Category Archives: D.K.Jayaraman

Sri Raghuvara Aprameya

RamaIn Carnatic Music, we have a number of different forms of compositions like geetam, swarajativarnamkriti, javali and thillana. The mainstay of this music is, of course, the kriti which normally has a three-part form of pallavi, anupallavi and charanam.  Yet I recall that when my mother spoke of these, she called them kIrtanam in Tamil. ‘Are these two names interchangeable?’ I wondered while listening to the rather uniquely structured kriti which is my chosen song of the day.

The word kriti comes from the Sanskrit root कृ, kR to do. यत् क्रितम् तत् कृतिः  That which is created is a kriti, so in a general sense, it just means a creation. kIrtanam no doubt comes from कीर्तन kIrtana, to praise. Given that in Hindi, kirtan is more like a bhajan than a classical composition, I tend to think of it in the same terms. What is the difference between the two in Carnatic Music?

Seeking comprehension on the net, I found a very interesting article by eminent musicologist T.S.Parthasarathy in the journal Shanmukha (April-June 2005) . Not only was my question answered but I also learnt a number of other things, some of which I note below for your interest.

The word kriti to denote a musical composition was first used by Kalidasa (5th-6th centuries) in his Raghuvamsa. But this did not refer to a composition such as we know in Carnatic Music today. This structure owes its origins to the dhruvas and charanas of the Ashtapadi by Jayadeva (14th century). Though the pitamaha of Carnatic Music  Purandaradasa (15th century)  refers to his own compositions as kritis in his song Vasudeva Namavaliya, his compositions have various composition-form names. The majority are called kirtanas.  Tyagarja defines a kriti in his Sogasuga Mrudanga Talamu as containing yati (a pattern of swaras & words in a beat), visrama (rest), sadbhakti (true devotion), virati (pause), draksha rasa (grape flavour?!) and navarasa (the nine sentiments).

In normal parlance today, the words kriti and kirtanam are often used interchangeably. However, according to another eminent musicologist Prof. P.Sambamoorthy, there is a difference which I summarize below :

Kirtana

  • An older form (14th century); kritis evolved later from kirtanas
  • The lyrics are strictly devotional.
  • The melody and rhythm are simple; the music is subordinate to the lyrics.
  • The charanas are all sung to the same dhaatu (melodic-rhythmic structure as opposed to maatu which denote the lyrics) and the anupallavi is dispensable.
  • They are set to common ragas and are without ornamental angas like chittaswaras, sangatis etc.

Kriti

  • It may be devotional, didactic or introspective in character.
  • The accent is on musical excellence; the words take a secondary position.
  • The charanas may have difference dhaatus.
  • Sangatis (melodic variations) are a characteristic feature; a kriti lends itself to musical interpretation of the raga.
  • It normally has a pallavi, anupallavi and charanas. It can be enriched by ornamental angas like chittaswaras etc.

Coming back to my inspiration for educating myself today, Sri Raghuvara Aprameya by Tyagaraja, is interestingly different. It has four charanas, each set to a different melodic pattern. Some artists sing only the sahitya, but others sing the swaras as well, like they do for the Ghana Raga Pancharatna kritis. And interestingly, some sing the charanas in two speeds. What a delightful piece of music it is! Tyagaraja praises Rama as the one who enjoys music arising from swara and laya; well, if the music is like this, surely even God cannot but enjoy its magnificence? Set to raga Kambhoji, it has a brisk but contended mood which I enjoy very much indeed. For lyrics and translation, see footnote.

My favourite rendition of this kriti is by D.K.Jayaraman who sings the swaras and renders the charanas in two speeds.

Alternate Link: Click here and download song 8 (free membership to Sangeethapriya needed).

I was inspired today while listening to young Bharat Sundar make a very credible effort in his rendition below (alapana 48:17, kriti 1:08:08). He sings the swaras but renders the charanas only at one speed.

 


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Sanskrit

पल्लवि
श्री रघुवर अप्रमेय मामव

अनुपल्लवि
श्री रघु कुल जलनिधि सोम श्री राम पालय

चरणम् 1
सारस हित कुलाब्ज भृङ्ग संगीत लोल

चरणम् 2
विरोचन कुलेश्वर स्वर लयादि मूर्छनोल्लसित नारद विनुत

चरणम् 3
श्री भास्कर कुलाद्रि दीप श्री भागवत विनुत सुचरण

चरणम् 4
सीता नाथ त्यागराज नुतानिल सुताप्त सुगुणाभरण

Transliteration

pallavi
shrI raghuvara apramEya mAmava

anupallavi
shrI raghu kula jalanidhi sOma shrI rAma pAlaya

charaNam 1
sArasa hita kulAbja bhRnga sangIta lOla

charaNam 2
virOchana kulEshvara svara layAdi mUrCHanOllAsita nArada vinuta

charaNam 3
shrI bhAskara kulAdri dIpa shrI bhAgavata vinuta sucharaNa

charaNam 4
sItA nAtha tyAgarAja nutAnIla sutApta suguNAbharaNa

Translation

O Best (vara) of the Raghu clan, O Unfathomable one (apramEya) ! Protect (verb अव्  av) me (mAma)!

O Lord Rama, the nectar (sOma) in the ocean (jalanidhi) of the splendid (shrI) Raghu clan (raghu kula), [perhaps equating with the churning of the milky ocean, which brought forth the nectar of immortality] take care of me (pAlaya) !

O bee (bhRnga) hovering over the Lotus (sArasa) of the Solar dynasty (abja=lotus, hita=friend of, kula=dynasty – friend of lotus=Sun)! O enjoyer of music (sangIta lOla)!

O Lord (Ishvara) of the Solar (virOchana=sun) dynasty (kula)! One who is made joyful (ullAsita) by musical notes (svara), rhythm (laya) and melody (mUrCHana) etc (Adi)! One praised (nuta) by Narada!

O bright (bhaskara) lamp (light) of the solar (adri=sun) dynasty (kula)! One whose feet (su charaNa) are worshipped (vinuta) by the blessed (shrI) followers of Vishnu (bhAgavata)!

O Lord (nAtha) of Sita! One who is praised (nuta) by Tyagaraja! O friend (Apta) of Hanuman, the son (suta) of the God of wind (anila)!  One who is adorned (AbharaNa) by virtues (suguNa)!

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Bharat Sundar, Carnatic Music, Compositions in Sanskrit, D.K.Jayaraman, Tyagaraja

Kapali

Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Vinayak Nagraj@flickrOne of my earliest memories of Carnatic Music is from the temple grounds of Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Mylapore, Chennai. I must have been less than five years old, I reckon. I remember playing in the sand under the stars while my parents listened to the musical outpourings of the maestros who ruled Carnatic Music at that time. When I went back to the Kapali koil many years later I looked for the sandy areas inside the walls but there were none…is it something I have imagined? Too many years have passed for my memory to retain facts other than a deep sense of contentment I felt in the holy grounds of the temple. I wonder, did the music conjure up images of the Divine for the listeners as potently as the idols within the temple do for the worshippers? Did they feel as blessed as I feel when I listen to music?

Busy with my guests yesterday, I missed marking Shivaratri in any way. This morning I feel guilty, for yesterday should have been a day when my mind focused on the dancing Lord. I make up for it today for my guests have left. I listen non-stop to music, as a prayer, as a meditation, as a worship and I write this 200th post of mine in his honour. Listening to Kapali by Papanasam Sivan takes me to the hallowed grounds of the Kapaleeshwarar temple. Those far off memories are joyful ones for me, and this joy is echoed in the happy notes of Raga Mohanam in which the song is set.

Who is He? Papanasam Sivan describes the Lord as the one with matted hair who is adorned by a snake, with a garland of skulls, wearing tiger skin, His body covered by ash.  He is Kapali, meaning the one who holds a skull. Should not such an image be terrifying? But no! He who dances the dance of Time, His drum keeping the beat, His matted hair flying, His eyes flashing is the most attractive God of all!  Though He is the God of destruction, He is life itself for does not each moment of our life die almost as we live it? There is much symbolism in the depiction of Shiva; I will leave that discussion for another day.

The composer makes it clear that he too finds the Lord enchanting by setting the song in joyful Mohanam and saying in the last line of the song that ‘this enchanter captures the heart of all women who come before Him! I love the contrast of the rather frightening form of the Lord to the soft and lyrical notes of Mohanam. As a woman who has come before Him, I too have lost my heart to Him!

If you would like to know more about this raga, click here.

It is a struggle to decide which rendition to present to you because there are many excellent renditions of this kriti. I have finally decided on the one by D.K.Jayaraman (1928-1991) because in addition to being a wonderful listen, it is also a rare good quality video of a yesteryear artist from the eighties which is very much worth your attention.

I am also very fond of Sanjay Subrahmanyan’s rendition (21 mins, I have not loaded the alapana) from the album Live at Gokhale Hall.

For an instrumental version, I enjoyed U.Srinivas’s very pleasant 30 min rendition on the mandolin.

 


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Tamil

பல்லவி
காபாலி கருணை நிலவு பொழி வதன மதியனொரு

அனுபல்லவி
ஆபால கோபாலம் ஆழி சூழ் தலத்தவரும்
பூபாலரும் அஷ்ட திக் பாலரும் போற்றும் அற்புத

சரணம்
மதி புனல் அரவு கொன்றை தும்பை அருகுமத்தை புனை மாசடையான்
விதி தலை மாலை மார்பன் உரித்த கரிய வெம்புலியின் தோலுடையான்
அதிர முழங்கும் உடுக்கையும் திரிசூலமும் அங்கியும் குரங்கமும் இலங்கிடும் கையான்
துதி மிகு திருமேனி முழுதும் சாம்பல் துலங்க எதிர் மங்கையர் மனம் கவர் ஜகன் மோகன

Transliteration

pallavi
kApAli karuNai nilavu pozhi vadana madiyan oru

anupallavi
AbAla gopAlam Azhi shUz dalattavarum
bhUpAlarum ashTa dik pAlarum poTrum adbhuta

charaNam
madi punal aravu konDrai tumbai arugumattai punai mAsaDaiyAn
vidi talai mAlai mArban uritta kariya vempuliyin tOluDaiyAn
adira muzhangum uDukkaiyum tirushUlamum angiyum kurangamum ilangiDum kaiyyAn
tudi migu tirumEni muzhudum sAambal tulanga edir mangaiyar manam kavar jagan mOhana

For notation, click here.

Translation

His compassion (karuNai) pours (pozhi) like moonlight (nilavu), his face (vadana) is like a moon (madiyam) (=handsome), the one who holds a skull (kApAli).

The marvellous (arpuda) one who is worshipped by (pOtrum) by the young (bAla) cowherd gOpAlam) (= Krishna?), those from the place (dalattavar) surrounded (shUzh) by the ocean (Azhi), the kings (bhUpAlar) and the keepers (pAlar) (= deities) of the eight (ashta) directions (dik).

He whose matted hair (masadaiyAn) is adorned (punai) with the moon (madi), the river (punal) (=Ganga), the snake (aravu), kondrai flower (=Indian laburnum, a yellow flower), tumbai flower (=leucas, a white wildflower), arugam grass and Umattai flower (=datura, a purple flower). He whose chest (mArbAn) is adorned by a garland (mAlai) of Brahma’s (vidi) head (talai), he who wears a skin (tOluDaiyAn) skinned (uritta) from a dark (kariya) [alternate : kariyin=of an elephant) mighty tiger (vem puli) . With his hands (kai) shining (ilangidum) with a drum (uDukkai) which makes a startling (adira) loud noise (muzhangum), a trident (tirushUlam), fire (angi) and a deer (kurangam). Worship well (tudi migu) the One who enchants the world (jagan mohana),  his sacred body (tiru mEni) shining (tulanga) with ashes (sAmbal), who captures the heart of (manam kavar) the women (mangaiyar) who come before him (edir).

12 Comments

Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Tamil, D.K.Jayaraman, Papanasam Sivan, Sanjay Subrahmanyan, U.Srinivas