Sunday, April 27, 2008

shrI abhayAmbA- shrI rAgam

In the past 3 or 4 days, I seem to have developed a sudden passion for varNams. Though I have always loved them, I have not sat down and learnt a varNam in a long time now. So, I started (and finished) learning the majestic chauka kAla varNam in shrIranjani from the Sangeetha sampradAya pradarshini. Whats unique about this varNam is the starcast, so to speak :). Ramaswami dIkshithar composed the pallavi, anupallavi, muktAyi swarams, charaNam and first of the chitta swarams while the second, third and the last chitta swarams were composed by ShyAmA shAstri, chinnaswAmi dIkshithar and the great nAdhajyOthi respectively. One of the most wonderful things I noticed as I learnt this varNam was the rapid pace at which I was able to easily learn it. I realized that I have actually developed some decent musical skills in the past year or so thanks to some wonderful friends :).

As work continues to be hectic, I am trying my best to find solace in music. I finally found time to update my resume and have started applying for jobs in Bangalore. Hopefully I get some good interviews and come back to India very soon :). I will now take up the tenth and the final krithi of the abhayAmbA vibhakthi series. The maNgaLa krithi in shrI rAgam, shrI abhayAmbA set to Adi tALam is a beautiful maNipravALa (multi-lingual) masterpiece in which dIkshithar shows his command over 3 of the most beautiful languages ever; sanskrit, telugu and tamil. The way he fuses the 3 languages while still highlighting the rhyme scheme and the prAsam is just mind-blowing. Since I do not know telugu, please pardon me if I interpret anything incorrectly.

shrI abhayAmbA ninnu cintincina vAriki
cintai kavalai ellAM tIrum ammA

dIkshithar sings- "Oh auspicious ("shrI") mother ("ammA") abhayAmbA, for the people ("vAriki") who think ("cintincina") of you ("ninnu"), all ("ellAM") their mental ("cintai") worries ("kavalai") will be eliminated ("tIrum")."

To completely appreciate this krithi, one must definitely listen to DKJ's version. The different sangathis and the clarity with which he sings this krithi is something to be experienced. dIkshithar starts this krithi off with the tAra sthAyi rishabham. All the krithis that start off in the tAra sthAyi are simply shtudly; "karikaLabamukham" in sAvEri for example :). The "R;SNPNS" phrase at "shrI abhayAmbA" and the "pRsR" phrase at "ellAM" are special phrases which embellish the pallavi. dIkshithar beautifully brings out the rAga mudra with the first word of the krithi itself. Moving on to the anupallavi,

hE abhayakarE varE Ishwari kR.patOnu-
endannai rakshikka idhu nalla samayam ammA

dIkshithar addresses the Goddess as "the one who bears the abhaya ("protection") and the vara ("boon bestowing") mudras in her hands ("karE"), the Goddess ("Ishwari"). This ("idhu") is the right time ("nalla samayam") for you, my mother ("ammA") to come and protect ("rakshikka") me ("endannai") showing your compassion ("kR.patOnu")."

Just like the shrI maNgaLa krithi in the kamalAmbA series, dIkshithar keeps it very simple in this krithi also. He does not bring in any vedantic or purAnic references. He simply prays to the Goddess, praises her compassion and seeks her blessings. The "SRNS; PNMP; PDNPM; RMRS; RMPNS" at "endhanai; rakshikka; idhu nalla; samayam; ammA" acts as a perfect ending for the anupallavi leading to the rishabam take-off for the pallavi. Apart from that, there is nothing much to explain and so I move on to the charaNam

nI atyadbhuta Subha guNamulu vini-
nIvE dikkani nEra nammiti
nIrajAkshi nijarUpasAkshi
nityAnanda guruguha kaTAkshi rakshi

dIkshithar sings "Hearing of your ("nI") miraculous ("atyadbhuta") and good qualities ("Subha guNamulu"), I trusted ("nEra nammiti") that you ("nIvE") are my refuge ("dikkani"). You are the lotus-eyed ("nIrajAkshi") one and the witness to the true form ("nijarUpasAkshi"). You are the one who graces ("kaTAkshi") the eternally blissful ("nityAnanda") guruguha. Please protect me ("rakshi")."

In the charaNam, dIkshithar shows the bhaktha inside him. He goes into a mode of surrender and requests the Goddess to be his saviour. He brings in a few advaita fundas here by referring to Her as "the witness to the true form" implying that the Goddess bears witness to the true supreme soul which the jIvAtma realizes at the supreme level of consciousness. The madhyamakAla sAhityam just gallops along beautifully and gives that vaibhava and maNgaLa mood to end the krithi and hence the majestic abhayAmbA series.

As I complete this krithi, I feel extremely blessed and fortunate to have been able to cover the kamalAmbA navAvarNams and the abhayAmbA vibhakthi krithis, two grand series' of masterpieces composed by the great nAdhajyOthi. This ardent devotee will now resign with a sense of satisfaction :).

In my next post, I am going to take up a krithi which I have been waiting a long time to write about, one of my favourite krithis which never fails to bring a tear to my eye, the magnum opus, "rangapuravihAra" in brindAvana sAranga. Probably I should not be taking up Brindu right after shrI rAgam, but I guess the similarities make it all the more reason for me to take it up right away :). Hopefully I will find time to post this krithi tomorrow. Till then, keep rocking..I must admit that eventhough Work sucks, Life is still beautiful :D :D.


Vasumathi said...


Musical Scientist said...

Yes indeed Vasu..what masterpieces from the great genius. If you have not heard this krithi, please do so at the earliest :)

Aishu said...

As usual, needless to say, Sai - superb analysis/explanation. It's been a while since I visited your blog, I continue to be amazed at your warmth and not to mention the intense care that our Thalaivar is receiving! Great work, please keep writing, Sai. Sri ragam is beautiful in every sense and this krithi adds to its gleam. An order of thanks for so diligently deciphering this krithi, Sai.

Musical Scientist said...

Dear Aishu,
Very very happy to see your comment..evvalo naal kazhichu you are visiting my blog :(. And edhukku thanks and all..our thalaivar a paththi namba ezhudhaati yaar ezhudhuva? :D :D ;).