SANGEETA GNANAMUGhana raga pancharatna of Tyagaraja                                               Dr. Pappu Venugopala Rao...
SANGEETA GNANAMUwith annam, the greed and avarice of human beings,            Observe the beauty of tara shadja at “gagana...
SANGEETA GNANAMUand not as the emperor. Rama as prince established              Golden visiondharma, and “Ramo vigrahavan ...
SANGEETA GNANAMUwho can control their monkey-like mind and are able           Compliments are paid to the Lord in the firs...
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Pancharatna kritis of thyagarajaswamy

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A brief introduction about Music Saint Tyagaraja and his famous Pancharatna Kritis

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Pancharatna kritis of thyagarajaswamy

  1. 1. SANGEETA GNANAMUGhana raga pancharatna of Tyagaraja Dr. Pappu Venugopala RaoNakarah pranamiyaha dakaraschanalo matahAhata anahatatvena sadvedha gadito budhaihT he soul initiates a process through the intellect, the intellect touches the fire located in the nabhi – the navel – it stimulates the air and thatproduces the sound – nada.The nada thus produced is expressed through nabhi hritkantha rasanadulu – the navel, heart, throat and tongue.It is at the micro level at the nabhi, a little moremanifest in the heart region and is full in the throat.Nada is of two types. That created without externaleffort is anahata nada, only possible for the concentratedminds of yogi-s. The second is ahata nada, the sound weall produce.Nada is an ocean. Nadopasana is a great yoga and apath of liberation practised by saint composers likethe music trinity. Tyagaraja is one such nadopasakawho realised the secrets of spiritualism through satvikasangeetam.Muthuswami Dikshitar’s style is likened to ‘narikelapakam’ (the taste of coconut), that of Tyagaraja to Gaula, Arabhi, Varali and Sree. Treatises on music enlist‘draksha’ (grapes) and Syama Sastry’s to ‘kadalee pakam’ five other raga-s also as ghana raga-s. They are Bauli,(banana). Viewed in this background, the pancharatna-s Reetigaula, Kedaram, Narayanagaula and Salanganata.of Tyagaraja reveal many nuances to us. Out of these ten, Tyagaraja composed in all the raga-s except Salanganata.Why are they called ‘ghana raga pancharatna’ at all? Tyagaraja composed other groups of five kriti-s, likeThe universe is created out of the five elements. Living the Kovvur, Tiruvottriyur, Lalgudi, and Srirangam. Hebeings have five prana-s, namely prana, apana, vyana, did not classify them as pancharatna. The ghana ragaudana and samana. We are all enveloped in the five pancharatna were the result of a conscious effort bysenses, five gnanendriya-s and five karmendriya-s. Tyagaraja to rebut a criticism that his lyrical structureThe Upanishads speak of five kosa-s. was not as strong as his musical prowess. Tyagaraja himself called them pancharatna and there is evidenceThough born at Tiruvarur, Tyagaraja spent most of his to show that he sang these compositions in hislife at Tiruvaiyaru, a place of five rivers, known as unchavritti. These five kriti-s established him duringpanchanada kshetra. Siva here is known as his time as a maha vaggeyakara, adept in both lakshyaPanchanadeeswara, and has five faces – Sadyojata, and lakshana. Internal evidence also indicates thatAghora, Easana, Tatpurusha and Vamadeva – from they were written over a period of time, perhaps thewhere the seven notes emanate. Even the seven tala-s reason why his mudra is found more than once in someare classified into five categories. These are the kriti-s. Interestingly all the five are set in Adi tala.specialities of the number five. And of course, Tyagarajaattained samadhi on Pushya Bahula Panchami, the The first one in Nata, Jagadananda karaka, deals withfifth day in the lunar calendar. ‘ananda’ the ultimate bliss. The steps to attain ananda are the five kosa-s – annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya,The pancharatna-s vignanamaya and anandamaya.The pancharatna-s are in five ghana raga-s – Nata, The second composition Dudukugala in Gaula deals l SRUTI July 2009
  2. 2. SANGEETA GNANAMUwith annam, the greed and avarice of human beings, Observe the beauty of tara shadja at “gaganadhipaand the need to purify the annamaya kosa. satkulaja rajarajeswara” to show the sun at its height. There are any number of beauties and secrets embeddedThe third, Sadhinchene in Arabhi deals with the prana in the very first composition.of a devotee and how it subjects itself to tests. Prof. Sambamoorthy was probably the first to advocateThe fourth, in Varali, Kanakana ruchira describes how the concept of 108 names of the Lord in thiswe can find the beauty of God when the heart is pure. composition. However, as there are hardly about 90The fifth, in Sree, Endaro mahanubhavulu depicts adjectives in this kriti, I do not therefore subscribe to histhe vignanam attained through the association of many view. In fact there are some beejakshara-s and mantra-great souls. s embedded in all the five compositions. The easiest to decipher among them of course is ‘Om’.Tyagaraja does not deviate from devotion to Rama inthese five compositions; he describes him as ‘Janaki The first kriti is classified as a description of the ‘kalyanaprana nayaka’ in Jagadananda karaka; ‘Dorakoduku guna-s’ – auspicious nature and virtues of the Lord.brochura’ in Dudukugala; ‘Manavendrudaina With long compounds and alliteration this kriti reflectsRamachandrudu’ in Sadhinchene; ‘Sree Raghupatey’ in ‘Ojo guna’. The concept in the pancharatna-s is to createKanakana ruchira and ‘Raghuvara nee yeda sadbhaktiyu’ a positive vibration and that is precisely the reason whyin Endaro. they are rendered in ‘samashti gaanam’ or congregational singing.Description of Rama’s attributes RepentanceJagadananda karaka is in Nata, an ancient raga muchearlier even than the classification of the melakarta Let us move on to the second composition in Gaula,system. It was Gambheera Nata at one time with Dudukugala nanne dora koduku brochura. The very firstthe swarasthana-s of Sankarabharanam as an audava line of the kriti is a spiritually charged statement.raga. Tygaraja’s Nata is sampoornam in arohanam and Tyagaraja asks: “Is there a prince who can rescue aaudavam in avarohanam. From the point of view of vicious person like me?”swara structure, Jagadananda karaka is an unparalleled He sings: I am vicious with many vices, sensuality.composition written with the raga trayodasa lakshana-s In youth I went from bad to worse not realising You,and tala dasa prana-s in mind. flattering others for money and material prosperity.Look at the beauty and foresight in the very first line. It Thinking that mundane comforts are the purpose ofis divided into two equal halves with a fulcrum in life, I taught dancers and womanisers. I was glad andbetween. Jagadananda karaka depicts His divine gloated, I misplaced my trust in materialism, wife,personality. ‘Janaki prana nayaka’ is his human character. women, children, retinue of servants, never turning to‘Jaya’ in between these two compounds acts like a Your lotus feet. A vicious man I am. Who can rescue me?fulcrum as if to balance his incarnation in human form. Drishtiki sarambagu lalana sadanardhaka sevamitaThe entire composition revolves round these two aspects dhanadulanuof Rama, the Divine and the human. Devadideva neranammiti gakanu nee pada abda bhajanambuThe ettugada reflects a heightened ananda. Likewise, marachina‘Omkara panjara keera’ at the tara shadja shows how Dudukugala nanne dorakoduku brochuraaelevated and rich is Omkara. The depths of the ocean areshown in the structure of the mandra swara-s at ‘kalasa This is not, as many think, an autobiographicalneera nidhi ja ramana’. composition. It does not reflect Tyagaraja’s personality. He takes these vices and follies on himself on behalfLook at the compatibility and coherence between the of mankind. It applies to whoever reads or sings thisdhatu and the matu here: “Aganitaguna kanakachela song and to each one of us.sala vidalana, arunabha samana charana aparamahimadbhuta, sukavijana hritsadana suramuni gana Why does Tyagaraja use the words “dora koduku” insteadvihita, kalasa neeranidhi ja ramana papa gaja Nrisimha of just “dora”?varatyagarajadhinuta.” Tyagaraja always meditated upon “Rama the prince”2 l SRUTI July 2009
  3. 3. SANGEETA GNANAMUand not as the emperor. Rama as prince established Golden visiondharma, and “Ramo vigrahavan dharmah” saysValmiki. Rama is the personification and embodiment The amalgamation of satire and praise in the thirdof dharma. Tyagaraja is therefore attached to the ‘dora composition enabled Tyagaraja to behold Rama. Hekoduku’. describes this experience in the fourth kriti in Varali, Kanakana ruchi ra kanaka vasana ninnu.The second kriti reflects the repentance of the devotee,known as ‘naichyanusandhanam’ in philosophical termi- Tyagaraja describes his insatiable desire to see morenology, considered a step towards realisation. and more of Rama. The beauty of God is beyond description. In this song Tyagaraja sings of the manySatire and praise devotees of the Lord who were fortunate to receive his compassion. Seeta, Dhruva, Jatayu, Hanuman, Siva,The third kriti in Arabhi is Sadhinchene. A devotee Narada, Parasara, Saunaka and other sages are listedaspires for liberation and when it is delayed he resorts in this composition. He mentions those who wereto blaming God. Although it seems so on the surface, witness to the various componential results of devotionthere is an undercurrent of steadfast devotion in the to Rama – Hanuman for serving his lotus feet, Sivablame game. This is known as vyaja ninda in poetics. for the pleasure in chanting his name, the deities andThis seemingly accusatory nature of the lyric is saints for the bliss of being able to see him.ultimately aimed at praising the Almighty. Kaminchi premameera karamula needu padakamalamulaLets us try to understand the nature of the lyrics: battukonuvadu sakshi Ramanama rasikudu Kailasa“He accomplished what he wanted, O mind! Making a sadanudu sakshi mariya Narada Parasara Suka Saunakamockery of his own persuasive words of righteousness, Purandara nagajadharaja mukhyulu sakshi gada Sundaresahe made his will prevail. “Sadhinchene O manasa! sukhakalasambudhi vasasritulake. Kanakana ruchira.Bodhinchina sanmarga vachanamula bonku jesi tabattinapattu. Sadhinchene.” He spoke nice words to suit each The most important feature of this kriti is that it isoccasion – samayaniki tagu mataladene. He left Devaki seldom taught and is often self learnt. This superstitionand Vasudeva to their ordeal. has no rationale whatsoever.Rangesudu sadganga janakudu sangeeta sampradayakudu In fact out of the five kriti-s only Jagadananda karaka– He is the Lord of the world as a stage, source of and Endaro mahanubhavulu are independently sungthe holy Ganges, a traditionalist in music, but never did very often in concerts. Sadhinchene is not as popularhe fulfill the desires of the gopi-s. But Tyagaraja has while the other two – Dudukugala and Kanakana ruchirapraised Sree Venkatesa, the superior Lord Ramachandra generally find place only in group singing on Tyagarajaas “suprakasa, sarvonnata, sajjana manasa niketana, aradhana days!kanakambaradhara lasanmakuta kundala virajitahareyanuchune pogadaga Tyagarajageyudu manavendrudaina SalutationsRamachandrudu.” The last composition is by far the most superior fromThis is the gist of the song. This state of mind of the many angles. It is a reflection of the nada siddhi ofdevotee is called ‘aarta prapatti’ reflecting the indomitable Tyagaraja, that he salutes each and every devotee bydevotion and closeness of the devotee to the Lord to the name. The choice of Sree raga is very apt as it very wellextent that he finds fault with God himself. suits the tone of respect that he shows to all those who have enriched the spiritual path. The kriti beginsIn this composition, we find the raga Arabhi in full at the shadja. In the anupallavi itself we find a pleasingflow from the ettugada beginning with the panchama alliteration and praise of Ramachandra: Chanduruand madhyama, ranging in the anupallavi from madhya varnuni yandachandamunu hridayaravindamunajoochishadja to tara madhyama and the charana with an Brahmanandam anubhavinchuva. He salutes those greatequilateral flow of srotovaha yati, enlarging further as souls who were able to see the Lord’s beauty.it grows from line to line. The swara and sahityacombination at places like “Hare Ramachandra” and Tyagaraja then describes Rama as “Samagana lola” and“Sree Venkatesa” is an astounding experience of bliss to “manasija lavanya”, one who enjoys celestial music andconnoisseurs. who is as handsome as Manmatha. He salutes those l SRUTI July 2009
  4. 4. SANGEETA GNANAMUwho can control their monkey-like mind and are able Compliments are paid to the Lord in the first kriti, theto see God. He salutes those who offer their mind at underlying mood is confession in the second, complaintHis feet: “Saraguna padamulaku svantamanu sarojamunu in the third, composure in the fourth and completesamarpanamu seyuva.” surrender in the fifth kriti.From this point, the flow of the song becomes wider, The five compositions are among the greatest creationsfaster and deeper with salutations to those who know of Tyagaraja. The swara-s in these compositions areGod through their devotion, who know the secrets of sometimes listed as charanam-s, but should actually bemusic – swara, raga and laya, those whose throats are called chittaswara-s or swara sahitya-s. The speciality ofadorned with the singing of the virtues of Hari, and these compositions lies in the swara sahitya.who have compassion towards others. Hari guna I believe the kriti in Arabhi should be sung withmanimaya saramulu galamuna sobhillu bhaktakotu lilalo “Sadhinchene” as pallavi and also as the refrain insteadtelivito chelimito karunagalgi jagamellanu sudhadhrishtiche of repeating “samayaniki tagumataladi” after the swarabrochuvara-lendaro. and sahitya. A detailed discussion on this is called for.He then salutes those who can see Rama all the We have inherited three great treasures from Tyagaraja.time – the sages and saints, the celestial beings andgods. Paramabhagavata maunivarasasi vibhakara 1. An empire of devotion to Sree Rama – Rama bhaktiSanakasanandana digisa surakimpurusha kanakaKasipusuta samrajyamu.Narada Tumburu pavanasunu balachandradhara sukasarojabhavabhoosuravarulu paramapavanulu. 2. Unparalleled rich music – Saramaina sangeetamu andHe goes on to salute the Bhagavata-s who know the 3. Great nectar of lyrical beauty – sudha madhurya bhashansecrets in scriptures, purana-s and the six religious sukavitvamupaths and who realise the essence of all these and All the three treasures are found in abundance in theseenjoy music. Bhagavata Ramayana Gitadi srutisastra five kriti-s.puranapu marmamulan Sivadi shanmathamula goodhamulanmuppadi mukkoti suraantarangamula bhavambula nerigi The five compositions, when sung in goshti ganam orbhava-raga-layadi saukhyamu che chirayuvul galigi niravadhi congregational singing, create a highly positive vibrationsukhatmulai Tyagarajaptulainavara-lendaro. charged with spiritualism. They should not be sung merely as a ritual exercise, but as a spiritual means to achieve theThe pancharatna-s reflect five major states of mind. bliss embedded in them. n

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