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Exploring the beauty of Navavarana krithis

Published: 03rd June 2013 12:36 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd June 2013 12:36 PM   |  A+A-

One of the trinities of Carnatic music Muthuswamy Dikshitar was a great worshipper of Sri Shakti(Sri Shakti Upasaka). He had won over Sri Vidya devatha. And hence Dikshitar, the scholar-composer, authored Sri Kamalamba Navavarana krithis. The bunch of eleven krithis(krithi guchcha or samudaya krithis) is a eulogy to Sri Kamalamba Devi of Tiruvavuru of Tanjavur district. These krithis contain the soul of Sri Vidya Upasana. They also contain powerful tantric letters and words.

The bunch of Sri Navavarana krithi comprises of a Dhyana krithi (Todi), nine avarana krithis and a mangala krithi in Sri raga. Dikshitar has enriched them with melodic, rhythmic and literary values. Todi, Anandabhairavi, Kalyani, Shankarabharana, Bhairavi, Sri and other ragas are appropriately used. Punnagavarali, Ahiri and Ghanta are the rare ragas that are adapted according to the demands of the text of their respective songs. Adi, roopaka, mishra chapu, besides atta, jhampe, triputa and eka talas are used accuretly. The krithis which start with the word Kamalamba have the raga mudras(names of the ragas) very cleverly inserted in them. Thus, undoubtedly, these very important Dhyana and Tantri krithis are a great treasure of Carnatic music.

The singing of Sri Navavarana krithis begins with the rendition of Sri Mahaganapathiravatumam set to Gowla raga. Next, a krithi in praise of Guru Sri Balasubrahmanyaya in Suruti raga is sung followed by a dhyana krithi. After that the nine avarana krithis are sung with the concluding mangala krithi in Sri raga. The beauty and significance of these krithis was unveiled at Gayana Samaja last Saturday. Veteran vocalist and a patron of music N Ananthapadmanabha Rao needs to be commended and thanked for training one of his merited singer-students in singing the above krithis. A CD containing Sri Navavarana krithis was released on the anniversary of AP Rao’s Sri Parimala Sangeetha Vidyalaya. Sumathi has rendered them melodiously and according to the tradition of the rendition of such krithis. Rao’s efforts have bore fruits and Sumathi has done full justice to the presentation.

The official release of the CD was followed by their live rendition. Accompanied by Ananda Vishwanathan Iyer(violin), Rajkumar(mridanga), Dayananda Mohite(ghata) and Bheemachar(morsing), Sumathi delighted the audience with his performance.

Importance of Sooladis

The Hairdasa Sahitya is of immense value and multi-oriented. With its inherent, implicit and explicit inputs, the literature has attained a prime place. It has enriched the fields of devotion, society and literature. The Carnatic music has also been benefitted and beautified by Haridasa sahitya. Haridasas have worshipped  God through their compositions like geethas, vritta naamas, ugabhogas, dandakas, tripadis, sangatyas, ragales etc.

They serve the messages of Hari sarvothamatva(the Supremacy of Lord Hari), Dashavatara, Sri Haribhakti, Navadha bhakti for the benefit of the devotee.

The Sooladi compositions are yet another type of literary work composed by Haridasas. The word Sooladi may be interpreted as “the easy way to reach the God”. These Sooladis resemble keerthanas. But they have seven or eight parts. We find some ordinary and simple Sooladis along with many unique, complicated and special ones. There are single raga and tala Sooladis. Many Sooladis are composed in different ragas and talas.   The Sooladis deal with mythological, devotional, psychological topics. They contain moral instructions and provide an useful insight into metaphysical aspects. In the music field some good work has been done to explore their importance. A few attempts are also made in the dance field in this regard. So making available the rich treasure of Sooladis is praiseworthy.  One such successful and noteworthy attempt has been made by a well known scholar, orator and erudite writer Dr Aralumallige Parthasarathy. He has compiled 101 rare Sooladis of different Haridasas in his book entitled “Haridasara 101 apoorva Sooladigalu”. The 392-page book features 101 Sooladis with raga and tala directions. The alphabetically arranged list of Sooladis is  handy for reference. The book was released by Pagadala Ananda Teerthacharya of Dasa Sahitya Project of TTD.

Creditable Bharatanatyam

Varsha C Ramesh gave a breathtaking Bharatanatyam at Chowdaiah Memorial hall recently. Dancing with full confidence and commitment she relived the memories of her Guru Jaya. At present she is being trained by Deeksha Kumar and Devi Aithal. Blessed with attractive features, Varsha began her renditions with a Pushpanjali in Arabhi raga and adi tala. Lord Ganesha was eulogised and his traits were effectively sketched by Varsha in her abhinaya. The Saraswathi Jathiswara vouched for her nritta understanding. The jathis and swaras were neatly translated into the language of dance. Child Krishna’s leelas and beauty was artistically captured in her ragamalika Shabda.    

The Kharaharapriya varna(Aayir Sheriyar) was in praise of Lord Krishna. Both the bhakthi and shringara rasas inherent in the varna were expressed by the young dancer.  The nritta, nrithya and abhinaya sections of the piece were negotiated with aplomb.  Pulikeshi Kasturi (natuvanga), D S Srivatsa (vocal), Janardhan (mriudanga), Madhusudan (voilin), Karthik Satvalli (flute) and Purushottam (morsing) embellished Varsha’s dance.

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