Sunday, April 8, 2007
It was turning out to be a beautiful transition to spring at Ann Arbor until this cold wave came around and its back to the negatives and snow now and the forecasts for the week dont look any better. I have been in a trance since 7 a.m(EST) April 1st,2007. We(SK,Hari,Aishu,RR,Audi and me), the dikshithar gumbal had this enchanting session of the God's music which went on for some 7 or 8 hours. SK sang like a God and brought tears to my eyes..they were rolling down my cheeks unconsciously. Ahiri Navavarnam followed by a beautiful Lalitha(that first line of the anupallavi in Agastheeshwaram is still killing me) and one awesome Pharaju..at this point I was begging SK to stop as it was too much to take for me and the session reached this high state of tension with everyone regaling in bliss. The after effects of the session were profound leading to 2 days of insomnia for me and all the members of the gumbal too..soul-stirring music indeed. I have become emotionally weaker these days because of the unique chords these dikshithar krithis strike with my soul and evoke the divine vibes within me which become too overpowering and overwhelming at times..sheer bliss. Thalaivar sings "Shri kamalAmbA jayathi"..thats the ultimate truth. She wins..we all lose..we all lose ourselves in Her!! My body still scintillates when I talk about that line even now. Thats the power of this man,rather God's, music. I have been seeing this video of Kalapakam maami playing dikshithar's "rAmachandrena samrakshithoham" in "mAnji". I have watched it atleast a 100 times now and I still cant get over the RGMGRS..awesome. :) Thalaivar Rocks indeed!!
Continuing with the the Nava Avarnams, I will take up the beautiful "kamalAmbA samrakshathu mAm" in Anandhabhairavi written in the prathamA vibhakthi(nominative case) on the "thrailokyamohana chakra". The extensive usage of the shuddha deivatham in this krithi adds to its grandeur. The pallavi goes like
kamalAmbA samrakshathu mAm hruth kamalAnagara nivAsini
The pallavi is simple to understand. It goes like "Let Goddess kamalAmbA, the one who resides("nivAsini") in the heart("hruth") of kamalAnagara(alluding to the lotus in which the Goddess sits) protect me("samrakshathu mAm")". The most striking and beautiful part of the pallavi is the Sa Ni Sa phrase at "Sam Ra" which keeps to oscillate for eternity before moving on to Ni Sa ma. Beauty defined at its best. Moving on to the anupallavi(btw..my favourite part of the song), we will find the right mix of the majestic(masculine) as well as the gentle and beautiful(feminine) parts of the rAgA.
kamalajAnandha bodhasukhi kAnthAThAra panjarashukhi
The anupallavi starts off with a gentle PMPSPNPMGM phrase which upon singing/playing yields that "high" and that "kick" which no earthly material can give. Dikshithar sings "Her lotus face("Abhja") is praised and worshipped("sArAdhitha") by all learned and virtuous people("sumana")." He continues to beautifully describe the Goddess as the dearest and beloved("mana-priya") consort("sakhi") of Lord Shiva("sundara"). He sings "She revels in the joy("Anandha") obtained from knowledge and wisdom("bodha")" and compares her beauty to the parrot once again as he describes her as the parrot("shukhi") in the cage("panjara") of life("ThAra").
The anupallavi is yet another display of this grammatical skills. He maintains the rhyme scheme with every word ending with a "khi" as mukhi,sakhi,sukhi and shukhi. The second line of the anupallavi has deep esoteric meanings once again. Notice how he describes the Goddess herself as the "bodhasukhi", the one who enjoys through wisdom, indicating how one can realize God within oneself through the "gnana mArga". He also compares Her beauty to the parrot and explicitly says She is the one around whom this entire world and life of ours revolves. He calls this world a cage thereby emphasizing on the necessity to reach the divine and hence realize this mAyA and escape from the rebirth cycles. You can(rather you must) watch this wonderful rendition of the pallavi and anupallavi sections by Hari on his electrical guitar. I promise to post a better quality video of the song played by him very soon. Moving on to the charanam now,
nithyakAmeshwarI kshithipura thrailokyamohanachakravarthinI
prakatayoginI suraripu mahishAsurAdhimardhinI
thripureshI guruguhajananI thripurabhanjanaranjanI
madhuripusahodharI thalodharI thripurasundharI maheshwarI
The charanam as usual comes with the right flavour of upanishidic and yogic references by Dikshithar. He describes Her as the queen("IshwarI") of the thripura and other("Adhi") chakras in the astral body" and the Goddess for all siddhi powers such as anima(the power by virtue of which a yogi can reduce his body's size to smaller than the smallest particle and hence go through matter like doors,walls,etc.). Dikshithar sings "She is eternal("nithya") and the beloved of Kameshwara. She is the ruler("varthini") of the earth("Kshithipura") and the thrailokyamohana chakra(literally translanting to the ring that is the reason for existence of mAyA in the three worlds). She is the manifestation of yogic power("prakatayogini") and the destroyer("mardhini") of the enemies("ripu") of the Gods("sura") such as Mahishasura and others. She is described completely("samvedhini") in the holy("nigama") scriptures("purAna"). She is the consort of Lord Shiva("thripureshi") and the mother of guruguha("guruguhajanani"). She rejoiced("ranjani") in the destruction("bhanjana") of thripura. She is the sister("sahodhari") of Lord Vishnu(the enemy("ripu") of the evil madhu). She is slender("thalodhari") and the spouse of Lord Maheshwara."
The charanam, as one can observe, has deep meanings and allusions to the path of kundalini yoga through which one attains self-realization and union with the divine. Siddhis like anima, lagna, prapthi etc. come along on the way as the yogi meditates and as the kundalini slowly ascends from the moolAdhAra chakraat the bottom of the spine, through the swAdhishtAna, manipUra, anAhitha, vishudha, AgnyA, finally culminating in the sahasrAra, the thousand petalled lotus in the head. Meditating on the devi seems to be the path which dikshithar used for self-realization. The seven swaras of carnatic music are supposed to stand for these seven chakras in the astral body. Thus, Dikshithar was truly in control of all his chakras both in the physical world(through his music) and in the astral plane(through his meditation and yogic life). Salute the great men who have become God like Dikshithar.
The exquisite usage of both the sAdhArana gAndhAram and the anthara gAndhAram adds a special grandeur to the charanam. Notice the absence of raga mudhra in this krithi though, unlike the dhyAna krithi where he doesnt use the raga mudhra at all, he uses a partial raga mudhra in "Anandha" in this krithi. The madhyamakalasahithyam starts off with a wonderful ss PP grrs sns phrase thereby setting a nice rhythm. Quoting the Dikshithar keerthanamAlA, " By singing this krithi, one shall achieve (i). The full mercy of Sri Lalita Mahatripurasundari
(ii). The captivation of Swarga, Madhya and PAthAla lokAs."
I will continue to explore the Nava Avarnas with the beautiful "kamalAmbAm Bhajare" krithi in kalyAni in my next post which I hopefully should put up in a few days. The dikshithar maniac in me seems to be growing infibounds everyday and with the wonderful association of friends with whom I continue to put sessions through the nights, I am very happy that I am heading in the right direction in life. Imagine..If i learn 2 krithis in 1 month(which seems to be a decent estimate), I should have learnt all the 481 krithis of dikshithar in 20 years. But more than the learning part, the listening and enjoying experience I get is immense and indescribable. All I can say is "Come, let us celebrate the beauty of carnatic music and revel and drown especially in the treasure of perhaps the greatest composer of all times and across all genres of music-Nadhajyothi Sri Muthuswami Dikshithar". See you all in the next blog. Shri Gurubhyo Namaha!!