Cyclic Time in Indian Art Music & Creativity

Key Words: Avartan, creativity, Creation, cyclic, meter, sam, Sam, time, torque, Veda, Siva, memory, phenomenon. As opposed to the reductionist views of time which include a linear approach, the Indian is a cyclic conception of time which events follow. According to this view the super-structure of time is cyclic tangible and intangible events keep repeating in smaller cycles. The essence of Creation at a macro level and creativity at the micro or individual level is the fact that they appear differently to us. In north Indian art music (NIAM), I propose that avartan is its "cyclicity" which is responsible for creativity. The heavy demand for extempore improvisation in NIAM, forces a performer to continually view immediate past musical act and improvise based on this. In this manner, the spiral of creativity is generated. Then, at a point of time one wants to break away from this cycle just as an aeroplane leaves its runway after gaining momentum. At a very secular level, this process replicates an urge for freedom from routines in life, but one cannot value freedom without being shackled and finding a tool to gain a threshold frequency for final release. Avartan as a tool provides a process of observation, retention, and recall; itself is a cyclical process. At an esoteric level, in India, the timeless Siva is the chief deity of time and hence He devours it. He is the Yogi (without categories/unity itself) blissful between two moments and full of potential creative energy. This situation is replicated in the sam of avartan or the first beat (unity) in the cyclic meter. Sam is the pivotal aspect which is continually sought after by the artiste in an attempt to meet the Yogi sitting between moments. From this unity multiplicity is born giving birth to cyclic meter representing the infinitely diverse phenomenal world.

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