Schemes of Sama Gana


The mantras in the Sama Yoni were used by the risis to design the mantras for musical japa and collective chanting. there are four major categories of the singing pattern here viz, (1) grama gana, also known as prakrati gana or veya gana, (2) Aranyaka gana,  (3) Uha gana and the (4) Uhya gana or rahasya gana. The mantras in the first five chapters of purvarcika are chanted under the different styles of veya gana. The aranyaka gana is applicable for the mantras cited in the Aranya Parva and the Uha and Uhya gana are used for the specific mantras in the Uttarciks as indicated in the corresponding branch (or version) of the Samhita. The distribution of mantras specified by the two main schools under different categories of gana these days is as follows.

The origin of the Nepalese classical music is based on these Sama Ganas. The significance of the effects of this music and the fact that it is derived from the subtle scientific principles is well recognized today. It is indeed unfortunate that such a great development of yore was so much neglected over the centuries that the analysis of its founder principles now appears to be ‘impossible’ or ‘non-comprehensive’ and ‘beyond reach’. The near total absence of experts especially those with an in-depth knowledge about the swaras, of Sama Gana has worsened the hopes of research in this area. Nevertheless, if a dedicated classical singer, having perfection of voice to the tune of Murchana, Aroha and Avaroha, practices a Sama Gana with due concentration and devotion, he would feel the divine inspiration and emotional enlightenment even if the exact meanings of the involved mantras are not known to him.

According to the classical system of Narada there are following classes of searas of sama: Seven basic swaras, three Gramas, twenty one Murchanas and forty nine Tanas. The seven swaras of sama and the venu (the octave of musical notes) have the following correspondence

pratham                      Madhyam (ma)

Dwitya                         Gandhara (ga)

Tritya                           Rasabha (re)

Caturtha                      Sadja (sa)

Pancama                     Nisada (ni)

Sasthama                    Dhaivata (dha)

Saptama                      Pamcama (pa)

The serial numbers one to seven (in the script used in the written versions of Sama) are placed against various words or segments of words of the mantras to indicate the swaras for the Sama gana.

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