KURAL # 77 (Vol # 7) Dated 11 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 the middle of page No 588 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
– தேவாரப் பண்கள்
13. "Do you have any acquaintance with research of music as
related to the songs of Thevãram"
PeriyavãL asked. Ariyakkudi responded in
the negative and PeriyavãL continued.
"Yes, of course you have set Thiruppãvai songs to music. But unlike the Thevãram PaNNs, in the poems
of Divya Prabandam, neither they have given the name of the PaNN nor do people
sing them with any tunes. Since mostly
the Pasurams of Divya Prabandam are uttered by Brahmins, it has become a
tradition to say them as they chant the Vedas with some ups and downs and
gaps. You must have selected the Ragas
for each song as it suited your Mano-dharma while setting the Thiruppãvai songs
to music." Ariyakkudi replied,
"Yes, as it appealed to my limited knowledge," in all
"But the Ragas that you have set for them have become a standard
that, other artists are also singing the way you have done with the same
variations of Sangathi. For long our
ancient Ragas have remained constant in their original shape through the
Thevãra PaNNs only, it seems. The way
the Vedas have been saved and protected by Vedic Brahmin communities without
any changes or blemishes or experiments of improvisation; the Odhuvãrs have
been doing the same with the Thevãram songs, from one generation to the next
meticulously in the most disciplined manner.
It is something unique and exacting that they have done, without any
change creeping in, in diction, the way the words are pronounced, and the way
they are sung in terms of Sangathi, intonations, beats, pauses and emphasis.
15. Their service in devotion has also
proved to be great in service of music. Ragas
named as SankarãbaraNam, Bhairavi, Neelãmbari and such are there in PaNN
singing with some different names for those Ragas. Amongst those there are Sowrashtram, Kedãra
GowLa, Kãmbodi and Yadukula Kãmbodi.
Kãmbodi is known as 'Takkesi' or something like that. Kãmbodi is not a MeLakarta Raga and only a
'Janya' Raga, isn't it? Ariyakkudi
affirmed that Kãmbodi is only a Janya Raga, Harikãmbodi being the MeLakartha
Raga for it. (KTSV adds: - The Ragas are
identified by the Swaras of ArohaNam [in the ascending order] of 'Sa for
Shadjamam, Ri for Rishabham, Ga for Gãndhãram, Ma for Madhyamam, Pa for
Panchamam, Da for Dhaivatham, Ni for Nishãdam and Ša for the higher Shadjamam
and AvarohaNam [in the descending order] of having the Swaras of Ša, Ni, Da,
Pa, Ma, Ga, Ri, Sa once again. If you
make the slightest change in them, the name of the Raga will change into
something else. In Indian Classical
Music of the Carnatic variety, there could be 72 Ragas known as Janaka /
MeLakartha Ragas. Theoretically Raga is
supposed to be based on the six Swaras between the lower and higher Shadjamam,
with any basic pitch as the starting point.
The higher Shadjamam becomes the starting point for the next higher
octave. Now, there can be three
different varieties of Rishabham, three of Gãndhãram, two of Madhyamam, three
each of Dhaivatham and Nishãdam.
Panchamam is constant as the middle Swara between the lower starting
point and the higher end point. So, there can be 72 Janaka / MeLakartha Ragas
with the full complement of five Swaras between the lower and higher Shadjamam.
The Janya / derived Ragas can be
theoretically 34,776, though due to difficulties of comprehension and grasp the
Ragas in usage are much less. Let us
continue with the conversation between PeriyavãL and Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Aiyangãr.)
16. "But, Harikãmbodi is the
MeLakartha Raga and Kãmbodi is a Janya Raga that is more famous, like the son
being more famous and well to do than the father. Some Janya Ragas are more popular than the
Janaka Ragas, isn't it?" Ariyakkudi
responded, "Bhairavi is also similarly a derived/Janya Raga from Janaka
Raga Nata Bhairavi, but more popular as PeriyavãL says." Then PeriyavãL said, "OK. You sing that song Sri SubrahmaNyãya
Namaste. Having called you for that, I
am going on talking." As a rare
feast of music, Ariyakkudi sang the song.
Though there was no Sruti and supporting instrumental music, it was very
pleasant and wholesome indeed to hear the pure voice of Ariyakkudi. Till he finished singing PeriyavãL was
listening in with complete concentration with his eyes closed in rapt
that is, Once More!'
17. PeriyavãL said, "Since you were
singing solo all by yourself, contrary to the normal, it was more prominent and
the words were crystal clear. I am using
the formal expression of, 'truptosmi' – 'तृप्तोस्मि',
that I am totally satisfied. (When an
important formal Vedic Kãrya
is conducted, some qualified neutral observers are requested to attend, who
will make such a declaration that they are fully satisfied or may be make a
comment or suggestion if need be.) But
I want you to sing again and stop at the end of each sentence so that I may be
able to give the meaning of the words of the song. Not that you do not understand, but so that
as I translate the Sanskrit words into Tamil for the sake of people assembled
here, I would be able to let my mind roam about in the classic literary beauty
of Muthu Swami Deekshidar's expression, a little more. All those assembled here
will also understand as to how such great writer-composers were capable of
packing in so much of beauty, depth of understanding and comprehension in their
creations! Ariyakkudi sang that song
once again with pauses at the end of each sentence so that PeriyavãL
could explain the meaning. From what
PeriyavãL spoke that day and his comments on the subject on certain other
occasions are collated and given hereinafter.
That brings us to the end of the Introduction.
is the Vedic God
18. "Sri SubrahmaNyãya Namaste, Namaste";
- meaning repeated prostrations before and to SubrahmaNya Swami. Having started with the salubrious and
pleasant 'Sri', repetition of His name twice is to mean repeated repetitions
and emphasise. Similarly we say 'Jaya,
Jaya' or 'போற்றி போற்றி', 'Namaste
Namaste' – 'te + nama:' – 'ते + नम:' becomes, 'नम: + ते = नमस्ते'. 'Te' – ' ते' means to you, SubrahmaNya.
Throughout the poem this fourth declension of the verb 'to you' is what
is used. Namskãrams to You SubrahmaNya, repeatedly Crores and Crores number of
times. SubrahmaNya means 'good BrahmaNya' or select or special. What does 'BrahmaNya' mean? From the word 'Brhmam' we take it as the very
form of Parma Ãtma or one amongst the Holy Trinity of Brhma, Vishnu and Maheshwara.
there is another important meaning of Brhma and that is the Vedas. That is why when a child is introduced to the
Veda Mantras for the first time at the time of Upanayanam, it is called 'Brhma
Upadesam' after which he becomes a traveller in Brhmam and hence is called a
'Brhmachari'. To follow the Vedas and to
observe its Do's and Don’ts meticulously is the job of Brahmins. So Vedic means BrahmaNya. Thus SubrahmaNya becomes the special God as
related to Vedas, as the God deified in the Vedas, particularly special to that
set of Brahmins who are totally involved in Adhyayanam, Adhyãpakam and related
activities of conduct of Yagas and Yagnyas; collectively known as Vaidika
Brahmins. What is most important
for Vedic activities? It is conduct of
Yagas for which you need the Agni / God of Fire and SubrahmaNya is of the form
of fire. He was born of the six sparks
of fire / light from the third eye of Easwara.
So he is the God of Vedas as the most important of Devas, cherished by
Vaidika Brahmins. Our ÃchãryãL also has
mentioned in SubrahmaNya Bhujangam, 'mahee deva devam, mahã veda bhãvam, mahã
deva bãlam' – 'महीदेव देवं, महावेद भावं, महादेव बालं'. The first
phrase 'महीदेव देवं' means the God
of Brahmins, the second phrase 'महावेद भावं' means the
essence Vedas and the third phrase 'महादेव बालं' means the Son
of Mahadeva that is Easwara.
Murugãrruppadai' is one of the oldest devotional Tamil literatures, written by
Nakkeerar, describing all the six Padai Veedu-s where there are temples for Sri
SubrahmaNya. He describes as to how the
six faces of Muruga give different types of Anugraha to the devotees. In that he says that one face is specially
for sanctioning the wishes of Brahmins who strictly follow the tradition of
perfect adherence to the chanting of Mantras and conduct of Yagnyas – 'oru
mugam mantra vidiyin marabuLi vazhã adhu andaNar veLviyorkkumme' – 'ஒரு முகம்
மந்திர விதியின் மரபுளி வழாஅது அந்தணர் வேள்வியோர்க்கும்மே'. Then while describing Swami Malai aka Thiru Veragam also,
he has talked about how Brahmins with strict observance of celibacy aka
Brhmacharyam, nurse the three fires of Garhãpatyam, Ãhvaneeyam
conducting various Yagnyas doing the SubrahmaNya Mantra Japa and Puja. The Brahmins who participate in the Yagnya
Karma are known as Ritwik of 16 different functional names in which one of them
is 'SubrahmaNya'! Thus the very fact
that amongst his names as Muruga, Karthikeya and so on it is
SubrahmaNya that is rather famous and popular, which goes to show that for
Vedas, Vaidika Brahmins and Vedic activities, Sri SubrahmaNya is the 'Ati
Devata' aka the Presiding Deity.
Dikshidar is connected to SubrahmaNya in more ways than one. He has visited almost all important temple
towns, like our ÃchãryãL did in his time.
Still he is known to be a great devotee of AmbãL. At the end of his life, he is supposed to
have been singing the song on Meenãkshi Amman, while leaving the mortal coil. But in his birth and the start of his
literary abilities are all having something to do with Sri SubrahmaNya. The very name 'Muthu Swami' is the name of
'Muthu Kumara Swami' of Vaitheeswaran Kovil.
His father Sri Ramaswami Dikshidar was also an erudite scholar and quite
knowledgeable in music. He was also a Sri
Vidya Upasaka. Till he was 40 years of
age, he did not have any off-spring.
Then he went with his wife to Vaitheeswaran Kovil and kept a vow of
abstinence for a period of one Mandalam that is for 42 days. His wife had a dream as though someone had
tied a packet of items of religious purport of sanctity such as, fruits, betel
leaves, areca nuts and flowers, in her lap, which was construed to be God's
sanction of their wish. Then finally one
day she did become pregnant and the baby was born under the auspicious star of
Krittika in the month of Phalguni which is the birth star of Lord SubrahmaNya
too. As he was born as blessing of the
Presiding Deity of that Vaitheeswaran Kovil, he was named as Muthuswami.
he learnt and practiced Music, Sri Vidya and also stayed in Kãsi under a
Sanyãsa Guru. His Guru dropped his
mortal coil there in Kãsi. Before that,
he advised Muthu Swami to go back to South India. He told him, "Go back to South. On the way first go to ThiruththaNi. There, SubrahmaNya Swami will fructify the
purpose of your coming into being on this earth." Accordingly he went to ThiruththaNi. Had a dip in the Temple Pond and was climbing
the steps to the hill-top temple. He was
accosted by an old man who called him by his name, telling him to open his
mouth. When Muthuswami opened his mouth,
that stranger dropped apiece of sugar candy in his mouth and vanished. At once Muthuswami knew as to who it was. From that moment he was aware of the very
purpose of his birth was composing and singing songs of deep devotion and high
philosophy. That productivity started
instantly that at once he sang 8 Krutis on Guha in eight declensions of verbs
as in the Shabda Kosh in Sanskrit.
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