It is a friend of the Sun but enemy of the moon.
Lotus petals are considered to be very soft.
The shape of the flower is also very unique.
The Bahá'í Temple in Delhi is in the shape of a Lotus.I have meditated there and it is not possible to descibe the vibrations and the blissful experience I had there.
It is also said that the Sahasra Chakra on our Head - as per the seven chakra theory-is shaped like a Lotus.
Poets have also been intrigued by the Lotus Flower. Quite often we see the beautiful eyes being compared with Lotus.
One of the 12 Aazhwaars, Pei Azhwaar(பேய் ஆழ்வார்) goes a step further and says Lord Krishna’s hands, feet and eyes are nothing but Lotus Flowers:
கண்ணும் கமலம்;கமலமே கைத்தலமும்;
மண் அளந்த பாதமும் மற்று அவையே....
Shri.Muthuswami Dikshitar-one of the greatest Caranatic Music Composers- sang what is called as Nava Avarana Krithis on Devi and all these Krithis start with ‘Kamalamba..’(Kamalam –lotus).
There is also a beautiful Raga called Kamala Manohari and Dikshitar composed ‘Kanchadalaya thakshi Kamakshi ‘ in this Raga.
Lotus is a delightful heavenly flower.
Similarly, ILaiyaraaja’s music is delightful and heavenly.
It is as soft and beautiful as a Lotus.
It is as interesting as a Lotus.
It is as complex as a Lotus.
In the composition we are going to see today, he has given the sketch and colourful shades of Kamala Manohari-the ‘Lotus’ Raga.
It is ‘Poonkathave Thaazh Thiravai’ from NizhalgaL(1980).
Many people consider this as Mayamalawagowla Raga.
Yes, the swaras used are from Mayamalawagowla only.
But when observed closely, one can understand that the composition is unique.
At the same time, one cannot strictly say that this is Kamalamanohari since there is a very sparing use of ‘Ri’, a swara that is non-existing in Kamalamanohari.
Some people also say it is based on Jaganmohini, another Raga with ‘ri’ in the avarohanam.
But repeated listening to the entire composition makes me feel strongly that except for the sparing use of ‘ri’(in the higher octave) and ‘dha’ in the arohanam once, it more or less follows the pattern of Kamala Manohari.
Let us look first at the structure of Kamala Manohari and then the composition:
Sa ga3 ma1 pa ni3 Sa/Sa ni3 dha1 pa ma1 ga3 sa.
The composition starts with the breeze blowing gently across as if to open the beautiful petals of the lotus.
We see a slender silhouette that becomes a chiaroscuro. We see the flowers in harmony as the violins play counterpoints.
The Violins reach a sweeping crescendo, the Veena imparts vim and vigour and the flowers nod their heads smiling at us as the Flute plays.
The Pallavi is a clear stream of exposition with the fresh voices of Deepan Chakravarthy and Uma Ramanan.
The Laya pattern-the speciality of the Maestro-is as interesting as ever.
The composition is set to the 8 beat Adi Talam.
He has divided the cycle into two mini cycles and within each mini cycle there are 16 micro beats.
It is:Ta – Ta Ta Ta – Ta Ta Ta – Ta Ta Ta – Ta –.
As already explained in some of my previous posts, ‘– ‘ is a blank space left alone while playing.
The last 4 beats ‘Ta– Ta –‘ is played more robustly to give a special effect.
Each beat is a lotus petal and I feel the pattern is an effort to unravel the mystery of Lotus Flower..
Not just Lotus Flower but also of Human Life..
After all, don’t we know that Life itself is a Palimpsest?
The first interlude is a real beauty.
As the strings make overtures the first time, the violin sallies forth.
The second time, it is effusive.
The third time, it comes out with a flourish.
The fourth time, it pulses with energy.
And the fifth time, it lets out a romantic cry and joins its lover…
We see the beauteous facets of Love, Music and the Life as the violins play.
The Flute does an interpretative dip and we hear the soul stirring phrases of Nagaswaram.
As the Tavil indicates a new beginning and realization, the Charanam starts.
The phrases in the Charanams are constructed with stirring emotional intensity and we see the colourful sequence.
The first two lines are passages of exceptional beauty while the other lines are packed with brilliance.
The second interlude is festooned with beautiful flowers.
We move gently with the flowers accompanied by the dazzling strings and the vibrant Flute.
Suddenly we come across curves and twists.
It is like a convoluted loop as the Violins play and we reach a nook.
We explore intriguing territory..
We reach the depth and we feel the inner tranquility..
We bask in complete and absolute serenity..
We realise the meaning of life and the Lotus within us blooms..
பூங்கதவு தாழ் திறந்தது..
சுவர்க்கத்தை நமக்கு காட்டியது..
(Ponngathavu Thaazh Thiranthathu..Swargaththai Namakku Kaatiyathu!)
The Flower Decked doors open and it is Heaven!