Tuesday, March 20, 2007


After yesterday's thumping victory, the Indians are firmly back in the race for the World Cup. A resounding comeback in all departments of the game with the players firing on all cylinders; a lovely sight for the Indian cricketing junta. Yesterday's jam session with Hari was yet another revelation of his lets say "skills". :) My passion for dikshithar krithis are growing at an uncontrollable rate now and I am listening to a beautiful krithi in Devagandhari called "Kshithija Ramanam". I hope you all read the wikipedia article I had mentioned in my previous post before reading this blog. The article talks about the main objectives and esoteric meanings addressed in these set of krithis and hence I advice you people reading it to understand the aspects of the krithi in full.

Assuming that you did, I am going to continue directly to the krithi and explain the meaning of each line as usual. The Kamalamba Navavarnams are a brilliant display of dikshithar's pandithyam and his grasp of grammar. With each krithi set in the 8 declensions(cases-vibhakthis) of the proper noun "kamalamba" and the concluding krithi of the set being a mixture of all the 8 declensions, Dikshithar shows his mastery of the language. Please read this another beautiful
article for more details about the set. The article also has links to two other set of krithis, namely, Navarathri krithis by Swathi thirunal and Kamakshi Navavarnams by Oothukadu Venkatasubba iyer. Composed at the famous thyagaraja temple complex in Tiruvarur(one of the 64 shakthi peetams), he addresses the Goddess's Sannidhi in these krithis praising her on behalf of all the devotees. Moving on to the krithi now, this dhyana krithi in thodi is written exclusively in the vocative case or the fifth case("sambhodhana vibhakthi"), a case used to directly address the Lord and describe her qualities. The pallavi goes like
Kamalaambikae Aashritha Kalpalathikae Chandhike
Kamaneeya Arunaam Shuke Kara Vidhrutha Shuke Maamava
Dikshithar sings " Kamalaambika!! You are the divine wish-yielding magical creeper('kalpa lathikae') who protects those who surrender('aashritha jana') to you". He describes the Goddess as Chandhika, the fierce ('ugra') one. He continues to describe the sannidhi by singing "You wear the attractive('kamaneeya') red-coloured('arunaam') garment('shuke'), holding('vidhrutha') the parrot('shuke') in your hand('kara'). I pray you protect me('maam'+'ava')". The word-to-word meanings are pretty easy to understand in the pallavi but there are deeper esoteric meanings which I have to touch upon to fully explain the krithi. The reference to the red-coloured garment suggests the 'ugra' nature of the Goddess, 'rajo guna', an essential aspect for the normal operations of the world. The employment of both the meanings of the word "shuke" to refer to garment and parrot in the same line is yet another display of brilliance from the great man. The parrot is supposed to be an allusion to the human soul. The parrot, instead of being trapped in a cage(just like how the human soul is trapped in this maya world), is free in the hands of Shakthi indicating that the Goddess will destroy the ignorance of all her devotees and help them reach the ultimate goal of God-realization. A beautiful pallavi with deep meanings and preserving the depth of the raga providing ample scope for 'sangathis'.

Moving on to the anupallavi,
Kamalaasanaadhi poojitha kamalapadhe bahuvaradhe
Kamalaalayatheertha vaibhave shive karunaarnave
Dikshithar sings "Worshipped('Poojitha') by Brahma('Kamala(lotus)'+'aasana(seated)') and other deities('aadhi'), with your lotus('kamala') feet('padhe'), you shower('dhe') numerous('bahu') boons('vara'). You are enshrined('aalaya') in all your majestic beauty('vaibhava') on the kamalaalaya tank and thereby bestowed it with great powers. You are the auspicious one('shive'-also can be interpreted as consort of Shiva) and an ocean of mercy and compassion('karunaarnave')." The anupallavi is perhaps a wonderful demonstration of alliterations in Sanksrit with Dikshithar repeatedly employing the word 'kamala'. The anupallavi is simple and builds up wonderfully to a big,complicated charanam.
Sakala loka Naayikae Sangeetha rasikae
Suka vithva pradhaayikae Sundari Gathamaayikae
Vikalebara mukthidhaana nipunae Aghaharanae
Viyadhaadhi bhoothakiranae Vinodhacharanae Arunae
Sakalae Guruguhakaranae Sadhashivaantha karanae
Akachatathapaadhi varnae akandaika rasapoornae
Dikshithar sings "You are the ruler('Naayikae') of the entire universe('sakala loka') and you are the one rejoicing in music. You bestow('pradhaayikae') the wonderful poetic('sukha') skills('vithva') in all composers. Oh beautiful one('Sundari'), you are the one creating the delusions('maya')
but you yourself have transcended it('gatha') because you are the Supreme Soul. You are adept('nipunae') in granting('dhaana') salvation('mukthi') without body('vikalebara'-videha mukthi) and destroying('harane') the biggest sin of man, that of identifying him"self" with his body('agha'). You are the one from whom the five elements('bhootha'), sky('viyadh') and others('aadhi') emanate('kiranae'). You shine brilliantly in red('arunae') and your feet('charanae') give the highest bliss('vinodha') known to man. You are the one who manifests as All('sakalae') and you are the cause('kaaranae') for the birth of Lord Subrahmanya('guruguha'). You are the heart('anthara') of Lord Shiva('sadashiva'). You are the embodiment('varnae') of all the letters a, ka, cha, ta, tha, pa, etc.('akachatathapaadhi' ')that are the basics of all mantras. You are the one who is forever filled with('poornae') that infinite and indivisible('akanda+eka') bliss('rasa')."

The charanam is a beautiful mix of simple descriptions of the God like "mother of guruguha"(hence ingeniously incorporating the mudhra) and "wife of Lord Shiva" as well as complicated descriptions of the Goddess with deep yogic and "sukshmic" meanings. He talks about vikalebara mukthi, that is, the nirvikalpa samadhi where the enlightened soul leaves the body never to return to this cycle of rebirths. He refers to the Goddess as the heart of the embodiment of supreme bliss(sadashiva) and further declares her auspicious feet as the one giving the highest bliss of jeevathma reaching/realizing the paramaathma. On the whole, the krithi is a wonderful display of erudition enlightening mortals on the path to follow in life and the ultimate goal to reach in this human birth. A treat for the singers/instrumentalists to showcase their talents and at the same time, beautiful sahithyams for the divinely motivated and spiritually aspiring people.

As a closing note, to summarize the power of the dhyaana krithi, I quote from Sri Dikshitha keerthana mala "The dhyana krithi helps dispel all difficulties, overcome obstacles and awards fulfilment of desires and helps one realize the bliss of salvation by drinking the nectar of sat-chit-anandam. By singing this krithi, one gains the mercy of the Goddess, achieving complete knowledge of Brahman and Atman and freedom from the cycle of birth and death."
I will continue with the Kamalamba Navavarnams taking up the beautiful "Kamalamba Samrakshathu maam" krithi in Anandhabhairavi, a wonderful krithi with soul-stirring sahithyams and sangathis. Catch you all in my next post!!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Kamalaamba Nava Avarnams

It has been a quiet and aesthetic few weeks since my last blog. I dont know how I am spending my time but it is definitely flying. I have been a little busy hunting for that elusive first job and hopefully I am getting somewhere. It was indeed shameful to see the Indians go down in their World Cup opener against Bangladesh. But, I must be frank that I am a little happy with yesterday's outcome(s) because: (a) The indians have hopefully learnt a lesson and will work really hard to get into the super 8's now. (b) Pakistan has been knocked out and realistically speaking are eliminated from World Cup 2007(The famous "namakku oru kann ponaalum, edhiri ku rendu kannum poganum" kind of "alpa santhosham" :) Hopefully no Pakistani is reading this blog now). Anyway, I finished reading the "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Sri Paramahamsa Yogananda; a masterpiece to say the least. I am continuing my spiritual growth with "The Divine Romance" written by Sri Yogananda once again. It is a brilliant collection of his lectures establishing links to the greatest romance of them all-The one with the cosmic divine. Thanks to Shreekrishna, I am in possession of a wonderful collection of Dikshithar krithis called "Sri Ramam" sung by Sri T.M.Krishna and I am getting mind-blown listening to "Kodhandaramam" in raga "kokilaaravam" as I type this. Continuing on spiritual lines, it is only apt for me to discuss about the majestic and authoritative Kamalamba Nava Avarnam krithis composed by God Dikshithar. I will start off with a brief introduction about the Nava Avarnams(which would consume this entire blog i think).

These are a set of 11 krithis-9 krithis talking about the 9 avarnas of the Sri Chakra and Sri Vidya Upasana, 1 dhyana krithi(Kamalambike-thodi) and 1 mangala krithi(Shri Kamalambike Shive-Sri). These krithis are extremely powerful and filled with yoga and gnana marga fundas for self-realization; the very purpose of a human being's birth. A spiritual aspirant needs to find a Guru and be initiated into the practice of Sri Vidya Upasana. To find a way to explain these fundamentals in an easy and meaningful way, I searched for a reliable resource on the web and I have found this wonderful article on wikipedia which makes the purpose of this blog unnecessary. Please click here(wikipedia article) to learn about the greatness of the Nava Avarna krithis giving wonderful details about Sri Chakra and explaining how each krithi relates to each avarana and chakra. Now that the article has been read by you(hopefully) and now that you have understood the inner meaning and objective of each of these krithis(hopefully once again :) ), I will continue with the explanation for the dhyana krithi in Thodi. I will slowly work my way through the entire set and end with the mangala krithi hopefully in a month's time. I am publishing this blog so that I give some time to all of you who are really interested in the Navavarna krithis to read through the wikipedia article and get some basics right so that it will be easier and more meaningful for me to explain and for you to understand. I conclude this post here with a sense of dissatisfaction that I did not have the wonderful opportunity to explain the depths already covered by the wikipedia article. I know I am leaving this post sort of incomplete and I will explain in depth about the "kamalaambike" dhyana krithi in "thodi" in my next post-hopefully tonight or at the worst tomorrow morning. Till then, take care and have fun..Catch you guys/gals in a bit!!