First of all, I apologize for the 2 week hiatus after the previous post. Things were a little crazy at work and all I could do was come home after work, cook and eat and then hit the sack. But going to work has its own positives. It keeps me occupied and saves me the trouble of coming home and feeling lonely. Also, thanks to my i pod, I get to listen to and learn krithis daily for those 30 minutes of cycling to and from the office. I managed to iron out some kinks in the charanam of daNDAyudapANiM(Anandabhairavi) and I also finished learning tyAgarAjAya namaste(Begada), shrI panchanAdIshaM(sahAnA) and nIlOtpalAmbAm(nArirItigowLa) in the last 2 weeks. So, it has been a productive week I must say :). I also got a new friend, Vidya Jayaraman..a fellow dIkshithar maniac and a scholar when it comes to carnatic music. Thanks to her, I am getting some new dIkshithar krithis and she is helping me out with the dIkshithar website. I am also proud to say that one of my friends shrutika ananth's band Yuj has been selected for the semi-finals of this huge band search program "Ooh la la la" organized by A R Rahman. Congrats shru!! Hopefully you guys can win the competition and cut an album :).
I have been listening to this beautiful song called "kAdhal nerupin nadanam" from the film veyyil the whole of today. It is a beautiful composition in rIthigowLa. The song has been picturized wonderfully too and the lyrics are awesome and I actually plan to dedicate a blog for it :)..we will see. The lyrics go as "kAdhal nerupin nadanam, uyirai urikki tholaiyum payanam"..just beautiful. And the flute bit before the charanam is awesome. Do check out the video here
I spent sometime researching on rAgAs employed in tamil cine songs and playing them on my guitar.. From what I could find, most of the songs are in naTabhairavi and karaharapriya and their respective janyams. Especially Harris Jeyaraj seems to be a total naTabhairavi dude with most of his songs(Uyirin Uyire, Ondra Iranda, Thoodhu varuma(all 3 songs from the same film :) ), oru maalai, kAdhalikkum Aasai illai and ofcourse the famous vasIgara..to name a few) composed on this scale. I also found that the theme for the film "departed" is purely based on karaharapriya. But I found(as everyone would agree) that IlayarAjA sir perhaps employed almost all of the rAgAs in most of his compositions..who can forget classics like "Pani vizhum malarvanam"(chalanATai), "Idhazhil kadhai ezhudhum"(lalithA) and most of the songs in films like sindhubhairavi composed by the maestro. Anyway..I am going way off the track I guess. When it comes to music, carnatic music makes a rasika to appreciate all forms of music(this doesnt include noise like death metal, heavy rock etc) and I am happy that I have been exposed to this :).
Now coming back, I am going to take up the beautiful, kutti, cute shrI kamalAmbikE shivE in shrI rAgam which happens to be the mangala krithi of the majestic navAvarNams. This concluding krithi is in the vocative case and this is the only samAshTi charnam krithi in the navAvarNam set. The central theme of the krithi is "Oh kamalAmbA, protect me". As one would've observed, the navavArNams follow a definite pattern. The pallavi is usually small and dIkshithar would seek the blessings or protection of the Goddess. The anupallavi is usually an exquisite description of the Goddess, Her different forms and the charanam would be a long paragraph talking about the chakrams in the srI chakram and hence the esoteric, yogic connection that a human must establish to surrender himself and completely merge with the paramAthma. This mangala krithi is extremely "light" in comparison to the other krithis. A cool conclusion to the hot matter conveyed in the whole set :). The pallavi begins as:
shrI kamalAmbike shive pAhi mAm lalite
shrIpati vinute sitAsite shivasahite
dIkshithar starts off as "Oh auspicious("shrI") kamalAmbikA, the spouse of shivA("shive"), protect me("pAhi mAm"). You are worshipped("vinute") by Lord viShNu("shrIpati"-husband of Goddess Lakshmi"). You are both fair and dark("sitAsite") and you are always with("sahite") shiva."
The rAga mudhra is repeatedly employed in the pallavi just to symbolize the auspiciousness of this set of krithis. Other than that there is nothing much to explain in these simple lines. Moving on to the samAshTi charanam now,
shAkAmbari shAthodhari chandrakalAdhari
shankari shankaraguruguha bhaktha vashankari
EkAkari bhuvanEshwai IshApriyakari
shrIkari sukhakari shrI mahAtripurasundari
The charanam is beautiful. It has a wonderful rhythm and rhyme scheme which keeps the flow tight and simple. The charanam is basically a summary of the various forms of the Goddess and is yet another display of the grammatical and poetic skills of the nAdhajyothi. He describes Her as "one whose face("mukhi") resembles the full moon("rAkAchandra")" and as "the one who protects("rakshitha") the kolamukhi(the boar faced varAhi)". "You are the friend("sakhi") of Lakshmi("ramA") and saraswathi("vANi") and the one who enjoys("sukhi") the supreme bliss of rAjayOgA. You are the Earth Goddess, the mother dressed in lush vegetation("shAkAmbari"). You are the one who has a slim waist("shAthodhari") and the one who is adorned("dhari") by the crescent("chandrakalA"). You are the benevolent one who grants auspiciousness("shankari") and the one who cherishes("vashankari") the devotees("bhaktha") of shiva and guruguha. You are the single syllable("EkAkari"-Om) and the ruler of the universe("bhuvanEshwari"). You are the beloved of shivA("IshApriya") and the one who bestows("kari") auspiciousness, prosperity("shrI") and happiness("sukha"). You are the supreme tripurasundari."
I love the mukhi, sakhi and sukhi rhyme scheme :) Its really sweet. I also love the looping kind of sAhityam employed in shankari and vashankari :). Though there are many other words in sanskrit that dIkshithar could have used to convey the same meaning, he chooses these beautiful words which just fuse in with the krithi and maintain that rhythm. Thats where dIkshithar stands out in this krithi. Also, everyone know that shrI rAgam is considered as the 22nd mela instead of karaharapriya in the venkatamakhin school. The deivatham in the avarohanam was added to make it a melakartha and hence it is to be used sparingly. dIkshithar sticks to this tradition too in all of his shrI rAgam krithis. In this krithi, he uses the deivatham only once; in the last line of the charanam shrIkari sukhakari shrI mahAtripurasundari which goes as P; D N P N P M R G R S; R N S R M P N and beautifully merges with the beginning of the pallavi. On the whole, this is a really cute krithi which serves as a worthy conclusion to the brilliant navAvarNams.
You would have also noticed that dIkshithar has handled the 5 major melakartha rAgAs in the form of these 11 krithis.
JanatODi/hanumatODi(8) in the form of tODi and punnAgavarALi navAvarNams
nArirItigowLa/naTabhairavi(20) in the form of Anandabhairavi, Ahiri, ghanTA and bhairavi navAvarNams
shrI/karaharapriya(22) in the form of the shrI and sahAnA navAvarNams
harikEdAragowLa/harikAmbhoji(28) in the form of the kAmbhoji navAvarNam
shankarAbharanam(29) and mechakalyAni(65) in the form of the respective navAvarnams.
On the whole, it is definitely the best set of krithis ever composed and rightly establishing dIkshithar as the best composer ever across all genres of music.
There have been many a time in the past 10 months when I have found myself stunned,surrendered, terribly short of words, highly emotional(sadness and supreme bliss), drowned, helpless, blessed, what not..simply because of the richness, beauty, brilliance and what not :) of these krithis which will serve as a testimony to the great genius the nAdhajyothi is..thalaivaaa..I surrender myself and throw myself at your pAdhAravindham. These krithis and dIkshithar will rule the universe as long as it exists!! This is the ultimate truth and every soul will realize this.
I consider myself to be extremely fortunate and blessed to have been able to post blogs about these 11 gems. I do feel satisfied that I have atleast scratched the surface of this deeply rich set of krithis. I thank God and dIkshithar for having made me take steps to analyse and put efforts to explain these beauties. However ultimately, I would like to conclude by saying that almost 99% of the feelings a rasika experiences while listening to these krithis cannot be described in words. It is something to be felt and experienced. I thank all my friends who have encouraged and spurred me with their thoughts and comments on these krithis. Thanks a lot for the support. I will continue to post many many more krithis of the great genius. I plan to take up some shtud krithis like soundararAjam and ranganAyakam in my next posts and then take up another set of vibhakthi krithis..maybe nilOtpalAmbA. shrI gurubhyo nama:!!