My first post in April and it is already the 21st :(. Work, work and more work ;(. This seems to be the excuse that I am constantly giving for not being able to blog. Well, that unfortunately has been the case the whole of this year and I expect this to continue for a few more months :(. Still, I somehow squeezed in time to have music sessions on the weekends (though not as regularly as before :( ). I managed to learn two krithis that I have been wanting to learn for a long time now; one being rangapuravihAra, perhaps the more popular masterpiece of dIkshithar's in brindAvana sArangA and the other krithi being madhurAmbikAyAm in dEsisimhAravam (hEmavathi for all practical purposes). Thanks to the wonderful satsangam I have been blessed with, I am able to keep myself completely drowned in this blissful ocean :).
I managed a short but sweet trip to Sunnyvale, California to meet up with Ashwin, Aditya and Sudherssen, some cherished friends (read: brothers) from Ann Arbor. We spent a fun-riddled 2 days together. I also got a chance to meet my sweet little friend, MLKMA Aishwarya Chandiramouli. Though I did not spend as much time with her as I would have liked, it was so peaceful and serene just to meet her :). Round Rock has never looked more barren and bleak :(. I am really looking forward to jetting out of here and I cant wait to go home to my amma and anna.
Anyway, I will now take up "dAkshAyaNi abhayAmbikE", a majestic krithi in tODi composed exclusively in the sambOdhana vibhakthi where dIkshithar directly addresses the Goddess as "hE abhayAmbikE". The highlight of this krithi is the soul-stirring mandira sthAyi deivatham start for the pallavi, thereby making "dA"kshAyaNi a swarAkshara beginning. dIkshithar presents an absolutely different shade of tODi in this krithi. By comparing with the nishAda start of kamalAmbikE, this mandira sthAyi deivatham beginning shows the versatility of this genius. The krithi on the whole is an extremely simple set up but it still oozes with rAga bhAva and amrita rasa.
varadAbhayahastE namastE shrI
dIkshithar addresses the Goddess in the pallavi- "Oh abhayAmbA, the daughter of King dAkshA, the one who bears the mudrAs of abhaya ("protection") and varada ("boon-granting"). Prostrations unto you ("namastE") Oh auspicious one ("shrI")".
As I mentioned earlier, the mandira sthAyi deivatham with which the krithi begins is mesmerizing to say the least. The rishabam at dAkshAya"Ni" followed by "GDP" phrase at "abha"yAmbikE completely makes the rasika to surrender. dIkshithar employs a madhyamakAlam in the pallavi itself at "namastE" which descends as "DNS,SNDPMGRS" thereby looping back to first line with the beautiful "S D" prayOgam. This is one of those krithis in which dIkshithar clearly portrays the meditative essence of this entire set of abhayAmbA vibhakthi krithis. Because of the grandeur of this tODi, many musicologists still argue that this krithi should be the dhyAna krithi of this series (similar to the tODi dhyAna krithi of the kamalAmbA navAvarNams). Moving on to the anupallavi,
dIkshithar describes the Goddess as "the one who's mind ("mAnase") is pleased ("santuSTa") by initiation ("dIkSa") and the one whose lotus-like ("sArase") hands ("hasta") protects the destitute and the needy ("dInavana")." In the madhyamakAla sAhitya, dIkshithar continues to describe the Goddess as "the one who grants("pradAyini") all the wishes of devotees ("kAmkshitArtha") and the one who displays ("vidhAyini") the primary essence of all creation, the tantra of desire ("kAma"). She is the one who shines forth ("prakAshini") as a witness ("sAkSirUpa") to this game of birth and death in this playpen called the world and she is the one who pervades ("vilAsini") the entire universe ("samastajagad")."
dIkshithar clearly shows that he is a shrI vidyA upAsakA by bringing in the topic of initiation ("dIkSa") and in the words "kAmatantravidAyini". In shrI vidyA, kAmatantra or kAmakalA represents the inner heart of the bindu (the third eye") and symbolizes that for creation, the sperm and the egg must unite. Musically, the "SNDp; GM PGRS" phrase at "samastajagadhvilAsini" is absolutely divine and it once again loops back with the "S D" prayOgam while merging with the pallavi. Vedavalli maami's rendition of this part of the anupallavi is a must hear. Moving on to the charaNam now,
dIkshithar describes the dEvi as "the one who displays the true powerful form ("svarUpatejase") established as the undivided absolute state of brahman ("sakalaniSkaLa"). The one who glitters and shines ("bhrAjase") through all Her creations ("s.rSTikaraNa") in all the worlds ("sakalaloka"). The one is famous ("yashase") for protecting ("saMrakSaNa") all ("sakala") Her devotees ("bhakta"). The one who is the embodiment ("rUpa") of penance ("tatvatapase") in every ("sakala") yogi's mind ("mano")."
In the madhyamakAla sAhitya, dIkshithar continues to describe the Goddess as "the one who is the source ("udaye") of the mighty ("prabala") guruguha. The one who resides ("Alaye") in the heart ("h.rda") of Lord Shiva, the five-faced one ("panchAnana"). The one who was praised ("nute") by great sages like Bharata and matanga and the one who was worshipped ("pUjite") by Lord Brahma, the husband of Goddess Saraswathi ("bhAratIsha")."
Vedavalli maami and kalpagam maami seem to present extremely different facets of this krithi. While the former's rendition is pretty fast paced suggesting a madhyamakAla krithi, kalpagam maami's version seems to establish the grandeur a lot more stronger. Her slow, chouka kAla rendition of the krithi adds a grand flavour to this masterpiece. dIkshithar once again establishes advaita fundas in the first line of the charaNam.
One more thing to note in this krithi is that the tAra sthAyi prayOgams are very sparingly used. dIkshithar seems to emphasize that the beauty of the rAgam and the meditative phase he is trying to portray is based out of the madhya and the mandira sthAyis. As I complete this post, I sincerely hope that I will get some time in the next few days to take up "shrI abhayAmba" and complete this set. I am suddenly in the grasp of dwijAvanti now, listening to SSI's beautiful swarams for cEtaH shrI. I guess I will loop the krithi and go to sleep listening to it. All of you have a wonderful week ahead and I will surely meet you all once again before this week is over :). Till then, Godspeed!!