Sunday, June 28, 2009

mAnasa guru guha - Anandabhairavi

The weather here in Bangalore today evening has a nice, steady breeze coupled with a beautiful "maN vAsanai" suggesting that its going to rain. The more I travel between Bangalore and Chennai, the more I am able to appreciate Bangalore's climate. Its hard to believe that 350 kilometres can make so much of a difference. However, being a hardcore chennaite in my heart and mind, I believe the special charm of the city more than makes up for the disastrously hot and humid weather conditions. If only the heat was a little more relenting, Chennai would indeed be a paradise. I guess I am getting into that never-ending debate of which is the best city to live :).

Anyway, as I near the end of this job hunt tunnel, it seems that more opportunities exist for me as a mechanical engineer in Chennai which is slowly developing into the automobile hub of the country. However, since my family is in Bangalore, I am still buying time from some Chennai employers and am trying my best to find a job here in Bangalore so that I can be at home with my mother. (Un)fortunately I dont think its going to work out that way and most probably, it looks like I might end up moving to Chennai in a few more weeks. I cannot crib about moving to a culturally vibrant place like Chennai. With the galore of kutcheris that happen all through the year, I couldn't have asked for a better place away from home. So, I guess its all for the good :).

Coming to today's krithi, I will take up the second composition of the guruguha vibhakti series, mAnasa guru guha rUpam in Anandabhairavi set to rUpaka tALa and composed exclusively in dvitiyA vibhakti (accusative case). After starting off his composing career on a high by aptly composing the first krithi of this series, shrI nAthAdi guruguhO in MMG, dIkshitar perfectly chooses the rAga Anandabhairavi to set the mood of this series. As the name of the rAga suggests, it creates a divinely blissful mood and eliminates all the agitations and disturbances in the rasika's mind. dIkshitar continues on "the salutations to the guru" theme as below,


mAnasa guru guha rUpam bhajarE rE
mAya-maya hRttApam tyajarE rE


dIkshitar straight away instructs the mind to strive for higher goals- " Oh mind!!("rE mAnasa") meditate on ("bhajarE") guha, the form of guru and abandon ("tyajarE") the delusionary ("mAya-maya") sorrows and afflictions of the heart/mind ("hRttApam")."

dIkshitar adopts a commanding/instructive tone throughout this krithi and seems to emphasize the importance of a guru by directly addressing the mind. He repeatedly commands the mind to abandon all illusions in this world (which in itself is an illusion) and strive for greater spiritual progress. One can actually see that by stressing the significance of a guru, dIkshitar himself assumes the post of a guru and commands the mind just like how a guru commands, strictly adhering to obedience and austerity. What a genius he must have been to choose such a profound word (guruguha) as his signature at such an young age, a mudra with which he continued to compose till he shed his mortal coils.

In the opening lines of the pallavi itself dikshitar makes the idea/theme behind this set of krithis crystal clear. He straightaway equates a guru as a form of the Lord Himself and commands the mind to worship him and meditate on him. Musically, dIkshitar has inundated this krithi with nokkus and he starts the krithi off with a nokku on madhyamam and then heading to the panchamam at "mAna"sa following it up with the characteristic "mgrgm" phrase at "guruguha". The "Nnsnmgr" at "mAya-maya" and the final "grgrgm" at "rE rE" loops back beautifully to the beginning of the pallavi. Moving on to the anupallavi,


mAnava janmani saMprAptE sati
paramAtmani niratiSaya sukham vrajarE rE


dIkshitar sings "Having obtained ("saMprAptE") the human ("mAnava") birth form ("janmani"), go,take the path ("vrajarE") and try to attain the unsurpassed bliss ("niratiSaya sukham") associated with the supreme consciousness ("paramAtmani")".

dIkshitar once again emphasises the purpose of this birth and the gift of attaining a human form which enables to soul to discern, choose the right path and unite with the supreme consciousness, the source. This krithi in particular and dIkshitar's life in general, in my humble opinion, serves as a lesson on how to lead one's life, stop running this rat race and strive for the real purpose of coming to this play pen. I really admire the silky smooth way in which dIkshitar climbs the madhya stAyi by using "S p p S" at "mAnava" and hits the tAra stAyi madhyama employing the "smgrs" phrase at "janmani samprA"ptE. The beautiful oscillatory phrases around the pdn area at para"mAtmani niratiSaya sukham" using the beautiful Shuddha deivatham is something which you cannot find in any other Anandabhairavi krithi. The beauty and brilliance clearly shines through and this can be clearly observed and experienced in DKP's rendition of the krithi.


satva guNOpAdhi sahita sadASivaM
svAvidyA samEta jivOdbhavam
tatvam tAmasa yuta viSva vaibhavaM
tArakESwaram Anandabhairavam
natvA shrI guru caraNaM kRtvA nAmasmaraNaM
jitvA mOhAvaraNaM matvA tvadEka SaraNam


In the caraNam, dIkshitar describes the Lord as " The form of everlasting consciousness ("sadASivaM"), the one endowed with ("sahita") with qualities of ("guNOpAdhi") satva. The one from whom all the living beings ("jIva") are born ("udbhavam") as a result of their own ignorance ("sva avidya"). His greatness ("vaibhavaM") symbolises the truth ("tatvam") that lies beyond this world ("viSva") filled with tamasic qualities ("tAmasa yuta"). He is tArakEswara, the Lord who helps cross this ocean of samsara. He is the form of Anandabhairava, radiating ever-lasting bliss".

The madhyamakAla sAhityam will probably resonate till this world ends in which he says "Worship ("natvA") the feet ("caraNam") of the auspicious preceptor ("shrI guru"). Chant and meditate on his name ("nAmasmaraNam"). Conquer ("jitvA") the sheath/veil ("AvaraNam") of delusion/desire ("mOha"). Surrender to him as the sole ("twadEka") refuge ("SaraNam")."

Wow..what a caraNam!! I still cannot believe that someone can be so complete in just his second composition ever. He repeatedly hits the same note, ridiculing the ignorance of the human mind and how it succumbs to these alpa,tamasic pleasures when there exists a royal,sAtvic path to eternal happiness. dIkshitar also seems to have used this set as proving grounds for his rAga mudra usage skills. The prAsam in the krithi and especially the madhyamakala sAhitya brings a rich gait to the composition.

The caraNam is a musical masterpiece in the sense that even if there was no sAhityam, the mellifluous flow of the notes rich with sphurita and kampita gamakAs itself would grant the caraNam, a superstar status. Some of the highlights would be the "sGmP" phrase at "sadASivaM" followed by perhaps the best ever shuddha deivata usage in Anandabhairavi that dIkshitar brings about by employing the "SndPdp" phrase at "svAvidya". The beauty of these phrases once again comes to light clearly in DKP amma's version of this krithi. Oscillations at the niSAda at jI"vOdbhavam" and the "PSsmgrgrs" phrase at "tatvamtAmasayuta" serve as lessons for "how to extract maximum beauty out of this rAga". These are real eye-openers for anyone who wants to get a good grip of this rAga.

dIkshitar then builds up a nice crescendo using smooth, curvaceous and captivating phrases like "Sndnp; sPdnp" at "tArakEsvaramAnanda"bhairavaM. Once again DKP amma brings out the best here. The beauty of these delicate usages cannot be expressed in mere words..they are definitely to be cherished and enjoyed. It definitely leaves the rasika with that "AhA" feel. Finally, to top it all, what a madhyamakAla sAhityam. The arAjagam he does reaches the pinnacle at "natva shrI guru caraNam". It is extremely hard to believe that he has used just a single swara (Sadja) for these 4 words. What a genius. The slight tinge of the niSAda is implicit while the Sadja dominates. No one else can even imagine employing such audacious phrases. I get goosebumps when I listen to these last two lines everytime. The grammar, the prAsam, the musical just gets a little too much to take. To end the krithi, dIkshitar rounds it off nicely with "GM dpm grgm" at "matvA twadEka SaraNaM" to loop back to the pallavi.

On the whole, a complete krithi which pretty much establishes dIkshitar's status as a phenomenon that seems to have reached its peak in just his second composition. If you still haven't listened to this masterpiece, I can assure you that you are missing something beautiful in your life and urge you to listen to it right away :). I will next take up the wonderful krithi "shrI gurunA pAlitOsmi" in rAga pAdi composed exclusively in tritiyA vibhakti. After trips to Chennai for a couple of interviews followed by a trip to yercaud with some of my best, old school friends :), I shall be back with my next post very soon. Till then, keep listening and keep enjoying. shrI gurubhyO nama: !!


Prasanna said...

Excellent,as usual Sai.Saddened by the demise of one of the greatest exponents of Dikshitar kritis Smt.DKP :(

Looking forward to catching up with you soon.

Musical Scientist said...

Thanks a lot Prasanna sir. Indeed a huge loss to the carnatic music fraternity :(. Deeply saddened by amma's death..however her music will keep ringing in all our lives forever.


ajay namboodiri said...

its very interesting.......manasa guruguha one of my favorite krithi in anandabhairavi...when i read the meaning and the way you narratted ...its excellent.very informative. looking forward for more of this.....
ajay nambudiri

Musical Scientist said...

THanks a lot for your words of appreciation ajay :). PLease keep sharing ur thoughts.


Meera said...

This is such a great post! I've been hooked to Ananda Bhairavi of late, and Dikshitar's thyAgarAja yOga vaibhavam and mAnasa guruguha, are both constantly ringing in my ears, apart from SS's marivErE.It was just coincidental that I happened to see your post.Really nice. What a cool ragam!

Musical Scientist said...

Dear Meera,

So glad to hear that you liked the post so much :). If you have been hooked on to A'bhairavi, please listen to daNDAyudhapANiM..yet another brilliant masterpiece. So, do listen to it :).


Unknown said...

Is it possible to get an audio of DKP's daNDAyudhapANim in Ananda Bhairavi