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.