Happy Vinayaka Chaturthi everybody! I hope you had a few moments to offer prayers to Vinayaka today; if not, the song I have chosen is a prayer in itself.
But I am running ahead of myself. We all know that one prays to Vinayaka for the achievement of goals, for success. The word siddhi which we use to preface His name translates to exactly that. Who amongst has not demanded that Vinayaka help us pass our exams, get through that interview, get the promotion we are aiming for? I know even some people who claim to be agnostic sending up a ‘just in case’ prayer if the goal seems important enough! But these goals give us but momentary satisfaction, forgotten even as we set the next possible goal. I wonder, are we wasting the good Lord’s time by asking for things which are too easy to deliver? Should we not be setting Him some stretch targets?
Vinayaka is also the Lord of the eight Siddhis (occult Yogic powers) referred to by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutra. These are indeed amazing powers!
अणिमा aNimA : Power to become subatomic
- महिमा mahimA : Power of become infinitely large
- लघिमा laghimA – Power to become infinitely light
- गरिमा garimA – Power to become infinitely heavy
- प्राप्ति prApti – Power of attaining any objective
- प्राकाम्य prAkAmya – Power of transmigration
- ईशित्व Ishitva – Godlike power to create and rule
- वशित्व vashitva – Power to control/subdue all matter
Vinayaka has the power to bestow the yogin with all of these occult powers. They sound rather dangerous, don’t they? Instead I think about the words metaphorically and I offer you alternate meanings to reflect upon.
अणिमा aNimA : The ability to concentrate such that we can focus our mind to a pinpoint.
महिमा mahimA : The ability to have such a broad world-view that we can encompass all.
लघिमा laghimA : The ability to let go everything, all maya, so they we are weightless.
गरिमा garimA : The ability to absorb all challenges we face with the stability of the infinitely heavy.
प्राप्ति prApti : The ability to stick to an objective until we achieve it.
प्राकाम्य prAkAmya : The ability to empathise so well with others that we virtually transmigrate into them.
ईशित्व Ishitva : The ability to create beauty and joy.
वशित्व vashitva : The power to rule over our weaknesses, to control our needs and subdue our passions.
Now, these siddhis are worth praying for, don’t you think? My song today is addressed to Siddhi Vinayaka, set to the beautiful raga Shanmukhapriya (Chamaram) and composed by Muthuswami Dikshithar. It is a song of praise, reminding us that He is the bestower of whatever we desire. The Yogic theme for today was inspired by the words reminding us that Vinayaka is present in the Mooladhara Chakra, that which much be awakened if we are to reach a higher state of being. For lyrics and translation, see footnote below.
There are so many nice performances of this popular kriti that I had some trouble choosing the one to present to you. The first one I would like you to hear is this excellent rendition by T.N.Seshagopalan (live, 1975). He is accompanied by V.V.Subramaniam and Trichy Shankaran. I do have a weakness for TNS from that era!! (Alapana and Kriti)
Alternate link : Click here and download items 2 and 3 (need free membership to Sangeethapriya.org)
I could not look past Pattabhirama Pandit for his most energetic and creative performance (Alapana and Kriti). He is accompanied by Mysore Srikanth, H.S.Sudhindra and Giridhar Udupa.
Alternate link : Click here and download items 5 and 6 (need free membership to Sangeethapriya.org)
If you have a taste for more, check out this lovely performance by MDR (item 7) and another very good one by Sumithra Vasudev (item 2).
Footnote (Lyrics and Translation) :
Composer : Muthuswami Dikshithar
Raga : Shanmukhapriya
Language : Sanskrit
सिद्धि विनायकं अनिशं चिन्तयाम्यहम्
प्रसिद्ध गण नायकम् विशिष्टार्थ दायकम् वरम्
सिद्ध यक्ष किन्नरादि सेवितम्
मूल पङ्कज मध्यस्थं मोदक हस्तम्
भाद्र पद मास चतुर्थ्याम् ब्राह्मणादि पूजितम्
पाशाङ्कुश धरम् छत्र चामर परिवीजितम्
रौद्र भाव रहितम् दास जन हृदय विराजितम्
रौहिणेयानुजार्चितम् ईहना वर्जितम्
(मध्यम काल साहित्यम्)
अद्रि राज सुतात्मजम् अनन्त गुरु गुहाग्रजम्
भद्र प्रद पदाम्बुजम् भासमान चतुर्भुजम्
siddhi vinAyakam anisham chintayAmyaham
prasiddha gaNa nAyakaM vishishTArtha dAyakam varam
siddha yaksha kinnarAdi sEvitam
akhila jagat prasiddham
mUla pankaja madhyastham mOdaka hastam
bhAdra pada mAsa chaturthyAm brAhmaNAdi pUjitam
pAshAnkusha dharam CHatra chAmara parivIjitam
raudra bhAva rahitam dAsa jana hRdaya virAjitam
rauhiNEyAnujArchitam IhanA varjitam
(madhyama kAla sAhityam)
adri rAja sutAtmajam ananta guru guhAgrajam
bhadra prada padAmbujam bhAsamAna chaturbhujam
I (aham) incessantly (anisham) meditate (chintayAmi) upon Siddhi Vinayaka. He is the Lord (nAyakam) of the famous (prasiddha) Ganas, the foremost (varam) bestower (dAyakam) of the specific (vishishTa) object of desire (artha).
He is worshipped (sEvitam) by Siddhas, Yakshas, Kinnaras etc (Adi). He is renowned (prasiddha) in the whole (akhila) world (jagat). He is in the middle of (madhyashtha) the lotus (pankaja) of Mooladhara Chakra (mUla). He has the Modaka sweetmeat in his hand (hastam).
He is worshipped (pUjitam) by the Brahmanas etc (Adi) on the fourth day of the lunar cycle (chaturthi) of the month (mAsa) of Bhadrapada. He is the holder (dharam) of a noose (pAsha) and goad (ankusha). He is cooled (parivIjitam) by an umbrella (CHatra) and a chowrie (chAmara). He is devoid of (rahitam) violent or angry (raudra) emotions (bhAva). Who is resplendent (virAjita) in the hearts (hRdaya) of his servants (dAsajana). He is praised (architam) by Krishna (the younger brother (anuja) of the son of Rohini (Balarama)). He is without (varjitam) of desire (Iha).
He is the grandson (sutAtmaja) of king (rAja) of the mountains (adri). He is the elder-brother (agraja) of the eternal (ananta) Guruguha (=Kartikeya). His are the lotus-feet (pada ambujam) which bestow (prada) welfare/prosperity (bhadra). He is the four-handed one (chatur bhujam) who dwells (mAnam) in lustre/light (bhAsa).
16 responses to “Siddhi Vinayakam Anisham”
This is an excellent choice. This along with ‘Vatāpi Gaṇapathim’ and ‘Maha Ganapathiṃ’ in Dīkṣitar’s trifecta ode to Ganeśa have remained inseparable in my mind. It is interesting that you have connected the reference to mūladhāra, which also finds mention in ‘Vatāpi’. This rāgaṃ evokes a visceral feeling like Simhendramadhyamaṃ. The two rāgaṃs are only different in their niṣādaṃ!
The purpose of yoga, particularly rājayoga, for which YSP is foundational, was primarily to help one practice meditation (following the āsanas). While these siddhis are achievable, they in themselves were not the goals, and scholars and practitioners have dwelt sparingly on chapter 3 (Yoga Sūtrās). If only Ganeśa can grant us all the clarity of vision, our efforts will truly blossom and the world would become an even better place. I know of several people (at work) who have been to India and have carried with them iconic reminders of Ganeśa that they they display and speak with pride.
Hello Jay! Indeed the trio of Vatapi-Maha Ganapatim-Siddhi Vinayakam is surely known and enjoyed by every CM listener! And I like all three ragas very much, but I do have a special love for Shanmukhapriya. And no surprise, I love Simhendramadhyamam too! But close as they are in scale, they are hard to consfuse I think..they each have such a unique ‘personality’!
The siddhis are interesting in the sense that they are …magical, if that is the right word to use. We have read of the sages doing quite miraculous things in our epics using siddhis they achieved through yoga, penance and the blessings of the Lord. Yet with these supreme powers comes great responsibility. We know many stories in which these powers were not used responsibly – Parikshit being cursed by Shringi, the many incidents with Durvasa and the other angry sage Parasurama – all this proves that realising these siddhis is rather a dangerous business! What use having the power to control the world if I do not have the power to control my own emotions? Clarity of vision is indeed right…the clarity of vision to pray for a wise boon from Vinayaka!
Coming back to the one note raga difference, I agree about the personality difference. These ragas are so identical that any alapanam has to differentiate itself when the nishadam is sung. Or as a corollary, alapana passages where mostly the lower register are employed, or sahityam for example the intro ‘siddhi vinayakam’ of SP, ‘rama rama gunaseema’ of SM, or ‘papa karma munindura’ of SM (needu charanamule), should have similar expressiveness, Note: I’ve not verified if the syllables match svara sthanas, but all these padam are in lower register and they are common to both ragams. However, the exponents of CM manage to color the raga even before they reach nishadam, that the listener knows which raga is being elaborated. At least that’s how it seems. I’d like to know if you have had similar observations.
A quick search yielded this audio link that you may want to check out: http://www.raagabox.com/search/?mid=1006093
I read once that musicians try and give you the unique feature of a raga within 30 secs of the start! I am not so sure if that is true… I didn’t much like the link you have given, instead I suggest Ragasurabhi where you can find this excellent demo. For newcomers to the ragas, it is worthwhile listening to the signatures of Shanmukhapriya and of Simhendramadhyamam.
As far as the kritis are concerned, I found the notation for Siddhi Vinayakam online. It starts with P ; M – G R ; || R S ; ; D N || The Nishadam is within the first line of the pallavi (Ni of the word Anisham is the Nishadam). I reckon the composers make sure that the uniqueness of the raga is displayed as soon as possible in a kriti. So even if, like me, someone is an uneducated listener, the ‘personality’ of Shanmukhapriya – the Nishadam – arrives very early at the start of a song and is repeated often enough to make it very recognizable. I will try an interesting experiment for myself..I will play different Shanukhapriya alapanas and see how many seconds into it do I know for sure what the raga is..a fun experiment for when I have the time 🙂
Like very much
Thank you 🙂
Excellent alternative interpretation of the ‘ashta siddhis’. I have always believed that mystics and poets use metaphors and we need to dive deep to understand what they mean. A reinterpretation of the meaning in contemporary terms is the way to get the best out of them.
Thank you 🙂 I am totally with you on this! The mystics, sages and poets did employ metaphors to send a message; a message we cannot receive until we go beyond the surface meaning. Cheers. Suja
Dear Suja: Your readers may also like this Tulsi bhajan on Ganapati. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aASYnk-eaXI
Thank you Mouli, Jagjit Singh has a very peaceful way of singing doesn’t he? It does suit Bhajan singing..
I completely cracked up at the though of setting “stretch targets” for Ganesha that it would be simply impossible to listen to lovely music – so I have to wait till the laughter subsides 🙂
Impishly the thought led to setting stretch targets for this blog owner :. How about
– One post every 3 days
– One Hindustani feature for every 3 Carnatic features
– One “World” music feature every other week
– Thani Avarthanam to feature once in a while, as in every concert
🙂 Your stretch targets for me are set to fail as surely as my stretch targets to Ganesha to bestow me with the siddhis 🙂 But I hear you…
Cheers. Suja BTW I wondered if anyone would notice my little rather self-directed joke 🙂
Pranams and thanks for the wonderful post on the Vinayaka Krithi.
My sincere appreciation to you for all the time and efforts spared.
Just a gentle check: please see if the translation for Eehana varjitham (towards the end)also appears or have i missed it?!
God be with you always!
R S Prasad
Hello Prasad, Thank you for your kind words 🙂 And thank you even more for pointing out the missing phrase..my oversight, I apologise. It has now been corrected. Much obliged!
Thx for the word by word meaning explanation
Glad you liked it.