Tuesday, August 21, 2007

sUryamUrtE namO&stu tE

kAshyapEyam mahAdyutim |
tamO&rim sarva-pApaghnam
praNatO&smi divAkaram ||

"My salutations to the sUrya (divAkaram praNata: asmi) , he, who is like the flower of meditation (japA-kusuma-sankAsham), the son of kashyapa (kAshyapEyam (=kashyapasya ayam)), he who is of greatest brilliance and brightness (mahAdyutim), he, who is the enemy of darkness and evil (tama: arim), and he, who is the destroyer of all sins (sarva-pApaghnam)."

The first of the navagraha krithIs is on sUrya, who is the source of all the dynamic energy for the existence of life and the 9 planets and exerts control on all the elements within the solar system. The grandeur and the power of sUrya is seen in innumerable instances in the hindu mythological literature, and his position as the primary sustainer of life on Earth is undisputed. He is also hailed as the incarnation of nArAyaNa, in the form of savitA (Note - savitA is a masculine term and not feminine), to whom, since the vEdic ages, arghya is offered by brahmins thrice a day (during intersticial moments in the period of the day - sandhi) and thru whom prayers to the Goddess gAyatrI are routed, as can be seen in the gAyatrI mantram.

Lord sUrya is also said to be the trimUtris incarnate as described by -
udayE brahmaroopO&yam madhyAhnE tu mahEshwara: |
antyakAle swayam viShNu: trayI moorti: divAkara: ||

"sUrya is a qualitative incarnation of the three forms - brahmA, viShNu and shiva. He is like the creator, brahmA at rise; he is like shiva at noon, with his brilliant rays portraying the cosmic energy of shiva as shall be seen during laya; he is like viShNu at sunset, portraying the poise and calmness of viShNu, and the one whose energy during the day shall maintain "sthithi" till the rise".
Worshiping sUrya is hence equivalent to worshiping these three big-guns.

It is only apt that such a central deity be worshiped and sung in praise of, in the rAga saurAShTram, which is a bhAShAnga janyam (a sub-scalar rAgam permitting alien notes) of sUryakAntam, the 17th mELakarta rAgam, which literally means "Brilliance of the sun". The rAgam saurAShTram however possesses the delicate kaishiki niShAdham, the judicious usage of which perhaps provides a wave of comfort and grace due to sUrya, who is in more than one sense, the cause of existence and sustenance of life as we know it.

dIkShitar sings in praise of sUrya thus -


sUryamUrtE namOstu tE | sundara-ChAyA adhipatE ||

Hey Surya, salutations to thee (namO&stu tE), the one who is espoused to the beautiful ChAyAdEvi ....

{The story of ChAyAdEvi
in Hindu mythology is that one which is commonly told about in the context of the sun's brilliance. ChAyAdEvI is apparently hailed to be the shadow cast away by sUryA's wife, sanjanA (also referred to as sanjnA dEvI, sandhyA dEvI), unable to bear his incendiary rays during his prime in the day. The son of sUrya and ChAyAdEvI is shani. This relation is highlighted in the navagraha krithi on shani - kalpita-ChAyAdEvi-soonum divAkara-tanujam - There is hence very clear reference to ChAyAdEvI being a kalpita (in loose terms), conjured, form of sUryA's wife, sanjnA, and shani being their son.}


kArya-kAraNAtmaka-jagat-|-prakAsha-simharAshyAdhipatE |
Aryavinuta-tEjasPhUrtE ArOgyAdi phalada-keertE ||

.... The one who is a form of kArya (activity/effect) and kAraNa (cause) (kArya-kAraNAtmaka)
(The one who is responsible for the cause as well as effect in nature),

.....The one who provides light and enlightenment (secondary meaning) to the world (jagat-prakAsha)

..... The adhipati of simha rAshi (simha-rAshyAdhipatE) .....

..... The one who is sung in praise of by the erudite (Arya-vinuta), the one with abundant tEjas, (tEjasphUrtE), (tEjas = mystical brilliance, roughly)

The one who bestows good health and all prosperity (ArOgyAdi-phalada-keertE)...
............. To you, sUryA, I salute (sUryamUrtE namO&stu tE).


sArasamitra-mitra bhAnO | sahasrakiraNa-karNasoonO |
kroorapApahara kRushAnO | guruguhamOdita-svabhAnO |
soorijanEDita-sudinamaNE | sOmAdi-graha-shikhAmaNE |
dheerArchita-karmasAKShiNE | divyatara-saptAshwa-rathine |
saurAShTrArNa-mantrAtmanE sauvarNa-swaroopAtmanE |
bhAratIsha-hariharAtmanE bhakti-mukti-vitaraNAtmanE || (sUryamUrtE)

To you, one who sustains lotuses (and other water beings, and is hence their friend - sArasamitra), mitra! (sUrya - not to be misunderstood as friend here), bhAnu! (yet another synonym for sUrya)...........

(The word mitram in sanskrit, which is of neuter gender means a friend. Addressing a friend would hence be hE mitram/mitram, while the term mitra used as a masculine noun form denotes the Sun, and is one of the 12 AdityAs (so called since they are offsprings of aditi - adityA: apatyam pumAn iti Aditya: - Aditya is the one who is male child of aditi).

........... The one who is the source of infinite number of brilliant rays (sahasrakiraNa)

[Note that the term sahasra does not literally carry the meaning "thousand". Such references are common in literature. One classic example may be quoted from puruShasooktam which starts off as "sahasra-sheerShA puruSha: | sahasrAksha: sahasrapAt" - talking about the supreme force of the universe - puruShOttama - the highest and the most perfect amongst all masculine forms - explaining his physical appearance of countless (sahasra) number of heads (sheersha:), eyes (akSha:), limbs (pAt); hence the verbatim meanng is not to be taken)]

....... The one whose son karNa is = the father of karNa (karNasoonu:)

[Here again, the term karNasoonu: can be misleading. It is not to be interpreted as karNasya soonu: = karNa's son (which is in sanskrit grammar, an example of tatpuruSha samAsa in the sixth case (ShaShThI). The interpretation should be karNa: soonu: yasya sa: = One whose son karNa is (which in Sanskrit grammar, would be an example of bahuvreehi samAsa)]

....... The one who can incinerate all evil, all vices and all sins (krUrapaapahara - kRushAnO) .....

[kRushAna: is another synonym for agni, the God of fire in Hindu mythology. Other synonyms would be anala:, pAvaka: etc. The split here would be krUrapaapahara: kRushAna: - a samAsa which "qualifies" the capacity of someone/something - karmadhAraya samAsa]

....... The one who brings happiness to guruguha (Lord subrahmaNya), the one who generates energy in a self-sustained manner (swabhAnu) ..........

[The concept of swabhAnu makes me opine that our ancestors had information regarding the mechanism of generation of solar energy. The fact that the term swabhAnu has been used liberally in Hindu mythology could signify knowledge of nuclear fusion as the source of sustained mass-energy conversion that occurs in the solar core. This is only a conjecture and there is nothing evidential.]

........ The one who is praised by the erudite intelligentsia (sUrijanEDita), one who is noble and virtuous (su) and the jewel of the day (dinamaNE).......

......... The one who governs and exerts control on the moon and other planets and is the jewel in the crown of the solar system (somAdi-graha-shikhAmaNE)
[Note the ambivalence of the statement, depending on how the samAsam is interpreted]

The one who is worshiped by the wise (dheerArchita), the one who stays witness to all karma (karmasAkShiNE)........

The one who rides in a chariot pulled by seven very auspicious horses (divyatara-sapta-ashva-rathinE) ......

The one whose benevolence and grace is essential for a land to be prosperous (saurAShTrArNa-mantrAtmanE) ......

The one who shines and glitters as gold, both physically and also in terms of varchas and tEjas (mystical brilliance and intellectual brilliance) (sauvarNa (gold)-swarUpAtmanE (possessor of the form of)) ......

.......... The one who possesses and adorns the form of the trimUrtIs (bhAratIsha - brahma, hari, hara = shiva) (Ref back to the shlOkam - udayE brahmarUpO&yam etc...)

.......... The one who instills in mortals, devotion and positive energy (bhakti), the one who is responsible for eternal bliss (mukti) ......
............... To you, sUrya, I bow.... (sUryamUrtE namO&stu tE).

There are a few interesting points I wish to make about the metric in the song. The krithi is set to chaturashra jAti dhruva tALam, which is a 14 beat cycle, consisting of 1 4-beat laghu, 1 2-beat dhrutam (flat palm + flipped palm), and then 2 more 4-beat laghu cycles. This is the grandest tALam, in that, for a given jAti (composition of laghus), dhruva tALam is the longest. It is but natural that sUrya, the source of all energy in the solar system, deserves to be sung in praise of in this grand a tALam.

With reference to the 14 beat structure, there is a rather uncanny correlation, as regards the cases employed in the song. The song runs exclusively in the sambOdhana prathamA (case of addressing) (something like a pseudo-1st case) and the chaturthI vibhakti (), the 4th case. Could there be a correlation between cases used (1 and 4) and 14 ? A nice thought, but the conjecture fails to hold for chandram bhaja mAnasa - the krithi on chandra. Yet, nice symmetry :)

To comment on the krithi is impudence. To opine is foolishness. What is in my capacity is to enjoy, live, cherish and get consumed by the krithi and the sheer wholesome brilliance and energy radiated by the song. There's nothing in the song that can go unnoticed and unenjoyed. The immaculate rhythm and meter (For eg., the metric structure employed by Dikshitar in the faster temporal sangatIs in the krithi are, for lack of better vocabulary, majestic), the usage of Sanskrit in terms of the grammatical beauty and structural well-definedness and smoothness, are all the consequence of Dikshitar having let his lyrical and musical flamboyance flow unhindered like the rays of sUryA. Such brilliance, such precision in meter, such a choice of rAgas, such craftsmanship in weaving together the choicest of saurAShTram into an irresistible platter, all this only lets one hungry for more.

And more, shall come, in the form of chandram bhaja mAnasa in asAvEri in the next post on navagraha krithis.

Till then,
kurvannEva iha karmANi |
jijeevishEt shatam samAh ||
Evam tvayI na anyathEtO&sti |
na karma lipyatE narE ||
- (IshAvAsyOpanishat - 1.3)

|| SrI sUryanArAyaNArpaNam astu ||
|| SrI kamalAmbA jayati ||

Shreekrishna (Aug 31st 2007)


Musical Scientist said...

SK...yabbaaa..that was one awesome post pa :). Totally covered the krithi in all aspects possible..beautiful :). Lord suryA and ofcourse thalaivar must be happy reading these lines. I am listening to our vadAnyEshwaram as I am commenting :) :) What a trip it was pa SK...oyooyoooyyoo only!! :)

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Vasu said...

Amazing Explanation for a brilliant Kriti. Eagerly awaiting new posts :)

Jishnu Sahasranaman said...

Kindly make the word yellow or any other light colour. I spend a lot of time at "Nada Suda Rasa", it takes a toll on my eyes.