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Some of my articles are posted below:

Imaginary Interview with Saint Thyagaraja



             Thyagaraja:     Evaru ochinanru –Chudu

             Disciple:                     Rasikapriya nuchi Ochnaru

            Thyagaraja:      Randi Randi

            Vkailasam:      Vanakam Ayaha.

                                     The rest of the interview,I choose to transalate in English.

            Vkailasam:      Sir Can you tell a few words about you.

             Thyagaraja:    Laughing-My forefathers migrated long time back-during 16th century

                                    from Andhara and settled down in Tanjore District. We belong to

Telugu smartha Brahmin sect. My maternal grandfather was Giriraja          kavi.I was born in his house.My grandfather was a poet in the court of the king of Tanjavur.My father was kakarla Ramabrhmam.My mother was Seethamma.I am the third son to my parents.My father was patronized by the king and he was attending to spiritual activities in the court .I am named after local deity Thagyaraja.

         Vkailasam :     Sir, I was wondering ….

Thyagaraja:     Yes,Yes.I Know what you are going to ask Why compositions are in telegu… is it not ..laughing….

As we are basically Telegu people,this came to me naturally.As the flow was free,perhaps the thought that I should change,never occurred to me….nothing else.

            Vkailasam:      Is Namo Namo Ragavaiah your first piece?

            Thyagaraja:     Yes, it is in Raga Desika Todi.

            Vkailasam:      Were you merely 8 years at that time?

            Thyagaraja:     Mu…. Mu …..

            Vkailasam:      About your guru sir..

Thyagaraja:     I commenced training at an early age with sonti venkataramiah.

vkailasam:       We learn that he was very impressed with you and invited you to perform in his house, were you to obey the Guru  you Sang  “Entharo Mahanubhavu”.

Thyagaraja:     Yes ….Yes …

vkailasam:       Sir, Who initiated you to Rama Mantra?

Thyagaraja:     It was my father Ramabrahmam who bought me to worship Rama . I was chanting continuously almost non stop. I had a momentary drashan of Shri Rama I was ecstatic.

vkailasam :     Is it at that time you sang Balakanakamaya?

Thyagaraja:     Absorbed in his thoughts

Vkailasam:     Sir…

Thyagaraja:     Yes…

vkailasam       We learnt that sage Naradha has provided you  the secret and

                        Mystery of musical notes. Is it you had the blessings of both

                        Lord Rama and Sage Naradha?

Thyagaraja:     No reply..

vkailasam       Sir, we are told that you have turned down the gifts and the request of the King to sing in his presence as you felt anguished

                        and sang the song Nidi sala sugama.

Thyagaraja:     Yes… Which is better—money and fame or being in the presence of the Lord Rama?

vkailasam       But that resulted in the loss of His Idol?

Thyagaraja:     But the ecstasy which I got on recovery of the same! After this incidence, I visited various temples. I recall I sang the five songs Kovur Pamcharatnas in praise of Lord Sunderewara.

vkailasam       Yes sir we heard that Kovur Sunderesa mudaliar who has

                        hosted you hinted that he would like songs in his praise.

Thyagaraja:    No reply..

vkailasam       Sir, for you Bakthi and Music are same you used your compositions to activate Nadhopasana to attain Moksha.

Thyagaraja:     yes yea I have brought out these in my songs Shobillu  Swararagasudha, Nadathanumanisham and also Nadopasana.

vkailasam       Yes Sir. They provide insight into worship of Swaras.

                        Sribapriya also provides insight of mind seeking Swaras in

                        Blissful forms.

Thyagaraja:     I have expounded Nada yoga in MokshamuGalada and

                        also in Ragasudharasa.

vkailasam       Yes sir…in Manusunilpa you have indicated that in spite of

                        all and any qualification that one may have, unless one gives up

                        kama and moha, there is no use in doing pooja or thapas.

Thyagaraja:     Yes.. I stressed the same in Manasu swadeenamaina.

vkailasam       Sir, Is it in the song Eavarani nirnayan chedira you have    explained

                        Rama manthira have been derived from Narayana and Siva Manthirams taking two letters  RA and MA from them respectively.

Thyagaraja:     Yes Those who know this truth are worthy of respect

                        and one can prostrate before them.

vkailasam        Sir, there are no songs to invoke blessings of Nava grahas in your compositions. We are told both you and Purandaradasa

                        did not attach any importance to astrology as both of you have felt that it is the Lord who is the force behind the forces of planets.

Thyagaraja:     Laughs… my song Grahabalamemi can provide answer.

                        I  hope this is enough for the day…

vkailasam       Sir if you do not mind…one last question… You are also philosophical   You follow Dwaitham or Adwaitham school?

Thyagaraja:     You can refer to my song Dwaitha sugama..

vkailasam        Sir ,Dwitha says Jeevatma is different from Paramatma.

                        Adwaitham says both are same.You calls upon the lord to clarify.

                        When you ask the Lord who is the same as Paramathma,can  we

                        take you are considering them separate?

 Thyagaraja:    Thank you…We meet again – he moves away

One has to surrender all actions to Hari.

Viz. All one’s duties and actions are to be performed with an attit
ude that the results are dedicated to HIM.
if one does performs so, is it necessary for him to get concerned 

about the effects of the movements of planets on him ?
 This is what Thyagaraja 

 Pallavi: Graha balam(E)mi Sri Ram-
(A)nugraha balame balamu

Anu pallavi: Graha balam(E)mi tejo maya
vigrahamunu dhyanijcu variki nava(graha)

Charanam: Graha pidala pajca papamulan-
(A)grahamulu gala kam(A)di ripula
nigrahamu jeyu harini bhajijcu
tyagarajuniki rasik(A)gresarulaku (graha)

Of what potency the planets are? Only the potency of grace of Lord Sri rama is the real potency.
O what potency the nine planets are to those who meditate on the effulgent beautiful form of the Lord?
Of what potency the planets are to this Tyagaraja as also to those eminent connoisseurs (of music) – who chant the names of Lord Hari who quells the afflictions caused by the planets, the five great sins and the obstinate (six-fold) enemies - desire etc. (kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada, matsarya)?

  ‘kolaru padigam’ of  Tamizh Saint Tirujnana Sambandar.

 and  Naal en seyum Koll en seyum-Tirupugaz  brings out the same that if one has the 

grace of  The Lord one need not fear for the  effects of planetary movements

Saint  Purandara Dasar also brings out  the above in his composition:

Sakala graha bala nine sarasijaksha |p|
nikhila rakshaka nine vishwavyapakane |a|

Meaning : O Lord with eyes resembling lotus, you are the one who has powers of all grahas (planets), and protects the entire universe. (which means there is no meaning if we pray shani/rahu/ketu etc without praying shri hari).

Ravi candra budha nine rahu ketuvu nine
kavi guru shaniyu mangalanu nine
divarathriyu nine nava vidhanavu nine
bhavarogahara nine beshajanu nine |1|

Meaning :

You are sun, moon, venus, or comets, saturn, or any other planet. You are day or night, you are the nine vidhanas (6 vedangas, mimamsa, nyaya, vyakarana), you are the physician who can cure 'bhava' disease (which makes us take birth in this world).

Pakshmasavu nine parva kalavu nine
nakshatra yoga tithi karana nine
akshayavagi draupatiya manakayda
pakshivahana nine rakshakanu nine |2|

Meaning :

You are the pakshamasa (the month which is suitable to give tarpana to our forfothers), you are the parva kala (eclipse), you are good times or inauspicious times, you, the one who protected draupadi by giving infinite saree, are the one who has garuda as your vehicle and protects everyone.

Rutu vatsaravu nine pruthivigadiyu nine
kratu homa yagna sadgatiyu nine
jitavagiyennodeya purandara vitalane
shrutige silukada apratima mahima nine |3|

Meaning :

You are rutu vatsara, ugadi (year begining), all kinds of homas, and yagnas, you are the one to be reached (moksha), O my Lord, purandara vitala, you are the one who is beyond even the vedas (the one who cannot be known just by vedas either).

All the above Saints who had  the glimpse of the Lord, seems to agree that the grahas have bala. but, if one follows the path set out by Gita and surrenders all actions to Hari and also performs their duty without wishing for their fruits, they need not be concerned about the effects of the movements of planets; as, the Lord is the controlling force behind the grahas.

Thyagaraja And Gita


                         It was Ramakrishnar who said repeating the words ‘Gita’  several times will find one saying ‘Ta gi’ which means the one who has renounced everything to God. In effect it is action without desiring the fruits of labour and dedicating everything to Him.

 ‘He who does the work for me, he who looks upon me as his goal, he who worships me free from attachment and he who nurtures no enmity or ill will,

he goes with me’

 This is considered as genuine devotion viz., reliving  the mind of complexities and focusing it on Him.

 This is what Thygaraja in his song  ‘Anuagumuleni’(sarswathi) explaines :

Divine wisdom will blossom only in the minds of those having  genuine

Devotion.In his song ‘Abarathmulamanapi’(Durbar),he feels  he has wasted

time without dwelling in His glories and seeks mercy of The Lord. The same theme he portrays in ‘Dudukugala’ (Gowla), regretting his follies and lapses.

 According to  Gita, for obtaining  libration, it is important to control desires-both  mental and physical. Attachment leads to desire which when denied results in anger. This further leads to bewilderment, memory loss, destruction  

 of intelligence and ultimately one perishes. One should avoid exaggerating

requirements and comforts.

 Thyagaraja in his song ‘Bhajare Raguveeram’ (Kalyani) calls upon worshiping the Lord and meditate on Him with profound involvement. He also indicates how to achieve it in detail, possibly taking the cue from from Gita. Concisely,

One should control their senses and temporary pleasures. Also have to control and curb deceitful nature. One has to surrender all actions to Hari. Illusions have to be dispelled and group singing has to be resorted. The same thing he

expounds further in ‘Bhaktuni Charitramu’(Behada) as to what one should and should not do to attain ‘The Bliss’ –by listening to the conduct of  devotees. In his ‘Daya Rani’ (Mohanam) he depicts and describes the Bliss one will experience ‘When one goes with The Lord’.

Thyagaraja repeats in his song ‘Dhyneme’(Dhanyasi) that only meditation will purify one of the mental stains in as much as a sacred bath in the Ganges

Purifies one.

  It looks as if Thyagaraja had it in mind the words ‘He who looks upon Me as his goal and he who worships me free from attachment’ when he composed ‘Endaramahanubhavalu’ (Sri ragam).He offeres salutations to the Countless

Devotees who had experienced and immersed in’ Supreme Bliss’, who behold the figure of the Lord in their minds, whose  voice enthrall the qualities of Hari with knowledge of  raga,  bhava and laya and also have profound knowledge  of  Srimad Bhahavatham,Ramayana and Srimad Bhahavad Gita.

Through out his compositions one can see the Bakthi yoga-one of the three yogas  propounded in the Gita.


The swaras in Raga elobaration highten the various emotions or the

mood of the human mind.These emotions are the
Bhava of the Raga.The

Swaras with high frequency,intensify the emotional content viz. the

Bhava.That the Bhava is the mood, melody and metaphor has been aptly

pointed out by Radika Srinivasn, in her book 'Sacred Spaces'

Raga could induce or intensify joy or sorrow,violance or peace,

sleep or devotion.Ragas can exhibit Sringaram,veeram, rudhram,santham

karunyam,devotion Etc.,through Bhavas.

Subha pantuvarali is known for its meloncholy.

Atana,Gourimanohari ,Hamsadwani, Sankarabaranam, Thodi or Vasantha

are stated to soothe one who is short tempered or angry.

Behag, Khamas are stated to exude sensual elements.

Other erotic
Ragas are stated to be Abhiri, Karaharapriya, Keeravani

SuddhaSaveriEtc. ,

Revathi played on Veena disolves fear and disillutionment.

Raga Sama is stated to provide
inner peace and harmony as also

kannada, Nilambary and yadhukula kambhoji.

The roots of carnatic Music is religious or Devotional.

Whether in joy or in sorrow, the Deity,is adressed through the Ragas

suitable to the mood and occasion as composed by the Great Composers.

If the performance of the Artists is in the same frequency

with which they are composed,the Bhava is brought to the listeners

through the ragas.This satisfies the listeners.

In this context ,the definition of Raga by the

7th century author Matanga that what is pleasent alone can be a Raga
is relevent.
vkailasamvenkat( 05-02-09)

Good Music                           

 My daughter with whom I am staying now asked me which good music is.
I pondered over this. I feel it is one which is pleasant and soothing to the ears. It should make one feel satisfied. The taste has to linger for a while.

 Elaborate Raga alapaana,Swara Sanjaram and Palllavi Pyro techniques can show the knowledge and experience of the performer. Yet, if the raga and Bhava which makes music enchanting is absent, the listener may not be satisfied. The songs of Venkata kavi has been rendered by many. I have heard Priya Sisters in RAAGA. Sudha's I have heard it from TAMIL BEATS.Recently I had it from Shri Hariharan's Blog rendered by Jesudas.They were all good
music.Yet what I heard years back in a tape rendered by Maharajapuram Santhanam is still lingering.Probably, because it was sung with the same Bhava with which it was composed by venkatakavi. Performers, I am sure are well aware of this.

 Recently, I heard Susheela Raman singing Maha Ganapathi and Sarasa sama dhana set to Western Music beats.It was not only novel but a pleasant experience.I am not sure whether it is part of good music. Film songs have rhythm and set to beats which make them pleasant for hearing, if only in some cases,we forget the lyrics. While Carnatic Music is totally Devotional,film songs are based mainly on material longings.Yet, who wiil not like the song
UIERE UIERE from the film Bombay;or the songs from Pasamalar,Palum
Pazamum,Tiruviladal ,Karanan and the like? Madurai Shri G.S.Mani has
done a good job to bring out a mutiple no., of such songs in specific ragas. These CDs may be available commercially.


Regarding Golden Period of Carnatic Music:

One- In the elite club of musicians of
yesteryears let us not forget to include Shri MD. Ramanthan. He was
bestowed with a coarse voice. But, still he could make one sit and pay
intense attention to his renderings. His movements in "kiz Panchamam"
would be exhilarating.

Two: Carnatic music, I feel, is not only with
but also with composers. As such the golden age of music, perhaps commences
the period of Music Trinities including Tamil Trinities. The
composers themselves could have been performers then as was Saint

Three: With carnatic music moving from temples to
sabhas, it became commercial. It had become Status\Social symbol to
visit sabhas. Many people like me were deprived of listening to such
music. It became a rare thing to see a
Sheik China Moulana or a
Namagiripettai Krishnan to move along temple processions during festivals rendering exhilarating music during chilly nights which we enjoyed till vie hours.

Fourth: With the development
of Electronics we are now able to listen music of our choice of
oldies or of youngsters sitting before a computer or moving with
mobiles. We have alternatives to decide.

As it indicates Swara is Eswaraa or Nadham.
 This is what Arunagirinather explains in ‘Nadha Vindhu kala  nidhi’.Nadha is the vibration of sound or name. Bindhu or rupa or form came from this Nadha..These name and form are called ‘Omkara’. Nadha is known as Lingam and Bindhu ,its peetam.
This is basis for evaluation.

Bakthi and Music are one and the same  for  Saint Thyagaraja.

Nothing is sacred than these to attain Moksha or life’s salvation.

 The sources of sound originates from Mooladhara.These are explained in the song’Shobillu’. The divine forms of the seven musical notes emanates from navel, heart,neck,tongue and nose of the human body.The seven notes are the chakras in the body
Namely:Muladhara,Swadishtana,Manipura,Anahatha,VishudhaAjna and sahasraram. In the ‘Swararagasudha’ he tells that devotion combined with Swara and Raga and comprehendingits source alone can lead one to Moksha. Sapthaswara is the same as Pranavanadha

 In the kriti ‘Nadha thanumanisham’ he says Shankara and Nadha are one and the same.’Prnava Swaroopam’.He bows to Him with his mind and body and also to samaveda which he calls as the best among Vedas.Shankara is also the one who gets delight in the art of seven swaras born of his five faces .He is also the destroyer of ‘Kala’.

This is further expounded in the song’Nadopasana’.

Due to sadhana of nadha which is ‘Omharam’

Shankara,Narayana and Brahma(vidhi) are above on par to

others.’Uddharulu’,atheethalu’,’vaurulu’-they are the ones who can uphold, excel in and also spread, the Vedas.Due to this sadana they have acquired powers of ‘mantra’,’yentra’and‘tantra’.Vocal and instrumental music delights them.They are also absolutely free.’Swatantaralu’.

 The worship of swaras emanating from mooladara is stressed by Thyagaraja. The Atana raga ‘Sribapriya’provides insight of the mind seeking the Swaras in blissful forms.’Sapthaswara chaari’.The purpose of Music and its sadana have been stressed  for obtaining wisdom to perceive ‘Brahman’ or ‘E’ Swara.

Nada yoga is expounded in Mokshmu Galada and also Raga suda rasa.Salvation can be attained by realizing that the Sapthaswara emanates from ‘Omharam’and by worshiping Nadha.This provides an insight into awakening of’Kundalini.
It may not out of place to point out that Adi Sankara in Meenakshi Pancharatnam says that Devi residing on the left side of Eswara is the form of Nadha and She is delighted with instrument music.
 The music whether performed or listened has to be the one which should be absorbing and where the mind should be able to comprehend  the sound of ‘Omkara’  or Sadashiva bringing inner peace as also contentment. Knowledge combined with humble nature and music with devotion would help in achieving the desired result.



                                                                      By Shobha Varadhan  


A buffalo is the most blessed animal. She is blissfully oblivious of all din and pandemonium around her. Traffic may well come to a standstill for miles, horns may well be blared like mad, people may well be obliged to find a detour to reach their destinations, for all she cares! Even a politician in India has to exert himself

 to pacify his voters and answer the press for his doings. But a buffalo cares a hoot for anything. Its cool demeanor can make a karma yogi turn green with envy!

Had I the means, I’d very much like to ‘experience’ the imperviousness of the buffalo to the grimy squalor that pervades the Indian roads. Every inch of the roads has traces of ‘colored’ spit and stink of urine, that walking the roads of Nagpur requires nothing less than the saintly tolerance of the buffalo. Crossing the‘Great Nala’ of Nagpur – a place where people have a legitimate license to answer nature’s call (not that one such is needed - Nagpur being quite a large city and considering ‘ the whole world is my bathroom’ attitude of the people) is simply the most odious task which fills me with repulsiveness.

Remember having read about underground drainage system in the Mohenjadaro civilization? Well and we still have the open drainage system! That’s progress

for you!

Never choose the window seat in Nagpur buses and never even by chance go anywhere near the dreaded window of vehicles! These days the danger is

not from crows that may unwittingly defecate on your head, but beware people

working up saliva to spit out as you pass by!

Ever wondered why Indians do not suffer from more diseases than they do, given such unhygienic conditions? Thank people who have made you so disease-resistant!

Come to reflect about the lack of sense of hygiene amongst us, it all stems from the fact that we have a sense of ownership only about our home and possessions and not about our community, town or city. We take trouble to keep our homes spic and span – in our villages too- but throw the garbage just across the street!

Would we spit or throw litter or urinate at the centers of the rooms of our houses? Why then do we do these acts in the middle of roads?

The appalling part is that our utter callousness to these deeds, as if they were the most natural things to do in the world! Akin to our thick-skinned buffalo, we walk blissfully along the road, unmindful of the prevailing muck, as though nothing were wrong!!

The argument of attributing the disgusting lack of cleanliness, to our

 large population size cannot hold water. Would a home with many members be kept filthy?

If Indians do not have the maturity to keep their cities clean, stringent punishment needs to be slapped on them. This must be done on a war footing. May be this would reduce another problem – the menace of tobacco-chewing and spitting!

Once the culture for cleanliness is imbibed among the citizens, it would certainly become a habit. We can boast of Singapores in India too. When Indians go abroad, do they not follow rules of cleanliness imposed there? Then why do we not do so in India?





                                                                       Shobha Varadhan



“I can fly in the air, a hundred mile even a thousand, but can you help me transit across and conquer the sands of time?” I asked my friend, a genius. We were nearing the end of the second millennium. “What for?” he enquired. “I’m curious to know if the cross I bear, awaiting the winters to pass till the spring beckons, has something to do with the sins of my previous births.

My friend achieved a feat. He helped me cross the bounds of time, to my past births. My transgression unraveled a situation I had not bargained for. It escaped the logical rationale of my thought process.

The first stop in time was to the year 2006. The streets were well laid. Crowds of people thronged about doing their business. It was the orange city _ Nagpur. There were lovely buildings and people.

The machine landed me in front of a house. Neat and tidy it appeared. I waited outside in the garden, behind the bush to see myself in my previous avatar.

I listened to a lady, pleading to her husband. Their son’s career was the problem they seemed to be confronting. “At only six hundred rupees it can be done, dear. If you really want Balaji to get a seat in engineering. What’s wrong?  Is his future more important or the caste? It is after all only a piece of paper that shall certify him as and SC.And after he’s scored 95%, do you want his efforts go waste? Think, dear.”

The man, my ex-father, would not yield. He thought that whatever was one’s fate; one would have to face it. How can one change the caste of one’s birth?

I could no more stay there to listen. So back in 2006, I was a Brahmin youth with a bleak future!

I urged my machine to take me further down the past; the year 1903 it was!

The streets were muddy. There were thick green forests all round. There was rustic beauty. The houses were made of thatched roofs. A gentle stream bathed by moonlight appeared like a silver streak. Peace reigned everywhere.

My machine landed me in front of a small hut. The porch had been well cleaned with cow dung. A lady served roti and hot sabzi to her husband Kallya (my ex-self). “My legs ache, my Lord,” she said in fast Hindi “With walking miles to fetch water and firewood.” “Kantibai, there’s nothing to curse but your fate. That you are married to me, a cobbler. You cannot seek Justice. You cannot use the village well. Only pray that times will change one day. We must pray that we are exalted in the next birth and born in a Brahmin caste. A patient man rules the earth! Till then you and I must bear our burdens,” said Kallya sagely.

Indeed, the Wheels of Time had turned round for Kallya. His prayers were answered!

But, Oh cruel twist of Fate! Where was the Justice he sought?

He was born in a supposedly exalted caste, only to become a victim of Man’s clumsy attempts at classifying God’s wonderful creations. Again, he was born in the unlucky caste!

                                                                                                                  Contd. (2)



The wonderful earth, air, water, fire and even Death do not discriminate people on any basis. Other creations of God, the trees, flowers, birds and animals are not classified on caste or creed. Then why does man try to create inequalities instead of equalities? Do two wrongs make a right?’- These were the thoughts that haunted me as I retraced my steps of time to reality.




Success Redefined

                                                            By Shobha Varadhan


I’ve often wondered what it is that people call as success. I guess the term means different things to different people, though most of us equate it to amassing  money and acquiring power!

 What does it take to become successful? Do we inculcate
 in kids, qualities needed
 for it? No doubt many of our kids achieve the so called
academic success in terms
of marks. Does it lead them to success in life? Many of us
would have heard of the
 survey that traced academic toppers as well as school
drop outs and the
 not- so-brilliants after 25 years to find that a greater
 percentage of the latter had

succeeded in life while the former lead pretty ordinary lives.

Recently there was a debate in one of the Tamil channels
between illiterate and
 semi-educated millionaires and the educated
-employed about what it takes to be
 successful. These millionaires had made it even without
education, if success were

equated with money.

They argued that the educated limit themselves to an
assured salary, secured life and
 9 to 5 jobs and then drop into comfort zones
and lethargy, which they would not
want to forego. In other words, they are trapped
 into a mental inertia!
Despite their education, they exhibit no initiative,
no risk-taking abilities or ever
 venture into the unfamiliar. Their competitive instincts
and the will to explore and use
situations or create new paths begin to lose their sharpness
 once they land into a good job, and “settle down”.
On the other hand these millionaires had made it big
as they had all these qualities
 and entrepreneurship. Lack of education may have only
 been another hurdle for
them to cross. But they were governed by an inner
passion for making their dreams

 come true                                .

Examples of lives of Henry Ford and Dirubbhai Ambani
who set up Empires prove that
qualities other than those taught at schools are needed
 for success.
When we fall back into our comfort zones, we lose the
edge and resist change as
 we are happy with conditions familiar to us. We don’t
 attempt to try the varied and
 new opportunities for learning, trying new things, gaining
exposure and the experience
 of creating and growing. Isn’t this true of most of the
educated employed?
There is a story of a Japanese father who had three sons.
 The father was greatly
surprised by the great dissimilarities in their behavior
when they grew into
young men. He engaged a psychological expert to explain
 the difference
 in attitudes of the brothers. The expert found that the
eldest was subdued and
submissive as he was fond of eating the fish from the pond
. The second brother ate
the fish from the river and hence he occasionally raised his
voice. The third one
 was fearless and enterprising which was attributed to the
 fact that he went for

the sea-fish.

This story is a lesson in the way we constrain ourselves.
 Even if the pond fish
 were to be transferred to the sea it would limit itself to the
 area of the pond. 
Like the fish in the pond or river we limit our capabilities
and deny ourselves

 opportunities to explore learn and grow.

 Unlike Robert Frost who said, “Two roads diverged in a
wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by;” we prefer the
well-trodden path.
Entrepreneurship need not be limited to making money.
Edison was one of the
 most successful inventors despite lack of formal education
 and despite
his deafness, to name one of the many scientists.
It is applying our knowledge and
exploring for further and new possibilities, creating new
roads and opportunities for growth, in whatever we do.
 It is not only doing what we are asked to by our bosses
 and doing only as much as our
 pay-packets warrant. It is growing in your profession
and growing with it. It is being creative, productive as well
 as triggering the growth of your organization. Then it will
not remain just a 9 to 5 job where you only go through the
 motions. We shall be creating new avenues of growth in
our professions just as businessmen do to make money.
This in real terms  can be called success!  




Waiting Woes


 By Shobha Varadhan


Oh! Why does it happen on every occasion?  Why does it happen to me, of all the people?  And why do I ever let it? My family is supportive, but on this one issue, they beg to differ. They are downright inconsiderate and even harsh. They have mocked at me, reprimanded me and even insulted me.

Not that I lack resolutions to live up to their expectations. One cannot find me guilty of not having tried.

I may call myself busy. So busy that I cannot spare the extra two minutes? But why is it that when I patiently wait, it seems ages? And just those two minutes seem to fly when I’m engaged elsewhere! Is this what Einstein meant when he said ‘Time is relative’?

I still cannot fathom how my mother managed for over forty years, twice a day, without letting it happen except for a few odd times!

I have spoken to people to overcome my troubles. Each suggestion given has been tried out, but to no perceptible result .The problem is stubbornly persistent and recurs every often. Everything goes down the drain! 

I have been self-critical and have often tried to teach myself a lesson. To discipline myself, I’ve often imposed difficult punishments on myself – like denying myself my favorite cuppa. I have prayed that it should not recur at any cost.

The aftermath of the dreaded event is an unbearable drudgery! The cleaning and the washing and having to see all my efforts (mainly my time waiting) wasted and above all not being able to savor my cuppa – oh it’s terrible!

I have to prevent my family learning about it at any cost, or I’d be in for a lecture even from the kids!

I have thought over and analyzed why it happens so frequently! It is because of Newton’s first law. Everything is in a state of inertia unless acted upon by a force. And that force happens to be my attention! Or if a poetic parallel is to be drawn, everything is in sweet slumber awaiting my magic touch, to awaken, just as buds await the warm hug of the morning sun to bloom!

So there comes the balancing act into picture! The time taken for the MW oven to beep is equal to time taken for a hundred other things to be balanced, which is equal to, sorry, less than, the dreaded event to occur!

If one were to name a phobia after it, I’d be suffering from lactoboilophobia!

And lo! Time lost in cleaning the stove and the kitchen workplace to remove traces of burnt milk and burnt vessel, not to speak of the clogged stove, is greater than the time saved and there goes my balancing act out of the window, or down the drain, should we say?

I stumble and fumble and humbly try to salvage my hurt pride at losing another battle with the milk, muttering something about Einstein and Newton. I tell myself not to cry over ‘spilt milk’!

Oh no! Not again! There it goes again! Excuse me folks!


Presidential Address
Sangeetha Ratnakara
Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar
(English Translation)

Sri Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar in the course of his Presidential address at the Music Academy conference held in 1938 said:

Music is a divine gift that God in His manifestation as Nada Brahman gave to the world. For ages, the divine art had been practised and professed by successive generations of musicians and lovers of the art and science and to this day music has maintained its continuous stream of progress. To learn the art, practise it correctly and gain real proficiency in it, it is essential for one to get divine grace and be instucted by a true master of the art. It is almost impossible to learn the art and science by being self-taught.

Use of Tambura Sruti

Music today has taken on new aspects and expressions. There are also numerous departures from the original practices and principles which are not at all wholesome. Of the instruments of sruti, there is none to excel the Tambura and yet there are a number of musicians who do not use that instrument for sruti. There are others who use it but fail to tune it up, if in the middle of the performance, the strings relaxed. The harmonium as a drone has many defects, for instance variation in the volume of sound between the blowing-in and blowing-out of the bellows of the harmonium is a source of inconvenience to the musician. Other defects too can be noticed by comparing the sound of the harmonium with that of the tambura.

                                                  Traditional swaram singing              

The practice of eking out the singing of Kalpanasvaram in the course of rendering kritis, with snatches of raga is a heterodox method of rendering swarams. It is regrettable that very few of the musicians today follow the traditional method. This is only due to a desire to cater to the taste of the audience. Trying to satisfy an audience is not wrong, but it is quite possible to please the hearers without transgressing the bounds of tradition. Another common feature of present day musical performances is for the musician to follow the jati of the mndangam in singing the svara -- a practice not at all known to the traditional school. The masters always insisted on these being rendered in consonance with traditional practice, expenence and the pieces of the great composers.

Sahitya of pieces

Knowledge of the sahitya is essential for the success of musical rendering of any given piece. Otherwise, it will be a soulless performance. A knowledge of the language of the piece will enable the singer to enter into the spirit of it. Having regard to the pieces popular in South India, some knowledge of Telugu and Sanskrit is necessary for all musicians.

Miscellaneous pieces

In ancient days, it was not common for musicians to sing "miscellaneous pieces" after pallavi. It is a modern innovation. I have a feeling that it would be consistent with the spirit of tradition if musicians sing pieces from Gita Govinda, Taranga, Ksetrajna, Rama Nataka of Arunachala Kavi, Nandanar Charitram, Muthu Tandavar Padam, Vedanayakam Pillai's compositions, Kavikunjara Bharathi's pieces, Tiruvachakam, Tevaram, Prabhandam, Arutpas or Patrinthar or Thayumanavar. There is a wide field of choice here and elsewhere. It is a pity that these compositions are not as popular today as they should be. It is the duty of musicians to keep these current by singing them in their concerts. The late Vina Dhanammal was one of those musicians, who consistently adhered to the practice of rendering at least some of these pieces in her performances. It is a well known fact that Vina Dhanammal retained her greatness and popularity to the last day wihtout in any degree deviating from ancient traditions in the selection or rendering of her songs.

The compositions of Sri Subramanya Bharati provide a rich source for the musician to add his reportoire from. There are many poems of Bharati, which are rich in bhakti and other rasas and, by singing them the musicians will not only be rendering good music but also perform their duty to the country by popularising the songs of that great national poet.

Duty of Musicians

Since the inception of the conference, at its various annual sessions, discussions have proceeded on different raga, raga lakshanas and other matters of interest and importance to musicians and music. Broadcasting the results will accelerate the progress of music considerably and one of the means of spreading the knowledge would be for musicians and lovers of music to participate in the discussions. The present session will devote attention mostly to current ragas and I hope therefore that a large number of musicians and vidvans will participate in the discussions. It is the duty of all musicians to cooperate and help the success of the conference organized by the Academy, which has for its aim the promotion of the welfare of musicians and the advancement of music. Such an organization plays a very important part in bringing together musicians, who are notorious for rarely pulling together for a common purpose. I hope that the good work that Messrs. K.V. Krishnaswamy Aiyar, T.V. Subba Rao, T.L. Venkatarama aiyar, E. Krishna Aiyar and other connected with the Academy are rendering to the cause of music and musicians will bear fruit with the cooperation of all musicians.

In conclusion, I wish the conference a successful session.

The Concert Tradition
Sangeetha Ratnakara Ariyakudi T. Ramanuja Iyengar
(English Translation)

It gives me immense pleasure to contribute to this Symposium an article on some aspects of Karnatak music. For, though I can claim a successful and unbroken career, extending over fifty-two years, I have had no opportunity till now to assemble and present my views on kacheri paddhati (concert sampradaya or tradition).

Here, I propose to deal with kacheri paddhati, as I have learnt and practised it on the platform all these years, in the light of its historic background after a rigorous period of gurukulavasa, first under Pudukottai Malayappa Iyer and Namakkal Narasimha Iyengar, and later, for over eleven years, under Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar of Ramnad. More than this, I have had the good fortune to listen to and learn from the expositions of such great masters as Tirukkodikaval Krishna Iyer, Tiruchi Govindasami Pillai, Saraba Sastri, Sakharam Rao, Vinai Dhanammal and a host of others. In vocal concerts today, certain changes are perceptible which, if allowed to grow unchecked, may spell ruin for our great tradition of Karnatak music, and eventually result in the total disappearance of sampradaya. This is all the more regrettable when our music is claiming hundreds of adherents in the West.

It is the peculiar feature of Karnatak music that it has survived the invasions of kings and chieftains, and feudal wars, in South India to build up a great tradition-a tradition that dates back to Vedic times. The Tamil classics speak of seven palais, later developing into sixteen melas, leading to a further emergence of one hundred and three pannas. Those versed in them were the Panars, such as Tiruppanazhwar, Tirunilakantayazhpanar and others. They were not worldly-minded; to them music was divine. They were God-intoxicated and aimed at the attainment of Supreme Bliss. Their devotional and soul-stirring lyrics were sung in the temples. Next, we are deeply indebted to Sarngadeva for his great and invaluable work, Sangitaratnakara, in which he describes and interprets the lakshanas of Karnatak music.

Karnatak music took its final shape and form from the time of Purandaradasa, who systematized the laws of teaching music and wrote of innumerable padas and prabandhas, besides composing svaravalis, gitas, suladis, tayams and alankaras in the saptatalas as preliminary exercises and early lessons which must necessarily be learnt. Subsequently, Ramamathya, in his work Svaramelakalanidhi, condenses the Sangitaratnakara and explains the nature of nineteen melas and their one hundred and sixty-six janya-ragas. But it was Venkatamakhi who formulated the scheme of seventy-two melas in his Chaturdandi Prakasika. It is, however, not known if he assigned names to the several ragas. Later, Akalanka, in his work Sangitasarasangraham, speaks of a number of ragas and determines their lakshanas. The great work of Govindacharya, Sangrahachoodamani, is an authoritative and later contribution, containing lakshanagitas for 366 ragas (including the 72 melas), and this became the classic authority for the great vidwans like my guru Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar.

While the great stream of Karnatak music has been enriched by vaggeyakaras who have preserved the musical forms, like the varna, kriti, javali, tillana and svara-jatis, the torch-bearers of South India's musical traditions were the numerous sabha musicians and vidwans, who were patronised by kings, princes and zamindars.

Kacheri is an Urdu word, referring to the musical concerts held in the courts of the Mohammedan rulers in North India. It is akin to those held in the South which were known as arangam, sabha or sadas. A kacheri in its early phases was confined to a recital before a select gathering at the royal court or in the assembly hall on an auspicious occasion. The court of Sarabhoji of Tanjore seems to have had on its rolls nearly 360 musicians, each specialised in certain specific branches of vocal or instrumental music, and each waiting for a day in the year to exhibit his skill and prowess!

Varnam Singing

The celebrated composer of the "Viriboni" varnam in Bhairavi, Pachaimiriyam Adiyappayya, was a distinguished musician who adorned the courts of Tanjore, Pudukkottai and Ettayapuram as also Pallavi Doraisamy Iyer, Gopala Iyer, Todi Sitarama Iyer, Sankarabharanam Narasayya and several instrumentalists and dancers. Varnam singing may be presumed to have been in vogue from Adiyappayya's period. Among his disciples may be counted such distinguished names as Syama Sastri and Ghanam Krishna Iyer. We are ushered into the treasures of Tyagaraja by Umayalpuram Krishna Bhagavatar and Sundara Bhagavatar, Walajapet Venkatramana Bhagavatar, Tillaisthanam Rama Iyengar and Tiruvotriyur Thyagier. The point worthy of note is that, while Dikshitar adopted Venkatamakhi's system of asampurna-mela paddhati, Tyagaraja followed the Govindacharya sampradayam of sampurna-mela-krama.

Like my guru, I have never begun a concert without singing a varnam at the commencement. It imparts mellowness to the voice and a flavour to the subsequent rendering of kritis or ragas. Palghat Anantarama Bhagavatar and Bidaram Krishnappa began their concerts with tana varnas. In the past (pre-varna days), performers used to sing tanas in the Nattai, Gowla, Arabi, Varali and Sri ragas, to the accompaniment of tbe mridangam.

In the concerts, the singer is accompanied on the violin and the mridangam. Where a gayaka has specialised in the laya aspects, he revels in having additional accompaniments like the kanjira, ghatam, mugarsing, konnakol and dholak. In early times, the musician used to sing in sthayi sruti; now they have lowered it, owing to several exigencies. A performer must be deeply conscious of his strengths and weaknesses. The effect of the performance should be such as to keep the listeners spell-bound, making them stay on to the very end, thirsting for still more.

Sruti sense, earnestness, a proper conception of raga-swarupa, and good laya-jnana — without these, it is impossible to perform entertainingly. The choice should be from classical pieces conforming to the South Indian type (whatever the language), with a knowledge of the meaning thereof. The purpose should be to elevate and educate the listeners and improve their tastes. The concert should begin with a varnam, to be immediately followed by a few fast-tempo kntis. A short and crisp alapana of two or three of the ragas of the kritis to be sung may be rendered. Kalpana-svaras must be limited and proportionate, and restricted to a few pieces, after a reasonable measure of niraval.

The pieces selected should be of varied talas, and no two of the same tala need be sung consecutively. In rendering kalpanasvaras, for kritis or pallavis, it would be more appropriate to adopt the traditional mode of sarvalaghu pattern with variations in the nadai in tala imparting ranjakatva, keeping in view the raga-swarupa. An admixture of slow-and fast tempo kritis alternately is preferable. The main raga for tanam, pallavi, should be a Ghana raga familiar to the audience, and the rendering of the alapana must be fairly lengthy and should explore into the mandarasthayi as well. In the alapana of rare ragas, their distinctive character should reveal themselves at the first touches in all their purity and clearness, and should neither get confused with nor clash with ragas closely allied to or resembling them. A couple of opportunities (according to the convenience of the artiste) may be given to the mridangam player—the first an hour after the commencement, the second during the pallavi stage, in different talas of convenient tempos. The items should comprise padam, javali, tevaram, tiruppugazh, ashtapadi , tarangam, tillana, ragamalika and sloka, all of which must form Part II of the concert. The singer should enlist the cooperation of the companists all through with the object of making the concert a success.

Thus it will be seen how the great tradition of Karnatak music has been built up by the South Indian genius. It is up to the vidwans and rasikas to see that this torch of Karnatak music is kept effulgent for all time to come and in all its glory.



The Therapeutic Effect of Music

The therapeutic effect of music is widely discussed. Violin exponent Kunnakkudi Vaidyanathan highlights the qualities of a few ragas.

Kunnakkudi Vaidyanathan

BHILAHARI IS associated with love. `Naajeevadara' of Tyagaraja in this raga has always been popular. The saint, it is said, composed this in order to alleviate the acute stomach pain a man was suffering from. His prayer was answered and the man had relief. `Krishnaleela Tarangini' of Narayana Tirtha has the song `Poorayamamakamam' in Bhilahari. The saint cries out, "Hey! Gopala, bestow me with all the goodness so that I can continue to sing your praise." This Bhilahari song ensures one vigour and good health.

In "Konjum Salangai" Ramalinga Adigalar's bakthi verses `Orumayudan Unadhu' set in Bhilahari and rendered by Sulamangalam Rajalakshmi was a popular hit. Another popular song is `Unnai Kandu Naan Ada Ennai Kandu Nee Aada' from "Kalyanaparisu." "Thalaiva Thavapudhalva," the song I composed for the film "Agathiyar" was set in this raga. The Hindi song "Korakagaz" ("Aradhana") owes its melody to the charm of Bhilahari.


Rathipathipriya adds strength and vigour to a happy wedded life. This five-swara raga has the power to eliminate poverty. The very prayoga of the swaras can wipe off the vibrations of bitter feelings emitted by ill wills. `Jagajanani Sukavani Kalyani' composed by M. M. Dhandapani Desikar is a very popular song in this raga. Singing or listening to Rathipathipriya bestows on one happiness and has a stimulating effect.


Shanmugapriya has the effect of sharpening the intellect of the singer as well that of the listener. It instils courage in one's mind and replenishes the energy in the body. This is not surprising Shanmugapriya being the beloved raga of Shanmuga, who was born out of the blazing wisdom-eye of Shiva.

I would attribute the success and prosperity I have attained in life to the constant chanting of Shanmuga stothrams in the Murugan temple of Kunnakkudy. "Parvathi nayakane," "Saravanabhava Ennum Thirumanthiram" of Papanasam Sivan are known for their sparkling verses. Harikesanallur Muthaiah Bhagavathar's "Vallinayakane" is another example.

Shanmugapriya was beautifully used to make the song "Maraindirundu Parkum" in the classic "Thillana Mohanambal" immortal.


Kalyani dispels the darkness of fear. It gives motherly comfort and increases confidence. Kalyani means Mangalam. Recited with faith and devotion, the raga is believed to clinch marriage alliances. There are many authentic reports about the raga's power to destroy fear which takes many forms, fear of poverty, of love, of power, of ill health, of death and so on. The great Tamil poet, Muthuthandavar sang "Chidambaram Ena En Manam Maghzinthida Japam Cheyya, Kodiya Janana Maranam Ozhinthidum" in Kalyani.

Tyagaraja, unmoved by the request of the King of Thanjavur to compose a song in his praise, instead sang `Nidhi chala sukama, Ramuni sannidhi seva sugama' in Kalyani. The raga bhava suits its emotional keerthana bhava.

Shyama Sastri in `Himadrisude Pahimam' appeals to Devi for a continuous flow of energy. Muthuswami Dikshithar has given a treasure in the Kamalambal navavarnam which acts as a shield, protecting one from the ill effects of planetary movement. In those days, Kalyani was very popular in the film industry. Pakshi Raja Films produced a film, "Kannika," for which Papanasam Sivan wrote `Sundareswarane,' a super hit.

I tuned a devotional song, `Kaatchi Thanthu Ennai Aatchi Seyvai Amma,' in the raga. `Chindanai Sey Maname' and `Mannavan Vandanadi' are some of the famous songs in Kalyani.


Karaharapriya is an excellent remedy for worry, distress and neurotic disorders. Tyagayya dissolves himself in the raga as he sings "Chakkaniraja." `When the royal road is available with all the comfort, why do you opt for dreaded lanes and bylanes' asks the saint.

Another Karaharapriya song `Mithri Bagyame' counts the blessings of Sita and Lakshmana for being lucky enough to be nearer to Rama for his beck and call, and longs for the same proximity.

Muthuthandavar sang in ecstasy, "Maayaviddhai Seigiraane Ambalavanan."

Many music composers have used Karaharapriya in their films to convey sentiments. Rajeshwara Rao used it to express the lovers' mood in the song `Ariya Parumavada Madana.' Earlier, `Bagavan Avatharippar' composed by S. M. Subbaiah Naidu for the film "Valmiki" was also a hit. Another superhit is `Madhavi Ponmayilal.' For "Agathiyar," I composed `Esayay Tamizhay Iruppavane.'


Once upon a time it was considered a sacrilege to use Carnatic music ragas to compose film songs. This in spite of the fact that artistes were chosen only based on their training in classical music. Stories were narrated mainly through dance and music.

Thus Carnatic singers made an entry into cinema and became quite popular. Carnatic ragas were adapted with telling effect. One of them was Aaberi. Almost all the songs set in Aaberi were super hits.

`Nagumomu' of saint Tyagaraja is still a popular choice of Carnatic lovers. Mysore Vasudevachar has presented `Bajare manasa' in the same raga. Both ragam and the lyrics are bound to give a healing touch to the perturbed mind.

`Singaravelane Deva' ("Konjum Salangai"), `Vaarayo Vennilave' ("Missiyamma"), `Amaidhi Illada Maname' ("Pathala Bhairavi"), `Malarndum Malarada' ("Pasamalar"), `Kannodu Kanbadellam' in "Jeans" and `Gomatha Engal Kulamatha' ("Saraswathi Sabatham") are some of the enchanting songs set in Aaberi. I have a special love for Aaberi because `Thiruparang-kundrathil nee sirithal' was a curtain raiser to my cinema entry!


The power of Sankarabaranam is incredible. It cures mental illness, soothes the turbulent mind and restores peace and harmony. Sankarabaranam, if rendered with total devotion for a stipulated period, can cure mental disorders said to be beyond the scope of medical treatment. Arunachala Kavirayar, Muthuthandavar, Suddhananda Bharathi, Marimutha Pillai and Mayooram Vedanayakam Pillai, have rendered many sweet compositions in the raga.

Sankarabaranam has the power to shower wealth. Papanasam Sivan's `Mahalakshmi Jaganmatha' is a gem in this raga. Muthuswamy Dikshithar equates Sankarabaranam with `Akshayapathram,' which supplies endless bounty in all forms. `Akshaya Linga Vibo' composed by him is a popular kriti.


The raga rejuvenates the mind helping one to age gracefully. It enlivens the singer and the hearer.

The success of the song, `Manmatha Leelayai' sung by MKT confirms Charukesi's poetic and phonetic vitality. `Adamodi kalathe' by Tyagabrahmam. `Kripaya palaya' by Swathi Thirunal are noted for their aesthetic values.

`Aadal Kaaneero' in "Madurai Veeran," `Vasanthamullai pole,' `Adal Kalaye Devan Thandadu' in the film Sri Ragavendra, `Unakkum Enakkum Isaindha Porutham' (of Ramalinga Adigal) are some of the hit songs in Charukesi.


Mohanam is present where beauty and love coexist. Mohanam is a mellifluous ragam. It filters out the ill-effects of Kamam, Krodham and Moham bestowing immense benefits on the seeker.

`Rama ninnu nammina' by Tyagaraja, `Gopika manoharam nagalingam namami' by Muthuswamy Dikshitar, `Mayil Vahana,' `Kapali' by Papanasam Sivan and `Ramanai Kannara Kandena' by Arunachala Kavirayar are some of the melodious compositions often heard.

In cinema, `Giridhara Gopala' in "Meera" sung by M.S., `Aaga Inba Nilavinile' in "Mayabazar," `Thillayambala Nataraja' in "Sowbagyavathi," `Malargal nanaindana paniyale' in "Idhayakamalam," `Ninnu Kori Varnam' in "Agni Nakshatram," `Andanal mudal indanal varai' in "Pavamannippu," `Pazhaga theriya venum' in "Missiyamma" and `Thiruchendoorin kadalorathil' in "Deivam" are some of the super hit songs set in Mohanam.


The suppression of the senses releases a negative force. The process of sublimation needs a spiritual path. Rag Desh can provide that. Its positive energy gives one serenity, peace, inner joy, right valour, universal love and patriotism.

The mellifluous `Vande Matharam' has been aptly composed in Desh. `Vaishnava Janatho,' Mahatma Gandhi's favourite, is set in Desh, which is a favourite in both Carnatic and Hindustani streams of music.

`Shanthi nilava vendum,' `Inda ulagil irukkum mandaril ezhil udayon engal tamizhan' (M.M. Mariyappa for the film "Kanjan"), `Leelaigal purivane' in the film "Meera," `Thunbam nergayil' in "Or Iravu," `Maadu meykum kanna' sung by Madurai Somu, `Muthamizhil Pada Vanden' — that I composed for "Mel Nattu Marumagal" are well known examples in Desh.

Maya Malava Gowlai

`Maya Malava Gowlai' counters pollution. It can be called the gateway to Carnatic music. Sarali varisai, Jantai varisai, Keezh sthayi varisai, Melsthayi varisai, Alankaram, Geetham, Varnam, Keerthanam, Ragam, Thanam, Pallavi, Kalpanaswarangal and Neraval form the base of Carnatic music learning.

The history of Carnatic music says that the system of Mayamalava Gowlai was introduced by the blessed musician, Purandaradasar. This raga has the potency to neutralise the toxins in our body.

Practising this raga in the early hours of the morning, in the midst of nature, will enhance the strength of the vocal chords.

Music composers of the south have used this raga to sweet effect. `Madura marikozhundhu vasam' is a popular village folk song in Mayamalava Gowlai.

Ananda Bhairavi

My father was the guiding force in my research studies. When he was ill he had more faith in the curative power of music than the medicines administered to him. I was once preparing to show the remedial power of Ananda Bhairavi. Kannadasan had challenged in public to test his blood pressure after hearing Ananda Bhairavi from my violin.

He had promised to preside over a function but became ill with hypertension. Cajoled by the organisers he reluctantly came and to my utter surprise requested me to render any raga, which could soothe him. I played Ananda Bhairavi elaborately.

At the close of the concert, Kannadasan came up to the dais and announced that he was feeling much better. Ananda Bhairavi has such soothing effect. Saint Tyagaraja in `O, Jagadambha' prays for the deity's blessing.

Muthuswamy Dikshitar underlines the importance of concentration and focus in `Manasa guru guha kripam bajare; Maya mama hrith thapam thyajare' indicating Ananda Bhairavi's close link to matters of the heart.

Tamil Odhuvar Moorthigal generally use Ananda Bhairavi in rendering Thevaram, Thiruvachakam and Dhivya Prabantham in temples.

To sum up, every raga is pleasant and purposeful. Each has its own character and power. Sincerely pursued and practised they are sure to confer benefits on the singer and the listener.

(Compiled by V. Ramakrishna)

About the Research Centre

RAGA Research Centre (24661914/24333330), has been functioning for 12 years with financial aid from the Tamil Nadu Government.

The Centre, headed by Kunnakkudi Vaidyanathan, has two panels, one has musicians and the other comprises non-musicians.

Here music is analysed in the context of Vedham, sanga Tamil music, astrology, psychiatry, physics, bio-chemistry and so on. The clue to take a particular raga for research is from the compositions of the Carnatic music trinity and then they go backwards looking for its source, who gave it the name or how it was derived, the power of each swara in the raga and so on.

Each Raga has a face and form and it is known as Ragadevatai.

Peasants in the fields used to sing to relax and to forget the tiredness. Most of the folk songs are in ragas like Anandabhairavi, Kedaram, Neelambari, Kurinji, etc. Like in the case of any other form of therapy faith is important for music therapy also.

For instance Anandabhairavi, a Janya of Natabhairavi, was chosen from Muthuswami Dikshitar's kriti ``Maanasa Guruguha Roopam Bhajare," ``Maayamaya Hrttaapam Tyajare" where the `Hrt' means heart. So it was used to help people suffering from hypertension.

Why is there an antaragandharam in the descending scale? That is the surprise element in this raga. The swara combination of this raga lends happiness and peace to the mind and thus reduces tension and hypertension. It can also help one work with better focus and concentration. In this context, Sankarabharabaranam was chosen and an example is Thyagaraja's ``Manasuswadhinamaina."

Psychologist Dr. Gowtham says that playing the recording of this raga comforts the mentally afflicted patients. Bhilahari helps to cure stomach problems.

Kunnakkudi claims that he had played some of these ragas in front of a panel of doctors in New Delhi and proved their efficacy.


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To put it simply, Jati swaram means Nriththam. Nriththam would mean a mixture of korvais, without the use of abhinaya. (For an explanation of the term korvai, see Legs and their positions in Bharata Natya and abhinayam, see Abhinayam). 

This is known as Jati swaram because it was a standard practice in olden days to dance to the recitation of jatis (or sol kattu’ - see Bharatam the performing art) and swaram. But in these days, artistes perform korvais to the recitation of swaram. Similarly, the artistes of those days performed mey adavau’ before jati swaram. The jati swaram is performed only before thillana these days. However, there are a few who do still perform mey adavu’ before jati swaram. The word mey’ in Tamil means ‘body’. Mey adavu’ therefore means performing all kinds of twists, turns and sways and dancing, in all the three speeds.

Jati swaram may consist of swaras in a single raga or a mixture of many ragas - raga malika. The first korvai would consist of easy adavus and would last for a short time. The second korvai would be a bit longer and would comprise a little more difficult adavus. The length of time and the intricacy of each adavu would increase progressively. Approximately five or six korvais would comprise one jati swaram. If it is a raga malika, it would consist of five or six ragas, that is to say, one raga per korvai

Like alaarippu (of which we discussed in Alaarippu) many do not perform the jati swaram on stage, these days. It is taught as a matter of routine in the dance schools. The total duration of a performance does not last more than 1 or 1½ hours and time is the main constraint that does not enable its performance.

Krishangini - Neeraja Nagarajan
Posture by Neeraja Nagarajan
Translated by Hari Krishnan

You may also visit South Indian Classical Music site where lessons on Jati swara

are provided .

Three video files can be seen in my blog

at myblog kumara.blogspot.com

under Barathanattiam folder-videos



Kamalamba Navavarna Kritis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Kamalamba Navavarna Kritis by Shri Muthuswami Dikshitar (1776-1836) are some of the most famous pieces of music in the Carnatic system of Indian classical music. They are treasures which embody not only the technical brilliance of the composer but also offer a peep into the advaitic school of Hindu philosophy and elements of Tantric rituals. They are very elaborate compositions which may be well compared with major symphonies in the Western system.

[edit] Overview

These songs are set in praise of the Goddess Kamalamba who is enshrined in Tiruvarur in the Tanjore district of Tamil Nadu in South India. The Goddess is the reference to the Divine Mother of the universe, or the Supreme Consciousness. The lyrics and the descriptive details are loaded with the mystical symbolism of the Vedantic (advaita) tradition and the chakras of the human system are closely linked to the evolutionary aspects described in the compsitions that reflect the scholarly reach, musical depth and mystical significance of the composer.

Musically, they are par excellence and the majestic sweep of well known ragas (melodic forms) like Todi, Kalyani, Kambhoji, Sankarabharanam, Sahana, Anandabhairavi and Bhairavi are offset against haunting melodies in lesser known ragas like Punnagavarali, Ghanta and Ahiri.

Dikshitar uses several talas (time measures) although Rupakam (3 beats) seems to be his favourite. Ata talam (14 beats) and Misra Jampa (10 beats) in the Kambhoji and Bhairavi pieces are rarely used because of the technical difficulty in executing these. An added element is the use of different case endings (which Dikshitar uses in his other group krities, like the Abhayamba and Nilotpalamba set). The Dhyana (invocatory) kriti in Todi is in the vocative case, followed by the Anandabhairavi in the nominative, Kalyani in the accusative, Sankarabharanam in the instrumental, Kambhoji in the dative, Bhairavi in the ablative and so on. The ninth avarana kriti in Ahiri has all the cases; interestingly the raga itself has all the 22 notes in the octave. It is believed that such a fusion of all melodic and temporal elements in the same kriti is a musical way of expressing the advaitic ideal of "aham Brahmasmi" or complete union with the Absolute. Indeed the Ahiri composition is very unusual musically especially the pallavi which has a repeating and distinctive prose sections, are seamlessly put together.

The set concludes with a short and sweet mangalam (auspicious conclusion) in Sri ragam set in Khanda Ekam (5 beat talam). The entire set consists therefore of the dhyanam (invocation), the nine avaranas, and the mangalam (conclusion), a total of 11 pieces.

[edit] Kritis

The 11 kritis are as follows:

  1. Kamalambike - Todi - Rupakam
  2. Kamalamba Samrakshathu - Anandabhairavi - Misra Chapu
  3. Kamalambaam Bhajare - Kalyani - Adi
  4. Sri Kamalambikayam - Shankarabharanam - Rupakam
  5. Kamalambikayai - Kambhoji - (Khanda) Ata
  6. Sri Kamalamba param - Bhairavi - Misra Jampa
  7. Kamalambikayaastava - Punnagavarali - Rupakam
  8. Sri Kamalambikayam - Sahana - Tisra Triputa
  9. Sri Kamalambike - Ghanta - Adi
  10. Sri Kamalamba Jayati - Ahiri - Rupakam
  11. Sri Kamalambike - Sri - Kanda Ekam

The rendering of these Kritis are considered to be extremely challenging owing to the complexity of the words and the notations. The D.K. Pattamal and D.K. Jayaraman school are considered to be specialists in the rendering of these compositions. It requires years of training to render them to perfection.

Sri Muthuswamy Dikshitar was a great Devi Upasaka and was well versed in all aspects of Sri Vidya Upasana. Out of his devotion to Sri Kamalamba, (one of the 64 Sakti Peethams in India), the celebrated deity at the famous Tyagaraja Temple in Tiruvarur and his compassion for all bhaktas, Sri Muthuswamy Dikshitar composed the Kamalamba Navavarana kritis, expounding in each of the nine kritis, the details of the each avarana of the Sri Chakra, including the devatas and the yoginis. Singing these kritis with devotion, sraddha and understanding would be the easy way to Sri Vidya Upasana.

[edit] Chakras

The details of Chakras covered are as follows:

(1) The first Avaranam is Bhoopuram and the Chakram is Trailokyamohana chakra ‘enchants the three worlds’;The yogini is Prakata, the mental state of the aspirant is Jagrata, Chakra Iswari is Tripura and the Saktis are 28 that include the ten starting with Anima, the eight starting with Brahmya and the ten Mudra Saktis. [Ragam Anandhabhairavi: Kamalamba Samrakshatu]

(2) The second Avaranam is Shodasa Dalam, and the Chakram is Sarvasaparipuraka chakra, ‘fulfills all expectations’; The yogini is Gupta Yogini. The mental state is Swapna, the Chakra Iswari is Tripurasi and the Saktis are the sixteen starting with Kamakarshini. [Ragam Kalyani: Kamalambam Bhajare]

(3) The third Avaranam is Ashtha Dalam; The Chakram is Sarvasamkshobana chakra, ‘agitates all’; the Yogini is Gupta Tara Yogini. The mental state is Sushupti, the Chakra Iswari is Tripura Sundari and the Saktis are the eight starting with Ananga Kusuma. [Ragam Sankarabharanam: Sri Kamalambikayaa Katakshitoham]

(4) The fourth Avaranam is Chaturdasaram; the Chakram is Sarvasaubhagyadayaka chakra, ‘grants excellence’; the Yogini is Sampradaya Yogini. The mental state is Iswara Vicharam, Chakra Iswari is Tripura Vasini and the Saktis are the fourteen starting with Samkshobhini. [Ragam Kambhoji: Kamalambikaayai Kanakamshukayai]

(5) The fifth Avaranam is Bahirdasaram; the Chakram is Sarvarthasadhakachakra, is the ‘accomplisher of all’; the Yogini is Kulotteerna yogini. The mental state is Guroopa Sadanam; the Chakra Iswari is Tripura Sri and the Saktis are the ten starting with Sarva Siddhi Prada. [Ragam Bhairavi: Sri Kamalambikayaha Param Nahi re re chitta]

(6) The sixth Avaranam is Antardasaram; the Chakram is Sarvaraksakara chakra, ‘protects all’; the Yogini is Nigarbha Yogini. The mental state is Upadesam; the Chakra Iswari is Tripura Malini and the Saktis are the ten starting with Sarvagnya. [Ragam Punnagavarali: Kamalambikayastava Bhaktoham]

(7) The Seventh Avaranam is Asthakonam; the Chakram is Sarvarogahara chakra, ‘cures all ills’; the Yogini is Rahasya Yogini. The mental state is Mananam; the chakra Iswari is Tripura Siddhaa and the Saktis are the eight, starting with Vashini. [Ragam Sahana: Sri Kamalambikayam Bhaktim Karomi]

(8) The eighth Avaranam is Trikonam; the Chakram is Sarvasiddhiprada chakra, ‘grants all perfection’; the Yogini is Ati Rahasya Yogini. The mental state is Nitidhyasanam; the Chakra Iswari is Tripuramba and the Saktis are the three starting with Kameshwari. [Ragam Ghanta: Sri Kamalambike Avaava]

(9) The ninth Avaranam is the Bindu and the highest Chakram is Sarvanandamaya chakra , ‘replete with bliss’. The mental state is Savikalpa Samadhi; the Chakra Iswari is Maha Tripura Sundari and the Shakti is Maha Tripura Sundai, the very personification of Para Brahman. [Ragam Ahiri: Sri Kamalamba Jayati]


You can find the above navavarana krities

in my blog 'E'-SWARA under audio files






Here are some of the least known facts known about SMt., M.S.SUbbulakshmi

1. Her father called her Rajathippa (princess darling). Mother called her Kunjamma

2. M.S was also a trained Bharatnatyam artist

3. She had once played the violin for Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer

4. Was a competed mridangam artist . She learnt from her brother Sakthivel

5. The great Vidwan Chembai had accompanied her on the violin

6. M.S was great lover of Chukku Coffee, French Perfume and Jasmine Flower (madurai malli:)

7. Her house was named Shivam-Shubam

8. Sakaraabharanam was her favorite raga, Blue was her favorite color

9. Never ate ice- creams, avoided cold drinks to protect her voice

10. MS stopped singing after her husbands death in 1997.

(Source : http://sun.science.wayne.edu/~vhari/ms/images/MSTribute.pps..don't forget 2 check out the presentation