Wednesday, April 18, 2007

DIkshithar, the Phenomenon

SuhAsitha nava javandhi pushpa vihAsitha priya hrudayam sadhayam
mAsa varsha pakshOtsava vibhavam sadhA shivam paramashivam- Shree MAthrubootham.....

If I had ever to name one person who has changed my life, I would not have to think too hard. Then again, neither would anyone who has been exposed to the beauty of the compositions of Shri MuthuswAmy DIkshithar. Of all the composers who have added beauty, grace and fulfilment to the ocean of carnAtic music, DIkshithar occupies pride of place.

The journey into the world of his krithis is a spiritual journey- at times passionately evocative, at others serene, sublime, and at still others, an inner discovery of self and soul, as one swept away on a newer plane of understanding, which is often the case.

As a student of his school of musical salvation, so to speak, the urge to analyse his music and the man himself, is irresistible. Who was DIkshithar? What inspired him to such unattainable heights of ecstasy? And even more- what is it about his music that has such an effect, such an influence on the listener?

I must at this point state that I have neither the experience nor even the status to dissect compositions of such calibre and a man-God of such mettle, but drawing upon my license as a lover of DIkshithar compositions and a slave to his music, I now commence trying to understand something of his divine music. How much ever one may discuss DIkshithar with like minded souls, true understanding (I believe) comes from an intensely personal, solo exploration of his works and their influence on oneself.

My initiation into the universe of DIkshithar began quite inconspicuously- a routine, if well padantharam-ed GNB version of MahA ganapathim, courtesy my former music teacher Smt.Prema Hariharan. I was at the time eleven years old and too young to appreciate the magnitude of what really had begun- a small step that would blossom into a irrevocable love affair with sanskrit, spirituality, and most important, DIkshithar.

In the following seven years, I learnt a number of his works, but regrettably, without really experiencing what I sang. Just as I sang every other krithi- well learnt, well-rehearsed, and well-presented, but the soul was missing. Not that I can claim an abundance of soul now, but atleast I recognise and am awed by the sheer beauty and magnificence of what I sing.

When exactly I fell in love with DIkshithar I donot know, but junta had a significant lot to do with it. SK, Sai P, Hari, Aishu, and Audi, as also Bala- Thank You. :) Words are not enough.

While learning a DIkshithar krithi, one first analyses the lyrics. The beauty of DIkshithar's imagination and his veratility with the most beautiful language in the world-Sanskrit- are to be seen/read/experienced to be believed. There is a beautiful marriage of meaning and metre that I cannot find anywhere else.

A sense of continuity is another highlight- one can finish Shiva KaAmeshwaIm and comfortably take off with KamlAmbam Bhajare; this is something that I think is true- others may disagree. I donot refute their status as independent, beautiful pieces, I just see an invisible link from and to all of his krithis. Like consecutive shlokAs in a mAla of shlokAs. The deity does not matter either- Shakthi or Shivam, how does it matter? And what better place to analyse Advaitam than in the compositions of DIkshithar?

Each word, each line shines with classical beauty and resonates with divine splendour. Sanskrit never sounded this beautiful before, surely!

"ShItha kirana nibha vadanAm shrutha chintAmani sadanAm
pItha vasanam guruguha mAthula kAntham lalithAm"- HiranmayIm lakshmIm

"Pradaja vishwa vilAsini panchanAdeesha ullAsini
vEda shAsthra vishwAsini vidhi harihara prakAshini"- Dharma samvardhani

"NirvikalpagasamAdhi nishta shiva kalpagatharO
nirvisEsha Chaitanya niranjana guruguha gurO"- JambUpathE

"AganNitha suguna gananatha vibhIshanam
GaNathara kausthubha mani vibUshanam
Guni jana kruthavEda pArAyanam
Guruguha muditha nArAyanam"- Shree RanganAyakam

The instances are innumerable, the delicacy varied and exquisite.
And the feelings evoked? Too many- an amalgam of wonder, reverence, love, worshipfulness, divine fervour; an humble and overwhelming submission to the Divine.

The clock stands in the way of all that I want to type now, but more in day or two. For this topic is like DIkshithar himself: Endless. :)




Blogger Musical Scientist said...

Appidi Podu..wonderful blog RR..please blog regularly innimae. It is definitely an ocean which every rasika of thalaivar can take pride in trying to learn and "dissect" :)(contrary to my prior beliefs/doubts if you remember). Neenga sonna every word is apt and beautiful..and wonderful krithis you have referred to too :) cant add anything to it!! Really fortunate to have formed this gumbal with you,Hari(my guru),SK(when it comes to dikshithar-he is jagathguru),Aishu,Audi..everyone. No one has ever moved me to tears or touched my soul as this genius has..I feel it is our duty as a responsible rasika to listen,learn and spread this immense sAgaram of uncomparable bliss..Naam petra inbam pera-e-vaiyaggam :) We will do something about it!!

3:54 PM  
Blogger ramaa said...

Thank you Sai P... My blog certainly isn't as detailed or complete as yours- it's really very general, rather than a specific krithi-oriented thing. But I'm planning on looking at the PanchalingaKshetra krithis next. :)
Thank you, as always. All of you are my inspiration. However ungrammatical that may sound! :)

1:23 AM  
Blogger Musical Scientist said...

Haha..sure :) I know you mean a lot more than what these words can convey ;).Panchalingakshetra krithis eh? sooper..kalakkungo :)

5:50 AM  
Blogger ramaa said...

;) :)

10:08 PM  
Blogger kalyaani said...


when i been to MI, shivakumar bhat, to whom I taught laya intrecacies and who is a disciple of B.Rajam Iyer and Neyveli Santhanagopalan, sang jambupathe, venkata saila and soundararaajam in a lec dem for samagana.

it was a lec-dem that he presented about "north indian ragas by south indian composers".

do send me a recording of [by you]these lalitha n yk krithis.

erode nagaraj.

6:29 AM  
Blogger AcE said...

hey, awesome post! romba super'a ezhudirke :) awww, and i see our names there too. ore feelings only :)

5:53 AM  
Blogger AcE said...

btw, that ace = aishwarya. i realized just now.

5:55 AM  
Blogger ramaa said...

To Erode Nagaraj anna,
definitely. It's nice to hear that a DIkshithar krithi is sung, by whomever, wherever. :)

I'll send you the recordings asap.

12:10 AM  
Blogger ramaa said...

Hey, aishu, thanks_max. :) Oh, yeah, all your names are rightfully a part of this blog. :D

My only regret is, I'm unable to reply on your blog as such because it says your profile is not publicly visible. :(

I'm "public", it seems. :|

12:12 AM  
Blogger Auditya said...

beautifully well written!:) putting in words what we have all experienced.

9:08 AM  

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