Category Archives: Kritis of Saint Tyagaraja

Sri Vidya Upasaka: Dikshitar

Muthuswami Dikshitar (1775 – 1835) was one of the greatest Musician-Saints and is one among the Carnatic Music Trinity, the other two being Saint Thyagaraja and Shyama Sastri.

Dikshitar’s father was Ramaswami Dikshitar who was a Sanskrit scholar and an accomplished musician living in Tiruvarur in Tamilnadu. When Dikshitar turned twenty five, the great Chidambaranatha Yogi of Varanasi visited their house and requested Ramaswami to send Dikshitar with him for further education. His father agreed and Dikshitar went to Varanasi. He was initiated into “Sri Vidya Upasana”, and his Guru told him to constantly worship Sri Annapurneswari, the Bestower of material needs (Bhukti) as well as liberation (Mukti). He mastered the scriptures, the science of mantras, astrology, music, and was an expert in playing the veena. He came under the influence of Hindustani classical music and Western band music.

After a few years, the teacher told him that it was time for him to go back home because he had learnt all that had to be learnt. The young disciple asked the teacher what was the proof that he had learnt everything. The teacher asked him to go to Mother Ganges and take a dip. If his learning was complete, She would reward him. He went to the Ganges, took a dip and invoked Her. Mother Ganges was there in front of him with a beautiful veena in Her hand. She handed it over to him. It had “RAMA” inscribed on it and was different from the normal veenas. The tail end of the veena which is called ‘yaalimukha’ is turned upwards. In normal veenas it is turned downwards. This veena that Dikshitar used is even now preserved in their ancestral home.

With the blessings of his teacher and with this unique veena gifted to him by the Mother of Knowledge, Dikshitar travelled back. He arrived at Tiruttani, one of the famous six abodes of Kartikeya in Tamilnadu. Dikshitar was sitting and meditating on the Lord on the steps of the temple, when Lord Kartikeya came in the disguise of an elderly man, asked him to open his mouth and put sugar candy into his mouth and disappeared. At that very moment, he composed a beautiful kriti on Kartikeya with the mudra (signature) GURU-GUHA. Kartikeya also known as GUHA had come to him as his GURU.

He has composed songs on almost all deities, all pilgrimage centres and brought into the kritis the uniqueness and speciality of them all. Along with Sangeeta sastra, he incorporated the “mantra sastra” into his songs and therefore to render them with correct pronunciation and bhava, with a little understanding of its meaning will bring all prosperity to the singer as well as the listener – singing of his keerthans is equivalent to chanting the mantras.

Instances of Dikshitar bringing relief and solace to individuals as well as to the community through his keerthans are many. With a Kriti in raga Amruthavarshini, he brought the rains down on the parched land of Ettayyapuram (Tamil Nadu). He also brought health back to his disciple Tambiyappan by warding off the evil effects (graha dosha) of Jupiter, by composing a kriti on that planet. 

On the eve of Deepavali in 1835, after he had finished Devi Puja, he had a vision of Sri Annapurneswari and sang “Ehi Annapurne” – his last kriti. He remembered what his Guru had told him and knew it was time for him to leave his body. He asked his disciples who had gathered there to sing his composition “Meenakshi me mudam dehi” (Meenakshi bestow upon me Your grace) in the Raga Gamakakriya. When they sang the lines: “meena lochani pasha mochani” (O! Fish-eyed One, who cuts asunder the knots of bondage), he asked them to repeat these phrases once more. As they were repeating them, Dikshitar uttered “Shive pahi, Shive pahi, Shive pahi” and left his physical body to merge eternally with the Mother of the Universe whom he invoked and worshipped all his life. 
His compositions called “Kamalamba Nava-avarana” Krithis which are full of mystic significance are rendered even today with great religious fervour during the Navaratri festival.

For Stories, Significance and Symbolism in Hinduism (Culture and traditions) follow the blog ..( or through e-mail)

[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]

For daily updates of posts on your Telegram you can join the group : https://t.me/BharateeyaSamskruti

Gopis and their ‘Nauka Vihara’

Naukacharita 1

It was a beautiful and pleasant day in Vrindavan. River Yamuna was flowing gently, the breeze was blowing softly, the cuckoo birds were warbling sweet notes. The Gopis, all of them in the best of their attire had all assembled on the river bank narrating to each other the pranks of Krishna. They decided on a “Nauka Vihara” – a pleasure-trip in a boat on the Yamuna. At that time, Krishna came there and he also wished to accompany them in their boat-ride. However, the Gopis who had decided that it was going to be an exclusive trip all for themselves, and by themselves refused to take him along with them. In their vanity they thought that they can manage everything all by themselves, including rowing and steering the boat. Krishna knowingly smiled at their arrogance. He told them that it was not safe to venture into the river all by themselves and he should be allowed to accompany them. They teased him saying that he was after all only a child and he has no knowledge of rowing and managing the boat; but when he insisted on going with them, they agreed to take him.

All of them got into the boat. They began to feel very important because they were the ones rowing the boat. They sang and danced along with Krishna. He acknowledged each one of them and made them feel very special. The Gopis started becoming egoistic and vain that not only they were the most beautiful ones, but were also extremely privileged to have earned Krishna’s full attention. And above all these, He was obliged to them for the boat-ride! They thought nobody could be compared to them. The Lord knowingly smiled and within a fraction of a second He created a storm. The boat got caught in the storm and it dangerously tossed up and down. The Gopis were now terrified. The boat was damaged and water started to fill into the boat through holes created by the storm.

Then, they all surrendered and pleaded with Krishna to save them. He said there was only one way out and that was to plug the holes of the boat with their dupattas. They were reluctant to forgo their beautiful attire, but with no other alternative left they listened to Krishna.  With faith in Him, they tried to block the holes of the boat with their dupattas. They were totally and visibly shaken up. They looked absolutely helpless and tearfully surrendered on to the Lord leaving aside all their ego and vanity. The moment they unconditionally surrendered unto the Lord, the storm miraculously subsided and they found themselves all safe on the banks of the Yamuna. To the Gopis the “Nauka Vihara” was a lesson of unquestionable faith, total surrender and unconditional bhakti.

This beautiful incident is called Nauka Charitam” – a Musical Opera (Music drama) composed in various ragas by the great Musician-Saint Sri Tyagaraja.
[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]
Refuse to worry. Develop titiksha. Surrender all your worries at His Feet. Let Him be the helmsman to your boat-of-life. Have faith in Him. Surrender and sit back. You will find your life being lifted into quieter routes. Smoothly sailing forward, let His favourable wind ever court your sails. Sri Achyuthan is a great Boatsman. - Swami Chinmayananda

Anuraagamule – Saraswati – Tyagaraja

There are a number of compositions by Saint composers like Tyagaraja , Purandaradasa citing the importance of Bhakti – devotion. In this composition Saint Tyagaraja talks about Divine Love – Anuraaga. Without Devotion , one remains deprived of true knowledge and wisdom.
It is bhakti which helps us to shift our focus from leading a pure materialistic life to a life filled with purpose [wisdom] .The purpose of human life is not to earn money and enjoy being selfish and arrogant.


pallavi

anuraagamu lEni manasuna sujnaanamu raadu

anupallavi

ghanulaina antar jnyaanulaku eruka gaani

caraNam

vaga vagagaa bhujiyincEvaariki truptow reeti
saguNa dhyaanamu* paini sowkhyamu tyaagaraajanuta

Sri Ganapathini – Sowrashtra – Adi – Tyagaraja

This wonderful kriti on Lord Ganesha composed by Saint Tyagaraja , is indeed a masterpiece in the Raaga Sowrashtra. This kriti is a part of “Prahlada Bhakti Vijaya” – a musical drama composed by Tyagaraja.

Here Tyagaraja  requests all devotees to worship [sevimparaare]  Lord Ganesha.  Lord Ganesha who being worshipped by Lord Brahma , is coming dancing beautifully.[Baaga Natimpuchu].     ” Oh! Devotees render your salutaions to Him”  says Tyagaraja.

He having accepted the offerings – jack fruit, coconut and jambu fruit etc .. from his devotees , is coming here dancing with heavy resounding steps, with Sri Hari in his heart. Lord Ganapathy  dancing in different rhythms and steps is being glorified by Tyagaraja in all humility.  [vividagatula dhithalaangumani]

Sowrashtra is a sampoorna vakra raaga derived from the 17th mela Suryakantham. A raaga which evokes Bhakti is usually rendered in vilamba. Mangalam is usually sung in this raaga. Saint Tyagaraja is probabily the only composer to have composed a kriti on Lord Ganesha in this majestic raaga..

This   kriti sung by the world renowned Carnatic Classical Music Vocalists Smt .Haripriya and Smt Shanmukhapriya popularly known as Priya Sisters.  Here’s the link..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9mW7Argnz4

Lyrics

pallavi

shrI gaNapatini sEvimpa rArE shrta mAnavulArA

anupallavi

vAgAdhipati su-pUjala cEkoni bAga natimpucu veDlina

caraNam

panasa nArikElAdi jambU phalamula nAraginci ghana tarambagu mahipai padamulu
ghallu ghallana nunci anyamu hari caraNa yugamulanu hrdayAmbujamuna nunci
vinayamunanu tygarAja vinutuDu vividha gatula dittaLAngumani veDalina

For updates of posts on Telegram join the group : https://t.me/BharateeyaSamskruti