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Svara, aka: Svarā, Śvara, Shvara; 15 Definition(s)

Introduction

Svara means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. Check out some of the following descriptions and leave a comment if you want to add your own contribution to this article.

The Sanskrit term Śvara can be transliterated into English as Svara or Shvara, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Upaniṣad (dialogues on the Vedas)

Svara (स्वर).—Svara is life (uyir) and vyañjana is the body (mey) of Devi of language and music. The svara gives life to the music/language/devi. The singer evoking the svara gives life to Devi.

According to Chāndogya khāṇḍa 3 (adhidaivata) śloka 2: “This and that are samāna (equalizers). Both are heat and energy. This is svara and that is svara and pratyasvara. This and that are the udgāthas (singers). Prāṇa of singer and sūrya are samam in quality and in name (guṇa and nāma) both move (svarati-verb) by waves of light and sound. Therefore, they are called svara/sūrya. Without the sūrya (sun and the prāṇa), there is no life or art or science possible on earth. Therefore, svara is the life (uyir). We see both the life and the sun coming back cyclically, and so is prāṇa as inhalation and exhalation, and hence both are svara and pratyasvara. But we don’t see the life of a particular individual coming back after it leaves a body, therefore, it is just called svara and not pratyasvara.”

Source: Google Books: Music Therapy (upainishads)

about this context:

Upaniṣads (उपनिषद्, upanishad) convey the highest purpose of the Vedas. They are a category of sacred Sanskrit literature forming the basis of Vedānta (a school of orthodox Hindu philosophy). The Upaniṣads are usually found attached to the last part of the Brāhmaṇas and Āraṇyakas.

Āyurveda (science of life)

Svara (स्वर).—Svara refers to the “voice”, and Āyurvedic literature enumerates various voice-enhancing rejuvenating recipes, for example: 1) the juice of maṇḍūkaparṇī; 2) powder of yaṣṭimadhu mixed with honey; juice of guḍūcī along wih its root and flowers; 4) paste of śaṅkhapuṣpī. (See Caraka-saṃhitā, cikitsā-sthāna 1.30-31)

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

about this context:

Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

Śikṣā (linguistics: phonetics, phonology etc.)

Svara (स्वर, “interval”), also “note”.—The Indian system is based on a series of seven intervals (svara), called saptaka. Nāradīyā-śikṣā 1.5.1 compares the notes (svara) used by the singers of sāmas (i.e. religious songs of the Sāmaveda), with the notes of the flute, which may represent here secular (laukika) music:

  1. prathama (i.e. the first) is the note madhyama of the flute;
  2. dvitīya (i.e. the second) is gāndhāra,
  3. tṛtīya (i.e. the third) is traditionally ṛṣabha.
  4. caturtha (i.e. the fourth) is said to be ṣaḍja;
  5. pañcama (i.e. the fifth) is dhaivata;
  6. ṣaṣṭha (i.e. the sixth) is considered to be niṣāda;
  7. saptama (i.e. the seventh) is traditionally pañcama.

The fifth, sixth and seventh note of religious (vaidika) music are commonly indicated by the names mandra, atisvārya and kruṣṭa.

Source: Google Books: Dattilam: A Compendium of Ancient Indian Music [shiksha]

about this context:

Śikṣā (शिक्षा, shiksha) deals with Sanskrit linguistics and represents a branch of vedāṅga (vedic ancillary science). Śikṣā deals with subjects such as phonetics, phonology, study of sound, letters of the Sanskrit alphabet and related topics. Much attention is also given to the study of recitation (pāṭha) of Vedic verses.

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Svara (स्वर) refers to the “notes” in musical performance. The notes (svara) have two bases: the human throat (lit. body) and the Vīṇā, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 28. It is part of the ‘vocal representation’ (vācika), which is used in communicating the meaning of the drama and calling forth the Sentiment (rasa).

According to the Nāṭyaśāstra 6.10, chapter 19 and chapter 28, there are seven notes (svara), to be used in different sentiments:

  1. ṣaḍja (sa),
  2. ṛṣabha (ri),
  3. gāndhāra (ga),
  4. madhyama (ma),
  5. pañcama (pa),
  6. dhaivata (dha),
  7. niṣāda (ni).

According as they relate to an interval of more or less śrutis, they are of four classes, such as

  1. Sonant (vādin),
  2. Consonant (saṃvādin)
  3. Assonant (anuvādin),
  4. Dissonant (vivādin)

Accordingly, “as a note prominently sounds it is called sonant (vādin); as it sounds in cosonance with another it is consonant (saṃvādin); as it sounds discordantly to another it is dissonant (vivādin), and as it follows another note it is called assonant (anuvādin). These notes become low or high according to the adjustment of the strings, and the varying condition (lit. diversity) of the beam of the vīṇā and of the sense-organs”.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Svara (स्वर, “notes”).—The Indian scale has seven notes, namely, ṣaḍja, ṛṣabha, gāndhāra, madhyama, pañcama, dhaivat, niṣāda. Now-a-days these are generally abbreviated to sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, dha and ni. Svaras are of four kinds namely, vādī, saṃvādī, anuvādī and vivādī. (cf. Tilaka-mañjarī by Dhanapāla)

Source: Google Books: Dhanapāla and His Times (arts and learning)

Svara (स्वर, “interval”).—According to the Saṅgīta-makaranda, “The seven notes, ṣaḍja, ṛṣabha, gāndhāra, madhyama, pañcama, dhaivata and niṣāda, are said to dwell respectively in the navel, the heart, the throat, the palate, the nose, the teeth and the lips”. (Cf. Saṃgītarāja of Kumbhā)

Source: Google Books: Dattilam: A Compendium of Ancient Indian Music

Svara (स्वर, “notes”).—The svara is defined by Mataṅga as that which shines by itself. The names of the notes have been explained by different writers old and modern. (cf Mataṅga’s 9th century Bṛhaddeśī)

Source: archive.org: The Ragas Of Karnatic Music

Svara (स्वर, “vowels”).—Vowels are fourteen in number: a, ā, i, ī, u, ū, ṛ, ḹ (long) ḷ, ḹ (long) e, ai, o and au are to be known as vowels.

Source: archive.org: Natya Shastra

1a) Svara (स्वर).—“tone in recitation etc.” (either high or low),

1b) “accent” (of which there are three kinds, udātta-, anudātta-, and svarita- svaras),

1c) “note of the musical scale” (of which seven rarely six or eight are enumerated, 1. niṣāda-;2. ṛṣabha-;3. gāndhāra-;4. ṣaḍja-;5. madhyama-;6. dhaivata-;7. pañcama- svaras; of which niṣāda- and gāndhāra- are referred to the udātta-, ṛṣabha- and dhaivata- to the an-udātta-, while ṣaḍja- and the other two are referred to the svarita- accent; described as resembling respectively the notes of an elephant, bull, goat, peacock, curlew or heron, horse, and Koil)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams (natyashastra)

Svara is a Sanskrit word that connotes a note in the successive steps of the octave. The svara differs from the sruti concept in Indian music. A sruti is the smallest gradation of pitch available, while a svara is the selected pitches from which the musician constructs the scales, melodies and ragas. The seven notes of the musical scale in Indian classical music are ṣaḍja (षड्ज), ṛṣabha (ऋषभ), gandhāra (गान्धार), madhyama (मध्यम), pañchama (पञ्चम), dhaivata (धैवत) and niāṣda (निषाद).

Source: WikiPedia: Natyashastra

about this context:

Nāṭyaśāstra (नाट्यशास्त्र, natya-shastra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition of performing arts, (e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nāṭya) and poetic works (kāvya).

Purāṇa

1) Śvara (श्वर).—A son of Dadhīci.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 21. 42.

2a) Svara (स्वर).—A son of Gāyatrī and Prajāpati.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 21. 42.

2b) Seven (music);1 sixteen of the Vedas.2

  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 86. 36.
  • 2) Ib. 65. 28; 104. 71.

3a) Svarā (स्वरा).—A daughter of Uttānapāda.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 36. 90; Vāyu-purāṇa 62. 77.

3b) A daughter of Kardama and one of the wives of Atharva Angiras; son Gautama.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 1. 102; Vāyu-purāṇa 65. 98.

3c) A daughter of Krodhā.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 205.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

about this context:

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Śāktism (Śākta philosophy)

Svarā (स्वरा, “Sound, Speech”):—One of the female offspring from Mahākālī (tamas-form of Mahādevī). Mahākālī is one of the three primary forms of Devī, the other two being Mahālakṣmī and Mahāsarasvatī. Not to be confused with Kālī, she is a more powerful cosmic aspect (vyaṣṭi) of Devi and represents the guṇa (universal energy) named tamas. Also see the Devī Māhātmya, a Sanskrit work from the 5th century, incorporated into the Mārkaṇḍeya-Purāṇa.

Source: Wisdom Library: Śāktism

about this context:

Śākta (शाक्त, shakta) or Śāktism (shaktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devī) is revered and worshipped. Śāka literature includes a range of scriptures, including various tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

Dharmaśāstra (religious law)

Svara (स्वर) refers to “voice”, as in, a visible trait or charecteristic of a human being. When a King (rājan) is investigating a suit in the court, he is to closely watch the variations (ākāra) of the subject. For the voice (svara) of a person, this means monitoring for faltering (of the voice), being choked with tears etc. The term is used throughout Dharmaśāstra literature such as the Manusmṛti.

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra

about this context:

Dharmaśāstra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharma-shastra) is a category of Hindu literature containing important instructions regarding religious law, ethics, economics, jurisprudence and more. It is categorised as smṛti, an important and authorative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Svara (स्वर) denotes in the Upaniṣads the sound of a vowel: these are described as being ghoṣavant, ‘sonant,’ and also as balavant, ‘uttered with force’. The precise word for a mute is sparśa, ‘contact’, while ūṣman denotes a ‘sibilant’, and svara a ‘vowel’, in the Aitareya and Śāṅkhāyana-āraṇyakas. The semivowels are there denoted by antasthā (‘intermediate’) or akṣara.

Another division in the Aitareya-āraṇyaka is into ghoṣa, ūṣman, and vyañjana, apparently ‘vowels’, ‘sibilants’, and ‘consonants’ respectively.

Source: archive.org: Vedic index of Names and Subjects

The seven basic musical notes (svara), coincided with the seven diatonic intervals of the Indian scale.

Source: Academia.edu: The Nāṭyaśāstra: the Origin of the Ancient Indian Poetics

Relevant definitions

Search found 63 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Svara Shiksha
Svara Shiksha (स्वर शिक्षा, Svara Śikṣā): Name of a traditional Hindu treatise on the subjec...
Svarashastra
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Svarasāda (स्वरसाद, “change of voice”) occurs as being due to fear, joy, anger, ...
Shruti
Shruti means the smallest interval of pitch that the human ear can detect and a singer or music...
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Svara Yoga explains how prāṇa can be utilized by us for all auspicious purposes. Iḍa nāḍi is...
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Svarabhaktilakshanaparishishta Shiksha (स्वरभक्तिलक्षणपरिशिष्ट शिक्षा, Svarabhaktilakṣaṇapar...
Rishabha
Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ).—Illustration of the ṛṣabha-svara according to 15th century art.—The colour of the...
Gandhara
Gāndhāra (गान्धार).—Illustration of the gāndhāra-svara according to 15th century art.—The colou...
Pancama
Pañcama (पञ्चम).—Illustration of the pañcama-svara according to 15th century art.—The colour of...
Madhyama
Madhyama (मध्यम).—Illustration of the madhyama-svara according to 15th century art.—The colour ...
Nishada
Niṣāda (निषाद).—Illustration of the niṣāda-svara according to 15th century art.—The colour of t...
Akshara
Akṣara (अक्षर) refers to a “stroke” in musical notes, according to the Nāṭyaśāst...

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Search found 42 books containing Svara, Svarā, Śvara or Shvara. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the 20 most relevant articles:

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