Jun Koo, "Brahmins and Hymns of Modern and Contemporary South India" - Tamils and Bhakti Faith. Recommended for learning about South Indian culture.

Brahmins and Hymns of Modern and Contemporary South India Indian thought, culture and history

Summary and Comments on Jun Kooi's "Brahmins and Hymns of Modern and Contemporary South India" - Tamils and the Bhakti Faith. Recommended for learning about South Indian culture.

I would like to introduce "Brahmins and Hymns of Modern and Contemporary South India" by Jun Koo, published by Seiyusha in 2020.

Let's take a quick look at the book.

Why is it that India, which had been under British colonial rule for hundreds of years and longed to establish its own culture, continues to have religious songs in its daily life and is highly interested in its own music? Based on long-term fieldwork, this book comprehensively examines the relationship between the music world, performing arts, and society, and presents the results of ethnomusicological research and South Asian Area Studies, together with photographs and illustrations.

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This work, "Brahmins and Hymns of Modern and Contemporary South India," is a good way to learn about South Indian culture. Indian culture, religion, and history are often discussed mainly in Delhi and other parts of North India and the Ganges River basin. In such a situation, a book that focuses on the Dravidians and Tamils of South India and discusses their culture and society is quite valuable.

This book will look at the unique culture of South India through the lens of religious hymns.

The "Introduction" to this book states the following

In India (Map 1), where music and religious beliefs are strongly connected, a wide variety of hymns have been sung, differing in name and form according to period and region. In Hinduism, which is considered a polytheistic religion, there is not only one supreme deity, but also many incarnations and households, and the family altars of believers are often decorated with portraits and statues of deities. Many religious poets composed poems and melodies for their special objects of worship. Hindus often refer to them as "adoring deities" (iṣṭa-devatā'ishta-devatā). For example, the "adoring deity" of the saintly musician Tyagaraja (1767-1847), who is always mentioned when discussing traditional South Indian music, was Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu, and through his songs he sometimes sang passionately and sometimes gently about his fervent devotion to Rama. He sang his passionate devotion to Rama through his songs, sometimes passionately, sometimes tenderly.

Many readers may associate the general image of "hymns" in Japan with that of traditional Christian culture. In Christian culture, various chants and hymns have been handed down in a unique liturgical setting under the organizational form of the church. Therefore, hymns have developed primarily for the benefit of the congregation that gathers there. On the other hand, Hindu hymns have been sung in temples, monasteries, courts, homes, and on the streets. The authors of the hymns came from various social classes, and although the aforementioned Thyagaraja was a Brahmin, there were many thinkers and philosophers, regardless of rank, who were also gifted with musical talent. They weaved hymns to the gods as an expression of their faith, as a means of social resistance, or as a means of enlightening the public, while weaving together the rich worldview of Hindu mythology.

The Tamil region of South India, the main research area for this book, is known as the birthplace of a unique devotional tradition. In the seventh to ninth centuries, religious poets known as Nāyaṉār of the Shiva school and Ālvār of the Vishnu school went from temple to temple, giving street sermons and singing poems in praise of the gods with music. They sang poems in praise of the gods with music and left behind many Tamil hymns. Eventually, this belief was succeeded by the key concept of "Hinduism": bhakti (devotional love and absolute devotion to God). The bhakti movement spread to other parts of the world, especially in Eastern and Northern India, where a form of nām kītan, in which short passages of the divine name or mantra are repeatedly chanted, developed. Kīirtan is the Hindi reading of the Sanskrit word "kīrtana," meaning "chanting" or "repetition. While this is one of the nine types of bhakti, which will be mentioned again in this paper, it is also the name of a musical form in the context of traditional South Indian music, as it is closely associated with music. In addition, since "the conception of bhakti is founded on the premise of a separate identity between God (the Absolute) and man (the individual self)," devotees are considered women regardless of whether they are male or female. For this reason, there are many love songs-like hymns to God.

Seikyusha, Jun Koo, Brahmins and Hymns of Modern and Contemporary South India, p. 13-15.

As will be explained later in this book, the concept of "bhakti" or absolute devotion is already a Hindu scriptureThe Bhagavad Gita.It has long been stated in the

However, it would be quite some time before this concept would penetrate to the level of religious people and the general public.

In this book, the connection between that bhakti faith and music will be discussed chronologically.

While there are numerous books on Indian religion and culture, a book written specifically on South Indian music is rare. This is the first time I have thought about Indian culture from this perspective, so I was able to read this book with a very fresh mind.

I myself recently heard Hindu prayer music in the holy cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh on the upper Ganges River.

At Haridwar

That melody still lingers in my ears. For some reason, it was an unforgettable melody. Even I, who heard it for the first time, could not help but think how attached it must have been to the Indian people.

This book makes you think about these connections between music and Hindu culture.

The content itself is quite maniacal as it talks about the musicians of the time and their music, but it is an interesting work that gives a sense of the unique atmosphere of South India, which is different from North India.

I was very grateful for this film, which allowed me to see the social situation in South India through Hindu music, as I was interested in the relationship between Sri Lanka and South India.

I would highly recommend this book as well.

The above is "Jun Koo, "Brahmins and Hymns of Modern and Contemporary South India" - Tamils and Bhakti Faith. Recommended for learning about South Indian culture".

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