Sunday, January 21, 2007

Mahaganapathim and Vallabha Naayaksya

A wonderful sunday morning at Ann Arbor. I woke up today morning and opened the french windows at my house to see a beautiful covering of snow on my balcony floor and the frozen lake looked wonderful radiating the sun's light. I am having my morning coffee and listening to some interesting swaram patterns in karaharapriya brilliantly sung by Sanjay Subrahmanyan recorded by my friend Aparna who is extremely fortunate to be in chennai and she is my ear in chennai I should say :) Thanks Aparna!!! Meanwhile I am still under that sting of Kambojhi which is stubborn not to disappear. I listened to a jaw-dropping 'Sree Subrahmanyaya Namasthae' in Kambojhi(composed by thalaivar ofcourse) rendered by the great G.N.B. I was just blown away by the man's voice and shaasthriyam. Continuing in yesterday's spirits, I have managed to decipher more songs on Lord Ganesha by thalaivar Dikshithar. I will start off with 'Mahaganapathim' in Raga 'Naatai'. A small and very beautiful invocation krithi popularly being adopted into many tamil cine songs these days. The Pallavi describes the Lord as a center of meditation as
Mahaganapathim Manasa Smaraami
Vashista Vaamadevaadhi Vandhitha
Dikshithar starts off with a very small pallavi singing "I medidate and recite('Smaraami') with my whole heart('Manasa') on the supreme Lord Ganapathy, he who is worshipped by('Vandhitha') sage Vashista, Vaamadeva and others('aadhi')". Very simple but extremely open-ended for improvisation and I have heard so many different versions of the pallavi alone which once again is because of the flexibility characteristic of all dikshithar krithis. The entire scale and important phrases of the raga are brilliantly captured in the opening lines itself. Moving on to the samaashti charanam now,
Mahadevasutham Guruguhanutham
Maarakoti Prakaasham Shaantham
Madhyamakala Sahithyam:
Mahakaavya Naatakadhi priyam
Mooshika vaahana modhaka priyam
Dikshithar continues describing Lord Ganesha as "He is the son('sutham') of Lord Mahadeva, adored('nutham') by Guruguha. He shines('Prakaasham') like crores('koti') of cupids('maara') put together. He is the peaceful one('Shaantham') and loves('priyam') literary epics('Mahakaavya') and other arts like Drama('Naataka'). He uses a mouse('mooshika') as his vehicle('vaahana') and loves modhakam(a popular sweet)." Not much to explain in the charanam except for the beautiful inclusion of the raga mudhra ingeniously incorporated in the word 'Naataka' referring to drama. On the whole, a simple composition.(With all due respect to Lord Ganesha), maybe Dikshithar composed this while he was asleep or something :). The characteristic 'Sa Ri3' phrase embellishes this composition.

Now moving on to another short "samaashti charanam" krithi on Lord Ganesha by thalaivar. The song "Vallabha Naayaksya" in 'Begada' is yet another beautiful invocation krithi. It is yet another simple composition with lot of scope for improvization. The pallavi goes as
Vallabha Naayaksya Bhaktho Bhavaami Vaanchithaartha dhaayakasya Varamooshika Vaahanasya
Dikshithar sings "I became('Bhavaami') a devotee('bhaktho') of the hero/husband('Naayaka') of Vallabha who is the bestower('dhaayaka') of boons('vara') desired by devotees('vaanchithaartha') and uses the mouse('mooshika') as his vehicle('vaahana')." Thalaivar brings in some controversy by referring to Lord Ganesha as 'Vallabha Naayaka' because Lord Ganesha is supposed to be an ideal bachelor. However, he is also know to have had many consorts such as 'siddhi', 'buddhi'. Dikshithar refers to Lord Ganesha in a similar way in a few other krithis and I have to do more research to unearth more facts.
Pallavapadha mridhutharasya Paashaankushaadhi tharasya Mallikajaadhi Champaka harasya manimaalasya
Madhyamakala Sahithyam:
Valli Vivaaha kaaranasya Guruguha poojithasya Kaali Kalaamaalini Kamalaakshi Sannuthasya
Dikshithar describes the Lord beautifully as "His feet('padha') are as soft('pallava') as the tender shoots('mridhuthara'). He possesses a noose('paasha'), a goad('ankusha') and other weapons in his hand('tharasya'). He is ornated with garlands('harasya') of Jasmine('mallika') and champaka and is also decorated with necklace of gems('manimaala'). He is the cause('kaarana') of the marriage('vivaha') of Valli and is worshipped('poojitha') by Subrahmanya. He is adored('sannutha') by goddess Kaali, Saraswathi('kalaa+maalini') and the lotus('kamala')-eyed('aakshi') Lakshmi." Dikshithar talks about the delicate side of the Lord and his timely helping tendencies referring to his hand in the marriage of guha and valli. The best part of Dikshithar's compositions are the ways he refers to Gods metaphorically. Here, he calls Saraswathi as 'kalaamaalini', the goddess of arts and Lakshmi as 'kamalaakshi'. The madhyamakala sahithyam portrays the fast,racy phrases of 'Begada'. On the whole, yet another brilliant piece by dikshithar.

As the kambhoji bug continues to bite me, I am listening to a beautiful composition of Papanasam Sivan 'Aadum dheivam' rendered by Sriram Gangadharan in typical GNB style. I am starving now..guess i will go and grab some grub. In my next blog, I plan to talk about a few tamil krithis like 'Thayae Ezhaipaal' in 'Bhairavi' and 'Aadum Dheivam' in 'kambhoji' composed by the tamil thyaagaiyar Shri Paapanaasam sivan. A small break to thalaivar's krithis and I will pick up the next set of Dikshithar krithis with the awesome kamalaamba navaavarnams. Have a sooper sunday and a glorious week ahead.Cheers!!!


Padma said...

Reading this blog after the 'holi' weekend in Mumbai, its really refreshing...The two krithis that you mentioned here are really close to my heart...Every MD composition is a gem for sure...But these two because nattai was the first krithi i learnt, followed by begada...The best part about begada is the GMRS prayogam that Dikshitar has it that brings out the raga...I mean every phrase keeps saying hello...i am begada here :P...Anyways more to go...

Musical Scientist said...

Hi Padma..hope you had a wonderful holi :). GMRS prayOgam in bEgaDA is indeed could be misleading because of the commonality with kannaDA but dIkshithar somehow brings it out so beautifully that you have no doubts whatsoever. And its just the way you said it "hello..I am bEgaDA here" :D.
Please keep sharing your thoughts..thanks a lot!!

Raghu Shant said...

Mahaganapathim Manasa Smaraami!!
So well explanied !! Nice to See your Blog.. The Picture Is Great..I felt a sense of pleasure in my heart (some sought of peace) within me when i read it.. Thank you for those moments..
All The Best Sai Prasad Viswanathan

Musical Scientist said...

Dear Raghu sir,

Thanks a lot for your kind words. Very happy to note that you liked the post a lot :). I will do my best to bring out these shades of dIkshithar's brilliance. Please keep sharing your views. Thank you!!

Pooja said...

wow, thanks a lot =D
here are the chittaswaras for anyone who is searching for them!

P , D N *S *R *G *M *M *R *S N *S N P M
*S N P M G M N P M R G M R R S N
*R , *S *S , N P , M G , M N S G M

(the little star (*) asterisk indicates higher level of singing.)

Pooja C. <3

Musical Scientist said...

Thanks a lot for the chitta swarams Pooja.


apoorva said...
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Obuls Daddy said...

Great post. It could be obvious for most readers, but I thought I'll mention anyways. With "Maha kaavya", Dikshitar implicitly refers to the story that Lord Ganesha wrote the Mahabharata with Vyasa dictating the slokas. It is astounding how he has combined a puranic lore and the raga mudra ("naataka") hidden in the phrase.