Wednesday, June 27, 2007

shrI kamalAmbikAyAm-sahAnA

I am drowning myself in supreme bliss as I am typing this. I am listening to Seshu's version of soundararAjam, perhaps the best ever krithi composed in brindAvana sArangA, and I am achieving that state of samAdhi in every sangathi and every word of this wonderful dIkshithar krithi. I find myself incapable to explain in words the feeling, which is mostly the situation i find myself in while listening most of dIkshithar's krithis. The grandeur just gets to me. Last week was wonderful. I had the pleasure of having 4 music sessions with the dIkshithar gumbal.. a set of uncompromising dIkshithar fanatics. SK's(our AsthAna vidwan) renditions of the kalyANi, ghaNTA, Ahiri and punnAgavarALi navavarnams are still ringing in my ears. I had to fight back tears while listening to these beautiful and powerful krithis sung with manOdharma and bhakti. As I always say, at some point of time in all dIkshithar krithis, I get this feeling of helplessness and "Oh..let this life end right now" kind of thoughts and I surrender myself completely to the genius. That is the power he enforces on a rasikA. And he overpowers you into complete submission with the sahAnA navAvarNam too..the grammar, the musical and the vedantic precisions become too much to handle for a mortal like me.

I love is my favourite rAga and I have heard almost all krithis ever composed in the rAgA and I would say shrI kamalAmbikAyAm is perhaps the best krithi I have heard in sahAnA. The krithi, composed exclusively in the seventh case("sapthami vibhakthi/locative case") is yet another masterpiece from the grandmaster of all composers. dIkshithar seems to emphasize his devotion to the Goddess in this krithi with the central idea being "ahaM kamalAmbikAyAm bhakthim karomi"(I offer my devotion to Goddess kamalAmbA"). The chakra addressed in this krithi is the sarvarogahara (destroyer of all miseries and illnesses) which consists of 8 triangles. The pallavi begins as,

shrI kamalAmbikAyAM bhaktiM karomi
shritakalpavATikAyAM chaNDikAyAM jagadambikAyAm

Dikshithar surrenders and sings "I offer("karomi") my devotion("bhakthiM") to Goddess kamalAmbA, the auspicious one("shrI"). She, who resides in the garden("vATikAyAM") and is fulfilling the wishes("shritakalpa") of all the devotees who take refuge in her. She is the fierce one("chaNDikA") and the mother of the universe("jagadambikAyAm")."
Quite typical of all the navAvarNams we have seen so far, in this krithi also, dIkshithar starts off with a pretty simple pallavi. But this is where the performer can excel and improvise. The pallavi has so much scope that I have heard atleast some 10 sangathis of the first line itself. The first line captures almost all of the characteristic phrases of the rAga which makes it the most beautiful opening lines of a sahAnA krithi according to me. Moving on to the anupallavi,


rAkAchandra vadanAyAM rAjIva nayanAyAM
pAkArinuta charaNAyAM AkAshAdi kiraNAyAm
hrIMkAra vipina hariNyAM hrIMkAra susharIriNyAM
hrIMkAra taruma~njaryAM hrIMkAreshvaryAM gauryAm

Dikshithar beautifully describes the Goddess in the anupallavi. He says "Her face("vadanAyAM") is like the full moon("rAkAchandra") and her eyes("nayanAyAM") are like the lotus bud("rAjiva"). Her feet("charanAyAM") is worshipped("nutha") by Lord Indra("pAkAri") and she radiates("kiranAyAm") as the five elements such as sky("AkAsha") and others. She is the deer("hariNyAM") that roams in the forests("vipina") of the HRIM sound and her form("kAra") is the embodiment("sushaririNyAM") of the hrim sound. She is the beautiful bunch of flowers("manjaryAM") in the tree("tharu") of Hrim. She is the Goddess("EshwaryAM") of HrIm and she is gowri, the fair one."

What a beautiful anupallavi. Everytime I hear this krithi, I listen to the anupallavai atleast twice before i move on to the charanam. It is wonderful as it encompasses all the major phrases of sahAnA. Further, we can evidently see the supreme state of bliss in which dIkshithar must have been when he composed these lines. Apart from his usual way of using beautiful similes to describe the Lord, he starts to describe the devi as different forms of the hrIm sound(for which I will write a separate blog soon) and finally he says she is Ishwari of the hrIm sound itself implying Her to be the creator of all that is available today. He also tries to emphasize the formless and boundless nature of the Goddess in these lines. Really beautiful :). Anyway, life has to go on and so I will move on to the charanam now.

sharIratraya vilakShaNa sukhatara svAtmAnu bhoginyAM
viri~nci harIshAna harihaya vedita rahasya yoginyAm
parAdi vAgdevatArUpavashinyAdi vibhAginyAM
charAtmaka sarvarogaharanirAmaya rAjayoginyAm
karadh.rtavINAvAdinyAM kamalAnagaravinodinyAM
suranaramunijanamodinyAM guruguhavaraprasAdinyAm

Dikshithar beautifully sings "She rejoices ("bhoginyAm") in Her own ("swa") self ("AtmAnu") of supreme bliss ("sukhatara"), the self which transcends ("vi-lakshana") the three ("traya") states of existence ("sharIra"): the casual, the subtle, and the gross. She who is the secret ("rahasya") yogini, known only ("vedita") to Brahma ("virinchi"), Vishnu ("hari"), Shiva ("haya"), and Hayagriva ("harishana"). She is distinguished ("vibhAginyaam") as the Shakti Vasini, etc ("para-Adi"). and as the deity ("devata-rUpa") of pure speech ("vAk"). She is the healing Raja Yoga which destroys ("hara") all ("sarva") transient ("nirAmaya") illnesses ("roga"). She, who plays ("vAdhinyAm") the Vina, which She holds ("druta") in Her hands ("kara"). She who resides and delights ("vinodinyAm") in Kamalanagara. She charms ("modhinyAm") the Gods ("sura"), men ("nara") and sages ("munijana"). She grants Guruguha the boon ("prasaadhinyAm") of Her grace ("vara")."

For a navAvarNam, I would say that this charanam is very very simple. As he does in all the other navAvarNams, dIkshithar describes the chakra and how the Goddess is the real yogini residing in these chakras. He finally describes Her as the raja yoga itself. There is a partial rAga mudhra in "harIshAna". The madhyamakala sahithyams are really beautiful in this krithi and they just follow suit one after the other in great grandeur and finally fall exquistely in place leading to the pallavi. On the whole, It is yet another masterpiece from the great man. My personal advise is, If you are someone who loves sahAnA, then you must listen to this krithi. It is by far the best defining krithi for the rAga.

Thanks to my friend Vijay Bashyam, I am now in possession of a software which enables me type text in sanskrit. So most probably from the next post, I will be posting the lyrics in sanskrit. I will take up the majestic ghaNTA navAvarNam in my next blog and try to do as much justice as I can. If you have not listened to this krithi yet, I would highly recommend you to do that as early as possible. :) I am feeling terribly sleepy today..I dont know why..anyway, passing on from one bliss to to sleep :). Take care all of you and keep listening to dIkshithar krithis inorder to make your life more colourful and meaningful :) shrI gurubhyo Namaha indeed!! :)


Aparna said...

I have read this post quite a few times now and I am able to appreciate the beauty of this krithi even better now :)

Musical Scientist said...

Hey Aparna..thats great to hear pa :) I am so happy when I read stuff like this :). I will post the Ahiri and srI navAvarNams by this weekend for sure. Do check out the Ahiri navAvarNam especially..It is a really really beautiful krithi :)

sri said...

Sahana the Raga itself is enough to mesmerise anyone in general and a music lover in particular.recently i heard this Avaranam,The raga's beauty with Diksitar's rich and powerful lyrics and the emotion was indeed a transcendental experience which made me browse thru the net for more details and the lyrics of the kriti.was glad to read your post...

Musical Scientist said...

Thanks a lot for your kind words Sri. This is indeed a masterpiece and the deep mysticism and power embedded in this krithi is indeed a divine experience. As my friend audi says, "the highest point of the navAvarNams occurs at one of the lowest points" referring to the "harIshAna" rAga mudhra in the charaNam. :).

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

tanx dis really helped in singing & enjoying my bhakti over godess lalita...

Jishnu Sahasranaman said...

No doubt, this is one great krithi in Shahana, perhaps the greatest of them all. No matter how many times you hear it you are bound to get teary eyed by the end of anupallavi. One small suggestion, there is this one krithi "Jaya jaya reghurama" of swathi thirunal in shahana which is an entirely different take on the raga, please hear the alathur brothers version to enjoy the brisk touches in Shahana.