Posted by: digirak | April 9, 2007

Kritis- the nectar from the divine


There is an old story in the Puranas which talks about how the Gods and the demon fought to get the nectar of immortality and how later on, Lord Vishnu helped the Gods get it. I was always given to believe that this nectar is the one people drink when they go to heaven. I am not too sure if these nectar exists at all, but I am pretty much sure that Lord Vishnu fooled the devas and has given them nectar of immortality and given us humans the nectar of the Kritis through the mouth of the blessed Tyagaraja! In truly magnificent set of 5 songs called the pancha-ratna kritis or the 5 gems of music, they are liberating at the same time tend to give a very deep inner meaning.

Kritis directly translated mean, that which ahs been made, in this context composed. Tyagaraja was a telugu brahmin in the land of the Cholas. He was an ardent devotee of Sri Rama. He had nothing but his devotion to give to Sri Rama and he poured out his love for Sri Rama in the songs taht he composed. Legend has it that the divine sage narad appeared to Tyagaraja and gave him teh sapta swaras , either way Tyagaraja is possibly credited with the great work of standardizing Indian music in the form that it is today.

Typically all the Kritis are composed of the seven svaras namely Shatjabham, Rishabnam,gandharam, Madhyamam, Panchamam, Dhaivatam, Nishadam. These are in increasing order of their tonabilities and composed of these notes are the ragas and these in turn make up the songs. The beauty of these compositions is the fact that unlike modern compositions which glorify love, these glorify God who is the personification of love. the first Kriti is the wonderful Jagadanadakaaraka, meaning the reason behind joy in the world. A very wonderful song set to the ragam of Natai and talam of Adi, its melody is when it starts at a slow beat progresses through the anupallavi , the sub repeating part of the song, and as it moves on gathers momentum and the fervour of Tyagaraja when he is praising his Lord is plentyful with wonderful epithets a part being such:

You assume the form of Lord Siva who resides inside the Omkara form, Lord Brahma and Vishnu. You killed Ravana, the father of Indrajith. Lord Siva with the crescent shaped moon on his head likes you. You show mercy. You protect those who take refuge in you. You create happiness to good people. You are impartial. You are the essence of Vedas.
Basically a personal favourite and is more than hear-me-once type and repeated hearings lend it more grace and kind of makes it a day beginner!

The next Kriti is the Dudukugala Nanne brova- literally translated means who(rama) will protect me form the bad things in life that I do. A wonderfully soft song set to the raga of Gowlai and set to the Tala of Adi, it describes the fact that people are prone to bad things and Rama being the ever merciful should forgive people. A neat composition well toned, its is not as raunchy as the previous one with the Talam being quite an undertone and the emphasis is on the wonderful tone that it is set to. a great song to soothe you after a bad day when you think that the world is against you!!

I did not realise that human birth is a boon. I became slave to madness, jealousy, kama, miserliness & desires. Even though I was born in a good family, I carried on bad deeds. To fulfill my evil desires I did bad things.

The song ends thus and is obviously a lot more to write than words can express go listen to it to discover the beauty yourself!

The next Kriti is the Sadichene manasa : This pancharathna krithi has been well set on the easiest of ragas, Arabhi. This Krithi has been carved out in a language full of liberty, teasing tone, metaphor and simile without having a surfeit of adjectives – all the while arresting the attention of the singers. Thyagaraja in this krithi, appeared to be telling the greatness of the lord in a lucid manner most enthusiastically. The style adopted in this krithi is very sweet in comparison to the other four kirthanas. It has this totally lucid captivating style which makes the listener really admire the audacity of Thyagaraja to tread even the no mans land of where he actually manages to blend the complexity in beats with the Swaras seamlessly, truly brilliant!!! the Kirtana basically is getting the mind to meditate on the Lord and thus derive the wonderful joy from His being!!

Oh Hari! Ramachandra!! The lord of Raghuvamsha!! Possessor of nectar like sweet tongue! The lord who is reposes on the seshanaga; one who is like a brother to other’s wives; one who is worshipped by emperors; one who has clean and healthy body; one who has lotus petal like eyes

The next Kriti is the very famous Enadaro Mahanubhavulu , I really wonder whether the devotion of man to Rama could actually drive him to compose something of this magnitude and its is truly amazing to his credit that the Shree Ragam which is possibly the queen of all Janya Ragams and is rooted from the magical Karaharapriya.

Surya, Chandra, Sanaka Sanadhanas, Dikpalas, Devas, Kimpurushas, Prahalada, Narada, Tumburu, Anjaneya, Siva, Sukar, Brahma, Brahmanas enjoy the Brahmanandha Swaroopa of God always. Apart from them there are others and salutations to them also

I am hardpressed to write more on these wonderful works praising the divine alas time and space have their constraints imposed on me but what I can write in my limited capacity is all I can give you!!


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