I have been admiringly following T.M.Krishna’s cultural initiative Svanubhava for the last couple of years. His initiative aims to contribute towards the further education of the students of performing arts of India. It was inaugurated in Chennai in 2008 and since then there has been a festival each year with free concerts, lecture demonstrations and discussions at Kalakshetra. Last year the programs were webcast so I had the pleasure of watching them all the way from Switzerland. In 2011 the festival was taken to Delhi and this year they had a festival in Jaffna, Sri Lanka last week. The programs are being webcast this week, each for a 24-hr period, and I have been following them. To learn more about Svanubhava events, join their community in facebook. It is indeed a praiseworthy initiative; my heartfelt admiration to T.M.Krishna and his team!
Today I watched the lecdem by the accompanying violin artist Nagai Sriram and percussion artists Ganapathy Raman and Papanasam Sethuraman on the intricacies of supporting the principal artist. It was quite interesting. This was followed by a short kutcheri by T.M.Krishna. He started with a very brisk and scintillating Arul Seiyya Vendum Ayya in the rare Melakarta Raga Rasikapriya and then continued with the short Sevikka Vendum Aiyya in Andolika. His main piece was Kana Kan Kodi Vendum in Kamboji. I especially enjoyed the neraval which TMK performed with verve and energy. This was followed by Eppo Varuvaro, a Thillana in Behag and Parukulle Nalla Nadu. All his music selection was in Tamil, quite logical considering the audience in Jaffna. If you have the time today, you may be able to view the concert yourself.
The composer Koteeswara Iyer (1870-1936) is well-known for the fact that he composed in each of the 72 Melakartas. To know more about the raga Rasikapriya, click here. In this composition, he prays for the blessings of Lord Muruga. ‘What is this illusion which makes us think of instable body as being immortal? Bless me that I may live thinking only of you as being everlasting’ he says. To see lyrics and translation, see footnote.
Listen to T.M.Krishna’s wonderfully lively performance below :
To listen to an instrumental version, I found only one in my collection showing how rarely this song is performed! Here is GJR Krishnan on the violin.
Footnote (Lyrics) :
அருள் செய்ய வேணும்/வேண்டும் அய்யா- அரசே முருகய்யா நீ
அருள் செய்ய வேணும்/வேண்டும் அய்யா
மருளுரவே என்னை மயக்கிடும் மாய வல்
இருள் அறவே ஞான சூரியன் என வந்தோர் சொல் (அருள்)
நிலையா காயம் இலையே இதனை
நிலையென்று எண்ணுவதென்ன மாயம்
நிலையென்று உனையே நினைந்து நான் உய்ய
alternate: நிலையின் துணையே நினைந்து நான் உய்ய
நேச கவி குஞ்சரதாச ரசிகப்பிரியா (அருள்)
aruL seiyya vEnum/vENDum ayyA -arasE murugayyA nI
aruL seiyya vEnum/vENDum ayyA
maruL uravE ennai mayakkiDum mAya val
iruL aRavE jnAna sUriyan ena vandOr sol (arul)
nilaiyA kAyam ilaiyE idanai
nilai enDru eNNuvadenna mAyam
nilaiyenDru unaiyE ninaindu nAn uyya
alternate: nilaiyin tuNaiyE ninaindu nAn uyya
nEsa kavi kunjaradAsa rasikapriya (arul)
Please bless me, O Lord Muruga!
I am deluded by liquor which is but poison and gambling (deceitful dice). It is said that you are the remover of darkness, O effulgent abode of knowledge, so bless me O Lord Muruga.
What is this illusion which makes us think of instable body as being immortal? Bless me that I may live thinking only of you as being everlasting. Your loving devotee Kunjara Dasa (signature) in Rasikapriya raga.