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 http://tributes.sangeethapriya.org/thyagaraja .

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:


Anonymous said...

As usual, another masterful job of translation :) Simply superb !

Dikshitar has captured the essence of Annapurna beautifully. After reading the anupallavi, I was thinking that "OK, almost each and every god/goddess takes away our pain and sufferings and provides us with moksha...it would be nice to hear something special about goddess AnnapUrnA....."

But the charanam sets my favorite goddess apart from everyone else. You know that I dont eat to live, I live to eat :)
thank you and thanks to Dikshitar :)

I am looking forward to seeing more krithis on gods/goddesses who dont have too many temples/krithis devoted to them.....


Anonymous said...


I have been following ur blog for a while now ,... Awesome job!

I just have a request: I know Sangeethapriya has a dikshitar site, which I found after quite some googling , but if could post some link pointing to a online recording that you likeof the kriti u post, it would be great !


Musical Scientist said...

Dear Dr. Bhaskar,

Hahaha..thanks a lot for your comments :D :D. Glad that you liked the post. Your favorite Goddess..hahaha:D :D. thamAshu dhaan ungalukku eppovume. I will surely try to take up krithis composed in some rare temples from now :). Ironically, My next post is going to be a krithi composed in one of the most famous temples..tirupathi :D.

Musical Scientist said...

Dear A,
Thanks a lot for your comments. Incidentally, my friend Sunil and I, we designed and are maintaining the dikshithar tribute website on sangeethapriya. I will surely post links pointing to the appropriate recordings from my next post. Thanks a lot for your kind words and suggestions. Please visit often and share your thoughts.


ಹಂಸಾನಂದಿ Hamsanandi said...

I have heard that there is a very different pAThAntara of this composition (one distinct from the popular version). Any pointers to that?

Musical Scientist said...


thanks a lot for bringing that up. I too have heard that version played by kalpagam swaminathan maami. Since I am not well versed (enough) with that version, I had to refrain from commenting. Unfortunately this krithi is not listed in the SSP and we don't know which version resembles the actual composition. If you have any info, please share it with us. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Totally agreed with you on Sama. Sama is one of the most soothing ragams I have ever heard. This song was introduced to me by a superb rendition by Santhanam a few years ago. The other song I know in this raga is Mysore Vasudevacharya's Parakelanayya Rama, also very mellifluous and memorable.

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