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Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar and Sri Vidya (8 of 8)

Kamalamba Navavarana kritis-Part two

 

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Continued from page one.

While discussing the Navavarana kritis, I propose to restrict myself to those portions of the kritis that have reference to Sri Vidya and Sri Chakra. Most of such references occur in the Charanam segment of the kritis.

1.      First Avarana – Bhupura

Kamalaambaa Samrakshatu Maam– Ananda Bhairavi – Misra Chapu (Triputa)

[The avarana is Bhupura and the Chakra is Trailokyamohana chakra ‘enchants the three worlds’. The yogini is Prakata; Mudra is Sarva Somkshibhni; Siddhi is Anima; and the mental state of the aspirant is Jagrata. The presiding deity is Tripura. Her Vidya is Am Am Sauh.The gem is topaz. The time is 24 minutes and the Shaktis are 28 that include the ten starting with Anima, the eight Matruka Devis starting with Brahmya and Maheshwari;  and the ten Mudra Shaktis. 28 is the dominant number. This avarana corresponds to the feet of the mother goddess.]

Tripuraadi Chakreshvari Animaadi Siddhishvari Nitya Kaameshvari
Kshitipura Trailokyamohana Chakra Vartini Prakata Yogini
Suraripu Mahishaasuraadi Marddini Nigama Puraanaadi Samvedini
Tripureshi Guruguha Janani Tripura Bhanjana Ranjani
Madhuripu Sahodari Talodari Tripura Sundari Maheshvari

The Bhupura Chakra, the earth stretch, includes within its spacial scope the entire design even as the earth supports the entire existence .As he enters the first Avarana, Dikshitar submits his salutations to the Mother Goddess Kamalamba and prays for protection and guidance. He address her as the magnificent transcendental beauty without a parallel in three worlds (Tripura Sundari); the conqueror of three levels of existence; the presiding deity of Tripura and other chakras (Tripuraadi Chakreshvari); Kameshwari; the empress of Trailokyamohana Chakra (Trailokyamohana Chakravartini) of Bhupura (Kshithipura). She is the presiding deity of the chakra (Tripureshi); mother of Guruguha; and the enchanting beauty of all the tree worlds (tripura Sundari).

He also submits his salutations to Anima and other Siddhi deities of the Avarana (Animaadi Siddhishvari); the Nitya Devis; the Yogini of the Avarana (PrakataYogini); and Maheshwari and other Matruka Devis.

Thus, along with the prayers, he brings out the salient features of the Bhupura Chakra, the Earth principle. The name of Raga Anandabhiravi is suggested by the phrase Kamalaja-ananda Bodhasukhi. His signature also appears in Guruguha janani.

2, Second Avarana – Shodasha dala padma

Kamalambaam Bhajare Re Maanasa –Kalyani- Adi.

[The avarana is Shodasa Dala, and the Chakra is Sarva asha paripuraka chakra ‘fulfiller all desires and expectations’; the yogini is Gupta Yogini; Mudra is Sarva Vidravini; the Siddhi is Laghima; and the mental state is Swapna, The presiding deity is Tripureshi. Her vidya is Aim Klim Sauh. The gem is sapphire. The time is three hours. The Shaktis are the sixteen starting with Kamakarshini.16 is the dominant number. This avarana corresponds to the Savdhistana chakra of the mother goddess.]

Sarvaashaa Paripuraka Chakra Svaamineem Parama Shiva Kaamineem
Durvaasaarcchita Gupta Yogineem Dukha Dhvamsineem Hamsineem
Nirvaana Nija Sukha Pradaayineem Nityakalyaaneem Kaatyaayaneem
Sharvaaneem Madhupa Vijaya Venim Sad Guruguha Jananeem Niranjaneem
Garvita Bhandaasura Bhanjaneem Kaamaa Karshanyaadi Ranjaneem

Nirvishesha Chaitanya Roopineem Urvee Tatvaadi Svaroopineem

 The sixteen petalled lotus(shodasha dala padma) called sarva asha paripuraka chakra , the fulfiller of all desires , is the second enclosure. In the sixteen   petals , the sixteen vowels of Sanskrit alphabet is inscribed.These symbolize sixteen kalas or aspects or phases.This Avarana is about the self protection of the devotee (atma raksha); and liberation from discontent by seeking identity with Shiva the ever complete and content.

He calls upon his mind to meditate on Kamalamba and cast aside attachments to illusory existence (kalpita maaya).The craving Asha springs from discontent; and is quenched when discontent is eliminated. That is possible when devotee identifies himself with Shiva, ever complete and ever content.

He worships the presiding deity of Sarvasaparipuraka chakra, the fulfiller of all desires and expectations (Dukha Dhvamsineem);the beloved of Parama Shiva; the bestower of true and everlasting bliss (Nirvaana Nija Sukha Pradaayineem). She is the manifestation of attribute_ less supreme spirit (Nirvishesha Chaitanya Roopineem).She is also the representation of the world and its principles (Urvee Tatvaadi Svaroopineem).

When he calls her “she who is worshipped by Durvasa (Durvaasaarcchita)”, he is referring to the Kaadi matha tradition to which he belonged. The sage Durvasa is one of the gurus of the Kaadi matha.

Dikshitar also refers to the Gupta Yogini, the yogini of this avarana; the sixteen, Shakthis starting with Kamakarshini (Kaamaa Karshanyaadi Ranjaneem). They are also called nithyas and named Kamakarshini (fascinating the desires), Budhyakarshini (fascinating the intellectetc. They relate to powers in the Five Elements, the ten senses of perception or Indriyas (being further divided into five organs of action and five sense organs) and the Mind.   

The phrase Nija Sukha Pradaayineem Nityakalyaaneem refers to the sixteen Devis of this avarana, called Nitya Kala or Nitya Devis.

Raga mudra is in the phrase Nityakalyaneem; and his signature is in Guruguha -jananeem.

3. Third Avarana –Ashta dala padma

 Shree Kamalaambikayaa Kataakshitoham -: Shankarabharanam-Rupaka

 [The avarana is ashta dala; The Chakra is Sarvasamkshobana chakra ‘agitates all’. The Yogini is Guptatara; Mudra is Sarvakarshini; the Siddhi is Mahima; and the mental state is Shushupti. The Presiding deity is Tripura Sundari. Her vidya is Hrim Klim Sauh. The gem is cat’s eye. The time is day and night. The Shaktis are the eight starting with Ananga Kusuma. 8 is the dominant number. This avarana corresponds to the navel region of mother goddess.]

Ananga Kusumaadyashta Shaktyaakaarayaa
Arunavarna Samkshobhana Chakraakaarayaa
Anantakotyandanaayaka Shankara Naayikayaa
Ashta Vargaatmaka Gupta Tarayaa Varayaa
Anangaa Dyupaasitayaa Astadalaabjasthitayaa
Dhanur Baanadhara Karayaa Dayaa Sudhaa Saagarayaa

Eight petalled lotus (astha dala padma) called Sarva-samkhobhana –Chakra the agitator of all, is the third avarana.Each petal has a consonant inscribed within it that begins with ‘Ka’  The petals represent eight divinities associated with erotic urges , independent of physical body(ananga).

The Avarana is about overcoming agitations (Samshkoba) and the formless erotic urges (ananga)that arise in mind .These refer to mental pleasures and agitations related to the modalities of mind such as  rejection (repulsion or withdrawal), acceptance (attention or attachment) and indifference (detachment).

The eight petals of the Avarana Asta dala represent eight divinities associated with such erotic principles. They are named Ananga Kusuma, Ananga mekhala, Ananga madana and so on. Dikshitar refers to them as Ananga Kusumaadyashta Shaktyaakaarayaa.

Dikshitar obviously succeeded in gaining freedom from mental agitations and urges.

 Dikshitar is thrilled with divine ecstasy; I am blessed by the grace of mother Kamalamba (Shree Kamalaambikayaa Kataakshitoham); and I have realized that Absolute Brahman (Sacchidaananda Paripurna Brahmaasmi). 

He describes the Devi as the one seated on the red colored (Aruna Varna)Samkshobhana Chakra,amidst its eight petals (Anangaa Dyupaasitayaa Astadalaabjasthitayaa) having names starting with Ananga (Ananga Kusumaadyashta).In the eight petals of the lotus, eight consonants such as ka, cha, ta and so on are inscribed (Ashta Vargaatmaka).She holds in her hands the bow and arrows (Dhanur Baanadhara Karayaa). She is the ocean of mercy (Dayaa Sudhaa Saagarayaa).

Ananga has also a reference also to the cult of Cupid or Eros (Manmatha or Kamaraja) and its deities that have merged into the tradition of Sri Vidya. Dikshitar is referring to the school propagated by Kamaraja, the Kamaraja vidya or Kadi matha; and continued by the sage Agasthaya. Dikshitar belonged to this school.

He mentions the yogini of the Avarana, Gupta Tarayaa (Gupta Tarayaa Varayaa).

Raga mudra is hinted in Shankara Naayikayaa, the beloved of Shankara. His signature appears in the phrase Guruguhatatraipadayaa.

4. Fourth Avarana –chaturdasha trikona

 Kamalaambikaayai Kanakamshukaayai-Kambhoji -Khanda Ata

[The Avarana is chaturdasha trikona, a figure made of 14 triangles; the Chakra is Sarvasoubhagya dayaka chakra, ‘grants excellence’. The Yogini is Sampradaya Yogini; the Mudra is Sarva Shankari; the Siddhi is Ishitva. The mental state is Iswara Vichara. The presiding deity is Tripura Vasini. Her vidya is is Haim Hklim Hsauh. The gem is coral. The time is day and night . The Shaktis are the fourteen starting withSamkshobhini.14 is the dominant number. This avarana corresponds to the heart of mother goddess.]

Sakala Saubhaagya Daayakaambhoja Charanaayai
Samkshobhinyaadi Shaktiyuta Chaturthyaavaranaayai
Prakata Chaturddasha Bhuvana Bharanaayai
Prabala Guruguha Sampradaayaantah Karanaayai
Akalanka Rupa Varnaayai Aparnaayai Suparnaayai
Sukara Dhruta Chaapa Baanaayai Shobhanakara Manukonaayai
Sakunkumaadi Lepanaayai Charaacharaadi Kalpanaayai
Chikura Vijita Neelaghanaayai Chidaananda Purna Ghanaayai

Dikshitar worships the presiding deity of the fourth Avarana, playing on the words occurring in the title of the Chakra: sarva sowbhagya dayaka, the bestower of all prosperity and addresses the Mother asSakala Saubhaagya Daayakaambhoja Charanaayai, the goddess with lotus like feet and benefactor of all good things in life. He inserted the Raga mudra, in the phrase kaambhoja Charanaayai,worshipping her lotus feet.

The fourteen triangles are inscribed with fourteen consonants beginning with ka and ending with dha.The fourteen corners represent fourteen powers of mother goddess. The fourteen triangles(chaturdasha trikona) of the chakra represent fourteen channels  of the vital forces in the body(naadis), corresponding with the fourteen divinities Sarva Samkshobhini and thirteen others. Dikshitar refers to these fourteen forces of the fourth avarana asSamkshobhinyaadi Shaktiyuta Chaturthyaavaranaayai.

He adulates the Devi as manifest ruler (prakata bharanayai) of the fourteen worlds (chaturdasha buvana).The fourteen worlds also represent the faculties : the Mind (Manas), the Intellect (Buddhi),Being (Chitta), the Conscious Ego (Ahamkara) and the ten Indriyas.

This avarana corresponds to the heart of the mother goddess. Dikshitar addresses Kamalamba as the heart (antah karanaayai) of the great tradition (prabala sampradaya) to which Dikshitar (Guruguha) belongs. He is referring to the tradition of the Kaadi matha of the Dakshinamurthy School of Sri Vidya.

He describes the mother as seated in fourteen triangle (manu konayai), smeared with vermilion (sa kunkumayai), holding in her beautiful hands (su_kara) arrows (baana chaapa). She is the creator of moveable and immoveable existence (Charaacharaadi Kalpanaayai). She is the embodiment of consciousness (chit) and bliss(ananda).

The symbolism of this avarana is the one cherished by all, sarva sowbhagya dayaka; for it suggests the identity of Shiva with his Shakthis (Chidananda purna ghanaayai).

5. Fifth Avarana –Bahir dasara

Shree Kamalaambikaayaah Param Nahire- Bhairavi -Misra Jhampa

 [The Avarana is Bahirdasara; the Chakra is Sarvarthasadhakachakra, the ‘accomplisher of all’. The Yogini is Kulotteerna yogini; the Mudra is Sarvonmadini; and the Siddhi is Vashitva. The mental state is Guroopa Sadanam. The presiding deity is Tripura Shri. Her vidya is is Haim Hklim Hsauh. The gem is pearl. The time is lunar day. The Shaktis are the ten starting with Sarva Siddhi Prada.10 is the dominant number. This avarana corresponds to the neck of mother goddess.]

Shreekantha Vishnu Virinchaadi Janayitrayaah
Shivaatmaka Vishvakartryaah Kaarayitryaah

Shreekara Bahirdashaara Chakra Sthityaah
Sevita Bhairavi Bhaargavee Bhaaratyaah

Charanam:

Naadamaya Sukshmarupa Sarva Siddhipradaadi Dasha Shaktyaaraadhita Moorthe
Shrotraadi Dasha Karana-aatmaka Kula Kauli Kaadi Bahuvidhopaasita Keertthe
Abheda Nitya Shuddha Buddha Mukta Saccida Anandamaya Paramaadvaita Sphurtthe
Aadi Madhyaanta Rahitaaprameya Guruguha Modita Sarva Arttha Saadhaka Sphurtte
Mulaadi Navaadhaara Vyaavrtta Dashadhvani Bhedajhna Yogibrunda Samraksanyaa
Anaadi Maayaa Avidyaakaarya Kaarana Vinoda Karana Patutarakataaksa Viksanyaah.

 This avarana which is in the form of a figure with ten corners is called Bahir dasara , the outer ten triangles; and represents ten vital currents (pranas) responsible for the various functions of body and mind. They are also the representations of ten incarnations of Vishnu meant to accomplish welfare of mankind. Hence the chakra is called Sarvartha Sadhaka, the accomplisher of all objects.

Dikshitar addresses the Devi as the auspicious one (Shreekara) seated on the Bahirdasara Chakra, served by Bhairavi (Kaali), Bhargavee (Lakshmi) and Bharathi (Saraswathi). The term Bhairavi is also the Raga mudra, here. (Shreekara Bahirdashaara Chakra Sthityaah Sevita Bhairavi Bhaargavee Bhaaratyaah)

The shakthis of the avarana are ten in number; and are named Sarva Siddhiprada, Sarva Sampathprada, and Sarva Priyankari and so on. Dikshitar worships the ten manifestations of these shakthis (Sarva Siddhipradaadi Dasha Shaktyaaraadhita Moorthe); and describes them as the subtle forms of sounds in the body (Naadamaya Sukshmarupa).

The yoginis of the chakra are Kulotteerna yoginis and are also called Kuala yoginis. Dikshitar worships the mother as being present in various forms (Bahuvidhopasthitha) such as the ten yoginis kula, Kaula and others (Dasha Karana-aatmaka Kula Kauli Kaadi).

He describes the fifth avarana Sarvartha Sadhaka, the accomplisher of all objects, in highly lyrical terms. He hails her as the ultimate good (Shiva) and the objective of the Tantra and Vedic rituals alike; and as the supreme non-dual non-differentiated ever pure enlightened free self, consciousness and bliss. She is the incomparable, nondual being, without an end or beginning. She is loved in devotion by Guruguha; and is manifested in Sarvartha Sadhaka Chakra. She is the sublime inspiration. (Abheda Nitya Shuddha Buddha Mukta Saccida Anandamaya Paramaadvaita Sphurtthe, Aadi Madhyaanta Rahitaaprameya Guruguha Modita Sarva Arttha Saadhaka Sphurtte).

She is also present as Naada, sound, in the nine vital centers such as Muladhara and other chakras. She protects yogis; dispels delusion and ignorance. The nine chakras referred to are Muladhara, Svadhistana, Manipura, anahata, Vishuddha and ajna; together with manasa chakra (mind centre) situated above ajna, soma chakra (lunar centre) situated above manasa chakra; and Sahasra padma, symbolically, located above the head. The Sahasra is the seat of consciousness (shiva).

 6. Sixth Avarana –Antar dasara

Kamalaambikaayaastava Bhaktoham- Punnaagavaraali -Thrisra Eka

[The Avarana is Antardasara; the Chakra is Sarvaraksakara chakra The gem is emerald. The time is Lunar Fortnight. The Shaktis are the ten starting with Sarvagnya.10 is the dominant number. This avarana corresponds to the middle of the eyebrows (bhrukuti) of the mother goddess.] ‘Protects all’. The Yogini is Nigarbha Yogini; the Mudra is Sarva mahankusha; and the Siddhi is Prakamya. The mental state is Upadesa. The presiding deity is Tripura Malini. Her vidya is is Hrim Klim Blem.

Dasha-kala-atmaka Vahni Svaroopa Prakaasha-antar-dashaara
Sarva Rakshaakara Chakreshvaryaah
Tridasha-adi-nuta

Kachavarga Dvaya Maya Sarvajhnaadi
Dasha-shakti-sameta Malini Chakra-eshvaryaah
Tri-dashavim-shad-varna Garbhini Kundalinyaah
Dasha-mudraa Sama-araadhita Kaulinyaah
Dasharathaadinuta Guruguha Janaka Shiva Bodhinyaah
Dashakarana Vrutti Mareechi Nigarbha Yoginyaah Shree

The ten- sided figure (antar dasara) called Sarva raksha karaka (one that protects all) consisting ten triangles is the sixth avarana. The ten triangles represent the powers of the mother goddess who presides over ten vital fires (vanyaha). These represent  the ten specific fires within the body; they  being the fire of purgation (Rechak), digestion (Pachak), absorption (Shoshak), burning (Dahak), the secretion of enzymes (Plavak), acidification (Ksharak), to take out or excrete (Uddharak), the fires of pessimism and frustration (Kshobhak), the fire of assimilation (Jrambhak) and creating lustre(Mohak).

The significance of this avarana is explained as protection from all obstacles. The devotee distances himself from all that hinders his spiritual progress; and he begins to develop the awareness he is Shiva (the consciousness).

Dikshitar describes the antar dasara chakra as endowed with ten aspects and glowing like fire(Dasha-kala-atmaka Vahni SvaroopaPrakaasha-antar-dashaara) .These ten vital fires correspond to the ten divinities named as Sarvajna, sarva shakthi prada, Sarvaishvarya prada and so on. These along with the presiding deity Tripura Malini, reside in the ten-cornered-figure antar dasara (Sarvajhnaadi Dasha-shakti-sameta Malini Chakra-eshvaryaah).

Tripura Malini is the goddess of the Chakra Sarvarakshakara (Sarva Rakshaakara Chakreshvaryaah).

The ten triangles are inscribed with ten consonants beginning with letters of the Ka and Ca groups (Tridasha-adi-nuta Kachavarga Dvaya Maya). They, again, represent the powers of the mother goddess who presides over ten vital fires (vanyaha).

She is the goddess Kaulini, propitiated by ten Mudras .The mudras of the avarana are Mahakusha Mudra (Dasha-mudraa SamaaraadhitaKaulinyaah).Dikshitar also mentions the yogini of the chakra: Nigarbha yogini (Nigarbha Yoginyaah). 

Dikshitar describes the Sri Chakra as containing initself the fifty six alphabets and also being the very representation of Kundalini (Tri-dashavim-shad-varna Garbhini Kundalinyaah).

Sri Chakra  has several symbolizms. As per the Tantric idealogy the Sanskrit alphabet is regarded the vocal epitome of the universe; and each letter is transformed into energy when introduced into the chakra. It acquires the character of a “seed_syllable” , Bijakshara, representing a divine aspect or a retinue divinity. Here , the Tantra texts explain that the consonants are basically inert and depend on vowels (just as Shiva depends on Shakthi) to manifest in a meaningful form. It is only when the germinating power (bija) of the vowels is infused with consonants, the latter gain meaning. That is the reasons the vowels are Bija aksharas. They transform ordinary letters into mother like condition (matrika); that is, they impregnate ordinary letters with meaning and power. The consonants inscribed into Sri Chakra derive power since they are now in union with Shakthi.

Further, in Tantra, the articulate sound is the basic structure overwhich all our thoughts, emotions, aspirations and pleasures are woven as fabrics.

As regards Kundalini, it is basically a terminology of the Yoga school. In Tantra the term has an extended meaning. Tantra regards the creation as an expression of the universal energy (maha-kundalini); Its representation in the individual is the kundalini. That Kundalini is the basis for all his intensions, cognitions and actions. The awakening of Kundalini signals the spiritual progress. It is by means of its mediating power(mantra shakthi) , the individual realizes the oneness of consciousness-energy.

Dikshitar therefore says that the vowels and consonants inscribed into the Sri Chakra as representations of energy and consciousness.

Dikshitar hides the Raga mudra in a delightful flight of phrases(Ati-madhuratara-vaanyaah Sharvaanyaah Kalyaanyah Ramaniya-punnaagavaraali Vijita Venyaah Shree)She whose braided hair excels the beauty of lovely black bees swarming around the Punnaga tree.

The Charanam concludes with salutations to the Yogini of the chakra, the ten aspects of  Nigarbha Yogini, shining brightly like the rays of light (Dashakarana Vrutti Mareechi Nigarbha Yoginyaah Shree)

7. Seventh Avarana-Ashtara

Shree Kamalaambikaayaam Bhaktim Karomi- Sahana-Thrisra Triputa

[The avarana is asthakona; the Chakra is Sarvarogahara chakra ‘cures all ills’. the Yogini is Rahasya Yogini; The Mudra is sarva khechari; and the Siddhi is Bhukthi. The mental state is Manana. The presiding deity is Tripura Siddha. Her vidya is is Hrim Shrim Sauh. The gem is diamond (Vajra). The time is Lunar month. The Shaktis are the eight, starting with Vashini. 8 is the dominant number. This avarana corresponds to the forehead (lalata) of the mother goddess.]

Raakaachandra Vadanaayaam Raajiva-nayanaayaam
Paakaarinuta Charanaayaam Aakaashaadi Kiranaayaam Hrimkaara

Vipina-harinyaam Hrimkaara-Susharirinyaam
Hrimkaara Taru Manjaryaam Hrimkaareshvaryaam Gauryaam

Sharira-traya Vilakshana Sukhatara Svaatmaanu Bhoginyaam
Virinci Harishaana Harihaya Vedita Rahasyayoginyaam
Paraadi Vaagdevataa-rupa-vashinyaadi Vibhaaginyaam
Charaatmaka Sarva-roga-hara Niraamaya Raaja-yoginyaam
Karadhruta Vinaa Vaadinyaam Kamalaanagara Vinodinyaam
Sura-nara-munijana-modinyaam
Guruguha-vara-prasaadinyaam

 Eight-cornered figure(ashtara) called Sarva roga hara ( the remover of all deceases) is the seventh avarana.In the eight triangles formed by this figure, eight divinities presiding over speech reside.They are known as deties of self expression(Vak Devatha).These shaktis also rule overbasic urges and contradictions in life (dwandwa) such as  cold(water) and heat(fire); happiness(air) and sorrow( earth);  as also the Desire(akasha-space) and the three gunas  of Sattvas (consciousness), Rajas(ego) and Tamas(mind).

The significance of this enclosure is its power to eradicate the most basic of diseases viz. involvement with impure, fleeting existence laden with stress. The blessed state is attained when

the distinctions between the subject, the object and transactions between them are dissolved.

Hrim is the Bija-mantra (seed-syllable) of this chakra. In the context of Sri Vidya, hrim is a particularly sacred syllable; it represents the mother goddess herself. Dikshitar worships the mother as the very embodiment of hrim (Hrimkaara-Susharirinyaam Hrimkaara Taru Manjaryaam). She is Gauri; she is the presiding deity of hrim (Hrimkaareshvaryaam Gauryaam).

Dikshitar refers to his tradition (Kadi matha) by invoking the name of one of its gurus Hayagreeva(Harihaya Vedita). He also refers to the Yogini of the chakra Rahasya Yogini (Rahasyayoginyaam);and to the letters of the Pa group inscribed in the eight triangles, representing eight Shakthis (Vasini and others) presiding over the aspect of speech (Paraadi Vaagdevataa-rupa-vashinyaadi Vibhaaginyaam).

Dikshitar refers to the basic nature of the chakra Sarvarogahara chakra ‘cures all ills’ and calls the mother the Raja Yogini, who cures all kinds of illness ( Charaatmaka Sarva-roga-hara Niraamaya Raaja-yoginyaam).

The Raga mudra is the phrase Harishaana; while the composer’s signature is in Guruguha-vara-prasaadinyaam.

 8. Eight Avarana –Trikona

Kamalaambike Avaava-Ghanta-Adi

[The Avarana is Trikona; the Chakra is Sarvasiddhiprada chakra, ‘grants all attainments’. the Yogini is Athi Rahasya Yogini; the Mudra is Sarva Beeja; and the Siddhi is Iccha. The mental state is Nitidhyasana. The presiding deity is Tripuraamba. Her vidya is is Hsraim Hsrklim Hsrsauh.. The gem is Gomaya .The time is a ritu- two months. The Shaktis are the three: Kameshwari, Vajreshwari and Bhagamalini. (4+3=7) is the dominant number. This avarana corresponds to the top of the head (masthka) of the mother goddess]

Lokapaalini Kapaalini Shoolini Lokajanani Bhagamaalini Shakrudaa
Aalokaya Maam Sarva Siddhipradaayike Tripuraambike Baalaambike

Charanam

Santapta Hema Sannibha Dehe Sadaa-akhandaika-rasa-pravaahe
Santa-apahara Trikona-gehe Sa-kaameshvari Shakti-samuhe
Santatam Mukti Ghantaamani Ghosaayamaana Kavaata-dvaare
Ananta Guruguha Vidite – Karaahnguli Nakhodaya Vishnu Dashaavataare –
Antahkaraneksu Kaarmuka – Shabdaadi Pancha Tanmaatra Vishikhaatyanta
Raagapaasha Dvesa-ankusha Dharakare Atirahasya Yoginipare

 The primary triangle with its apex downward (East) and colored white(Sattva) sorrounding immediately around the central point , Bindu , is the eighth avarana. It is called Sarva Siddhi prada chakra, the one that bestows all accomplishment. This triangle does not intersect with other triangles; and stands independent. It is Kama Kala. It is feminine in its aspect; and represents three fundamental manifestations of the mother goddess: Kameshwari (symbolizing moon – creation); Vajreshwari (symbolizing sun- preservation); and Bhagamalini (symbolizing fire -dissolution).

The three angles of the triangle also represent three forms of speech : Pashyanthi,Madhyama and Vaikhari. The triangle is therefore the speech aspect Vak Bhava.

It also represents the three powers of iccha (will) , jnana (knowledge) and kriya(activity).The three corners of the triangle stand for three peaks(kuta) of the fifteen_lettered mantra; or as three dimensions of all existence. The triangle itself is regarded the abode of the mother goddess (kama-kala).

Dikshitar in divine ecstasy sings the glory of the Mother, the protector of worlds adorned with garland of skulls and holding a trident. She is Bhagamalini, symbolizing fire representing Rudra’s power of dissolution. She is also Tripurambika; the presiding deity of the avarana. She is Balamba. She is the ruler of the Sarvasiddhiprada chakra (Lokapaalini Kapaalini Shoolini Lokajanani Bhagamaalini Shakrudaa Aalokaya Maam Sarva Siddhipradaayike Tripuraambike Baalaambike).

She whose body is glowing like molten gold(Santapta Hema Sannibha Dehe); She who is the eternal undifferentiated unique bliss(Sadaa-akhandaika-rasa-pravaahe ); She who resides in the enchanting  Trikona chakra(Santa-apahara Trikona-gehe ); and delighting in the company of Kameshwari (symbolizing moon – creation) and host of  other friends ( Sa-kaameshvari Shakti-samuhe).

The eight cornered figure that surrounds the Trikona, suggests five basic elements of phenomenal existence (tanmatras: earth, water, fire, air and space), symbolized by five arrows of flowers (pancha bana) which is also the symbol of Kama; passion (raga) symbolized by the noose (pasha); aversion (dwesha) symbolized by the goad (ankusha); and mind (manas) symbolized by sugarcane stalk (ikshu danda); all of which are held by the deity, in the company of the yogini of the avarana ,Athi Rahasya Yogini.

Dikshitar puts the entire thing, beautifully, in just two compact lines:

Antahkaraneksu Kaarmuka – Shabdaadi Pancha Tanmaatra Vishikhaatyanta
Raagapaasha Dvesa-ankusha Dharakare Atirahasya Yoginipare.

The Raga mudra is in Mukti Ghantaamani Ghosaayamaana; while the composer’s mudra is in Ananta Guruguha Vidite.

Tripurasundari (1)

9. Ninth Avarana-Bindu

Kamalaambaa Jayati-Ahiri-Rupaka

[The avarana is the Bindu and the Chakra is Sarvanandamaya chakra, ‘replete with bliss’. The yogini is parathi para Rahasya; the Mudra is sarva yoni; and the Siddhi is Prapthi. The mental state is Savikalpa Samadhi. The presiding deity is her Transcendent Majesty Lalita Maheshvari Mahatripurasundari. Her vidya is Kamaraja vidya : ka e i la hrim ha sa ka ha la hrim sa ka la hrim, plus a secret 16th syllable. The gem is ruby. The time is year. The Shakti is Maha Tripura Sundari the personification of Brahman. This avarana corresponds to Brahma_randra on the top of the head of the mother goddess.]

Pallavi

Shri Kamalaambaa Jayati Ambaa Shri Kamalaambaa Jayati Jagadaambaa

Shri Kamalaambaa Jayati Shringaara Rasa Kadambaa Madambaa

Shri Kamalaambaa Jayati Chidbimbaa Pratibimbendu Bimbaa

Shri Kamalaambaa Jayati Shreepura Bindu Madhyastha

Chintaamani Mandirastha Shivaakaara Manchasthita Shivakaameshaankasthaa

Anupallavi

Sukara-ananaadya-arccita Mahaa-tripura
Sundarim Raajaraajeshvareem
Shreekara Sarva-ananda-maya Chakra-vaasinim Suvaasinim Chintayeham
Divaakara Sheetakirana Paavakaadi Vikaasakarayaa
Bheekara Taapa-traya-adi Bhedana Dhurinatarayaa
Paakaripu Pramukhaadi Praarthita-Sukalebarayaa
Praakatya Paraaparayaa Paalitodayaakarayaa

Charanam

Shrimaatre Namaste Chinmaatre Sevita Ramaa Harisha Vidhaatre
Vaamaadi Shaktipujita Paradevataayaah Sakalam Jaatam
Kaamaadi Dvaadashabhir-upaasita Kaadi Haadi Saadi Mantra-rupinyaah
Premaaspada Shiva Guruguha Jananyaam Pritiyukta Macchittam Vilayatu
Brahmamaya Prakaashini Naamaroopa Vimarshini Kaamakalaa Pradarshini Saamarasya Nidarshini

The ninth enclosure is the Bindu. It is called Sarvananda-maya chakra , the supremely blissfull one.  It is independent of the intersecting triangles. This, in a temple, would be the sanctum sanctorum, with all the other circles or enclosures representing various parts of the temple as you move inwards.

It is this Bindu that is in reality the Sri Chakra; it represents the mother goddess Maha Tripura Sundari, Lalitha or Rajarajeshwari herself; and everything else is a manifestation of her aspects.

The goddess is nothing other than the devotees own self. The self here refers to individual consciousness (buddhi) which is beyond the body-mind complex. It is filled with all bliss (sarvananda maya). This constant, abundant bliss is the expression of the union of Shiva (consciousness) and Shakthi (power of deliberation Vimarsha). It is the very basis of existence.

The significance of this avarana is the complete harmony (samarasya) of principles of pure consciousness (Shiva) and the principle of energy as deliberation (vimarsha shakthi).It signifies a state of non-duality, where all tendencies of approach and withdrawal become nonexistent, dissolve in a state in which the devotee ultimately rests. Bliss, in Tantra, is explained as resting in oneself (Svarupa pratishta).

Dikshitar bursts forth into a fountain of divine ecstasy and sings the glory and the celebration of the Supreme Mother Goddess in highly lyrical and sublime poetry. The krithi is also rich in Sri Vidya lore.

He describes the Mother as the very personification of the Bindu, the pure consciousness at the centre of Sri Chakra (Chidbimbaa Pratibimbendu Bimbaa); and as one who resides as the Bindu, in a mansion of ruby (Chintaamani Mandirastha), at the heart of the Sri Chakra (Shreepura Bindu Madhyastha).Here the expression bimbendu, refers to the moon and the point. As per the Tantric ideology the mother goddess is the moon; and the fifteen phases of the moon are her individualized aspects, kalas. She resides in the lunar orb.

The phrase Chintamani mandirasthitha carries with it an elaborate background. The Devi’s mansion is visualized as situated in a great garden (mahodyana) rich with many species of trees such as Santana, Kalpaka, Hari-chandana, Parijatha, Bilva etc. The garden is enclosed by four ramparts made of nine gems. The central hall of her mansion (prasada) is made of coral (manikya mantapa). Inside this vast enclosure are three tanks (vapika) of immortality (amrita), of biiss (ananda) and of deliberation (vimarsha).There is also a grove of lotus flowers (padmatavi). Amidst all these is the magnificent mansion of the “wish granting jewel” (Chintamani mandira). The mother goddess resides (sthitha) in this enchanting mansion.

At the entrance of this mansion (Kavaata-dvaare), the bejewelled bells (Ghantaamani) constantly (Santatam) ring and announce loudly the message of salvation (Mukti Ghantaamani Ghosaayamaana).

The line “Shivaakaara Manchasthita Shiva-kaamesha-ankasthaa” ordinarily means that the goddess is sitting on the cot in embrace of Shiva. But, in Sri Vidya, the imagery of the cot on which the mother goddess rests has a symbolic significance. The Mother Goddess is imagined to be seated at the Bindu (in her mansion) on a cot (mancha). The four corners of the Bhupura represent the four legs of the cot. The four legs are the four principles of the phenomenal world: emanation (shristi Brahma); preservation (sthithi Vishnu); dissolution (upasamhara Rudra); and withdrawal of the entire creation into a very subtle form (Ishvara).The plank (phalakha), which rests on the four legs of the cot is Shiva; he represents the principle of reception, retention of the withdrawn phenomena. Such dichotomy of existence is preserved (anugraha) until the time for re-emanation arrives. This principle is Sadashiva tattva (the ever auspicious but inert principle of pure consciousness) ; corpse-like , hence also called Sadashiva-preta . The Mother Goddess rests on this plank, the principle, of Shiva. The Mother Lalitha is surrounded by nine guardian spirits (nava-shakthi ) : vibhuthi (splendour), unnathi (upliftment) , Kaanthi (lustre) , hrsti (satisfaction ), kirti (celebrity) , shanthi ( courtesy ) , vyushti ( prosperity ) , utkrshta (excellence )  and  riddhi  (supremacy or accomplishment ).

manidwipa-vasini

In Tantra, the female is the predominant aspect and the male is subordinate to her. The plank of the cot is male; and the female rests on that. The cot is inert, and the Devi is dynamic. Yet, the male provides the female a field to function; and the two cannot be separated. Sri Chakra demonstrates this principle.

It is explained further, Shiva and Shakthi should not be viewed as mere male or female principles. They are indeed neither male nor female; nor even neuter. They represent the unity of consciousness and energy the very basis and the essence of all Universe.

[The seat of Lalitha or Maha Tripurasundari is Yoga pitha, in the form of red lotus, impressed with the Sri Chakra design, symbolizing the very heart of the devotee. The symbolism of this appears to be that Mother goddess worshipped in Sri Chakra is indeed the universe in all its aspects; and the devotee has to identify this principle in his body; and again his body too is Sri Chakra and the universe in miniature.]

The presiding deity of the avarana is Maha Tripura Sundari and her chakra is Sarvanandamaya chakra. Dikshitar meditates on the chakra and the presiding deity worshipped by Varahi and other attendant deties, the Yoginis (Sukara-ananaadya-arccitaMahaatripura –Sundarim Rajaraajeshvareem).

Dikshitar mentions the Sun (Divaakara), the moon (Sheetakirana) and the fire (Paavaka) as the expansion (Vikaasa) and manifestation of the presiding deity. Here, he is referring to the view that the central point, the Bindu, is actually composed of three dots or drops (Bindu traya) representing three fires (vanhi): Moon (soma); Sun (surya); and Fire (Agni). The Bindu expanding into three three is an act of swelling (ucchuna); and is the immediate unfolding of the Sri Chakra.

Dikshitar then sings the glory and the powers of the mother worshipped by Lakshmi, Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma and other divinities.

In the line “Kaamaadi -Dvaadashabhir-upaasita Kaadi- Haadi- Saadi – Mantra-rupinyaah”, Dikshitar is recalling the twelve gurus and the traditions of the Sri Vidya. The Sri Vidya tradition which centres on the worship of Sri Chakra considers the following twelve gods and sages as its gurus: Manu, Chandra, Kubera, Lopamudra, Kama (Manmatha), Agasthya, Nandisha, Surya, Vishnu, Skanda, Shiva and Durvasa. It is said; each of the twelve gurus propagated a school with regard to the worship and significance of Sri Chakra. Of these, only two schools have survived to this day; one is the school started by Manmatha (also called Kamaraja) known as Kadi-matha. The Kadi tradition was continued by sage Agasthya. The other school is Hadi-matha started by Lopamudra wife of the Sage Agastya. There is also an obscure third school called Sadi-matha. Dikshitar belonged to the Kadi Matha School, started by Kamaraja.

Let my loving mind (chittam) be dissolved (vilayatu) in her, whose beloved (prema) is Shiva, and who is the mother (jananyaam) of Guruguha.

In the line “Brahmamaya Prakaashini Naamaroopa VimarshiniDikshtar touches upon the core concepts of Sri Vidya. Shiva as consciousness is illumination (prakasha); and the Kameshwari as the energy to unfold the creation, to evolve, is the deliberation (vimarsha).The two principles are undistinguished, united and in perfect harmony at the time of dissolution (pralaya).They however appear distinct at the time of creation (shristi) and preservation (sthithi).The twin aspects of illumination (prakasha) and evolution (vimarsha) are the basis of the expanding universe. The relation between the two is analogues to that of lamp and its light. The rays of lamp spread in all directions and is responsible for life and its evolution. Shiva is absolute consciousness (Brahmamaya Prakaashini) and vimarsha the energy flows into the world of names and forms (Naamaroopa Vimarshini).These two principles come together again at the time of withdrawal or dissolution.

The phrase “Kaamakalaa Pradarshini “ is again a reference to the concepts of Sri Vidya. The triangular formation of three dots or drops (Bindu traya) at the centre of Sri Chakra is rich in symbolism. The triangle is named Kama Kala. One of the interpretations is that the top dot is shiva and the bottom dots are Shakthi (energy) and nada (sound).Here, Kama is the union of Shiva (kameshvara) and Shakthi (Kameshvari): and the concrete manifestation of the two is Kala. This is also referred to as Nada-bindu-kala.

The other interpretation is that the top dot stands for Kama (primordial desire to evolve) and the bottom two dots represent the manifestation and eventual withdrawal.

The concluding phrase “Saamarasya Nidarshini” suggests the complete harmony (samarasya) of the principle of pure consciousness (Prakasha, Shiva) and the principle of energy, as evolution or expansion (Vimarsha, Shakthi). It signifies (nidarshini) a state of non-duality, a state in which the devotee ultimately rests (Svarupa pratishta).

Dikshitar concludes in his auspicious mangala kriti in deep devotion, fulfilment and celebration of the Mother’s transcendent powers and glory.

Sri Rajarajeshwari by Shilpi Sri Siddalaing aSwamy

Reference:

http://www.ecse.rpi.edu/Homepages/shivkuma/personal/music/kamalambasamrakshatu.pdf

Painting of Sri Rajarajeshwrai by Shilpi Siddanthi Shri Siddalainga Swamy of Mysore

 

 
 

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Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar and Sri Vidya (7 of 8)

Kamalamba Navavarana Kritis – Part One

Sri Kamalamba at Sri Tyagaraja temple, Tiruvarur.

The years he spent at Tiruvavur were richly creative and highly productive for Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar, the composer. Dikshitar’s creations at Tiruvavur included a set of sixteen kritis on the various attributes of Ganesha; a set of kritis on Thygaraja and Nilothpalambika the presiding deities of Tiruvarur shrine; a set of Tiruvarur Panchalinga kritis; and eleven kritis of Kamalamba Navavarana group.

Dikshitar had developed a fascination for composing a series of kritis on a composite theme, perhaps in an attempt to explore the various dimensions of the subject. In some of these, he employed all the eight Vibhaktis, the various cases that delineate a noun.He also composed a series of kritis in a set of ragas, all ending with the same suffix (e.g.Gaula). No other composer has attempted so many group kritis in such a planned, orderly, meticulous fashion.

The most outstanding of such series of compositions is of course the magnificent Kamalamba Navavarana kritis. They are incomparable compositions and are the jewels of Carnatic music.These compositions, intellectually sublime steeped in deep devotion, are a testimony to Dikshtar’s musical genius, his mastery over the Sanskrit language; and his thorough knowledge of and intense dedication to Sri Vidya, Sri Chakra and the worship of its avaranas.

Through its graceful lyrics , majestic sweep of ragas and descriptive details rich in mystical symbolism of Tantra, Mantra, Yoga, Sri Vidya and Advaita ; Dikshitar virtually threw open the doors to the secret world of Sri Vidya,to all those eager to approach the Divine Mother through devotion and music.

It is amazing how Dikshitar builds into each of his crisp and well-knit structure of lyrics, the references to the name of the chakra; the names of its presiding deity, yoginis, mudras, Siddhis and the gurus of the Kadi tradition of Sri Vidya ;and to the seed(Beeja) mantras. In addition he manages to insert, as ever, cogently, the name of the raga and his signature. The Kamalamba Navavarana is a treasure house not merely to the classical musicians but also to the Sri Vidya upasakas.

Kamala is one of the ten maha_Vidyas, the principle deities of the Shaktha tradition of Tantra. But, the Sri Kamalamba referred to by Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar in this set of kritis, is the Supreme Divine Mother herself. The immediate inspiration to Dikshitar was, of course, Sri Kamalamba (regarded one of the sixty-four Shakthi centers), the celebrated deity at the famous temple of Sri Tyagaraja and Sri Nilothpalambika in Tiruvavur.

Thyagarajasvami and his consort Nilotpalamba

Interestingly, the temple complex also accommodates the shrines of Maha_Ganapathi, Subrahmanya, Dakshinamurty and Balamba; all Shakthi deities. The temple complex has a Pushkarini, a lake, named kamalalaya, the abode of Kamala.This tank is reffered to by Dikshitar , in his kritis ,  as Kamalalaya thirtha and the Devi is Kamalalaya thirtha vaibhave. The town of Tiruvarur  is mentioned as Kamala nagara (e.g. Kamalanagara viharinai) and as Kamala pura(e.g.Kamalapura sadanam) ; referring to Devi as one who resides in and walks about the town of Kamalapura/Kamalanagara.

Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar follows the Smahara krama, the absorption path, of Sri Chakra puja and proceeds from the outer avarana towards the Bindu in the ninth avarana at the center of the Sri Chakra. At each avarana, he submits his salutation and worships the presiding deity, the yogini (secondary deity) and the attendant siddhis of that avarana; and describes the salient features of the avarana according to the Kadi School of the Dakshinamurthy tradition of Sri Vidya. It is in effect both worship and elucidation.

Dikshitar devoted one composition to each of the nine avaranas. In addition, there is a Dhyana Kriti, a verse in meditation, preceding the set of nine; and a mangala kriti, the verse celebrating the auspicious conclusion, at the end. Thus, the Navavarana composition of Dikshitar, per se, is a set of eleven kritis.

It is customary, as a prelude to Kamalamba Navavarana group of kritis, to invoke Maha_Ganapathi and Lord Subrahmanya by singing Shri Mahaganapathivaratu mam (Gaula) followed byBalasubrahmanyam Bhaje (Surati).

The Dhyana kriti Kamalambike_ashrita_kalpa_lathike is composed in Raga Todi (Rupaka); while the concluding Mangala kriti Shri_Kamalambike is in the auspicious Shri Raga.

[The Dhyana kriti in Todi does not bear the customary Raga_mudra, the name of its Raga.]

Thus the vocal tradition of the Kamalamba Navavarana has a set of thirteen kritis. The core kritis are however the nine relating to nine avaranas of Sri Chakra.

For the core nine kritis sang in worship of the Navavaranas of Sri Chakra, Dikshitar employed eleven different Ragas and eight different Vibhakthis (case endings denoting the noun) of Sanskrit grammar; and for the ninth avarana kriti he employs a garland of all the eight Vibhakthis.

As regards the Raga-mudra, a distinctive feature of Dikshitar’s compositions, the kritis in Anandabhairavi (first avarana), and shankarabharaaam (third avarana) indicate their Ragas   only partially (the word “Ananda” for the former, and shankara for the latter). The kambhoji, Sahana, and Ahiri compositions have their Raga mudras hidden within complex phrases.  In all the other kritis, the Raga mudra is explicit.

The following briefly is representation of the kriti, the Raga, the taala and the Vibhakthi of the nine kritis:

No. Kriti Raga Tala Vibhakthi
1 Kamalambam
Samrakshatu
Ananda-
Bhairavi
Triputa Prathama
2 Kamalambam-
bhajare
Kalyani Adi Dwitiya
3 Sri Kamalam-
bikaya
Shankara-
bharanam
Rupaka Trutiya
4 Kamalambi-
kayai
Kambhoji (Kanda)
Atta
Chaturti
5 Sri Kamalabi-
kayah
Bhairavi Misra-
Jampa
Panchami
6 kamalambi-
kaya stava
Punnagavarali Rupaka Shasti
7 Sri kamalambi-
kayam
Sahana Triputa Saptami
8 Sri Kamalam-
bike
Ghanta Adi Sambho-
dana
9 Sri Kamalamba-
Jayathi
Ahiri Rupaka Sarva-
Vibhakthi*
For the complete text of the Kamalamba Navavarana kritis in English Click here * Meaning that all the eight vibhakthis are employed ; a unique feat.

and for the Sanskrit text please click here.

There are several theories explaining Dikshitar’s selection of Ragas for these kritis. Dikshitar was a meticulous person and had a methodical approach to life and to his works. Dr. R K Srikantan, the celebrated Carnatic musician and scholar, feels that the Ragas selected for these kritis are stringed together by an underlying scheme that is at once simple and logical. He observes that the Raga of each kriti flows into the next, seamlessly with minimum alteration in the structure of its swaras. Here is an extract from his article:

Sri Dikshitar followed the Venkatamakhin sampradaya – the scheme of classifying the Ragas – where Bhairavi and Ananda- bhairavi were treated as Upanga – Ragas. The Ragas adopted by Sri Dikshitar for the nine (Navavarana) Kritis, could broadly be classified under three main categories: two Mela-karta Ragas (Kalyani and Shankarabharnam); three Upanga Ragas (Shahana, Bhairavi, Aanda-bhairavi); and four Bhashanga Ragas (khambhoji, Punagavarali, Ghanta and Ahiri)

The Swara-structure, the sequential change of Ragas was methodical:

Sri Dikshitar has used only four Chakras * – Veda, Netra, Bana and Rudra. This corresponds to the four types of structures in the Sri-Chakra, viz.:  square (chaturanga), circle (vyuha), triangle (tri kona) and point (bindu).

The Swara-structure, the sequential change of Ragas was methodical:

1. From Ananda-bhairavi to Kalyani meant a change of Gandhara.

2. From Kalyani to Shankarabharanam meant a only a change of madhyama.

3. From Shankarabharanam to Khamboji meant an addition of a nishada.

4. From khamboji to Bhairavi meant removal of the additional nishada, addition of a dhaivata and change of gandhara.

5. From Bhairavi to Punnagavarali meant removal of the additional dhavata and introduction of a rishabha.

6. The next song shows changes in gandhara and dhaivata after the removal of the additional rishabha.

7. Ghanta indicates addition of Rishabha and dhaivatha with change in gandhara.

8. The last change is extremely complex. It basically indicates addition of gandhara and nishadha.

[For more on that theme, please check here ]

[* Sri Srikantan is referring to 12 series or Chakras in which the 72 Melakartas are arranged:

The 72 Mēḷakarta ragas are split into 12 groups called Chakrās, with each Chakra containing 6 ragas. The ragas within the chakra differ only in the dhaivatam and nishadam notes (D and N). The name of each of the 12 chakras suggests their ordinal number as well.

The twelve Chakras are:

1.Indu (moon, one); 2.Netra (eyes, two); 3.Agni (sacrificial fires, three types: garha-patya, Ahavaniya and Daksina; and Agni has two other names : Vaishvanara and Jatavedasa); 4. Veda (four Vedas); 5. Bana (arrows of Manmatha the cupid – five : Aravinda/Asoka/Chuta/Nava-mallika/Nilotpala); 6. Ritu (seasons – six seasons of the year); 7. Rishi (sages – saptharishi -seven); 8. Vasu (a group of celestial beings –  asta-vasu. eight); 9. Brahma (reference to the nine cycles of the universe, each presided over by a Brahma) 10. Dishi (ten directions – eight plus above and below); 11. Rudra (Ekadasha Rudra – eleven forms of Rudra); and 12. Aditya ( a group of twelve celestial beings )

The Svaras (notes) involved with the four Chakras  referred  to by Sri Srikantan are:

Veda: Sa, Chatusruthi Rishaba, Sadharana Gandhara, Suddha Ma

Netra: Sa, Suddha Rishaba, Sadharana Gandhara, Suddha Ma

Bana: Sa, Chatusruthi Rishaba, Anthara Gandhara, Suddha Ma

Rudra: Sa, Chatusruthi Rishaba, Anthara Gandhara, Prati Ma

For more , please do read Sri S Rajam’s most wonderful illustrations of the 12 Chakras and their 72 Melakarta-s.

http://www.carnaticindia.com/images/downloads/Rasi_Pocket_new.pdf ]

As regards the Ahiri, the Raga of the kriti associated with the ninth avarana, there is a view, the raga has all the twenty-two notes in the octave; and such a fusion of all melodic and temporal elements in the same kriti is rather unusual especially when the pallavi has distinctive prose sections put together, seamlessly.

Before we enter a discussion on the Navavarana kritis, let us take a broad look at their association with the Chakras, the deities, the Yoginis, and Siddhis etc. of the Sri Chakra.

No. Kriti Chakra Deity Yogini/

 Siddhis

01 Kamalamba

Sam-rakshathu

Bhupura Tripura Prakata /

 

Anima

02 Kamalambaam

Bhajare

Shodasha

dala padma

Tripuresi Gupta/

Laghima

03 Sri  Kamalam

bikaya

Asta dala

padma

Tripura

sundari

Guptatara/

Mahima

 

04 Kamalam

bikayai

Chaturdasha Tripura

vasini

Sampradaya/

Ishitva

05 Sri  Kamalam

bikayah

Bahirdasha Tripura

shri

Kula/

Vasithva

 

06 Kamalam

bikaya sthava

Antar

dasahara

Tripura

malini

Nigarbha/

Pranamya

 

07 Sri Kamalam

bikayaam

Astara Tripura

siddha

Rahasya/

Bhutkhi

 

08 Sri Kamala

mbike

Trikona Tripura

amba

Athi Rahasya/

Iccha

 

09 SriKamal

ambaa Jayathi

Bindu Maha

Tripura

sundari

Parathi

para Rahasya/

 

Prapthi

The Kamalamba Navavarana kritis are works of musical and poetic excellence. They are adorned with sublime music, intellectual sophistication, soulful devotional lyrics and richly imaginative poetic imagery. Listening to the kritis is a truly rewarding experience, even if one is not aware of or ignores the underlying connotations of Sri Chakra and Sri Vidya tradition.

The discussion on each of the Navavarana kritis, with reference to and in the light of traditions, concepts and lore of Sri Chakra and Sri Vidya, follows in the next page.

 

Continued in the Next Part

Kamalamba Navavarana Kritis – Part Two

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in Music, Muthuswami Dikshitar, Sri Vidya, Tantra

 

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Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar and Sri Vidya (6 0f 8)

The structure of Sri Chakra 

The basis of Sri Chakra is its mantra; the fifteen lettered mantra in three groups: a e i la hrim; ha sa ka ha la hrim; sa ka la hrim. The sixteenth letter “srim” is present in a subtle form. Sri Chakra is basically a triad. The triangle which is primary to the chakra has three angles and the deity residing in it is Tripura. The mantra of each of the nine enclosures of Sri Chakra is three lettered; the mother goddess is worshipped in her three forms; the Kundalini energy in the individual is threefold, and the phenomenal processes arising out of the union of Shiva and Shakthi are also three. The Chakra design represents Tripura or Tripura Sundari; while her manifest powers (yogini) are nine.

All its other interpretations are also in terms of three and nine. The three groups that constitute the mantra are called Kuta (peaks) or Khanda (segments). They are interpreted variously in sets of three as:

 Agni (fire), Surya (sun) and Chandra (moon); srishti (creation), Shtithi (preservation) and laya (dissolution) ; Iccha ( will), jnana (knowledge) and kriya (action); Sattva, Rajas and Tamas; Jagrat (wakefulness) ; swapna (dream state) and sushupthi (deep sleep); jnatra (the knower), jnana (the knowledge) and jneya ( the known) ;  as atma (individual self), antaratma (inner being) and paramatma (supreme self) and  also as past , present and future.

In general, the Sri Yantra is a ‘cosmogram’ – a graphic representation of the universal processes of emanation and re-absorption reduced to their essential outline.

The diagram of the Sri Chakra is primarily a Matrix (i.e. womb) of nine interlocking triangles. Five of these triangles have their apex facing downward. They are

Shakthi trikonas, the triangles representing five forms of feminine energy, Shakthi. The other four triangles with their apex facing upward are Shiva trikonas representing the male aspect, Shiva, Consciousness. In Tantra, the feminine is the active principle; and the male is passive. The Tantra texts mention that Sri Chakra is produced when five forms of Shakthi and four forms of Shiva unite. The intersection of these nine triangles creates forty-three triangles. It is customary to regard the point at the centre also as a triangle. Thus, in effect there are forty-four triangles in Sri Chakra; and these are arranged in nine enclosures (navavaranas), in groups of three. 

The intersection of two lines is called Sandhi; and there are 24 such Sandhis. These intersections have certain significance. The meeting of two lines represents union of Shiva and Shakthi. 

And, the points where three lines meet are called marma sthanas. There are 28 such marma sthanas.

The meeting of three lines represents explicit harmony between Shiva and Shakthi; and they are vital spots in the body where the life-energy resides as well as accumulates. The marma has thus been called the Seat of Life or Jiva-sthana.

sri yantra marmas
A total of 43 triangles are created from the overlapping of the nine original triangles.

As regards the Bindu , the dimensionless point at the core of the Sri Chakra Yantra, the Tantra texts explain  that Bindu is Kameshwara , the ground of the universe; and the immediate triangle is Kameshwari the mother of universe; the union of purusha and prakriti. The union of these two is the Sri Chakra, which represents the entire phenomenal pattern. This is denoted by the secret syllable shrim. In fact, it is this point, coloured red, which really is the Sri Chakra. Every other detail is an expansion or a manifestation of its aspects. The mother goddess worshipped in Sri Chakra is the universe. The devotee has to identify that principle in his body, for his body is the Sri Chakra or the universe in epitome. He is guided in this endeavour by the guru who is the representative of Shiva.

The Bindu also represents, at various times, the principles or activities known as the Pancha Kriya of: Emanation of the cosmos from its primal source; Projection of creation into the primal void; Preservation of the created universe; Withdrawal of the creative and preservative energies in cosmic dissolutions; and lastly, Retention of the withdrawn energy-universe for the next cycle of re-creation. These five activities are regarded as the five modes of expression of the Universal Mother.

There are several other explanations.

Bindu is regarded a sphere in its own right. The expanded form of the Bindu is the triangle formed by three points and is called Sarva siddhi prada (the sphere of fulfilment of all aspirations). It is described as Prakriti (Mother Nature) composed of three gunas (fundamental fabric of all existence) sattva, rajas and tamas. The Kadi School explains sattva as that which covers and conceals (aavarana); while the other two gunas as that which project the world of duality or multiplicity (vikshepa). The three gods Brahma (creator), Vishnu (preserver) and Rudra (destroyer) are actually the representations of these three gunas. They are in turn the three aspects of the Devi represented as trikona chakra.

It also explained that from Shakthi flashes forth the creative impulse known as nada (sound), which manifests as Kundalini or the creative urge, in all living beings. Here, Bindu is Shiva; Bija is Shakthi; and nada is their union. These give rise to the power of will (icchha shakthi); the power of knowledge (jnana shakthi); and power of action (kriya shakthi).These in turn give rise to Rudra, Vishnu and Brahma.

Another explanation is, Bindu, also called Sarvanandamaya (all blissful), and represents the transcendental power (Para Shakthi) and absolute harmony (saamarasya) between Shiva and Shakthi. This is equivalent to what the Vedanta calls the Brahman. Owing to the power of the will (icchha shakthi) there comes about an apparent differentiation of Shakthi from Shiva, expressed in the form of triangle.  Here again, the triangle is the expansion of the Bindu (bindu vikasana).

If the Bindu represents the Para-nada, the triangle represents the Pashyanti, the second stage of the sound, nada. The enclosure next to this, the eight sided figure (ashta kona chakra) is the Madhyama or the third stage in the development of sound. The rest of the Chakra represents the physical or the phenomenal stage, the Vaikhari, which is the manifest and articulate form of sound. The Vaikhari form is represented by the fifty letters of the alphabet, called matrikas or the source of all transactions and existence.

The sixteen vowels (from aa) constitute the lunar sphere (Chandra mandala), the twenty-four consonants (from ka to tha) the solar sphere (Surya mandala); and the remaining ten consonants (from ma to ksha) the sphere of fire (Agni mandala). Thus, the triangle is also known as tri kuta, tri khanda and tri mandala.

Bindu is identified with Shiva and trikona with Shakthi. The process of evolution (shristi) or the apparent separation of Shiva and Shakthi is referred to as adi-dwandwa. The evolution from the primary state into the mundane level is regarded as a descent, avarohana krama; whereas the withdrawal from the gross to the very subtle state is termed Samhara krama.  Here the devotee moves into higher spiritual levels; and therefore it is termed arohana krama. It is a gradual process.

The significance of the triangle is explained thus:

The name of the goddess is Tripura; and number three is important in approaching her. She is of the nature of the sun, the moon and the fire. She is masculine, feminine and neuter. Her form is red, white and the mixture of the two. Her mantra has three letters (hrim, klim, sauh); and from this mantra three segments of time – past, present and future – emerge. From this mantra too emerge the realms, three Vedas, three states of existence ( waking, dreaming and sleeping) and three gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

SriYantra

 

All these geometric designs are contained within Sri Chakra, arranged in nine enclosures or nava-avaranas.They are also termed as nine chakras. Each of this has its name, a characteristic physical form and a spiritual significance. Each has its colour suggesting its tendencies. Each Chakra has its presiding deity (chakreshwari or Chakra nayika); and she is a variant form of the mother goddess abiding at the Bindu. The Chareshwari rules over her set of attendant divinities; such as Yoginis who aid the devotee on in his spiritual progress, and the Mudra Devatas, seal-divinities, who welcome, purify and delight the devotee.

The yoginis have a special role in Sri Chakra worship. They make explicit the union of the male and female aspects of the Sri Chakra in each of its enclosures. They are in fact, the symbols of urges, aspirations, inhibitions, limitations, obstructions and powers active in each individual. The yoginis aid the devotees, but derive their power from the mother goddess.

Sri Chakra is verily the body of the mother goddess, who resides as energy in the universe and as pure consciousness in the individual. The nine enclosures symbolize in a graded series the significance of the universal and individual; the ideological and ritual; expressive and contemplative; and the in inner and outer aspects of Sri Chakra.

The outer group of chakras (1, 2 and3) symbolizes extension or shristi. They represent Shiva aspect of the chakra. The middle group (4, 5 and 6) symbolizes the preservation or sthithi. They represent Shakthi aspect of the chakra. The inner group (7, 8 and the Bindu) symbolize absorption or samhara. The Bindu represents the transcendental aspect of mother goddess. The other two avaranas (7and 8) are also Shakthi aspects.

The nine chakras are interpreted in terms of Time (kaala), the five elements that compose all things (Pancha-Bhuthas); and three states of awareness-wakefulness, dream and deep sleep.

The nine chakras are also interpreted as corresponding to parts in human body.

No. Chakra Corresponding to part of human body
01 Bhupura First line: feet; Second line: knees; and third line : thighs
Triple girdle Mid portion of the body
02 Shoidasha-dala padma Region below navel and  up to penis region ; kati
03 Ashta-dala padma Navel region – nabhi
04 Chaturdasha Abdominal region-kukshi
05 Bahir -dasha Neck-kantha
06 Antar-dasha Region between eye brows- bhru-madhya
07 Ashtara Forehead-lalata
08 Trikona Top of the head- masthaka
09 Bindu Opening on the crown of the head leading to Sahasra Dala padma (Brahma randra)

The nine avaranas are again recognized as chakras said to be situated along the central channel or the Shushumna nadi.

No. Avarana in Sri Chakra Nadi-chakra
01 Bhupura Muladhara
02 Shoidasha dala padma Svadhistana
03 Ashta-dala padma Manipura
04 Chaturdasha Anahatha
05 Bahir _dasha Vishuddha
06 Antar-dasha Ajna
07 Ashtara Manasa-chakra
08 Trikona Soma-chakra
09 Bindu Sahasra Padma

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The nine avaranas, enclosures that compose Sri Chakra are briefly as under. These are described in the order of absorption (Samhara-krama) according to Dakshinamurthy tradition. It starts with the outermost enclosure-Bhupura- and leads to Bindu, the central point.

1. Bhupura also called Trilokya –mohana-chakra (Deluder of the Realms) , is the four-sided enclosing wall. The three lokas being three levels of experience:  attainments, obstructions and powers. They are also related to the body- mind complex of the devotee.

A tantra design is always enclosed within an outer wall serving as a protective cover. As the devotee enters into the Mandala he leaves behind the normal worldly distractions and conflicts; and emigrates into a world of symbols and visualizations. A Mandala is thus a mansion of gods and goddesses, a symbol of a higher form of existence.

There are actually six gateways to the fort Sri Yantra, if we take a three-dimensional view of it; the four obvious dwaras and those ‘above’ and ‘below’. The Eastern gate is the way of the mantras. The Southern gate is the way of devotion or bhakti. The Western gate is for the performance of rites and rituals, or karma-kanda. The Northern gate is the way of wisdom, or Jnana. The gate ‘below’ is the ‘path of words’ while the gate ‘above’ is the way or ‘road of liberation’. These are located at the Southern and Northern gate, respectively, i.e. ‘above’ is north, ‘below’ is south. Each of these gates also stands for one of the six primary chakras in the body.

The Bhupura Chakra, the earth stretch, includes within its spatial scope the entire design even as the earth supports the entire existence. Bhupura is a Shiva aspect and is made up of three lines or ramparts. The first (outermost) line is identified with the attainments of yoga powers called Siddhis. They are needed for self-protection along the inward journey. Such Siddhis are eight in number; and are attained consequent on gaining control over the elements and the mind.

The second or the middle line represents the powers of eight mother-like divinities Mathrika who rule over emotions such as passionate longing (Brahmi), violent anger (Maheshwari), avarice (kaumari) obstinacy (Varahi) etc

The third (inner) line of the square is identified with ten feminine deties, Mudra devathas, carrying seals of authority. The mudras are an approach to the divinities. These could be gross (sthula) being body postures and gestures by hand; subtle (sukshma) by way of seed-mantras; and para transcendental that is mental or intuitional approach.

These three lines are also taken to represent the Mother goddess; the outermost line corresponds to her feet; the middle line to her thighs; and the inner line to her knees.

There are also three concentric circles (trivritta) representing three objectives of life: Dharma, Artha and Kama.

The avarana is Bhoopura and the Chakra is Trailokyamohana chakra ‘enchants the three worlds’. The yogini is Prakata; Mudra is Sarva Somkshibhni; Siddhi is Anima; and the mental state of the aspirant is Jagrata. The presiding deity is Tripura. Her Vidya is Am Am Sauh.The gem is topaz. The time is 24 minutes and the Shaktis are 28 that include the ten starting with Anima, the eight starting with Brahmya and the ten Mudra Saktis. 28 is the dominant number.

This avarana corresponds to the feet of the mother goddess.

2. The sixteen petalled lotus (shodasha dala padma) called sarva asha paripuraka chakra, the fulfiller of all desires, is the second enclosure. In the sixteen   petals, the sixteen vowels of Sanskrit alphabet is inscribed. These symbolize sixteen kalas or aspects or phases. They are also called nithyas and named Kamakarshini (fascinating the desires), Budhyakarshini (fascinating the intellect) etc. These relate to powers in the Five Elements, the ten senses of perception or Indriyas (being further divided into five organs of action and five sense organs) and the Mind.

The significance of this enclosure is explained as self-protection (atma raksha) of the devotee. Since frustrated desire is the strongest obstacle to spiritual progress, the next stage is wisely concerned with satisfying them. Only he who has experienced can renounce. The values of virtue, wealth and pleasure are granted at this stage.

The craving Asha springs from discontent; and is quenched when discontent is eliminated. That is possible when devotee identifies himself with Shiva, ever complete and ever content.

This is achieved by the cultivation or strengthening of power over mind, ego, sound, touch, sight, taste, smell, intellect, steadiness, memory, name, growth, ethereal body, revivification, and physical body.

The avarana is Shodasa Dala, and the Chakra is Sarvasaparipuraka chakra ‘fulfils all expectations’; the yogini is Gupta Yogini; Mudra is Sarva Vidravini; the Siddhi is Laghima; and the mental state is Swapna, The presiding deity is Tripureshi. Her vidya is Aim Klim Sauh.The gem is sapphire. The time is three hours.  The Shaktis are the sixteen starting with Kamakarshini. 16 is the dominant number.

This avarana corresponds to the Savdhistana chakra of the mother goddess.

3. Eight petalled lotus (astha dala padma) called Sarva-samkhobhana –Chakra the agitator of all, is the third avarana. Each petal has a consonant inscribed within it that begins with ‘Ka‘  The petals represent eight divinities associated with erotic urges , independent of physical body(ananga).These relate to mental pleasures derived through five organs and through the modalities of mind: rejection(repulsion or withdrawal), acceptance (attention or attachment) and indifference(detachment).

This enclosure represents the last of the first group of the chakras that symbolizes Shrusti or emanation.

The avarana is ashta dala; The Chakra is Sarva-samkshobana chakra ‘agitates all’. The Yogini is Gupta- Tara; Mudra is Sarvakarshini; the Siddhi is Mahima; and the mental state is Shushupti. The Presiding deity is Tripura Sundari. Her vidya is Hrim Klim Sauh. The gem is cat’s eye. The time is day and night. The Shaktis are the eight starting with Ananga Kusuma. 8 is the dominant number.

This avarana corresponds to the navel region of mother goddess.

4. Fourteen triangles (chaturdasha trikona) called sarva sowbhagya dayaka; the bestower of all prosperity is the fourth enclosure. This is in the form of a complex figure made up of fourteen triangles. The fourteen triangles are inscribed with fourteen consonants beginning with ka and ending with dha. The fourteen corners represent fourteen powers of mother goddess. These are said to preside over fourteen principle channels of vital forces in human body (naadis) corresponding with fourteen powers Sarva -Samkshobhini and others.

They are also related to the seat of Shaktis who represent: the Mind (Manas), the Intellect (Buddhi), Being (Chitta), the Conscious Ego (Ahamkara) and the ten Indriyas.

This enclosure refers to the channels of life currents in the human body (prana) and their identity with the aspects of Sri Chakra. The explanation given in Tantra texts is that the breathing in human body is influenced by five elements present in the body; and in turn those five elements are influenced by the manner we breathe. Normally, we breathe 360 times in a unit of time called nadika (equivalent to 24 minutes). A day (dina) consists 60 such nadikas. Therefore, in a day (24 hours) we breathe 21,600 times. The collection of all breathes is mother goddess herself. This is called nadi-chakra, the organization of winds within the body. The distribution of breathes among the body centres are as follows:

Chakra Number of Breathes Time taken Hrs-mins-sec
Muladhara 0,600 00-40-00
Svadhistana 6,000 06-40-00
Manipura 6,000 06-40-00
Anahata 6,000 06-40-00
Vishuddha 1,000 01-06-40
Ajna 1,000 01-06-40
Sahasra 1,000 01-06-40
Total 21,600 24-00-00

The navel is the central point for distribution of all breathes and life forces moving along the channels. Normally breath alternates between the ida channel reaching the left nostril and pingala the channel reaching the right nostril. The former is moon principle and cools the body; and the latter is sun principle warms the body. The two meet at muladhara, close to kundalini. Around this central channel is a network of 72,000 channels of which the more important are the 14 mentioned earlier in this paragraph. These are referred also as 14 divinities. In this avarana the number 14 is dominant.

Sri Chakra is also described as the diagrammatic representation of the cycle of time (kaala chakra) and of the chakras in human system.

The Avarana is Chaturdasara; the Chakra is Sarva soubhagya dayaka chakra, ‘grants excellence’. The Yogini is Sampradaya Yogini; the Mudra is Sarva Shankari; the Siddhi is Ishitva. The mental state is Iswara Vichara. The presiding deity is Tripura Vasini. Her vidya is Haim Hklim Hsauh.The gem is coral. The time is day and night. The Shaktis are the fourteen starting with Samkshobhini.14 is the dominant number.

This avarana corresponds to the heart of mother goddess.

5. Ten-sided figure (bahir-dasara) called Sarvartha Sadhaka chakra (accomplisher of all objects) consisting ten triangles, is the fifth avarana. It is named “the outer ten cornered figure” (bahir dasara) in order to distinguish it from a similar figure enclosed within it.

The ten triangles in this avarana house ten auspicious deties , such as Sarva siddhi prada, Sarva sampath prada, Sarva priyamkari, Sarva mangala karini and so on. The five of the triangles are inscribed with consonants beginning with Ka; and the other five triangles are inscribed with consonants beginning with Cha..These represent ten powers of mother goddess who presides over ten vital forces pranas active in the body. The idea of vayu the winds or vital currents is fundamental to the concept of channels.

The vital currents are divided into two groups: prana- panchaka andnaga-panchaka. The first group consist:  prana, apana, vyana, udana and samana vayus. These are responsible for body functions such as respiration, blood circulation, digestion, voice and separation of nutrients from food etc.

The second group consists vital currents such as naga, kurma, krkara, devadatta and dhananjaya. These are involved in body movement like belching, yawning movement of eyelids, causing various sounds in the body. The Dhanajaya vayu, it is said, is the last to leave the body at its death. In this avarana the number ten is dominant.

The Avarana is Bahirdasara; the Chakra is Sarvarthasadhakachakra, the ‘accomplisher of all’. The Yogini is Kulotteerna yogini;; the Mudra is Sarvonmadini; and the Siddhi is Vashitva. The mental state is Guroopa Sadanam. The presiding deity is Tripura Shri. Her vidya is is Haim Hklim Hsauh.The gem is pearl. The time is lunar day. The Shaktis are the ten starting with Sarva Siddhi Prada.10 is the dominant number.

This avarana corresponds to the neck of mother goddess.

6. Ten sided figure (antar dasara) called Sarva raksha karaka (one that protects all) consisting ten triangles is the sixth avarana. It is named antar dasara, the inner ten cornered figure, since it is placed within a similar ten cornered figure, mentioned earlier.

The ten triangles are inscribed with ten consonants beginning with the five of Tha and the five of Tta group. They represent the powers of the mother goddess who presides over ten vital fires (vanyaha).These represent the ten specific fires within the body; being the fire of purgation (Rechak), digestion (Pachak), absorption (Shoshak), burning (Dahak), the secretion of enzymes (Plavak), acidification (Ksharak), to take out or excrete (Uddharak), the fires of pessimism and frustration (Kshobhak), the fire of assimilation (Jrambhak) and creating lustre (Mohak).

This enclosure is the third of the second group of chakras representing Preservation. The advent of inner realization begins here. The significance of this avarana is explained as protection from all obstacles. The devotee distances himself from all that hinders his spiritual progress; and he begins to develop an awareness he is Shiva ( the consciousness).

The Avarana is Antardasara; the Chakra is Sarvaraksakara chakra ‘protects all’. The Yogini is Nigarbha Yogini; the Mudra is Sarva mahankusha; and the Siddhi is Prakamya. The mental state is Upadesa. The presiding deity is Tripura Malini. Her vidya is is Hrim Klim Blem.The gem is emerald. The time is Lunar Fortnight. The Shaktis are the ten starting with Sarvagnya.10 is the dominant number.

This avarana corresponds to the middle of the eyebrows (bhrukuti) of the mother goddess.

7. Eight-cornered figure (ashtara) called Sarva roga hara (the remover of all deceases) is the seventh avarana. In the eight triangles formed by this figure, eight divinities presiding over speech reside. Between them they cover all the alphabets in Sanskrit grammar. These shakthis also rule over contradictions in life (dwandwa) such as  cold(water) and heat(fire); happiness(air) and sorrow( earth);  as also the Desire(akasha-space) and the three gunas  of Sattvas (consciousness), Rajas(ego) and Tamas(mind).

The significance of this enclosure is its power to eradicate the most basic disease viz. involvement with impure, fleeting existence that is laden with stress. The blessed state is attained when the distinctions between the subject, the object and transactions between them are dissolved.

The avarana is asthakona; the Chakra is Sarvarogahara chakra ‘cures all ills’. The Yogini is Rahasya Yogini; the Mudra is sarva khechari; and the Siddhi is Bhukthi. The mental state is Manana. The presiding deity is Tripura Siddha. Her vidya is is Hrim Shrim Sauh.The gem is diamond (Vajra).The time is Lunar month. The Shaktis are the eight, starting with Vashini. 8 is the dominant number.

This avarana corresponds to the forehead (lalata) of the mother goddess.

The Four Weapons

In between the mandalas of eight triangles and the central triangles are the four weapons — flowery bow, flowery arrows, noose (pasha) and goad (ankusha). They are red in colour. They are the weapons of both the mother goddess as Kameshwari and also of Shiva as Kameshwara.

8. The primary triangle with its apex downward (East) and coloured white (Sattva) surrounding immediately around the central point, Bindu, is the eighth avarana. It is called Sarva Siddhi prada chakra, the one that bestows all accomplishment. This triangle does not intersect with other triangles; and stands independent. It is Kama Kala. It is feminine in its aspect; and represents three fundamental manifestations of the mother goddess: Kameshwari (symbolizing moon – creation); Vajreshwari (symbolizing sun- preservation); and Bhagamalini (symbolizing fire -dissolution).

The three angles of the triangle also represent three forms of speech: Pashyanthi, Madhyama and Vaikhari. The triangle is therefore the speech aspect Vak Bhava.

It also represents the three powers of iccha (will) , jnana (knowledge) and kriya(activity).The three corners of the triangle stand for three peaks(kuta) of the fifteen-lettered mantra; or as three dimensions of all existence. The triangle itself is regarded the abode of the mother goddess (kama-kala).

The Avarana is Trikona; the Chakra is Sarva-siddhi-prada chakra, ‘grants all attainments’. The Yogini is Athi Rahasya Yogini; the Mudra is Sarva Beeja; and the Siddhi is Iccha. The mental state is Nitidhyasana. The presiding deity is Tripuraamba. Her vidya is is Hsraim Hsrklim Hsrsauh..The gem is Gomaya .The time is a ritu- two months. The Shaktis are the three starting with Kameshwari. (4+3=7) is the dominant number.

This avarana corresponds to the top of the head (masthka) of the mother goddess.

9. The ninth enclosure is strictly not an enclosure. It is the central dimensionless point, the Bindu. It is called Sarvananda-maya chakra, the supremely blissful one.  It is independent of the intersecting triangles. It is coloured red. This, in a temple, would be the sanctum sanctorum, with all the other circles or enclosures representing various parts of the temple as you move inwards.

It is this Bindu that is in reality the Sri Chakra; it represents the mother goddess Maha Tripura Sundari, Lalitha or Rajarajeshwari herself; and everything else is a manifestation of her aspects.

The goddess is nothing other than the devotees own self. The self here does not refer to jiva, engaged in organizing the body, mind and senses. The self here refers to individual consciousness (buddhi) which is beyond the body-mind complex. It is filled with all bliss (sarvananda maya). This constant, abundant bliss is the expression of the union of Shiva (consciousness) and Shakthi (power of deliberation Vimarsha). It is the very basis of existence. It is called beautiful, sundara, in this sense. It is in this sense the supreme mother goddess is called Maha Tripurasundari.

The significance of this avarana is the complete harmony (samarasya) of principles of pure consciousness (Shiva) and the principle of energy as deliberation (vimarsha shakthi).It signifies a state of non-duality, where all tendencies of approach and withdrawal become nonexistent, dissolve in a state in which the devotee ultimately rests. Bliss, in Tantra, is explained as resting in oneself (Svarupa pratishta).

There is also a school which propounds that the central point is composed of three dots or drops(Bindu traya) representing three fires(vanhi): Moon(soma);Sun(surya); and Fire(Agni).The top dot symbolizes the head of the deity; and the pair of dots at the bottom symbolize the breasts of the Mother. It is explained that the central point expanding into the three is an act of swelling (ucchuna); and that is how the central point becomes the primary triangle in Sri Chakra.

The avarana is the Bindu and the Chakra is Sarvanandamaya chakra, ‘replete with bliss’. The yogini is parathi para Rahasya; the Mudra is sarva yoni; and the Siddhi is Prapthi. The mental state is Savikalpa Samadhi. The presiding deity is her Transcendent Majesty Lalita Maheshvari Mahatripurasundari. Her vidya is Kamaraja vidya: ka e i la hrim ha sa ka ha la hrim sa ka la hrim, plus a secret 16th syllable. The gem is ruby. The time is year. The Shakti is Maha Tripura Sundari the personification of Brahman.

This avarana corresponds to Brahma-randra on the top of the head of the mother goddess.

***

Travelling from the outer periphery wall to the inner bindu is an ascent through various levels of consciousness and mystical significance, overcoming myriad obstacles of conditioning and fears along the way. As he proceeds inward from the outermost enclosure the devotee’s thoughts are gradually refined; and the association of ideas is gradually freed from the constraints of conventional reality. The Devi is felt or visualized in his heart and then drawn out through the breath and installed in the yantra. She is then worshipped as actually residing there. The true home of Devi is however in his heart .The devotee identifies himself with the Devi and goes through the worship guided by the symbolism. Whatever be the details, the symbolism involved is important in the external worship ; and more so in internal worship( contemplation on the import of the chakra).

Sri Chakra is also a construct of space and time, just as the universe is a space time continuum. The way of the universe is continuous and constant change. That change, in a relative existence, is measured by the phases of moon. Mother goddess is the principle of time; she is kala or nitya. The Sri Chakra also puts forth the interdependence of time and space. The devotee views the evolution of the universe as the unfolding of a changeless reality of Mother Goddess.

The Sri Chakra represents the interplay of the purusha and prakriti; the universe and its energy. The union of the Devi (energy) and Shiva (consciousness) worshipped in Sri Chakra is the universe and its evolution. The universe is thus stylized into a pattern of energies, symbolized by the patterns and layout of Sri Chakra. It provides a model to the individual for transformation. The consciousness of the individual finds in it an articulation; and the model helps in breaking the barriers of subjective feelings and limitations of the objective world. The devotee identifies that his body is the Sri Chakra or the universe in epitome; and that The Yantra too is the Devi. The aim is to realize that oneness, the bliss of pure consciousness.

Continued in the Next Part

Kamalamba Navavara kritis –Part One

Reference;

The Tantra of Sri Chakra by Prof.SK Ramachandra Rao(1953)

Lalita Tripurasundari, the Red Goddess

http://www.shivashakti.com/tripura.htm

Sri Yantra – the Significance and Symbolism of its design

http://www.sriyantraresearch.com/

http://www.sriyantraresearch.com/Optimal/optimal_sri_yantra.htm
Sri Yantra Definition
http://www.sriyantraresearch.com/Definition/sri_yantra_definition.htm
Hymns of Sri Chakra
http://www.bhagavadgitausa.com.cnchost.com/HYMNS%20OF%20SANKARA.htm

 
 

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Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar and Sri Vidya (5 0f 8)

Sri Chakra and Sri Vidya

According to Tantric texts, the Chakra, Mandala or Yantra is a sphere of influence and a consecrated environment. It is an instrument to harmonize feelings; and also to coordinate inner and outer forces.

The term Yantra is derived from the root yam suggesting a sense of control (say, as in niyantra to control), giving raise to the meaning of an instrument that can control or be controlled. In that sense, the body is a yantra. The other term tra is from the root word trayati, that which liberates. Yantra is that which controls and liberates. It draws towards the centre as also takes away from the centre of all reality.

The basic energies of the universe, which are the deities, can be approached through a mental creative process, that is, through words or through created forms. Deities are therefore represented both in words and forms.

There are different degrees of abstraction. We can represent a deity through the description of its characteristics in words, or sounds, that is, mantras. Similarly, we can represent a deity through diagrams, geometrical abstractions   or patterns, the yantra. The representation of a deity through mantra or yantra is considered more subtle than through an image.

Yantras are the visual equivalents of the mantras. The yantra has the mantra as its soul; and the deity is the soul of the mantra. The difference between the mantra and the deity is the difference between the body and the soul. The deity is invoked by drawing its yantra and calling its subtle name (bija akshara).

All the elementary geometric figures –lines, triangles, crosses, and point (bindu) – have a symbolic value corresponding to their basic notions. They can be combined to form complex figures to give expression to forces, the inner aspects and qualities embodied in a given form of creation. It is said, there no shape, no form which may not be reduced to yantra patterns. Every shape, every leaf, every flower is a yantra, which through its shape, colour, formation, perfume can tell the story of its creation.

sriyantra

Yantras which are drawn on flat surfaces are basically conceived as solid forms. The drawing is a mere suggestion of its three dimensional aspects of the yantra. And, the yantra is itself a static image of the moving, living combination of forces represented in a divinity.

PANCHALOGHA MAHA MERU Sri yanta 3d

A Yantra is structured in three levels, of spaces, the level of physical world of beings and things (mahakasha); the level of thoughts and feelings (Chittakasha); and the level of pure, undifferentiated consciousness (Chidakasha).The first level is predominantly inert , Tamas; while the second level is active and emotional, Rajas. The third level is of light and pure awareness Sattva. A Yantra is a means to progress from the gross to the subtle, sukshma.

To put it in another way, Yantra is an instrument to transform matter into energy and the energy into consciousness. In the final analysis, the walls separating the objective world, the subjective person and the Universal consciousness break down; and it is all One in the end. This complete harmony of existence is symbolized by Bindu, a dimensionless point at the centre of the Yantra or Chakra.

In fact, chakra is regarded the expansion or the evolution of that Bindu. The Bindu in turn is epitome or the microcosm of the Chakra. The Yantra facilitates the movement of consciousness from the concrete form of Chakra to the abstract Bindu. It also enables movement from the abstract Bindu to the form of Chakra. A Yantra in essence is a map of the universe in its emanation and absorption.

Sri Chakra

Sri Chakra Yantra is regarded the supreme Yantra, the Yantra Raja, the king of Yantras. It is the Yantra of the Shaktha school of Tantra. It is also variously regarded as the visual representation of the city, mansion, island or the body of the mother goddess Devi, Tripurasundari, Lalitha, Rajarajeshwari and Parabhattarika, the supreme controller. The design also stands for this divinity’s court with all her attendant aids, guards, pavililions, enclosures and entrances. The principal divinity is regarded as being at the centre, the Bindu of the chakra.

The prefix Sri denotes that the Yantra is auspicious, beneficent, salutary, benign and conducive to prosperity. Sri is Lakshmi, the goddess of beauty and prosperity. Sri is also the Mother goddess who rules the universe. Sri Chakra is a representation of the interplay of the principles of pure consciousness (Shiva) and primordial power (Shakthi).Sri Chakra represents the essential aspects of the universe and also the constitution of the devotee’s body-mind complex.

The concept and worship of Sri Chakra is relevant in the context of an esoteric discipline known as Sri Vidya.

Sri Vidya is hailed as the Vidya of Sri (the knowledge that leads to the ultimate benefit mukthi – liberation), she therefore is the highest divinity. Sri Vidya is also the Vidya that yields Sri (prosperity). Sri Vidya is thus Bhukthi Mukthi prada the bestower of wellbeing, prosperity and liberation. Sri Vidya is the path and the goal.

Vidya usually stands for knowledge, learning, discipline and a system of thought. But, in the context of Tantra, it has an extended meaning. Here, it variously refers to a female deity, to the personification of her consciousness; or to the manifestation of her power. Devi Durga is described as the Vidya in all beings (Ya Devi sarvabhutheshu, Vidya rupena samsthita); and the form of her Vidya is the primordial energy Adi prakrithi.

The Tantra texts classify ten divinities into three levels of Vidyas:

(1) Maha_vidya, the extraordinary Vidyas, consisting Kali and Tara. The worship of these divinities requires great rigor, austerity, devotion, persistence and a sort of detachment. The practice of Maha_vidya is very difficult and filled with risks and dangers ;

( 2) Vidya, the normal Vidyas consist deities Shodashi (or Tripura), Bhuvaneshwari, Bhiravi, Chinmastha and Dhumavathi. The practice of this class of Vidya is considered safe and suitable for householders;

and

(3) Siddha Vidya, the Vidya for adepts involves deities Kamalaa, Matangi and Bhagalamukhi. This class is not for normal persons as it involves rituals that cannot be practiced normally.

Shodashi is the first among the Vidyas in the middle group; she is otherwise known as Sri Vidya. Shodashi literally meaning “a girl of sixteen” is identified with deities Lalitha, Raja_rajeshwari, Sundari, Kameshwari and Bala. Lalitha is the playful one; all creation, manifestation and dissolution is her play. She is Mahatripura Sundari the most magnificent transcendental beauty without a parallel in three worlds. She is the conqueror of three levels of existence.

The Tantra texts however explain that the Vidya is called Shodashi because the mantra of the Vidya is made up of sixteen seed _syllables. There is another school (Kadi Vidya) which says the mantra consists fifteen visible syllables (ka e i la hrim; ha sa ka ha la hrim; sa ka la hrim). It is explained that ka represents the air; ha the fire; sa the water; la the earth and e the space. The fifteen syllables are: one of space, two of air; three of fire; four of water; and five of earth. The sixteenth letter is “srim” in subtle form. The mantra then becomes Shodashi, the sixteen lettered.

The fifteen lettered mantra is divided into three groups: ka e i la hrim); ha sa ka ha la hrim; and; sa ka la hrim. The three groups that constitute the mantra are called Kuta (peaks) or Khanda (segments). They are interpreted variously in sets of three as: Agni(fire) , Surya(sun) and Chandra(moon); srishti (creation), Shtithi (preservation) and laya (dissolution); Iccha ( will), jnana(knowledge)and kriya (action);Sattva, Rajas and Tamas; Jagrat (wakefulness); swapna (dream state) and sushupthi (deep sleep);jnatra (the knower), jnana (the knowledge) and jneya ( the known) ; atma (individual self) , antaratma (inner being) and paramatma (supreme self) and as past , present and future.

There is also a view that the first group starting with ka is kadi_matha; the second group starting with ha is hadi_matha; and the third group starting with sa is sadi_matha.

The mantra (fifteen or sixteen letters) is an expression of Sri Vidya. The verbal expression (nada or sound) of the Vidya is mantra and its visual expression is the Sri Chakra Yantra. The two are essentially the same. Both seek identity of consciousness with Maha Tripura Sundari.

Another interesting aspect is that the vowels (aa, e, i etc.) are regarded as representations of Shakthi; while the 35 consonants are basically inert and depend on vowels (just as Shiva depends on Shakthi) to manifest in a meaningful form. It is only when the germinating power (bija) of the vowels is infused with consonants, the latter gain meaning. That is the reasons the vowels are Bija aksharas. They transform ordinary letters into mother like condition (matrika); that is, they impregnate ordinary letters with meaning and power.

Sri Vidya is also described as Chandra_kala_vidya, the lore of the lunar digits. This school of Sri Vidya explains that the fifteen letters of the mantra correspond to fifteen digits of the moon in each fortnight commencing from prathipada, the first day of the brighter half, when the moon “comes out of the sun”; and ending with the full moon on the fifteenth day. Similarly, in the dark half of the moon cycles all digits “return to the sun”. The emanation of the fifteen digits of the moon from the sun culminates in the full moon (purnima); while the absorption of the digits into the sun results in new moon (Amavasya).The sixteenth letter (Shodasha kala or Srim) is said to be present in each of the digits which are calledKalas or nityas. The digits are invoked as forms of the Mother goddess.

The first digit is Maha Tripura Sundari; the second is Kameshwari; and the third is Bhagamalini. These three together form the primary triangle which is the immediate unfolding of the central Bindu representing Mother Goddess.

The Sri Vidya tradition which centers on the worship of Sri Chakra, considers the following twelve gods and sages as its gurus: Manu, Chandra, Kubera, Lopamudra, Manmatha, Agasthya, Nandisha, Surya, Vishnu, Skanda, Shiva and Durvasa. It is said each of the twelve gurus propagated a school with regard to the worship and significance of Sri Chakra.  Of these, only two schools have survived to this day; one is the school started by Manmatha (also called Kamaraja) known as Kadi_matha. The Kadi tradition was continued by sage Agastya. The other school is Hadi_matha started by Lopamudra wife of the Sage Agastya. There is also a mention of an obscure third school called Sadi_matha.

Of the three, the Kadi_ matha (with its mantra starting with letter Ka) is regarded the oldest and its attitude and worship is Sattvic. It insists on virtue, discipline and purity of rituals. The prominent gurus of this school are Paramashiva, Durvasa, Hayagreeva and Agasthya. Of the other two schools, Hadi_matha is Rajasik and the Sadi _matha is Tamasik.

Kadi matha accepts Vedic authority and formulates its position in accordance with the Vedic tradition. The other school is considered different (iyam anya cha vidya).The term Samaya also means Vedic convention as orthodox and valid. Hence Kadi School came to be known as Samaya.

Samaya believes in sameness of Shiva and Shakthi; and the form of worship is purely internal. Hence Kadi School is also known as Para Vidya where the worship (archana) is conducted in the space of one’s heart (hrudayakasha madhye).

The external worship conducted say by Kaulas, lays greater importance on the Muladhara and Swadhistana chakras which are said be situated at the base of the spinal column which relate essentially to physiological needs and psychological urges. The Samaya School on the other hand prescribes that the internal  worship (antar aradhana) be conducted  at higher levels, viz., from Manipura to Sahasra. The seat of Tripura is at Sahasra, beyond the six chakras. It is also the seat of supreme consciousness, Shiva from which Shakthi springs forth.

Shakthi is of the same nature as Brahma (Brahma rupini) that divides itself five-fold. It is a spontaneous unfoldment. In Samaya system Brahman is called Sadashiva; it is the Bindu, from which emerges nada which is Para_shakthi. It is at the Sahasra, the Bindu Sthana that Shiva and Shakthi reside. They are the same; one cannot be without the other.

Samaya is centred on knowledge (jnana) which is the realization of the identity of Shiva and Shakthi: Shiva becomes Kameshwara and Kameshwari becomes Shiva. Their names too get intertwined, for instance, Shiva and Shivaa; Tripura and Tripuraa; Bhava and Bhavani; Shambu and Shambhavi; Rudra and Rudrani; and Sundara and Sundari etc.

Dakshinamurthi is a revered seer of the Kadi (samaya) School. The term Dakshina literally means a woman and refers to the feminine principle, which can create, unfold and manifest. When Dakshina assumes a form, it results in Dakshinamurthi a variety of Shiva’s forms. Dakshinamurthi, as ardha_nari; Kameshwara and Kameshwari are together regarded the principle deities of Kadi School.

Sri Chakra is the main device employed by Kadi (Samaya) school; and the worship is mainly through symbolisms and successive identifications. The symbolism involves identification (saamaya) of the arrangements and the lines of the diagram with the structure of the Universe; the psychophysical aspects of the devotee with the spatial arrangement of the diagram representing the goddess; and identifying the Mantra with the Yantra.

As regards the worship of Sri Chakra, there are three recognized procedures :

( 1) Hayagreeva tradition regarded as Dakshina_chara, the right handed method, reciting Lalitha_sahasra Nama and Lalitha_tristathi offering kunkumam.

(2) Anandabhirava tradition , a Vama_chara,a left handed method;

and

(3) Dakshinamurthy tradition , a doctrinal school.

Of the three the last one is considered the best.

Sri Vidya  traditions speak of two forms of Sri Chakra. One is its physical representation of lines and forms. This form entails external worship (puja) according to prescriptions of kalpa sutra spread over 26 steps. Here, Kameshwara and Kameshwari are the deities that receive worship.

There are, again, three methods of worship of Sri Chakra. Theshrishti_krama the expansion mode of worship, carried out in morning, comprehends the chakra from the central point the Bindu to the outer square. The Sthithi_krama the preservation mode of worship, carried out in the afternoon, comprehends the chakra from the outer square to the eightfold lotus and from the Bindu to the fourteen cornered figure. The third, Samhara_krama the absorption mode of worship, carried out in the night, comprehends the chakra from the outer square to the central point.

 [Even in this method the visualizations and contemplations are not entirely dispensed with.]

The other form of worship is Viyacchakra, the chakra emerging within ones heart. This entails visualization of Bindu, which is in the centre of the Sahasra, within ones heart. The ability to visualize Viyacchakra is known assamaya. The worship (maanasa puja) is offered internally and consists wholly of visualizations and contemplations; and is carried out in seclusion by one who is in control of his senses.

The process here involves a four-fold conceptualization of identity (aikya chintana)They are , briefly :

(i) Identity of the Supreme goddess who is un_manifest with Sri Chakra which is manifest;

(ii) Identity of the design of Sri Chakra with the Universe. It is viewed as a cosmogram ;

(iii)  Identity of the individual with the Universe . This is done primarily on the basis of the Shat chakra ideology (six chakras- muladhara, svadhistana, manipura, anahata, visuddha and ajna) and the tattvas , the principles , of Shaivagama;

and

(iv) Identity of the letters of the alphabets (matrikas) with the deities located in various segments of the Sri Chakra.

As can be seen from the above the six factors involved are :

(i) the Universe (Brahmanda);

(ii) individual (pindanda);

(iii) the structure of Sri Chakra;

(iv) letters of the alphabets(matrikas);

(v) the goddess (Devi);

and

(vi) the mantra specific to her.

The Tantra texts emphasize the merit of inner worship (antar_yaga), once a fair degree of understanding has been gained. They said “Best of all forms of worship is inner worship. External worship (ritualistic) is to be resorted until the dawn of understanding.”

In any case, Sri Vidya is the worship of mother goddess incarnated in the Sri Chakra. Her worship includes the worship of her consorts (Devata) and aids (yogini); all of whom are female. The ritualistic details are characteristically feminine.

A Sri Vidya Upasaka worships beauty and grace; rejecting ugliness in thought, word and deed.  Sri Vidya is the path of devotion and wisdom. The wisdom consists in realizing ones identity (sva svarupa prapti) with the Mother goddess. It is this wisdom that liberates the devotee (jivan Mukthi). This liberating wisdom is granted to him by the Mother out of pure love, when the devotee surrenders to her completely in full faith and devotion. The Mother is the path and the goal. Sri Vidya is the culmination of all paths, the consummation of all transformations.

lotus-flower-meaning-3

Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar was initiated into Srividya Maha Shodasakshari Diksha. In his first kriti , he referrers  to the Guru tradition, its twelve gurus and three schools of worship, kadi, hadi and Sadi: Kamaadi dwadashabhirupa_sthitha kadi hadi sadi mantra rupinya .Dikshitar also mentions that he followed the tradition of the sages Durvasa , Agasthya and Hayagreeva ; and declares he belonged to Kadi school: maatmaka kadi mathanusthano.

Dikshitar followed the Kadi practice of worship of Sri Chakra from Bhupura the outer square to the Bindu the central point. He had a certain pride in his tradition; in his kriti Kamalambikaihe states “prabala guruguha sampradaya anthah karayayai referring to his hallowed tradition

Dikshitar composed about 40 kritis spread over four sets of compositions on the subjects related to Sri Vidya; Kamalamba Navavarana (11+ 2 kritis); Nilothpalamba kritis (8 kritis); Abhayamba kritis (10 kritis) and Guru Kritis (8 kritis).Of these the Kamalamba set of kritis, is highly well organized and is truly remarkable for its classic structure , majesty and erudite knowledge. More of that in the succeeding sections.

Muthuswami Dikshitar, in his kritis, yearns for Videha Mukthi. He beseeches the Divine Mother repeatedly and addresses her as one who grants Videha mukthi (Mamaka videha mukthi sadanam– Ranganayakam-Nayaki); the bestower of videha mukthi (vikalebara kaivalya danaya-Guruguhaya-Sama); and at times he feels he is nearing videha mukthi(Videha kaivalyam yami-Tyagaraje-Saranga). Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar was a jivan Muktha who attained his Videha Mukthi.

Videha mukthi is a concept of the later Advaita schools. It believes, one can attain liberation (moksha) from attachments while still encased in a body. Such an attained one is Jivan Muktha. The body continues to function till its Prarabdha Karma is exhausted; thereafter the mortal coils fall away. Videha mukthi is shedding off the body by a Jivan muktha, the one who has already attained liberation.

Jivanmukthi, emancipation while yet alive, is also a concept of the Tantra Siddantha which believes that it is possible for a person to transact with the world without getting involved in it. In other words, one lives on actively and cheerfully, amidst distractions and confusions of the world without letting his self reflect them. His moorings in the phenomenal world have withered away, his instinct of self-preservation and insecurity has been minimized. He is alive only to essential thing in life that is the source of life. The real world continues to exist for him. But he does not rest in the world but rests in himself (Svarupa pratishta).

In the Sri Vidya  tradition, a jivan muktha is a devotee, a bhaktha as well as a jnani the wise one. Here, the wisdom consists in realizing his identity(sva svarupa prapti) with the Mother goddess. It is this wisdom that liberates him (jivan Mukthi). This liberating wisdom is granted to him by the Mother out of pure love, when he completely surrenders to her in full faith and devotion.

Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar, either way, was a jivan Muktha who attained Videha Mukth with the grace of the Devi.

Continued in the Next Part

The structure of Sri Chakra

 

Reference;

The Tantra of Sri Chakra by Prof.SK Ramachandra Rao(1953)

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in Music, Muthuswami Dikshitar, Sri Vidya, Tantra

 

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Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar and Sri Vidya (4 of 8)

The music of Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar

dikshithar-1 (2)

Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar was a versatile intellect. He was open to a variety of influences. His works reflect some of those influences rather explicitly while some others shine through in a subtle way. Before we get into a discussion about Dikshitar’s creations, we need to recognize a few features that influenced him.

Muthuswami Dikshitar was a vainika-gayaka, a musician who sang as he played on the Veena. He was well trained both in vocal and instrumental music. Naturally, the graces, the rich gamaka prayogas of his compositions structured in slow tempo shine in mellow glow when played on the Veena.

In his childhood he received training in the lakshya and lakshana aspects of Carnatic music. The lakshana gitams and prabandhas of Venkatamakhi formed an important input of his training. Later, as a composer, he chose to follow Venkatamukhi’s system of Mela _classification of ragas.

He spent seven years at Varanasi, in the prime of his youth. He was captivated by the grandeur, the spaciousness and the purity of the ancient Druphad School. He learnt Dhrupad diligently; and that left a lasting impression on his works.

Earlier in his teenage he gained familiarity with Western music; and traces of its influence can be noticed in the movement of his songs.

He had a good command over Sanskrit; and learnt to use it to express his ideals and aspirations in pristine poetry. He had a fascination for sabdalankara, beautifully turned phrases and wordplay. He had the composure of a yogi and the heart of a poet. Dikshitar’s kritis are therefore adorned with poetic imagery, tranquil grace, a certain majesty steeped in devotion.

Dikshitar had acquired a fair knowledge of Jyothisa, Ayurveda, and iconography and of temple architecture.

He was unattached to possessions or to a place (jangama). He was a virtual pilgrim all his life. He visited a large number of shrines and sang about them and the deities enshrined there.

He was intensely devotional yet not overly affiliated a particular deity. He composed soulful songs in praise of a number of gods and goddesses.

He had a fascination for composing a set of kritis exploring the various aspects of  a particular deity or dimensions  of a subject , as if he had undertaken a project.

He was an Advaitin well grounded in Vedanta.

And above all,

Dikshitar was an ardent Sri Vidya Upasaka; a Sadhaka, an intense devotee of Devi, the divine mother. He was a master of Tantra and of Yantra puja. The Tantra ideology permeates all through his compositions.

It is the harmonious confluence of these influences that one finds in Dikshitar’s music.

***

Output:

Anandamruthavarshini  by Shri S Rajam

Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar was prolific; about 479 of his compositions have now been identified, spread over 193 ragas. These include four Ragamalikas and about forty Nottuswara sahithya verses.

The great Venkatamakhi who formulated the 72 Mela-kartha ragas is reported to have wondered ”of the 72 Melas only a few are known and found in practice… and will the permutation be a waste.?‘(Dr. V Raghavan:  paper presented at All India Oriental conference, at Hyderabad, 1941). It was the genius of Muthuswami Dikshitar that gave form and substance to all the 72 Mela-kartha ragas, fulfilling the dream of Venkatamakhi. He gave expression to nearly 200 ragas of that system.

Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar was a pilgrim virtually all his life. He visited a large number of shrines and sang about them and the deities enshrined there. He was intensely devotional yet not overly affiliated to a particular deity. He composed soulful songs in praise of a number of gods and goddesses. About 74 of such temples are featured in his kritis; and there are references to about 150 gods and goddesses. The most number of his kritis (176) were in praise of Devi the mother principle, followed by (131) kritis on Shiva. Dikshitar was the only major composer who sang in praise of Chaturmukha Brahma.

Some scholars have said that Dikshitar’s songs are summaries of Durga Suktam, Sri Suktam and Purusha Suktam.   He built in the mantras in a few krithis like Sri Raaja raajeshwari  (madyamavathi), pavanatmaja aagaccha (naatta). For the benefit of those who couldn’t practice rituals he composed vaara krithis on navagrahas. Similarly, he opened the doors to the secret world of Sri Vidya, for the benefit of all, through his Kamalamba navavarana kritis.

Krithi Groups

Dikshitar had a fascination for composing sets of kritis on a composite theme, perhaps in an attempt to explore the various dimensions of the subject. In some of these, he employed all the eight Vibhaktis, the various cases that delineate a noun. No other composer has attempted so many group kritis in such a planned, orderly, meticulous fashion. The following are some Important Krithi Groups

  • Guruguha Vibhakti krithis
  • Kamalamba Nava Varnams
  • Navagraha Krithis
  • Nilotpalamba vibhakti Krithis;
  • Panchalinga  Kshetra kritis;
  • Panchabhuta Kriti
  • Rama vibhakti Krithis;
  • Tiruvarur Pancalinga kritis;
  • Thyagaraja vibhakti Krithis;
  • Abhayamba vibhakti Krithis
  • Madhuramba vibhakti Krithis

The selection of raga and tala; and the diction of these kritis demonstrate his musical skills and intellectual refinement.

For greater information on Group Kritis of Dikshitar, please check here.

Ragamalika

Just as his father Sri Ramaswamy Dikshitar (who had composed the longest ever Ragamalika in Karnataka Samgita- the Ashtotrasata ragatalamalika – set in 108 Ragas and various Taalas) ,   Sri Mutthuswamy Dikshitar  was also an adept in the Ragamalika format. Though he did not attempt anything as lengthy or as grand as his father did, the four delightful Ragamalikas that Sri Mutthuswamy Dikshitar created are true gems of art. 

: – ‘Madhavo mam patu’– is a Ragamalika on the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu, with ten passages set to ten Ragas (Nata, Gaula, Sri, Arabhi, Varali, Kedara, Vasanta, Surati, Saurashtra and Madhyamavati).

 Of the ten Ragas employed in the Ragamalika, five are Ghana-ragas excellent for rendering Taana on the Veena. The sixth Raga Kedara is invigorating and the last four ragas are Mangala Ragas leading up to the final Mangalam in Madhyamavati.

 The Raga of each passage blends admirably well its Sahitya. Here too, Sri Dikshitar adopts his favorite Vibhakthi scheme of addressing the subject. The first eight passages are in the eight Vibhakthi cases, in their order (krama) ; and , the rest two- ninth and tenth are in the accusative case . 

While rendering the Ragamalika, the singers can progress from one passage to the next without having to repeat the Pallavi of the just concluded passage. 

: – The Ragamalika ‘Poorna-chandra-bimba-vadane’ in celebration of Goddess Kamalambika at Tiruvarur is composed of six Charanas in six different Ragas: ‘Shad-raga-malika‘.  The Ragas are: Poornachandrika, Saraswatimanohari, Narayani, Suddhavasanta, Hamsadhwani and Nagadhwani; and, all the six belong to ‘Dheera Sankarabharana’ (29th) Mela, Sri Dikshitar’s favorite. 

: – The third Ragamalika ‘Simhasana-sthite’ in four passages is addressed to most graceful Devi seated on her throne in a serene tranquil posture. The four are Mangala-prada Ragas, auspicious, soothing and peaceful – Saurashtra, Vasanta, Surati and Madhyamavati. This Ragamalika is therefore sung at the conclusion of Sri Dikshitar’ annual celebration festivals. It is also a favorite of the Bharatanatyam dancers. 

:- Perhaps , Sri Dikshitar’s most famous Ragamalika is his ‘ Chaturdasha Ragamalika’ –  ‘Sri Vishwanatham bhajeham’ set in fourteen Ragas singing in ecstasy the glory of the Lord of the universe Shiva. The fourteen Ragas are interwoven with the passages in an intricate pattern.

 Chapter 12 of Shqdhganga describes this Ragamalika as

 “ The pallavi has two ragas, starting with Sri Raga and each Raga is encapsulated in two lines of one Avarta, the second being in Madhyama kala. Similarly, the Anu-pallavi is set to four ragas Gauri, Nata, Gaula and Mohanam; but at the end, after Mohanam, a Viloma passage takes us through the same four ragas of the Anu-pallavi and the two of the pallavi in reverse order, back to Sri.  The same pattern is followed in the charanam with eight Ragas Sama, Lalita, Bhairavam, Saranga, Sankarabharanam, Kambhoji, Devakriya and Bhupala; and, these are again taken in reverse order in a Madhyama-kala sahitya, back to the pallavi in Sri.  Dikshitar has followed a pattern not only in the order of the occurrence of the Ragas, but also in terms of the lengths of the Avartas for each raga. The fifth and sixth ragas – Gaula and Mohanam have been allotted 1 ½ Avartas, all in Madhyama-kala, while the preceding Ragas have been given 2 full Avartas – one each in Sama kala and Madhyama kala. The same pattern has been followed in the first half and second half of the charanam of the Ragamalika.  Another striking feature of the sahitya of this Ragamalika of Dikshitar is that the last part of the swara sahitya set to each raga is composed of the same words as of the last part of the preceding line of sahitya.” 

Chronological order

It is rather difficult to arrange Dikshitar’s compositions in a chronological order. His Nottuswara Shitya verses were, of course, composed in his early years while his family lived at Manali a small town near Madras. His first composition as Vak-geya-Kara was Srinathandi in Mayamalava gaula at the hill shrine of Tiruttani; and his last composition was  Ehi Annapurne in Punnagavarali while he was at Ettayapuram during his last years. It is believed that the set of Vibhakti kritis followed his first composition. Thereafter he travelled to Kanchipuram, Mayuram, Chidambaram, Vaidyanatha koil and Kumbhakonam. He often visited Tiruchirapalli (where it is said his daughter lived).

He spent his productive years at Tiruvavur and his final years in Ettayapuram. In between, he is believed to have visited about 70 temples and sung the glory of those deities. It is however not possible to arrange those kritis in a sequence.

Please check here for a map of his probable travels in South India: 

varanasi2

Before going further, we need to talk a bit about Sri Muttuswami Dikshitar’s first Kriti as a Vak-geya-Kara , Srinathandi-guruguho-jayati in the Raga Mayamalava-gaula in the fifteenth Mela (the Mela in which Sri Dikshitar composed many Kritis) . The mantra of Sri Vidya also has fifteen matras (syllables).

After submitting salutations to the past Gurus of the Kad-matha, the principal tradition of the Sri Vidya lore (shri nathadi guruguho) , Sri Dikshitar bows down to his Guru Yogi Chidambaranatha. Elsewhere, in another Kriti  composed in Raga Purvi, a Bhashanga-janya-raga of Mayamalava-gaula, Sri Dikshitar  adores his Guru  and Master Chidambaranatha as none other than Guruguha;  and , says ‘I am the humble servant of Guruguha, or I, myself, am of the form of Guruguha himself’  (shri guruguhasya dasoham nocet cidguruguha evaham).

The opening line Srinathandi-guruguho-jayati-jayati, which bows to all the deities and Gurus of the Sri Vidya traditions, has been much debated. This line is said to be an almost a takeoff from the opening lines of the first shloka of the Sri Vidya paddhathi:

Shri nathadi gurutrayam ganapatim  pithatrayam bhairavam / siddhaugam vatukatrayam padayugam dutikramam mandalam/ viran dvyasta catushka shashti navakam viravali pancakam/ srIman-malini-mantra-rajasahitam vandeguror mandalam

This Shloka invokes the deities and the galaxy of Gurus (Guru-mandala) in the realm of the Supreme sovereign Srividya Parabhattarika.  It begins with salutations to the three generations of Gurus (Srinathadi gurutrayam – one’s own Guru; his Guru – Parama Guru; and his Guru – Parameshthi Guru) ; and prayers to Ganapathi  (Ganapatim).

It also recalls with reverence the three centres or seats of Shakthi (Piitha-trayam – Jalandhara, Purnagiri and Kamarupa); the eight Bhairavas (Bhairavam); the Siddhas (siddhaugam); the three celibates Brahmacharis (vatukatrayam – Skanda, Chitra and Virinchi); and then, submits to the feet of the Mother Goddess (Padayugam).

Then salutations are submitted to the group of Duti goddesses (dutikramam mandalam); to those who have attained Siddhi (Viran); to the sixty-four Siddhas (dvyasta catushka shashti); nine Mudra goddesses (navakam); and to the five supreme deities (viravali pancakam– Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Ishwara and Sadashiva).

Then, at the end, the devotee submits to the Goddess of Malini-Chakra with Mantra-raja; and, to all the Gurus of all the traditions of Sri Vidya (vande-guror mandalam).

Likewise, Sri Dikshitar, in his Kriti Srinathandi-guruguho-jayati –jayati , submits to his Guru, the Lord of the Universe, and all the Gurus of the Kadi Matha of the Sri Vidya tradition. And, to the Srividya Parabhattarika, the supreme Mother Goddess, who is invoked by the mantra beginning with Ka and ending with Ma (The Kadi Vidya of Sri Manmatha runs:  KA, E, I, LA , HRIM- vagbhavakua), residing in the centre of the Mani Chakra which resembles a thousand-petalled lotus. And, to Maheshwara  the Lord  who obliterates  all types of illusions and delusions; who is meditated upon constantly by  Hamsa mantra , the Ajapa-japa (you breath out with a sound of ’Sa’; and you breath in  with a sound of ‘Ha’; and, throughout the day and night you perform this Hamsa Japa  ( I am He , Shivo Hum, I am Shiva) ,  continuously , instinctly and with ease ,  without being aware of your doing so. This effortless and ceaseless Japa is called Ajapa-japa). And, to the Guruguha, Skanda, who is worshiped by kings of Mayamalava Gaula Desha and others; who is surrounded by Vishnu and other gods; and, who has expounded the real truth of Pranava to His father Mahesha.

**

In terms of Music, the first line of the Pallavi (Srinathandi-guruguho-jayati -jayati) summarizes all the ascending (Arohana) and descending (Avarohana) notes of the Mayamalava gaula:   “SA RI Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni SA Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Ri”, in all the three speeds (kaala).  

And , in regard to Sahitya , The prathama-akshara- prasa in the Charana  and in the Madhyama-kaala–sahitya is very interesting , where each line commences with ma or Ma.

Charanam:

  •  MAyamaya vishvadhishthano
  • MAtmaka kadi matanushthano
  • MAlini mandalanta vidhano
  • MantrAdyajapa hamsa dhyAno
  • MAyakarya kalana hIno
  • mAmaka sahasra kamallsiIno
  • mAdhurya ganamrita pano
  • mAdhavadyabhayavarapradano
  • mAyashabaLita brahma rupo
  • mArakoti sundara svarupo
  • matimatam hridayagopuradIpo
  • mattashuradi jayapratapo
  • mAyamalavagauLadidesha
  • mahipati pujita pada pradesha
  • mAdhavadyamara brinda prakasha
  • maheshasya maharthopadesha

 Madhyama Kala Sahityam:

  •  MAyaamaalavagaulaadidesha
  • Mahipati Pujitha Pada Pradesha
  • MAdhavaadyamara Brunda Prakaasha
  • Maheshasya Mahaarthopadesha

Ragas:

Dikshitar followed the mela paddhati (a system of classifying ragas) devised by Venkatamakhi, to whose school he belonged. In handling the vivadi melas, Dikshitar followed Venkatamakhi and avoided unharmonious expressions, prayogas.Further, since Kharaharapriya was not a part of venkatamakhi’s schemethere is no known composition of Dikshitar in that raga. The twenty-second melakarta was Sri Raga; the mangal kriti of Navavarana series is composed in Sri Raga. Again, Venkatamakhi tradition treated Bhairavi and Anandha Bhairavi as upanga ragas; so did Dikshitar.

[Though Sri Dikshitar generally followed the Asampurna Mela system of Venkatamakhin, he knew about the other, Govindacharya’s Sampurna Mela system as well. For instance; the Raga of his Kriti shri-shulinim-shritapalinim according to Asampurna Mela is Shailadeshaksi. But, in the Kriti, he uses the Raga-mudra as Shulinim which is the Raga-name in the Sampurna Mela system. Similarly, the Raga of his Kriti hariyuvatim haimavatim is Deshisimharavam according to the older system; but, the Raga-mudra is Hemavathi which is the corresponding Raga-name in the other system. And, his Kriti Shri nilotpala nayike in Raga Nari Ritigaula contains the Raga-mudra Natabhairavi in the Anupallavi as per the Sampurna Mela system.]

Some scholars opine that Dikshitar’s major service to Carnatic music is that he gave expression to nearly 200 ragas of Venkatamakhi. He also breathed life into a number of ancient ragas that were fading away. Several ancient ragas found a new lease of life though Dikshitar’s kritis. To name a few of them:Mangalakaisiki, Ghanta, GopikavasantaNarayana Gaula,Sulini, Samantha, maargadhesi and mohana naatta. Even today their lakshanas are illustrated mainly through Dikshitar’s creations.

There are many ragas which are employed only by Dikshitar. Take for instance: Saranganata, Chhaya Goula, Poorvi, PadiMahuriSuddhavasantaKumudakriya, and Amritavarshini. In Dwijavanti, Chetasri and Akhilandeshwari stand out in solitary splendour.

He transformed many Outhareya, the Hindustani ragas into Carnatic form through his creative genius. His interpretation and rendering of ragas like Dwijavathi, Ramkali, and Yamakalyan, Hamirkalyani, and Brindavan sarang are highly original and creative. He made them into his own. His Cheta sri is so wonderfully well adapted to Carnatic raga-bhava that one scarcely notices the Outhareya traces in its character. He took in the best aspects of the other system, transformed them and enriched both the systems.

Shankarabharanam scale appears to have been his forte; there are as many as 96 kritis based on that scale. The kritis in Harikambhoji scale number about 63; while 57 kritis are in Kharaharapriya scale. He had a special affinity for Mayamalava-gaula in which he composed about 51 songs. The derivatives of that scale such as Saalanga Nata, Paadi and Mangala Kaishiki would have been lost but for Dikshitar.

Taala:

Dikshitar was accomplished in the matter of talas, the rhythmic patterns. He is the only composer to have set his music in all the seven basic taalas. He employed all the Saptha Talas in his Vara-Stutis i.e. a song for each day of the week.  He is said to have used ten improvised varieties of taalas in his compositions. The majority of his compositions are set in Adi (190) and Rupaka (139) taalas.

Music:

The most fascinating aspect of Dikshitar’s songs is the grandeur and majesty of his music, sublime lyrics, intellectual brilliance and the overall technical sophistication. They exude a tranquil joy. His vision of the ragas and their structure is inspiring.

Dikshitar was blessed with the heart of a poet and the composure of a yogi. He was an intense devotee but undemonstrative. There is therefore certain composure, measured grace, dignity and a mellow joy glowing through his music as in his life.

The Druphad way of elaboration captured his imagination. The tempo of his songs is mostly the Vilamba-kala- slow, measured and majestic; rich in gamaka just as the meends on a Veena. Dikshitar aptly called himself “Vainika gayaka guruguhanuta”.

[The musical structure of his Kritis display how well they are suited for playing on the Veena. For instance; he has employed wide Jaarus extensively in the phrase Murari prabhruti occurring in his Kriti Sadashivam Upasmahe (Raga Shankarabharanam; and, there is a Jaru from lower Shadja to Tara-sthayi Rishabham). And again, the first line of the Charana of the Kriti Tyagaraja Maha-Dwajaroha (Raga Shri) has an elaborate Jaru: Srishti svarupa vasanta vaibhavam ashtadhvajendra vimana bhuta samashti gaja vrishabha kailasa vaham ashlesha-mah-aratha sthitam.]

Dikshitar’s treatment of the raga exemplifies the essence of raga bhaava and brings out its delicate shades. It is as if the musician is immersed in contemplative meditation. The graces, the rich gamaka prayogas of his compositions structured in slow tempo shine in mellow glow when played on the Veena. This is amply reflected in his works ; for instance in Cheta Sri (Dvijawanthi);  Balagopala (Bhairavi);  Sri Rajagopala (Saveri);  Meenakshi  Me Mudam (Poorvikalyani) and in Sri Subramanyaya Namasthe  (Kambhoji). The other compositions of this genre are: Dakshinamuthe (shankrabharanam); Manasaguruguha (anandabhiravi); Ehi Annapaurne (punnagavarali); Amba Neelayatakshi (nilambari) and each of the nava-avarana kritis.  These are monumental works.

It is not that all aspects of music are slow and spacious. He built into his compositions exhilarating bursts of speed and sparkling delight as if in celebration of the divine spirit, towards the end. Certain kritis are interlaced with Madhyamakala Sahitya, passages in tempo faster than the rest of the kriti (E.g. Mahaganapatim  in Nata).

Although the Kritis of Sri Tyagaraja are known for their elaborate Sagathi improvisations, there are some archaic Sangahtis in the Kritis of Sri Dikshitar also (e.g.  in  Arunacala natham in Raga Saranga ; and,  Pahimam ratnachala nayaka in  raga Mukhari).

Sri Dikshitar redefined the treatment of even the traditional Carnatic ragas by way of elaborate beginning, rich in gamakas  resembling the sliding meends as, for instance, in the slow paced majesty of Akshyalinga Vibho  (Shankarabharanam) or in Balagopala (Bhiravi), portraying the beauty of the divine child, Krishna. His Nirajakshi Kamakshi in Hindolam with dha flat entirely changed the way Hindolam came to be sung by his contemporaries and by the later Carnatic musicians.

Dikshitar was well versed in the alapana paddhati and followed it in the elaboration of the kriti. The musicologists have said “The most outstanding aspect of the compositions of Dikshitar is their richness in raga bhava”. His sense of selection of the apt sancharas of the raga to bring out the true emotion is remarkable. They range from the mandra to the tara sthayi and give a complete picture of the raga.  It is said that if you sing his kriti in akara, it can bring out the character of the raga. His kriti are virtually, raga alapana, chiselled to fit in with tala and dressed in sahitya.

[ Please also read Smt. Vidya S Jayaraman’s conversation with Dr.V.V.Srivatsa ]

Structure of kritis

His kritis are well structured, close knit and written in graceful Sanskrit. Dikshitar’s kritis do not have more than one Charanam; and as many as 157 of his creations are Samasti-charanams carrying no Anupallavi or the Anupallavi acting as Charanam. His rhythm is subtle and lyrics are divine.

Dikshitar’s kritis with Samashti charanam have enriched the variety of musical forms in Karnataka Samgita. These Krfitis composed in Madhyama-kala are highly popular ; e.g.  ‘Sri Saraswati’ (Arabhi);  ‘Parvati patim’ (Hamsadhvani);  ‘Vallabha nayakasya’ (Begada); ‘Saraswati vidhi yuvati’ (Hindolam); ‘Sri Ranganathaya’ (Dhanyasi).

Since he did not compose multiple Charanas his single Charranas tended to be quite lengthy as compared to the Kritis composed in Pallavi-Anupallavi-Charanam format. Such fairly long Charanams, however, enabled Dikshitar to provide exhaustive information about various deities, shrines, Sri Vidya etc. The Madhyama-kala sahitya that he employed for such Kritis helped in introducing some variation in such long Charanam.

 [ Perhaps his only multiple-charana creations are his Kriti ‘Maye tvam’ ( Tarangini) and his  four  Ragamalikas]

Each of his compositions is unique, brilliantly crafted and well chiselled work of intricate art. It is incredible how delicately he builds into his tight-knit kritis a wealth of information about the temple, its deity, its architecture and its rituals; and about jyothisha, tantra, mantra, Sri Vidya, Vedanta etc. He also skilfully builds into the lyrics, the name of the raga (raga mudra) and his Mudra, signature. 

Sri Dikshitar also built in phrases of Samgita-shastra in the body of  the few of  his kritis, sometimes giving technical details in precise ways. For instance; in his Kriti ‘Meenakshi me-mudam- dehi’ (Purvi Kalyani), the phrase ‘Dasa Gamaka Kriye’ refers to Dasavidha Gamakas discussed in ancient music-texts. And, similarly, the phrase ‘Dvisapatati raganga raga modinim’ in the Kriti ‘Sringira rasa manjari’ in Rasamanjari Raga (Rasikapriya) refers to the scheme of seventy two Melas. 

Language and wordplay 

Except for one kriti in Telugu and three Manipravala kritis (Sanskrit+Telugu+Tamil) all his other compositions are in Sanskrit.

[ The term  is said to be made of mani + pravala,  meaning a mixture of gems and coral]

Sri Dikshitar is credited with one Chauka kala pada-varnam – ‘Rupamu juchi’ (Todi, Ata taala) and a Daru ‘Ni sati’ (Sriranjani) also in Telugu.

Dikshitar had a good command over Sanskrit; and learnt to express through it his ideals and aspirations in pristine poetry. He had the composure of a yogi and the heart of a poet. Dikshitar’s kritis are therefore adorned with poetic imagery, tranquil grace, a certain majesty steeped in devotion.

He had a fascination for Sabdalankaras, adorning his poetry with beautifully turned phrases ringing sweetly like temple bells; captivating rhymes of Prasa and Anuprasa. He loved the intricate play of words and to coin sweet sounding phrases. Look at the pada lalithya, a grand procession of enchanting phrases : 

  • Akalanka darpana kapola vishesha
  • Mana matrike maye marakata chaye
  • Devi Shakthi beejodbhava matrikarna swaroopini
  • And
  • Komlakara pallava pada kodanda Rama.

 The rhyming and ringing phrases – Shyamalanga- vihanga- sadayapanga-satsanga- are of unparallel beauty.

He often structured his lyrics in geometric patterns. He enjoyed a childlike delight in employing Yatis (geometric patterns) such as Gopuccha (tapering like the tail of a cow) or it’s opposite, the Sorotovaha (broadening like the flow of a river) for structuring his lyrics. For instance, in his Sri Varalakshmi (Sri) and Maye Twam Yahi (Sudha Tarangini) he used the tapering pattern of Gopuccha.

Sarasa Pade,

Rasapade,

Sapade,

Pade.

de

Sarasa Kaye

Rasakaye

Sakaye

Aye

In his kriti Tyagarajayoga Vaibhavam (Anandabhairav) Dikshitar uses both the YatisGopuccha Yati and Srotovaha.

The phrases are:  Gopuccha Yati (like a cow’s tail):

Tyagaraja Yoga Vaibhavam

Agaraja Yoga Vaibhavam

Rajayoga Vaibhavam

Yoga Vaibhavam

Vaibhavam

Bhavam

Vam

 

 And Srotovaha Yeti (flowing or expanding like a river )

Sam

Prakasham

Svarupa Prakasham

Tatva svarupa Prakasham

Sakala Tatva svarupa Prakasham

Shivashaktyadi Sakala Tatva svarupa Prakasham

Dikshitar at times used Swaraksharams i.e., the words matching with the syllables of the notes. For instance, Sadasrita (in Akshayalinga Vibho) could be tuned as Sa Da Pa Ma; and Pashankushsa Dharam (in Siddhi Vinayakam) could be tuned as Pa SA Ga RI Ni SA.

Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar set the trend for embedding raga mudra, the name of the raga, in the lyrics. This served the purpose of establishing the raga of the kriti; and it also added a novel lyrical beauty. Sometimes the raga mudra could be as simple as Brindavana  Sarangendra;  or Satchidananda  Bhiravisham; or  Krithika  Suddha  Dhyanyena.  But, at times he would ingeniously suggest the raga by hiding it in a complex word, through shlesha, a skillful play on words. For instance, as in:

(Veena+Abheri) to suggest Abheri;

(Panchamukha+arishadvarga_rahita) to suggest Mukhari; and

(Chidbimbou+lilavigrahou) to suggest Bouli

Some of the Ragas have peculiar names and require great skill to blend them into the composition. For example, the Raga names like Paraz, Mahuri and Arabhi are rather unusual; yet, he successfully binds them into the composition without marring  its  literary merit . For instance :

“Bhakthajananam athisamiparujumarga darsitam,

Tvamahurisadayo, Samsarabhithyapaham.”

Again there is a Raga with the name ‘Andhali’ which conveys no specific meaning? But in ‘Brihan nayaki varadayaki’ through the phrase   ‘Andhaliharana chana pratapini’ he develops a fine poetic expression out of it: “The fragrance of her shining beauty attracts even blind bees.” The name of the Raga ‘Varali’ enhances the artistic beauty of the song ‘Mamava Minakshi’ through the phrase ‘madhuravani, Varali veni.’ These are typical of Sri Dikshitar’s poetic excellence and his ability to achieve natural flow of delightful phrases set to sublime music.

Sri Dikshitar also specialized in the use of different vibhakti (the various cases that delineate a noun) running parallel. A striking example is the first batch of eight krtis he composed in praise of Lord Subrahmanya of Tiruttani. Sanskrit language employs eight cases (vibhaktis) for the declination of a noun, namely nominative (prathama), accusative (dvitIya), instrumental (tritIya), dative (chaturthi), ablative (panchami), genitive (Shasti), locative (saptami) and vocative (sambhodhana). The eight cases for the noun guruguha would be: guruguhah (guruguho), guruguham, guruguhena, guruguhaya, guruguhat, guruguhasya, guruguhe and (hey or Oh..!) guruguha.

Guruguha:

The mudra, the signature for his kritis occurs as Guruguha not only in his classic creations commencing with Srinathadi, but also in this earlier Sanskrit verses grouped under Nottuswara Sahitya. The term Guruguha means the Guru dwelling in the cave of my heart; and it normally refers to Kartikeya. The term however acquires shades of other meanings depending on the context.

Dikshitar was an Advaitin and in that context Guru refers the Supreme Principle Brahman. In his Sri Guruguha dasoham he says” I am Guruguha”.

Sri Dakshinamurthy the yogic incarnation of Shiva is often referred to by Dikshitar as Guruguha. Again , in his Jambu-pathe (yaman kalyan) he refers to Shiva the Guru in  nirvikalpa Samadhi as  Guruguha  the attribute-less (nir-vishesha) blemish-less (niranja)  supreme consciousness  (chaitanya) (nir-vishesha chaitanya niranjana guruguha guroo).

Sri Dikshitar was also a yogi. In his Shrinathadiguruguho Jayati, the Guruguha is the Lord seated in his Sahasrara-Lotus and drinking the nectar of his sweet music

In the Shakta tradition, the universe is interplay of Shiva and Shakthi. The guru is Shiva the body and Shakthi the energy as guhya shakthi, the intrinsic power. Guruguha is at times a wordplay based on this principle.

Sri Dikshitar was also a Srividya Upasaka and as per its tradition he submitted his salutations to that Guruparampara (the linage of his Guru’s). Sri Vidya graduates the evolution from the most subtle form (Shukshma) to the gross in 36 steps; the first being Shiva-tatva and the final one being Prithvi-tatva. According to this School, Shiva is Adinatha the progenitorShiva is Adi-guru. The tantric texts identity the guru and the mantra with the deity; the three are one. The mantra represents manas (mind), the Devata stands for the prana (vital force) and the guru represents the aspirants own self (atman).  That is the reason Dikshitar in his Sri Guruguha dasoham he says: “I am Guruguha”.

In the Sri Vidya tradition, the Guru is not an abstract concept. Guru is an individual. He also symbolizes the hoary tradition Sampradaya in a succession of masters. The human guru is the contemporary master; who has descended in an unbroken line of gurus beginning from Adi Guru Shiva himself. He not only reveals the transcendental reality to the disciple but helps him realize his own essential reality (svartha–parartha-prakatana paro guruh). Devotion to the human guru is to purify the mind and fortify it with the spirituality of the guru. In his Anandeshwara (Anandabhiravi), Dikshitar refers to his guru who initiated him as the incarnation of Guruguha (jnana pradana guruguha-rupa).

Sri Dikshitar refers to the Guru-parampara as Adi– guruguha-varena. He mentions Paramashiva, Durvasa, Agasthya, Hayagreeva and other Gurus of Sri Vidya tradition. Elsewhere he makes a mention of twelve upasakas in three schools of worship in Srividya –Kadi, Hadi and Sadi- in his line  Kamadi dwadasha – bhi rupasthitha kadi hadi sadi mantra rupinya iharena navanathena adyena. Shiva is Adi-guru, the guruguha  who resides in the cave of the heart.

Influence of Advaita

Muthuswami Dikshitar was well grounded in Vedanta and he was an Advaitin. The influence of that school of Vedanta is visible in several of his kritis; for instance in Girijayaa ajayaa (Shankarabharanam), saadhu Jana (purna panchamam), Sri Guruguha murthe (udhaya ravichandrika), Guhad anyam (Balahamsa), Ambhikaya Abhayambikaya (Kedara) and Abhayamba Jagadamba (Kalyani) etc.

In these compositions, he speaks about the identity of jiva and Brahman; the superimposition, Adhyasa; the seemingly real yet not- real (Maya); the errors in perception, each atom being the microcosm of the universe (chidvilasa koti koti cidabhasa) and other Advaita concepts. In his Kamalamba Navavarana kritis in Shankarabharanam he declares “I am guruguha”.

Influence of Sri Vidya

Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar was a Devi Upasaka and was well versed in all aspects of Sri Vidya Upasana. His kritis permeated with Sri Vidya are too many to be listed here. The prominent among this genre is the Kamalamba navavarana kritis, rich in celebration of the deities and traditions of Sri Chakra worship, expounding in each of the nine kritis, the details of the each avarana of the Sri Chakra. According to him, Sri Vidya protects the devotee: Bhaktanam Abhayapradam; and is his way to well being and also the way to liberation (bhukti mukti prada margam .He sings in inspired devotion; and beseeches the Divine mother to protect him and guide him along the right path.

There are references to Shaktha tradition in his Nilothpalamba Vibhakthi compositions, the Guruguha Vibhakthi and Abhayamba Vibhakthi compositions, in addition to references in several individual compositions.

Dikshitar composed about 40 kritis spread over four sets of compositions on the subjects related to Sri Vidya; Kamalamba Navavarana (11+ 2 kritis); Nilothpalamba kritis (8 kritis); Abhayamba kritis (10 kritis) and Guru Kritis (8 kritis).Of these the Kamalamba set of kritis, is highly well organized and is truly remarkable for its classic structure , majesty and erudite knowledge.

Let us talk more about Sri Chakra, Sri Vidya and their influence on Dikshitar, in the next sections.

tt65

Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar was a many splendored genius. He gave form and substance to all the 72 Melakartha ragas. Besides, he breathed life into several ancient ragas that were fading away from common memory. He redefined the paradigm of Carnatic music. Each of his compositions exemplifies the essence of raga bhava and captures the depth and soulfulness of the melody. His vision of the ragas and their structure is sublime.

His compositions are crisp, well chiselled and rich in knowledge.  His Sanskrit is delightfully captivating. His synthesis of Carnatic and Hindustani Music systems is creative and original. He took the best in the other systems and adorned the Carnatic System; enriching both. Dikshitar revolutionized Carnatic classic ethos while firmly positioned within its orthodox framework.

He excelled in all the four aspects of the traditional music viz. Raga, Bhava, Tala and Sahitya. The technical sophistication, intellectual brilliance and the majesty of his music is unsurpassed.

Sri Dikshitar was a scholar well grounded in good tradition (sampradaya).To him, music was more than an art; it was serene contemplation, a way of worship in tranquillity and it was also an outpouring of his soul in celebration of the divine. He described the divine as embodiment of Raga, Bhava and Tala (Bhava raga tala _swarupakam).He was a yogi, with the heart of a poet; there is therefore a certain composure and majesty in his music along with sublime poetic imagery adorned by grace and enchanting beauty. His kritis exude with soulful repose, peace and transcendental joy.

aravinda

Continued in Part Five

Sri Chakra and Sri Vidya

Sources:

Compilation of Dishitar’s compositions  Dr. P. P. Narayanswami’s page
Statistical Analysis of Dikshitar’s compositions – Dr. P. P. Narayanaswami’s page
Group Kritis of Dikshitar

List of temples mentioned in his works

 Muthuswami Dikshitar – A Creative Genius by Chitravina N Ravikiran

Guru principle and Guruguha in Dikshitar

https://ramsabode.wordpress.com/2008/11/19/lec-dem-the-beauty-of-sangeetham-sahityam-in-muthuswami-dikshitars-compositions/

I gratefully acknowledge the paintings by Sri S Rajam

 
8 Comments

Posted by on September 14, 2012 in Music, Muthuswami Dikshitar, Sanskrit, Sri Vidya

 

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Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar and Sri Vidya (3 of 8)

Dikshitar and Hindustani music

While you read the article….listen to
  Jambu pathe maam pahi  in Yaman Kalyani sung by Shri TM Krishna

(Thanks to Sashidhar Vasisth)

[The majestic Jambu pathe (Yamuna Kalyani, Rupakam) a masterpiece by Sri Dikshitar, is based in Hindustani raga Yaman Kalyan. The stately gait of the composition is akin to the Dhrupad style of singing.  The kriti is one of his Pancha linga group kritis extolling the manifestations of Shiva among the five elements of nature (Panchabhuta); and, is in celebration of the water-element (Appu), singing in praise the glory of Jambukeswara the deity in the temple at Tiruvanaikaval near Trichy in Tamil Nadu.

The final passage – Madhyama-kala- sahitya – nirvikalpaka samAdi nishta Siva kalpakataro ; nirvisesha caitanya niranjana guruguha guro – is a rare gem , a true classic, where Sri Dikshitar calls out to Shiva , pure consciousness (caitanya), devoid of attributes (nirvisesha); the Supeme Guru (Guro);  and the one from whom originated the pristine purest (niranjana) Lord Guruguha.

 To  summarize Sri Ravi Rajagopalan in the series of articles  on : Yamuna Kalyani–A Journey Back in Time-Part III :

Sri Dikshitar invokes the deeply meditative and contemplative structure of the devotional Dhrupad in this composition. The Devotional Dhrupads are always composed in cau tala and are sung in slow tempo. The rendition of the complete composition is compulsory and no part of the devotional text is indispensable. The Alapa is either omitted or reduced to a few characteristic phrases of the raga. Rhythmic and melodic improvisation too is given little space and in some temples and traditions, improvisation is avoided.

The similarities ‘Jambupate’ has with the devotional Dhrupad give us a clue as to how the composition has to be rendered and there can be no doubt about it.

Sri Dikshitar’s Yamuna Kalyani as found in “Jambupate” has Sa, Ga and Pa as the chief nyasa svaras, Ni and Ma figuring prominently with M1 as an alpa prayoga figuring in avarohana passages through the murccana GM1R & Ni is  vakra in aroha passages. Ga and Pa seem to be the amsa svaras with Ri being very weak. The sancaras range from mandhara Pa/Dha to tara sthayi Ga. In fact there is no tradition of singing Dikshitar’s Jambupate in Madhyama sruti, while all others including the modern tuned up compositions such as  “Krishna nee begane” and “Bhavayami Gopalabalam” are all sung in Madhyama sruti.

jambukeswarar-templejambukeshwara

Please check the link for the text and brief explanation  http://guru-guha.blogspot.in/2007/11/dikshitar-kriti-jamboo-pathae-raga.html ]

During his stay at Varanasi, Muthuswamy Dikshitar enjoyed splendid opportunities of listening to Hindustani music in its pristine forms. He seemed to be impressed greatly by the ancient Drupad form of singing and of playing the string instruments; particularly by its elaboration of raga (alap), the tempo and the structure of the lyrics . He diligently studied and learnt the Druphad. This had a profound influence on his creative genius, and apparently modeled his portrayal of ragas in general and in transforming the Hindustani ragas into Carnatic form, in particular. His synthesis of Carnatic and Hindustani Music systems is creative and original.

Singing

The influence of Hindustani music on Dikshitar and his works are manifold. It is not confined to composing some kritis based on Outhareya that is Hindustani ragas. The influence is evident in the structure of his kritis, the tempo of his music, in the selection of the Talas and in elaboration of the raga too.

His kritis are well structured, close knit and written in graceful Sanskrit akin to Druphad compositions. Dikshitar’s kritis do not have more than one Charanam; and many of his creations areSamasti-charanams carrying no Anupallavi or the Anupallavi acting as Charanam. His rhythm is subtle and lyrics are divine.

The Druphad way of elaboration appears to have captured his imagination. The tempo of his songs is mostly the Vilambakala– slow, measured and majestic; rich in gamaka just as the meends on a Been. Dikshitar’s treatment of the raga exemplifies the essence of raga bhaava and brings out its delicate shades. It is as if the musician is immersed in contemplative meditation. A scholar aptly remarked “…. Dikshitar’s kritis are epitome of the spiritual record of India”.

This  is amply reflected in his works ; for instance in Cheta Sri (Dvijawanthi), Balagopala (Bhairavi), Sri Rajagopala (Saveri), Meenakshi Me Mudam (Poorvikalyani) , Jambu pathe maam pahi (yaman kalyani) and in Sri Subramanyaya  Namasthe (Kambhoji).

It was not all slow and spacious. He built into his compositions exilirating bursts of Madhyamakala gathi, of speed and sparkling delight as if in celebration of the divine, towards the end.

He did not merely import the Hindusthani ragas but transformed them and gave them an entire new form and luster. That was the creative genius of Dikshitar. For instance, his interpretation and rendering of ragas like Dwijavathi, Ramkali, Yamakalyani, Hamirkalyani, and Brindavan sarang are highly original and creative. He made them into his own. His Cheta sri is so wonderfully well adapted to Carnatic raga_bhava that one scarcely notices the Outhereya traces in its character. 

Similar is the case with his Kriti in Raga Bhairavam (Kaala Bhairavam bhajeham) which has the shades of Ahir Bhairav. And, his Kriti in Raga Kashi – Ramakriya  (Soma-skanda vimanastam) has the flavour of Raga Pooriya.

He took in the best aspects of the other system, transformed them and enriched both the systems.

His Jambupathe (Yamankalyani), Parimalaranganatham (Hamir Kalyani), Rangapuravihara (Brindavana Saranga) and Mamava pattabhrama (manirangu) bear testimony to his virtuosity. They are the bench mark kritis in those ragas and are splendid examples of aesthetic excellence of the ragasancharas.

The Hindustani influence spilled over to some of his compositions in Carnatic ragas too, by way of elaborate beginning and by gamakas resembling sliding meends;  as , for instance , in the grandeur and slow paced majesty of Akshyalinga Vibho (Shankarabharanamin contemplation of the Shiva the Yogior in Balagopala (Bhiravi), portraying the delight and  beauty of the divine child  Krishna. His Nirajakshi Kamakshi in Hindolam with dha flat re-defined the way Hindolam was sung by his contemporaries and by the later Carnatic musicians.

Dikshitar was a scholar well grounded in good tradition (sampradaya).To him, music was more than an art; it was serene contemplation, a way of worship in tranquility and it was also an outpouring of his soul in celebration of the divine. He took his music seriously. His involvement in Western or Hindustani music was not flippant .The influences of those other systems on the traditional Carnatic music, which he practiced with great devotion and diligence, was purposeful and did not in any manner diminish the pristine tradition of Carnatic music, his forte . He took the best in the other systems and adorned the Carnatic System; enriching both the donor and the recipient systems. Dikshitar revolutionized Carnatic classic ethos while firmly positioned within its orthodox framework.

The efforts of Sri Dikshitar to forge a meaningful link between the two Music traditions soon bore fruit. Hardly about seventy years after his departure , the monumental  Sangeeta Sampradaya Pradarshini  published by his Grandson Sri Subbarama Dikshitar in the year 1903 records all those Ragas adopted from Hindustani system as having been well integrated into Karnataka Music and classified as derivatives of the Melakarta Ragas.

Such integration was brought into effect even in practice of Music. For instance; initially , the Musicians of the Mysore Durbar such as the Vainikas – Veena  Seshanna, Veena Subbanna and Vekatagiriyappa – introduced new compositional format  called ‘Nagmas’ , inspired by the Music of North India. Later, Mysore Dr. V Doraiswamy Iyengar carried on the innovative tradition by playing regularly, in the concerts, the Tillanas in Ragas, Durbari Kanada, Jhenjuti, Kapi, Behag etc.

Now, of course, most of the vocal and instrument artist do sing the adopted Ragas, regularly , without distinction.

[ Now , listen to another  delightful version of Jambu pathe  beautifully  rendered by a group of youngsters]

3689508840_acbe116319

I cannot resist posting here some excerpts (in a summarized form) from a wonderfully well researched paper ‘North Indian Ragas in the compositions of Muttuswami Dikshitar’ written by the Musicologist, Composer and Scholar Dr.V.V.Srivatsa, an authority on the compositions of Sri Dikshitar.

Dr. V.V. Srivatsa

While discussing the relations between the Ragas adopted from the Hindustani Music into the Karnataka Music tradition, Dr.Srivatsa treats them under four broad heads:

(i) Ragas adopted from the Hindustan Music, maintained with the same nomenclature (e.g. Ramkali)

(ii) Ragas adopted from Hindustani Music, and retained with Northern music content , but with different names (e.g. Hamveer Kalyani which is Raga Kedar in Hindustani Music)

(iii) Ragas of Hindustani Music which have been integrated into Karnataka Music (e.g. Jhenjuti)

And

(iv) Ragas of Hindustani Music which have musical equivalent in Karnataka system (e.g. Karnataka Devagandhari – Bhimpalas)

[The Ragas carrying similar names but with different musical content are ignored]

***

According to Dr.Srivatsa, though Sri Dikshitar did introduce some Ragas into Karnatik Music; several were in vogue even before his time. For instance, he mentions, Lalitha, a Raga of North Indian origin, was used by all members of the Musical Trinity. And, the Ragas like Gurjari, Hamveer, Kalyani and Ramkali were in use at the Trinity’s time. Ragas like Bhairavi (Sindhu Bhairavi), Behag and Bageshri came in shortly thereafter. Recent infusions include Ragas like Shivaranjani, Bairagi-Bhairav (Revati), Basant-Bahar and so on.

Raga Lalita was in vogue in the Karnataka Music even prior to the era of the Trinity. Then, Sri Shyama Sastri’s ‘Nannu brova Lalita’; Sri Tyagaraja’s ‘Seethamma maayamma’; and, Sri Dikshitar’s two compositions ‘Agasteeshwaran Bhajeham’ and ‘Hiranmayeem Lakshmim’ immortalized Raga Lalita in Karnataka Music.

The Raga Lalita closely resembles Raga Vasanta (which sometimes is called Dakshinatya Vasanta to differentiate it from Basant of Hindustani Music).It is surmised that Raga Vasanta was from the North; and, integrated into Karnataka Music.

Raga Hamveer Kalyani was in use in the Karnataka Music from even before the times of the Trinity. The sixteenth century text ‘Rasa-kaumudi’ ( ascribed to Śrikanha, dealing with music, dance, and related general topics from the Nava Rasas to the ornamentation of women) mentions this Raga. Further; Sri Paidala Gurumuthy Sastri* had included Raga Hamveer Kalyani in the list of 22 Bhashanga Ragas that were in vogue during his time. He had clearly mentioned that the Raga was adopted from Northern system.

However, the Hamveer kalyani of the present-day Karnataka Music corresponds to Raga Kedar of Hindustani Music; but, not to Hamveer Kalyan also of Hindustani system.

There are compositions of Sri Dikshitar (Pashupatheeswaram) in Shiva Pantuvarali which corresponds to Hindustani Todi. It is believed; Shiva Pantuvarali was in use in Karnataka Music even in the days prior to Sri Dikshitar.  There is a Kriti of Sri Tyagaraja – Ennallu Oorage’– in this Raga.

(*Paidala Gurumurthi Sastri was a disciple of Sonti Venkatasubbayya and a contemporary of Sri Ramaswamy Dikshitar. He was a Telugu Brahmin belonging to the Murikinati sect ; and , lived during the 17th century in the village of Kayatar in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.   He was famous as great composer of one thousand geetams (Veyigita Paidala Gurumurti) illustrating the Janaka and the Janya Ragas ; and also lakshana geetams that illustrate the characteristic features of the Ragas . He was a composer of kritis in Rakti ragas, and had a vast knowledge of sastras and Vedas. It is said that Paidala Gurumurthi was the first to mention that Raga Sahana as a derivative of raga Kambhoji. He was highly regarded for his technical knowledge of the Ragas – Sastrajna and Raga bheda dureena .)

*

There are some Ragas that have come from folk tradition, And, Jhenjuti is one such. Sri Dikshitar has used the Raga-mudra (in his kriti Gajanba Nayako) as Jhenjuti and its South Indian name ‘Chenjurti’ or ‘Chenchurutti’.

Similar is the case with Raga Piloo, which is proximate to Hindustani Raga Kafi. The Karnataka Kapi  has three versions : Maharaja Swathi Tirunal ‘s version being close to Kharaharapriya; Sri Dikshitar’s being similar to Kaanada ; and, Sri Shyama Sastri’s version being midway between Durbar and Kharaharapriya.

**

As regards Karnataka Shuddha Saveri; it is an Audava Raga with Shuddha Svaras (Rishabha, Madhyama, and Dhaivata), and does not have the Gandhara or Nishada Svaras. The Karnataka Shuddha Saveri is equivalent to Hindustani Raga Komkali. Sri Dikshitar while introducing this Raga into Karnataka Music named it as ‘maana-danda’ or the standard format. His Grandson Sri Subbarama Dikshitar later classified Karnataka Shuddha Saveri as an Upanga of the First Melakarta Raga.

Similar was the case with Kamala-manohari, a non-Vivadi Raga which is Janya of a Vivadi Melakarta.

**

The characteristic of Karnataka Shuddha Saveri is elaborate and elongated prayoga of Rishabha-Svara. It has a strong resemblance to Komkali, a Prabhat Kaala (morning) Raga of the Hindustani Music. And, Karnataka Shuddha Saveri was one among the favourites of Sri Dikshitar. His Ekamresha Nayike in Shuddha Saveri is a true classic.

The Karnataka Raga Shuddha Saveri approximates to Raga Malahari and to Kannada Bangala, which has a limited use of Nishada Svara. The Raga Malahari, which has no Nishada (Nishada-varjya) and which has Gandhara only in the Avaroha, is an old Raga of the Karnataka system in which Sri Pauradaradasa composed Pillari-geetas for the benefit of the beginners. Of the Trinity, only Sri Dikshitar has composed in these three Ragas- Shuddha Saveri, Malahari and Kannada Bangala. And, Sri Dikshitar alone has composed Kritis both in Kannada Gowla and Karnataka Devagandhari. 

The Karnataka Devagandhari which approximates to Raga Abheri has only Shuddha Daivata. Sri Subbarama Dikshitar in his ‘ Sangeeta Sampradaya Pradarshini’ mentions of a Suladi composed by Sri Purandaradasa in the Raga Karnataka Devagandhari ( Hasugala kareva dhvani) set to Rangana Jati Mattya Tala.

[Dr.Srivatsa opines that the current popular version of the Abheri of ‘Nagumomu ganaleni’ is rather corrupted; and, it is not the same as Raga Abheri of Sri Dikshitar’s ‘Panchashat peetha rupini’.]

Sri Dikshitar’s Kriti in Raga Karnataka Devagandhari (Kaayaaarohanesham) has the shades of the Hindustani Bhimpalas (as in Sri Bhimsen Joshi’s rendering of Haribhajane mado nirantara).

The examples of Hindola and Malkauns can also be considered. However, the Hindustani influence is not significant in Sri Dikshitar’s Kritis – ‘Nirajakshi Kamakshi’; ‘Sarasvathi Vidyuvathi’; and, ‘ Govardhana Girisham’.

**

There is a special group of Ragas that use both Shuddha Madhyama and Prati Madhyama Svaras. The instances of Such Ragas are: Yamuna Kalyani, Hamveer Kalyani and Saranga. Of these, Hamveer Kalyani and Yamuna Kalyani (Yaman Kalyan) are of Northern origin.

The Ragas Yaman and Yamuna Kalyani differ in that the latter has the Shuddha Madhyama in the passage ‘Ma-Ga-Ma-Ri-Sa’ .  The Astapadi ‘Saa virahe tava  deena’ and the Devaranama ‘Hari smarane mado niratara’ are good examples of Yamuna kalyani.

In Raga Yaman, though the Shuddha Madhyama Svara is used in passages like ‘ Ma-Ga-Sa-Ni-Ri-Sa’ you will not find ‘Ma-Ga-Ma-Ri-Sa’.

The two compositions by Sri Dikshitar in Raga Yaman is an adaptation of the Northern Raga Yaman. And, Jambu Pathe is one such

*

There are some Ragas which are Dwi-Madhyama in structure; but, with Shuddha Madhyama as the dominant Svara; and, Prati Madhyama as the subordinate Svara. The instances of such Ragas are: Ramkali, Arda-deshi, Ahir-Marwa etc. It is only Sri Muttuswami Dikshitar that has used such Ragas.

Sri Dikshitar’s Kriti in Ramkali resembles, in structure, a Dhrupad composition. Further, the Pallavi – ‘Rama Rama kali kalusha virama’ (meaning Rama mitigates the evils of the Kali era) hides the Raga-mudra.

*

We go back to the case of Dwi-Madhyama Ragas . The Raga Marwa is of folk origin; and, is a Janya-Raga of Maya-malava-cowla . The Raga Marwa omits Rishabha Svara in ascendent scale, Arohana; and , has a Sampurna Arohana. The raga-scale makes it a distant cousin of Ragas Lalita and Vasanta – the difference being the presence of Rishabha Svara (Ri) in the raga Lalita and the use of Panchama Svara (Pa) in the descendent scle Avarohana of Raga Marwa.

However, the use of Prati-Madhyama Svara in prayogas like ‘Ni-Dha-Ma-Pa’ or ‘ Dha-Ma-Pa-Ni’ makes it a Bhashanga Raga and Dwi- Madhyama Raga.

We have Sri Dikshitar’s  Kriti in Raga Marwa  (Maruvaakadi Maalini).  This is similar to Raga Ramkali where the Shuddha Madhyama dominates.

Raga Poorvi, a Bhashanga Raga, which has its origin in the Northern tradition, has also Dwi-Madhyama. The only Kriti in that Raga (Ekaika Raga) – ‘Shri Guruguhasya daasoham nochet Guruguha eva hum’- is a part of the Guruguha Vibhakti Series.

**

Raga Brindavana Saranga is quite different from Raga Brindavani. In the tradition followed by Sri Tyagaraja, the rendering of Brindavana Saranga involves emphasis on Gandhara Svara, bringing it very close to Sri Raga (as in his Kriti Kalamalpta kula).

But, in Sri Dikshitar’s kritis – Rangapura Vihara and Soundara rajam – the Gandhara is rather weak. His Brindavana Saranga is closer to Madhyamavati.

The Raga Brindavani of northern origin; and is equivalent to Raga Shuddha Sarang of Hindustani system. The dominant Svara of the Brindavani is Kakili Nishada, which is alien to the 22nd Melakarta Raga; and, is classified as a Bhashanga Raga of the 22nd Melakarta system. Sri Dikshitar’s kriti in this Raga is ‘Swaminathena Samrakshitoham’.

***

The Ragas in Karnataka system are categorized and classified in as many as twenty ways. One among such methods is to group the Ragas under the broad heads of Shuddha (Pure); Sankeerna (Unclassified); and Chaayalaga (having the shadow or flavour of other ragas) – Shuddha, Chaayalakah prokto Sankeernaani thataivach.

The Shuddha Ragas are those which possess the intrinsic character (Lakshana) of the Raga; and, provide ample scope for its exposition in all the facets of its elaboration- Alapana, Sangathi, Neraval and Svara-prastara.  Further, even a flash or a single movement (Sanchara) is adequate to identify it. The celebrated examples of the Shuddha Ragas are: Kalyani; Kambhoji; Saveri; Shankarabharana, Todi; Bhairavi; Dhanyasi and so on.

Sankeerna Jati Ragas are those which are not facile enough to full exploration of Alapana; but, are usually identified by the Kritis in that Raga. The instances of such Sankeerna Ragas are : Devamrutavarshini; Mandari; and Manji etc.

A Chaayalaka Raga is one which carries the flavour of nuances of other Ragas. Lets say when one sings Raga Natakapriya, the shades of Ragas Chakravaka, Kharaharapriya and Todi pass through. And, while rendering Raga Ghanta the passages of Punnagavarali and Dhanashri with a pronounced play of Shuddha Nishada appear. Similarly, Raga Dwijavanti (Cheta Shri balakridhnam) could be said to be a Chaayalaka having the shades of Sahana, Dhanyasi and Yadukula Kambhoji.

lotus

Continued in Part Four

The music of Sri Dikshitar

Resource:

Muthuswami Dikshitar – A Creative Genius by Chitravina N Ravikiran

I gratefully acknowledge Shri S Rajam’s  painting of Jambu-linga

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 13, 2012 in Music, Muthuswami Dikshitar, Sri Vidya

 

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Sri Mutuswami Dikshitar and Sri Vidya (2 of 8)

Sri Dikshitar  and the Western Music

While the Dikshitar family lived in Manali, a Zamindari near Madras, the family enjoyed the patronage of the Zamindar Muddukrishna Mudaliyar and his son Venkatakrishna Mudaliar (sometimes referred to as Chinnaswami). The Zamindars were closely connected with the East India Company as its Dubash (interpreters); and in that capacity they often called on Fort St. George the seat of the Company in South India. Since the Zamindars were reputed art connoisseurs, they were regularly invited to Fort St. George to listen to the European Airs played by the Irish bands. The bands played simple Celtic marching tunes, lilting melodies, easy on the drums and bagpipes and flutes.

The zamindars would sometimes take along with them the Dikshitar brothers, who were in their teens, to listen to the “English” bands. That was how Muthuswami Dikshitar and his younger brother Baluswami came to gain familiarity with the Western music.

aquatint of the Fort Square inside Fort St. George by Thomas Daniell,

During this association, it is said, that   at the suggestion of Col. Browne who was in the service of the East India Company, Muthuswami Dikshitar composed the text in Sanskrit and Telugu for well known Western tunes. He also composed other songs in Sanskrit and Telugu based on Western notes. The collection of these compositions numbering about forty later came to be known as “Nottuswara Sahithya“. Nottu is Telugu/Tamil transformation of the word Note. It is a unique genre of music.

A list of about forty of the Nottuswara works of Dikshitar is given in the website KarnATik

The noted scholar musician Shri M.R.Shankara Murthy has  , however, in his book , listed 30 nottu songs, in addition to eight other songs. Please also check 

http://rasikas.org/forum/topic5848-mini-project-idea-dikshitars-nottu-swara-compositions.html

Of these about forty compositions of “Nottuswara sahithya“, the notation is available for only thirty-six compositions. The text or sahithya for these compositions are in Sanskrit and Telugu and they are in the form of verses or songs. They do not have segments of Pallavi, Anupallavai and Charanam, as one would find in the classic kriti format of Carnatic music. The compositions are not in Shankarabharanam per se ; but are  based on simple melodies and devoid of the ornamentation (gamaka) that is characteristic of Carnatic music.

These songs or verses are in praise of the different Gods and Goddesses of different holy places, such as Srirangam, Tirupathi, Kanchi, Madurai, etc.

[The songs are praise of Ganesha (1),Saraswathi (2), Shiva (11), Vishnu/Krishna (5), Devi (10), Skanda (4), Anjaneya (1), Rama (6)]

Curiously, those songs composed during the end years of the 18th century bear the “Mudra” or the composer’s signature as “Guruguha”. That was several years before Dikshitar composed his first kriti, as Vak_geya Kara, (Srinathadi guruguho jayath...) on the hills of Tiruttani (around 1809). The “Nottuswara “songs were  thus the forerunners of Dikshitar’s monumental classic compositions; and Dikshitar had decided upon his signature, Mudra, quite early in his life, even before he left for Varanasi.

Among these songs, about thirteen of them were replicas of well-known European songs/tunes of those days. Dikshitar set Sanskrit words to the music of those songs. These were the songs:

Sr.

No.

Song commencing

with words

Replica of the song or the tune
01 Shantatam_PahimamSangita Shyamale British National Anthem “God save the King/queen “
02 Vande Meenakshi Irish melody “Limerick”
03 Vara shivabalam “Castilian Maid” by Thomas Moore
04 Peetavarnam Bhaje Persian verse “taza ba-taza nau ba-nau” which B. H. Palmer and Gertrude Bell made into pleasant English jingle.
05 Jagadeesa guruguha “Lord MacDonald’s Reel”
06 Subramanyam Surasevyam the regimental march of the Grenadiere guards, the senior foot guards regiment of the British Army-“British Grenadiere”
07 Kancheesam Ekambaram “country dance”
08 Ramachandram Rajeevaksham English song “Let us lead a life of Pleasure”
09 Sakala suravinuha tune of “Quick March”
10 SakthiSahitha Ganapathim song “voleuz – Vous-dancer
11 Sowri Vidhinute English song “oh Whistle and I will come to you, my lad.”
12 Kamala Vandita Playful tune of ‘Galopede’ folk dance where men and women in two lines dance briskly
13 Shyamale Meenakshi Nursery rhyme ”Twinkle twinkle little star” based on French tune Ah! Vous dirai-je

As regards the  rest of the songs composed by Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar, they were  all based on the Western scale of C Major, which corresponds to the scale of Shankarabharanam of Carnatic music and Bhilaval that of Hindustani music. [The songs were not, however, in Shankarabharanam or Bhilaval per se.] These were independent works based on western notes; and were not replicas of European tunes.

All the forty or more  songs were set to Tisra Eka Tala (three units) or Chaturasra Eka Tala (four units) which corresponds to ¾ and 4/4 timings of the Western Music. The range – Shruthi – of these songs is generally in middle octave.

The songs were written in Telugu script. The preserved manuscripts  of the songs were, years later (around 1832), presented by the well-known musicians of that period Kuppaiah and Seshaiah to Charles Philip Brown (an officer of the East India Company, who did remarkable work in classical Telugu literature) while he was at Madras. They were called a collection of “Jathi_swaramulu”. It appears those songs were, at the time, used as lessons for the beginners. One of them was the popular Sanskrit song “Vara Veena Mrudu Pani” in Raga Mohanam which was converted into a Gitam. The song is practiced as Gitam by all beginners, even today.

A manuscript preserved in the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library, Chennai, labelled as Manuscript no. D. 2536  contains twenty of such songs of  Dikshitar, written in Telugu script. Of these, twelve are composed in Sanskrit language and the other eight are composed in Telugu language. The Sanskrit songs which were the replicas of the European Airs carry English captions and bear the mudra as “Guruguha”.

Smt. S A K Durga, Professor Emeritus at the University of Madras, writes in the Journal of the Indian Musicological Society  (January 1, 2011):

A study of the melodic content of the European airs in those composition shows that a few melodies are reels and jigs from Irish folk tunes, since in the Western band at the Collector’s Office there were Irish musicians at that time… There are some changes from the original European melodies and the melodies of Nottuswara Sahithyam compositions in European airs, for example the one in Castilian mode, a folk tune that was transcribed by Benjamin Carr (1768-1831). In his book, the composition appears notated in 3/8 meter (Carr’s musical miscellany in occasional numbers, 1812). The song in Lord McDonald’s reel, Jagadeesa Guruguha, has two sections. The original A and B lines are switched with an additional word to pick up to the first beat of the song. One finds that these compositions are not a homogenous collection of British airs but there is diversity in their melodic content from the original tunes.

These earlier compositions of Muthuswami Dikshitar also throw light on his mastery in synthesizing two different music cultures. .. His compositional attitude in worshipping the different deities at different shrines is also revealed in his Nottuswara Sahithya-s. The choice of the Sanskrit language for these compositions reveals his spirit of national integration.

Although written by Muthuswami Dikshitar in the late 18th century when he was in his teens, before he started to compose   kriti-s, a few of these songs were first published as Nottuswara Sahithya in Sri Manali A.M. Chinnaswami Mudaliar’s work “Oriental Music in Staff Notation” (1893), that is  nearly   sixty years after Dikshitar’s death (1836) .  In their first appearence in print , the songs were published  without any caption. The text was printed in English, Telugu and Tamil characters.

After this, Sri Subbarama Dikshitar, the grandson/ the adopted son of Baluswami Diksihtar, published these in his Prathamabhyasa Pusthakamu in 1905. (Later, there appeared  a few more publications with notation.)  The book contained both theoretical and practical aspects of elementary teaching methods; and is relevant to the music field even to this day.

In this book , Sri Subbarama Dikshitar included thirty-two compositions, under the title “Nottaswara sahithyamu” with Swara-notation, as technical compositions/lessons  for beginners (Abhyasagana). He did not however mention the titles of the European Airs which served as the models for some of the songs. It is likely that these songs were practiced, not as songs adopted from the Western style , but  as simple Karnatak melodies composed with the scale of Sankarabharanam, without any microtonal ornamentation .  During the late 19th and early 20th century, these songs meant  for the beginners were taught in place of Gitam, to fameliarize  the young learners with melodic movements or phrases in the scale.

Subbarama Dikshitar’s monumental compendium Sangeeta Sampradaya Pradarshini, published in 1904, also contains references to the Nottuswara Sahithya.

Some scholarly articles have been published on the subject. For instance, Prof. P. Sambamoorthy has published an article in the Journal of the Music Academy, 1951, and Dr. V. Raghavan has contributed another article on “Nottuswara sahithyam” of Muthuswami Dikshitar in 1977 in the Journal of the Music Academy . I  wish these were put on the net for the benifit of a larger number of  music lovers and general readers .

Chitraveena N Ravikiran remarks that while referring to the influence of Western music many talk only of his “English note” compositions; but few realize that its influence is more pervasive and is subtle. One can notice it in the way the movements of the song proceed, he says.

Fort St George on the Coromandel Coast.  Belonging to the East India Company of England

Fort St George on the Coromandel Coast. Belonging to the East India Company of England

Continued in Part Three

Sri Dikshitar and Hindustani music

Resource:

Homage to the Great Composer – Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar by– Dr.S.A.K.Durga

http://www.readperiodicals.com/201101/2692214731.html

http://tributes.sangeethapriya.org/dikshithar/downloads/groupkrithis.html

All pictures are from internet

 

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2012 in Music, Muthuswami Dikshitar, Sri Vidya

 

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