Wednesday, February 13, 2008


It has been a really nice, peaceful day today. I finally filed my tax returns for the previous year. I had a really nice session with Bala sir today morning. There wasn't much music but it was filled with nice arattai :). Since I dont have much to write about life in general over the past 24 hours, I am going to directly dive into the krithi.

Continuing with the abhayAmbA series, I am going to discuss the beautiful yadukulakAmbhOji krithi, "abhayAmbikAyai ashwArUDAyai" composed excluively in the chaturthi vibhakthi (fourth/dative case). dIkshithar shows his mastery over the 28th and the 29th mElakarthas by taking up rAgAs like shankarAbharaNam, yadukulakAmbhOji (referred to as YK from now on), kEdAragOwLa and kEdAram one after the other for these consecutive vibhakthis. According to me, this is the highlight of these compositions. If you have any doubts, whatsoever distinguishing these rAgams, then these krithis are your answer. There are a few common phrases between these rAgAs and dIkshithar has handled them so beautifully that you will never feel uncomfortable singing/playing them. This krithi is comparable to divAkara tanujam, that amazing YK masterpiece in the navagraha set and it probes the beauty of the rAga in a very similar fashion. The pallavi starts off as:

abhayAmbikAyai ashwArUDhAyai
abhayavarapradAyai namastE namastE

dIkshithar begins with a cute salutation to the Goddess "I prostrate before you again and again ("namastE namastE"), Oh Goddess abhayAmbikA, the one who is seated on a horse as the form of ashwarUDhA and the one who displays the abhaya (protection/fearlessness) and varada (boons granting) mudrAs."

dIkshithar starts off with the beautiful YK phrase "M P D". The "P D S D " phrase at "ashwArUDhAyai is a complete knock out punch. The swarAksharam combining the mandra sthAyi "dha" at pra"dA"yai is a stroke of genius. The two namastEs cover the typical "P D S" and "M P D P MGRS" phrases. So, basically, YK is murdered and brought back to life in the pallavi itself..just amazing. The pallavi sets the tone for the krithi. None of the words are complex to understand or interpret and thats how the entire krithi is structured. Moving on to the anupallavi,

subhagAkArAyai suruciranaTanabhEdAyai
shobhitaradanAyai SuddhamAnasAyai
hiraNyamaNikundalAyai himAcalasadanAyai

dIkshithar describes the beautiful appearance of the dEvi in these lines. He sings "You are the one who has a pleasant ("subhaga") form ("AkArA") and the one who exhibits beautiful ("su+ruchira") variations ("bhEdAyai") in your dance ("naTana"). You are the one with glittering ("shobhita") teeth ("radanAyai") and the one with a pure ("Suddha") mind ("mAnasAyai"). You are the one who wears a gem studded ("maNi") golden ("hiraNya") ear ring ("kundalAyai") and the one who has her abode ("sadanAyai") in the himAlayAs ("himAcala")."

To fully appreciate these beautiful lines, we must go back to the main theme behind the story of abhayAmbA and how she danced as a peahen with Lord Shiva who came down as a peacock. dIkshithar preserves this theme by describing the Goddess's beauty and Her dancing skills. dIkshithar talks about the physical beauty as well as the pure mind of the Goddess. I once again cannot comprehend the greatness of dIkshithar's soul to have been able to visualize the Goddess so beautifully and comprehensively.

Musically, the "S R Pmgm" phrase to kick off the anupallavi is amazing followed by the "D N D P" phrase at "suruchira". The swarAkshara usage of deivatham for words like pa"dA"yai, bhE"dA"yai etc is to be taken for granted in this entire krithi..just mind-blowing. The krithi for the first time goes to the tAra sthAyi with the " S R Pmgm" phrase at "shObita" thereby establishing similarity with the first line of anupallavi. The typical phrases of "M P D P" at "Suddha" adds to the beauty of the krithi and "S R MM GM PP" at "hiraNyamaNi" totally knocks you off the floor. The madhyamakAla sAhityam does not change the sowkhyam in the krithi whatsoever. The first time I heard the anupallavi, my head was spinning and there were goosebumps as usual. Outstanding brilliance. In this krithi, dIkshithar for a change keeps the caraNam pretty simple without much in-depth yOgic stuff.

sakala-mantra-yantra-rUpAyai sakalAyai
candraSEkara-priyAyai pancamakarAyai
gUDhagulphAyai guruguhaswarUpAyai
garvabhaNDakhaNDAyai gamapadAdinutapadAyai
kAvEritIrAyai kamalESasEvitAyai

The caraNam is pretty easy to interpret. dIkshithar describes the Goddess as "The one who exists in all ("sakala") the forms ("rUpAyai") of mantra and yantra. The all knowledgable one ("sakalAyai") and the beloved ("priyAyai") of Lord Shiva ("candraSEkara"-the one who wears the moon). The one whose path of worship consists of the pancamakara-matya etc. The one who has well-turned,beautiful ("gUDha") ankles ("gulphAyai") and the one who is the real form ("swarUpAyai") of the teacher ("guru") who removes the ignorance from the caves ("guha") of the heart of the devotees. The one who destroyed ("khaNDAyai") the pride ("garva") of the demon bhaNDAsura and the one, who's feet ("padAyai") are worshipped by the gama padAs etc. of the agama shAstrAs. The one who resides on the banks ("tIrAyai") of kAvEri and the one who is attended ("sEvitAyai") by Lord viSNu, the Lord of Goddess Lakshmi ("kamalESa")."

dIkshithar has adopted the KISS strategy-Keep It Straight and Simple. The caraNam has no exorbitant or explosive words but at the same time, it is beautiful and exclusively exquisite. The plain "S G R M" nalinakAnti-ish phrase at "sakala" and the "P S N D P" Anandabhairavi-ish phrase at "pancama"karAyai are what one would call as the complete exploitation of a rAga. At this point, a rasikA just closes his/her eyes and totally surrenders.

But, if you think this is the pinnacle of dIkshithar's brilliance in this krithi, you have to wait till the madhyamakAla sAhityam. Perhaps the best ever showcase of swarAkshara usage ever is found in this krithi at "ga ma pa dA" di nu ta "pa dA" yai in the madhyamakAla sAhityam. This is where I completely gave up while listening to this krithi. Tears just rolled down my cheeks..what kind of an insanely human brain can ever compose such a thing..This is perhaps a place where dIkshithar scores one over God Himself..perhaps a classic example of the creation overshadowing the creator. Just amazing. I still roll on the floor helplessly when I listen to this phrase. My brain has now stopped working as I listen to the krithi once again while typing these lines..this is just too much to take for a mere mortal like me. I have nothing more to say about this masterpiece. I kindly request everyone to please listen to the krithi at (kalpagam maami's version) and experience the bliss I am unable to put in words here. Enjoy the goosebumps :) :).

I apologize for finishing this post abruptly like this..I have nothing more to say as I enter a pensive mood of surrender. I will take up the spectacular kEdAragOwLa krithi "abhayAmbikAyAH" in my next post. This krithi is perhaps my most favourite in the abhayAmbA series simply because of a single phrase which kills me every time I think about it. Till then, enjoy the brilliant YK and please continue to share your thoughts and comments as you have always done :). Thanks a lot!! Romba senti I have become :'(. shrI gurubhyO namah:!!


KB said...


Real nice blog you have here! I am learning a lot from reading your posts and appreciate all the songs so much better!


Musical Scientist said...

Dear KB,
Thanks a lot for your wonderful words. I am extremely happy to note that the blog is serving its purpose and helping you to understand and appreciate the krithis better. Please keep reading these posts when you get time and please share your views :). Thanks a lot.


DeaK.In.FroSt said...

Just Amazing this is one of the profound YK krithi that i've heard of . dIkshitar embarks on rich bhava fundamentals to further, enrich the krithi ..thank you for the post, your doing a good job conveying the greatness of MD ;)

Musical Scientist said...

thanks a lot for your wonderful comments. It is indeed an amazing YK krithi and as you rightly said, it is one of the most profound YK krithis ever.