The term raga is derived from Sanskrit root, ranj or raj, literally meaning to color but figuratively meaning to tinge with emotion.
The essential of a raga is its power to evolve emotion. Oversimplified, the concept of raga is to connect musical ideas in such a way as to form a continuous whole based on emotional impact.
He transmitted the knowledge of cosmic dance to the rishi Bharata, through one of his ganas. The dance is called tandava and Bharata thus became the first teacher of music to men, and even to apsaras, the heavenly dancers.
Similarly, the rishi Narada, who is depicted as endlessly moving about the universe playing on his vina (lute) and singing, is believed to be another primeval teacher of music.
Indian music is based upon a system of ragas and is improvised or composed at the moment of performance.
The notes which are to convey certain definite emotions or ideas are selected with extreme care from the twenty-five intervals of the sruti scale and then grouped to form a raga, a mode or a melodic structure of a time.
Curt Sachs (1881-1959) who played the leading role among early modern scholars in the field organology -- the study of musical instruments and their musical and cultural contexts, has said, that the South Indian drum tambattam that was known in Babylonia under the name of timbutu, and the South Indian kinnari shared its name with King David's kinnor.The recital and chant of mantras has been an essential element of vedic ritual throughout the centuries.According to Indian philosophy, the ultimate goal of human existence is moksha, liberation of the atman from the life-cycle, or spiritual enlightenment; and nadopasana (literally, the worship of sound) is taught as an important means for teaching this goal.The origin of Indian music is enshrined in beautiful tales and legends.It is common Hindu practice to attribute the beginning of a branch of learning to a divine origin through the agency of a rishi.
Whilst the words of songs have varied and altered from time to time, many of the musical themes are essentially ancient.