KURAL # 76 (Vol # 7) Dated 09 Dec 2013
e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavãL of Kanchi Kaamakoti
Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier
part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam,
Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. Today we
are going ahead from page No 581 of Volume 7 of the Tamil original. The readers
may note that herein ‘man/he’ includes ‘woman/she’ too mostly. These e-mails
are all available at http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated
essay was originally published around Deepavali in the year 1990. Though the content of this speech/essay is
essentially divine in purport, as it contains many intricate points about the
fine-art of classical music, it has been included under the general heading of
Indian Culture.) Recently Ariyakkudi
Ramanuja Aiyangãr had reached 100 years of age, famously known as 'Sangita
Sãmrãt' – 'संगीत
meaning an Emperor in Music. PeriyavãL
is some three years younger to him. This
Emperor of the world of Gnãna PeriyavãL, telling the Emperor of Music
Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Aiyangãr, about the Divine Emperor Lord SubrahmaNya, while
doing word to word translation with comments of Muthu Swami Deekshidar's poem,
'Sri SubrahmaNyãya Namaste' is a wonderful and thrilling experience never to be
forgotten for those who were lucky enough to be present on that occasion.
2. In June 1961 PeriyavãL was camping
in a place known as Devakottai for Chãtur Mãsya Vratam. In addition to that Vratam, he had also taken
'kãshta mounam' – 'काष्ट
meaning keeping silence of not even responding by gestures or sign language,
'remaining quiet like a piece of wood' is the literal meaning! Since he hadn't declared as to how long he is
going to remain silent, it was being presumed to be for may be a week or ten
days, as it kept on getting extended. It
was not clear as to whether he is listening to prayers by his visiting
followers or not. Such being the state
of affairs, some citizens of the nearby Kãraikkudi, known as Nagaraththãr, met
him and placed their address and entreaty before him. During that it was clear that Ariyakkudi
Ramanuja Aiyangãr was presently visiting their town Kãraikkudi. At once PeriyavãL asked them in sign language
if they could bring that gentleman to him, to the surprise and relief of the
assemblage! Nagaraththãr people took
leave promising to convey the message to Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Aiyangãr.
3. By three in the afternoon Ariyakkudi
had come to the camp highly excited that PeriyavãL had asked for him and that
he had broken his vow of silence in doing so. Our PeriyavãL despite the title
as 'Jagat Guru' – 'जगत
meaning the Master of the World, was well known for his asceticism and
simplicity isn't it? The place where he
was staying was true to this attitude of his.
It was a single room dwelling in the garden of a bigger residence. He had opened a window of that room and was giving
audience to the visitors through that window only. (May be our PeriyavãL was the first to start
this 'one window policy' much talked about now-a-days!) The followers were coming through an area full
of undergrowth of all sorts of grass and weeds.
Get a glance of PeriyavãL through that window and returning from there
in all humility. May be that by doing
so, our PeriyavãL was teaching some elementary lessons in 'simple living', I
4. When our PeriyavãL was informed
about the arrival of Ariyakkudi, he indicated that the visitor may be brought
to the same window of that out-house.
Accordingly Ariyakkudi came there and did Sãshtãnga Namaskãra and got
up. That is all. As he got up everyone was happily surprised
by the fact that our PeriyavãL who was silent like the DakshiNa Murthy Swami
all these days, spoke again! With a
smile on his face and laughter in his voice, he was saying, "I came to
know about how you were awarded Padma Bhushan.
Then you must have been given the Red Carpet Welcome, and honoured in a
gathering of all VIPs with much pomp and show!
Here I am making you come through thorns and weeds and sit down in dirt
and dust! Please do not feel offended."
& Sãhitya – Music & Poetry
5. "You know why I called you
here? I wished to hear somebody singing
Muthuswami Deekshidar's Kruti 'Sri SubrahmaNyãya Namaste', sung without any
blemish in the parameters of music such as Raga, Laya, Sruti, Tãla and
pronunciation of the words correctly without killing the meaning. Many people make blatant errors in
pronunciation and meaning of Sanskrit and Telugu songs. When the words of the poem are written,
keeping the musical aspect of Tãla and Chandas in mind the words may be broken
into parts or combined. While singing
the words have to be pronounced without making grammatical mistakes in their
utterance as well as meaning. If the
writer composer is good, the words will lend themselves to such separation and
combination/clubbing of words without any errors creeping in. But many singers now-a-days fail to
understand and comprehend the meaning, uncaring for the bomb-shells they happen
to be dropping in terms of monstrosities in the meaning!
6. In this song 'Sri SubrahmaNyãya
Namaste' itself in one place, the words are, 'guruguhãyagnãna dwãnta savitre'
which should be uttered as, 'guru guhãya agnãna dwãnta savitre', to convey the
correct meaning that, '(I pay my) Namaskãra to Guruguha who is the Sun to the
darkness of ignorance'. But some people
while singing extend this 'guruguhãya' long enough, ending in 'gnãna dwãnta
savitre', conveying the meaning that he is the Sun for the darkness of
Gnãna! PeriyavãL demonstrates as to how
the errant singers say the words, conveying the wrong meaning.
know this Kruti 'Sankarãchãryam', I do not know whether you sing that song or
not. (This is a song by Subbarãma
Deekshidar in the Raga SankarãbharaNam played by Dhanamma on VeeNa and sung by
Semmangudi Srinivãsa Iyer and MS Subbulakshmi.
In it there is a sentence, 'parama Adwaita sthãpana leelam' meaning, 'he
who establishes the principle of Adwaitam playfully itself'. PeriyavãL demonstrates by singing the
words. In that song only when we
emphasise the gap between the first two words, 'prama and adwaita' will stand
apart. Even when I sing it like this
like an amateur, you can see that meaning comes out correctly without any
aberration in Raga, Tãla and meaning isn't it? The singers whose names I mentioned also sing
like that only. But some uncaring for
the meaning extending the word 'paramaaaaa' and end up saying, 'dwaita sthapana
leelam' meaning, 'playfully establishing the Dwaitam'! Thus they convert the Adwaita ÃchãryãL into
Dwaita ÃchãryãL! Saying this he laughs for a long period.
8. I know that in music there is no
Dwaitam or Adwaitam. Music takes the
prime importance there. Whatever the
song is for, about whomsoever, the music itself integrates. That is why though you are a VaishNavite,
with you this song 'Sri SubrahmaNyãya' is so attached. Or you are attached to it, or whatever it is. I have heard your singing that song. I do not have to certify that you are perfect
in music. I have noticed that you are
letter perfect in pronunciation and good in music too. That is why I called for you. In my Durbar there are only stones and
thorns. You have come without any
accompaniments and even Tambura too.
Whatever the inconvenience, uncaring for them please sing that song for
9. As our PeriyavãL stopped his
continuous monologue, Ariyakkudi cried copiously with tears pouring from his
eyes. He did a Sãshtãnga Namaskãra once
again. He said that he couldn't care less
for any other honour or convenience than PeriyavãL asking for him to sing and
his being able to fulfil that command!
"I do not know as to how to respond, that you could give me this
honour to sing before you. The lack of
Sruti and accompaniments, have to be made up for, by your grace only. To the extent as expected it is your Anugraha
that should make me sing correctly."
Saying so, he prepared to sing as requested.
of Ragas Based on Place Names
10. SwamigaL said, "We call the Raga
Kãmbodi and the name of that Raga is Kãmboji isn't it in music text books?" When Ariyakkudi confirmed in the affirmative,
PeriyavãL continued. Kãmbojam is the
name of Cambodia, as may be known to many.
Our Indian culture was widely spread there. If you wonder as to whether this Raga is an
import from that place, researchers like Professor Sãmbamurthy say that it is
not so. Many aspects of our culture have
been exported to that place and not the other way around. That country was far behind ours in
development those days. We were far
ahead in development of music and comparatively the music in South East Asia
was more like folk music. So, what is
the meaning of the evolution of that name?
Not only was Cambodia called as Kãmbojam, but there was an area
adjoining our North Western limits of the Indian sub-continent that was known
as Kãmbojam. Kãlidãsa was well informed
of the geography of North India. In his
Megasandesa, when the Yaksha tells the cloud the route for reaching the
destination, by following his directions step by step, we can make out the
route map! So correctly he would have
given the directions.
11. Similarly in his drama of Raghu Vamsam,
Raghu goes on carrying out a victorious offensive over nations one after the
other. As you follow the descriptions of
places beyond the Indus River West and North of it, he has talked about one State
of Kãmbojam. That means within what was
the undivided Bharath Desh, in the general area of Hindukush there was a place
known as Kãmbojam. This Raga of Kãmboji
was evidently from that part of the country.
Many Ragas seem to have been named from the place names of their
origin. Don't we have Raga names such
as, 'Sowrashtram', Kãnada, Navarasa Kannada, Sindhu Bhairavi, and Yamuna KalyaNi
and so on? Similarly this Raga Kãmboji
must have been from Kãmbojam.
12. What the researchers say is that many
Ragas have been in use in many parts of India from time immemorial. Later
whosoever polished and made them memorably famous from whichever part of the
country, happened to impart the place name to that Raga. 'Kedaram' as the name of a Raga is evidently
from what is known as 'Uttara Khand' to-day, where there is the temple of Kedãrnath. Raga 'GowLa' for example is from Bengal, the
Gowda Desam. Combining these two Ragas,
there is a Raga known as 'Kedãra GowLa'.
All these three Ragas have been there in South India. When that is so, what does it indicate? It only shows that the North end of Himalayas,
Southern end of Tamil Nadu and Eastern end Bengal are all unified and
integrated by our music and its Ragas and that one or some or many exponents of
those Ragas must have been there, popularising those Ragas. People especially Sangita Exponents have been
referred to by their place names, isn't it?
Take your own name and other such artists' names as, Ariyakkudi Ramanuja
Aiyangãr, Semmangkudi Srinivasa Iyer, Madurai Somu and Kunnakkudi
Vaidyanathan. What do we
understand? Many Ragas could have
derived their names from the place names of the artists who made them so
endearingly and memorably famous!
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