Friday, September 14, 2007

gajAnanayutham and shrI kAnthImathIm

Here I am..finally blogging after 3 weeks. I had been to Los Angeles and I had perhaps the best 2 days of my stay in the US in the past 2 years. Meeting Aishu, SK and Vijay was a privilege and a pleasure. Aishu, SK and I had this wonderful chemistry..a sort of bonding which you can find only in the story books. The fun we had was just amazing and the beautiful session we had on Saturday, September 1st will never be forgotten. The synchronization that resonated in that room was phenomenal. Aishu's house had this unique atmosphere..serene and full of divine vibrations..cha..I really, really miss them a lot..kutti Aishu and kutti SK..hope to meet you both very very soon once again and relive those moments of sheer bliss :).

Last weekend was peaceful. I had a very nice session with SK and his amma. Her voice sounded just like Vedavalli and her renditions of the ghaNTA navAvarNam and shrI shukra bhagavantham are still ringing in my ears. Day before yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity of listening to SK in full flow. It started with the beautiful kAmbhOji navAvarNam in which SK showed me more of dIkshithar's brilliance as to how thalaivar had split aTa tALam perfectly in the middle and made it symmetric, went all over the 72 mELAs and culminated with the amazing ghaNTA navAvarNam once again. We had an extremely wholesome discussion for an hour and 40 minutes on the phone and came to the only logical always..dIkshithar is GOD!! :)

I am going to take up gajAnanayutham first..that beautiful vEgavAhini which has become to be known as an extremely auspicious invocation song. With today being Vinayaka chathurthi, it is extremely apt that I am starting off with this krithi. It is a small samAshTi charanam with just 10 words :). I am taking up this kutti krithi just to show that dIkshithar doesnt spare any rAgA..he exploits vEgavAhini's beauty to the core in this krithi. Infact, the smaller the dIkshithar krithi, more the power of the punch packed in that small dynamo..It sounds sweet and refreshing. The pallavi goes like:

gajAnanayutham ganEshwaram bhajAmi sathatham surEshwaram
dIkshithar starts off with a small salutation-" I constantly("sathatham") sing the praise of("bhajAmi") of Lord Ganesha, the elephant-faced one("gajAnanayutham") and the Lord("Eshwaram") of all dEvAs("sura")."

This krithi was composed by Dikshithar when he visited the Uchchi Pillayar temple in trichy. I have heard many versions of the krithi but perhaps the best ever would be that of SSI. I vividly remember the rAga chAya he brings into the krithi and sings amazing sangathis in these few lines of the pallavi. This krithi is perhaps most beautiful because of its
simplicity. These lines provide ample scope for improvisation and the rAgA's beauty is completely brought out in these few lines. The samAshTi charanam which follows makes the krithi symmetric with both the pallavi and charanam containing the same number of words.
ajEndrapUjitavignEshwaram gaNadisannutapadapadmakaram kunjarabanjanachaturatarakaram guruguhAgrajam praNavAkAram Meaning:
DIkshithar describes Lord Ganapathi as "the one who is worshipped("pUjita") by Brahma and Indra("ajEndra")" and "the remover of all obstacles("vignEshwaram")" and "the one whose lotus-like("padma") hands("karam") and feet("padam") are worshipped("sannuta") by Ganas("hence the name, ganapathi-Lord of the Ganas"). dIkshithar continues to describe the Lord as "the one who destroyed("banjana") kunjara and showed his skill and cleverness("chaturataram"). He is the elder brother ("agrajam") of guruguha and is in the form("AkAram") of the Pranava mantra".

The madhyamakAla sAhityam is beautiful as usual and he brings in the rAga mudhra without any trouble as usual. :). He finishes of the charanam by saying that Lord Ganapathi is in the form of the pranava. For depictions and detailed explanations about this reference, please read the post on vAthApi ganapathim by me(one of my earliest posts). Other than that, there is nothing much to talk about. A fairly simple krithi which is usually taught to beginners as it will lay a solid ground for their fundamentals.

Now I will move on to "shrI kAnthimathim", an amazing piece in hEmAvathi, the 58th mELA, which has offlate become one of my most favourite rAgAs. dIkshithar composed this krithi when he visited tirunelveli which is shown in the sAhityam "shuddha tAmpraparni thata sthithAm". The krithi has a soul in it which creates a sort of very intoxicating and sullen mood and it leaves you wanting for more. And once again, the SSI version of the krithi is beautiful and something to be experienced. Goddess kAnthimathi(Parvathi) is saluted and depicted with great care by dIkshithar. Every word has its beauty and infinite possibilities to showcase the beauty and scope of this rAgA.

shrI kAnthimathIm shankara yuvathIm
shrI guruguha janani vandEham

dIkshithar sings "Goddess kAnthimathi, the young wife("yuvathIm") of Lord Shiva("shankara"), I prostrate before you and worship("vandEham") you, the mother("janani") of guruguha."

Simple sAhityams as usual provide the flexibility required to sing beautiful sangathis. The "R; G M P D P" start is amazing and the "R; G R R S" take-off for "shrI guruguha" is just mind-blowing. It sets the tone of the krithi and establishes it as a masterpiece. I also love the "N D P M G R S" which people sing for "vandEham". The pallavi in itself completes hEmavathi according to me. The first time I heard the pallavi, I thought "what could be more beautiful and comprehensive than this?" and dIkshithar answered me immediately with the charanam of the krithi..he makes a statement basically. No one ever will handle hEmavathi like this and no one needs to :).

hrImkAra bIjakAra vadanAm hiranya maNImaya shobhA sadanAm
pAkashAsanAdi dEva vinuthAm parashurAma natha himashaila suthAm
shukha shounakAdi sadArAdithAm shudhatAmpraparnI thata sthithAm
shankAdhyashTOtthara sahasra kalashAbhishEka modhAm surahithAm

dIkshithar gives the ultimate salute to the Goddess by saying "she has the form("AkAra") of the hrIm bIja mantra." Just like Om(the father), hrIm is yet another powerful mantra and is considered the mother of all sounds on earth. hrIm is also the bIja mantra of the supreme sahasrAra chakra( the thousand petalled lotus) at the top of the brain in the astral body. By reciting the hrIm mantra and proper meditation, souls attain kaivalyam. And dIkshithar seems to be referring to the sahasrAra chakra when he refers to the dEvi as "She resides in the lustrous("shobhA") golden("hiranya") palace("sadanAm") filled("maya") with gems("maNi")".
dIkshithar sings "She is praised and worshipped("vinuthAm") by Indra("pAkashAsana") and other("aadi") Gods("dEvAs"). She is worshipped("nutha") by ParashurAma and is the daughter("suthAm") of the God of the mountains("hima shaila")."

The madhyamakAla sAhityam is the climax of this great piece. He takes it to a new level with the "P S N D P M" phrase at "shukha shounakAdi", the jIva phrase of hEmavathi..amazing only!!! dIkshithar continues to praise the Goddess "She is worshipped("ArAdhithAm") by shukha, shounaka and all the other saints and yOgIs. She resides("sthithAm") on the banks of("thata") of the pure("shudha") tAmpraranI river. She is bathed and her feet washed("abhisheka") with divine water from the pitchers("kalasa") containing the waters from all the 1008 divine sthalams of Lord Shiva ("ashTOtthara sahasra") and conches("shankA"). She is benevolent("mOdhAm") to the celestial Gods("surahithAm")."

And the sAhityams just beautifully fit with the mood he creates. He once again uses the "PSND" phrase at "sahasra" and goes up to the "S M G R" in the thAra sthAyi at "kalashAbishEka" and then peacefully comes down for "mOdhAm surahithAm" as if to emphasize the merciful, benevolent side of the dEvi. And it beautifully blends in with the start of the pallavi to complete the epic :). Sometimes, this hEmavathi is so intoxicating and compelling that it keeps me drowned and helpless for weeks together. On the whole, the best ever krithi in hEmavathi and who else can do such justice to the rAga and beautifully using "hEmavathi"(another name for the dEvi) itself to describe shrI kAnthimathi..amazing stuff yet again from the God of music :).

As SK continues his beautiful portayal of the navagraha krithis, I will take up some more dEvi krithis as per the request of my friend and well-wisher, Priyanka. So, I will discuss one of her favourite krithis, "HiranmayIm lakshmIm" in lalitha. The mood the rAga and the krithi evoke are too much to handle for me and I eventually end up breaking down most of the time. Lalitha holds a special place in my heart because of the araajagam SK did with "AgasthIshwaram" in our epic Fools' day session. The sangathis he puts at "jagajIvE" in the first line of the anupallavi are too much to take. Anyway, All of you have a great week and I will be back very soon with the next gem of dIkshithar..the greatest creation of God ever..shrI kamalAmbA jayathi!!!


jishnu said...

can u plz give me the ragamudra for these krithis,

Musical Scientist said...

@Jishnu..these krithis do not contain the ragamudra. Pallavi of the krithi "vINApustaka dhArinIm" contains the rAgamudra for vEgavAhini and the krithi "hariyuvatIm hymavatIm" contains the rAgamudra for hEmavati.

rburra said...

Sri Kanthimathim - what a beautiful name! Dear Musical Scientist! Your explanation and comments are wonderfully clear and explain these complex concepts so well! Thanks for sharing these blissful feelings with us. I agree that who else but Talaivar can do justice to these concepts.

whatcanisay said...

Maa Bhavani.
Thanks for this wonderful post.
Yes, as you mentioned, the Goddess is indeed intoxicating in every aspect of her creation and especially so in "Shri Kantimathim..". My friend Rajagopal tooke me to this temple. The only thing that one can do is to break down and wish that you body becomes all tears to wash the Mothers feet. Thanks for the lovely post.