The 12 Aazhwars composed verses in Tamizh totaling 4000 in number and this compiled work is called as the ‘Naalaayira Divya Prabhandam’. This treatise is considered to be very sacred..
But is not the Bhakti element alone that attracts Literature lovers to this work. The Language and the Description make this a poetic work making even Non believers read and appreciate.
Let us go back to Nammaazhwar now.
Out of the 4000 verses, he composed 1296 verses-about 32%.
He composed these under four different headings-Thiruviruthham,Thiruvaasiriyam,Periya Thiruvanthaathi, Thiruvaaimozhi- and these are considered to give the essence of Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Vedas respectively.
In one of his verses, he says, ‘He is present here if we believe He exists.He is present here without any form if we believe He does not exist.’ Being’ and ‘Not Being’ are his characteristics.’
உளன் எனில் உளன்,அவன் உருவம் இவ் உருவுகள்;
உளன் அலன் எனில்,அவன் அருவம் இவ் அருவுகள்;
உளன் என,இலன் என,இவை குணம் உடைமையில்,
உளன் இரு தகைமையொடு ஒழிவு இவன் பரந்தே.
It does sound philosophical but what is life without philosophy?
And reading this gives one pleasure whether one concurs with this or not.
It is even said that after Nammaazhwaar was born, he was like a still- born baby for 16 years after which he started composing the verses.
He was a Wonder!
If Nammaazhwar composed the maximum number of verses, Madurakavi Aazhwaar composed the minimum no.of verses-just 11.
And these 11 were not on the Almighty but on the person he considered as his Guru, Guiding force, and leading light.
Yes, he considered Nammaazhwar as his Guru and propagated the verses of Nammaazhwaar.
In one of his verses, Madurakavi Azhwaar says ‘Talking about my Guru gives me immense pleasure. I shall roam around singing his verses. I do not know anything else.’
நாவினால் நவிற்று இன்பம் எய்தினேன்.
மேவினேன் அவன் பொன்னடி மெய்ம்மையே!
தேவு மற்று அறியேன் குருகூர் நம்பி,
பாவின் இன்னிசை பாடித் திரிவேனே.
On this auspicious day, it gives me immense pleasure to talk about a person whom I consider as my Guru.
He is divine like Nammaazhwar and is a wonder.
Luckily, for this Nammaazhwaar, there are lots of Madurakavi Aazhwaars..
He made me realise what music is..
He made me understand Music.He made me appreciate Music.
He taught me the nuances through his compositions.
He made me develop interest in many good things in life.
One of my objectives in life is to propagate his compositions (many unknown) and try and analyse the finer elements in his music. My real journey began more than one year back when I started sharing my observations with like- minded people.
Today, I am taking up a composition that is very special to me. Not just to me but to many of my friends who have listened to this song.
I consider this composition as one of his masterpieces.
It is ‘Engengo Sellum’ from ‘Pattakkathi Bhairavan’(1979).
This composition is based on Sudhha Dhanyasi.
The structure is:
Sa ga2 ma1 pa ni2 Sa/Sa ni2 pa ma ga2 sa.
Since the interludes are in Western Classical style, the Ragam tends to deviate but this makes it more beautiful!
Let us now look at this marvel.
The Composition starts with the Guitar giving feather like touches. The Violin Orchestra now gives the melodic stimulation. The Music that follows fondles us!
The Pallavi is full of deft phrasings and is ingeniously structured.
What does one say about the voices of SPB and Janaki. Sweetness personified.
The first Interlude pulses with energy. The Violins play with vivacity and suddenly we see the magic. The Double Bass makes its entry as the Violins change track and continue to play. It is the beautiful blending of delicate and sonorous sounds.
We are wonder- struck by the potency, intensity and the glow!
But this is only the beginning.
The Charanam is ornate with subtleties.
It starts with a long sojourn in ‘Aaaa..’ followed by ‘Naan KaaNbathu Un Kolame..’.As we begin to lose ourselves, it is magic again.
’Angum.. Ingum… Engum… ‘ reverberate.
The echo-like effect is produced by using three different pairs of Swaras continuosly- gapa.. nipa… Sapa..
As if this is not enough, we see the same effect in the last line ‘Nee..Nee..Nee’ .
The second interlude has relishable twists and turns.
We see the beauteous landscape with the sun painting the sky at dawn.
The Sun now slowly spreads its golden rays.
We see the small raindrops falling from the heavens.
We see the iridescent Rainbow hues.
As the Guitar is played, we see the delectable converging of a cadence of colours.
The Stones in the Mountains turn into beautiful Flowers.
It is thrilling.
It is spectacular.
This composition has purposeful innovative phrasings laced with clarity.
It is exotically redolent and aesthetically linked.
It is a veritable feast.
எங்கெங்கோ செல்லும் நம் எண்ணங்கள் இங்கே நாம் கண்டோம் அவர் வண்ணங்கள்.
நம் வாழ்க்கை வானில் நிலாவே..
அவர் அன்றும் இன்றும் என்றும் ராஜாவே!
Our thoughts go here and there..
We get to see his colours now..
He is the Moon in our Life.
King-then, now and forever!