Audio tapes of the Gita and other Skt texts

aklujkar at aklujkar at
Sun Mar 30 22:23:28 UTC 1997

The extent of Skt recordings available is not small. What is wanting is a
consolidated catalogue giving detailed and accurate information. The best
policy, therefore, is to buy whatever cassettes one can at a given
location, barring, of course, what one already has. The quality of
production varies but  is, on the whole, improving. In some rare cases, the
pronunciation comes close to being unacceptable in the sense that it would
mislead a beginner. Otherwise, if one bears in mind that there must always
have been regional variations in the pronunciation of Skt, the situation is
not  bad. In many cases, I have come across refreshingly original and
attractive music setting.

The largest single supplier of Skt cassettes that I have come across is
Sangeetha, The Master Recording Co., 97-C, III Street, Kumaran Colony,
Vadapalani, Chennai (formerly Madras) 600 026;  phone numbers (91+44)
483-8802 and 483-8822; fax number 483-6174. This company supplies general
as well as specialized catalogues (the two in the latter category that I
have seen are "Classical Devotional, Dance ..."  and "Sanskrit
Devotionals") of what it can supply.

Particularly good reciters, in addition to Swami Brahmaananda, whose name
was already mentioned by Vidyasagar Govind but whose cassettes seem to be
available only from the Chinmayananda Mission,  are:  P.B. Sreenivos,
Bombay Sisters, Sukumari Menon, M.S. Subbalaksmi, and Lata Mangeshkar. The
well-known south Indian musician Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna has sung on a
number of cassettes for Sangeetha. While his tunes are generally very good,
the pronunciation leaves much to be desired. The same is true of K.J.
Yesudas, P. Leela, and P. Aruna. (For someone who has studied the phonetics
of Skt systematically, there may be some 'impurity' even in the
pronunciation of Brahmananda, Sreenivos etc., but its extent is

While the Sangeetha recordings are almost entirely concerned with religious
compositions, the Dillii Sa.msk.rta Akaadamii ('Sa.msk.rta-bhavanam,'
Raajakiiya-maadhyamika-vidyaalaya.h, va.jiira-pura-graama.h, Phase 1,
A'soka-vihaara™, Dillii 110 052) has put out cassettes of Megha-duuta and
Saundarya-laharii sung by Sai.phur-Rahamaana (= Saifur Rehman) and others.

In the Pune-Mumbai area, Gita chapters 9, 12 and 15 sung by Lata Mangeshkar
are available.
The chapter 15 recording appears on the back of Lata's J;naane;svarii LP
(and now cassette?). For the cassette of chapters 9 and 12, the producer is
HMV, The Gramophone Company of India, 5 Old Court House St., Calcutta 700

There is also said to be available a Gita recording (select verses with
Hindi narration) by Suhasini Mulgaonkar.

In addition, I have recently heard a highly innovative two-cassette set of
select Gita verses set to music by  Vanraj Bhatia, produced by Living Media
India Ltd., New Delhi. Its tunes are very good and original; technical side
of production is excellent; pronunciaiton, on the whole, is good, except
for the singers'  failure in consistently stressing short vowels followed
by conjunct consonants.

For someone at the beginning level, the five cassettes that come with my
_Sanskrit: an Easy Introduction to an Enchanting Language_ give much
practice in continuous reading. All the stories, essays and verses I use in
written form as exercises are read on the cassettes clearly and at
appropriate pace.

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