Monday, 3 November 2008

ILaiyaraaja's Music is Rich!

Wealth’ and ‘Richness’ are very interesting words.
Generally we associate these words with money.

Materialistic outlook!
Good or bad?

Without getting into this debate shall we look at these words and see if they show us(or give us) what money cannot buy.

We say he/she brings in a wealth of information.
We say ‘wealth of knowledge’
We say ‘wealth of experience’
We say ‘wealth of knowledge’.

We say ‘rich texture’.
We say ‘rich colours’
We say ‘rich design’.

What exactly is wealth? What exactly is richness?

I would say anything/anyone radiating positive energy is wealthy and rich.

Incidentally, the Goddess of wealth in the Hindu tradition is Lakshmi.
We again make the mistake of misinterpreting the qualities of Lakshmi. People with money are considered to be having ‘Lakshmi Kadaaksham’.

But Lakshmi is beyond all these.

Poet Bharati is said to have lived in penury.

While singing about Goddess Lakshmi, he says

‘You are in the Yagnyaas,Fame,Intelligence,Novelty,Great Music, Dance,and Paintings(all art forms).’

‘Punniya VeLviyilum uyar Pugazhilum
Mathiyilum, Puthumaiyilum, pannu naarpaavaiyilum
Nalla paattilum Kooththilum padaththinilum,
Nanniya Devi’

See how rich his poetry is.. Is this the voice of a gentleman who lived in poverty?
He was in deed endowed with Lakshmi Kataaksham.
His poems live even after hundred years.

This is real wealth!

Muththuswami Dikshithar’s compositions have great musical value, rich structure and magical power.With this power, he could have even made the entire world his slave.
But he never hankered for money or any material things.

It is said that once his wife-knowing the mystical quality of her husband’s music-requested him to get all kinds of jewellery .He sang’Hiranmayeem Lakshmim’ in Lalitha ragam.

That night Goddess Lakshmi appeared in his wife’s dream fully adorned with rich jewellery and asked her if that was enough or she wanted more.

His wife realized her folly.She understood that her husband’s music was capable of even bringing the goddess in her dreams. And that she without realizing the real value went after materialistic pleasures.

Was Dikshithar rich?

Of course he was.. He gave us very rich compositions that can transport us to an esoteric world.

Though he composed some great Krithis on Lakshmi, one of his Krithis is special.

It is

‘Sri Varalakshmi Vasupradhe
Sri Saarasapathe Rasa Pathe Sa Pathe Pathe Pathe..’

One of the specialities is the Ragam itself.It is in Sri Ragam.

The second speciality is the pattern in the second line. Look how he has played with ‘Saarasapathe..’.(this pattern is one of the ‘Yatis’).

Going back to the Ragam, ‘Sri’ in Sanskrit denotes Goddess Lakshmi.

That is why we Indians prefix any name with ‘Sri’ or ‘Srimathi’(so that all of us get ‘Lakshmi Kataaksham’.

The Raga Sri is therefore very rich.

Considered to be one of the oldest ragas, this Raga-as the name suggests- is very auspicious and is considered to bring lot of good things.

It is derived from Karaharapriya and its structure is
Sa ri2 ma1 pa ni2 Sa/Sa ni2 pa dha2 ni2 pa ma1 ri2 ga2 ri2 Sa.
Some say the‘pa dha ni pa ma’ usage is a later addition.

However, it is a fact that this prayoga and the ‘ri ga ga ri sa’ prayoga give a very special feeling.

Saint Thaygaraja beautifully shows us the contours of Saama Veda in Sri in the very first line-Saama Gaana Lola-in his inimitable Pancharatna Kriti, ‘Endaro Mahanubhavulu’.

The beauty here is that the structure of this charanam follows the Saama veda pattern.

Rich Composer! Rich Music!!

One of the modern day composers who is also very rich in terms of knowledge, and in terms of Music has done wonders with this Raga..

The song is ‘Devi Durga Devi’ from the Telugu Film ‘Sankeerthana’.

It has a very special prelude with the dance jathis creating an ambience of classicism.The silent phrases in between and the sound of the bell give a divine feeling.

A Dancer’s entire body is the vehicle of expression and this is ‘Aangika abhinaya’.’Vaachika Abhinaya’ is the expression through song, music and poetry.
We see both these abhinayas in full swing.

The Pallavi is effulgent with rich lyrics, bright voices of SPB and Vani Jeyaram and the pulsating Mridangam.

In the first prelude, he weaves a silken thread of Sri as the violins and flutes dance with the Mridangam giving a repartee.The ‘ri ga ri sa’ phrase towards the end of the first part of the prelude is enchanting.

If we observe closely, even the Mridangam sounds like Sri Ragam.

The first Charanam is delightful.

If the line ‘Kaala Bhayakara..’ is vibrant, the following line is resonant and the last line is tender.

It gives soulful touches.

The Mridangam reverberates and then begins a swirl of Swaras.

It glides.

It gives us verbal images.

It is appealing.

It is revealing.

It captures the special fragrance of the Raga.

It encapsulates the essence of the Raga.

It shows us the glory of the Raga and music.

It shines like a glittering sapphire.

And this is what is richness!

Raaja..Sangeetha Raaja Aangikam Vaachikam Anni Meere..

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