the Art of Mridanga and Kirtan
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Mridanga Lessons Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of Mridanga Lessons. Here we will introduce the first playing mantras so you can start playing in kirtan as soon as possible. The mantras are as follows:

Playing Mantras:

1. Kaharba 1: da gi te te na gi de na
2. Kaharba 2: dhi ni ta ki te te de na
3. Tehoi: te re ke te da (3 times)
4. Matan Part 1: da gi da da gi ni
5. Matan Part 2: na ko te ne tak

The first mantra we learn for playing is called Kaharba. It is an 8 beat mantra with all the bols played in equal time. It is important at this point to introduce the importance of playing only as fast as your mind can follow what your hands are doing and you can think clearly about each bol. Most players wish to play fast and loud immediately but this will only create permanent bad habits out of technical mistakes. Everything should be slowed down and done technically as correctly as possible. The speed will come automatically through slow repetition of correct technique. This is the single most important point to remember when learning mridanga.

So here is the explanation from the 2006 DVD on Kaharba mantra:

Download

And here is a kirtan to help you understand how to play the mantra and sing. This particular mantra is used for the vast majority of kirtan and is a standard and fundamental bol.

Download

Now we come to the split screen videos. First the standard kaharba bol.

Download

Next is a split screen video of the first variation that we play with kaharba by adding an extra ‘ko’ bol to the mantra.

Download

The next variation we will discuss is the concept of laghu and guru. Laghu means light and guru means heavy. So each and every mantra may be played in a light form and also a heavy form. So initially kaharba was presented in guru form. Now here is the split screen video of the laghu form.

Download

Now from the 2006 DVD there is a further explanation of laghu along with the explanation of the second Kaharba mantra:

Download

And the kirtan to help show how to play the mantra:

Download

Now we come to split screen videos of the second Kaharba mantra:

Medium Speed

Download

Fast Speed

Download

This is purely to give you an idea of where your practice will culminate. It takes time and practice to reach this stage, but essentially it is not ‘difficult’. Just a natural development over time.

Now we come to the next section known as Tehoi. The tehoi is the ending part of a section when you will start a new line of the song, or will change to playing a different mantra or set of mantras. First the explanation video:

Download

And then a kirtan to show how it is used:

Download

This is just the first of a large number of various tehoi mantras. We will cover more as the lessons progress. Now for the split screen videos of the tehoi mantras:

Medium speed

Download

Fast speed

Download

Next we come to the final section of this second lesson. This is the third playing mantra we learn and it is very important. It is called Matan. There are a large number of Matan mantras and we begin with 2 that are both straightforward and also very practically useful in the kirtan.

Download

And the kirtan to show how to play it:

Download

Now we will look at the split screen videos of the matan mantra.
Matan Part 1:

Slow speed

Download

Medium speed

Download

Matan Part 2:
Slow speed

Download

Medium speed

Download

Now I have a few more very nice recordings to share with you that were filmed in Nabadwip with my dear friend Manasa Krishna. These videos show you how to use the mantras in several of the most commonly sung songs.

Kali Kukkura Kadana

Download

And here is the first of several audio files of the songs recorded in Russia as part of the Gaudiya Gitanjali recordings. Further audios have been posted below accompanying the appropriate videos:

Kali Kukkura Kadana Audio

Download

Gurudev! Kripa Bindu Diya (Morning Tune)

Download

Udilo Aruna

Download

Jaya Jaya Gurudever Arati Ujjvala

Download

Jaya Jaya Gurudever Arati Ujjvala Audio

Download

Bhaja Re Bhaja Re Amar

Download

Bhaja Bhakata Vatsala Part 1

Download

Bhaja Bhakata Vatsala Part 2

Download

Jasomati Nandana

Download

Jaya Sachinandana

Download

Jaya Sachinandana Audio

Download

Mahamantra (Bhoga Arati Tune)

Download

Namo Namah Tulasi Maharani

Download

Sujanarvuda Radhita Pada Yugam

Download

Hari Haraye Namah Krishna

Download

And lastly two more Audios for kirtans which give examples of how to play these mantras in kirtan:

Mahamantra (Suddha Bhakata Tune)

Download

Saraswata Arati

Download

Ok, that’s it for Part 2 of the lessons. Once you have worked your way through all of these materials then it’s time to move on to Part 3.