Monday, December 17, 2007
Its been really long since I blogged on consecutive days. :) Hopefully this is just the beginning of such happenings :). I had a really nice, kutti session with Hari yesterday night and we played a couple of rAgAs together :). Today morning, I finally heard the voice of a very close online friend, Sujatha from Mumbai. We had an hour long arattai and it was really nice talking to her :). I have been in major jujAvanti/dwijAvanti mood since the time i woke up today morning. I was trying to play akhilANDEshwari on my guitar and have been looping TMK's cEtahshrI for the past 4 hours..just amazing. I find that this rAgA exhudes a kind of intimacy and has a romantic, soft feel. I experience the same feeling when I try to play or sing kAnaDA.
Since, I was in total juju/dwiju mood today, I thought I will take up this krithi and blog today. Further, I was chatting with my good friend Aparna in the morning and incidentally she asked me to take up this krithi and to her surprise I told her that thats exactly what I plan to do today :). I found a new friend in Maythini Sridharan (a disciple of TNS) and have been some really nice discussions with her over the past few days. She too told me that she just finished singing akhilANDEshwari. Hence, I declare today akhilANDEshwari day and it is only appropriate that I take up this krithi today and pay my tributes to the divine mother.
First of all, there are many controversies surrounding this krithi and the rAgA. The rAgA as mentioned in most of the texts including the SSP is pronounced as jujAvanti. Since the rAga mudrA in this composition goes as jujAvanti, I will hence refer to it by that name. Most purists say that this krithi was not composed by dIkshithar simply because of the way he has handled jujAvanti in his masterpiece, cEtah shri-bAlakrishNam. A lot of other musicologists claim that there are some grammatical imperfections in this krithi and such errors could not have been committed by the nAdajyOthi. I tend to believe otherwise. Though I am in no way qualified to make such a statement, I firmly believe that akhilANDEshwari is a dIkshithar krithi simply from some of the observations I have made.
Proof by theory: I am using some stuff quoted by V.V. Srivatsa in one of his lec-dems. If you notice, dIkshithar has effectively used many hindusthAni rAgAs such as lalithA, hindOLam(mAlkauns), karnATaka dEvagAndAri(bhImplAs), kAsirAmakriyA(pUrya dhanashrI) etc. In all these rAgAs he has composed two krithis, one showing the adapted carnatic version and the other showing touches of its hindusthAni counterpart and Dr. Srivatsa calls these as the maDi and ammaDi versions respectively. He sights examples like gOvardana girIsham and nIrajAkshi kAmAkshi in hindOLam (mAL kauns), pancAshaTpITa rUpiNi and kAyArOhanEsham in karnATaka dEvagAndhAri (bhImpLAs), rAmanAtam bhajEham and srI sundara rAjam in kAsirAmakriyA (pUriyaA dhanasrI) and 'hiraNmayIm lakshmIm' and 'agastIsavaram' in lalitA as the 'maDi' and 'ammaDi' pieces respectively. From this point of view I tend to believe that jujAvanti which is again a hindusthAni rAgA, has been handled in the same way and 'cEtahshrI bAlakrishnam' and 'akhilANDEshwari' are the maDi and ammaDi pieces respectively.
Proof by Contradiction: Let us assume that cEtahshri is the only krithi in jujAvanti composed by dIkshithar. Again, if you notice, dIkshithar has incorporated rAga mudrAs in all of his compositions except those in tODi, asAvEri and erukulakAmbOji. Further, if dIkshithar has composed only one krithi in a rAga, he most certainly puts the rAga mudhra in that krithi.(this, I think, applies all his one rAga krithis) Hence, if cEtahshri is the only jujAvanti krithi composed by dIkshithar, then it should have the rAga mudra; but it doesnt. This leads us to believe that either akhilANDEshwari(which has the rAga mudra) is a dIkshithar composition or dIkshithar composed some other krithi in jujAvanti which was lost over time. I have to give the benefit of the doubt to the former case and accept it.
Anyway..irrespective of whether it is a dIkshithar composition or not, whether it is dwijAvanti or jujAvanti, it is an amazing krithi filled with some beautiful prayOgams. That intimate feeling and devotion it evokes is beyond words. So, I shall stop with the argument here and move on to the krithi itself. This krithi has been composed in praise of the Goddess at tiruvAnaikkAval near trichy. A beautiful temple where jambukEshwara(varuNa lingam) is the presiding deity and akhilAndEshwari is the Goddess. I have had the pleasure and have been fortunate enough to visit this temple a couple of times when I was studying at REC,trichy. An absolutely mesmerizing experience which everyone must experience. The pallavi goes like:
akhilANDEshwari rakSamAm Agama sampradAya nipuNE shrI
dIkshithar sings "Oh auspicious("shrI") Goddess akhilANDEshwari(akhila(every)+aNDa(world)+Ishwari(ruler/queen)), the scholarly expert("nipuNE") in all traditions("sampradAya") and vEdAs and scriptures("Agama"), please protect me("rakSamAm")."
I love the start to this krithi and I adore the N N D D P phrase at rakSamAm. Over the years, the sangathis that I have listened to have increased by many folds and after mahAgaNapathim in nATa and vAthApi in hamsadwani, perhaps this is the third most popular dIkshithar krithi. The smooth transition from "s s s" at Agama to "S S S"(mel sthAyi) at sampradAya is awesome and the kick I get when i play it on the guitar is indescribable. A very simple pallavi which when subjected to improvisation yields some amazing prayOgams of the rAgA.
Characteristic of most dIkshithar krithis, the anupallavi contains some beautiful descriptions of the dEvi.
nikhila lOka nityAtmikE vimalE
nirmalE shyAmaLE sakala kalE
dIkshithar describes the Goddess as " the one whose form completely pervades("nityAtmikE") all("nikhila") the worlds("lOka")." He further embellishes her physical form by describing her as "pure("vimalE"), sublime and blemishless("nirmalE"), dark complexioned("shyAmaLE") and adept in all("sakala") arts("kalE")". Feel the prAsam that runs through these few lines of the anupallavi. dIkshithar has used really simple words to describe the Goddess and this might be one more reason for the purists to believe that this is not a dIkshithar krithi. I love the "N D, D P, P M, M G" start to the anupallavi and look at how beautiful it blends with the sAhityams as "ni, khi, la, lO". The "R G R S" at shyAmaLE is very cute and soothing :). Moving on to the charaNam,
lambOdara guruguha pUjitE lambAlakOdbhAsitEhasitE
vAgdEvatArAdhitE varadE varashailarAjanutE shAradE
jambhAri sambhAvitE janArddananutE jujAvanti rAganutE
jallI maddaLa jhar jhara vAdya nAdamuditE jHnAnapradE
The charaNam incorporates both the composer mudra and the rAga mudra. dIkshithar refers to Lord Ganesha as lambOdara here, ("lamba+udara=big+belly") and sings about the dEvi as "She is the one who is worshipped("pUjitE") by Lord Ganesha and guruguha". dIkshithar then describes the beauty of the Goddess as "the one with lustrous("bhAsitE") long plaits of hair("lambAlaka") and a beautiful smile("hasitE")". dIkshithar continues as " She is the one worshipped by vAgdEvi("Saraswathi-the Goddess of speech"), the bestower of all boons("varadE") and the daughter of the mighty("vara") God of the mountains("shaila rAja"-HimavAn"). She is shArada and the one worshipped by Lord Indra("jambhAri"-enemy of JambAsura) and Lord janArdhana. She is praised through rAga jujAvanti and she delights("muditE") in the music("nAda") produced by instruments like jallI, mardara and jharjhara. She is the bestower of all knowledge("jHnAnapradE")."
The "M D P M M G M G G R G S" phrase for the start of the charaNam is fabulous. One of my most favourite phrases is the plain "R G M P M G M R G S" at "shAradE". Extremely beautiful..what else can i say. And the madhyamakAla sAhityam just overflows with exquisite beauty and takes the rasika to a totally different plane. The "R M R G R, S N D P R" pattern at jambhAri sambhAvi, the "P S P R R" at jallI madhala and flat " R G M P M G M" notes at jharjhara are just overwhelming and pure ecstasy. On the whole, the krithi exhudes soukhyam and is rich with bhakthi and beauty. akhilANDEshwari forever will remain one of the sweetest krithis and I can perhaps say that this krithi was one of the very first dIkshithar krithis I heard..hence it is special :).
Now, since I talked about the maDi and ammaDi versions of rAgAs and since I knowingly or unknowingly already handled one such pair("hiraNmayIm" and "agastIshwaram"), I am going to push the abhayAmba vibhakthi krithis a little more and instead take up The most brilliant and beautiful composition in jujAvanti ever, cEtah-shrI bAlakrishNam. in my next post. I cried 3 times today listening to cEtah-shrI..some prayOgams are just mind-blowing and the beauty and bhakthi is too too much to take. Before you read my post, if you have not heard the krithi, I request you to go to our dIkshithar website and listen to the SSI and the TMK versions I have uploaded there..a must listen. I will try to squeeze in time during the weekdays after I come back home from work and hopefully I will post it by this weekend. Till then, keep drowning yourselves in the ocean of bliss. shrI gurubhyO nama: