Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gems of Tyagaraja- 1

Saint Tyagaraja is very well known to all Carnatic Music Lovers.Telugu enthusiasts especially and to some extent some of Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada folks are acquinted with the beautiful Telugu compositions of this prodigal music composer of the 17th Century.
And when it is rendered by Smt M S Subbalakshmi, there is an extra bit of magic associated with the songs.

I bought a 3-CD set of MS amma rendered Tyagaraja compositions called the "Gems of Tyagaraja".I have bought the entire set for one song, "Nagumomu Kanaleni", a divine composition in the Abheri raga. It is astounding and I kept playing the song in my car from office to home and back, which was about 5 mins in duration.
Recently I started listening to others as well, since back in India, travel time increased manifold (from 5 mins in US to about 90 mins here!!).
I discovered some even more amazingly divine songs, two of which are:
1) Ninnu Vina Naa Madendu (in Navarasa Kanada raga) and
2) Venu Gana Loluni Kana Veyyi Kanulu Kaavalene ( in Kedara Gowla raga).
I just get mesmerized whenever I listen to these and feel like getting transported to Vaikuntha through this medium.Hats off to MS amma and many many salutes to the one and only Tyagaraja.

-Siddartha Pamulaparty
Dec, 2008.

Bheeshma Sthuthi

సీ. కుప్పించి యెగసిన కుండలంబుల కాంతి, గగన భాగం బెల్లఁ గప్పికొనఁగ
నుఱికిన నోర్వక యుదరంబులో నున్న, జగముల వ్రేఁగున జగతి గదలఁ
జక్రంబుఁ జేపట్టి చనుదెంచు రయమునఁ , బై నున్న పచ్చని పటము జాఱ
నమ్మితి నా లావు నగుబాటు సేయక, మన్నింపుమని కిరీటి మఱలఁ దిగువఁ

తే.గీ.గరికి లంఘించు సింహంబు కరణి మెఱసి, నేఁడు భీష్మునిఁ జంపుదు నిన్నుఁ గాఁతు
విడువు మర్జున ! యంచు మద్విశిఖ వృష్టిఁ , దెరలి చనుదెంచు దేవుండు దిక్కు నాకు. (2-221)

The above is a part of the Bhagavatam written by Bammera Pothana in Telugu. This has become a favorite of mine since the time I first heard it, from a 1962 Telugu Movie called "Bheeshma", sung by Ghantasala.Context: This comes with a backdrop of On-Going war between Kauravas and Pandavas in Mahabharatha. While Bheeshma is compelled to take sides with Kauravas, the Bhagawan (Krishna) supports Pandavas. And since His might could not be compared with anyone in the battlefield, Krishna promises to only participate as the charioteer for Arjuna, and by Himself would not touch a weapon! However, Bheeshma starts pouring arrows from his bow on Arjuna's chariot and Arjuna could not handle it. And when the Bhagawan can take it no longer of this domination on Bheeshma, He resorts to bring up His Sudarshana and decides to slay Bheeshma with His own hands. Looking at this, Arjuna tries to stop Krishna, but Bheeshma prays to the Bhagawan to kill Him, so that he could be blessed with moksha.Meaning:With the crouching followed by the giant leap(of Bhagawan), the sky filled with the radiance of His armour; As the Bhagawan came running down, the entire cosmos and the world within His belly got shaken! When the Bhagawan held the Sudarshana (the chakra, His weapon), and deluged onward, the green loin across His shoulders slipped down! While all this happened, Arjuna followed the Bhagawan and pleaded Krishna, 'Pray, Do not insult my valour!!'.The Bhagawan then roared like a lion and shouted "Arjuna! Leave me! I am going to kill Bheeshma today and save you!", irritated by the continous rain of my (Bheeshma's) arrows! Indeed, He is my only saviour now!!Of course, I have no where justified the great description in the Telugu by one of the greatest scholars of India, Pothana, on his use of alankaras and figure of speech and poetic exuberance. This is just a post for my own self, as this poem remains my favorite forever!