For a change, I felt that time was going slowly. Last week seemed unusually long and dragging. However, I would be really happy if time were to slow down as it would give me a better chance to listen to and learn more dIkshithar krithis :) . Afterall what more would one need except to cook and eat good food(for the body), good stuff to read, interpret and work on(for the mind) and divine dIkshithar krithis for the soul. At the risk of sounding gay, I declare myself to be completely in love with dIkshithar. :) No one or no thing can give me the pleasure of listening to a beautiful brindhAvana sArangA in the form of "soundararAjam" or a majestic sAveri in the form of "Shri rAjagOpala". Today morning I had a really nice session(2 hours) with Shrutika ananth, to whom I had the pleasure(hopefully not a pain for her) of singing and playing around 10 or 12 dIkshithar krithis. Then I sang a few more krithis to Shambhavi a few hours later and discussed with her some key dIkshithar krithis. And now..this post on the bhairavi navAvarNam. So it has been more of a dIkshithar day..but then, which day hasn't?? ;). As i am typing this, I am listening to an amazing rendition of "shri kAnthimathim" in hemAvathi by mandolin Srinivas.
Today I am going to try to interpet the 5th Avarna of the navAvarNams, "shri kamalAmbikAyAh param" in Bhairavi. The krithi is written exclusively in the fifth case("panchama vibhakthi"/Ablative case). The central theme of the krithi is "kamalAmbikAyAh param nahi re, re chiththa"("Oh mind!!there is nothing greater than Goddess kamalAmbA"). The krithi is about the "sarvasiddhi pradha" chakra which gives all powers to the human soul. In the Sri chakra, it is the outer set of 10 triangles and is hence also known as "bahirdashAra chakra". As you would have observed in all of the navAvarNams, the charanams are completely loaded with grammar, esoteric references, raga mudhras..everything. This krithi is no different..infact I would say it is by far one of the most tongue-twisting charanams I have ever heard. This is where you must appreciate and understand the pristine quality of grammar in dIkshithar's krithis. All the different words fused in such exquisiteness that it makes one's soul reverberate with reverance and love for the man behind the music.
shri kamalAmbAyAH param nahi re re chiththa
kshithyAdhi shivAntha tathva swarUpiNyAH
DIkshithar starts off in a simple manner. He sings "Oh mind!!("re chiththa"), there is nothing greater than("param nahir re") the auspicious Goddess kamalAmbA. She is the quintessence("tathva swarUpam") of all the principles, from the earth("kshithi") to the ultimate("antha") Lord shivA."
In this pallavi, I love the way he commands his mind. He just calls upon it and instructs it that Goddess kamalAmbA is the ultimate thus sending out a message to all of us. On the musical aspect of things, I would say the krithi builds up beautifully from here. It is a majestic bhairavi and there is ample scope for a qualified musician to sing the pallavi alone for 10 minutes or so. Moving on to the anupallavi now,
shrIkaNTa viShNu virinchAdhi janayithryAH
shivAthmaka vishwakarthryAH kArayithryAH
shrIkara bahirdashAra chakra sthithyAH
sevitha bhairavi bhArgavI bhArathyAH
DIkshithar pays her the ultimate compliment by calling her "the divine creator/mother("janayithryAH") of shivA("shrIkaNTa"), viShNu, Brahma("virinchi") and others." He further describes her as "the one who created("karthryAH") the universe("vishwa") of which Lord shivA is the essence("shivAthmaka")" and as "the one who is responsible for("ithryAH") all the actions("kAraya") which take place here." DIkshithar sings "She resides("sthithyAH") in the auspicious("shrIkAra") chakra containing the outer 10 triangles("bahirdashAra") and she is served by Bhairavi, bhArgavi and bhArathi(Parvathi,Lakshmi and Saraswathi)."
From this wonderful anupallavi one can see that dIkshithar must have been at heights of bliss while composing it. He has attributed the creator, protector, destroyer and their respective consorts to being the creations of Goddess kamalAmbA indicating that she is the basic reason for the universe's existence. He beautifully embeds the rAga mudhra in the anupallavi itself. I guess this serves as a warning for the coming earthquake of a charanam..a ground shaker. So here goes..
nAdhamaya sUkShmarUpa sarvasiddhipradAdi dasha shaktyArAdhitamUrteH
shrotrAdi dashakaraNAtmaka kuLakauLikAdi bahuvidhopAsitakIrteH
abheda nitya shuddhabuddhamukta-saccidAnandamaya paramAdvaitasphUrteH
Adi madhyAntarahitAprameya guruguhamodita-sarvArthasAdhakasphUrteH
mUlAdi navAdhAra vyAv.rtta dashadhvanibhedaj~na yogib.rnda saMrakShaNyAH
anAdi mAyAvidyA-kArya kAraNa vinodakaraNa paTutarakaTAkSha vIkShaNyAH
First of all I must apologize for the non-readability of the charanam in the format as posted above. The sandhis are so intricate that splitting them in other fashion would lead to misinterpretations and dangerous results. :) So bear with it..this is the best I could do. Well..if someone wants to learn how to compose krithis of infinite meter and unimaginable vedantic and adwaithic references, I would say this is the best possible 6 lines one could get. If you think singing such a charanam is difficult, imagine the mind that should have composed this..what can you say except fall at his feet. Anyway, I will try to split the sandhis to the best of my abilities and explain..hope it is satisfactory.
Dikshithar sings "Sound("nAdha") is the subtle("sUkshma rUpa") form of her and she is worshipped("ArAdhitha") by the ten shakthis-sarvasiddhipradha and others. She, who is famous("kIrthe") for being worshipped("upAsitha") in distinct forms("bahu vidha") such as kuLa, kauLa and for being the embodiment("Atmaka") of the ten organs("dashakaranAthmaka"-(five sensory and five organs of action)). She who is the manifestation("spurthe") of the supreme non-dual("advaita"), non-differentiated("abheda") ,eternal("nitya"), pristine ("shuddha"), enlightened ("buddha") and liberated self ("muktha"), characterized by existence("sadh"), consciousness ("chidh") and bliss ("Anandham").
She who is an integral whole ("a-prameya") without ("rahita") any beginning ("Adhi"), middle ("madhya") or end ("antha"). She who is knowledgeable and is entertained ("moditha") by Guruguha, she manifests ("spUrthe") as the Sarvartthasadhaka Chakra, achieving ("sAdhaka") all ("sarva") purposes ("artha"). She who protects ("samrakshanyA") the yoginis ("yogi brindha") residing in the nine ("nava") centers ("AdhAra") of the astral body such as Muladhara, etc ("Adhi"). and who, surpassing these ("vyavr.ttha") are adept at how to pierce them through the knowledge of the ten sounds ("dashadhwani"). She, who with her mere glance ("aksha") is capable ("paTutara") of dispelling ("vikAsinyAH") beginningless ("anAdhi") delusion ("mAya") and ignorance ("avidhyA") and the laws of cause ("kArana") and effect ("kArya")."
Now was thats what i call the biggest monster charanam ever..but isn't she a wonderful monster..a real beauty :). dIkshithar sings of Her praise and establishes her presence in the physical, astral and the causal planes. The fact that he describes Her as the "paripUrna", as the one without a beginning or an end and attributes Her to the ten sensory and motor organs(physical plane), the nine chakras(astral plane) and as the one who destroys "mAya", "avidhya" and the "kArana-kArya" cycle(causal plane) establishes Goddess kamalambA as the God. I would even go as far as saying that dIkshithar is sure to have meditated and loved Her as his God..the divine romance which finally took him to salvation and beyond. This and the Ahiri navAvarNams are testimonials to this fact.
How can one not notice the beauty and authority of this krithi..filled with musical, vedanthic, grammatical grandeur and what not..what more can one want from a krithi? With all due respect to all the other composers, how can one not sing/play this krithi as the main piece when he/she sings/plays bhairavi in a concert. I have heard it being sung very few times and it is a disturbing fact. So if some artist is reading this post, I kindly request you to sing this as your main when you sing bhairavi in concerts. I feel that it is the duty of each soul which learns and listens to carnatic music to popularize these masterpieces which cannot be eroded by trivial factors such as time.(feeling really really emotional as i write this)
I will continue on this noble endeavour to try to shed light on these beautiful krithis by the greatest composer ever!! It is my birthright. So I will blog about the punAgavarALi navAvarnam in my next post..yet another gem from the great God of music..Shri gurubhyo namaH!!