The Divine Music of Goddess Kurukulla
The Bhairav of Kurukulla Devi Ji is ‘Swacchanda Bhairav’ because Kurukulla Devi Ji is also known as ‘Aghoreshwari’ in Tantra Shastra. Both are the origin point of ‘Nada’ (sound). From ‘Nada’ came forth the Beeja Mantras and ‘Sapta Swaras’. From both, the Beeja Mantra and Sapta Swaras, began the unique tradition of ‘Sangeet and Gayan’.
The presiding Goddess Kurukulla’s tradition is full of Beeja Mantras and music tradition. The Bhairavs, Bhairavis and the ‘Deulu’ (Devotees) of the Goddess, celebrate every Sanskaras, festivals, and Poojan Parampara with music played through unique instruments.
The unique beats of Kaulantak Peeth play very important role in dance called ‘Nati’. ‘Nati’ is known to be the origin of the ‘Natya Shastra’ because ‘Swacchanda Bhairav’ (Bhagwaan Shiva) teaches ‘Natya Shastra to Kurukull Devi Ji (Mata Parvati) on Mount Kailash. One of the forms of Nati is the slowest form of dance of the world.
The unique music tradition of the Goddess Kurukulla plays the foremost role in the entire Parampara of the Kurukulla Devi Ji. Right from when the Goddess is invoked, to when the power of the Goddess Kurukulla is invoked in the medium of the Devi known as the ‘Gur’, to when the every day Pooja and Arti ceremonies of the Devi is held, in each of these occasions different music beats are played unique to Kulant Peeth. Besides these occasions, every single day, a special music arrangement for the Goddesss Pehar Baja, which indicates the Pooja of the Devi done at different ‘Pahars’ (time) of the day. The Devi enjoys a unique music arrangement held right from Brahma Muhurta, to when She wears the Shringar to when She travels to different places, to when the Awaran Poojan conducted of the Devi to when She goes for ‘Shayan’ (sleep).
When His Holiness, Kaulantak Nath performs any Pooja of the Devi or when any Bhairav of the Kaulantak Peeth performs the Bhairav Nritye for Kurukulla Devi Ji and for His Holiness Kaulantak Nath, music plays the main role. During Yagya, Mantrochaar, Welcoming ceremonies, farewell ceremonies, in each of these occasions, there is music.
For this gamut of music, there are special instruments for every Devi and Devata of Kaulantal Peeth. Below is the list of few min instruments of Kurukulla Devi Ji:
An instrument made up of metal alloy of brass or bronze and shaped like a bowl. This instrument is made up of thin metal sheets with a narrow bottom and wide mouth. Hide of buffalo, ox etc are used to make the Nagara. It is is bounded by leather ropes in order to tighten the grip of the hide. Wooden sticks are used to play the Nagara. Nagara is played along with the Dhol and the one who holds and/or plays the Nagara is known as the ‘Nagarchi’.
Kurukulla Devi Ji has five small Nagaras and two big Nagaras.
Baam is similar to Nagara. But ‘Baam' is massive in size. Its mouth is more than two feet in radius. In ancient times, Baam was used during war times to announce the war. But today, it is used to send the immediate, alert message to people that something related to the Goddess is about to begin. Sometimes, the Baam is played in the middle of the festivities to invoke the ‘Veer Bhav’, the zeal in people.
Kurukulla Devi Ji have two Baam. One is called as ‘Sucha Baam’, the one that is kept inside the temple premises. The other one is kept outside the temple premises.
Daffal popularly known as the ‘Daff’ is made up of Sheep’s or goat’s skin. It is made up of metal or wooden strip which is round in shape.
Kurukulla Devi Ji have six Daffals.
The Dhadh is similar to Dhol. The outer shell of the ‘Dhadh’ is made up from the Bekhali tree, and wrapped in Sheep’s leather. Dhadh instrument played the key role in the pooja and the ritualistic worship of the Devi and Devata. The one who plays the Dhadh, called the Dhadi, is a very important person, since he is chosen by the Devi or the Devata themselves.
Kurukulla Devi Ji have one Dhadh.
Dhol is the double sided drum made up of wood and copper. Both sides of which are wrapped in Goat’s or Sheep’s leather and tied with cotton or leather strings. The right side of the Dhol is played with the help of a special stick, while the left side is played with the bare left hand.
The Dhol and the Nagara both are held and suspended from the neck of the one who plays the it. The Dhol is played by the person known by the name of Dholi.
Kurukulla Devi Ji have five small Dhols, five Dhols and one huge, five feet big Dhol.
Made up from the shell of Bekhali tree, Dhouns is covered with Sheep’s skin. Dhouns plays important role in Tantra-Mantra, and ‘Awahan’ invocation of the Devi-Devata. During the ceremonies, Dhouns is used to give special signal, to start and pause the ceremony and give the signal from his Devata to the respective ‘Gur’.
Kurukulla Devi Ji have one Dhouns.
It is a smaller size Dhol, wrapped in Goat’s leather on its two sides. The Dragh is played during the Hulaki Nritye of the Devi-Devata and during the special dance of the ‘Gur’.
Kurukulla Devi Ji has four Draghs.
Thali, also known as Baana is a large metal plate with a holder. The Thali is played with the help of a stick. It is played along with the other instruments.
Kurukulla Devi Ji has six Thalis.
9. Chhanchhala or Jhanjh
Chhanchhala is created majorly from ‘Ashta Dhatu’ and Kansa (Bronze). These are two big plates with cup like hollow in the centre area of both plates that produces unique sound. The one that has bigger cup, is the male Chhanchhala and the other is the female Chhanchhala.
Kurukulla Devi Ji have eight male and eight female Chhanchhala.
10. Ghanti (Bell)
Ghanti is the key instrument in most worship rituals of the Devi Devata. It is made of metal bronze, ‘Ashta Dhatu’ etc. It is shaped like a dome with the holder and the clapper. It is of two types, male and female. The male Ghanti is heavy in weight and made up of brass, while the female is lighter in weight and made up of Bronze.
Kurukulla Devi have thirty ‘Ghanti’: 15 males and 15 females.
11. Kansi or Manjira
Kansi instrument is made up of two small bronze plates with a thick thread holding both plates at the ends of the thread.
Kurukulla Devi Ji have twenty Kansi.
Dhanotu is an instrument similar to ‘Ektara’. It’s name come from the Sanskrit word ‘Dhanush’ (bow). Dhanotu is shaped like a bow.
Kurukulla Devi Ji have two Dhanotu instruments.
13. Shankh (Conch)
Shankh is obtained from Shellfish. It has to be blown with much force to produce its unique sound called ‘Shankh Dwani’ There are different types of Shakh Dwani, for instance, one that is played during Poojan Ceremonies, while some are played only at funeral ceremonies. During ancient times, a particular Shakh Dwani was played during war, while some are played only to begin the auspicious ceremonies.
There are different kinds of ‘Shakh’ like Soorya Shakh, Dakshina-Varti Shankh (right side opening), MahaShakh, Shringar Shankh that is decorated with art-work.
Kurukulla Devi Ji have:
1. Ten Surya Shankh
- Ten Shankh
- Two MahaShankh
- One DakshinaVarti Shankh
- Five Shringar Shankh
Apart from being used as the instrument, it is used in the ‘Abhishek’ ceremonies, like Abhishek of Kurukulla Devi Ji, different Yantra Mandalas, the ‘snan’ of Kaulantak Nath.
‘Nali’ means a pipe and ‘Karna’ means ears. Hence, the instrument Karnali, has one end shaped like an ear with a long pipe. It looks similar to the ‘Dhatura’ flower.
It is played during happy times, like marriage ceremonies, welcome ceremonies, during Deva Yatra, Deva Pooja, folk dance etc.
Kurukulla Devi Ji have ten Karnali and four Maha(huge size) Karnali.
Kahali is made up of Copper and is shaped like a crescent moon. It is always played in pair by two people.
Kurukulla Devi Ji have four Kahali.
It is an instrument that looks like the shape of serpent. Nagphani is made up of copper and is divided into two parts. Its mouth is wide open with split tongue.
Kurukulla Devi Ji have four Nagphani.
17. Panchmukh Kahal
This instrument is similar to Kahali but with five outlets connected to one top end.
Kurukulla Devi Ji have two pairs of Panchmukh Kahal.
Ransinga is ’S’ shaped instrument, made up of copper. It is also always played in pair and is divided into two parts.
Kurukulla Devi Ji have six pairs of Ransinga.
Shehnai is the small trumpet like instrument that occupies special place in every ceremony of Devi- Devatas and also in different ‘Sanskaras’. It is also played during Nati performances and in festivities. The one who plays the Shehnai is called the ‘Hesi’.
Kurukulla Devi Ji have six Shehnai, three made up of Silver and three of wood.