Sangitaratnakara (Sangeet Ratnakara) of Sarngadeva (2 Volumes)

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Item Code: NAD563
Publisher: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Author: R.K. Shringy & Prem Lata Sharma
Language: Sanskrit Text and English Translation
Edition: 2023
ISBN: 9788121505086 (Vol.One), 9788121504669 (Vol.Two)
Pages: 929
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 10 inch x 6.5 inch
Weight 1.60 kg
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Book Description

Volume 1


About the Book


This monumental treatise from the 13th century sums up and organises what had gone before, and in doing so provides both master plan and basic topics for subsequent musicological work, even to the present day. The combination of Devanagari text (from the Adyar edition) running concurrently with English translation, commentary, and footnotes, makes the work very convenient. Dr. Shringy's English translation and commentary, prepared under the expert supervision of Dr. (Miss) Prem Lata Sharma, is more devoted to a direct explication of Sarngadeva's verses. Its guiding principles (as evidenced in this first volume) are two. First, terms and ideas in the treatise are set in the larger general frame of Indian Sanskritic culture-as for instance a presentation of the Tantric metaphysics behind the doctrine of sound which Sarngadeva took over and elaborated from Matanga's Brhaddesi Second, complex technical principles are explicated in full-as for instance a demonstration of how to work with the 5040 permutations of kuta-tana "note-series" as Sarngadeva all too briefly set them forth. The work fulfils the urgent need for a standard and authentic work on the theory and practice of ancient Indian music in English.

The translation provides English equivalents for technical terms, makes constant parenthetical reference to Sanskrit originals in transliteration. Contains a detailed word index, with multiple senses distinguished, and a glossary.


About the Author


Dr. R.K. Shringy received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Indian Philosophy and Religion from Banaras Hindu University in 1974. He worked as Research Assistant in the Department of Musicology, Banaras Hindu University. His published work is Philosophy of J Krishnamurti: A Systematic Study (1977, 1988). He died in 1983.


Dr. Prem Lata Sharma was Professor of Musicology, Banaras Hindu University (retired in 1987) and Vice-Chancellor, Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwavidyalaya, Khairagarh. She also published the critical editions of Rasaoildsa (1972) and Ekalingamahatmyam (1976).




I "Was inspired to undertake the present project of translating Sangitaratnakara into English by two factors viz. the inadequacy of the available English translation of the 1st chapter by C. Kunhan Raja, and the education and training that I received from Dr. (Miss) Premlata Sharma, Head of the Department of Musicology, Banaras Hindu University, while I was her student far Diploma in Music Appreciation during 1967-69. Even though the textual study of Sangitaratnakara was not, strictly speaking, a part of the curriculum she was kind and generous enough to. recognise the special position of same of the students, who were also the members of the staff of the department, and to extend to them the benefit of her wide learning and research experience by way of initiating them into the art of interpreting original Sanskrit texts an music with the help of available commentaries, and luckily I was one of them. So, even though I had been working as Research Assistant in the Department of Musicology and in the College of Music & Fine Arts prior to the formation of the department in 1966, for about ten years or so, Sanskrit texts an music could became meaningful to and enjoyable for me only after I could avail of this opportunity of learning the intricacies, the technicalities and the symbolism of the language of Sangita-sastra from Dr. Sharma. Hence, the need for a music-oriented, topic-wise, technically precise English translation of Sangita-ratnakara written in a flawing prase style unhindered by frequent Sanskrit interjections and accompanied by an elaborate and lucid commentary, was felt by me not as a scholar of Sanskrit but as a student of Musicology. A detailed note on the method and the manner of the translation has been written separately painting out the peculiarities of the execution of the work.


In 1970, the University Grants Cam mission Introduced a scheme of writing university level books and monographs, and I took the earliest opportunity of putting forth a proposal of writing an English translation of Sangita-ratnakara in three parts related to music (i. e. excluding the chapter on dancing) under the expert guidance and supervision of Dr. (Miss) Prem Lata Sharma who readily agreed to sponsor the proposal. And the U. G. C. too was kind and gracious enough to grant me a Research Fellowship for three years to undertake this project.


 I am happy to say that as the result of the combined efforts of the U.G.C., which provided me the material means to pursue my researches and writing unhindered, the authorities of the Banaras Hindu University who granted me leave to work on the project, and Dr. Prem Lata Sharma who has very affectionately, very carefully and very meticulously nursed the whole product,. and Messrs. Motilal Banarsidass, who readily agreed to publish this work, it has become possible for me to present this first volume comprising Chapter I related to the treatment of suara, in the service of the learned scholars and the learning students; and I hope it will be found to be of greater help in understanding Sarilgadeva, whose work Sailgita-ratnakara is a landmark in the history of Sangita-sastra.


Though the translation was originally planned and written out with an elaborate commentary and critical as well as literary annotations with a view to making it self sufficient, it has been considered necessary, convenient and useful to give the Sanskrit text as well along with it. This was considered necessary firstly because the translation is presented in a topic-wise order dealing with homogeneous ideas and concepts in convenient paragraphs in order to make the reading more intelligible and easy to grasp, and secondly because it was found unavoidable to modify some of the readings of the text as published by the Adyar Library in view of the technical accuracy of the readings available in the Anandasrama edition or other comparable texts like -Sangitaraja of Rana Kumbha and so on. Thus, the Sanskrit text has also been partly re-edited in so far as the arrangement of some of the verses has been modified to correspond with the paragraphs as arranged in the translation and also in so far as some modifications have also been made in the text here and there, though very sparingly.


The present project envisages the translation of six out

of the seven chapters of Sangita-ratnakara divided as follows

Volume I : Chapter I

Volume II : Chapters II to. IV

Volume III : Chapters V & VI


I am happy to disclose that the Ms, of Vol. II is also almost ready. It will not be before long that it is presented for publication, while work on Volume III as well is in progress.


It is not for me to say that the task of translating Sangita-ratnakara (Vol. I), that I had set to myself quite unwittingly in my enthusiasm for doing something worthwhile, could hardly be accomplished by me single-handed, since it not only demands great proficiency in Sanskrit and English languages but also an insight into the musical concepts of Sangitaa-sastra and besides the publication of such a work naturally involves co-operation of many able workers.

I am, therefore, greatly indebted to my seniors and friends who have lovingly rendered every possible help in bringing the work upto the mark, though here I can make notable mention only of those few but for whose contribution this work could not have been published in its present form.


I do not find any words indeed to adequately acknowledge the contribution of Dr. (Miss) Premlata Sharma under whose expert advice and able supervision the whole work has been executed and who, out of her love for learning, voluntarily offered to write an introduction to the translation. In fact, whatever I have been able to do is primarily because of her, since without her initiation and continued co-operation, nothing could have been finally accomplished. I am also greatly thankful to Mr. N. Ramanathan, Research Scholar of the Deptt. of Musicology, B. H. D. and presently) Lecturer in Musicology, Indira Sangtta Vishvavidyalaya, Khairagarh, who has been kind enough to go through my press-copy including the index, and has offered many valuable comments and suggestions to improve the translation in its form and content. He has also been kind enough to go through the printed file and much of the credit for the preparation of errata goes to him.


Since Sangita-ratnakara incorporates a chapter on human embodiment (Pindotpatti), which indeed is a unique feature of Sarangadeva's work, (and he could possibly attempt it because he was himself a medical man as stated by him), special care has been taken in preparing the translation and the commentary as well as the notes of this chapter; and I am extremely grateful to Prof. Priyavrata Sharma, Head of the Deptt, of Dravyaguna in the Instt. of Medical Sciences, B. H. U., who has been kind enough to go through the .Ms, of the whole chapter and suggest some technical modifications. I am also thankful to Dr. K. C. Gangrade, formerly Reader in Anatomy in the Institute of Medical Sciences and presently Reader in Sitar in the Department of Instrumental Music, B. H. D., who has also been kind enough to glance through this chapter and to offer some technical suggestions for the improvement of the draft translation.


My thanks are due to Shri Ritwik Sanyal, a research scholar of the Deptt. of Musicology, for assisting in the preparation of the Press-copy of the Ms. Many thanks are due to Shri Gopal Lal Bhatt and Pandit Maheshwar Jha, Assistants of the Research Section of the Deptt, of Musicology for assisting in proof-reading and the preparation of the Sloka-index respectively. Also I am thankful to Shri Kapildeo Giri for assisting in writing the Ms. of the Sanskrit text and Shri Chhannulal, Senior Clerk of the Deptt. for typing the Ms. and the Press-copy of the work neatly. I am also thankful to Shmt. Vimla Musalgaonkar, the Sanskrit teacher of the Deptt. of Musicology, for her constant moral support and encouragement in the accomplishment of the difficult task.


Above all, I am grateful, to the University Grants Commission for granting a Research Fellowship for this project and thus providing the initial impetus to this publication.


Our thanks are also due to the publishers of this book, Motilal Banarsidass for readily accepting the work of publication and for seeing it through the press expeditiously. Last but not the least, I am thankful to Tara Printing Works, Varanasi, for providing every facility for printing the work in the desired manner and in a short period of time.


Volume 2


About the Book


The present volume of the annotated translation of Sangitaratnakara contains the second, third and fourth chapters of the text dealing with raga, miscellaneous topics pertaining to vocal music and prabandha (vocal compositional forms) respectively. These chapters deal with topics that are directly related to current practice.

The format of the first volume has been followed in this volume, except a small deviation in the word-index, where a glossary has not been attempted on account of the special nature of the terms contained in the chapters presented here. The vast expanse of terms which is mostly comprised of nomenclature" of raga varieties of melodic rendering, prabamdho-s and tala-s prescribed therein has been thoroughly scanned and thus the index is a mirror of the totality of contents.


While the first volume was preceded by an earlier attempt at translation (without annotation), the second volume presents the above-noted three chapters in English for the first time. This long awaited volume will be a welcome addition to the primary source-material for a study of the rich textual tradition of Indian music.




Prefatory Note

The second volume of the translated and annotated edition of Sangitaratnakara is being presented with a mixed feeling of sorrow and joy; sorrow due to the sad demise of Dr. R.K. Shringy in December 1983, while the book was in the press and joy because the book is at last seeing the light of the day after being in press for about six years. Scholars and students have been eagerly awaiting the second volume for ten years ever since the publication of the first volume in 1978. This volume contains the second, third and fourth chapters of the text dealing with raga-s, miscellaneous topics and prabandha-s respectively. Observations on these three chapters are presented here in the same sequence.



The name of the chapter dealing with raga-s is Raga-viveka i.e. discernment of rage-s and this nomenclature implies that the author felt the need of discriminating between those raga-s that were current in his times and those that had becomes obsolete. This title is justified by his treatment of this topic; he has tried to strike a balance between the dual responsibility of recording earlier tradition on the one hand and current practice on the other. Matanga's Brhaddest is the main source of earlier material for Sarngadeva, the author of S. R. and in comparison to the former, the latter text bears the following distinctive features.


(a) While Matanga accepts seven gtti-s, Sarngadeva speaks of only five, excluding Bhasa and Vibhasa. This is a more rational approach because the first five gut-s stand for stylistic differences in the rendering of Grama-raga-s and Grama-raga-s are classified according to them, Bhasa-s and Vibhasa-s are derivative varieties of Grama-raga-s and hence they could not be categorised at par with the first five giti-s viz. Suddha, Bhinna, Gaudi, Raga or Vesara and Sadharani.


(b) Matanga's Br. D. describes Grama-raga-s according to their grouping under the five giti-s; i.e. Suddha, Bhinna, Gouda, Vesara and Sadharana raga-s of both the Grama-s are described in the order of the five giti-s.


S. R. follows the above scheme only partially. Seventeen Grama-raga-s i.e. three each of the Suddha, Bhinna, Gaudi and Vesara giti-s and five of the Sadharani giti are described in the accepted order. The remaining thirteen out of the thirty Grama-raga-s enumerated in S. R., 2.1.8-14, are described alongwith their derivative varieties and the order of their treatment is not in accordance with that of the giti-s or the grama-s. This treatment mixes these thirteen Grama-raga-s with two upa-raga-s which are also the origin of raganga-s (and are described at par with Grama-raga-s as well as with bhasanga-s and bhasa-s, The author has treated these thirteen raga-s not in their own right, but as the origin of current raga-s of his times in the categories of raganga, bhasanga and upanga as well as one Bhasa and one Vibhass. Hence their sequence is determined by the relative importance of their derivative raga-s rather than by their own position according to giti or grama. Thus, S. R. has virtually divided the thirty Grama-raga-s handed down by textual tradition into two categories, one of those that had lost relevance in the current practice of his time and the other of those which stood out as the origin of some of the current raga-forms.


(c) S. R. adds another dimension to the description (laksana) of Gramaraga-s viz. the prescription of season and specific part of the day in their usage as well as devats at the esoteric level in addition to the specific juncture sandhi) or situation of drama which was already prescribed in Br. D. Notated aksiptika-s are also added by S. R. for each Grama-raga.


(d) S. R. enumerates eight upa-raga-s, although it describes only two of them without specifying them as such. Br. D. does not mention this category; three out of these eight viz. takkasaindhava, revagupta and paacamasadava are, however, described in that text under Grama-raga-s.


(e) The section of Br. D. dealing with Desi-raga-s breaks off in its very beginning. But S. R. gives a detailed treatment of Desi-raga-s in four categories, viz. ragnnga, bhnsango, kriyanga and upnnga, The citation from Br, D. found in Kallinatha's commentary on S. R., 2.2.1-enumerates only three categories omitting the last one viz. upanga. Thus upanga could be taken as a later addition.


(f) S. R. adds a new (unqualified) category by way of raga which is neither put under Marga nor Desi, Twenty names are given under this category, but only ten are described. Curiously enough, most of these raga s (that are described) are derived directly from jati-s and are assigned to a specific grama. This would suggest that they were designed as being parallel to Grama-raga-s and were the product, so to say, of an attempt to retrieve a lost tradition. S. Raj., c d-23, however, discards this category, saying that it has no specific characteristic that would justify its distinctive entity.


(g) Although S. R. describes a much smaller number of Bhasa-s, Vibhasa-s etc. it adds a new dimension to their description and this is the mention of specific gamaka-s like ahata, kampita, sphurita etc. Desi-raga-s grouped under the four categories viz. raganga, bhasanga, kriyanga and upanga are also described in similar terms. The following references would confirm this point:


The seven points given above presenting a comparative view of the treatment of raga-s in Br. D. and S. R. evince two definite trends of the post Matanga period viz. (1) inclusion of non-dramatic elements like season, time of the day, devata etc. in the description of Grama-raga-s and (2) description of Desi raga-s and Bhasa in terms of generic and specific gamaka-s. Both these trends are very significant. The author's complete silence about raga-dhyana (visual contemplation of raga-s) is also notable.


Miscellaneous Topics

The third chapter dealing with miscellaneous topics evinces a definite bias towards vocal music. The vaggeyakara (composer of text and music of song), the good and bad qualities of a singer, five types of singers, threefold singers (solo, duet and ensemble), songstresses, types of voice, excellences of voice, blemishes of voice, sarira (gifted voice), gamaka, sthaya, alapti, the ensembles of male and female vocalists, all these are directly related to vocal music. The good and bad qualities of instrumentalists are dealt with in the sixth chapter. The main source of the treatment of most of these topics is Somesvara's Manasollasa. (Gaekwad Oriental Series, no. 138). For sthaya-s Parsvadeva's Sangita-samayasara which is most probably more or less a contemporary of S. R. could be said to be a source or a parallel document of this excellent analysis of melodic phrasing and rendering. The main difference between these two texts in this context is that while S. R. represents the Sanskritised version of the terms forming part of this concept, S.S. Sara represents the Prakrta version. The word sthaya itself is a Sanskritised version of thaya. This chapter is of great relevance to our contemporary music. The description of sthsya-s under two categories viz. those that were known earlier (purva-prasiddha) and those that were known in the author's time (adhuna-prasiddha) bears testimony to the author's concern for recording earlier tradition and current practice.

Volume One
  General Table of Contents  
1 Preface i-v
2 Note on Translation vi-x
3 Transliteration Code x
4 List of Abbreviations xi
5 Introduction xii-xxxii
6 Table of contents of Svaradhyaya-Chapter-I Sanskritn English xxxiv-xlii
7 Text and Translation 1-3
Section-1 Introductory 1-20
Section-2 The Genesis of the Human Embodiment 21-107
Section-3 Nada, Sruti and Svara 108-159
Section-4 Grama, Murcchana, Krama and Tana 160-228
Section-5 Overlapping (Sadharana) 229-239
Section-6 Varnalankara 234-265
Section-7 Jati-s (Melodic Types) 266-368
Section-8 Giti-s 369-386
8 Appendices 387-417
9 Word-index cum-Glossary of Technical words 418-432
10 Half line Index to Sanskrit Sloka-s 433-448
11 Errata 449-450



Content - Volume Two
  Transliteration code vii
  Abbreviations viii
  Introduction ix
  Acknowledgements xv
  Detailed Contents  
  Sanskrit xvii
  English xxv
  Chapter II: The Discernment of Raga-s (Ragavivekadhyaya) 1-144
  Chapter III: Miscellaneous Topics (Prakirnakadhyaya) 145-208
  Chapter IV: The Prabandha-s (Prabandhadhyaya) 209-324
  Half-line sloka-index 325-47
  Word index 348-97

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