Friday, May 2, 2008

rangapuravihAra-bRndAvana sAranga


I have taken up a new oath this week and that is to listen to atleast one concert a day :). What could more enlightening and invigorating than listening to some great musicians. I also found out that a combination of heavy workload and fever could be devastating, mentally and physically. At the end of the day, all I need is some good food, good music and good rest. The absence of the first and second factors seem to have a heavy influence on the third. It makes me mentally tired and so I get a good amount of "sleep" but not good rest. Anyway..I hope to bring all of this to an end very soon :).

I will now take up the beautiful masterpiece in bRndAvana sAranga, "rangapuravihAra" composed by the nAdhajyOthi at the enchanting shrIrangam kSEtra. As I had mentioned in one of my earlier posts, in almost all of the rAgAs which dIkshithar adopted to carnatic music, he has composed one krithi keeping the hindustAni style intact (ammaDi) and one krithi sketching out the adapted carnatic version (maDi). In the case of bRndAvana sAranga, dIkshithar's soundararAjam (refer to earlier blogs for explanation on this gem) is the maDi version while rangapuravihAra seems to be the ammaDi, hindustAni variant. The rUpaka tALam flows brilliantly in this krithi, pretty much in sync with the lapping waters of the kAveri. As is the case with most rasikAs, I always attribute this krithi to MS amma. Her mellifluous voice and the melodious gamakAs she employs are truly mind blowing. Moving on to the krithi now,

Pallavi:
ranga pura vihAra jaya kOdanDa-rAmAvatAra raghUvIra shrI

Meaning:
dIkshithar directly addresses the Lord "Lord RanganAtha!!The one who resides ("vihAra") at rangapura, victory ("jaya") unto thee. The one who incarnated ("avatAra") as bow ("kodanDa") wielding Lord Rama. The warrior ("vIra") of the raghu dynasty."

What a beautiful start to the krithi. One of those starts which definitely has a bang attached to it. The "R S" beginning for the krithi is haunting to say the least. And look at how beautifully dIkshithar loops the shrI at the end of the pallavi to the ranga beginning thereby giving the kSEtram. The incomprehensible beauty this line of the pallavi exudes will reverberate forever. The "psnrnsp; mnpmrs" phrase at "rAma;avatara" oozes with rAga chAya. It is because of krithis like this that I tend to become too biased and make statements like dIkshithar is the one who defined classical music best. Anyway, moving on,

Anupallavi:
angaja janaka dEva bRndAvana sArangEndra varada ramAntaranga
shyAmaLAnga vihanga turanga sadayApAnga satsanga

Meaning:
dIkshithar continues to describe the Lord with references to mythology as "The father ("janaka") of Cupid ("angaja"). The one who protected the celestials ("dEva") and Gajendra, the Lord of Elephants ("sArangEndra") in the forest ("bRndAvana"). The one who grants boons ("varada") and the beloved one ("antaranga"-intimate) of Goddess Lakshmi ("ramA")".

The beautiful madhyamakAla sAhityam continues "The one with the bluish-black ("shyamaLa") body ("anga"). The one who has the divine Garuda ("vihanga") as his vehicle ("turanga"). The one who is full of mercy and compassion ("sadayApAnga") and the one who is always in the company of noble-minded men ("satsanga").

The hindustAni face of the rAga is clearly brought in the first line of the anupallavi with the "rPnmp" phrase at "angaja" followed by the "SsnpsNS" phrase at "janaka dEva". The "P R" take off at bR"ndA"vana makes one's hair stand up and this is where the goosebumps really start getting too much to handle. Similar to "soundararAjam", dIkshithar once again uses the reference to Lord gajendra to bring in the rAga mudra. The madhyamakAlam in the anupallavi is one of my all time favourites. dIkshithar explores the complementary phrases in this rAga which goes as "PSnRs;NP;MnpmR;SRnS" at "shyAmala;anga;vihanga;turanga".

Throughout this krithi, one can see the simplicity in the structure and usage of sanskrit grammar which is very simple to understand. Further, the absence of any yogic or vedantic references makes this krithi a demonstration of beauty and bhakthi straight from the heart of the bhakta in dIkshithar. He does not intend on bringing in any science here. It is a plain description of the Lord and the rasika can easily relate to a heart pouring out with pure bhakthi and surrender, captured completely by dIkshithar. The charanam continues in that same tone set by the pallavi and anupallavi,

Charanam:
pankajApta kula jala nidhi sOma
vara pankaja mukha paTTAbirAma
pada pankaja jita kAma raghurAma
vAmAnka gata sItA varavEsha
SEshAnka Sayana bhakta santOsha
EnAnka ravi nayana mRdu-tara bhAsha
akaLanka-darpaNa kapOla viSEsha muni-
sankata haraNa gOvinda vEnkata ramana mukunda
sankarSana mUla kanda shankara guruguhAnanda

Meaning:
dIkshithar beautifully describes the Lord as "the one who rose as the moon ("sOma") in the ocean ("jalanidhi") dynasty ("kula") of the sun ("pankajApta"-friend of the lotus). The revered one ("vara") with a lotus-like ("pankaja") face ("mukha") and the one who was coronated as king ("paTTAbhirAma"). The one with the lotus-like ("pankaja") feet ("pada") who surpasses ("jita") the beauty of the cupid ("kAma") as Lord Rama of the raghu clan; the one who beautifully appears ("vEsha") with the revered ("vara") sItA seated gracefully on His left lap ("vAmAnka gata"). The one who reclines on ("shayana") AdiSEsha, the serpent and the one who delights and pleases ("santOsha") His devotees ("bhakta"). The one who has the sun and the moon ("EnAnka ravi") as His eyes ("nayana") and the soft-spoken one ("mRdu-tara bhAsha"). The one who has cheeks ("kapOla") that shine like a blemishless ("a-kaLanka") mirror ("darpaNa"). He is Govinda, the one who destroyed ("haraNa") all the troubles ("sankata") for the munIs. The one known by many names like vEnkataramaNa and mukunda. The one who bestows auspiciousness ("sankarshana") in His primordial form ("mUla kanda"). The one who delights ("Ananda") Lord Shiva ("shankara") and Lord guruguha".

What an amazing charaNam ;(. Just beautiful. dIkshithar plays with the word "pankaja" in the first few lines of the charaNam. And see how he maintains the prAsam throughout the krithi right from the first word (r"anga") to the last word (sh"anka"ra). That is why I keep saying that he is He!! Genius ;(. I actually am deeply emotional now thinking about this charaNam and have nothing more to say. I am just at a complete loss of words sitting here with tears in my eyes and goosebumps on my skin. I am not even equipped or qualified enough to talk about the charaNam and hence I stop right here. Musically, there are too many beautiful phrases in the charaNam for me to point out and it would end up as more like "notations for the entire charaNam" kind. Hence I feel it is better for the rasika to listen and experience personally. Just amazing how big a genius he should have been. ;( Anyway..life has to go on. If you have not already, I would highly advise watching Ranjani and Gayathri render this beautiful krithi on youtube; one of the purest renditions of this krithi I have heard.

I will take up yet another of my favorite krithi about which I have been wanting to write for a long time now, "sArasa daLa nayanA" in khamAs which happens to be one of the very first dIkshithar krithis I listened to :). As I sign off, I am listening to SSI taking mukhAri to a whole new level in the famous airport concert . I would rate this concert as one of the very best I have heard in my whole life. Please listen to it if have not already. shrI gurubhyO namah:

17 comments:

Aparna said...

Read your post after a long time! Superb post as usual! :)

Btw, today morn only when I was singing SarasadaLa nayana, I wanted to do a Google search & read its meaning! Was surprised when I read that your next post will be on that! :O

Musical Scientist said...

Thanks a lot for the immediate comment Aparna..Extremely happy to see your comment after such a long time. And it is indeed a strange coincidence that I will be posting sArasa daLa nayana just when you wanted to read its meaning :). sooper.

revanth said...

As usual Sai rocks..!!!
A wonderful explaation of a wonderful master piece....
rangApura vihArA has always been my favourite,..i am really so glad to see you telling about this wonderful krithi..Please kep blogging,,,,...Waiting for the next post
-Revanth

revanth said...

As usual Sai rocks..!!!
A wonderful explaation of a wonderful master piece....
rangApura vihArA has always been my favourite,..i am really so glad to see you telling about this wonderful krithi..Please kep blogging,,,,...Waiting for the next post
-Revanth

Musical Scientist said...

Thanks a lot for those wonderful words Revanth. I am very happy to note that you liked the post. It is indeed an amazing krithi :). I have been wanting to post the next krithi since 5 days now..but work has been really tight and my computer also crashed. :(. I will surely post it tonight. shrI gurubhyO nama:

Vasumathi Sridharan said...

Sai..i am totally consumed by this krithi.r&G rooock!! woah! lost sleep over their version! Simply divine..floating near SRGM :( Thanks Sai..asusual great explanation!

Musical Scientist said...

dear vachooo..so glad to hear that u liked the post..about the krithi, sollave vendaam..just amazing and yes..R&G's version is very serene and beautiful :).

Anonymous said...

Shri Gurubhyo Namah ???????
I thought you went to P.S Senior and not PSBB ;)
Ajit.

Musical Scientist said...

Dr. Bhaskar :)..hahaha..thanks a lot for that comment :). Very happy to see your comment pa :).

Padma said...

I came in very late to your blog...But once again you are just awesome...Anyways its been a month...not a single post..Am sorry for demanding...But i just love reading your blog :)

Musical Scientist said...

Dear Padma,

So happy to see your comments :D. I am really sorry for not being able to post over the past month..my computer had been giving some problems and then work got too busy too. I will post very soon and make up for may :)

Anonymous said...

Sai P,
I have a question about the first Charanam. Does "haraNa" mean destroy or to capture/abduct ? I'm thinking about haraNa as in sItA-haraNa. I also think that haraNa is used to describe certain romantic illustrations such as hridaya-haraNa. Or is it just me ?

also, who exactly is lord Guruguha ?

I must say that for those who like/appreciate Sanskrit, these krithis are a goldmine ! Of course, you're doing the job of mining, culling the gold from gunk and presenting it to us (those who dont know the language or have lost touch with it !) in the form of these lovely ornaments called "krithi translations" :)

Ajit.

Musical Scientist said...

Dear Dr.Bhaskar,

first of all, I am extremely happy to see you analyzing so much and taking a liking to my posts :).

haraNa means to take away or remove. So, depending on the context, it could have slightly different meanings. IN this case, it is sankaTa haraNa which translates to removing/ taking away trouble which is what I meant by "destroying" miseries and troubles.

In the context of sIta haraNa, it translates to abduction/taking away of sIta. I hope this clarifies it :).

Lord Guruguha is Lord muruga. Interestingly, your first name (which u dont like much) is the name of Lord Muruga at vaithIswaran kovil-MuthukumAraswAmi and dIkshithar was named after this deity only :). So you and dIkshithar share something in common :).

Guruguha has many esoteric meanings too..guha in sanskrit means "cave" and guru is teacher. So, guruguha could also be translated as the teacher who shows the light and removes the darkness from the caves of your heart and mind. Another interpretation could be as: Lord Subrahmanya is the teacher/preceptor of your heart cave. Imagine what kind of a genius dIkshithar must have been to have chosen this as his mudra when he was just 13 years old. :O

dIkshithar's krithis are indeed a treasure trove and we are all extremely lucky to even be listening to and appreciating such brilliance. >--<-o (sAshTanga namaskAra) @ dIkshithar. shrI gurubhyO namah:

Ayatekshana said...

But, Saketharaman, in his 26th Jan 2013 concert said, this song is largely misconstrued to be on the Ranganatha in Srirangam, but is actually on the kOdaNda rAmA (The huge imposing Rama on the East).. now makes me think it could be true, since most of the sambOdhanam (like raghuvIra in the pallavi, pattAbhirAmA, raghurAmA in the charanNam )are specifically on rAmA , the kOdaNda rAmA being the ranga pura vihAra ?

Ayatekshana said...

Saketharaman, in his 26th Jan 2013 concert said this composition, is on the kOdaNda rAma (The huge, imposing rAmA in the east) in Shrirangam as against it being on the ranganAtha himself . (As is largely misconstrued). This claim does seem possible because the sambOdhana in the pallavi (raghuvIra), and charaNam (pattAbhirAmA, raghurAmA) seem to be specifically directed at rAma.. What are your thoughts? May be there are also references in the Ramayana mUlam for any of the other names here.. like ENAnka ravi nayana which Deekshitar could have adopted here?
Also, sArangEndra - why/how does it mean gajEndra ?
My musing would be :
If this was rAmA,
sAranga, for a fact I know means deer.
sArangEndra - the one who is the lord of the sAranga – rAmA in mArIcha vadham - where he kills the deer and could be called the sArangEndra ? It was also in a forest (I mean brindAvana sArangEndra does makes sense)

Ayatekshana said...

Saketharaman, in his 26th Jan 2013 concert said this composition, is on the kOdaNda rAma (The huge, imposing rAmA in the east) in Shrirangam as against it being on the ranganAtha himself . (As is largely misconstrued). This claim does seem possible because the sambOdhana in the pallavi (raghuvIra), and charaNam (pattAbhirAmA, raghurAmA) seem to be specifically directed at rAma.. What are your thoughts? May be there are also references in the Ramayana mUlam for any of the names here.. like ENAnka ravi nayana which Deekshitar could have adopted here?
Also, sArangEndra - why/how does it mean gajEndra ?
If this was rAmA,
sAranga, for a fact I know means deer.
sArangEndra - the one who is the lord of the sAranga – rAmA in mArIcha vadham - where he kills the deer and could be called the sArangEndra ? It was also in a forest (I mean brindAvana sArangEndra does makes sense)

Musical Scientist said...

@ Ayatekshana.. Thanks for your inputs. There are definitely some people who believe that the kriti is composed in praise of the kodanda rama, sannidhi in the east of the temple. But I strongly feel that dIkshitar has composed this kriti while visualizing Lord Ranganatha in his Rama incarnation rather than directly on the Lord Rama of shrIraNgam. I say this because of the following:

1. In the pallavi, dIkshitar sings jaya kOdanDA-rAmAvatAra. He doesnt sing rAma but as rAmAvatAra which means he is clearly addressing Lord Vishnu (Ranganatha swami) as the one who incarnated as Lord Rama. If you take other kritis that dIkshitar has composed on Lord Rama, he will not use rAmAvatara anywhere (as far as I know).

2. By killing mArIcha who posed as a deer, Lord Rama does not become sArangEndra, the king of deers. We need to look for a better explanation here since my understanding is also incomplete.

3. Vihanga turanga can only refer to garuda as vAhana of the Lord and this is attributed to Lord Vishnu and not Lord Rama.

4. ramAntaranga clearly refers to Lakshmi and not sIta dEvi. dIkshitar uses the same even in ranganAyakam.

But yes, you are right in saying that dIkshitar has definitely been inspired by the beautiful rAma sannidhi in the same premises and it is quite evident in the kriti with phrases like pankAjApta kula jalanidhi sOma,etc. However I still feel the kriti is dedicated to the main deity with dIkshitar visualizing the Lord in his rAmAvatAra rather than addressing Lord Rama in the same temple complex directly.

Thanks for bringing this up..probably more astute rasikas reading this can throw a bit more light?