Chennai (December) Music Season 2008-09 Schedule

Schedules for the following sabhas/festivals have been updated in the “Concerts in Chennai” page of this blog (http://ramsabode.wordpress.com/concerts-in-chennai/). I will be doing a sanity check, correcting any errors and adding any missed concert listings in the next few days:

  • Aanmajothi
  • Bharat Kalachar
  • Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
  • Brahma Gana Sabha
  • Carnatica
  • Hamsadhwani
  • Indian Fine Arts Society
  • Kala Pradarshini
  • Kalachaara Marumalarchi Trust 
  • Kalakshetra
  • Kalarasana
  • Kartik Fine Arts
  • Margazhi Maha Utsavam – Jaya TV
  • Maris Music Mela
  • Mudhra
  • Mylapore Fine Arts
  • Naada Inbam
  • Naadhabrahmam
  • Nadha Sudha
  • Narada Gana Sabha
  • Namasankeertaam 2008
  • Nungambakkam Cultural Academy
  • Prabhata Sangeetham 2008-09
  • Raagalaya Foundation
  • Shanthi Arts Foundation and Endowments (SAFE)
  • Shi-bha Sangeetha Sabha
  • Shri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Ashram
  • Smt. Mangalam Ganapathy Music Trust
  • Sri Bhairavi Gana Sabha
  • Sri Kapali Fine Arts
  • Sri Krishna Gana Sabha
  • Sri Parthasarathy Swami sabha
  • Sri Rama Bhaktha Jana Sabha
  • Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha
  • Sri Vidhyatheertha Foundation
  • Srinidhi
  • Sriranjani
  • Tamil Isai Sangam
  • The Music Academy
  • The Mylapore Fine Arts Club
  • Valayapatti Kaashyap Naadhalaya Festival

A Trip to Vadivudaiamman Temple, Tiruvotriyur

Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar, the great composer, had traveled to many temples and composed songs on the deities there. Vadivudaiamman Temple (also known as Sri Thyagaraja Swami Temple) in Tiruvotriyur, at the outskirts of Chennai, in one of them. Dikshitar composed the song “AdipurIshvaram sadA bhajEham” in the rAgam Arabhi at this temple. Needless to say, I was very thrilled when I got an opportunity to visit this temple today morning. The trip was made all the more special by the Veenavadini group (led by vainikAs Sri Jeyaraaj Krishnan and Smt. Jayasri Jeyaraaj) rendering select compositions of Dikshitar, including “AdipurIshvaram sadA bhajEham” in front of the sannadhi of AdipurIswarar. I must thank the vainika couple for their hospitality and for the great time we all had there. 

 

Details of the temple and directions are available here [link]

 

Lyrics of Dikshitar’s song in Arabhi are as follows:

AdipurIshvaram sadA bhajEham – Arabhi – Adi – muthusvAmi dIkSitar


pallavi

AdipurIshvaram sadA bhajEham tripura sundarI samEta vara guruguha janakam vandita muni samUham

caraNam

vidhi hari pUjita tyAga rAjAngam Aditya kOTi prakAsha lingam

nandi pUjita svayambU lingam nAgakavacadharasaikatalingam

 

The mUlavar is a svayambhu lingam (one of the forms of Lord Shiva in the temple). This lingam is covered by a “nAga kavacam” that is removed only during full moon day in the month of Karthigai. The kavacam covered svayambhu lingam is described in the caraNam of Dikshitar’s kriti

Lec Dem – The Beauty of Sangeetham & Sahityam in Muthuswami Dikshitar’s Compositions

Vid R.K. Shriramkumar presented a lec dem on “The Beauty of Sangeetham and Sahityam in Muthuswami Dikshitar’s Compositions” on 9th Nov 2008. He was accompanied on the violin by Vid Amritha Murali and on the mrudangam by Vid Manoj Siva. The lec dem was organized by IIT Madras Music Club. Here is a summary based on the notes taken. I have taken the liberty to organize this under my own set of headings. Corrections, if any, are most welcome.

INTRODUCTION

The contribution of the Trinity to Carnatic Music viz. Shri Thyagaraja, Shri Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shri Shyama Shastri stands unparalleled. Of them, Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar composed profusely in Sanskrit.

The hallmark of all great composers is that the sangItam and sAhityam gel so well. “vAgarthA vivasampriktau vAgartha pratipatayE jagatah pitarau vandE pArvati paramEshvarau” says Kalidasa. The way word and meaning are inseparable, the same way the sAhityam and sangItam in the compositions of the great composers are inseparable.

Ex 1: In “vandanamu raghunandana” (sahAnA) of Shri Thyagaraja, the bhAva of vandanam is there right at the beginning of the song and the plaintiveness of sahAnA is used to convey it effectively.

Ex 2: In “sthiramani nammiti” of mAyammA, the steadfastness (sthiram) is conveyed well using Ahiri

In the case of Trinity and related great composers, it is not separate people writing the lyric and composing the tune. These composers did not compose for the sake of composing or to show their prowess of music or of language. Song to them was an outpouring of svAnubhUti.

Muthuswami Dikshitar is probably the most intellectual composer ever. His intellect was combined with bhakti, gnAna and vidwat.

DIKSHITAR – THE ADVAITIN

Dikshitar followed Adi Shankara in almost all aspects. He was a staunch follower of Advaita philosophy. His Sanskit, like Adi Shankara’s is so simple, yet so lofty. Adi Sankara brought a great vEdAntic truth in “bhaja gOvindam” in four simple lines by saying “punarapi jananam punarapi maraNam, punarapi jananI jathare shayanam, iha samsaare bahudustAre, kripayA apAre pAhi murArE” in such simple Sanskrit. Dikshitar also displays similar flair for language in many of his songs.

SRIVIDYA UPASANA AND THE GURUGUHA MUDRA

Dikshitar used the mudhra guruguha (Anugraha of Guhan as a Guru in Tiruttani)

Dikshitar was adept in Sri Vidya Upasana in which the mother Goddess is regarded as the Brahman and is the prime deity of worship. The Sri Vidya mantra is embedded in the vEdAs:

kAmO yOniH kamalA vajrapANir guhA hasA mAtarishvAbhram indraH |

punar guhA sakalA mAyA ca purucyEsha vishvamAtA adi vidyA ||

The word “guhA” also means the shAkhta  praNava hrIm (?). The guru has the most exalted position – “na gurOr adhikam tattvam”. These two great words “guru” and “guhA” when combined give us the mudhra.

 

THE FIRST COMPOSITION

The story of his first song is that an old man came and put a sugar candy in his mouth in Tiruttani and he burst into song.

In his very first kriti “shrInAthAdi guruguhO jayati jayati”, he explains the lakSaNAs of an ideal Sri Vidya guru – how a guru is described in the vEdAs/upanishads, what the guru does to the disciples, how a guru bestows gnAna etc

There are multiple names of the guru in Sanskrit. But the word shrInAtha is very significant and is derived from:

·         shrI – bestower of auspiciousness

·         nA – dwells in the nAdhA, he does upAsanA of nAdabrahma

·         tha – he blocks ignorance – “agyAnatha sthagitham panravar”

Dikshitar’s first kriti itself begins with this important word.

The first line of this kriti is a quintessence of the very first shlOkA of the Sri Vidya paddhathi:

shrInAthAdi gurutrayam gaNapatim piThatrayam bhairavam

siddhaugam baTukatrayam padayugam dutikramam mandalam

vIrAn dvyAsta catushka shashTi navakam virAvaLi pancakam

srIman-mAlini-mantra-rAjasahitam vandE gurOr manDalam

Dikshitar pays obeisance to all the constituents of the Sri Vidya guru manDaLam by this one line “shrInAthAdi guruguhO jayati

The shrIvidyA mantra has 15 syllables. This kriti is in the 15th mELa – mAyAmALavagauLa. This is the mELA (along with its janya rAgams) in which Dikshitar has composed the most.

In the opening line of the kriti itself, Dikshitar gives the scale of rAgam (ArOhaNam and avarOhaNam) in three speeds

The prathamAkSara prAsam in the caraNam is very interesting (please note every line in the caraNam below starts with ma/mA):

mAyAmaya vishvAdhishThAnO

mAtmaka kAdi matAnushThAnO

mAlinI maNDalAnta vidhAnO

mantrAdyajapA hamsa dhyAnO

mAyAkArya kalanA hInO

mAmaka sahasra kamalAsInO

mAdhurya gAnAmRita pAnO

mAdhavAdyabhayavarapradAnO

mAyAshabaLita brahma rUpO

mArakOTi sundara svarUpO

matimatAm hRidayagOpuradIpO

mattashUrAdi jayapratApO

mAyAmALavagauLAdidEsha

mahIpati pUjita pada pradEsha

mAdhavAdyamara bRinda prakAsha

mahEshasya mahArthOpadEsha

There are three main traditions of Sri Vidya:

·         kAdi-vidyA

·         hAdi-vidyA

·         sAdi-vidyA

kAdividya has a superiority over the other two. Dikshitar says his guru belongs to the kAdividyA tradition (kAdi matAnushThAnO)

He gives details from Adi Shankara’s Advaita vEdAnta:

brahma satyam jagan mithyA jIvO brahmaiva na aparaH

brahma satyam – Brahman is the only truth

jagan mithyA – This world is an illusion

jIvO brahmaiva na aparaH – The individual soul is no different from the Brahman

Dikshitar believed in this siddhAntA very strongly

 

We have 6 centers of energy in our body beginning from the bottom of the spine to the top of the head. The shakti called kunDalini is supposed to reside at the mUlAdhArA – the bottom of the spine and is aroused by japa, mantra and yoga sAdhanAs to meet the Shiva svarUpam – the 1000 petal lotus that is supposed to exist at the top of the head

Shri Sureshwaracharya says in mAnasOllAsam:

IshwarO gururAtmEti

mUrti bhEda vibhAginE

vyomAvad vyApta dEhAya

dakSinAmurtayE namaH

One should not see difference between guru and ambAL (IshwarO gururAtmEti)

devyA deho yathA prOktO gurudeha tathaiva ca

The guru’s place is always at the position of the 1000 petal lotus at the top. Dhyanam of the guru must be made at this place. The reference to this is made in the verses

mAyAkArya kalanA hInO

mAmaka sahasra kamalAsInO

 

mAdhurya gAnAmRita pAnO – The guru is an upasakA of the nAdhA (shrinAtha)

mahEshasya mahArthOpadEsha- He makes it a point to mention that Shri Subramanya took the role of a guru when he gave upadEshA of the praNava to his father, Lord Shiva (Mahesha)

guru nAmam is always suffixed with the “AnandanAtha” shabDam. When Dikshitar mentions his or his guru’s dIkshA nAma, he always uses the word “cidAnandanAtha”. Interestingly, Shri Subramanya is given the name “svAminAtha” only when he takes the role of a guru. The nAtha shabdam is not given to him at any other place.

Beginning with “shrInAthAdi guruguhO jayati”, the eight Guruguha Vibhakti kritis are a great tribute to the Guru. Dikshitar explains the ideal lakshanas of the guru in these kritis.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF A GURU

In the kriti shrI guruguhasya dAsOham (pUrvi), Dikshitar writes thus:

shrI guruguhasya dAsOham nOcEt cidguruguha EvAham

Dikshitar says that he is the dAsA of his guru who taught him Atma vidyA, else he is the form of the guruguhA himself.

The significance of this is that there is no advaita bhAvam with the guru – guru and shishyA are not the same. We should always have a dAsa bhAvam with the guru. Advaita bhAvam is only with the Atma svarUpam. Dikshitar makes this distinction very well by always saying the guru shabdam with shrI or AnandanAtha nAmam.

bhOga mOkSAtmaka caraNasya bhUpurAdi navAvaraNasya yOgibRndAntahkaraNasya yOgapIThAdi kAraNasya

ambAL is the only one who gives bhOgam and mOkSam – prosperity and salvation. Since there is no difference between the guru and the ambAL, the guru also bestows the same.

bhUpurAdi navAvaraNasya: bhUpura is the first cakram. This phrase refers to the 9 cakrAs of the shrIcakram beginning with the bhUpura and says that this is the form of the guru.

bhAvanOpanishad says:

shrI guru sarvakAraNa bhUtA shaktiH tEna navarandha rUpO dEhaH navacakra rUpam shrIcakram

The guru’s body (dEha) itself is described as the shrIcakrA and all the deities of the shrIcakrA are identified.

 

KAMALAMBA NAVAVARANAMS

* The “kamalAmbA navAvaraNam” is the most esoteric set of compositions one can ever see in Carnatic music. Every word and syllable in these compositions has some significance

* Dikshitar belonged to the kAdi vidyA tradition of Sri Vidya. Sri Vidya mantra begins with the letter “ka”. Dikshitar has started the kamalAmba navAvaraNams with “ka”. The Sri Vidya mantra has an extension called shODashi which ends with “shrI”. Similarly the 9th kriti of the navAvaraNams and the mangaLa kriti begin with “shrI”

* The deity of the shrIcakram is “mahA tripura sundari”. Her iconography is that she has four hands and a pAsha, ankushA, ikSu cApa (sugarcane bow), pushpa bANa (arrows of flowers).

* Dikshitar could have chosen to compose these kritis on Maha Tripura Sundari. Why did he chose kamalAmbA? It is not just because she is the deity in yOgA in the kSEtrA Tiruvarur, his birthplace.

The beeja/bindu – the ultimate cakrA where ambAL is united with Shiva and shines as the omnipotent partner is denoted by the word “kamalA”.

As per katapayAdi sankhyA, kA = 1, ma = 5, la = 3 and it adds up to 9. Any number multiplied by 9 gives 9 when its digits are added up. 9 always stays like brahma svarUpam.

ambAL is the mAhAtripurasundarI as the Brahman/Atman. So Dikshitar has rightfully chosen kamalAmbA for the set of navAvarNa kritis.

* There is a verse in Rig Veda: catvAra Im bibhrati kSEmayantaH – That mantra which has 4 “Ims” bestows mOkSa. Great people have identified Sri Vidya mantra as that mantra. Interestingly, the last AvarNa kriti is of the bindu where ambAL shines as the Brahman and Dikshitar uses the two words “rAja rAjEshwari” and “mahAtripurasundari”. Nowhere else are these words used as all the other cakrAs lead to this bindu and ambAL is in her own forms in these other cakrAs. There are only four “Im”s in the kriti, reiterating the vEdic statement.

* All 8 vibhaktis are employed in this kriti. The pallavi employs the first vibhakti (has all “a”kArAnta shabdAs):

shrI kamalAmbA jayati ambA

shrI kamalAmbA jayati jagadAmbA

shrI kamalAmbA jayati

shRingAra rasa kadambA madambA

shrI kamalAmbA jayati

cidbhimbA pratibhimbhEndu bhimbhA

shrI kamalAmbA jayati

shrIpura bindu madhyastha

cintAmaNi mandirastha

shivAkAra mancasthita shivakAmEshAnkasthA

 

* Dikshitar uses an “I”kArAnta shabda in the anupallavi that becomes “Im” in the second vibhakti

sUkarAnanAdyarccita mahAtripura

sundarIM rAjarAjEshvarIM

shrIkara sarvAnandamaya cakravAsinIM

suvAsinIM cintayEham

 

* Dikshitar begins the caraNam with the first nAma of the sahasranAma arcanA “shrImAtA”:

shrImAtrE namastE cinmAtrE sEvita

ramA harIsha vidhAtrE

 

* He ends the kriti with the 999th nAma (“shivashaktyaikya rUpiNi” as sAmarasya nidarshini):

brahmamaya prakAshinI nAmarUpa vimarshinI

kAmakalA pradarshinI sAmarasya nidarshinI

 

* He starts the mangaLa kriti “shrI kamalAmbikE” with the 1000th nAma “lalitA”

shrI kamalAmbikE shivE pAhimAM lalitE

 

* Dikshitar mentions so many esoteric values and infuses so many concepts subtly into his kritis

 

PANCALINGA KSHETRA KRITIS

* These kritis are:

·         cintaya mA kanda mUlakandam – bhairavi – rUpakam – Earth – kAncIpuram

·         jambUpatE mAm pAhi – Water – tiruvAnaikkA

·         aruNacala nAtham smarAmi – Fire – tiruvaNNAmalai

·         shrI kALahastIsha – Air – kAlahasti

·         AnandanaTanaprakAsham – Sky – cidambaram

 

* He refers to wife of the Lord in the following 4 kritis:

·         jambUpatE mAm pAhi – akhilAnDEshwari ramaNa

·         aruNacala nAtham smarAmi – apItakucAmbA samEtam

·         shrI kALahastIsha – gnAnaprasUnAmbikA patE

·         AnandanaTanaprakAsham – shivakAmavallIsham

But he doesn’t mention kamAkSi in “cintaya mA kanda mUlakandam”. This is because manmathA, who is one of the foremost upAsakAs of dEvi, was burnt by Shiva and ambAL, being very upset, withdrew into her bila AkAsha from all Shiva kSEtrAs. She came back to all the Shiva kSEtrAs later after Brahma and all did tapas but not to Kanchipuram, which is hence called Shivajit kSEtra. She is not in the precincts of the EkAmrEsanAtha temple. This is why she is not present in this Dikshitar kriti too.

 

RIGHT CHOICE OF WORDS

The  choice of right words for his kritis is so admirable. Some examples are:

* Thinking about Arunachala can itself give salvation, so aruNAcala nAtham smarAmi

* Lord Surya is namaskAra priyan, so suryamUrtE namOstute

* Chandran is always associated with the mind, so chandram bhaja mAnasa

* Most words in jambUpatE are fluid oriented as the kSEtra represents water.

ambujAsanAdi sakala dEva namana tumburunuta hiRdaya tApOpashamana ambudhi gangA kAvErI yamunA kambu kaNDyakhilANDEshvarI ramaNa

ambuja comes from water.

ambudhi is the sea.

gangA, kAvEri, yamunA are rivers

kambhu kaNDyakhilANDEshvarI – Akhilandeshwari has a conch like neck. Conch comes from water.

* Tiruvannamalai kSEtram represents fire. “ra” represents agni (fire). The whole kriti aruNAcala nAtham smarAmi is full of use of “ra”:

pallavi

aruNAcala nAtham smarAmi anIsham apItakucAmbA samEtam

anupallavi

smaraNAt kaivalyaprada caraNAravindam

taruNAditya kOTi shaHNkAshacidAnandam

karuNArasAdi kandam sharaNAgata sura brindam

caraNam

 aprAkRita tEjOmaya lingam

atyadbhuta kara dhrita sAraHNgam

apramEyamaparNAbja bhrungam

ArUThOttunga vrishaturangam

viprOttama vishEshAntarangam

vIra guruguha tAra prasangam

svapradIpa mauLividhrutagangam

svaprakAsha jita sOmAgni patangam

 

* In Sanskrit, usage of La in place or la, ra, Ta etc is common. He has employed this in his kritis as well. For example:

gaurIpAntrarangAdi  - gaurI for  gauLI in “kRishNAnanda mukunda murArE”

pAlitOsmipAli for pADi in “shrI guruNA pAlitOsmi

 

USAGE OF COMPOUND WORDS

Examples:

In the maNirangu kriti “mAmava paTTAbhirAma”, he says “pankajamitra vamshasudhAmbudhicandra mEdinIpAla rAmacandra”. pankajamitra vamsha refers to sUryavamsha, ambudhi refers to the ocean/sea and candra refers to the Moon. Dikshitar says that Rama is like the Moon to the ocean that sUryavamsha is.

In the mangaLakaishiki kriti “shrI bhArgavi bhadram”, he says “padanayanAnanakaranaLinI parama purusha hari praNayinI vadana kamala guruguha dharaNIvaranuta ranganAtharamaNI”. vadana kamala guruguha dharaNIvaranuta ranganAtharamaNI refers to dEvi (mahAlAkSmi) as the wife of the Lord  Ranganatha who is worshipped by the husband of the lady who gave birth to Guruguha, who has a lotus like face.

NICE USAGES OF WORDS

* In the kannaDa kriti “shrI mAtrubhUtam”, the anupallavi has “sOmam shirOdhrita sUrya gaNgam”.

sOmam = sa umam = with Uma.

shirOdhrita gangam = gangA on his head.

But where did sUrya come? Lord Shiva does not have the Sun on his head. sUrya here refers to arka (erukkam) plant. Lord Shiva bears this plant on his head.

* In the rAgamAlikA “shrI vishvanAtham bhajeham”, he uses “vanaja candra sannibha vadanam”. This does not mean that the face is like lotus and like the moon. Here vanaja candra refers to moon as being born from the “samudra manthanam”. vanaja has a different meaning here.

 

* In the rAgamAlikA “shrI vishvanAtham bhajeham”, he also uses “patita pAvana kaRaNam madharaNam”. ma here can either mean poison or the moon.

 

* In “shrI vENugOpAla” (kurinji), he uses “prAkaTyaraNabhIma pAlitArjunabhIAma pAkaripunuta rAmabhaktayOga kSEma”. bhImA refers to having Bhima like valor in war. rAma refers to Lord Krishna’s being beautiful (ramyatE iti rAmaH)

 

* In “shrI guruguha mUrtE” (udayaravicandrikA), he uses “AraktashvEtamishra caraNa pravruttE” to describe the feet of the guru which have red and white hues. The rAga is udayaravicandrikA and udaya ravi i.e., the rising sun has a red/crimson color and candrikA is white in color

 

RAGA MUDRAS

The rAgA names blend into the sAhityam so well. They have not been used by Dikshitar just for the sake of using rAga mudrAs. A few examples are:

 

  •  “shrI kuranjita kAma” in “shrI vENugOpAla” in the rAgam kuranji (shrI = Lakshmi, ku = Mother Earth)

 

  • “tvAmAhurIshAdayas tatvamiti” in “mAmava raghuvIra” in the rAgam mAhuri

 

  • “samAna varOjasE mahasE” in “hastivadanAya namOstubhyam” in the rAgam navarOj

 

  • “cintayAmi atanukIrtim” in “cidambara naTarAjamUrTim” in the rAgam tanukIrti (atanu = without body, Lord Shiva doesn’t have a form/dEham in the AkAsha kSEtra cidambaram)

 

  • “dArukAvana tapOdhana taruNI mOhAkArabhikshATanavEshadharashankara” in “mArakOTi kOTi lAvaNya” in the rAgam Arabhi

 

  • “AtmOdaya ravicandrikA sandIptE” in “shrI guruguha mUrtE” in the rAgam udayaravicandrikA (The feet of the guru have red and white hues. The rAga is udayaravicandrikA and udaya ravi i.e., the rising sun has a red/crimson color and candrikA is white in color)

 

  • vINAbhEri” in “vINAbhEri” in the rAgam AbhEri

 

  • sarasvatimanOhari” in “sarasvatimanOhari” in the rAgam sarasvatimanOhari

 

  • kamalAmanOhari” in “kanjadaLAyatAkSi kAmAkSi” in the rAgam manOhari

 

  • “ramA harIsha vidhAtrE” in “shrI kamalAmbA jayati” in the rAgam Ahiri

 

SWARAKSHARAM

The whole family of Muthuswami Dikshitar seemed to have an obsession with svarAkSaram. But their svarAkSarams were not done for the sake of doing it. Dikshitar’s svarAkSarams were not contrived but fit in so well with the rAga bhAvam. They just fell in place and merged well with the sAhityA.

All “ri” syllables in the pallavi of “sarasvatImanOharI” kriti fall on the note “ri”. In the anupallavi of the same song, the syllables “ma”, “da” and “ri” fall on the notes with the respective names. A few more examples are the bhUpALam kriti “sadAcalEshvaram bhAvayEham”, the shankarAbharaNam kriti “sadAshivamupAsmahE” and the mAhuri kriti “mAmava raghuvIra

 

 

VIBHAKTI

Dikshitar has composed kritis employing all the vibhaktis. Examples are the guruguha vibhakti and abhayAmba vibhakti kritis.

 

PRASAM

Maintaining a dwitiyAkSara prAsam has been employed by great composers – the second syllable is to be maintained between the pallavi and the anupallavi in the song. A different syllable can be employed in the caranam. Dikshitar has done this using very difficult syllables. At no point of time is the dwitIyAkSara given up. Sometimes even the last syllable is maintained in each line.

For example, in the kriti “akSaya linga vibhO svayambhO” in shankarAbharaNam, he uses the syllable “kSa” thus:

pallavi

akSaya liHNga vibhO svayambhO akhilANDa kOTi prabhO pAhi shambO

anupallavi

 akSarasvarUpa amita pratApa ArUDha vRSa vAha jagan mOha

dakSa shikSaNa dakSatara sura

 lakSaNa vidhi vilakSaNa lakSya

 lakSaNa bahu vicakSaNa sudha

bhakSaNa gurukaTAkSa vikSaNa

Similarly, he uses “kSa” in “dakSiNAmUrttE vidaLita dAsArttE” in shankarAbharaNam thus:

pallavi

dakSiNAmUrttE vidaLita dAsArttE cidAnanda pUrttE sadA mauna kIrttE

anupallavi

akSayasuvarNa vaTavrukSa mUla sthitE

rakSa mAm sanakAdi rAja yOgi stutE

rakSita sadbhaktE

shikSitaduryuktE

akSarAnuraktE avidyA viraktE

The beauty is that even in the madhyamakAlam, he maintains this in each half avartanam of the tALam in the verses:

rakSita sadbhaktE

shikSitaduryuktE

 

He has even used such difficult syllables like “NDa” in prAsam. For example, in the kriti “daNDAyudhapANim” in Anandabhairavi:

pallavi

daNDAyudhapANim daNDita daitya shrENim dayAnidhim bhajarE hridaya satatam sura vinutam

anupallavi

caNDAmshu shatakOTi sankAsham jagadIsham

akhaNDarUpam aNDaja maNi maNDalamaya kuNDalAdi

maNDitAnga sukumAram

khaNDita tArakashUram

paNDitatara navavIram

caNDikEshAvatAram

 

There are kritis where the tail end of the word that appears last in one half of the Avartanam is used differently in the second half of the Avartanam.

In the dEvagAndhAri kriti “vadAnyEshvaram bhajEham sadA

pashupAsha mOcanam trilOcanam

paHncAnanam praNata gajAnanam

shishupAla gOpaviditam muditam

shivam bilva vaibhavam bhavam

vishuddhyAdi nilayam maNivalayam

vigata vikalpakam shritakalpakam

pashupatim gnAnAmbikApatim

parashu mriga dharam nIlakandharam

ashubhakSayakaram abhaya varadakaram

anAdyavidhyAharam shankaram

 

In the caraNam, he uses “nda” as follows:

mandasmita vadanAravindam

mAtula gOvindam

sharaNAgata sura brindam

bahumAnita munibrindam

paripAlita mucukundam

praNata virinci mukundam

adhara madhura makarandam

mrudutara vacana manandam

mAyAmUla kandam

skandam

shandam

pRthivyAtmakagandham

gaganAtmaka sumagandham

vAyumaya dhUpagandham

vahnimaya dIpabrindam

amRtAtmaka rasabrindam

shrI guruguhamAnandam

sundara kara caraNAravindam

ratha gaja turanga brindam

satyagnAnAnandam

ati svacchandam

 

KNOWLEDGE OF ASAMPURNA AND SAMPURNA MELA SYSTEMS

Though Dikshitar followed the asampUrNa mELa system, he knew about the other sampUrNa mELa system as well. The following are some observations that prove this.

The asampUrNa mELa raga name for the kriti “shrIshUlinIm shritapAlinIm” is shailadEshAkSi while the name in the other system is shUlini. The very first word of the song contains the name shUlini.

The song “hariyuvatIm haimavatIm” in dEshIsimhAravam has the sampUrNa mELa rAgA name (hEmavati =~ haimavati) in the beginning itself

The kriti “shrI nIlOtpala nAyikE” in nArI rItigauLa contains the corresponding sampUrNa mELa rAgA name naTabhairavi in the anupallavi

 

SPECIAL EDUPPUS/SANGATHIS

In “mArakOTi kOTi lAvaNya” (Arabhi), the song starts with madhyamam. The song “shrI subrahmaNyO mAM rakSatu” has a different/special gAndhAram right at the beginning. There are many archaic sangatIs in his kritis. Some are not heard in other compositions in the same rAgams these days (ex. in aruNacala nAtham in sArangA and pAhimAm ratnAcalanAyaka in mukhAri).

 

MISCELLANEOUS

* kAmAkSi – kA refers to Saraswati, mA to Lakshmi and kAmAkSi refers to the one who has Saraswati and Lakshmi as her eyes. Dikshitar has composed a lot of kritis on kAmAksi and has also brought this meaning out. For example, he uses “shAradA ramA nayanE” in “nIrajAkSi kAmAkSi” (hindOLam)

* kAmAkSi is dear to Lakshmi and to Saraswati. To show that she is dear to Lakshmi, he has composed “kanjadaLAyatAkSi kAmAkSi” where he uses the word “kamalAmanOhari”. To show that she is dear to Saraswati, he has composed “sarasvatimanOhari” where the beginning word itself signifies this.

* Just by singing a Dikshitar kriti we can come to know that he was a vaiNikA. For example has employed wide jArUs extensively (in the phrase “murAri prabhruti” in the shankarAbharaNam kriti “sadAshivam upAsmahE”, there is a jAru from lower shaDjam to tAra sthAyi rishabham). Another example is the first line of the caraNam of the kriti “tyAgarAja mahadhvajArOha” in the rAgam shrI – “srishTi svarUpa vasanta vaibhavam ashTadhvajEndra vimAna bhUta samashti gaja vrishabha kailAsa vAham AshlEshamahAratha sthitam”.

* Dikshitar’s compositions reflect his in-depth knowledge of the mantra shastrams.

* Dikshitar’s compositions serve as a comprehensive guide to temples – what all to see in a kSEtram, what is the significance of the kSEtram etc They also describe temple festivals in great detail. An example is the shrI rAga kriti “tyAgarAja mahadhvajArOha” which describes in great detail, the vasantOtsavam.

* Ragas employed for the kritis for Saraswati are rAgAs that are the names of rivers or rAgAs that denote some movement as the word sarasvati itself denotes movement. Ex: vEgavAhini, chhAyAtarangiNi etc

* Dikshitar composed in a variety of tALams

* Dikshitar starts his kritIs “brihaspatE  tArApatE” (aTANA) and “shrI shukra bhagavantam” (paras) in tAra sthAyi to signify that gurus are held in high esteem and their positions are very high. The former kriti starts at rishabham, a step higher than the latter that starts at shaDjam, to signify that the dEva guru is a step higher.

 

The following songs were sung either partially or fully during the lec dem (I could have missed listing a few):

 

 

  • shrI guruNA pAlitOsmi – pADi – rUpakam

 

  • shrInAthAdi guruguhO jayati jayati – mAyAmALavagauLa – Adi

 

  • shrI guruguhasya dAsOham – pUrvi – misra cApu

 

  • shrI kamalAmbA jayati – Ahiri – rUpakam

 

  • jambUpatE mAm pAhi – yamunAkalyANi – tisra Ekam

 

  • akSaya linga vibhO svayambhO – shankarAbharaNam – misra cApu

 

  • dakSiNAmUrttE vidaLita dAsArttE – shankarAbharaNam – misra jampa

 

  • kRishNAnanda mukunda murArE – gauLipantu – misra cApu

 

  • vadAnyEshvaram bhajEham sadA- dEvagAndhAri – Adi

 

  • mAmava paTTAbhirAmA – maNirangu – misra cApu

 

  • shrI bhArgavI bhadram – mangaLakaishiki – tisra tripuTa

 

  • daNDAyudhapANim – Anandabhairavi – rUpakam

 

  • shrI mAtRbhUtam – kannaDa – misra cApu

 

  • sarasvatImanOharI – sarasvatImanOharI – Adi

 

  • shrI vENugOpAla – kuranji – kanDa Ekam

 

  • hastivadanAya namOstubhyam – navarOj – misra cApu

 

  • cidambara naTarAjamUrTim – tanukIrti – misra cApu

 

  • mArakOTi kOTi lAvaNya – Arabhi – misra jampa

 

  • shrI guruguha mUrtE – udayaravicandrikA – rUpakam

 

  • vINAbhEri –  AbhEri – Adi

 

  • sarasvatimanOhari – sarasvatimanOhari – Adi

 

  • kanjadaLAyatAkSi kAmAkSi –  manOhari  – Adi

 

  • shrI kamalAmbA jayati – Ahiri – rUpakam

 

  • mAmava raghuvIra – mAhuri – misra cApu

 

  • sadAshivam upAsmahE – shankarAbharaNam – Adi

 

  • sUryamUrte namOstu te – saurAshTram – catusra dhruva

 

  • brihaspatE tArApatE – aTANA – tisra tripuTa

 

  • shrI shukra bhagavantam – paras – kanDa aTa

 

  • shrI kamalAmbikE shivE pAhimAM lalitE- shrI – kanDa Ekam

 

 

Lec Dem on 22 Shrutis – Part 2

Part 1 of this post can be found here [link]

 

This is Part 2 of the summary of the lec dem by Smt. Vidya Shankar on 22 shrutis:

 

GANDHARAM

  • sadharana gAndharam is an oscillated catushruti rishabham in varALi. gAndhAram shouldn’t go above this level for this rAgam
  • A slightly higher level but still an oscillation of catushruti rishabham is seen in tODi. There are so many approaches to playing gAndhAram in tODi. We can approach gAndhAram from rishabham or from madhyamam and there are a variety of gamakams that can be employed.
  • In Anandabhairavi, when we play “G-M-P”, G reaches almost the rishabham levels as the gamakam is played on the rishabham fret. In rItigauLa, G is sharper and often comes with a janta prayOgam. The second of the two Gs in a janta prayOgam is always a bit higher than the first one.
  • A still higher G is found in hindOLam. This G is played close to M1.
  • The purest G is the antara gAndhAra. Summation of tones of a tambura is antara gAndhAram. It is a perfect note – a svayambhu swaram. You cannot shake this G in shankarAbharaNam. This G is the mahimA of shankarAbharaNam. The moment you oscillate this G, it becomes kalyANi. Similar usage of plain antara gAndhAram is seen in the kriti eLiyEnai in yadukula kAmbOji.
  • A higher level of G is seen in mErusamAna (mAyAmALavagauLa). mEru goes high and so does the G there.

 

MADHYAMAM

  • madhyamam is sung in a sudha manner without oscillations in kuntalavarALi (kritis kalinarulaku & shara shara samarai)
  • Some ragas get a beautiful color with the use of a lower M. Ex. nIlAmbari  (kriti ambA nIlAmbari)
  • begaDa’s madhyamam is generally said to be higher than sudha madhyamam. But there are many kinds of madhyamams that are played in bEgaDa. M can be approached from P and played higher or played as sudha madhyamam also. A lower M occurs in the kriti nAdOpAsana
  • varALi has prati madhyamam – very close to pancamam. But kalyANi’s M is not played as high as varALi M.  M in any prati madhyama ragam comes from pancamam. It is played/sung very close to the pancamam
  • Children must be taught gamakams while they are being taught alankArams. We can see all kinds of shakes with the madhyamam in the shankarAbharaNam alankAram

 

DHAIVATAM

  • suddha dhaivatam  is played as oscillation on pancamam
  • Sri Thyagaraja has created about 30 kritis in tODi and has shown different ways of handling the dhaivatam in these kritis . In Emi jEsitE – D is played very close to P. The kriti starts with P. In enduku dayarAdurA we stand at D and shake it.
  • There are so many types of D that are played in tODi. Every D is played differently. The number of shrutis that get covered are innumerable.
  • sAvEri  also uses sudha dhaivatam
  • A flatter version of chatushruti dhaivatam occurs in kAmbhOji. If we shake this, we get the D in kannaDA
  • A still more shaken D occurs in vasantA. Absence of P in this ragam implies that the D is played higher up.

 

NISHADAM

  • Kaisiki nishadam is an important note called the septimal seventh. suruTTi uses it.
  • bhairavi has a lower N. We approach it from D. In fact bhairavi has many Ns. In sari evarammA, Sri Shyama Sastri lifts the N to show the higher status of ambAL. When saying nI daya jUDavamma in the next phrase, he brings N slightly down. This is just one example of how the Trinity have used swarams with lot of care in their compositions. There is a lot of emotional appeal for the swarams as is evident from their compositions
  • kAkali nishadam – In the muktAyi swaram of the Adi tALam kalyANi varnam vanajAkshi, N is held higher. In shankarAbharaNam and kurinji, N almost touches S.

 

Thus we can see that there is infinite number of shrutis for each note itself.

 

Some other points made in the lec dem and in the Q&A session post that:

  • Music and mathematics go together. There is no art without science and vice versa. It is said that the researchers aim at an aesthetic perfection in their research. Art and science go hand in hand
  • While responding to handling of notes and ragams in Hindustani and Carnatic music …… Intonation of notes itself causes differences in the two systems of music. RE and RI are different in terms of shruti. Hindustani musicians would stand at G at the same shruti for a long time in kAnaDA. We will keep shaking the G in our kAnaDA. Their approach is very different because of playing notes flatter for longer duration
  • While responding to whether a keyboard is suitable for Carnatic music …… People told the same thing about the Clarinet 50 years back what they tell today about the keyboard. The Music Academy had lot of skepticism about the use of Clarinet years back. This year’s Sangeetha Kalanidhi is a Clarinet player. (Pitch bender and fingering) techniques have helped people try to play Carnatic music on keyboard, but not with perfection. The perfection of gamakams on a veena is almost impossible to achieve in a keyboard (today). We should appreciate the effort of keyboard players if they play well. But we should also know what people would able to play on keyboard and what they wouldn’t.
  • Just as a color has many shades, a swaram has many shades/shrutis. It is a matter of experience, rather than analysis, to realize the intricacies of the shrutis. The veena is a very good instrument that helps us in this experience.