Musical trees and rivers?

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 8 20:26:56 EST 2000


>begins with two items which do not fit in an obvious manner.  The phrase
>runs: vanaspati-nady-ucchaTaa-taala-murajaadi-vaadya-zabda.h.  I take this
>to
>mean (roughly) "sounds of instrumental music such as vanaspati, nadi(i),
>snapping of fingers, clapping of hands, [and] drums."

Monier-Williams lists one meaning of vanaspati as "anything
made of wood, esp. partic. parts of a car or carriage, a wooden
drum, a wooden amulet, a block on which criminals are executed,
a coffin & c." The references given are RV, AV and VS. In the
Carnatic system of music, vanaspati is the name of a rAga, and
the standard meaning given to the name in the new musicological
texts is, "a kind of drum" (i.e. not the modern Indian name for
hydrogenated vegetable oil!).

I was going to suggest that nadI may be a reference to the sound
of stringed instruments, but everything else in the list is a
percussive sound, so this doesn't fit. Perhaps, like the snapping
of fingers, it refers to the plucking of stringed instruments? Or
else, nadi as the name of another kind of drum? Alternatively, is
there a textual reason that the word could be nAdi, derived from
nAda, instead of nadI?

Vidyasankar

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