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!!


Aparna said...

//Some of these patches have even made me wonder if it is actually me playing the guitar//

Oh that's great! Pls mail some guitar recording of yours at least now

Btw, svAminAtha paripAlaya is one of my fav kritis :) I have one old cassette of TMK which has this song & I just love his rendition of it.

AcE said...

Totally, totally taken. Yes, just blown away. I can sense the intense bhakti radiating from this post. The way you write is just taking me by storm. Look at the way you've extrapolated from the song pa - I learn so much from your blogs. MLKDHKS, amazing! Truly. Just keep blogging pa. Please.


A :)

Musical Scientist said...

@Aparna..haha..seri seri..will surely record something and send it over very soon :).

@MLKMA.. >:D<..extremely happy that you liked the post so much pu :). Will surely keep blogging for a long, long time to come and I will try my best to post more regularly :).

Padma said...

Appa..finally i got to read your new post...You know all along i was just hoping you do it and then disappointed...But its worth the wait...Keep going...Eagerly waiting for the saveri piece...

Musical Scientist said...

Dear Padma,

Glad that you liked the post :). Sorry to have kept you waiting..saveri post on its way :).

Shreekrishna said...

On word splits in the kRithi. Care has to be taken in understanding the way to sing the krithi as to not corrupt the meaning implied.

The kRuthi runs largely in the sambOdhana vibhakti (pardon my ignorance on English cases - I am a strong Sanskrit aficionado)(SambOdhana = Hey, you - kinda case).

svAminAtha, svaprakAsha, vallIsha, guruguha, dEva-sEnEsha, Ashu mAm paripAlaya!

(kAmajanakEna bhAratIshEna cha sEvita),nAradAdi-bhAvita,vAmadEva-pArvatI-sukumAra (vAmadEva-pArvatyO: sukumAra),vArijAstra-sammOhitAkAra, kArttikEya,
kAmitarttha-vitaraNa-nipuNa, caraNa-kAvyanATakAlaHNkAra-bharaNa,
bhUmi-jalagni-vAyu-gagana-kiraNa, bOdharUpanityAnandakaraNa....

Every single word in the krithi is in the sambOdhana case, but for the verb pAlaya, and the object, Ashu-mAm (dvitIyA vibhakti).

Secondly, an opinion about swAminAtha ---

Could it be a double reference, in addition to dEvasEnEsha, through the samAsa-vigrahavAkyam - swAmInAm nAtha: - the leader of the Gods?

We know by now, that Dikshitar power-packs, not compromising on brevity.

Shreekrishna said...

In addition to the above, the term kArtikEya, in one shot, describes the childhood of subrahmaNya.

kArtikEya: = kRuttikANAm apatyam pumAn, which means, the progeny of the 6 kRuttikAs.

Legend has it that the intimate moment between shiva and pArvatI was disrupted by the gods, who were being thwarted by demons. Shiva's seed then gets shed into the gangA river, which she carries all the way down to Earth. Unable to tolerate the tEjas (mystical energy) of the seed, she relinquishes it on her banks, where subrahmaNya is born. It is for this reason that subrahmaNya is also referred to as gAngEya (Ref : kArtikEya, gAngEya, gauri-tanaya - the song in tODi, for eg.).

The 6 kRuttikAs find the kid and foster-mother him. To be able to suckle from all the 6 foster-mothers at the same time (to show equal love towards them as a son), subrahmaNya is blessed with 6 heads, which earns him the title - ShaNmukha. ShaT mukhA: yasya, sa: ShaNmukha (the six faced one) is the vigrahavAkyam in sanskrit (leading to a bahuvreehi samAsa).

Just some random interjections on subrahmaNya. Ignore if recorded earlier. If not, extra info never hurts.

Let noble thoughts come from all sides (Ruk).


Musical Scientist said...

Dear SK..amazing stuff pa! Thanks a lot for all those beautiful explanations and samAsa splits. Very enlightening. swAminAm nAtha seems like a very possible split too :). dIkshithar definitely has packed a super punch there.

This is why I humbly request you to post your thoughts here. I really hope that you find time to continue on the navagraha krithis. Look at the info and fundaes you are putting :O :O..amazing. >--<-o

revanth said...

Glad to see you post this wonderful krithi after a long time Sai..You were tooo good as usual while explaining this krithi...
Waiting for the next post...

Musical Scientist said...

Dear Revanth,

Thanks a lot for your wonderful words. I will surely post the next krithi within a few days. :)


Rajesh said...

These meanings are not known to the common man though they sing these songs.
Work from home