Spiritual Center for folklore study

Spiritual Center for the study of Devotional Songs of Gujarat

Anand Ashram – Ghoghavadar is an institution based on the ideals of service and sadhana – spiritual practices. An attempt is being made here to resurrect the basic values through camaraderie, peace, righteous and self-denying life, respect for all life and also through spiritual seminars, meditation, prayers, companionship with the wise.

In addition to the sadhana, other activities like running a center for whey, medical camps for various diseases, supplementary nourishment, inculcation of proper sanskaras in children, primary class, tree plantation, agriculture without the use of chemical fertilizers etc are undertaken.  An important  activity  is the establishment of the spiritual center for the study of devotional songs.

Our tradition of devotional songs is very very rich. This has helped to keep alive the spirit of our people. But one can rarely find the singers singing the devotional songs in their original style with the understanding of their marma hidden meaning.

The wave of modernism has very much polluted the ganges of devotional songs. A possibilityhas arisen whereby the original from of this entire tradition may be lost. The erosion of our culture is very harmful. This erosion must be prevented and the ganges of devotional songs should be purified and made to flow freely in the heart and life of the people. With this objective, the spiritual center for the study of devotional songs is being estalished at Ghoghavadar. The following steps are planned for the preservation, research and promotion of devotional songs :-

  1. Find out the marmi – mustic singers singing the devotional songs in their original style ; record their songs and set up a library of these cassettes / C.D. / D.V.D.
  2. Prepare a correct text of these recorded and other published songs through research in different sources.
  3. Prepare cassettes of the corrected text and original style of devotional songs and make them available to the people at large.
  4. Organise classes for the study of devotional songs and prepare a cadre of singers trained through a planned and precise curriculum.

In addition to the preservation of the text of devotional songs of the ancient times, middle age and modern age, confluence of spiritual centres giving vibrant inspiration through these should be organised.For this purpose, it is our ardent desire that along with the gujarati devotional songs, those in    other languages should also be studied, a bridge of give     and take be built and through this, the spirit of bharat experiencing the unity amidst        diversity be revived.

The following is the outline of the course of study.

  1. Pithy verses and devotional songs of saints in the tradition of mahamrg, nathyoga and devotees like Akho, Narshinha, Meera, Bhan Saheb, Dasi Jeevan, Gangasati etc in gujarati.
  2. Pithy verses and songs of saints-believes in formless godhead like kabir and Dadu Sainte-believers in god with form like sur, tulsi in hindi.
  3. Pithy verses of nathyogis like matsyendra – Gorakh and Buddist Siddhas like Sarhapa – Kanhapa.
  4. Devotional songs of Adivasis.

The students will be trained by linguists, mystics experts well versed in spiritual symbols and musicians.

The requirement for the spiritual center for the study of devotional songs.

  1. One big building to accommodate study classes, library of cassets, musical instruments and provide for residential quarters for teachers and students.
  2. Instruments like Tambur, Tabla, Manjira, Harmonium, Digital Recorder.
  3. Exxential furniture like xap-boards etc.

There is no other institution in india undertaking the activity of resurrecting the spirit of our society through devotional songs. In this spiritual center for the study of devotional songs is a unique beginning. It is our ambition that the singers trained by this center will spread the ganges of devotional songs which becomes a link between jiva and shiva. Devotional song is not an entertainment music but an instrument of literary prayer to promote sanskaras and development of culture. The duty to keep this stream flowing is every responsibility, who cares for the preservation of culture. Devotional songs are to be made popular but the aim is that the people become the lovers of devotional songs. In this new undertaking, we request your co-operation and help in every way.

folk-cultural center Run By Anand Ashram – Ghoghavadar

This centers has been established with the objective of preservation, Research and Resurrection of traditional folk culture  which is fast being eroded by the modern atmosphere of machine age and urbanisation. The center will do its best to re-establish the glory of the artistic elements among the Folklore  publicise the same.

Recuirements of the center

Buildings :

  1. 50 ft x 40 ft – Assembly Hall
  2. 16 ft x 20 ft – Cassette Museum
  3. 16 ft x 20 ft – Recording Room
  4. 16 ft x 20 ft – Office
  5. 16 ft x 20 ft – Two rooms for teaching
  6. 12 ft x 12 ft – Twelve rooms for residence of teachers & students

Estimated cost : 50,00000

Instruments for teaching :

1. Harmonium, 2. Tabla, 3. Ramsagar Ektar, 4. Manjira (6 set), 5. Khanjari 3 – Rs. 35000

Folk instruments :

1. Tarpu, 2. Kanhavi, 3. Dholki, 4. Dhola, 5. Jantar, 6. Ravan Hattho – Rs. 8000

Furniture for office :

  1. Chair, Table Library, Cupboards for cassettes collection – Rs. 75000
  2. Salaries for workers (annual)
  • Teacher, expert of folk literature and folk music – Rs. 36000
  • Taal and instrument player – Rs. 30000

4. computer  clerical work – Rs. 18000

Expenditure for invited visiting artistes and recognised scholars – Rs. 15000

Recorder, Books etc – Rs 40000

Travel expenses for research in Folk regions – Rs. 40000

With the addition of some miscelleneous expenses, the total cost is estimated as Rs. 500000.

Course of study

The duration of the course will be 4 months. Taking into consideration the convenience of the students and teachers, this course will be of 2 months in the first year and 2 months in the second year. In order to provide holidays during the year, there will be two semesters – one month according to the convenience and one month later on. These classes will be held during the janmasthami, divali or summer holidays keeping in mind the employed, teachers or other studing students. The daily period will be six hours, which will include four hours of teaching and two hours of sadhana or riaz (Practice).

A group of 15 to 20 students will be formed for this course. Preference will be given to these who have taken primary training is music or those who are familiar with folk music or light music. The syllabus for the two months in the first year will be as follows :

Theory :

  1. Study of the various forms of devotional songs and folk music.
  2. Place of devotional and folk songs in the Folk life  of gujarat.
  3. Study of prescribed songs and devotional songs.

Practicals :

  1. Training in singing in Aroha & Avroha without the accompaniment of harmonium.
  2. Method of presenting mantra – chanting in 3 and 4 swaras.
  3. Taal knowledge of karva, Dadra, Dipchandi.
  4. The technique of proper singing of ten devotional songs with the understanding of their inner meaning.
  5. Ten  Folk & tribal songs. e.g. Ras, Garba, Garbi, Duha, Wedding songs.
  6. Knowledge of five easy metres.

The syllabus for the 2 months course in the 2nd year :

Theory :

  1. Knowledge of various streams of indian folk culture.
  2. Knowledge of music – dance – Divine Mantras – the foundation of Gujarati  Folk culture.

Practicals :

  1. Knowledge of pure and impure swaras.
  2. New Taalss e.g. Hinch, Rupak & Zapataal.
  3. 15 devotional  Hindi songs.
  4. 5 tribal songs.
  5. 10 folk songs including ballads, songs of various Rasas.
  6. Information regarding 5 difficult metres.
  7. Singing of 5 chhandas in folk-Charni-Bardik style.

Documentation & Preservation of the  Oral Literature

A plan for classification in accordance with the seasonal changes of the traditional Vocal Folklore of the North. East, West & South Gujarat ; Recording on tapes and cassetts important Devotional Songs, Stories, Ballads and Folk-Epics ; preparing video cassettes of their religious and social festivals, religious practices, dances and singing styles which are eroding fast in the context of modernism ; storing all the material in a folk-lore museum.

Their sanskaras – qualities like tolorance, love for freedom enthusiastic welcome to guests, spirit of advanture, love of or their own land – engendered and nourished by the vocal folklore linked with religious practices closely related to daily life are fit to be copied by any civilized society of the world.

But, all this great literature exists only in the oral traditions. The Folk regions have been under severe onslaughts and passures from the forces of modernism and urbanisation. This has resulted in a rapid abandoning of the traditional life by the new generation of the folk thus, this new generation is losing fast the treasure of its. own traditional singing and stores. Moreover, the great singers, who have kept alive the traditional folklore through their vocal chords, are very old and dying. After their death, this precious folk literary treasure will be lost for ever. Hence, in the context of the prevailing hosptile atmosphere, there is an urgent need to preserve it by recording it on tape cassettes and video cassettes, and document the same. If this is not done, this will be lost for ever without leaving any traces of its original form. To this extent, there will be a gap in the documentation of the entire oultural life of gujarat.

In this unfavourable atmosphere, it is necessary and desirable that a survey of the so-called oral folklore and songs sung mostly in tune with the seasonal changes in these hilly tracts be undertakan ; this entire literature be scientifically documented ; the devotional songs, chants, songs and folk epics sung on the festive occasions like Divali, Pat, Holi and religious observation be recorded on tapes ; video cassettes of the important religious and social festivals be sprepared. Janmastami This task is the essential duty if a vigilant citizen. Anand Ashram desires to undertake this work with the good will and financial help of your and your company.

All this will be stored and preserved in a museum or a folk-lore bhavan in its entorety and in its original settings. Thus, the preserved vocal literature of devotional songs, the singing styles of the visual and audible folk epics, songs dances and practices, religious and social festivals will be a valuable source for future historians, linguists, music teachers, socialogists, experts in plitics and also the seekers of truth in their task of delineating the vast picture of culture of mankind.

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