It has taken me a long time to continue with my posts on Tyagaraja’s Pancharatna Kritis that I started last year. If you are just catching up, here are the posts on Jagadananda Karaka, Dudukugala and Saadinchane.
Kana Kana Ruchira, like the other Ghana Raga Pancharatna Kritis, is familiar and well-loved by most Carnatic music fans. It is set to Raga Varali, an ancient raga dating beyond 1300 years. Varali has a lulling quality which is so appropriate to devotional music and which I find very pleasing indeed. If you would like to know more about this raga, click here.
This lovely composition is an outpouring of love for Lord Rama by Tyagaraja. It the pallavi he says ‘The more I see you, the sweeter it is’ . This simple phrase is most evocative and sets the mood of the composition to an unalloyed sweetness. This is stressed by the anupallavi – dina dinamunu manasuna chanuvuna – ‘everyday, in my mind’s eye with love’. Is that not the essence of Bhakti rasa? To love one’s God so much that one is enthralled in gazing at God through the mind’s eye, all day, everyday? This mood of being enthralled is enhanced by the hypnotic quality of Raga Varali.
Tyagarja continues to describe and praise his Lord in many ways in the charanams; this composition stresses Rupa-Mahima or extolling the form. I will leave it to another post to examine the concept of beauty in Divinity, a concept we come across very often in Hinduism. I love the sancharas in the purvanga (first half of octave) in Varali which are most soothing. See footnote for lyrics.
To present the song, I have chosen a rendition by the revered veteran vocalist and musicologist R.Vedavalli whose calm and crisp singing steeped in paddhati (classical method/system) is nonetheless full of emotion.
For an instrumental version, what better than the Veena, an ancient instrument to match this ancient raga? Listen below to a rendition by the talented musician E.Gayathri.
Footnote (Lyrics) :
Language : Telugu
As I do not speak Telugu, here are the lyrics in Devanagri script. For notation, click here. :
कन कन रुचिरा कनक वसन निन्नु
दिन दिनमुनु मनसुन चनुवुन निन्नु
पालु गारु मोमुन श्रीय
पार महिम तनरु निन्नु
कलकलमनु मुख कल कलिगिन सीत
कुलुकुचु नोर कन्नुलनु जूचु निन्नु
बालार्काभि सुचेल मणि मय मालालंकृत कन्धर सर-
सिजाक्ष वर कपोल सुरुचिर किरीट धर संततंबु मनसारग
सा पत्नि मातयौ सुरुचिचे कर्ण शूल मैनमाट वीनुल
चुरुक्कन तालक श्री हरिनि ध्यानिन्चि सुखिम्पग लेदायटु
मृग मद ललाम शुभ निटिल वर जटायु मोक्ष फ़लद पवमान
सुतुडु नीदु महिम तेल्प सीत तेलिसि वलचि सोक्क लेदा (आ ) रीति निन्नु
सुखास्पद विमुखाम्बु धर पवन विदेह मानस विहारप्त सुर
भूज मानित गुणांक चिदानन्द खग तुरंग धृत रथांग पर-
म दयाकर करुणा रस वरुणालय भयापहर श्री रघुपते
कामिञ्चि प्रेम मीर करमुल नीदु पाद कमलमुल पट्टुकॊनु
वाडु साक्षि राम नाम रसिकुडु कैलास सदनुडु साक्षि
मरियु नारद पराशर शुक शौनक पुरन्दर नगजा धरज
मुख्युलु साक्षि काद सुन्दरेश सुख कलशाम्बुधि वासाश्रितुलके
सततमु प्रेम पूरितुडगु त्यागराज
नुत मुख जित कुमुद हित वरद निन्नु
kana kana rucirA kanaka vasana ninnu
dina dinamunu manasuna chanuvuna ninnu
pAlu gAru mOmuna srIya
pAara mahima tanaru ninnu
kalakalamanu mukha kala kaligina sIta
kulukuchunOra kannulanu jUchu ninnu
bAlArkAbhi suchElA maNi maya mAlAlamkruta kandhara sara-
sijAksha vara kapOla surucira kirITa dhara santatambu manasAraga
sA patni mAtayau suruchichE karNa shUlamaina mATa vInula
churukkana tALaka srI harini dhyAninchi sukhimpaga lEdAyaTu
mruga-mada lalAma shubha niTila vara jatAyu mOksha phalada pavamAna sutudunIdu mahima telpa sIta telisi valachi sokka lEdA (A) rIti ninnu
sukhAspada vimukhAmbu dhara pavana vidEha mAnasa viharApta sura
bhUja mAnita guNanka chidAnanda khaga turanga dhruta rathAnga para-
ma dayAkara karuNA rasa varuNAlaya bhayApahara srI raghupatE
kAminchi prEma mIra karamula nIdu pAda kamalamula pattukOnu
vADu sAkshi rAma nAma rasikuDu kailāsa sadanuDu sAkshi
mariyu nArada parAshara shuka shaunaka purandara nagajA dharaja
mukhyulu sAkshi kAda sundarEsha sukha kalashAmbudhi vAsAshritulakE
satatamu prEma pUrituDagu tyAgarAja
– nuta mukha jita kumuda hita varada ninnu
O Golden-attired one, the more I behold you, the sweeter it is!
Every day in my mind, with love (I behold you)
The charming face, glowing with prosperity and limitless glory
Whom Sita, face glowing with happiness, looks at elegantly by side-glances
Lord with the splendour of rising Sun, wearing fine garments! One whose neck is adorned with gem studded necklace! O Lotus-eyed! One with beautiful cheeks! One wearing a brilliant crown! Unceasingly, to my heart’s content..
Did not Dhruva, unable to bear the harsh words of his step-mother Suruchi attain comfort by meditating on Sri Hari? In the same manner..
One whose auspicious forehead is adorned with a tilaka of musk! Bestower of emancipation on the blessed Jatayu! When Hanuman, son of the Wind God, described your glory, was not Sita enraptured with love by listening to it? In the same manner..
O Abode of Comfort! O gale that scatters the cloud called enemies! One residing in the hearts of celestials! O Wish-tree of those dear to you! One with the mark of virtues! One effulgent as consciousness and bliss! One who speeds on Garuda! O Wielder of the discus! O Supremely compassionate one! O Ocean of the nectar of compassion!
The one who holds your lotus-feet in his hands with overflowing love and longing [Hanuman] is a witness (to my words); [Siva] The enjoyer of Rama’s name and resident of Kailasa (Shiva) is a witness too. Further, personages like sages Narada, Parasara, Suka, Saunaka, Indra, Parvati and Sita are witnesses, aren’t they? O Lord of beauty! One comfortably residing in the Ocean of Milk! Those who have sought refuge in you ….
O Lord who is praised by this Tyagaraja, who is ever-replete with love towards you! O Lord whose face surpasses the lustre of moon! O Bestower of boons!
5 responses to “Kana Kana Ruchira”
I had missed this series as I started following your blog only recently. Very nice to go back and read the earlier kritis and shall await your exposition of Entharo Mahanu Bhavulu.
Interesting tidbit that Varali is supposed to be self taught !
As an aside I went to Thiuvaiyaru a few weeks ago . There were no concerts at that time, but it was an experience to stand near the Samadhi , gaze over the Cauvery (there was no water of course) and imgaine how it must have been when the Saint composed and tought all those wonderful songs when he was alive. Maybe next year, I’ll go for the aradhana – I am told its is an experience. Listening to it on radio or TV, it sounds like cacophony, but I am sure the sprit of the place if I go in person will be remarkable.
Your experience of Thiruvaiyaru sounds lovely. I would have loved it, I have never been there. To imagine history and atmosphere, it is better to go when it is quiet than when it teeming with people, dont you think? I do not like crowds, they overwhelm me and make me feel claustrophobic, but if you can handle it, surely the atmosphere during the aradhana will be wonderful!
I am a chinese woman in my sixties living in Singapore and I have been taking part in the Thyagarajah Aradhana at music schools for years. I learned Dudukugala from one teacher and the rest, from a cd recorded by Maharajapuram santhanam (excuse my miss-spelling, if any). The only song (swara) I have not memorised is Kana Kana Ru Chi Ra and the reason is because I was given the wrong swaras by a fellow singer (stranger). I’m going to get the proper one to prepare myself for this year’s event.
Welcome to my blog Goh Beng Choo:) It is very admirable that you have learnt a musical form which is so foreign to your own culture and have been participating in the Tyagaraja festival for so many years! People such as you help bridge the gaps between our cultures, thank you! I wish you the best for your continued efforts to learn kana kana ruchira and then onwards to the many wonderful compositions in Carnatic music.
Thank you very much for your kind encouragement Suja. Hope to see you one day, maybe in Singapore.