loud,haven’t any of you listened to Film music? Forget Jesus christ… How about when there are literally hundreds of songs in movies, set to carnatic raga, that talk about sex. Yes….sex. Let’s revel in the moksha or bhakti aspect of sex, right? Oh God… It is literally impossible not to mock people like you.

    Now let’s take things a step further… What do you exactly want? What is the state of existence that you are aiming for? That all religions bow down to the ‘one true religion’ of our land and live in subservience to it? Yeah, right. Dream on children. I am an Indian and as long as I don’t break any laws, I can do whatever I please. Anyone who can’t understand that, needs to get their head examined. Whew!!! That was certainly a load of my chest.
    To have the absolute balls(or maybe the absence of a brain?) to say that music is not universal…. Bunch of loonies. I used to super diplomatic with my replies regarding this issue, but enough is enough. Adios Creeps!!!!

    • The issue is not with all religions bow down to one or with Christians or even with Jesus. The issue is with Church – not the community Church you all cherish and draw solace from, but the Church as a machine of indoctrination that says other paths are false! And the Church as an intervening force into all matters beyond your community! And the international nexus behind it!

      So you can be whatever you want and be the drudge of humanity for all I care. But the singers sang for a specific sponsor whose background is well known. Go check!!

  14. If so called Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life (as ALSO observed by Supreme Court), who can claim it’s parentage ? Which deity ? The population of gods in Hindu culture, is thrice the population of my state Kerala. So which deity do you claim as the patron of Carnatic Music ?
    Just because majority of the works in Carnatic Music were written for Hindu gods, which Hindu god came and told you that Carnatic Music should be used for praising ONLY us ?
    While Muthu Swamy Deekshithar adopted an instrument (violin) which was invented by a Christian, in Carnatic concerts, didn’t everybody accept it with pin drop silence ? Did someone came with the myth of Ravanahata ?
    When Ilayaraja sir used choral music which was originated from European chambers of Bishops and Priests, to create THIRUVASAGAM symphony, where was Manikavasagar ? Did he come with any objection ? Point out for me if you can, whether there was one Carnatic musician who criticized the track “I met Bach at my house” from the album “How To Name It”, while it brought parallelly, Vatapi Ganapathim and Partita in E Major..
    So it appears that only Jesus Christ should stay away from Carnatic Music and not his followers or any technique brought by a non Hindu to embrace the beauty of Carnatic Music. May I see the logic ?
    And did you personally get any statement of Dasettan that he became a Hindu ? For that he is visiting temples ? Last time when ‘Mathrubhumi’ went to interview him, he was drawing a picture of Jesus Christ. So is he a half Christian and half Hindu ?
    I don’t understand the very idea of people, sadly the EDUCATED too, trying to separate art, culture and thereby humanity itself, by the shit named religion.
    Please get the meaning of the famous keerthana by Thyagaraja – EndarO mahAnu bhAvulu :: antariki vandanamulu.. the man who usually opens his mouth only to praise lord Rama, was mesmerized by the performance of Shatkala Govindamarar before singing this wonder in Sree Ragam.
    Its all about the creativity that can be created using the same set of seven notes. When you crucify someone who sang in praise of Jesus in Kalyani, if he says – “Madam it wasn’t Kalyani, I sang it in Lydian mode”, will your problem get over ?

    No god or community has got patent for Carnatic music for the current fury.
    If you don’t want to hear an artist using Hindolam or Shanmukhapriya to praise other gods, put a headset in and listen to Samajavaragamana or Siddhi Vinayagam.

    The writer of this article should in deed, be recommended for a Magsaysay, for “UNITING” the thoughts Carnatic enthusiasts, for the sake of crores of gods.

    Reply
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    • 1. You say Hinduism is a way of life. What does it convey?
      It means Naturally grown. That Hindus had imbibed music from Nature is best understood from the Anupallavi of Sangeeta Gyanam kriti “Brungi Natesha Sameeraja Ghataja Mataanga Naaradhadulupasimche” This music is copyrighted with these Gods and sages. Gods of other ‘religions’ cannot claim a share in this.

      2. You refer to huge ‘population of Gods’ and ‘crores of Gods’ in Hindu culture. Please name the crores of Gods to show the world what you know about Hindu Gods.

      3. According to you Muthuswamy Deekshitar adopted an instrument invented by a Christian. But that instrument in his hand had brought out the praise of Hindu Gods only, not Christian Gods.

      4. You referred to Ilayaraja’s Thiruvasagam symphony – but note the point that he used it to sing the praise of Hindu Gods. In the context read this blog on Mahaperiyava’s words on conversion into Christianity https://mahaperiyavaa.blog/2018/08/09/taking-my-post-down/ Mahaperiyava recounted that Arthur Kostler and Christians who came to see him saw “Jesus” in him. Many people from foreign countries who came to see him, saw their God in him. This happened for a Hindu sage, imagine what it would be for the Hindu God. You can see Jesus or any other God in a Hindu God, but you can’t see Hindu Gods in Jesus. That is the message. Then why bring in Jesus in Carnatic music that was copyrighted with Brungi Natesha and others?

      5. On Yesudas: Dasettan is Christian or Hindu, I don’t know. But I know that Christian groups roped in Nithyasree and others and not Yesudas to propagate their mission. Why? Can Yesudas lure non Christians to Christianity by his songs? No. He made more Hindus to become deeply religious Hindus. That is where he stands and where the singers under discussion had failed.

      6. The talk of art. Carnatic music cannot be restricted as an art while it is very much part of the ‘way of life’.

      7. You have roped in Endaro Mahanubhavulu – Wherever Mahanubhavas are there, they are all respected. In that sense Vandanam to Jesus. But all the Mahanubhavas glorified Brahmanda swaroopa of God knowing the secrets of Bhagavata, Ramayana, Gita and so on (Bhagavata Ramayana Gita shruti….) Those who realised the secret of these texts will use Carnatic music to glorify Hindu Gods and not any Mahanubhava of other religions.

      8. Thanks for reminding about the patent rights. It is high time Carnatic music is patented as Heritage of Hinduism. The earliest reference to sapta swaras comes in the 1st century Tamil text Silappadhikaram as “Kural, thuttham ….” etc. This had pre-dated Silappadhikaram date as it is part of the ‘ Aichiyar Kuravai’ the traditional musical dance of Yadava women. A broken sutra in Tamil says that there were 11,990 ‘Aadhi isai’ (ancient music). This is mentioned in the ancient commentary to Silappadhikaram. In the verse starting from “Aadal, paadal, isaiye, thamizhe…” in the 3rd chapter of Silappadhikaram a long list of music-types and instruments are given. These are enough to claim patent rights for Carnatic music as the heritage of Hindus and Hinduism. Hope this is realised soon.

      • Very good reply. In fact I wanted to write the same points, but you wrote them convincingly. Thanks.
        Everyone, pl understand that the issue is about luring hindus to convert to Christianity and not about music being universal, being an art, blah blah.
        Objecting to some wrong practices is not insecurity.

  15. Very beautifully written article with a lot of reference and quotes. Thanks a lot madam for penning a such a befitting reply for that brainwashed singers…Let Sanatana Dharma prevail eternally over this land …

  16. 1.Soon we can see these guys holding cup of Wine as Prasada of Jesus.
    2. Mahadevan forecasted well in advance and took early decision.
    3. They can go to Jerusalem n sing further for better remuneration.
    4. Shri. Yesudas sung great songs of Krishna, Ayyappan etc.. there is a reference, they lived in India.
    5. What way Jesus is connected with India, there is no history… It is purely boasting the religion.

    Saints wrote songs due to atmost affection, trust and divinity, that too in poverty.

    These faithless artists are iniquitous.

  17. Your explanation of sangIta gnAmu bhakti vinA is not accurate. The conjunction is an “and” between the two and the second one is not a predicate clause. The accurate translation would be sangIta gnAnam and bhakti , without these… That also puts sangIta gnAnam in its own high pedestal. The true meaning of sangIta must be known first. That itself is divine. We have a cosmology of sound independent of other cosmologies. Agamas may use sangIta as an offering, but raga and raginis are devatas in their own right. So lets not limit ourselves. And I am pained to see the narrative confined only to melody. Language and music are synonymous. Dr Sri Harikesanallur Muthiah bhagavatar in his first ever work sangIta kalpadruma – the one that earned him Phd , gives a svaroopa lakshana for ‘sa’ the first svara syllable and that is extendable to all Indian languages including tamizh which utilizes that syllable. A bag of air confined and pierced with a pin emits ‘ssss’ added with primordial ‘aaa’ becomes ‘sa’ and hence regarded as first creation.

    So you see ‘sa:’ is the pursha, whereas declensions go like ‘tasya’. Also ‘sa’ is the last stressful syllable in the varna mala. ‘ha’ is an open stress free that connects us with the cosmos. ‘m’ is a closed syllable and a vowel as a bindhu as well. So in bramha , ‘m’ and ‘ha’ take part.

    Secondly we seem to trace the notes to sama veda, but we forgot all about letters, time measures and meter. Hindus have walked out with no compunction from a mridangam tani in droves to reach the canteen!

    Mridangists were once not even paid enough to maintain their instruments!

    Not many a Hindu temple in North America where Hindus have all the freedom to build anything, have built a good sound box auditorium as a mark of respect for sangIta dEvata. Where they could get Western classical music also and enforce their view of divinity of sound.

    Ask Hindus to measure up first! This is not about Gods and we have deities not Gods! ISvara tatva is not same as God.

    • It is not clear what you want to convey. A lot of confused thoughts that serve no purpose. One example: Your argument “sangIta gnAmu bhakti vinA is not accurate. The conjunction is an “and” between the two and the second one is not a predicate clause. The accurate translation would be sangIta gnAnam and bhakti , without these…” totally incorrect. Without bhakti gnanam cannot exist. You can experiment it yourself. You are totally wrong in brining in the conjunction ‘and’ which clearly shows your limitation in understating abstract things. I do not want to dwell on the rest of the garbage you have written.

  18. Oh God! The greats of music like Purandara Dasa, Trinity of Music etc., forever sang in praise of Gods & demigods described in Vedas for the welfare of humanity, whereas these unethical beings like nityasrees & krishnans with unbridled & self driven enthusiasm made a mockery of the very illustrious lineage of the system which they were thought of the custodians of the Carnatic music. Shame on them.!

  19. If so called Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life (as ALSO observed by Supreme Court), who can claim it’s parentage ? Which deity ? The population of gods in Hindu culture, is thrice the population of my state Kerala. So which deity do you claim as the patron of Carnatic Music ?
    Just because majority of the works in Carnatic Music were written for Hindu gods, which Hindu god came and told you that Carnatic Music should be used for praising ONLY us ?
    While Muthu Swamy Deekshithar adopted an instrument (violin) which was invented by a Christian, in Carnatic concerts, didn’t everybody accept it with pin drop silence ? Did some one came with the myth of Ravanahata ?
    When Ilayaraja sir used choral music which was originated from European chambers of Bishops and Priests, to create THIRUVASAGAM symphony, where was Manikavasagar ? Did he come with any objection ? Point out for me if you can, whethere there was one Carnatic musician who criticized the track “I met Bach at my house” from the album “How To Name It”, while it brought parallely, Vatapi Ganapathim and Partita in E Major..
    So it appears that only Jesus Christ should stay away from Carnatic Music and not his followers or any technique brought by a non Hindu to embrace the beauty of Carnatic Music. May I see the logic ?
    And did you personally get any statement of Dasettan that he became a Hindu ? For that he is visiting temples ? Last time when ‘Mathrubhumi’ went to interview him, he was drawing a picture of Jesus Christ. So is he a half Christian and half Hindu ?
    I don’t understand the very idea of people, sadly the EDUCATED too, trying to separate art, culture and thereby humanity itself, by the shit named religion.
    Please get the meaning of the famous keerthana by Thyagaraja – EndarO mahAnu bhAvulu :: antariki vandanamulu.. the man who usually opens his mouth only to praise lord Rama, was mesmerized by the performance of Shatkala Govindamarar before singing this wonder in Sree Ragam.
    Its all about the creativity that can be created using the same set of seven notes. When you crucify someone who sang in praise of Jesus in Kalyani, if he says – “Madam it wasn’t Kalyani, I sang it in Lydian mode”, will your problem get over ?

    No god or community has got patent for Carnatic music for the current fury.
    If you don’t want to hear Yesudas or anybody using Hindolam or Shanmukhapriya to praise other gods, put a headset in and listen to Samajavaragamana or Siddhi Vinayagam.

    The writer of this article should in deed, be recommeded for a Magsaysay, for “UNITING” the thoughts Carnatic enthusiasists, for the sake of crores of gods.

    • Your thoughts clearly show how incomplete you are and how you try to mimic like monkeys by singing Jesus in Kalyani. Do not worry monkeys can do a better job than you in mimicry. What you are trying to do is to enjoy the beauty of a language like tamil in English not in Tamil. What great imagination you have? Whatever Hinduism is, for people like you who have an intelligent quotient less than chimpanzees, it will be a hopeless effort to drive some simple facts into your brain. Yes Illaya raja might have used choral music which was originated from European chambers of Bishops and Priests, to create THIRUVASAGAM symphony but Tiruvasagam and name of Manikkavachagar have withstood the test of time because the indigenous people practiced it for their purpose of worshipping their preferred deities. In the case of those Bishops and priests who would have heard the music of Illyaraja, if at all they heard it, what would have happened? Did you think, you bum? Did you think? It would have been cacophony in their ears. Why, to your own ears, this music of Illyaraja would have meant nothing except that they were some notes of music. Do you understand the difference? You have such garbage in your top chamber you do not understand the very essence of Carnatic music. By giving horrible examples you have exposed yourself as a useless and stupid person. That is net outcome of your write up.

  20. I remember in the name of taking music to masses, DK and other anti-Hindu parties, organised Carnatic music sung by their own singers(!) with all lyrics denouncing Hindu gods and, of course, ridiculing Brahmins. But even their followers never attended such comedy shows and now it is abandoned. Now, the Christian missionaries, with money power have lured Carnatic Music star singers and in the name of secularism and broadmindedness, they are supporting what they are doing. Worse is to sing Tyagayyar kirtanas substituting Yesu in place of Ram and singing. Only boycotting these musicians will teach them properly. The Sabhas should ignore these musicians in coming seasons. This is my humble request.

  21. Money is important. Artists need to feed themselves and their families. It is fine for assorted salaried people (many of them serving their US masters through their employers) to point fingers at traditional artists in India. They should look where the thumb is pointing.

    Hindu religion and traditions have little hope if those who uphold them are not kept well funded.

  22. Smt. Nithyasree Mahadevan has not only sold her Name but also tarnished her Grandmother Smt. D. K. Pattammal’s name. She has indeed gone a step further and did a thing which nobody ever think of doing. By selling her soul, which she herself has acquired from her Grandmother, She has done a disservice to both her Grandmother and Carnatic Music.

    The less said about the drunkard TMK is good.

    Man Manam Maaraadha Isai Carnatic music. These people have sold their mother. When you sell a thing, you should pay a tax for it. It’s high time, the IT Return’s of these sinners are reopened and their income information is recalculated. They have not admitted their income from soul selling in their returns. They have to be punished heavily for that.

    • You are right! I also advise them and everybody else to go through the websites “Joshua Project” and “Project Thessalonica” to understand the conspiracy of the satanic Evangelists against Hindus and Hinduism.Everybody should also read the Jesuit Oath which every Jesuit priest takes before his initiation!

      • Yes this is exactly why I was angry at them…How can these so called singers not know the evil designs charted out by the missionaries? They will do anything to convert people …See now they have made a fight among our own clan?

    • There is nothing wrong in singing the praises of non hindu gods with carnatic music but these singers, knowingly and unknowingly are becoming instruments in the hands of evangelists. Now there are sites claiming christian canatic music….utterly ridiculous…..In the span of next fifty to sixty years these evangelists with their political and money power may even say that Carnatic music originated in the west like the British did to our history.

  23. Lets start singing all Christian hyms but substituting Christ with Ram and see what happens… Sing on Sundays in front of Churches etc.

  24. Even the respect which I have for Carnatic music… These so called singers don’t have is really pathetic. They will even sell their mothers and daughters for money.

  25. Fully agree mam. Really felt so bad. I don’t know Carnatic music but couldn’t digest these money minded singers look upto Carnatic music only as a tool to make money.
    Something which has been given as a gift to them from generations….they have misused it. Let it die with them and not pass on.

  26. Dear Mr.Krishna,

    I read with amusement your infantile tweet in response to the current controversy in the Carnatic Music world and your subsequent (un)humble interview. I would like to put a few points for your notice – although based on your interview you seem to be like MahaVishnu a trignany.

    I am neither as intelligent nor that well versed in music as you are. I am just an average listener who likes to listen and enjoy music. So here we go

    1. You mentioned that to thwart the negative backlash against the well known musicians, you are going to sing one song in praise of Allah and Jesus. My only go to response was So? Big deal!! Really ….. you think anyone really is going to fall at your feet and request you to do otherwise. Please get a grip.
    2. I feel if you are going to sing a song on any God, the purpose should be either one’s own devotion or to bolster devotion in the mind of the listener. Whereas your purpose seems to be wrong abinitio. You are going to sing these songs on Jesus and Allah with vengeance, hatred and ego at heart. I am not sure about the people of these other religions, but I think it is unfair on these religions if you were to use their platform to further your agenda of what to me looks like “getting back on those pompous ignorant fools in the guise of Carnatic rasikas”.
    3. In your interview you made a statement (to put it mildly confident, to put it harshly downright arrogant) “What do these people know about Kalyani and Kambodi (To quote your tamil words you said Ivalukku Kalyaniyayum Kambodiyayum pathi enna theriyum?) Sir, the raison détre of an artist is the rasikas and these are not celebrity chasing groups like in the case of movie stars or sport people but by and large simple folks. You may think that you were targeting the silk swishing, diamond sparkling upper crust in Mylapore but as a rasika (and a Mylapore one at that), you cannot be more wrong. When an ignoramus like yours truly is sitting in a Kutcheri, my ears are tuned to the simpler folks who come running from an office and are able to identify (they are so happy when they do that) the raaga in the first five seconds, note down the krithis, sometimes explain to their co-listeners / grand children, relive many moments of the concert including comparing it with erstwhile artists and after all that take a share auto to reach their homes in some distant suburbs. (And as you know the little rain that we get in Chennai is normally during the music season). They definitely know their Kalyani and Kambodi sir – make no mistakes. They also know when the artist slips in the Kalpana swaram or alapana but are too polite to boo you.

    But on a separate note, why is every musician (maybe you are a swayambu in terms of self appreciation) crave for the acknowledgement and appreciation from the Chennai rasikas. Although not as bright as you are, there should be some reason. Right?
    4. The next point you made was that the raaga matters but not which God is sung about. Really? When I listen to MS sing Rangapuravihara I don’t hear BrindavanaSaranga but see the Lord on the Adisesha while feeling the breeze from the Cauvery. When Aruna sings the Kalinga Narthanam, I see a small child jumping on a Kalia with many heads and hissing venom. I feel protective and fearful for the child. When Priya Sisters sing Malai Meedu Vaazhum Sri Srinivasa, I feel safe that the lord of the seven hills is protecting me. I have seen many an octogenarian moved to tears with certain bhajans although we have heard it million times before. So the bhava and the bhakti that a musician brings to the table is as important as the raaga, sruti, saareeram etc., There are many good singers who don’t make it too big because they lack that bhava. As an integral part of the BhaktiMarga, Carnatic music is intertwined with the Hindu religion, whether you like it or not.

    If what you say about the raaga being the only predominant element correct, how come so many movie songs that are based on Carnatic music is not considered “serious” music. That does not mean we love Ilayaraja any less. He is a genius who well and truly brought classicism to music without being arrogant about it. So did many more composers and music directors.

    5. The other point you made was the rasikas have no right to interfere with the music which is the individual right of the singer. Ofcourse. And I don’t think they have in the past (to my knowledge). Ms.Nithyashree has sung a Minsarakanna which is quite popular. Ms.Aruna Sairam has sung a song called Ave Maria followed by Sarva Brahmamayee which was received very well. Or when Abhangs were introduced first time, the rasikas lapped it up.
    And these were not an issue as we like the fact that musician is expanding his /her repertoire (and ours too). So many of us started humming Abhangs in Marathi, a language very unfamiliar to us till 15 years ago. As rasikas we also understand the commercial aspect of your profession and do not grudge you that.
    So do not rubbish the rasikas and their sentiments to suit your purpose please.
    6. Why are the rasikas concerned about all the singers singing non-Hindu religious songs? The simple issue seems to be the numbers and scale of this campaign. You have always been a maverick and we don’t expect anything else from you. If anything we may expect something worse as you seem to like to do things for the shock value. So leaving that aside, we had and emotional bond with these other singers and felt very let down. That is the emotional argument.
    7. The logical argument is one of intellectual property. If you do a semi classical or a “light”music in a quasi carnatic platform it will not matter. But when there is a resemblance and likeness to existing krithis of the great saints it is worrying. By your logic a software company should not charge any money and a drug discovery should not have any patent. So there is an actual concern that was perceived.
    8. You may argue that if I clone a Thyagaraja song, what is your right to object? I disagree. See, be it our temples, our scriptures, our music is given to us so that we can preserve it and pass it on to the next generation. While we can improvise and innovate we cannot do away with the fundamental foundation. Then we lose the music and its relevance and its placement within our cultural landscape. All of us – your fraternity as singers or us as rasikas – have a fiduciary and a moral obligation to protect these gems for our children and grand children.
    9. You seem to think that you have a carte blanche when you sing for other religions. I think you are just a propaganda instrument. I will respect you more if you can propagate a Thyagaraja Kirthana or a Tulsi Das Bhajan in a church or a mosque. Why don’t you try singing one song on Rama in such places without taking specific permission to do so? Let us see the reaction.

    In the meanwhile, I hope this controversy ends amicably for all concerned so that people can focus on their music.

    Do have a peaceful weekend.

    With regards,

    • You are out of touch with the new post modernism. It rejects all old interpretations. It is not out of vengeance , it is a new utopia of freedom from cultural bondage! We only need to be wary of how this will be used by forces inimical to the Indian culture.

  27. The sole aim of these Christian dead body vendors is in-culturation to increase their goat strength and exploit the other nation resources. This is an established open truth happening through out history. These musicians fall prey to these dead body vendors only for money. Instead of earning like this they all can beg near a temple which is sinless. True Hindus will not accept their cheap explanation. I am wondering why other carnatic singer’s are not raising their voice. Unless these people say an open apology Hindus not to invite and arrange any program for them. This is the only way to teach them a lesson.

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