Thursday, December 24, 2009

Aruna Sairam - Chennaiyil Tiruvaiyaaru

Dec 23, 2009, Wednesday - Kamarajar Hall.

The hall was like tirupati devasthanam. Full of people standing in the queue eagerly to enter the hall. I was also one among them. People literally thronged into the entrance much like first show of a new movie released. It took nearly 20 mins for the crowd to settle down. Aruna started to sing Kizhvanam vellendru in dhanyasi ragam. She placed a short niraval in the line devadi devanai sendru naam sevithal.

Then was the kalyani raga kriti of Oothukkadu Venkatasubbaier. It was one of the saptha ratna kriti. I heard for the first time. It was a nice kalyani. Then was the natakurunji raga. After a weight alapana, she sung Vazhi maraithirukkudhe malai pola oru maadu paduthurukkudhe. It was Gopalakrishna bharati kriti from nandanar charitham. Aruna sung it so well. The emotions of nandanar, his longing to see the lord inside the sanctum sanctoram, but nandi infront of the lord stood in the middle. I was about to shed tears when she was about to finish the song.

To ease the emotion, she sang subrahmanyena of muthuswami dikshitar in the raga suddha dhanyasi. Swaras were rendered at the line prabravamadhi of anu pallavi.

Then was syama sastri kriti kanakasaila viharini in the raga punnaga varali. It was a divine rendition. After this slow paced song, there was a fast dakka raga song of tyagaraja - the famous raka sashivadana. Then was the majestic kamboji raga alapana. It was an elaborate one. She sung Tiruvadi charanam yet another composition of gopala krishna bharati. Aduthu vandha yennai thalla laagadhu harahara yendru sonnalum podhadho - niraval and swaras were just amazing.

Then was the brindavana nilaye in the raga ritigowlai. Her traditional way of rendering oothukkadu kritis with absolute bhava was observed in the kriti. Then was an abhang in the raga darbari - bhaje mrudanga talavidha. Ganapati paapa moriya mangala moorthi moriya was welcomed by the audience with claps. Then came the request from the audience to sing maadu meikkum kannae. She sang without any hesitation. We were rejunuvated by the song, thinking about the childhood days.

Then was the viruttham om muruga in the raga shanmukapriya. After few lines it was a nice transition to neela mani raga and Aruna sung enna kavi paadinalum. She added words lakumi maamiyum paarkavillai in anu pallavi and alatchiyamo unakku unnai naan viduvadhilai in the charanam.

The concert was concluded with arunagirinathar tiruppugazh muthaithiru in the raga shanmukapriya. It was a wonderful concert.

Unni Krishnan - Chennaiyil Tiruvaiyaaru

December 20, 2009, Sunday - Kamarajar Hall

It was a pleasant sunday evening. Unni Krishnan started the concert with Narayana Tirta's nata raga kriti Jaya Jaya swamin. After a steady rendering of the sahitya, there was a brief medium paced kalpana swaras. Then was the mayamalavagowla kriti tulasi dhala of tyagaraja. There were swift flowing swaras for the song. Then was the shanmukapriya alapana. Unni chose andavane unnai vendugiraen. Apt niraval at thandavam aadum and swaras were also interesting.

Then was the rarely sung nagaswarali alapana. I got the raga at the first line itself as it resembled sri pathe nee patha of tyagaraja. Unni selected padumanaban maruga muruga. Then was a traditional thodi raga alapana. At the start it was like dhanyasi without rishabam in the aarohana prayogam and later it was pure thodi. Unni sung kaddanuvariki of tyagaraja. It was a longtime since I heard this kriti. Indeed it was a feast.

Then came his famous jagajanani in the raga ratipatipriya. Kavadi chindu (pulli kalaba mayil paahan) followed the song. Then was a fast dhinakarunakarane nataraja of papanasam sivan. He concluded the concert with a hamsanandi raga tillana.

Nithyasree Mahadevan Chennaiyil Tiruvaiyaaru

December 19, 2009, Saturday at Kamarajar Hall, Teynampet.

There was a decent number of people at the hall to witness the concert of Nithyasree. She started the concert with a charukesi raga varnam by Lalgudi Jayaraman. A humble start. The next song was okapari joodaga in the raga kalavathi, a composition of Tyagaraja. Kalpana swaras were nice and brief. Next was nannu vidachi in the raga ritigowlai, composed by Tyagaraja. The ritigowla alapana, steady rendering of the sahitya, portrayed DKP - DKJ school in her.

Fourth song was saraswathi manohari in the raga saraswathi manohari, DKP fame dikshitar song. Nithyasree chose mohanakara muthukumara in the raga neethimathi (60 th melakartha raga), a song of kotiswara Iyer. The kalpana swaras caught the very essence of the rare raga. This raga resembles simmendra madhyamam except for the dhaivatha swara.

Next was mohana raga alapana. An elaborate one. She chose Mysore Vasudevacharyar's Ra ra rajeeva lochana rama. She placed the niraval in the anupallavi - yela nee garuna kalkani karanamemo gaalara. The swaras were interesting. She changed from chatusra nadai to tisra, khanda, misra and sankeerna nadai in an alternating fashion which was very subtle. The swaras proved the artiste's command over the layam. But the sahityam she rendered seemed she was not much confident at few places. I may be wrong in this observation. The tani played by the percussionists were not up to the mark. It was a normal one.

Now a days we are hearing lot of innovations in tani and it seemed to be a normal one that is heard during practice sessions.

Kavingar Va Ve Su has translated a poem of Rabindranath Tagore in tamil. Nithya sung that song in rakesri raga. I think it was tuned by her. It was very pleasing indeed. Then came the beatiful raga malika of purandaradasar - nanenu maaditheno. Ranjani, Mohanam and kaanada ragas were rendered excellently.

The last song was a viruttham in the raga tilang yenniya mudidhal vendum of subrahmanya bharathi. The penultimate line of the virutham "nanniya ninmun ingu nasuthidal vendum annai" was not completely rendered. "nanniya nin mun ingu" was left out and she rendered only nasuthidal vendum annai. Then was bharatha samudayam vaazhgave. When she started, there were claps from the audience which served as the tempo for the song. The second stanza of the song, 30 kodi janangalin sangam muzhumaikkum podhu udamai, was sung in her own style - like 40 kodi, 60 kodi, 80 kodi, 100 kodi.. and so on.

With few ups and downs the concert was a pleasing one.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sanjay Subrahmanyan - Kartik Fine Arts

13-12-2009, Sunday, 6:00 PM - Kamarajar Hall - Sanjay Subrahmanyan sings for Kartik Fine arts. I saw such information in a news paper. I was thinking it would be better if I attend this concert. But getting tickets for the concert is not that much easy now a days, as all are getting sold out very soon. So let me try next time - I thought with in myself. Then I got a phone from one of our family friend that he is having tickets for the concert. Wow!! very dream coming true!!! I was excited and got ready to attend a golden concert.

Reached the venue 15 mins earlier and took the seat allocated for me. The curtains raised sharply at 6 PM. Sanjay was accompanied on the violin by Nagai Muralidharan, on the mridangam by Guruvayoor Durai(yet another veteran) and on the ghatam by T.V.Vasan.

The concert started with todi raga ata tala varnam. Then was Arunachala kavi's hanumane saamikkindha adaiyalam sollaiya in the raga malayamarutham. The swaras for the song were like a strong breeze. Third was andholika raga. Sanjay chose tyagaraja's raga sudha rasa. The kalpana swaras were amazing. Then came the brave bhairavi. After a weight alapana sanjay sung rama lokabhi rama. The niraval and swaras were proudly holding sanjay's trademark. So much of breath control holding on the same swara for a long time, so much of confidence to experiment new styles. It was a power packed rendering.

Then came a soft and scintillating sankarabaranam and sanjay rendered idhu nalla tharunam. It was at a steady pace. The next raga was rishbhapriya. I heard MLV's gananaya desika so I could easily recognize the raga. There were murmurs among the audience as they were not sure of what raga was it. Once the alapana was over and the violinist too has completed his turn, a member among the audience rose up and asked what the raga was and the artiste replied that it was rishabapriya. Yet another feather on my cap! Sanjay sang the same gana naya desika of koteeswara iyer. In the charanam there will be lines saying about the raga. It is as follows - "shadja rishaba priya gaanthaara madhyama panchama dhaivatha nishadha.. saptaswara sangita kavi kunjara dasa". He was repeating the line shadja rishaba priya and stressing on the raga.

The swaras were in such a way that they ended with sa ri ga ma pa dha ni saptha swara.. or sa ni dha pa ma ga ri sa dha saptha swara.. The tani avartanam played by guruvayur durai and T.V.Vasan were superb. Lot of rare sancharas in the laya. They played andhadhi type of tani avartanam. That is, mridangam will stop at a jathi and from that jathi (sol) the ghatam will start. It was quite interesting.

Then was marukelara in the raga jayanthasri. It was a quick rendering. There after due to personal limitation I started from the venue but with a satisfied heart.

T.M.Krishna concert - Asthika Samajam Venus Colony

That was on Saturday (12-12-2009) I glanced through Mylapore times magazine. There were schedules of different music concert. But one name caught my eyes and it was T.M.Krishna.

I am going to hear a full fledged concert of that artiste for the first time. I was longing to hear him for the past years but unfortunately I could not make it. I had been hearing this artiste through radio or CD or TV. First time I am going to see him and hear his concert live!

With lot of enthusiasm I started for his evening concert 6:30 pm. Being a saturday the normal relaxed mood got imbibed into my mind. It was organised by Sruthi Laya kendra of Guru Karaikudi Mani (veteran mridangam player).

The first song was in the raga kalyani - rama nee vaadu kondo in rupaka talam. It was a composition of Saint Tyagaraja. I had never heard it before. This added more enthusiasm in me, looking forward for the kalpana swaras. The artiste sung niraval and then followed by kalpana swaras. TMK was at his peak in the very first song itself. I couldn't control my hand putting the tala when he sung the niraval and swaras.

Then was kuntala varali. He did a brief alapana of the raga. Many sitting beside me were not sure of the raga. I got it at the first line itself. This made me to be proud about myself (!). Just joking..

He sang unnai thudhikka - the first composition of Tamil Tyagaiah Papanasam sivan. Niraval was made in the first line of charanam "Ponnaattilum sirandha punniya kamalalayam". This was on Tiruvarur Tyagaraja swami. Following the niraval was the avalanche of swaras.

The third song was a quick vinaradana manavi in the raga devaganthari. This is one of the sri ranga pancharatnam that Saint Tyagaraja has composed on Srirangam Ranganathaswami. This is the raa patthu time of vaikunta Ekadesi and it remainded me of my days at trichy.

Fourth was the saveri ragam. Krishna did an innovative alapana for nearly 20 minutes. There is a ragamalika written by kadaloor subramanian "raga thil sirandha ragam yedhu". In that he would have mentioned - "kaveri pol odum saveriya". That was apt for the saveri sung by krishna. Amazing flow of swaras. The way krishna held for a long time in the uchcha sthayi swaras in the alapana was highly commendable. When he was trying the high pitched brihas it made me to think that he is arguing with the raga saveri. "Hey please come... Will you not come? Wait and see.. I will handle you..". Once the high pitched brihas were presented perfectly the next phrases made me to think that he was telling the raga devata, "see how I made you come? Good.. thanks..".

Then was the tanam which was also great. Krishna chose a pallavi set to khanda jaathi triputa taalam (2 kalai).
khanda jaathi - lagu has 5 counts (a beat followed by count using little, ring, middle and index fingers )and triputa talam (has a laghu + 2 dhrithams (dritham - beat + turn). So there are 5 + 2 + 2 = 9 counts and 2 kalai means tapping a count 2 times.

The pallavi he chose was "Sri rama para brahmma kripa paalam rama brahmma sutha sucharita". T.K.V.Ramanujacharyalu on the violin, B.Harikumar on the mridangam and B.S.Purushottaman on the kanjira offered a fantastic support to the singer. Singer was also enthusiastic in appreciating the accompanists wherever apt and encouraging them. This was the fantastic part of the concert. Not many concert will contain this portion where all are on the same page.

Ragamalika swaras were in the raga mohanam, malayamarutham, sindubhairavi. Of these sindubhairavi needs special appreciation.

Next was a bhimplas raga song on lord krishna - gokula... Then was my favourite muralidhara gopala in the raga maand. I heard MLV singing this song in the morning in my music player. Evening TMK sang. The last song was mangalam written by Bhadrachala ramadasa in the raga kurunji - Ramachandraya janaka raja jaa manoharaya..

It was a wonderful treat for the saturday evening by Krishna. Energy level never faded from the start to end.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Softsmith Free Webinars Dec 2009

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MS Access Database
Load Runner Basics
Perl Programming Basics
Linux Process Monitoring
QTP Basics
Insurance Fundamentals
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Virtualization
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Critical points in coding and testing

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Singing Pallandu

Pallandu singing is for blessing some one. Normally a younger one will be blessed by an elderly person. Or more learned person will bless less learned person. But if you see periyazhwar has sung pallandu for Maha vishnu. In what way Periyazhwar is elder than Maha Vishnu who has no origin, no birth? Or in what way he is wiser than the omniscient narayana? But his sheer love on god qualified him to sing pallandu. Periyazhwar was given a respectable position by the pandya king. Yet he is a normal down to earth person who is thinking of the lord always. Though he is seated on top of an elephant his thoughts were fixed on namperumal.

When azhwar visualizes lord vishnu with his consort lakshmi, ascended on the garuda, he didnt think that lord should have come down to bless the devotees. But he had a different view. A view of a mother. He thought the lord is so handsome and when he ascends on the garuda, the beauty knew no bounds. He should be protected from the evil eyes. So azhwar sings pallandu thinking that it will protect the lord from the evil. Such an affection periyazhwar had on Vishnu. Even in his other pasurams he use to think him as lord krishna's mother and when he danced on the serpant kalinga, he was very much worried that the poison emitted from the snake should not harm his child lord krishna!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Need for tapas

Our ultimate goal in life should be to reach god. But there are 3 obstacles that will prevent us from attaining our goal. They are called as 3 malams. They are ego (ahankaram) , illusion (maya) and deeds (karma). One need to get rid of these three inorder to reach god.

The first step for achieving this is to start paraying to god. For that we are going to temple. Many may ask, why should we go to temple for praying to god, when he is present everywhere (omnipresent). Going to temple is like doing tapas or meditation. In this world there are lot of things that will kill our concentration. So we need a place where our attention is not diverted away from god. Temple serve for this purpose. We are not great saints to hold our concentration for a long time without getting deviated. Even the saints in ancient time will go to punya sthalas and theerthas for meditation.

The sages at naimisharanya who were devoid of the three malams mentioned above were unhappy as they were not able to understand the inner meaning of vedas. A new sage comes to naimisharanya and understanding their worries asks them not to feel bad. He also says that they need to do tapas and it should be done at a place where they can interact with god one on one. The sages asks the new saint himself to suggest a place and he suggests them all to go to Madurai and sit infront of the dakshinamurthy who is none other than lord shiva manifested as guru.

The sages then go to madurai and understand that Lord shiva is the essence of vedas. Detailed explanation is given in my other post. Click here to read it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Essence of Vedas

At the place called as Naimisharanya, the sages were learning the vedas. They wanted to know the essence of vedas. So they started to Madurai. There is a Dakshinamoorthi at the temple. He is called as guru or the one who teaches and guides. He will be seated facing the south. He has 4 arms.

His upper right hand holds the rudraksha mala. Rudraksha bead got created from the tears that fell from Shiva's (Rudra's) eyes. His left eye is the moon (soma), right eye is the sun (surya) and the third eye is the fire (Agni). From his left eye 12 drops flowed, from his right eye 10 drops flowed and from his third eye 8 more drops flowed. So together there was 30 drops which formed the 30 beads of the rudraksha japa mala that is held in the upper right hand of guru. Rudra + aksham (from rudra's eye).

His lower right hand shows the chin mudra. In this mudra the index finger will be touching the thumb and the other three will be separated from the index finger. The thumb is paramatma, index finger is jivatma. The other three are Jealousy, Pride and Karma. This symbolises if jivatma leaves behind the three impurities jealousy, pride and karma, it reaches the paramatma.

His upper left hand holds the amrutha kalasa that stores the nectar which grants immortality. This symbolises that the guru will grant immortality to all those who completely surrender to him.

His lower left hand holds the knowledgeable books. Those books contain the essence of vedas. The sivagnana bodham. The ultimate reality is the brahmman alone.

Just by seeing the young guru, the sages were satisfied that Shiva (Paramatma) is the essence of vedas.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Beyond the yugas

In hinduism (Sanathan Dharma) it is considered that vedas existence is beyond the yugas. There are 4 yugas. Krita yuga which lasted for 17 lakh years, Thretha yuga which lasted for 11 lakh years, dwapara yuga which lasted for 8 lakh years and the present kaliyuga whose span is 4 lakh years. Lord Maha Vishnu is worshipped in all vedas. It was he who took the Matsya avataram in the krita yugam for saving the vedas from the asuras. This incident proves as an evidence that vedas were there in existence even before the krita yuga. So one can say the vedas are approximately 36 lakh years old (summing up the span of all 4 yugas).

We also say that 4 yugas form one maha yuga. Also 1 Maha yuga is Brahmman's day time in his 1 day. Yet another maha yuga is his night time of a day. Like this we dont know how many days were happened before the present maha yuga. So the age of vedas cannot be computed. Its really a great thing that this vedas are in existence still. The 4 yugas keeps on rotating in an order.

Like the vedas existence being beyond yugas, Veda Purusha Narayana's existence and his worship is also beyond yugas. The tirumala that we see today is headed by Srinivasa Perumal. In the before yugas it was Sri Varaha moorthi who was the presiding deity. This varaha moorthi's incarnation dates back to krita yuga.

Peyazhwar in one of his paasuram (divya prabandam) states that Lord Narayana is everyone's antaryamin (inner soul). He alone resides in his heart too.

Boodhathazhwar states that even the monkeys which use to behave so naughty in other places, will be so disciplined and will offer flowers and worship the varaha moorthi there at tirumala.

Such a fantastic place is Tirumala and so is our India. Even in the sankalpa mantra that forms the important part of all hindu rituals, we use to say baaratha varshe, bharatha kande, jambu dvipe (in the indian sub continent). Such an importance is being given to the nation. So the vedas, sri man narayana and of course our nation India has been there for many yugas.

Humour to Relax - 1

1. Ant and elephant were travelling in their bike and car respectively. Both met with an accident. Ant escaped with minor injuries. Elephant is badly hurt. Ant went to elephant and said something. On hearing that, the elephant collapsed. What could it be?

Ant said, "Dont worry about the blood loss. I shall donate blood to you!!!". :)

2. Four ducks were walking though watery pond. These are all the statements:

Duck 1: I have 3 ducks following me.
Duck 2: I have 2 ducks following me.
Duck 3: I have 1 duck following me.
Duck 4: I have 3 ducks following me.??

How is that possible??

Its possible because the 4th duck has lied!!!

Then in another pond they made the following set of statements. But all the statements are true. How?

Duck 1: I have 3 ducks following me.
Duck 2: I have 3 ducks following me.
Duck 3: I have 3 ducks following me.
Duck 4: I have 3 ducks following me.

Because they are moving around the same place in a circle. :)

3. How will you lift an elephant with one hand?
It is easy. You cant find an elephant with one hand!!!

4. How can you make two elephants to sit in an auto rickshaw??
With much difficulty we can make. (Just for joke)

5. e^x and c (constant) are walking on the road. Suddenly e^x chuckles that in few second you will be destroyed (set to zero) as differentiation is coming.
(as dc/dx = 0 and d(e^x)/dx = x log e i.e. x). Suddenly c started laughing. The differentiation is with respect to y and not with respect to x. So both of us are gone. (dc/dy = 0 and d(e^x)/dy = 0 [partial differentiation].

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Abhirami andhaadhi translation

Abhirami - the presiding deity of thirukkadavoor. She is the consort of shri AmrithakadEswara. She is known for the grace that she bestows on her devotees. Strong bhakti on her has saved the life of a man - Shri Abhirami bhattar who was about to lose his life as he uttered a lie to the king. To find out more interesting facts about Abhirami and this story, visit Abhirami Andhaadhi translation page. This great work was done by one of my friend Shri Rajagopal who is also a motivating factor for me to write more in this blog.

A glimpse of Mother Abhirami's attention when it falls on us, it will grant wealth, knowledge, courage, good relatives, god hood and all good things. Abhirami is light red complexioned. Light red is usually connected with grace. In the lalitha sahasranama dhyana slOkA there will be a phrase "arunaam karunaantharangithAksheem". Arunan is the charioteer of Surya. He comes before suryOdhayam. The light red that one could see before the dawn - how beautiful it is? So is Abhirami.

I had been following this translation work from the day shri rajagopal contacted me through this blog. Due to official and personal commitments I got very small time to surf through net. So I didn't write on this for these days. It was really a nice work. May goddess Abhirami and Lord Amrithakadeswara grant all good things to rajagopal and his family.

sree mAthA sree mahArAgnee sree madh simhAsanEswari
sree chakrarAjAnilayA sree madh tripurasundari
sree sivA sivasakthi aikya roopini lalithAmbikA

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lord Shiva and the number 5

The number 5 is very much associated with Lord Shiva.

Five Faces:
Shiva is 5 faced. His faces are Satyojatham, thathpurusham, eesaanam, vaamadevam and aghoram. It was from this five faces the five variable swaras ri, ga, ma, dha and ni of carnatic music evolved. Lord Muruga, the son of Lord Shiva has 6 faces. 5 of his faces are created from shiva's five faces.

Five Syllable Mantra:
Na ma shi vaa ya - popularly called as panchAkshara mantram. This is shiva's mantra. This has five syllables as shown above.

Five bhutas:
Shiva is said to be the embodiment of the five elements or pancha bhuta. Sky(Akash), Wind(Vayu), Fire(Agni), Water(Jhalam), Land(Prithvi) are five in numbers. They are the five indriyas of Shiva. Sky is his ears, Wind is his body or skin, Fire is his eyes, Water is his tongue, Land is his nose. If we closely analyse these elements are associated with the 5 senses.

Akash - Sabda(Hear), Wind - Sparsha(Feel), Fire - Roopa(See), Water - Rasa(Taste) and Land - Gandha(Smell).
The sky is space where only sound is present.
Wind can be felt.
Fire can be seen.
Water can be tasted.
Land can be smelt.

To co-memorate this we have the pancha bhuta sthala.

1. Akash - Chidambaram
2. Wind - Kaalahasti
3. Fire - Tiruvannamalai
4. Water - Tiruvaanaikka
5. Land - Kanchipuram

Five Sabhas:
Sabha is a place where the ruler or the judge is seated and hears to the prayers or petitions. Lord Shiva sits on 5 different sabhas at 5 different places.

1. Kanaka sabhai - golden throne - Chidambaram
2. Velli sabhai - silver throne - Madurai
3. Ratna sabhai - gem throne - Tiruvalangadu
4. Taamira sabhai - copper throne - Tirunelveli
5. Chitra sabhai - Artistic throne - Tirukkuttralam

Monday, October 05, 2009

Monsoon festival by Balaganamrutham - Shyam Prakash and Party Concert

Amidst the heavy winds on October 4, 2009 (sunday) I went to Ragasudha hall for the monsoon festival concert. Shyam Prakash was the singer. Vijayaraghavan was on the violin and young Bharadwaj played on the mridangam. All the three were a promising combo. Especially the vocalist and the mridangist were highly talented.

The concert started with the brisk alapana in the rAgA nAttai. Shyam sung saraseeruhasanapriye. There were quick kalpana swaras that proved the profieciency of the singer. It was a good start. Aarabhi ragam follwed naatti. Tyagaraja's Nadha sudha rasam added beauty to the concert. The alapana was very soothing. Violinist reproduced it well on his solo. Kalpana swaras were also scintillating. Though few were taken from tyagaraja's pancharatna kritis like pa-pa-ma-ga-ri-- da-da-pa-ma-ga-ri-ma, it was nice.

The third was papanasam sivan's kaanavEndaamo in the raga sri ranjani. The ending of the song was delivered innovatively in high pitch with the words kaana vendaamo repeated few number of times. The next was the first slOka of annapoorna ashtakam of Adi sankara - nityanandahari in the raga sama. This was followed by the steady annapoorne visalakshi of Sri Muthuswami dikshitar.

Then was the evergreen sankarabharanam. Shyam took Mahalakshmi jaganmatha of Papanasam Sivan. I should appreciate the young mridangam star for his perfect support. The niraval, svarams, tani for this song was highly commendable. Then came a quick javali in kamas Ragam. Jagadodharana in the raga kapi was so divine. The artiste captured the exact mood of purandaradasa in this song. It was with so much bhakti. The popular abhang bhaktha jana vatsale in the raga brindavani was a good conclusion for this 1:15 hour concert.

Though this was a short duration concert the outcome was utmost satisfaction that one will get after hearing 3 hour concert.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Softsmith Free Webinars for October 2009

Softsmith Infotech presents the following webinars for the month of October 2009.
1) Programming - ASP.Net, HTML-XML-CSS, MySQL, Oracle andPLSQL
2) Testing - Interview on Load Runner, SilkPerformer, TestManagement using SPCG, QTP, Security and Usability Testing
3) Management - Interview on team leading, Customer Service
4)Tools - MS Powerpoint, MS Outlook, Visio Modeler, Subversion

Kindly log on to OpenMentor website and Softsmith's website for registration and more information.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Violin concert by A.Kanyakumari

Today (15-Sep-09) morning in FM Gold, Violin Maestro A.Kanyakumari's concert was broadcasted (7 AM to 8 AM IST). Shri K.V.Prasad was on the mridangam and Shri Govindarajan was on the ghatam. It was a fantastic treat for the morning. The concert steadily begun with karimukha varadha in the rAgA nAttai. There were swift flowing kalpana swaras. The rAgA's majesticity was well shown in the sAhityA and the swArAs.

Then was the song composed by Shri G.N.Balasubramanian in the rAgA yadhukulakAmboji, paramakripasAgari. Since it was a G.N.B's composition it was in a fast tempo when compared to other yadhukulakAmboji rAga songs. It didnt let the listener to sleep. Instead it was like a revolutionary song!

The third was tyAgarAja's aadamOdi galadE in the rAgA chArukEsi. Kalpana swaras were played at the end in a traditional way. The fourth song was Smt Ambujam krishnA's Aum NamO NArAyaNA in the rAgA karNaranjani. The brihAs for the line "kinkini kini Ada.." in the charanam proved the innovative thoughts of the artiste.

Then was Arabhi mAnam vaithaL, a 12 rAgA rAgamALika song. The highlight here is that the artiste played all 12 rAgAs - Arabhi, Anandabhairavi, kalyANi, Hamsadhwani, SArangA, SAmA, MOhanam, Lalitha, darbAr, bhairavi, poorvikalyANi, kamalamanOhari - both in forward and reverse order in the AlApana. The transformation from one rAgA to other using a common swarA is commendable. In the kalpanA swaram also this transition was there. It was a genius work. Tani Avartanam by the percussion artistes needs a special appreciation. Since I am not that much informed about the jathis and korvais I am unfit to write about it. But I enjoyed the rhythm. The concert concluded with a durgA rAga composition by sri dayAnanda saraswathi on Lord RAmA. RAmam bhajE shyAmam manasA was studded with melody.

A good and innovative concert.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ambujam Krishna Memorial Concert - Bombay Jayashree Ramnath

I had been to Music Academy to listen Smt Ambujam Krishna's compositions rendered by smt. Bombay Jayashree, this Saturday, September 12, 2009 at 6:30 PM.

The concert was started with an introduction about the artiste, composer by none other than ambujam amma's son and daughter. That was a half an hour talk that carried our memories decades back.

Jayashree started the concert with a swift chakkaravAga rAga kriti, Ranganai thudhi seidhiduvOm, dedicated to Lord RanganAtha of Srirangam. The song's pallavi, adorned the lord with elements like kasturi, parimala which was evident from the singer calling Ranganatha as Kasturi Ranganai, parimala ranganai and so on. River kAveri's greatness was also specified in the anupallavi - "gangai nigar punidha kAvEri naduvilE pongaravadhanil pallikkoNda parimala ranganai thudhi seidhiduvOm". i.e we shall bow parimala ranga who is lying on the serpant on the banks of river kAvEri whose greatness is equal to that of the ganges. The composer has also explained about the way thiruppalliyezhuchi (procedure to wake up the lord in the morning) is done there. The charanam goes like this - "sruthi layam koodi veenai yaazhOdu thiruppalliyezhichi paadi paramanai - narumalar kondu nattral poojiththu - marugina
manadhinil urugi urugi.." - with fine tuned veena and yaazh (stringed instrument) we sing the thiruppalli yezhuchi (set of songs written for waking up the lord) and by offering good flowers we pray to the lotus feet of the lord. There was a quick kalpana swaras that was simply superb.

The second song was nindra thirukkOlam in the rAga kalyAni set to adi tAlam tisra nadai. It was a traditional kalyAni that I heard after a long time. The sangathis sung for the pallavi line was a wonderful experiment that was brought out excellently. And the rendering of the line "neela mEga vannam nenjai aLLidudE.." was really heartful. This song was dedicated to Azhagar kOil sundararaja peerumAL of her home town Madurai. It had descriptions about the chitra pournami festival when the lord descends down into the vaigai river. There was also description about the 5 weapons (conch, discus, mace, sword and bow - gathi saarngi shangi chakri cha nandaki) that Vishnu use to have with him.

The third was the soulful kAnadA. It was a telugu kriti parAmukhamu sAnurA neeku paritApamu lEdA. This was dedicated to lord Rama. The expression of "will you not grant boons to me?" was well captured by the artiste. This was a composition on par with Saint Tyagaraja when it comes for rAmabhakti.

Then came the beatiful nAtakkurinji. Jayashree sang sondham vEruNdO rAmA, set to rUpaka tAlam. The last few lines of the charanam was so nice - aNda brahmmNnda akhilANdam paNi kOdhaNdapANi uNNai nambi vandha pin. The complete saranAgathi thathvam was portrayed well in this kriti. Kalpana swarams were also rendered. Each aavarthi of swara ended with the swarams Ni Sa Ri ga sondham vErundo which was saying like, is there anyother relation apt than you rAmA?

Then was the delightful dharmavathi. Jayashree sang a sanskrit composition of ambujam krishna, Janaki vallabhAya namastE in misra chapu tAlam. In the anuppallavi, there came a line "mama hrudayAmbuja vAsa" that beared the composer's signature. I think this is a rare one. I could not see her name in any of the other songs sung. This too had a good set of kalpana swaras that was very innovative.

The main piece of the concert is surutti rAga kriti written in telugu, "rAmA neevE gathiyani nirathamu namminA nannubrOva thAmasama" set to Adhi tAlam. The song was rendered in a steady way and swarams were flowing like a water fall. There was a tani aavartanam by the mridangam and kanjira artistes which was a good support for the song. The artiste announced that she learnt this kriti from smt. kamala kailasanathan who spent most of her time at thiruvananthapuram. That was a good rememberence by Smt Jayashree.

This was followed by pozhudumiga vAcchudE in the rAga rEvathi. Believe me this was the only composition that I have heard before. All the others were entirely new for me. The way Jayashree expressed the lines yennai vittu pOna kannan innum vara kaanave portrayed the longing feeling that any krishna bhaktai (gopis) will have if krishna was not by their side.

Then was a hindi composition in the rAgA bhAgeshri, mil tEjA iqbar poojese. It was a soothing one.

She concluded the concert with a rAgamaLika that was written as a lullaby(thAlattu). Devaki than kula kozhundhai was the starting. It had rAgAs like Ananda bhairavi, vasantha, Abheri, paras and neelaambari.

The concert was completed with the mangala stOtram sri rAmachandra sritha pArijAtha in the rAga nIlAmbari itself.

That was a wonderful evening treat by Bombay Jayashree.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

An Appeal to all magazines

This article I am writing with uttermost dissatisfaction with most of the magazines. I use to read most of the tamil weeklies or fortnight magazines. Most of the content are good and informative. Of course they are also interesting. But a single part brings me dissatisfaction. I think most of you would have thought about this. Nothing new. There use to be jokes. Jokes are of course fictional and not aimed at hurting any body. But I use to see some jokes related to nurses. Nurse is a divine profession. A profession that takes care of the sick people who really need proper care. Most of the jokes unfortunately portrays that nurses are kept in the hospital only to attract people. Believe me, they had not been portrayed in good sense, but with a filthy thought. Its such a bad part on us to be in this society, criticizing nurses. My sincere appeal to all magazines who have written jokes related to nurses or who plan to do so is to just stop writing such things. Write jokes that doesn't affect any person or any group.

Thanks for your patient reading.

Regards,
Saranya.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

EMI Calculation for Home loans

This is a popular topic where most of us need help nowadays. Though there are bank websites which will give Rs.X is the EMI for the loan amount of Rs.L @ R % per annum for a term of say N months. But it is very important for us to understand the underlying principle of this EMI.

EMI – Equated Monthly Installment

For the loan amount you have got, you need to pay back the principal as well as the interest. But altogether you can’t repay the same. So you are splitting your debt (Principal + interest) to the financial institution in an equal way so that you can set aside a fixed amount every month for repayment.

Assume the loan amount (L) is Rs.1,00,000/- @ rate (R%) 12 for term (N) of 12 months.

Before calculating EMI, you need to convert rate percent per annum as rate per month – i.e., divide R% by (12 x 100)

Divide by 100 to convert to absolute number from percentage and 12 to get monthly rate value.

So let us recalculate as r = R/(12*100)

In our case, r = 12/(12*100) = 0.01

EMI = (P * r) * {[(1+r)^N] / [((1+r)^N) – 1]}

Principal - 100000
Rate per annum - 12 = 0.01
Term (in months) - 12
EMI = 8885













Month NoOutstandingInt PaidPrincipal PaidEMIBalanceRate
1100000100078858885921150.01
29211592179648885841510.01
38415184280438885761080.01
47610876181248885679840.01
56798468082058885597790.01
65977959882878885514920.01
75149251583708885431220.01
84312243184548885346680.01
93466834785388885261300.01
102613026186248885175070.01
11175071758710888587970.01
128797888797888500.01


How to generate the table?

1. EMI and rate has been fixed now.
2. Now write numbers against the month column equal to the loan term that is already known to us.
3. For month 1, outstanding = loan amount (i.e. Principal)
4. Int Paid = outstanding * r [in this case r = 0.01]
5. Principal Paid = EMI – Int Paid
6. Balance = Outstanding – Principal Paid
7. Outstanding for next month is the balance of the previous month

Thus keep going for the rest of the months. You can also prepare an excel in the same format and copy formulae and generate the EMI and the table.

If you see, EMI = Principal + Interest and thus you are paying both interest and principal every month. If you observe, the interest you pay will keep decreasing with the progress of time and the principal keeps on increasing with the progress of time.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Softsmith Webinar for September 2009

This september, softsmith offers the following free webinars:

1 Linux, Visual Source Safe (VSS), Adobe Photoshop
2 Programming - Php, VBScript, C, COBOL
3 Insurance Fundamentals, CRM Features
4 Time Management Techniques, Project Scheduling - Microsoft MPP
5 MS Excel, MS Word, Demo creation - Instant Demo, Documentation Techniques
6 QTP, Rational Performance Tester, Quality Center, OpenSTA, Silk Test, Manual Testing
7 Spoken English Level 1 (Tamil Medium)
8 MySQL, Oracle and PLSQL

Visit www.softsmith.com or www.openmentor.net for more details and registration.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Patteeswaram

The moment I tell this place, one would be remembered about goddess Durga. Patteeswaram is a small town near kumbakonam. There is a famous temple for Lord Shiva. GnAnAmbikai samEdha dhEnupureeswarar temple. It has been told that the celestial cow kAmadhEnu performed pooja for the Shiva at this temple. Hence the name dhEnupureeswara for Lord Shiva here.

In this temple, one could see that the nandi is not exactly opposite to Shiva, but moved away from the straight line. Very special case. There is a story behind this. Thirugnanasambandar, a talented poet, who got the grace of PArvati Devi early in his childhood and started writing beautiful poems came to patteeswaram. That was during the peak summer. He was offered a tent made out of pearl by the temple authorities upon the order of the Lord. To see sambandar walking through the pearl tent, lord asked Nandi to move away a little. So nandi will be slightly deviated from the straight path in this temple.

We enter into the temple. Kodimaratthu vinayakar welcomes all of us by sitting in a sannidhi near the dvijasthambam. We move further and to our left there lies the temple's holy tank. Near the tank, there is a sannidhi of Agya Ganapathi. Praying to the ganapati we proceed further towards the main mandapam or mahA mandapam. There we worship at the sannidhis of Madha vArana ganapati and Subrahmanya and enter into the sanctum sanctorum of Dhenupureeswarar. There also similar to the stone nandi outside, we could observe the metallic nandi, moved away a little from the straight line path. There were sannidhis of Nataraja, Bhairava, Navagriham in the mahA mandapam and we proceed towards the sanctum sanctorum of Vishnu Durga. We move along the covered artha mandapam and find the divine mother, standing on the head of mahishAsuran, with conch and chakra in the upper hands and two lower hands offering boons and protection to the devotees. In this temple alone, goddess Durga will be wearing a 9 yard saree, as opposed to other temples where she will be wearing an ordinary saree or skirt(pAvAdai) like a small girl.

Having the darshan of durga, we move to the sannidhi of GnAnAmbikai. It is built as a separate temple. Mother gnAnAmbikA is in a standing posture with varada abhaya hastham, with her eyes filled with grace. One could lose their ignorance and gain knowledge if her vision falls on us.

After having their darshan we offer namaskArams at the dvijasthambam and move out of the temple with a sense of achieving something.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Foreign nations are clean! India very dirty!!

This kind of irritating statement most of us would have heard from NRIs and those who had been to foreign nations and have returned back.

Its in our hands. We obey the rules in foreign government. "You should not spit on the roads or you should not throw papers on the foot path" - if this has been written in other country, we obey it. But if it is written in India, we never care about it and sometime put garbage on the sign board itself that will hide the signs with the passage of time.

Say a person X who use to chew pan masala in India, stops it temporarily in other countries or spits it in the dustbin. But the moment he enters Indian airport, he is tempted to spit on the road side. He searches for dust bins to throw torn pieces of paper, but in India he throws them right under his feet and walks carelessly as if he is no longer connected with this world.

The moment Indian government brings a rule, the law breakers are busy in finding loop holes to escape from the rule.

Only if we start following these small practices, others will follow and practice it. Let us all join together to preserve the heritage of our nation.

VEnu gOpAla swAmi - pAlur

vEnugAna lOlu nigana vai ganulu kAvalanE- so sang saint TyAgaraja in his kEdaragowla rAga kriti, describing lord krishna who in the form of vEnugOpAla (with flute in his hands, surrounded by cows) as the protector (kAvalanE).

I heard this from someone that this song was composed by saint tyAgarajA at the residence of veenai kuppier (another contemprory composer). He should have written this song having pAlur vEnugOpAla swami in his mind.

pAlur is a small, quiet village near kudavasal in kumbakonam district. It is also called as mElapAlaiyur. Not many buses are there to access this village. One need to take a cab or go by walk from the main road that leads to kudavasal.

After moving through the green fields on the road side, we could see a sivan temple that marks the beginning of the agrahAram. There after for few meters one could move on a concrete road. That road takes us to the vEnugOpAla swami temple. Its a small temple dedicated to vishnu on the western side of the agrahAram.

Behind the temple there is a huge tank with some water that belongs to the temple. Surrounding the tank, there are large number of trees offering an awesome treat for our eyes.

The main deity here is Sri Lakshmi Narayana. Venugopala along with rukmini and sathyabama are the procession deities or utsava moorthi. The lord is adorned with expensive ornaments. Krishna by himself will shine brightly with the intensity of thousands of stars. His lusture, after being adorned with diamonds and other gems need no further explanation or description. Even if I try to give one, it will be definitely never upto the mark.

Coming to the tyAgaraja kriti, in the anupallavi, he describes the ornament worn by venugopala. It goes like this - vEnu lella dhrishti chutti vEyuchu brokuchu rAga - says the chutti (ornament worn on forehead) grabs one's attention first when he sees the deity.

He then describes about the lord's lotus like face, graceful eyes - vikasitha pankaja vadanulu vivitha kadulu nAtaka - okari kokaru karamula niti Orakannula jootaka - sukaravamulu kala tharunulu sogasugAnu pAtaka - sakalasurulu tyAgarAju sagunivEdaka vachchuchu.

Once if we see vEnugOpAla, standing in the sanctum sanctorum, welcoming his devotees, we can never get a feeling to move away from that place. During gOkulAshtami times, the village will have celebrations like uriyadi, adding to the fun index of the entertaining function.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

NAchchiyAr kOvil

This is the 14th among the 108 divya dEsams. It is located on the way to KumbakOnam from kudavAsal. This is famous for the kal garudan or garudA made out of stone. There is an interesting fact behind this.

During the temple festival, the lord and is taken on the back of garudA for procession. While starting, 4 people will be lifting the lord along with garuda vAhanam. The weight of the garudA keeps on increasing, demanding extra people at every furlong. 4 increases to 8, 16, 32, 64 and at last to 128. On return the garudA's weight will start diminishing. So 128 gets reduced to 64, 32, 16, 8 and so on. While entering into the garudA's place, there will be just 4 people holding the statue as it was at the start.

Another aspect of this garudA is that he has 10 serpants on his body. Near his eyes (2), ears (2), shoulders (2), throat (1), chest (1), arms (2). Usually there will be 4 or 6 serpants on garudA in other temples.

Vishnu is called by the name Srinivasa and Lakshmi is called as Vanjulavalli thAyAr. It is believed that, garudA spotted the pretty girl vanjula valli near nAchchiyAr koil and persuaded Sri Vishnu to marry her and he indeed performed the rituals. Vishnu became happy and offered GarudA status equal to him.

In this temple there is no separate sannidhi for thAyAr as other vishnu temples have. Both perumAL and thAyAr are in the same place. And Srinivasa is in the form of a human with just two hands as opposed to other temples where he use to have 4 hands.

If you observe, Maha Vishnu will be standing some what in the corner, leaving the center place to vanjula valli thAyAr. This signifies about the importance that one has to give to their wife. Surronding the couple who are standing in the wedding posture, there are 5 people who attended the marriage. BrahmmA, BalarAmA, AniruddhA, PurushOtthamA and PrathyumnA.

The temple has a nice prakAram, rAja gOpuram. Holy tank or pushkarani is located outside the temple and it is definitely a feast for our eyes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thirucherai

This is the 12th divyadEsam among the 108 divyadEsams or vishnu temples.

This sthalam is located on the way from kudavasal to nachiyarkoil. The main deity is sAranAtha perumAL. His consort, thAyAr is given the name sAranAyaki. Thi vimAnam is sAra vimAnam and pushkarani or holy tank is called as sAra pushkaraNi.

When we approach the temple, the majestic tank (there was some water in the tank :)) welcomes us all. Opposite to the tank, there lies the huge gOpuram or main tower of the temple. Crossing that gopuram, we find a dvijasthambam and a large prakAram or corridor, through which we can walk around the temple. We enter into the main mandapam and reach the place where Maha Vishnu resides.

In the sanctum sanctorum, the lord is in a standing posture (nindra thirukkOlam) with 4 hands. Conch and chakra in the upper two hands and the lower right hand offering protection (abhayam) and the lower left hand offering boons (varam). In his chest, lives goddess lakshmi. The utsava moorthi has two consorts - neela devi and bhoomi devi. Sri devi resides in his chest.

Apart from them, to the right side of the lord, sage mArkaNdEyA is seated, seeking salvation. River Kaveri seated to the left of the lord. There is also an idol of Santhana krishna (krishna as a small child) in the sannidhi.

There is a separate sannidhi for Lord Narasimha. Here he is blessing everyone along with goddess Lakshmi and gets name as Lakshmi Nrusimhar.

Coming out of the mandapam, we take a right turn to reach the thAyar sannidhi. sAranAyaki thAyAr, seated on a lotus is welcoming all her visitors with a nice smile. Praying to her, we move around the inner corridor and complete a round at the thAyar sannidhi and come out to the outer corridor. After completing the round in the outer big corridor, we offer our namaskArams to the lord and the goddess at the dvijasthambam seeking their blessings.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Konerirajapuram - Tirunallam

For those who have read kalki's novel ponniyin selvan this name will sound familiar. This is a small village near kumbakonam.

This village is famous for the Nataraja in the Shiva's temple. Lord Shiva is called as Umamaheswara and his consort devi parvati is called by the name Anga vaLa nAyaki or dehasundari amman. The temple is such a massive structure. Very very attractive with the large mandapams or halls. There is a big tank infront of the temple. Right now there is very little water in the tank.

This temple has been built by kandaradhittha chola and his wife sembian maa devi. Kandaradhithan is the grand father of the famous Raja Raja Chola. He is well known for his service to Lord Shiva, by building huge temples in his empire.

We enter into the temple. Usually to one's right side, in any shiva temple there would be Lord Vinayaka. But here, we could see Shanmuka Subrahmanya. Yes, Lord muruga with 6 faces, 12 hands, surrounded by Valli and Devasena on his both sides. To have darshan of Vinayaka first, we move to our left side portion. There Lord Vinayaka, protected by two bhutha gaNAs (one with banana bunch on his head and the other with a jack fruit on his head) is seated, blessing the devotees.

We then move into the main mandapam with dvijasthambam. If we look up, on the ceiling, there we could be amazed by the awesome paintings. We can see the five faces of Lord Shiva - thathpurusham, eesaanam, vamadevam, satyojatam and agOram, moorthis of 4 vedas, and more. After praying there at the dvijasthambam where it is believed that the power of the deity inside the sanctum sanctoram is concentrated, we enter the temple. There were also paintings of british period - policemen with arms standing at the ritual and so on. But due to poor maintenance, most of the area in the paintings got faded.

We could see lord Uma maheswara. The lingam is quite large in size that one could see the lord from the entrance. We circum ambulate the sannidhi and in the prahaaram we can see lot of other idols. Idols of Bhairava, Surya, some more siva lingas like kasi viswanathar, Shenbagavana nathar and few more are there.

Further proceeding we could see the vaahana mandapam (place where God's vehicles like swan, yaLi (mixture of lion and elephant), ox (rishabham) are kept). All the vaahanam speaks about the antique values. But again time has eaten away the charm of them. On the opposite side we could see the idols of Agastya rishi, vinayaka and some writings, stating about the architects of this temple (sembian madevi and kandaradithan).

We complete the round and come outside to see the navagraha sannidhi and there is another shiva linga that has been worshipped by all the 9 planets.

In the opposite side we see the majestic Nataraja. The tallest / the highest/ the majestic.. Whatever adjective that suits the best, we can use for him. There will be a mole and a hair stuck to the mole on his chest. To his side, stands the graceful SivakAmi. He is the moolavar. He wont be taken out for procession. To his side, there is another sannidhi where lies another nataraja. This is the utsava moorthi who will be taken out for procession. He is also called as kalyanasundara moorthi, also called as Maapillai swami and his consort is Devi kAthyAyani.

We come out of the shiva's sannidhi and go for a bigger round in the outer prakAram. There comes the devi sannidhi. Its like a separate temple. We offer our salutations to the anga vaLa nayaki or deha sundari and request for good health for every one of us. One could observe that there is a separate nandi for ambal which is very uncommon in temples in and around kumbakonam district. In few temples in other places this is very common. There is also a sannidhi of Lord Vaidyanatha in the outer prakAram, after coming out of Ambal sannidhi.

We go around the temple's outer prakaaram, talking about the massive structure and spacious prakaaraas of the temple and finally offer our namaskArams to the lord near the dvijasthambam and come out of the temple.

We then proceed to the agrahAram where people stayed. Now, it is almost deserted. Many of the people got settled in major cites or in other countries. There were houses on both sides of the street. There is also another street having houses in one lane alone. We saw our ancestral house, now belonging to someone else, from outside and proceeded to the perumaL temple, situated in the west side of the agrahAram.

PerumAL is called here as Varadharajan. Bhoomi and Neela Devi are his consorts here. In addition to Varadharaja perumal, we have a separate sannidhi for kodhanda ramar (rama with bow and arrow in his hands). Rama stands along with Sita, Lakshman and hanuman and blesses all his devotees.

There is also another temple near this perumal temple, for goddess Durga. Durga stands on the devil Mahishasuran's (buffalo like deamon) head. There is no roof for her. She is called as Akaasha Durga or Durga who is open to sky.

Praying to all these deities, with a nostalgic feeling, we left the village.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Varalakshmi Vrittham



Today, July 31, 2009 (Adi 15, 5110 Kali Era, VirOdhi) - Varalakshmi Virutham.

Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar who is known for his variety of kritis has written a song for this occasion too. This kriti, Sri varalakshmi is set to sree raagam roopaka taalam.

The composer starts with the rAgamudrA.

pallavi
shrI varalakshmI namastubhyam vasupradE
shrI sArasapadE rasapadE sapadE padE padE

Salutations to sri varalakshmi, whose feet are like lotus, graceful at every step. She bestows fortune to us. Here if you see, dikshitar has used the words brilliantlly.

sArasapadE
rasapadE
sapadE
padE


anupallavi

bhAvaja janaka prANa
vallabhE suvarNAbhE
bhAnukOTi samAna prabhE
bhakta sulabhE

sEvakajana pAlinyai
shrita pankaja mAlinyai
kEvalaguNa shAlinyai
kEshava hrta khElinyai


She is the life of Mahavishnu who is the creator of bhAvaja (manmadhan). She shines like a gold. Her brightness is equivalent to crores of suns. She can be easily reached by her devotees.

She protects her devotees, wears garland made up of lotus, embodiment good and unique virtues, plays in the heart of kEshavA.

caraNam

shrAvaNa pUrNimA pUrvastha shukravaarE
chArumatI prabhrtibhih poojita kArE
dEvAdi guruguha samarpita maNimayahArE
dInajana samrakshaNanipuNa kanaka dhArE

bhAvanA bhEdachaturE bhAratI sannutavarE
kaivalyavitaraNaparE kAnkshitaphalapradakarE

In the month of ShrAvaNa (Aadi - AavaNi), on the full moon day falling on Friday, she is worshipped by women like chArumati. She wears the garland of gems offered by Devas and guruguha (dikshitar) and she is an expert in protecting the afflicted. She resembles golden showers (kanakadhArA). She knows to differentiate emotions, is worshipped by BhArati (saraswati). She grants salvation and boons.

If you listen to this kriti, you can notice how brilliantly dikshitar has given the day on which this pooja need to be performed. His kritis are definitely an encyclopedia.

Let the goddess Varalakshmi grant all good things to all of us.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Softsmith Webinars for August 2009

This time Softsmith Infotech, Chennai is offering more courses in different areas as listed below:

Databases
MS SQL DB and TSQL
Oracle DB and PLSQL

Software basics
Software Basics for Home makers
Common computer problems

Design
Subversion
UML Diagrams

Testing
QTP Basics
Quality Center
Load Runner concepts
White Box concepts

Mainframe
Tandem Mainframe Theory
IBM Mainframe Theory

Finance Domain
Tally Concepts
Forex Business Process

Corporate Basics
HR Job Activities

Development
ASP.Net and C# Programming
Jsp, Java, struts

Language
Spoken English (Tamil Medium) Level 2

Arts
Basics theory on Carnatic Music

Visit http://www.softsmith.com or http://www.openmentor.net for more details.

Navaratri - NavAvarNa kritis



sree mAthA sree mahA rAgnee sree math simhAsanEswari
sree chakrarAja nilayA sree math tripurasundari
sree sivA siva sakthyaikya roopini lalithAmbikA

May goddess Lalita bless all of us.

In this blog, I am going to compare the sree chakram description (description about the 9 stages of the sree chakram) as told in brahmmANda purANam with Sri Muthuswamy Dikshithar's navAvarNa kritis. 1 kriti for each day.


Day 1:
* The first aavarnam of sri chakram is called as Bhoopuram.
* It is a square with three concentric layers.
* In the outermost layer, there are 10 shaktis starting with Anima, Mahima and so on.
* In the middle layer, there are 8 shaktis, starting with BrahmayA.
* In the inner layer, there are 10 shaktis. They are the 10 mudrA shaktis. (Lalita sahasranama quote - dasamudrA samArAdhyA).
* The chakram is called as trilOkyamOhana chakram.
* Property of the chakram - Enchanting the three worlds.


Head of the chakram - TripurA.
Yogini's name - Prakata

Dikshithar's kriti - KamalAmbam samrakshatumAm in the rAga Ananda Bhairavi, holds description of this chakra as:

"tripurAdhi chakrEswari AnimAdhi siddheeswari nitya kAmEswari kshitripura trilOka mOhana chakravarthani prakata yOgini ..."


Day 2:
* The second aavarnam of the sri chakram is sOdashadhalam.
* Its a 16 petaled lotus.
* It has 16 shaktis, starting from kAmakarshini.
* It is headed by TripurEsi.
* Chakra Name - sarvAsa paripUrakam
* Property - Fulfills all expectations
* Yoginis - Gupta Yoginis


Dikshitar's kamalAmbam bajarE in the raga kalyani, describes this chakram as follows:

In the charanam, "sarvaasa paripooraka chakra swaminim paramasiva kaminim durvasarchitha gupta yoginim.."


Day 3:
* The third aavarnam of the sri chakram is ashtadhalam.
* Its a 8 petaled lotus.
* It has 8 shaktis, starting from AnangA, kusumA.
* It is headed by Tripura sundari.
* Chakra Name - sarvasamkshObana
* Property - Agitates all
* Yoginis - Gupta tara Yoginis


Dikshitar's shree kamalAmbikayam katAkshithOham in the raga sankarAbaraNam, describes this chakram as follows:

Charanam has these lines - "Anangakusumaashta sakthyaakaaraaya aruna varna samkshobana chakrakaraya anantakoty anda nayaka sankara nayikaya ashta vargatmaka gupta taraya varaya anangadyupasitaya ashtadhalabja sthithaya.."


Day 4:
* The fourth aavarnam of the sri chakram is called as chathur dasAram.
* It has 14 triangles, with a shakti in each.
* The 14 shaktis starting from samkshObini are headed by Tripura vAsini.
* The chakrA nAme is called as sarva sowbhagyadAyakam.
* This chakra grants excellence.
* The yOginis are called as sampradAya yogini.


Kambodhi rAga kriti - kamalAmbikAyayai describes this aavarnam as:

"sakala saubhagyadayakamboja charanayai, samkshobhinyaadi shakti yuta chathurtha varanaayai, prakata chathurdasa bhuvana bharanaayai, prabala guruguha sampradayaantha kaaranyaayai"


Day 5:
* The fifth aavarnam of the sri chakram is known as bahir dasAram or outer 10 triangles.
* Each triangle has a shakti.
* The ten shaktis starting from sarva siddhi prada are headed by TripurAsri.
* The yOginis are called as kulOtterNa yoginis.
* The name of the chakram is called as sarvArtha sAdhakam.
* Property of this aavarnam or chakram is it helps in accomplishing all activities.



Dikshitar's bhairavi rAga kriti "sree kamalAmbikayaah param nahirE" describes the aavarnam as follows:

Charanam has the lines, "naadamaya sookshmaroopa sarva siddhi pradaadhi dasaasakthya aradhitha murthey, …. Aadhi madhyaantha rahithaprameya guruguha moditha sarvaartha saadhaka...


Day 6:
* The 6th aavarnam is called as Anthar dasAram (inner 10 triangles)
* There are 10 shaktis starting with SarvagyA and are headed by Tripura MAlini.
* The aavarnam is also called as sarva rakshAkaram
* This protects all.
* Yogini - Nigarbha yogini.


Dikshithar's Punnagavarali kriti kamalambikayastava describes this aavarnam as follows:

Charanam has the lines, "dasakalaatmaka vahni swaroopa prakasa antar dasaara sarva rakshaakara chakreswarya tridasaadinutha kacha varga dvya maya sarvagyadi dasa sakthi sameta malini chakreswarya… dasakarana vrutti marichi nigarbha yoginyam"


Day 7:
* The 7th aavarnam is called as ashtakonam that has 8 triangles.
* There are 8 shaktis starting from vashini. They are the 8 vaag devis who were responsible for organising 1000 names of Lalita as sahasranAmam.
* The yoginis are rahasya yoginis.
* The chakram is called sarva rOgahara chakram.
* It evacuvates all diseases.
* Tripura siddha heads this chakram.


SahAnA raga kriti sree kamalambikayam bhaktim karOmi describes:

"…virinchi harisana hari haya vedhita rahasya yoginyam paraadi vaag devathaa roopa vasinyaadhi vibhaaginyaam charaathmaka sarva rOga hara niraamya raja yoginyam…"


Day 8:
* The 8th aavarnam is called as trikOnam (a triangle).
* There are 3 shakthis starting with kameshwari. One shakti at each side of triangle.
* TripurAmba heads this aavarnam.
* It is also called as sarvasiddhi prada chakram.
* This chakram grants all perfection.
* Yogini - Athi rahasya yogini


Dikshithar's Ghanta raga kriti shree kamlambike avaava describes as follows:

Anupallavi has the lines - "lokapalini kapalini soolini loka janani, bhagamaalini chakradalokya maam sarva siddhi pradayike tripurambike balambike".

In the charanam the following lines come - "….santapahara trigonagehe sakameswarisakthi samuhe …. Yanta raga pasa dvesha ankusha dara kare ati rahasya yogini pare"

Day 9:
* The 9th aavarnam is the Bindu Mandalam.
* Here is the Maha shakthi - Maha Tripura Sundari.
* The yogini is called as paraaparaadhi yogini.
* The chakram is called as sarvAnandamaya chakram, that grants divine bliss.

The deity Lalithamba resides here at the bindu in the chintamani griham, on a simhasanam that is made up of 5 brahmmams (Brahmma, Vishnu, Rudran, Easwaran and Sadasivan) who performs the 5 functions (srishti, sthithi, samharam, thirOdhanam and anugraham).
She sits on the lap of Lord Kameshwara and rules the world. Chintamani griham is surrounded by kadamba vanam and is situated on the sumeru mountains.

sivakameshwarangastha siva swadheena vallabha
SumEru madhya srungastha sriman nagara naayika
chintamani grihanthastha pancha brhammasanasthitha
maha padmaata veesamstha kadamba vana vasini


Dikshithar's sree kamalamba jayati in the raga Ahiri describes as follows:

Pallavi has a line "sripura bindu madhyastha chintamani mandirastha".
Anupallavi has lines, "sukarananadyarchita mahatripurasundarim rajarajeswarim, srikara sarvanandamaya chakra vasinim, suvasinim.."

MangalasAsana kriti - srI kamalAmbikE shivE pAhimAm in the rAgam sree is an apt end to the navAvarNa series. The composer describes the real form of dEvi sitAsitE (sitha asitha - meaning fair and dark). He describes her as the auspicious one, worshipped by vishnu and she will always be with Shiva (siva sahitE). Her face is like a full moon and she is the friend of saraswati and lakshmi. She protects all her devotees and grant boons to them.

Let Lalita protects all of us.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Remembering D.K.P - The Lioness of Carnatic Music



I am writing this blog with deepest sorrow in my heart. The lioness of carnatic music, one of my favourite singer sangeeta kalanidhi - Padma Vibhushan Smt D.K.Pattammal passed away yesterday on July 16, 2009 at 1:30 PM at her residence.

Born on March 28, 1919 at Damal, a village near Kanchipuram to Shri Krishnaswamy and Smt KAnthimathi, DKP was a trend setter. She was the first woman to handle RTPs in the concerts. There was a illusion in the world of Carnatic Music that women cant perform as much as men do. DKP shattered that illusion and created a platform for female artistes. Her demise is definitely an irreplaceable loss to the music world.

She is famous for Bharathi songs, Dikshitar kritis. Her pronunciation of sanskrit words or any language word is definitely a variation factor from others. Every word will be uttered with utmost sincerity and her voice will be majestic as well as mellifluous. Whether she sings SoundararAjam in brindAvana sAranga or sree satyanArayanam in subapantuvarALi of Muthuswami Dikshitar or vetrri yettu dhikkum yetta of subrahmanya bharati or shanti nilava vENdum in tilang, or any other song, I will definitely lose my worldly consiousness and enter into a state of eternal bliss. Such a soothing singer.

D.K.Pattammal(1919-2009) along with M.S.Subbulakshmi (1916-2004) and M.L.Vasanthakumari (1928-1990) formed the female trinity of carnatic music world.

There was a popular saying that DKP is not pattammal but paattammal (paattu - music -> mother of music.) My respectful homage to the legend and deepest condolence to DKP's family, students and fans.

Photo of Smt Pattammal with Smt. Rukmini Soundararajan for a concert at Music Academy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

MLV 80th Birthday Celebration



MLV - Melody Layam Vidwat has been the expansion given to the legendary musician srimathi M.L.Vasanthakumari by her students and fans. On July 3 and 4, 2009 at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Main hall, a function was launched by Dr.MLV rasikar mandram. I had been there on July 4. The guests of honour were sangeetha kalanidhi sri T.N.Seshagopalan who shared his personal experiences with MLV. He mentioned that it was MLV who introduced him to Mumbai Shanmukhananda sabha in seventies. Its very rare to find an artiste who refer another artiste and that too very junior to them, as quoted by TNS sir.

The other guest was Mr.Seshasayee, MD Ashok Leyland, who was popularly known to many as MD, but very few know about his Musical skills. He has been blessed to be with MLV personally. He shared his experiences with her, that portrayed her humbleness. He was painting in his room and suddenly MLV came inside and asked him whether if he could teach her painting and in turn, she could teach him music. I was just moved to tears on hearing this! Yeah!! She being the lioness of carnatic music circle and how humble and simple was she to ask in such a polite way? Definitely, MLV was simplicity personified!!

The third guest was Ms Kanimozhi, MP. I liked the way she spoke. She felt a lot for not being closely associated with MLV personally. Even I use to feel the same whenever I think about MLV. Though I am connected with her through the songs, I use to feel a lot for not having seen her in person.

After these nostalgic speeches, there came Padmashri Sudha Ragunathan, one of the disciples of MLV. She launched a DVD about MLV which carried the title Melody - Layam - Vidwat. This DVD is to be released on her commemoration day, that falls on October 31, 2009. It was a wonderful DVD that can be kept as a treasure. A preview was played which was very impressive.



Followed by this there was a carnatic music concert, by Sudha. The accompanists were Sri Embar Kannan(Violin), Mannargudi sri Easwaran (Mridangam) and Sri B.S.Purushottaman (Kanjira). Easwaran sir's mridangam needs special appreciation. He was the heart beat for the concert, executing apt layams at appropriate places. Sudha's singing needs no special elaboration. It was as usual superb!

The concert kick started with starry navaragamalika varnam. Then came siddhi vinayakam in the raga chaamaram (aka shanmukhapriya) by dikshithar. There were fast flowing kalpana swaras. I use to feel that MLV use to sing swaras on the fly. I could see that in Sudha on that day.

Then sudha choose, raaka sasi vadana (dakka). Following that she sung raguvara in pantuvarali with elaborate alapana which was enjoyable. Then came MLV fame chalanata kriti of Kotiswara Iyer, Yedaiyya gathi. The artiste portrayed the raga bhavam while singing the phrase "bhoothala chala naattaa".



After the steady chalanatta, there came the scintillating kadhanakuthookalam. She sang, a devi kriti, composed by GeNius Balasubramanian (GNB) [courtesy for the name - Ramanathan N Iyer's blog on carnatica.net]

Then came the queen bhairavi. Sudha's massive imagination is portrayed in her alapana. She never bores here rasika through alapana and makes it more interesting by doing some innovation as her guru MLV does. She chose the kriti balagopala of Muthuswami Dikshithar. Sudha once said in an interview that she practiced a sangathi in anu pallavi of that song (neela niratha sareera dheera) for a whole night. I doubt her on that. She must have practiced the entire song like that :)

Bhairavi flowed like the ganges and so did the feel of that song. Several songs were sung as listener's choice. I just spoke about the main songs that captured my mind very much.

What I felt was, it was not Sudha's concert. It was MLV's concert. In the place of Sudha, her guru MLV was there. In Kannan's place, his guru violin maestro Kanyakumari was seated. Already Easwaran sir was there in mridangam place and instead of Purushottaman, Kanjira exponent Harishankar was there. Concert in memory of MLV would be there in my memory forever.

Smt.Parvathi Gurumurthy, Tamil Teacher at Sivaswami Kalalaya, an ardent fan of MLV has written a book (Vasantha Kumari Pillai thamizh) which has 100 songs about the legend MLV. Its a worthy book to be read by every admirers of MLV.



P.S. - Pillai thamizh is sung in praise of a person, thinking him/her as a child. From a child's third month to its 21st month, the time span is divided into 10 stages and each stage will have 10 songs.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sri Adhi kEsava perumAL

Sri Mayooravalli thAyAr samEdha sri Adhi kEsava perumaL, thirumayilai is a scintillating sthalam. Hundreds of years ago, sri pEyAzhwAr had performed thiruppani for this temple. The majestic dvijasthambam is the one that we see first on entering the temple. Under the shades of the dvijasthambam, we have garudAzhwAr standing with his arms bowed to the lord. It also appears as though garudA is welcoming his master's devotees to the temple. Moving on, we enter the sanctum sanctorum of the lord who is in nindra thirukkOlam, with shangachakra - varadha abhaya hastham. His majesticity knew no bounds to us. That much gambheeram. On the doors, the dasAvathAram - From Matsya to kalki has been carved. pEyAzhwAr who is the amsam of perumAL's sword, has found a place inside the sanctum sanctorum itself. After having his dharshan we come out of the sanctum sanctorum to perform a circambulation around the temple.

Sri KulasEkara Azhwar sannidhi is seen first. After offering our salutations to the AzhwAr, we enter into the sannidhi of sri mayoora valli thAyAr. She is the embodiment of grace. As told by sri subrahmanya bharathi, "nambinOr keduvathillai ithu naangu marai theerppu - ambikaiyai saranadaindhAl, adhika varam nAm peralAm" (one who have got faith in God, they will be never ruined. That too if we surrender at the lotus feet of ambikai we can get more boons), thAyAr is the manifestation of grace.

After seeing her, we move to the sannidhi of sri chakrathAzhwAr. He is also called as sri sudharsanAzhwAr. On his back, stays sri nrusimha moorthi. To enable devotees to have a look of sri nrusimhan, a mirror has been placed on the side of chakrathAzhwar. We bow to chakrathAzhwAr and sri nrusimhar and then move to the right. We reach the AndAL sannidhi. AndAL was decorated with a silk saree tied as madisAr (saree style of brahmins) and she was standing with a sense of proud for she being the better half of sri mahA vishNu. The mAngalyam was studded with shining stones and whether it glorifies AndAL or AndAL glorifies the stones is a topic that cannot be debated upon.

Moving further, we come to the other end, which is obviously the front right end of the temple. We bow to the veera AnjanEyar and come near the dvijasthambam and offer our namaskArams to the lord.

One important thing, Oops! I forgot to mention. On the way to the sannidhi of Adhi kEsava, we have a room where great saints and Acharyas like Sri Ramanujar, Sri MudhaliAndAn, sri maNavALamAmunigaL, sri kooraththAzhwan, sri vEdantha dEsikan and many more were seated. It appeared as though these great people were involved in deep discussion about the grace, fame of namperumAL. Let the blessings of namperumAL be showered on us.

aum namO nArAyanAya!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Softsmith webinars for July 2009

Softsmith Infotech presents 17 new webinars for July 2009.

Here is the list:

1) Microsoft Word
2) HTML, XML, CSS
3) Linux OS Basics
4) Save your eyes - IT and BPO people
5) Bharath Natyam Theory Fundamentals
6) Microsoft Excel
7) SAP Purchasing
8) MySQL Stored Procedures
9) Selenium Test Automation Tool
10) ASP.Net Programming
11) Microsoft Powerpoint
12) Basic Networking and Exchange Server
13) Software Users – Myths and realities
14) Spoken English (Teaching in Hindi)
15) SAP Quality Management
16) COBOL Programming
17) Vaasthu principles - what is it all about?

Visit Open Mentor website for registration.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Svanubhava 2009

The music fest is back this year with more interesting events. Yes! Svanubhava is back. The dates are from August 4, 2009 to August 9, 2009. This is conducted by Matrka and YACM. For more details, visit http://www.svanubhava.com.

Register yourself for the feast and be ready to grab the pearls of knowledge from the ocean of music! Registration link is on the home page itself!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

எட்டுத்தொகை நூல்கள்

நற்றினை நல்ல குறுந்தொகை ஐங்குறுநூறு ஒத்த
பதிற்றுப்பத்து ஓங்கு பரிபாடல்
கற்றறிந்தார் ஏற்றும் கலியோடு அகம் புறம்
என்றித்திறத்த எட்டுத்தொகை

இந்த பழம் பெரும் பாடல், எட்டுத்தொகை நூல்கள் யாவை என்று நாம் எளிதில் ஞாபகம் வைத்துக்கொள்ள உதவுகிறது.

இப்பாடலுக்கு விளக்கம் பின் வருமாறு:

நற்றினை, குறுந்தொகை (இன் நூலிற்கு "நல்ல" என்ற அடை மொழி கொடுத்திருக்கிறார்கள்), ஐங்குறுநூறு, அதனை ஒத்த பதிற்றுப்பத்து, ஓங்கிய புகழ்க்கொண்ட பரி பாடல், நன்கு கற்றவர்கள் உயர்வாய் பேசும் கலித்தொகை, இவற்றோடு அகநானூறு, புறநானூறு என்று மொத்தம் எட்டு நூல்களை நாம் எட்டுத்தொகை என்று கூறுவோம்.

என் முதல் தமிழ் பதிப்பு

பல நாட்கள் முயற்சி செய்து இன்று எனது முதல் தமிழ் பதிப்பினை வெளியிடுகிறேன். இன்னும் தொடர்ந்து பல அறிய பதிப்புகளை நீங்கள் எதிர்பார்க்கலாம்.

இப்படிக்கு,
சரண்யா

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tanjore Brihadeeswara Temple

I had been to ThanjAvoor for a marriage this week end.

I visited the Brihadeeswarar temple also called as The Big Temple. What a massive structure! The gOpurams, prakArams were all studded with impressive paintings, sculptures, inscriptions.

There is a Ganapathi sannidhi in the outer prakAram. On the steps, there were inscriptions in sanskrit instead of the traditional dEvanAgari (grantham). The temple is well maintained by archeological department. Earlier, the gOpuram will not be that much bright and all. But now, they had cleaned the entire stretch and its very bright and shiny.

I visited the temple on a Saturday which happened to be a pradOsham day. The priests were preparing the massive nandi for pradOsha kAla abhishEkam. But I went there at around 11 AM in the morning and the sun was at its peak. Though the prakAram was very hot, I managed to walk through it and saw other sannidhis like vArAhi amman, brihannAyaki, dakshinAmoorthy who was seated at reasonable a height from the ground (we need to climb some 15 to 20 steps to see him), rAhu bhagawAn, Bhairava, Sanaischara so on. There was also a siddhar sannidhi (karuvoorar) which was also very pious.

I went to that temple for the second time. My first visit to that temple was when I was 10 or 11 years old. At that time I didnt observe this much.

And one good thing that made me happy was, a small boy, aged about 7 or 8 years, chanted the vEdA. He was chanting sri rudram in front of the lord brihadeeswara under the supervision of the head sivAchAryA. I was amazed by the tone with which the boy rendered the rudram.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cleveland Tyagaraja Aradhana

Every body will be familiar with the phrase mentioned in this blog title. I am not going to write reviews of how singers and other artistes performed. Instead, I am going to share my thoughts about this.

These Aradhanas Cleveland or Tiruvaiyaru Tyagaraja Aradhana, Tirupponthuruthi Narayana theertha Jayanti, Syama Sastri Jayanthi or Dikshithar Music Fest or Gopalakrishna Bharathi Music Festival and many more festivals on great composers are being conducted to offer our thanks and respect to them. This is a known fact.

During this functions, the artistes sing the compositions of corresponding composers and refrain from singing other composer's songs. I could remember an incident at a aradhana at Trichy, where an artiste was asked by the audience at to sing abhangs at the end of a concert, organised for the composer who installed Rama Bhakti and Nadopasana by means of his kritis. The artiste asked another senior artiste for permission to satisfy rasika's wish. The senior artiste denied permission and announced that this function is for so and so and it is correct only if we sing his kritis which is very true. Thats the way and it is the best offering that anyone could do for upkeeping the respect he or she has for the composer.

The thing is, in Cleveland Tyagaraja aradhana, I could see in the telecasts, that the artistes (inclusive of the two artistes that I referred in the previous incident) reciting kritis other than that of Tyagaraja. Is that to satisfy the NRIs there? Or have the committee has broken to rule of singing Tyagaraja kriti alone at Tyagaraja aaradhana?

Whatever may be the case, either of the two things should be done. Either the festival has to be renamed as Cleveland Music Festival or to retain the same name, only Tyagaraja kritis need to be sung.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Knockout 2009

People would have been watching T20 World cup. This T20 has brought lot of surprises. Budding teams like Ireland went into Super 8. World Champions Australia has been sent out of the tournament even before entering Super 8. The group formation was partial. It was just a matter of lucky draw. Aussies, Windies and Srilanka were in one group. India, Ireland, Bangaladesh were in another. Pakistan, England and The Netherlands formed a group and Newzealand, South Africa, Scotland formed the fourth group.

If you see in the group AUS-WI-SL, there existed a tight competition between the three. In the other groups there was atleast one new team. So It was easy for two teams in the other three to go to super 8 directly. This is not at all fair. The Aussies fell as a victim to this fixture.

Indians tried their level best to cross the super 8, but fell as the prey to WI, England. They need to still play with South Africa in Super 8. But there is very negligible chance for India to enter semi finals. Again strong teams in this group and we have Ireland, Newzealand, Pakistan and Srilanka in the other group.

So the World Cup Champions - Australia, T20 Champions India were knocked out during this T20 World Cup. Cricket is a game of luck. Anything may happen at any time. Cricket - Uncertainity Personified!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Softsmith Webinars - June 2009

For the month of May 2009, Softsmith has launched the following courses:

1) MSSQL DBA Operations
2) JSP, Java programming
3) Quality Center Basics
4) Recession - Let us equip ourselves
5) PHP programming
6) SAP - Inventory Module
7) Spoken English (Teaching in Tamil)
8) Silk Test - Operations
9) Manual Testing
10) Mutual Funds
11) Rational Functional Tester
12) SAP - PP module

Please visit their website www.softsmith.com for more details. Or visit the online portal Open Mentor and register yourself to get benefitted from more facilities like online exams, demos etc.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Valuable Play by the Golden Player Gilchrist

Adam Gilchrist of Deccan Chargers has been named as the Golden Player of IPL 2009. Really, the play he exhibited in
the IPL Semi Final 1 against the Delhi Daredevils need a good amount of appreciation. Delhi's prime bowler,
Dirk Nannes was almost washed out by Gilly. Gibbs faced the first ball and hit that on the leg side and ran his first run.
But that was declared as a leg bye. The remaining 5 balls of the first over, that was the start of Gilchrist show. He
smashed all 5 balls to the fence, scoring 20 runs off 5 balls. That gave a comfortable start to the chargers.

That was Ashish Nehra, who broke this partnership in his over, by bowling Gibbs out for a duck. Anyway that didn't affect
Gichrist's spirit. He continued to rock. He scored the quickest IPL 50 in just 17 balls. Every ball that he faced went straight
to the boundary. He scored 70 runs (5 sixes and 10 fours altogether) out of boundaries. He faced 35 balls but scored 85 runs.

This was the match that I enjoyed the most. I was expecting to see such an innings from a batsman for a long time. Nothing
could have stopped Gilchrist if there was not a strategic timeout that cut down his flow. Anyhow he almost
finished the match with in 10 overs.

Matthew Hayden of Chennai Super Kings got the orange cap (highest run scorer) and RP Singh of Deccan Chargers got the
purple cap (highest wicket taker). Rohit Sharma (Deccan Chargers) has been named as the best under 23 player of the League.
Anil Kumble (Royal Challengers Bangalore) was declared the man of the match of IPL 2 final for his wonderful figures 4-0-16-4
(Read as Overs - Maidens - Runs - Wicket). Kings XI Punjab got the fair play award.

That was a wonderful experience in watching IPL 2. Expecting more interesting games in the upcoming T20 World Cup that is to be
held at England.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Mother's Day

This year (2009) Mother's day is on May 10. Usually 2nd sunday in the month of May is celebrated as Mother's day. Staunch Indian People may comment that this kind of celebrations is an impact of westernization. According to me there is nothing like that. Mother has given birth to us. She has been our teacher in our initial stages. She has taught us to walk, to run, to speak and what not! So when there is an occasion to thank her, do it. Do not miss it.

Again don't mistake me that I am restraining the love to a single day. We can and we must thank her for ever. For people who have failed to do that, let this be a start.

Our spiritual books have mentioned, that an Indian child encounters 5 mothers in its lifetime.

1. DEha mAthA - One who has given birth to us
2. bhoo mAthA - The mother Earth who sustains us
3. gO mAthA - The mother cow who has been nourishing us all these days
4. vEda mAthA - The mother of all vEdAs which has picked us an identity among rest of the world.
5. dEsa mAthA - Our motherland where we have been living so far.

So every one should take care of these mAthAs and they will in turn take care of us.

There is a shlOkA in our ancient texts:

gAyatrI tulasI gangAm kAmadhEnum arundhatheem |
pancha mAthu smarEn nityam mahA pAtaka nAsanam ||

This means, remembering the 5 mAthAs - gAyatri, tulasi, gangA, kAmadhenu, arundhathee daily will slay all our sins.

Thus is the greatness of a mother.

Monday, May 04, 2009

A trip to Tiruvallur

It was on May 1 2009. We were sitting at our home. Time was around 9 AM in the morning. That day being "May day", we were planning for some outing. The discussion was started with a suggestion, "shall we go for a movie tomorrow?". I had been fed up with now a days movies. I said, "Movie.. Movie... Movie.... Always Movie?? Try for something different!". Immediate response was "Where?". I said "a temple". Another member of our family said, "I had never been to Madhuranthakam. Shall we go to the yEri Kaatha Raamar temple?". At the same time I added, "Any where.. either to Madhuranthakam or to Tiruvallur.. Any place Ok for me.". After taking into considerations the distance etc.., we came to a final conclusion that we shall go to Tiruvallur. We arranged a taxi and started to that place by 4:15 PM.

It was nearly a one and half hour journey. We went via Guindy - Porur - Thirumizhisai and reached our destination Tiruvallur. It was a nice town. We entered "Kanakavalli sametha Vaidya Veeraraghava perumal" temple. Sri Aanjaneyar was welcoming the crowd from his sannidhi located at the very entrance of the temple. In front of aanjaneyar sannidhi was the mantapam, holding the gopuram. On that day there was some procession I guess. I could see the hanumantha vaahanam near the main entrance. The priests were preparing for another procession on the anna pakshi (swan) vahanam and of course there was the garudan (vahanam of Vishnu).

To the left of the temple was the big holy tank - "Hruth thaaba pushkarani" that cures all illness and anxiety. It was a majestic tank. Very huge in size of course. But the water content was very very less. Of the large area, only at the center near the neer aazhi mandapam (hall in the middle of the pond), there was water. Remaining portions were full of sand and the corners were converted into a park with beautiful flowers and small benches made out of stone to sit.

Surrounding the temple, there were large number of shops selling flowers, betel leaves, photos of the deity, salt etc. People have the practice of offering salt to the deity to cure their illness and grant happiness. An area near the dwijastambam has been allocated for the same. I have also heard of people dissolving jaggery in the pond in earlier days as an offering. But now I could seldom see that.

We entered the temple. We were directed to the sanctum sanctorum of Sree Vaidya Veeraraghava Perumal. Perumal here lies on his serpent bed - Sri Aadhi Sesha. Sri Devi sits by the side of his feet and Saint Markandeya sits near his head. Veeraraghava Perumal's right hand is touching the saint's head. Veeraraghava was so large in size, that one cannot have his full darshan at one shot. While entering we need to have a look on his upper half (from his face) and while leaving we need to see the remaining half (from his feet).

We moved out of his sannidhi and circumnavigated the temple in clock wise direction. There came the Kanakavalli thaayar sannidhi. Had a good darshan of thaayar and the priest offered us the kunkuma prasadham.

On the way we saw Sri Ramar sannidhi. Here Rama was accompanied by Sita and Lakshman alone. Hanuman was missing. Perhaps he must have went out and sat at the entrance, welcoming the devotees.Then came the sannidhi of Sri Venugopala, flanked on both sides by Rukmini and Sathyabama. After having the darshan of Sri Venugopala, we had darshan of great poets, saints - Sri Ramanujar, Sri Vedanta Desikar and few more.

Went out of the temple with a sense of satisfaction and got into our car. On the way the driver said, "In the morning also I had been to a Perumal temple." I asked where he had been in the morning. The answer was "Madhuranthakam yEri Kattha Ramar temple!". I smiled silently and we reached our home.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Softsmith Webinars for May 2009

For the month of May 2009, Softsmith has launched the following courses:

1) Oracle PLSQL
2) Load Runner Basics
3) Report Writing - Crystal Reports
4) SAP Basics
5) Test Complete Testing tool
6) Asp.net and Ajax using Telerik
7) Interviews on Java
8) Biztalk Server Basics
9) Project Scheduling using Open Proj
10) ERP for Manufacturing sector
11) Load Testing using Rational Perf Tester RPT
12) Sharepoint Portal Server Basics
13) ISO, CMMi Compliance automation using Tools

Please visit their website www.softsmith.com for more details. Or visit the online portal Open Mentor and register yourself to get benefitted from more facilities like online exams, demos etc.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Softsmith Free Webinars - Apr 2009

Chennai based Softsmith Infotech has been offering service to the society by means of webinars. So far they have conducted webinars on C, C++, Java, .NET (C# as well as VB), Manual Testing, WinRunner, LoadRunner, QTP, QC, Silk Test, CMMi, ISO, Finance, Shares, Insurance, Logistics and more. Visit their website www.softsmith.com for more details.

For the month of April they have scheduled the following courses.
1. MS SQL - TSQL Programming
2. ERP - Point of sale
3. Interviews - dot net
4. SQL Server Reporting Service (SSRS)
5. ISO Basics
6. SugarCRM

Pass this message to your friends and let the whole world get benefited by this webinars.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Upendran's Upanayanam

Upendran - Younger brother of Indran. He is none other than Vaamanan. Yes. One of the 10 avatars of Sri Maha vishnu. Why do I say him as the younger brother of Indran? Because, Vaamanan was born as the second son to Kashyapa Muni - Athithi couple.

Of the 10 popular avatars of Sri Maha Vishnu, it is in the Vaamana avatar, Vishnu manifests him as a brahmin boy and Upanayanam has been conducted for him. The upanayana brahmmopadesam of Sri Vaamana moorthi is well said in Sri Madh Bhagawatham.

The great ascetics and others who saw Vaamana moorthi in his upanayana ceremony, floated in the ocean of joy. Prajaapati was the head priest for the function. Surya, the sun god, performed the MantrOpadesam (chanting the Gayatri Mantra in the ears of Vaamana moorthi). Deva guru Brihaspathi gave the Brahmma Soothiram. His father Kashyapar gave the hip belt - Mekhala. Bhooma Devi, the goddess of the Earth offered the Deer skin which is considered to be a symbol of purity. Soma deva gave the Palaasa Dhandam, a stick to be held in the hand. Vaamana's mother Athithi gave the kowbeena vastram (cloth to wear). The lord of the Universe, Sri Parameswara offered an umbrella and Brahmma gifted the kamandalam or a stick that is used to support hands while doing Japam.

The seven rishis (Gritsamada, Vishvamitra, Vamadeva, Atri, Angirasa, Bharadvaja, Vasishta) gave the dharbai (a grass that is used for sacrifices or ceremonies) and Goddess Saraswathi gave the Japa mala (Garland used to keep track the number of times a mantra has been chanted). Kuberan, the lord of wealth presented a vessel (Biksha Paathiram) in which the great mother Uma devi offered rice.

So every person to who this Upanayana Brahmmopadesam is performed, acquires the status of Vaamana moorthi and the people involved in the above activities during the ceremony is transformed to the roles mentioned above. Such a sanctity is embedded in such functions. Hence let us not degrade ourselves by talking unnecessary things or passing mundane comments about the rituals and vain our lives. Do every thing with uttermost sincerity.