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Story Of Origin Of Flute Musical Instrument In Hinduism

Flute is very popular musical instrument in Hinduism. It is known as murali or venu in Hindu religion and is popularly associated with Bhagavan Sri Krishna. Here is a look at the story of origin of flute musical instrument in Hinduism.

Numerous stories and theories abound about the origin of the flute. Probably, on account of its antiquity, the Shabar tribe has been credited with the invention of the instrument. On the other hand, natural origin theory holds that frequent blowing of forest-wind through bamboo holes and the consequent generation of identifiable, likable, as well as humanly reproducible sounds, was responsible for the origin.

Mahakavi Kalidasa, in Kumarasambhava, adds sophistication to the theory by weaving a story around the acoustic phenomenon. He describes how sounds produced by winds blowing through the bamboo-holes made by black-bees enchanted Gandharvas, the celestial musicians. Gandharvas, therefore, proceeded to cut off that portion of the bamboo which generated sweet sounds thus fashioning a musical instrument.

The flute is mentioned in the Vedas, Sutras, Jatakas, Ramayana, Mahabharata and Arthashastra.

Venu or murali is closely associated with Bhagavan Sri Krishna and two of his popular names are Venugopal and Muralidhara. Various Krishna cults compete with each other in describing Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s skill and power to enchant animate and inanimate worlds with flute-playing. The instrument ceases to be a mere music-making device in his hands and it is equated with vak – shabda brahman – the Supreme Being as expressed through sound. The Rasa dance, which is the five phased, culminating and ritualistic expression of Sri Krishna’s relationship of love with the gopis, therefore characteristically commences with Sri Krishna’s song on venu (venu gita). Sri Krishna’s relationship with the instrument is invariably celebrated by cults associated with him.