Sunday, June 29, 2008

swAminAtha paripAlayAsumAm-nATa

I once again apologize for the delay in posting this. I am finally getting some time for myself after two months of rigorous work. Over the last month, I have not been able to listen to a lot of music. However, those few sessions with hari have as always kept me alive :). I have bought a nice guitar processor which has some patches that enhance the tonal quality of my guitar. Some of these patches have even made me wonder if it is actually me playing the guitar ;). Thanks to my friend Ashwin Iyer (one of the toronto brothers), I listened to their rendition of sAmi yEntani dElpudura, the amazing chouka kAla varNam in suraTi composed by SubbarAma dIkshithar. A masterpiece rendered beautifully by the brothers..thanks a lot guys!!

I will be booking tickets to India in this week. I am planning to go home on October 18th. Everyone at home is really excited about me coming back. I was talking to my anna yesterday and he told me that he will teach me vocal music starting from the very basics after I come home. I am extremely happy because of that and hopefully with God's blessings, I will put in all my heart and soul and learn how to sing properly.

Now coming to the krithi, swAminAtha paripAlayAsumAm is a cute, kutti krithi in nATa. It was sung pretty frequently by the great GNB and I have heard some mind-boggling swarams sung by him for this krithi. There is a chitta swaram popularly sung by musicians at then end of the samASTi charaNam even though there is no chitta swaram given in the SSP for this krithi. dIkshitar composed this masterpiece at the beautiful swAmimalai, about 5 kms from kumbakonam. The temple's significance is pretty much expressed in the picture above. Being one of the Arupadai veedus, I thought I will give some information about the temple and the legend associated with it. However, I came across this beautiful post by Sriram V, the gentleman who along with shrI Sanjay Subrahmanyan, started the portal (which sadly was closed down ;() in 1999. In this post, Sriram sir comprehensively talks about everything one needs to know about this magnificient temple and some of the greatest compositions extolling the greatness of the Lord at this kSEtra. Hence, I promptly move on to the krithi.


svAminAtha paripAlayAshu mAm svaprakAsha vallIsha guruguha dEva sEnEsha


dIkshithar addresses the Lord- "Oh Lord Swaminatha, the self-resplendent ("svaprakAsha") guruguha and the Lord of Valli and dEvasEna, please protect ("paripAlaya") me ("mAm")."

The speciality of the Lord at swAmimalai is the legend associated with His name. It is at this location that Lord SubrahmaNya is believed to have taught his father, Lord Shiva, the meaning of the praNava mantra Om. As symbolized by the picture I have posted above, the small kid taught his own father, the great Lord Shiva and hence is addressed as swAminAtha. Thus, the Lord here is a gnAna-rUpam and Lord Shiva becomes Lord SubrahmaNya's disciple and accepts Him as the guruguha, the teacher ("guru") who dispels the darkness of ignorance from the heart caves ("guha") of the disciple. Since the Lord is glowing with all that knowledge at this kSEtra, dIkshithar precisely captures this amsha by using the words "svaprakAsha".

Lord SubrahmaNya's two wives, Valli and dEvasEna have been included in the pallavi thereby giving us a complete darshan of the main sannidhi. I would like to mention a few things about Lord SubrahmaNya at this point. Everything associated with Him has its own significance. Goddess Valli, the famous girl from the hunter's clan signifies Icha shakti or the power of desire. Goddess dEvasEna is the daughter of Indra and She signifies kriyA shakti, the power of action. In addition, Lord SubrahmaNya's spear, shaktivEl signifies gnAna shakti, the power of knowledge that removes ignorance. Lord SubrahmaNya uses the peacock as his vAhanam. The peacock, whose behaviour is unpredictable and has mood swings depending on external factors such as weather conditions, signifies the ego, the unpredictable behaviour occupying the mind of human beings. Hence Lord SubrahmaNya is the Lord of all these powers, desire, action, knowledge and control of ego.

Also, since one of the Lord's amsha is portrayed as Lord Muruga, the one who waged wars to kill demons, He is also the commander-in-chief of the army of Gods and hence the unavoidable reference to the other meaning of the word "dEva sEnEsha (Lord of the divine army)". In spiritual terms, this could also be interpreted as the Lord of the divine army of the soul consisting of the Lords of good senses and thoughts. An army which is ready to trounce the evil ego and its army which have taken over the senses of a spiritually un-enlightened human being. From the musical stand point, dIkshithar starts the pallavi off with the ArOhaNam "S r g m p n" at "swAminAtha pari". The pallavi ends with a beautiful madhyama kAla sAhityam at "vallIsha guruguha dEvasEnEsha". Moving on to the samaSTi caraNam,

samaSTi caraNam:

kAmajanaka bhAratIsha sEvita kArttikEya nAradAdi bhAvita
vAmadEva pArvatI sukumAra vArijAstra sammOhitAkAra
kAmitarttha vitaraNa nipuNacaraNa kAvyanATakAlaHNkAra bharaNa
bhUmi jalagni vAyu gagana kiraNa bOdharUpanityAnandakaraNa


dIkshithar describes the Lord as "He is kArthikEya, the one who is worshipped by Lord Brahma ("bhAratIsha"-husband of Goddess Saraswati) and Vishnu ("kAmajanaka"-father of the cupid) and the one held in high esteem ("bhAvita") by sage nArada and others. He is the distinguished son ("sukumAra") of vAmadEva (Lord Shiva- explained below) and Goddess pArvatI. The beauty of his form ("AkAra") is captivates ("sammohita") even the cupid ("vArijAstra"-explained below). His feet ("caraNa") is adept ("nipuNa") in granting ("vitaraNa") boons as desired ("kAmitarttha") by devotees. He embellishes ("bharaNa") epics ("kAvya"), dramas ("nATaka") and the shastra of alankAra. He illumines ("kiraNa") the 5 elements, earth("bhUmi"), water ("jala"), fire ("agni"), wind ("vAyu") and ether ("gagana"). He is the embodiment of knowledge ("bOdharUpa") and bestows ("karaNa") eternal bliss ("nityAnanda") on his devotees."

dIkshithar portrays the delicate side of Lord SubrahmaNya in the caraNam. He directly associates this by describing the Lord as the son of vAmadEva, one of the 5 aspects of Lord Shiva. It is supposed to represent the female manifestation of the Lord and vAmadEva literally translates to beautiful God. Thus, being born out of the female manifestation of Lord Shiva and his consort pArvathi, Lord swAminAtha inherits those qualities. He describes His physical beauty as captivating and surpassing that of the Cupid. dIkshitar has some unique ways of referring to Gods. Apart from general stuff we have seen before like "kAmajanaka" to refer to Lord Vishnu and "bhAratIsha" to refer to Lord Brahma, dIkshithar uses "vArijAstra" to refer to the Cupid. "vArija" means flower in general and lotus in particular. Astra means arrow. kAmadEva is known to strike with his arrow of flowers and dIkshithar uses this to describe cupid. The madhyamakAla sAhityam in this krithi is one of my favourites. The way it gallops and flows is amazing. dIkshithar maintains the prAsam throughout the krithi and especially in the madhyamakAla sAhityam, he uses both adyAkshara as well as antyAkshara prAsam. And thats how the krithi ends, leaving the rasikA yearning for more as always.

In my next post, I will take up a krithi composed by dIkshithar in praise of Lord guruguha's brother, the beautiful sAvEri masterpiece, "karikaLabha mukham". I have been wanting to blog about this krithi for a long time too :). I will make sure that I post the krithi within a day or two :). See you all in a while!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

bAlasubrahmaNyam bhajEham- suruTTi

On this extremely hot and sultry sunday evening here at Round Rock, Texas, I am chilling out with a nice mug of hot apple cider and some bajjis I made in the evening :). As we all know, coffee or tea would have been more blissful but somehow I wanted to try out this combination. It actually does taste real good but stands nowhere in comparison to the bajji+coffee combo. :). I am mixing up my decent culinary skills nicely over the past few days. It has ranged from authentic south indian to mexican :). Anyway..coming to music, we have been having some fun-filled music sessions as usual and yesterday night, K L Kaushik once again graced our gumbal with some divine music. As SK rightly said, carnatic music is safe in the hands of such brilliant people :).

As some of you would be knowing, Shri Sanjay Subrahmanyan sir has started a new blog where he talks about carnatic music. He has started a podcast series in which he speaks about specific musicians and some fine aspects of music for about 30 minutes. The first episode was on thanjavur S Kalyanaraman sir and two of the pieces that Sanjay sir plays in the podcast (tODi and yAgapriyA) are mind-blowing to say the least. I humbly suggest all carnatic music rasikas to benefit from this series.

I have been totally swooning over suruTTi for the past 2 or 3 days after listening to SRJ maama's lecdem on gamakAs. The suruTTi that he sings for a brief 7 minutes in that recording is sheer bliss. Please check out the lecdem page on sangeethapriya and look out for the gamakAs lecdem. The sedate chouka kAla varNam of subbarAma dIkshithar provided with notation in SSP is intoxicating to say the least..azhagu_max. I have also been listening to thalaivar's masterpiece "shrI vAnchanAtham bhajEham" and have been completely engulfed by the beauty of this rAgam. So it is only appropriate that I blog about this beautiful krithi on the cute, kutti Lord bAlasubrahmaNya in this post :).

This krithi is sung as a dhyAna krithi before the kamalAmbA navAvarNams. It has a meditative aspect associated with it. The krithi has some divine power associated with it and is known to grant the wishes of the devotees who sing it with their soul, a facet captured by dIkshithar in the pallavi of this krithi. It is said that dIkshithar even instructed his disciples to meditate on the lyrics of this krithi and they obtained all that they wished for. Shri A. Sundaram iyer in his dIkshithar kIrtana mAla says " Those bereft of the bliss of having a child will do well to recite the appropriate mAla or mantra with this song". These are some of the specialities of this beautiful composition. Moving on to the krithi itself,


bAlasubrahmaNyam bhajEham bhaktakalpabhUruham shrI


dIkshithar sings "I ("aham") chant ("bhajE") the name of the auspicious ("shrI") bAlasubrahmaNya, the divine wish yielding tree ("kalpa bhUruham") for all the devotees ("bhakta")".

Lord bAlasubrahmaNya's name itself has a deep meaning. bAla means young, su is a prefix for indicating something is good/pure and brahmaNya is something that is associated with brahmaN, the undivided supreme self. So the name itself represents something pure and filled with consciousness and auspiciousness. As I mentioned, in these few lines in the pallavi, dIkshithar clearly captures the fact that by singing this krithi and meditating on the Lord, a devotee can obtain all that he wishes for. From the musical standpoint, I love the "S ndp" and the "S nsRsndp" sangathis sung at "bAlasu" and the "npmrr" at "bhajEham". Moving on to the anupallavi,


nIlakaNTa hr.dAnandakaram nitya-shuddha-buddha-muktAmbaram


dIkshithar describes the Lord as "the one who brings happiness ("Anandakaram") to the heart ("hr.d") of blue-black necked ("nIlakaNTa") Lord Shiva and the one who has permanance ("nitya"), purity ("shuddha"), knowledge ("buddha") and liberation/freedom ("mukta:") as his clothes ("ambaram")".

Look at how beautifully dIkshithar captures Lord bAlasubrahmaNya's essence in the word "nitya shuddha buddha muktAmbaram". As I mentioned earlier, Subrahmanya is associated with brahman, the infinite self. Thus, He is the origin of everything and is hence permanent, pure ("su+brahmanya"), a repository of knowledge and is the liberated one. Now the word ambara has two meanings. Depending on the context it could be interpreted as "clothes" or "sky". We all know that the Lord wears no physical dress as kutti bAlasubrahmaNya. And hence, these 4 things become the Lord's ambara. Actually, in this sense, the Lord actually wears ambara (the sky) as his ambara (clothes). Brilliance from dIkshithar as always. The "nS; nd; pn; mrmpn" phrase at "nitya; shudha; buddha; muktAmbaram" flows melliflously and brings in that beautiful invisible thread to tie in the 4 qualities as explained above. :)


vElAyudadaram sundaram vEdAntArta bOdachaturam
phAlAksha guruguhAvatAram parAshakti sukumAram dIram
pAlita gIrvANAdi samUham panCabhUtamaya mAyAmOham
nIlakaNTavAham sudEham niratishayAnanda pravAham


dIkshithar describes the Lord as "the one who carries ("daram") the spear weapon ("vElAyuda"). The one who has a beautiful form ("sundaram") and the one who is intelligent and skillful ("chaturam") in explaining ("bOda") the inner meaning ("arta") of vedAnta. The one who incarnated ("avatAram") as the teacher ("guruguha") to Lord Shiva, the one with an eye ("aksha") on his forehead ("phAla"). The one who is the valiant ("dIram") noble son ("sukumAram") of the supreme ("parA") Goddess Shakti. The one who protects ("pAlita") the community ("samUham") of Gods led by Brahma ("gIrvANa"). The one who created this illusory world ("mAyAmOham") pervaded by ("maya") the five elements ("panCabhUta"). The one who has the blue-necked peacock ("nIlakaNTa") as his vehicle ("vAham") and the one who has a beautiful body ("sudEham"). The one who is a never-ending ("niratishaya") stream ("pravAham") of bliss ("Ananda")."

What a beautiful charaNam :). Very easy to understand. One might wonder why Lord SubrahmaNya, even as a kid carries a spear. The story goes that when He went to fight tArakAsura,
Goddess Shakti (His Mother and ours too :)) made a weapon out of her amsha and this is the divine vElAyudam that the Lord carries. We know how Mothers carry their sons/daughters and Lord Subrahmanya has divine honour of carrying his Mother :).

dIkshithar describes the Lord as "vEdAntArta bOdachaturam", the one who is adept in explaining the vEdAntAs. Here is where dIkshithar the yOgi surfaces. To those ardent devotees who are on the path of self-realization, He becomes guruguha and explains the purpose and the inner meanings of the scriptures. The term "pancabhUtamaya mAyAmOham" has an interesting philosophical interpretation. mAyA is the counterpart of brahman who creates the physical universe composed of the five elements (panCabhUta); traditionally conceived as a female. She is also the mother of shUrapadma the asura. Lord SubrahmaNya was unable to defeat him in battle since mAyA was helping her son by recreating him everytime he was destroyed. Finally He uses his spear (vEl) and aims it at mAyA who swoons (mOham) and shUrapadma gains the ultimate knowledge to be relieved of the mortal coils. Hence it is traditionally claimed that Lord SubramaNya is the ultimate to be prayed to get over the illusions of prapancha.

As I mentioned before, this beautiful krithi richly deserves its prime position as one of the dhyAna krithis sung before the grand kamalAmbA navAvaranams. In my next post, I will follow up with one more krithi on Lord SubrahmaNya, the melodious "swAminAtha paripAlayAsumAm" in calanATTai (sung popularly in nATTai). I will try to post it in the next few days. See you all in the next post. shrI gurubhyO nama:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

shrI vEnkaTa girISam AlOkayE-suruTTi

I am finally finding time to blog a little frequently. If I am able to do this for the next few months, I will be really happy :). First of all, I hereby want to wish my wonderful friend, Ramaa Ramesh, a very happy and successful student life at XLRI, Jamshedpur :)..all the very best to one of the best ever :) !! Coming to music, I am really happy with the way the new thyAgarAja website has come out. It looks really professional and we have come a decently long way in designing websites now :). With the help of Bala sir, we should be able to upload 300 more krithis of Saint thyAgarAja even as a proposed Shyama Shastri website is waiting in the wings. I feel truly blessed to be in the good company of such great friends with whom, I am slowly realizing the purpose of this life.

Looking back on the past 1.5 years, ever since I started blogging, I am wondering how come I never blogged about one of my most favourite rAgams, suruTTi (affectionately called as "folder" by our session gumbal due to obvious reasons). A few weeks back, Hari, SK and I chanced to listen to this beautiful chouka kAla suruTTi varNam from SSP sung by Prof. SRJ maama. As usual I was in tears and Hari started calling me an azhu moonji :). Irrespective of the size of the gumbal, the members present or the number of krithis/ragams discussed about, no session closes without atleast a brief suruTTi :). An amazingly beautiful rAgam which soothes one's mind. "shrI vEnkaTa girISam AlokayE" is perhaps the first dIkshithar krithi I learnt to sing (thanks to hari). This krithi is on the fav list of many of my fav people (Hari, Aishu etc) and hence is very close to my heart :).

Regarding the kSEtram at which this krithi was composed, there are a few controversies because both the tirupathi temple and the pulivalam/gOkarNa temple get mentioned. Many people believe that this krithi was composed at the tirupathi temple praising Lord vEnkatAchalapati. There is another group of people who believe that this krithi was composed in pulivanam/ gOkarNa temple. In the maNipravALa krithi, vEnkatAchalapatE in karnATaka kApi, dIkshithar seems to be alluding to the legend linking Lord vEnkatAchalapati to the deity at pulivalam in the last lines of the anupallavi reading "mangaLam porundiya pulivalathil viLaNgum" in sundara tamil :). Since dIkshithar seems to have visited both temples and has composed on both deities, we can only guess where this was composed. Moving on to the krithi now,


shrI vEnkaTa girISam AlOkayE vinAyaka turagArUdam

dIkshithar demands the attention of the Lord in the pallavi- "Behold ("AlOkayE"), auspicious ("shrI") Lord of the vEnkaTa hills!! The one seated on the powerful Garuda ("turagArUdam"), the king ("nAyaka") of all birds ("vi")."

These first lines of the krithi always strike me as a beautiful display of the divine romance between the bhakta and the Lord. Look at how dIkshithar, the bhakta, is demanding the attention of Lord vEnkaTeshwara, the protector of all the worlds. Musically, the "rmgr" prayOgam at "shrI" to open the krithi bowls the rasikA over straight away. dIkshithar employs the beautiful "psndp" phrase at "girISam" followed by the "ndpmgm;mgpmr" phrase at "A;lOkayE". dIkshithar caps off the pallavi with "rmpndp; pmgm;rmgs" at "turagArUdam" thereby bringing out the entire beauty of this rAgam in just one line. The beauty of the pallavi is its simplicity. Notice that, dIkshithar does not even use the mandira or the tAra sthAyis in these opening lines. The entire pallavi is structured simply in the madhya sthAyi extracting the rAgA's essence to the fullest. Moving on to the anupallavi,


dEvESa pUjita bhagavantam dinakara kOTi prakASavantaM
gOvindam natabhUsura brindam guruguhAnandam mukundam

dIkshithar describes the Lord with devotion as "the one who is worshipped ("pUjita") by Lord Indra ("dEvESa"-Lord of the dEvAs) and the one who is as resplendent ("prakASavantam") as crores ("kOTi") of suns ("dinakara"). He is gOvinda, the one who is saluted ("nata") by groups ("brindam") of virtuous people ("bhUsura"). He is Mukunda, the one who delights ("Anandam") Lord guruguha."

dIkshithar uses hyperboles inorder to give an idea of the magnitude of greatness he is talking about while describing the Lord. The last line of "guruguhAnandam mukundam" can be literally translated as explained above. If we dive a little deeper, we will find dIkshithar, the yOgi coming out. Mukunda, the name of the Lord means "the one who releases". As I have explained before, guruguha could be a yogic reference to a teacher ("guru") residing in the heart caves ("guha") of the disciple. So, this line can also be translated as " He is mukunda (the one who releases(the soul from this world)), the one who brings bliss ("Anandam) to the disciple's heart by being the divine teacher".

Musically, the anupallavi is rich in phrases that define suruTTi. I love the "SnSR" phrase at "dinakara" and the "pRSnn" phrase "prakASa". The "mpnsr; grsnrsndp" at "gOvindam; natabhUsura brindam" gives the madhyamakAla sAhityam its beauty and grandeur :). The charaNam has perhaps the most beautiful starts ever, one for which, I might give up my life :).


alamElumangA samEtam ananta padmanAbham atItam
kaliyuga pratyakSa vibhAtam kanjajAdi dEvOpEtam
jaladhara sannibha sundara gAtram jalaruha-mitrAbja-Satru nEtram
kaluSApaha gOkarNakSEtram karunArasapAtram chinmAtram

dIkshithar continues to describe the Lord as "the one who is in the company ("samEtam") of Goddess alamElumangA and the one who is the supreme ("atItam") ananta padmanAbha swAmi, the lotus naveled. The one who shines forth ("vibhAtam") as the omniscient one ("pratyakSa") in this yuga of kali and the one who is surrounded by ("upEtam") by Lord Brahma ("kanjaja") and other dEvAs. The one whose body ("gAtram") is beautiful ("sundara") like the black rain-bearing ("jaladhara") clouds ("sannibha") and the one whose eyes ("netram") are the sun ("jalaruha-mitra"-friend of the lotus) and the moon ("abja-Satru"). He is the one who removes ("apaha") all the sins ("kalusha") and resides in the kshetram of gOkarNa. He is the one who is the repository ("pAtram") of mercy and compassion ("karunArasa") and the embodiment of pure consciousness ("chinmAtram")."

There is nothing much to explain in the charaNam. dIkshithar keeps the sAhityams simple. But the beauty of the charanam is something that is to be experienced. Also, look at how he brings in the sun and the moon. He refers to the sun and the moon with reference to the lotus and uses mitra and shatru in the same word :). One must listen to Balaji Shankar's or SSI's rendition to get a good feel of this beautiful krithi :). The reference to alamelumanga thAyAr makes one's heart melt with devotion and is heavily inundated with bhakti rasA. Musically, the "rmpp" start for the charaNam followed by "M N" swarAksharam at "man"gA are truly mind-blowing. And finally to add spice, dIkshithar uses explicitly flat notes in the madhyamakAlam to expose the fast, racy aspects of the rAgam. The madhyamakAlam starts as "rpmpmpnd; Pmg pmR" and ends up with the "pmgrmgs" phrase at "chinmAtram" setting it up smoothly for the pallavi to take off :).

As I end this post, I am listening to an amazingly well rendered osOsi padam by Aishwarya Vidya Raghunath who seems to be a name to look out for in the future. In my next post, I will take up the krithi "bAlasubrahmaNyam bhajEham" once again in suruTTi making it a double punch :). Hopefully I can squeeze in time in the next two days or so and post the next krithi :). I hope you guys enjoyed reading this :). Catch you all in the next post..shrI gurubhyO namah:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

annapUrNE- sAmA

I have finally managed to squeeze in some time for blogging today :). Sangeethapriya moderators moved the dIkshithar website from one domain to another. In this process, some krithis have been wrongly named and linked :(. I have been working on it for the past 2 days. Hopefully, I will be able to resolve the problem within the next few days :). For all those Saint thyAgarAja devotees, we have launched a new website as a tribute to the sadguru. Please check it out at .

For the past 2 weeks, we (hari, SK and I) have been having music sessions daily. A few nights back, we (lavanya and bhaand joined us too) got to listen to this amazing artiste. K L Kaushik, a brilliant flautist played the most divine, soul-quenching music I have ever heard in my life. He played a beautiful kEdAragOwLa (tuLasi bilva), a paramAnandamAna Anandabhairavi (mAnasa guruguha) and ended the session with soothing surutti jAvaLi. His music promptly brought tears to my eyes..God bless him and his divine art. May God bless me with more opportunities to listen to such music.

sAmA is one of those serene rAgams which paint these pictures of beautiful landscapes whenever I think about it. This rAgam is supposed to give mental equipoise and is known to be soothing to the nerves. Goddess AnnapUraNi is the form of the divine mother at kASi and She seems to have had a divine overseeing of dIkshithar's life. It is believed that the great chidambara nAtha yOgi, his guru, told him to think of this dEvi in his heart and meditate. And dIkshithar is said to have got a darshan of the Goddess before his soul left this world.
dIkshithar has composed this krithi at the ancient annapUraNi temple in kuzhikkarai. On the deity at kASi, dIkshithar has composed another masterpiece, the brilliant Ehi annapUrNE in punnAgavarALi. And because of these similarities, the temple at kuzhikkarai is also called as madhyakASi. Goddess annapUraNi is not only the provider of food to the body, but also the divine bestower of chidAnanda. It is perfectly appropriate that dIkshithar chose this soothing, meditative rAgA to compose a krithi on the Goddess.

annapUrNE viSAlAkSi akhila bhuvana sAkSi kaTAkSi

dikshithar addresses the Goddess directly- "Oh Goddess annapUrNi, the one with wide eyes ("visAlAkSi"). You bear witness ("sAkSi") to all that is happening in all the worlds ("akhila bhuvana"). Please bless me with your divine glance ("kaTAkSi")."

dIkshithar starts the krithi off with a beautiful "DSRM" prayOgam. The subsequent sangathis like "rsdsrm" that vidwAns sing for the pallavi's opening lines are extremely appealing too. But, somehow that DSRM opening at "annapUrNe" has a special tone attached to it. One can clearly visualize how a devotee of the devi would join his hands in prayer and sing the Goddess's praise here. dIkshithar aptly calls Her the witness to the universe. She is the divine mother responsible for the creation and sustenance of this universe. The "dsrpmgr" phrase at "sAkSi" in the tAra sthAyi is beautiful and brings out the essence of the rAga in full. Moving on to the anupallavi,

unnata gartAtIra vihAriNi OmkAriNi duritAdi nivAriNi
pannagAbharaNarAjni purANi paramESwara viSwEswara bhAsvari

dIkshithar sings "You reside ("vihArini") in the hallowed ("unnata") gartatIra (explained below). You are of the form of omkAra ("OmkAriNi"). You are the remover ("nivAriNi") of all difficulties ("duritAdi"). She is the consort ("rAjni") of the one who is adorned ("AbharaNa") by serpents ("pannagA")-Lord Shiva. You are the primordial one ("purANi") and the one who makes Lord ParamEshwara, the Lord of all worlds ("viSwEswara") shine with his luminosity ("bhAsvari")."

dIkshithar refers to the kSEtram by addressing kuzhikkarai as gartatIra. garta means pit and tIra means bank and so kuzhik-karai literally translates to garta-tIra. By referring to Her as OmkAriNi, dikshithar alludes to sAmavEda where Goddess UMA is said to be the embodiment of the praNava mantra AUM. Representing the praNava mantra, She automatically becomes the primordial power responsible for the creation and the sustenance of this universe and dIkshithar aptly follows this by calling Her "purANi".

To whom does a kid run to when he/she has a problem- his/her mother. In the same way, human beings (the kids) run to our divine mother who will solve all the problems ("duritAdi nivAriNi"). I love the "SDPM" phrase at "unnata" and I also love the "dsRPMGRR" at "tIravihAriNi". The beautiful "pdsdpm" phrase at "pannagAbharaNa" and "dRdS" phrase at " purANi" are the most beautiful phrases in the anupallavi bringing the rAga chAya to the fore. Moving on to the charaNam,

pAyasAnna pUrIta mAnIkya pAtra hEmadarvI vidrutakarE
kAyajAdi rakSaNa nipuNatarE kAnCanamaya bhUshaNAmbaradarE
tOyajAsanAdi sEvitaparE tumburu nAradAdi nuta varE
trayAtIta mOkSaprada CaturE tripada kshObita guruguha sAdarE

dIkshithar describes the Goddess (please see the picture above to see how exactly he describes the devi) as " the one who holds a gem studded ("mAnIkya") vessel ("pAtra") filled with ("pUrita") rice cooked in milk ("pAyasAnna") in her left hand and a golden ("hEma") ladle ("darvI") in the other hand ("vidruta karE")". dIkshithar continues to describe Her as- "the one who is adept ("nipuNatarE") in protecting ("rakSaNa") manmata ("kAyaja") and others. The one who is adorned completely with ("darE") golden ("kAnCanamaya") ornaments ("bhUshaNa") and golden silk ("ambara"). The one who is served by ("sEvitaparE") Lord Brahma ("tOyajAsana") and worshipped ("nuta") by great sages like tumburu and nArada".

dIkshithar as usual brings in his vEdanta in the last two words of the madhyamakAla sAhityam. He describes the Goddess as "the one who bestows ("prada") salvation ("mOksha"), the fourth purushArta ("caturE") beyond ("atIta") dharmA, artha and kAma ("traya"). The one who is dearest to Lord guruguha ("guruguha sAdarE"), the one who shines as the three words ("tripada")-tat tvam asi".

In the charaNam, dIkshithar uses some amazingly beautiful words to describe some Gods and to keep the prAsam flowing. He addresses Cupid as kAyaja. kAya refers to the body and all the six afflictions associated with it-kAma, krOda, lObha, mOha, mada and mAtsarya. Manmatha is supposed to be born in every human being only because of these 6 attachments of the body and hence he is referred to as kAyaja ("the one born from the body"). dIkshithar refers to Lord Brahma as toyajAsana, the one who is seated ("Asana") in the lotus ("toyaja"). dIkshithar could have used a lot of other words to refer to lotus-kamala, padma etc. But in order to keep that prAsam and that invisible thread going, dIkshithar carefully selects the word tOyaja. He is just a smart, extremely skilled, brilliant artist beautifully sculpting this krithi. :).

In the last two words, dIkshithar crisply summarizes that the dEvi is a yOgini who will guide your soul to mukthi. Musically, dIkshithar begins the charaNam with a " P p p p" phrase :). I love the entire madhyamakAlam beginning with "ddpp, pmmgrsrmmp" at "tOyajAsanAdisEvitaparE". On the whole a masterpiece in one of the most serene rAgams known to mankind :) and one of my all time favorites :).

I will next take up another krithi which I have been wanting to blog about for a long time, the surutti beauty, "shrI vEnkata girIsham AlOkayE". It is one of those krithis which is very close to my heart because of a few of my friends who love it :). Till then, wish you all a wonderful, musical week ahead :). See you all very soon. shrI gurubhyO namah: