Friday, April 20, 2007

shrI kamalAmbikayA katAkshithoham-Shankarabharanam

Hello all..long time no see. Sorry for the extensively long break I took from blogging. I went home to India :), met a few friends and now am back in the US. I had to move to Austin,Texas to take up work(for those who dont know..yes!!I finally got a job :)). So I was out of internet connection and all that.Anyway..after my trip to india, I feel rejuvenated and have become more can call me a qualified fanatic now :). I had the wonderful opportunity to Slan, Kavitha and a few other close school/college friends. And ofcourse I met fellow carnatic music enthusiasts- Shruthika Ananth(without whom my stay at bangalore would have been plain ennui ;)) and Ramaa Ramesh(the one and only RR who sang a brilliant kambhoji for me ;)). It was good fun and now am back. I learnt 2 new krithis-IshAnAdhishivAkAramanche(the best sahana i have heard in my life) and daNDAyudhapAnIM(anandabhairavi)-2 krithis about which i could rave on for hours..wouldve to write separate blogs soon to do justice to these two masterpieces. Anyway..I started writing about the next krithi- the navAvarnam in shankarAbharanam on april 20th and finished the pallavi and anupallavi but due to the circumstances explained above, I was unable to post it. So most of the information below would be outdated-bear with me for that. Whatever info i give after charanam are updated ones :) But ya..the fact remains..DIkshithar is GOD!! So read on..

I had a really nice week. Finally I have got a job offer with a company here in the U.S. and I am currently trying to find if I will be fortunate enough to travel to India before taking up the job. There are some visa issues to sort out. I had an enlightening music session with Hari and SK regarding grihabedhams. We stumbled across the grihabedham of natabhairavi leading to perhaps the "majorest" of all mElakarthAs like tODi, karaharapriyA, harikAmbhoji, shankarAbharanam and kalyAnI. Currently I am involved in finding out all the other possible grihabedhams and it is definitely interesting :). I got a chance to read some nice blogs by ramaa ramesh(RR)..a fellow dikshithar enthusiast and new family member ;). We have decided to join hands and spread the brilliant music this God has given humanity. You can read her blogs here

Last weekend was absolutely fabulous. I listened to 26 hours of brilliant music in 2 days at the cleveland thyagaraja aradhana. I hitchhiked the entire journey, stayed with unknown people-transformed to new friends and ofcourse drowned in the ocean of music. The highlights being concerts of TMK and seshu loaded with wonderful krithis, beautiful raga alApanas,neravals and unimaginable kanakkus. TMK's shrI rAjagopAla in sAveri is still ringing in my ears. So is Seshu's "diwAkara tanujam" aptly sung on saturday. One wholesome experience for sure. :) Now getting down to business, I will take up the beautiful third Avarana krithi in shankarAbharanam, shrI kamalAmbikayA katAkshithoham composed exclusively in the thrithiyA vibhakthi(instrumental case) on the sarva samkshobana chakra. As RR says very correctly in her blogs, dikshithar's compositions are basically hymns written with unbelievable meter, brillaintly fused with a wonderful display of the rAga bhAvams using both characteristic as well as uncharacteristic phrases of the rAga..each krithi being a masterpiece showcasing the pAndithyam of Dikshithar..grammatically perfect and musically unparalleled thereby stirring the soul directly. To put it in short..shtud_max/sAshtAnga namaskArams :)

The pallavi of the krithi is perhaps the best status message/signature a person can set on orkut/gtalk. DIkshithar starts off with the direct reference to the advaitha principles in the pallavi.
shri kamalAmbikayA katAkshithoham
sachchidhAnandha paripUrna brahmAsmi
As I mentioned earlier, Dikshithar seems to say-"Lets get down to business" with these lines. He sings "By the grace of the auspicious Goddess kamalAmbA, I("aham") am graced and protected("katAksha"). I am now identified("asmi") with the absolute("paripUrna") Brahman, the completeness of existence("sath"), consciousness("chith") and bliss("Anandha")." There is nothing much to interpret from these lines except for the direct meaning dikshithar conveys. The pallavi as usual is beautiful and has a wide scope for improvisation. Moving on to the anupallavi,
pAkashAsanAdhi sakala devathA sevithayA
pankajAsanAdhipancha krithyakrith bhAvithayA
shokahara chathurapadhayA mUkamukhyavAkpradhayA
kokanadhavijayapadhayA guruguhathathraipadhayA
Dikshithar sings "Lord Indra("pAkashAsana") and all other devAs worship("sevithayA") her. She is contemplated("bhAvithayA") by Lord Brahma("PankajAsanA"-the one who sits in the lotus) and others by whom the five cosmic acts("pancha krithya") are actually performed("krith"). Her feet("padha") are adept("chathura") in destroying("hara") grief and misery("shoka"). She restored("pradhayA") speech("vAk") in mUka and made him a poet. Her feet("padhaya") conquers("vijaya") the beauty of red lotuses("kokanadha"). She is the embodiment of the three-worded mantra tatva-tvam-asi("thathrai") given by Lord Guruguha."

One can clearly see the grammatic splendour as he sticks to the instrumental case with all words ending with "yA". He seems to reinforce the advaita fundamentals once throughout this krithi referring to tatva-tvam-asi("you are who you are") -ringing another bell, calling for self-realization. Moving on to the charanam,

ananga kusumAdhyashta shakthyAkArayA
arunavarna samkshobhana chakrAkArayA
ananthakotyAndanAyaka shankaranAyikayA
aShTavargAthmaka gupthatharayA varayA
anangAdhi upAsithayA aShTadhaLAbjasthithayA
dhanurbhANadharakarayA dhayAsudhAsAgarayA

Dikshithar refers to the Goddess as an embodiment("AkArayA") of anangakusuma and the other eight shakthis("anangakusuma+Adhi(others)+ashta(eight)"). He alludes to Her as the dawn("aruna(sun) varna(colour)"). Dikshithar employs a double entendre in "arunavarna" here. He sings "
arunavarna samkshobhana chakrAkArayA", i.e., "She is enshrined in the reddish samkshobhana chakrA". He continues to describe the Goddess as "the beloved("nAyikA") of Lord Shiva("shankarA-partial raga mudra") who is the master("nAyaka") of all the millions of universes("anantha(entire)+koti(crore)+anda(worlds)" ")". DIkshithar describes her as "the embodiment of the eight sets("aShTavarga") of alphabets" and says "she is more clandestine("guptha") than the previous chakra and is supremely divine("varayA")". A yogi would understand this perfectly. As he progresses spiritually, he slowly unlocks the mystery of each chakra. Dikshithar continues "She is worshipped("upAsithayA") by Lord kAmA("ananga") and others and she resides("sthithaya") in the eight petalled("ashta dhala") lotus("abja"). She carries("dhara") a bow("dhanu") and arrow("bAnA") in her hands("karayA") and she is a nectareous("sudhA") ocean("sAgara") of compassion and mercy("dhayA")."

While singing krithis of such pristine grammar filled with perfection in every sense, it just leaves me wondering how is it humanly possible for a mind to compose something like this which inevitably always leads to the most logical answer that "he must be HE, the God of music". If a rasika like me with limited technical knowledge and zero professional experience has so much to take from these krithis, I cant even imagine the pleasure a technically trained artiste would feel while rendering it..sheer bliss. But then again, how can a human mind not feel the bliss in listening and trying to learn these krithis. What can you do when you see such an authoritative display of control from someone? I feel helpless..all I can do is surrender myself and fall at His feet..the greatest composer to have walked on God's green earth. "Shri Gurubyo Namah".


Aparna said...

Hey nice to see a post after a long time :) Was superb as usual! I am really getting to learn a lot from your posts! Hope you blog regularly from now on

Musical Scientist said...

Hey aparna..thanks a lot for those wonderful comments. Really happy to note that you are learning a lot. I will blog regularly from now on pa..infact will most probably post the kambhoji navAvarnam tomorrow keep posting your comments :)