Sunday, July 1, 2007

shrI kamalAmbikE avAva-ghaNTa

Since morning I have been repeatedly pushed to heights of bliss by listening to this beautiful krithi "अखिलाण्डेश्वर्यै नमस्ते" in Arabhi composed by the great nAdhajyothi. This is perhaps the best Arabhi I have heard in my life and I have listened to the krithi some 40 or 50 times since morning..just amazing. Totally under a trance I should say. The sAhityams are just on another level and the charanam of the krithi encompasses the entire material covered in the navAvarNams with each line of the charanam talking about the different chakrams of the srI chakram effectively addressed in the navAvarnams. Please listen to this wonderful veena+vocal rendition of the krithi by clicking here.

I am having a nice, relaxing weekend..just lazing at home, eating, sleeping and listening to beautiful krithis..physical,mental and soulful bliss :) I am listening to a beautiful RTP in brindAvana sArangA as I am typing this. Continuing with the kamalAmbA navAvarNams, I will discuss the beautiful " श्री कमलाम्बिकेऽवाव" in raga ghaNTa. Composed exclusively in the sambhOdhana vibakthi(vocative case), the central idea that dIkshithar wants to convey is "shrI kamalAmbike ava ava Alokaya mAm"(Oh kamalAmbA, protect me and glance at me)". The krithi deals with the sarvasiddhipradha chakra which happens to be the innermost triangle of the srI chakra that encompasses the dot(bindu) at the center. The rAgA ghaNTa is classified as a janya of nArirIthigowla(the equivalent of natabhairavi in the dIkshithar school). I guess the rAga has been revived and has been preserved for posterity by this wonderful krithi. Personally, it is one of my favourite krithis no doubt and when Shreekrishna sings it, the bliss becomes too much for these mortal ears to bear. The pallavi starts off as

श्री कमलाम्बिकेऽवाव शिवे करध्ऱ्तशुकशारिके
dIkshithar sings "May Goddess kamalAmbA, the auspicious one and the spouse of Lord Shiva("shivE"), the one who holds("dhrutha") parrot("shuka") and mynah("shArikE") birds in her hands, protect me("avAva")."

It is a simple pallavi which is an excellent display of the majestic gait characteristic of the rAga. The use of both the shuddha deivatham and the shatshruthi deivatham seems to bring in an extra magic thereby casting the listeners in a spell of beauty often leading to a trance from which rasikas fail to wake up for eternity. Moving on to the anupallavi now,

लोकपालिनि कपालिनि शूलिनि लोकजननि
भगमालिनि सक्ऱ्दालोकय मां सर्वसिद्धि-
प्रदायिके त्रिपुराम्बिके बालाम्बिके
dIkshithar sings "She is the protector of the world("lokapAlini") and she is adorned by skulls("kapAlini") and a trident("shUlini"). She is the mother of all worlds("lokajanani") and is also known as bhagamAlini. May her cast her glance("Alokya") on me("mAm") and bestow me with all the powers("sarvasiddhi"). Oh mother tripura and balAmbika."

The anupallavi is extremely sweet and must be heard inorder to understand how beautifully the sAhityams fuse into the rAga. The "let this world end now" kind of feeling starts to creep in at the end of the anupallavi. I am getting goosebumps even as I type this. I am reminded of the wonderful renditions by SK which will ring in my ears till I leave my mortal coils. GhaNTa gives a totally different kind of feeling..a feeling of deep reverence, submission and surrender to the Lord. The charanam which ensues makes sure that you wont wake up from this trance for 2 days atleast. It is filled with beautiful descriptions of the Devi, references to the scriptures and perhaps the best ever possible way of using the rAga mudhra which are testimonials to the repeated displays of brilliance from dIkshithar.
सन्तप्त हेम सन्निभ देहे सदाखण्डैकरसप्रवाहे
सन्तापहर त्रिकोणगेहे सकाम्श्वरि शक्तिसमूहे
सन्ततं मुक्ति घण्टामणि घोषायमान कवाटद्वारे
अनन्त गुरुगुह विदिते कराःण्गुलि नखोदय विष्णु दशावतारे
अन्तह्करणेक्षु कार्मुक शब्दादि पःन्च तन्मात्र विशिखात्यन्त
रागपाश द्वेषाःण्कुश धरकरे अतिरहस्य योगिनीपरे
Before the charanam starts, I just want to say that dIkshithar is God, once again. It is definitely not possible for a human to compose such stuff which makes you wonder what the hell you have been doing in life..a sure step towards salvation. He beautifully describes the Goddess as "Her body("dehe") is effulgent("sannibha") as molten("santApta") gold("hema"). You are the eternal("sadha") flow("pravAhe") of uninterrupted("akhanda") and unique("eka") bliss("rasa"). You reside("gehe") in the triangle("trikona") that removes("hara") all sorrows("santhApa"). You are in the company of("samuhe") kameshwari, vAmeshwari and bhagamAlini." These are just general descriptions of the Goddess till now. He sings that Goddess kamalAmbA is eternal bliss and this statement is further corroborated by the lines that follow. dIkshithar sings "Forever("santhatham"), You are the wide("kavAta") doorway("dwAre"), announced("ghoshAyamAna") by the jewelled bell("ghaNTAmani") as the path to salvation and liberation("mukthi").
You are known("vidhithe") to guruguha and anantha. The nails("nakho") of your ten fingers("anguli") in your hands("kara") are the source ("daya")of the ten incarnations("dashAvathAre") of viShNu. You are the supremely ("athi") secret ("rahasya") Yogini, who holds ("dhara") in Her four hands ("kare") the sugar cane ("ikshu") bow ("kArmuka") symbolising the mind ("antahkarana"), five arrows symbolising the five ("pancha") Tanmatras - essences, sounds ("shabda") etc ("Adi") of the five elements, the noose ("pAsha") symbolising attachment ("rAga"), and the goad ("ankusha") symbolising repulsion ("dvesha")."

The first thing I would like to mention is the way in which he employs the rAga mudhra..using ghaNTA as!!what a brilliant mind this man should have. It is evident that dIkshithar was at the heights of bliss when he composed these lines praising the Goddess and picturising her as the doorway to salvation. He also seems to reiterate lalitha sahasranAmam when he says that the ten avatars of vishnu emanated from Her finger nails. Again, the beautiful way in which he relates the four hands and the possessions of the Devi to the things in the physical and mental planes of this world, show that she is the ruler of the world having all these under her control and hence if we want to break free from these, we have to surrender to her which is again enforcing the fact that She is the doorway to salvation. The logical conclusion that a carnatic music rasika can come to after listening to this soulful krithi is that as long as there are such wonderful meaningful krithis which convey the essence of life and death and the purpose of one's birth, the world need not fear about losing carnatic music which is not just something that is pleasant to the ear but beautiful to the soul. I am seriously feeling these vibes as I am typing these lines. SK's voice, those beautiful lines..aahaa..supreme bliss. Let life stay this way forever..complete surrender to dIkshithar.

What a wonderful way to spend a weekend. Listening to dIkshithar krithis, being with friends and ofcourse eating, sleeping etc..bliss in all physical, mental and astral planes. I am now planning to play my guitar for sometime and then put myself to sleep breathing dIkshithar. I will discuss the authoritative Ahiri navAvarNam in my next post. That is yet another krithi which stirs your soul with the absolute truth "shrI kamalAmbA jayathi". Let the brilliance of dIkshithar spread all over the world and let every soul experience the same bliss as I do. shrI gurubhyo namaha :)

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