Why Kshetra ? According to Jayashrree and me!
Announcing the release of Book and Music Album – Kshetra Sangeetam Thanjavur
Compiled by Jayashrree S.Mani, based on a series of concerts by Dr.VijayalakshmySubramaniam
On Thursday 9th June 2016, 12:45 to 1:30 pm
In Singapore at The Goodman Arts Centre
90 Goodman Rd, Singapore 439053
When people ask me how did Kshetra Sangeetam happen— I tell them
Like all exciting ideas, this too just happened! Can there be a more holistic way of presenting our culture? Music, history, religion, architecture, beliefs, spiritual significance….!!
When Jayashrree, the publisher of the book heard of my concert series, she felt the concept had to be presented to wider audiences beyond the concert hall.
Let’s hear what Jayashrree S. Mani, Compiler and publisher of the book and music album–Kshetra SangeetamThanjavur–has to say
What does KshetraSangeetam mean? Why is it of significance to you?
KshetraSangeetam simply means music about Kshetras, or places of pilgrimage.
When Dr.Vijayalakshmy Subramaniam first invited me to these concerts, I was struck by the underpinnings of faith on which this music is based.
A pilgrimage is a major undertaking for many of us. Most of us today do not practice religion in an organized basis in our daily lives; Yet none of us passes up the opportunity to go to a Kshetra; Tirupathy, Kanjeevaram, Rameshwaram.
We could pray anywhere isn’t it? In any temple?? Why do we go on pilgrimages? What drives us?Why do some temples become Kshetras? There are some very sterile sounding definitions on the web:
–Because they are considered a sacred space where terrestrial energies flow heavenward or cosmic energy flows earthward.
–A space which celebrates the life of a saint, or commemorates the death of a saint/ a place sanctified by a seer/ a space where miracles may have occurred.
One of our reviewers, Mrs.Santha Bhaskarof Bhaskars Arts Academy, Singapore, alludes to the metaphysical description of a Kshetra in her review of the book.
Personally, I believe its because these places are completely saturated with the positive, infinite energies of belief and human faith which drive us to achieve what is considered impossible. We feel this energy when we go there. And that is part of what I want to share with this book and music album.
Why Thanjavur, when there are so many Kshetras all over India?
Temples are the physical expression of this Faith. And large temples were built by Kings – who patronized the arts there too but they were not just a place for Royalty. Artistes and scholars, they were the soul of the community’s day to day life. They were the focus of all community activity; of weddings, music, dance and theater performances; of the daily services, evening recreation, local gossip and of deals fixed and the scenes of great local romances.
So it was a symbiotic relationship with Faith driving the community; and the community in turn flourished in the expression of this faith. Thanjavur Brihadeeswara is a prime example of this.
How is this book different from others on Thanjavur?
KshetraSangeetamThanjavur, is a different kind of book because it is a record of the connection between faith, the arts and the Kshetras within which they were centred.
And these temples were the bedrock for communities to flourish and grown in.
Society has evolved beyond that sort of social structure now, but even though we don’t understand the language and lyrics of carnatic music, we still go to hear the music;even though many songs were composed hundreds of years ago, they are still performed today; and we still send our children to learn the vocal music. They in turn seem to learn it unquestioningly. I find that curious. The ripple effects of faith from hundreds of years ago? Strange isn’t it?
When you buy the book, you get the Scholars’articles, a little bit about how the musician puts the concerts together, interesting snippets, and the music album with lyrics and meanings – very artistically presented. Very seldom have the great Carnatic music composers been celebrated in art, except by Shri S.Rajam. So it’s a limited edition book and hopefully will take pride of place in many book collections.
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Tags: carnatic music, fine arts, Tamil culture, Thanjavur, Dr.VijayalakshmySubramaniam, KshetraSangeetam
The book is available online at
You can also buy it at
Chamiers, Chennai – http://bit.ly/1R1LDC5
Odyssey, Adyar, Chennai – http://bit.ly/1rLCoBo
Odyssey Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai – http://bit.ly/1sa8XsL
Odyssey, Coimbatore – http://bit.ly/1Oqcmhi
The Karnatic Music Book Centre, Chennai – http://bit.ly/1Wx2uVt
Giri Traders – http://bit.ly/1YrzQmh