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असेट प्रकाशक

Mridangam or Pakhawaj

To sing songs praising the Almighty in the accompaniment of musical instruments like the Mridangam or Pakhawaj and cymbals is a Bhajana. Bhajana is an important component of devotional music and the Bhakti sect. Though its origin can be traced to the Samaveda, the first clear mention of Bhajana is in the Dasham Skandha of Shrimad Bhagavata, which dates back to the 4th century BCE. The concept of Bhajana has spread throughout the country since then.


To sing songs praising the Almighty in the accompaniment of musical instruments like the Mridangam or Pakhawaj and cymbals is a Bhajana. Bhajana is an important component of devotional music and the Bhakti sect. Though its origin can be traced to the Samaveda, the first clear mention of Bhajana is in the Dasham Skandha of Shrimad Bhagavata, which dates back to the 4th century BCE. The concept of Bhajana has spread throughout the country since then.
The image of the deity is placed on a platform and worshipped per rituals. The Veenekari or the person who plays the Veena performs the Puja. After the Puja of the deity, he performs the Puja of the Veena in the same way. The Bhajana starts with remembering the Ishta-devata, the Kula-devata in Sanskrit and then starts the Bhajana in the regional language. The Veenekari is accompanied by a group of people playing cymbals and providing the chorus too. 
The groups performing Bhajana are called Bhajana Mandali in North India. The songs of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Chandidasa are recited in the North. In Bengal, Gaudiya Bhajana-s are recited. The Sampradayik Akhada Bhajana written by Tulsidas recited along with the Bhajana of Meerabai, Surdas and Kabir, accompanied by Mridangam and Karatala. Shaiva Akhada-s praise the Shiva in the Bhajana playing the Chimata-s, Mridangam or Dhol. The singers of the Bhajana are called Bhagavatar in Karnataka. The chief Bhagavatar dances to the tune of Mridangam, Veena, Cymbal and Harmonium.
The tradition of Bhajana-s was started in Maharashtra by the Warkari Sampradaya since the time of Saint Namdev  in the 13th century. Before that, the Mahanubhav Sampradaya t used to have devotional songs in their Matha, and it was restricted to their followers only, as the outsiders were not allowed in the Matha-s. Warkari Sampradaya broke that barrier, and participating in the Bhajana was opened up for everybody. Namasmaran was always an integral part of the Navavidha Bhakti and held a prime place in the tradition of the Warkari Sampradaya. The image of Pandurang is kept at a central place. Veenekari stands in the middle, and the Bhajana starts with the chanting of Jai Jai Ram Krishna Hari to the accompaniment of Cymbals, Veena and Pakhawaj. The Abhanga-s are sung in a set sequence, and usually, Abhanga written by most of the saints are recited. There are different groups of Warkari-s which are called Fad. Loyalty to the groups is an unwritten norm expected from the bhajani. 
The followers of Dattatreya also have the Bhajan Mandal-s across Maharashtra. And they follow the same traditions like that of the Warkari’s with the only difference being that of the deity. Sometimes the Datta Sampradaya Bhajana-s are accompanied by devotional dancing too. Ramadasi Sampradaya, The Shakti Sampradaya, the Ganapatya Sampradaya follow their traditions and styles while praising their deities.
Some schools teach the intricacies of Bhajana singing. The competitions of the Bhajana Mandal are held in larger cities.

Districts/Region

Maharashtra, India.

Cultural Significance

To sing songs praising the Almighty in the accompaniment of musical instruments like the Mridangam or Pakhawaj and cymbals is a Bhajana. Bhajana forms an important component of devotional music and the Bhakti Sect.


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