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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lec-Dem on Devi Kritis, Sanskrit College

Lec-Dem on Devi Kritis
Smt. Rajeswari Thyagarajan & Smt. Anusha Pradeep

Dr. Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute Hall. Sanskrit College.
25th October 2008. 6:30 pm

The programme started with a introduction of the programme by Sri Madhavan and introduction of the artists by Smt. Seetha.

Smt. Anusha started off with a slOkam on Lord Ganesha, 'gajAnanam bhUta gaNAdi sEvitam' in hamsadvani and some verses of the 'shyAmaLA danDakam' rendered in dhanyAsi.

Smt. Rajeswari gave the explanations and commentaries while Smt. Anusha rendered the kritis.

It began with the explanation on what yOgam is, and the importance of nAda yOgam. nAdam was the first form of energy to be created when the Lord decided to make the universe. The types and classifications of nAdam and the fact that nAdam and nAda yOgam is the easiest to reach the God was explained with some quotes from 'Vishnu Puranam' and 'Lalita Sahasranamam'. Also stressing the fact that the Supreme God resides where Good 'nAdam' is being presented. The music should get into the soul and give some vibrations which can make you get 'jIva mukti' and such music is the 'nAdam' in which God resides. There is nothing equivalent to this divine 'nAdam'. A true 'nAda yOgi' always revels in such 'nAdam'. The point that the easier way to reach the Lord is by nAda yOgam was also stressed upon.

Our Sangeetha Trinity have realised this and have made compositions that can induce the right kind of energy to give the ultimate 'nAda yOgam'. Thyagaraja has composed on the sangeetham and the nAdayOgam and its benefits. Thyagaraja's 'mOkshamu galadA' in sAramati was rendered to highlight this.

Muthuswami Dikshitar was a great Scholar in Sanskrti and Music and a nAdOpAsakA. Dikshitar's composition on Goddess Lakshmi is what we are going to take up. He uses a lot of names of the Gods. A lot of words with in-depth meaning. nAmAvaLi is found totally. There are atleast 20 nAmAvaLis for each kriti and there are lots of informations about the kshEtram and full description is found.

This kriti in lalitA has a story associated. Dikshitar had 2 wives. Ramaswamy Dikshitar thought MD had problems with first wife's looks and married him to another lady, who was attracted to wealth and ornaments and Golden ware. She pestered MD to go and sing in praise of the local chieftain and king and get lots of wealth. MD composed this kriti saying "Oh Goddess Lakshmi, I sing in praise of you. how can i sing on these lesser mortals" It is believed that the Goddess Lakshmi came in the dreams of MD's wife and told her to not ask for wealth and made her follow MD's ways of nAdOpAsana. On hearing this, MD composed a thanks-giving kriti 'mangaLa dEvatAyA' set in danyAsi, in which, in the first line itself, he mentions his salutations to her for listening to whatever he pleaded the day before.

There are about 20 nAmAvaLis in this lalitA kriti. hiraNmayIm, lakshmIm, kshIrAmbudhi tanayAm, harivakshastalAlayAm, hariNIm, maragada maNImaya valayAm, mANikyAbaraNadharAm, gIta vAdhya vinOdinIm are some of them. gIta vAdhya vinOdinIm stressing on the fact that she is one who can be soothed with music. This lalitA kriti was rendered.

Next kriti we take up will be Shyama Sastri's Brovavamma in mAnji. It is said he composed 300 kritis but we have only 71. Many of them are in telugu. Some in telugu and Sanskriti. There are Kritis, Swarajatis, varNams, gItams composed. Number of Ragams used is minimal. Apoorva Ragams employed are cintAmaNi, kalgaDa and mAnji. mAnji is close to bhairavi and is considered a folk version. Unlike bhairavi, this ragam has to be sung slow only. There are compositions of GKB and MD in this ragam. Number of nAmAvaLi in his kritis are very less. In this kriti, he has used her name only twice. In other parts he pleads to her and asks her to save her and says she is her only resort and she is the only god who can save him and she is the ultimate goddess. The two names are kAmAkshI and tripurasundari. kAmAkshI means one who has Lakshmi and Saraswati as her eyes (kA - sarasvati, mA - Laksmi, akshi - eyes).
tripurasundari can be interpreted in many many ways. tripura is popularly interpreted as 'bhUlOkam, svaragam, bhAtALam'. It can also be interpreted as follows. One who is beyond the three actions: srushTi, sthithi and samhAram. One who predates or precedes the 3 Gods: Brahma, Vishnu, Siva. One who is beyond manam, buddhi, ahankAram. One who is beyond the three guNas: sAtvic, rajasic, tAmasic. One who is beyond the various kramAs and diseases of the body. The mAnji kriti was presented.

The next kriti is 'vINApustaka dhAriNim' in vEgavAhini by MD. The Sanskrit College is a very pioneering and long standing institution and a seat of learning. It is filled with sarasvati kaTAksham. It is very appropriate and important to sing a kriti on Goddess Sarasvati here. This is a little rare kriti compared to other Sarasvati kritis of MD. MD's compositions in rare and new ragams are well known. His compositions on Hindustani-based ragams is also known. This is one of 5 kritis in this rAgam vEgavAhini.

In the Veenai Dhanammal family, had a very strong attachment to this kriti. On every sarasvati pooja day, she performed this kriti in their house's courtyard, after bathing in rose water. This kriti also has a lot of nAmAvaLis.

The usage of paurnami chandrikA and rAkA chandra vadanAyam to refer to the face of the goddess was mentioned.

The vEgavAhini kriti was rendered.

The next is the kriti 'Ema ninnE' in mukhAri. Subbaraya Sastri is the Second son of Shyama Sastri and is disciple of all three of the Trinity. He also learnt Hindustani music from a certain Meru Goswami. Only 11 of his compositions are available to us. They are in telugu, sanskrit and tamil. He was Asthana Vidwan at Udayarpalayam. He dint travel much and composed on the places he visited.

Ema ninnE is on kAmAkshi at Kanchipuram, which happens to the place of his wife. Other famous compositions include vEnkaTa saila vihArA composed at Tirupati. His mudra is kumAra. He had a lot of connections to Lord Murugan. He was born in 'kritikA' nakshatram. His father, Shyama Sastri's real name was vEnkata Subramanian. Dikshitar was named Muthuswami as he was born after his Parents did a 42 day 'vratam' for the Muthukumara Swamy at Vaitheesvaran Kovil. Also, in Thiruttani he was blessed by Lord Muruga himself for him to start compose. Thyagaraja was named after the presiding deity at Thiruvarur, which is a sOmAskanda mUrti, which is sivA with pArvati and murugan.

The other common trait of all these great composers was that they all had full control over their body, thoughts, soul and everything. They all knew when their end would come. In the case of Subbaraya Sastri as well, He knew when he was going to leave his mortal remains. On the day when Subbaraya Sastri realise his end was nearing and the Zamindar of Udayarpalayam asked him what would be his last wish, Subbaraya Sastri quitely said "I dont want anything more. It is a blessing that I could sing about Kamakshi in this birth. That is enough for me". He was thinking of Goddess Kamakshi till his end. Similarly we know about Dikshitar's end which was the day before Deepavali.

This illustrates the power they had and the kinds of compositions they have made are a testament to the same. It is a blessing for us to be able to understand and relish atleast a little bit of their mastery.

The kriti 'Ema ninnE' was rendered.

The last kriti is the mangaLa kriti in srI rAgam from the KamalAmba navAvarNam. This set is a very special one. All of them on the Presiding Deity at Thiruvarur. The kritis indicate the Sri Chakra Devatas and the kritis also indicate the way to reach the Goddess at the Bindu of the Chakram. The srI rAgam kriti is the mangaLam kriti for this set. The rAgam is a very auspicious one. The kriti also has a lot of nAmAvaLis. Let us all pray for the auspicious of all of us to Goddess Kamalamba and finish the programme with this mangaLa kriti.

The srI rAgam mangaLam kriti was rendered.

It was very interesting and useful lec-dem. I thoroughly enjoyed the commentary and the renditions. All the kritis were rendered in the apt pace and with no hurry. It was a very useful programme.


PS: This report is in first person at most places. For want of time, i find it easier to transcribe the lec-dem rather than report or write about it.


Blogger Krishna said...

Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, fortune, power, luxury, beauty, fertility, and auspiciousness. She holds the promise of material fulfillment and contentment. She is described as restless, whimsical yet maternal, with her arms raised to bless and to grant her blessings.

Goddess Laxmi, Ganesha and Laxmi, Ganesha saraswati and laxmi, Laxmiji Photo, Laxmi Pooja, Laxmi Wallpaper

11:49 AM  

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