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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Raga, RAga, Raaga

rāga (attachment) See also ŚAIVISM.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore


rāga (‘that which colours,’ ‘attachment’) One of the most commonly used words, ‘rāga’ comes from the root-verb ‘rañj’ (= to colour). Anything that ‘colours’ the mind, makes it strongly attached, is rāga. The Bhagavadgītā (2.64; 3.34; 14.7) uses this word in the general sense of attachment to anything and that it is caused by the quality called rajas, the second of the three guṇas. The Yogasutras (3.7) of Patañjali (200 B. C.) describes it as the extreme desire that arises in the mind after a pleasurable experience, the residual desire to get that pleasure once again and the consequent attachment towards the means of getting it. Along with dveṣa or hatred, it is considered as a great obstacle in the path of spiritual unfoldment. In the science of music, rāga is a tune generated by the proper combination of the saptasvaras or the seven fundamen¬tal notes. Here, they are called rāgas because they give pleasure to the mind. These rāgas are classed as six by the authorities on music, though the names differ in the lists given by them. For instance, one list gives them as: Mālava, Indra, Mallāra, Śrīrāga, Vasanta and Hindola. Each of these rāgas has six feminine associates—called rāgiṇīs—taking their total to thirty six. Sometimes, depending upon the sen¬timents produced, the rāgas are also classified as pumrāga (male), strīrāga (female) and napumsakarāga (neuter). The puihrāgas produce the senti¬ments of heroism and wonder; the strirāgas, of amour and humour; the napuihsakarāgas, of peace and fear. See also DVEṢA.