Thursday, November 13, 2008

kanjadaLAyatAkSi-kamalA manOhari

As I type this post, I am listening to a wonderful, heart melting mukhAri that my brother is singing in the next room and munching on yummy "maavu urundais" cooked by amma. He is practicing for his audition next week for a higher grade in AIR, bangalore. It is at moments like these that I feel extremely happy to have done what I did..leave the US and come back home. However, the flip side of the decision is that I have lost touch with so many close friends in the US (SK, hari..my gurunathars) mainly because of the time zone difference ;(. Goddess kAmAkSi should show mercy and show me the way to have the cake and eat it too.

I am leaving on a small pilgrimage to the kumbakonam belt next tuesday for a week. The highlights of the trip would be visits to the Srirangam temple, the navagraha temples, mannArguDi rAjagOpAlaswAmi temple, nAgai SoundararAja perumAl temple and the grand tiruvArur tyAgarAja swAmi temple with visits to the houses of the trinity. As any reader of this blog can imagine, I am eagerly awaiting that minute when I step into dIkshithar's house (his memorial mandapam). I will care less if my soul escapes the realms of this earth after that moment. I have been planning my schedule to cover all these places in addition to many more temples in this region. As I mentioned above, these are a few blissful moments that this soul has been waiting to experience for an entire lifetime :). At the end of the trip, I am going to chennai for the music season :) :). The next 4 weeks should be filled with fun indeed :). I would also like to take this opportunity to wish my good friend Vachooo akka a wonderful marriage and a very happy married life. I am extremely excited about meeting Bala sir and Vachoo too :).

Moving on to the dikshithar krithi for today, I will be taking up "kanjadaLAyatAksi" in rAga manOhari, a beautiful composition embellishing Goddess kAmAkSi of kAnchi. Goddess kAmAkSi is considered as a representation of shrI vidya. The idol and the meru at this temple are carved out of Salagrama and is believed to have been consecrated by sage Durvasa. Legend has it that the Goddess performed severe penance under a mango tree at kAnchi and worshipped a shivalingam made out of sand, inturn gaining Lord Shiva's hand in marriage. The dEvi here sits in a majestic padmAsana posture signifying complete control over the universe. The original kAmakSi amman temple, where Adi Shankaracharya is believed to have worshipped the Goddess and established the shri chakra. Initially, the Goddess here was a ugra form (an amsha of anger). After Adi Shankara's worship, the Goddess is said to have become peaceful and attained Her present day Shanta swarUpa. The new kAmAkSi amman temple was built in the 12th Century. More details of the temple and controversies on the authenticity of Adi Shankara sculptures at this temple can be found here

With this small introduction, I will move on to the krithi now. According to the SSP, manOhari is classified as an upAnga janya of the 33rd mELa gangataraNgiNi with the scale "Sgmpns; sndpmgs". dIkshithar straightaway employs the avarOhaNam in the opening line of the krithi,

Pallavi:

kanja daLAyatAkshi kAmAkshi

kamalA manOhari tripura sundari

Meaning:

dIkshithar directly addresses the Goddess "kAmAkSi!! The one who has large eyes ("akSi") like lotus ("kanja") leaf ("daLa"). The one who is dear ("manOhari") to Goddess Lakshmi ("kamalA")-Goddess tripurasundari!!"

dIkshithar beautifully brings in the raga mudra in the pallavi itself. This rAga has become so famous exclusively because of this krithi that people refer to the rAga itself as kamalamanOhari. As I mentioned above, the krithi starts off with the avarohaNam-"sndpmgpmg" at "kanjadaLAyatAkSi". The final oscillating gAndAram here gives the krithi a wonderful flavour. He immediately follows this with the ArOhanam-"sgmpn" at "kAmAkSi". The gAndAram seems to carry a really nice tone that gives this raga the identity and dIkshithar has repeatedly emphasized the usage of this gAndAram in this krithi. Moving on to the anupallavi,

Anupallavi:

kunjara gamanE maNi maNDita manjuLa caraNE
mAmava Siva panjara Suki pankaja mukhi
guru guha ranjani durita bhanjani niranjani

Meaning:

dIkshithar describes the Goddess in detail- "The one who has a majestic gait ("gamanE") like an elephant ("kunjara"). The one who has beautiful ("manjuLa") feet ("caraNE") adorned with ("maNDita") gems ("maNi"). Please protect me ("mAmava")!! The one who is the parrot ("Suki") encaged in the cage ("panjara") of Siva. The one who is lotus ("pankaja") faced ("mukhi"). The one who captivates ("ranjani") guruguha. The one who destroys ("bhanjani") all afflictions ("durita") and the one who is blemishless ("niranjani")."

dIkshithar employs a majestic madhyamakAla gait to describe the Goddess's gait in the anupallavi. The pallavi begins with a "nsgsgGM" phrase. The entire anupallavi gallops in madhyamakAla. The "nsgsg" phrase seems to be a pretty significant sangathi as dIkshithar repeatedly uses it to bring out the rAga bhAva. He once again employs the "nsgsg" phrase at "mAmavasiva".

dIkshithar alludes to the Goddess as the parrot in the cage of Siva. One can easily derive a much deeper meaning for this reference. The body will become a lifeless lump if there was no soul to move to physically, mentally and spiritually. Similarly, there is no point in any form ("Siva") to exist if there is no life force ("Shakti"). Thus, dIkshithar beautifully refers to the dEvi as the soul/driving force encaged within the body. dIkshithar closes the anupallavi with an amazing "psnd,pdpm,mgmpn" phrase at "durita bhanjani,niranjani". In my humble opinion, the anupallavi of this krithi serves as a websters dictionary for this rAga.

caraNam:

rAkA SaSi vadanE su-radanE
rakshita madanE ratna sadanE
SrI kAncana vasanE su-rasanE
SRngArASraya manda hasanE
EkAnEkAkshari bhuvanESvari
EkAnandAmRta jhari bhAsvari
EkAgra manO-layakari SrIkari
EkAmrESa gRhESvari Sankari

Meaning:

dIkshithar continues to describe the dEvi's beauty as he addresses Her as "the one whose face ("vadanE") is like the full ("rAka") moon ("SaSi") and the one with beautiful teeth ("su-radanE"). The one who rescued ("rakSita") cupid ("madanE"). The one who is in a bejeweled ("ratna") peeta ("sadanE") and the one who is adorned with ("vasanE") auspicious ("Sri") gold ("kAnCana"). The one who has a beautiful tongue ("su-rasanE"). The one whose beautiful smile ("manda hasanE") is filled with shringAra rasa."

In the madhyamakala sAhitya, dIkshithar continues to describe the Goddess as "the one who is embodiment of single and multiple syllabled ("Eka-anEka-akshari") mantras. The one who rules the universe ("bhuvanESwari"). The one who is like a waterfall ("jhari") of blissful ambrosia ("EkAnandAmrta") and the one is resplendent ("bhAsvari"). The one who brings auspiciousness ("Srikari") to those who worship her with steadfast devotion ("EkAgra manOlaya"). The Goddess who rules the house ("grhESwari") of Lord EkAmrESwara and the one who symbolizes auspiciousness ("Sankari")."

dIkshithar emphasizes the fruits of staunch devotion in these few lines. Look at the details he has observed in his meditative state of mind including the beautiful teeth and the graceful smile of the dEvi. The Goddess's smile once again reinforces the fact that She is no longer a "ugra" amsha of Shakti. There is a chitta swaram in this krithi which I love :). If you havent heard the swarams, I strongly urge you to look at the SSP for this krithi.

I am already excited about my train journey to Kumbakonam and my visit to all the other temples in the region :). Hence I conclude this post here. In my next post, I will post pictures of all the temples I was privileged to go to and write a few lines about my trip in brief. Watch out for some exclusive pictures of dIkshithar's house (now converted into a small temple for the trinity). Hoping to see you all on the other side of this pilgrimage as a much better human being :) !! Shri gurubhyO namah.

21 comments:

kstar said...

Nice to see such a detailed description of dIkSitar kRtis.

ಹಂಸಾನಂದಿ Hamsanandi said...

Nice post.

'kanjadaLAyatAkshi' could be better translated as 'one with eyes shaped like lotus petals' rather than lotus leaf.

ஜீவா (Jeeva Venkataraman) said...

My best wishes for the Kumbakonam trip - the town of Our family deity Oppiliappan!

Eshwar said...

my best wishes to ur trip for my own town

nAradA said...

Hi:
At the risk of being a pest I am reproducing my query posted on an earlier column of yours (in October) below:

Hi:
Can you clarify a doubt for me? I always thought the word "mInAkshi" was a compound word of Thamizh and Sanskrit. We know "Akshi" means eye in Sanskrit. But to my knowledge there is no word "mIn" denoting fish in Sanskrit. The original word for fish in Sanskrit is "matsya". Some say "mInam" the planetary house standing for the zodiac sign pisces is the Sanskrit word. Again I contend mInam is compunded from the original Thamizh word mIn. As you see the PANDya kings from times extending centuries before CE had the "mIn koDi" as their royal flag. There is no dynasty older than the PANDyAs which used Thamizh in its pure form. I very much doubt they had Sanskrit words in use at that time. In later times due to the influence of Sanskrit scholars from the north during the Pallava regime compound words started appearing. Another compound word using mIn: mIna lOcani.
Would appreciate your input.

Musical Scientist said...

@Jeeva and Eshwar..thanks a lot for your wishes. I had a wonderful trip..will write in detail in my next post.

@nAradA sir..sorry for the late response. mIna: in sanskrit very much means fish. Just like matsya, mIna: is also a pretty frequently used word. So, I think mInam in tamil is derived from sanskrit. But yes..your interpretation of the word gives more of a historical background to the krithi. I hope a more knowledgeable person reads your comment to give you a better/stronger explanation.

-Sai.

ஜீவா (Jeeva Venkataraman) said...

I think it's hard to determine by the root of a word - whether is from tamil or sanskrit, just by our current understanding of the word origins. Sanskrit, by itself has borrowed lot of words from Tamil, got Sanskrit-ized and came back to Tamil. So what we think a Sanskrit word could have been originally from Tamil itself. And the vice-versa of this could have been also possible!

Musical Scientist said...

@Jeeva..extremely true sir. I am not even close to being called "knowledgeable" in this subject. Hopefully someone can see this and reply

Shreekrishna said...

I don't quite think Sanskrit borrowed words from Tamizh. The origins of the 2 languages are quite non-intersecting. Most of Sanskrit's origins could be traced to prevedic era. A detailed compendium of sanskrit vocabulary is found in the form of amarakOsha, which of course, is far from exhaustive.

In the said case, the term mIna clearly denotes fish. The term mInAkShI as such, is what is technically called a samAsa (bahuvreehi to be specific). Analogous examples I can think of are gajakarNa:, karAravinda:, hastivadana: etc.

Shreekrishna said...

@ Hamsanandi,

Yes, that interpretation is correct. Lotus leaf would be wrong in both the sense of the meaning of the word, as well as the figurative sense (Lotus leaf is broad and not-so-beautiful actually). As such, daLa = petal, parNam = leaf.

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Anonymous said...
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chaliapin said...

Actually, Tamil, even in the Sangam age, shows loan words from Sanskrit and there are lots of unexpected references like the Indra festival in the first of the five Tamil epics. I understand there are also Sanskritic astrologers and priests mentioned. While remaining absolutely neutral, we can say that there are many political reasons, even in scholarship to downplay the antiquity of the relationship between the two languages and their cultures. One of the words for fish in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European, is mena. PIE is a parent of Sanskrit and not of Tamil and is older than the two. There are descendants to this in other IE languages. So, this could be a sufficient argument.

LTB.

chaliapin said...

Actually, Tamil, even in the Sangam age, shows loan words from Sanskrit and there are lots of unexpected references like the Indra festival in the first of the five Tamil epics. I understand there are also Sanskritic astrologers and priests mentioned. While remaining absolutely neutral, we can say that there are many political reasons, even in scholarship to downplay the antiquity of the relationship between the two languages and their cultures. One of the words for fish in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European, is mena. PIE is a parent of Sanskrit and not of Tamil and is older than the two. There are descendants to this in other IE languages. So, this could be a sufficient argument.

LTB.

chaliapin said...

Not actually a comment; stumbled upon your site through a gadget on www.lyricaltyagaraja.com

Chk it out. Got the gopuchcha yati dikshita kriti too in english.

chaliapin said...

'Shiva panjara shuki' is really an allusion to the parrot in Kamakshi's hand. Only Minakshi and Kamakshi bear one, indicating their additional roles as love or fertility goddesses and that at these places, Parvati wedded the ascetic Shiva. Cf. taara panjara shuki in kamalamba shamrakshatu. Shiva as well as taara could be taken as adjectives for panjara or cage, rather than directly shiva, and so mean auspicious and radiant. At any rate, the parrots are a reference to love and fertility in Shaktism/Tantrism, which is characteristic of Dikshita, rather than Parvati's animating Shiva. It should simply mean she who is bound by Siva like a caged parrot, or roughly, a wife, since Taara too can mean Siva though it more commonly means shinig. But it is not so simple with Diskhita and his frequent dual usage. Kamakshi is a main deity of Shakta Tantra doctrine, such as with the Kamakhya temple of Assam. Love, fertility and Tantric connotation are signified in the very name Kamakshi. The temple legend mentions an episode with Kama being blessed by Parvati there, and Kama also is associated with a parrot.

Ram said...

Hi anna,

Here the phrase "Ekaagramanolayakari Shrikari" could be interpreted as; Ekaagramano - layakari Shri kari, meaning, once's whose manas tatwam is completely absorbed in the athman with steadfastness, will be blessed by her with "Shri", Here shri does not mean only auspiciousness, but the ultimate & 4th purushaartham - Moksha.

Ram said...

The Shiva term in "Shiva pancha sukhi" means, not literally Lord Shiva but the Shiva bhaava that is attained by japam and Guru Kataksha. This sould be equated in line with the same phrase which addressesParameshti Guru as "Swa-aathma-raama-panchara vileena thejasae".. so, even in the Shiva it is this Sakthi is magnificient in its manifestation. The sukham (parrot) which is present in side the cage (pancha) of Shiva (Shiva)

Ram said...

"Meena" is very much Sanskrit word. Puranaas establish this terminology. In Tamizh she is known as "An-kayar-kanni", Kayal in Tamizh meening fish.