Chennai Mathematical Institute


2.00 p.m.
Mathematics and Ancient Music

Brigadier S. Nambirajan



My recent Study reveals that the antiquity of Indian music transcends the hitherto-known historicity identified with the era of Bharata and Dattila (approximately 200 B.C.) and recedes to pre- era much anterior even to the earliest known civilization (i.e. , 4000 B.C.). In comparison, the source of Western music is traceable only to the era of Pythagoras of Samos (i.e. 500 B.C.). I wish to share my findings about such a rich antiquity of our music, as it adds to our sense of national pride! Contemporary music is configured over a structure of 12 tones. However, some great seers of medieval India had envisioned the existence of a superior form ancient based on and had aspired for it without much success. My recent work in quest of ancient has enabled me to feel just tip of this . More intensive efforts are needed to unravel its full splendour. In India, the early musicologists approved only the basic seven notes derived Sama . However, later musicologists introduced in order to enlarge this restricted tonal-base. Contemporary scholars have attempted with a view to resurrect the ancient music of 22 tones by employing innovative techniques. On the other extreme end, there are scholars who contend that 22 tones do not exist at all in our music. Some Western critics have gone to the extent of describing our very concept of 22 srutis as from the mathematical point of view. Although these criticisms stand vindicated from the standpoint of conventional logic, my Study has unearthed certain new dimensions that would contest their seemingly rational conclusions. As per this Study, our ancient music had an intrinsic content of 22 swaras duly calibrated into an octave set to 22 srutis. I am amazed to observe that two distinct routes had been chosen by the ancient designers for the propagation of coded clues related to swara- information was propagated down the generations through the Sumerian route whereas sruti- information was propagated through the Indian Sama Vedic route. Two different cultural vehicles and the information could be decoded only if the two cultural traditions ! The above findings point towards existence of plenty related to the origin of music. What is even more amazing is the fact that the ancient designers of this class of music wielded enormous influence on our ancestors; our Indian ancestors were motivated to chant these tones for several millennia so that the vital tone-related information could be carried down the generations through their bio-memory! Similarly, the Sumerians were ordained to transmit the vital information on musicology by way . Who were these Ancient Designers who were so influential super-? The Study undertaken by me points out that our music culture originated from a pre-historic era. Although contemporary music is its off-shoot, it had suffered severe aberrations due to the loss of underlying mathematical rationale. Our ancient music is highly consonance-rich and its resurrection is feasible based on codes and guidelines embedded into it. I have elaborated these details in my The Mystic Citadel of 22 Srutis. I would request the mathematics community to sit up and take note of the super-knowledge possessed by our pre-historic Ancients and reconcile the same with our existing knowledge-base. A guided research into the Sumerian archaeological treasures might unfold much newer avenues in the field of maths and science, in the days to come!

--------------------------------------------- Brigadier Srinivasan Nambirajan

Brigadier Nambirajan is a direct descendent of Sri. Thillaisthanam Rama Iyengar who was the disciple of Swami Thyagaraja of Thiruvaiyaru. Sri. Rama s devoted his lifetime in the service of his Guru and contributed immensely towards music by scripting the priceless krithis of Swami Thyagaraja (with due notations) and passing them down to the posterity. Brigadier Nambirajan had received formal exposure to classical Carnatic Music since his school days. He is an alumnus of St. s College, Trichy where he did his Masters in Chemistry. After joining the Army, he graduated in Electronics and Communications Engineering and secured his Masters degree in Engineering (Advanced Weapon Systems) from the Institute of Armament Technology, Pune. He also secured a Masters degree from the prestigious War College of India in War Strategies and management of Military Operations. During his long service of 37 years in the Army, Brigadier Nambirajan had shouldered several vital assignments such as Director of Military Operations in Army HQ, Director of Human Resources at the Army HQ and provision of operational logistics for Siachen Glacier Operations. He also held a key position in the Defence Ministry in the department of Quality Assurance. He had headed the Technical Faculty in the military College of Telecommunication Engineering and later served as the Military Commander in Tamilnadu during 1997 to 99. On retirement, Brigadier Nambirajan worked with the Hinduja Group as Senior Vice President (Technical Services) and with the Jet Airways as Human Resources consultant. Since 2004, Brigadier Nambirajan has settled down in Pune in the company of music. During these days, he had undertaken a Study of Ancient . He is here with us today to share some of his findings pertaining to this subject. ---------------------------------------------------