Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Carnatic composers

Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#26  Postby Somashekar » 30 Apr 2011 23:22

After reading through all the threads below, to accept OVK as a pretrinity composer I feel, following questions must be answered.
1. Right from Subbaramadeekshitar till the latest musicologists no one has ever referenced OVK's name in their works. One thought expressed in one of the threads is that his compositions would have been secretly gaurded. However the immediate question that comes up is "What was the reason for such secrecy"?

2. To use Sankeerna Jaathi (as Nine aksharaas) and Gati Bheda is a very modern trend. This trend is well documented in the treatises. OVK has used Sankeerna Jaathi (as Nine aksharaas) and Gati Bheda in his compositions. To substantiate this, is there any evidence in the form of written documents or acceptable treatises?

3. History usually considers Epigraphical evidences, Contemporary works in the form of Kaavyas(poetry) Or any Archiological documents(Can include from the Contemporary Kings) etc, as evidences to decide upon the time frame. There are sufficient such proofs available in cases of Purandaradasaru, Annamacharyaru and Divine Trinity. Why are such proofs not being cited or produced in this case?

4. From the music point of View, it is a well known fact that ragas like Saraswathi, Jayanthasri etc are created by Thyagarajaru keeping SWARARNAVA as reference. If OVK's time frame is considered to be Pre-Trinity, how could he have created compositions in these ragas, in the time frame where there is no reference of these ragas in any of the contemporary texts and literature in the whole of South India.

5. One thread says OVK is disciple of Bhaskararaya in Srividya. But other post quotes that OVK is not a lineage of Bhaskararaya and further lists out all the disciples of Bhaskararaya.
The person who quotes OVK to be a disciple of Bhaskararaya has to provide an authentic proof for all of us to think over.

6. If OVK was a cult of Srividya, was he from Kaadi, Haadi or Saadi? What was his Deekshanama? All the composers till date have used their Deekshanama in one way or the other in their compositions. This is not seen in this case.

Until all the above questions are answered with sufficient proofs it would be better to keep OVK's time frame as disputed. However all said and done, lets concentrate more on his Musical contributions which we feel are much greater than his time frame.

Chintalapalli Somashekar
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#27  Postby chitravina ravikiran » 03 May 2011 18:24

Dear Rasikas,

When Lakshman ji and later on, Anoop brought this discussion to my attention and enquired whether I would be able to post responses here to clarify things, I had promised that I would do so personally as soon as I could take some time off. In the interim period, both of them were kind enough to post short responses from my side. I thank them for this.

There are several issues to be addressed here – some need detailed studies of the composer by the questioners themselves to be understood, as I have pointed out earlier. Whatever little I have been able to glean from my studies, I have endeavoured to share with the music world through concerts/articles/books/lectures/classes and courses. My book, “Oottukkadu Venkata Kavi – Life and Contributions” has covered most of the questions raised here and whatever updates/fresh information I recd after it was published (Aug 2007), I have continued to share.

These include my discussions with one of the descendants of OVK's brother's family (and a nephew of Needamangalam Krishnamurthy Bhagavatar), Mr Murthy, who was kind enough to provide me with fundamental information about his family records for close to 10 generations. This revealed a few significant facts

a. OVK had 5 brothers including Ramaswami Iyer and Krishna Iyer and his parents were SUBBU KUTTI IYER & VENKAMMA.
b. One of the sons of Ramaswami Iyer was Kattu Krishna Iyer who, according to musicologist Shri B M Sundaram, was in the Royal Court of King Amara Simha of Tanjore.
c. The family diety of OVK was Devi, even though his personal favourite was Lord Krishna. It is significant that he composed Kamakshi Navavaranams.

I have created an Excel document of the family tree based on information given to me during this discussion.

The next is reference to Bhaskara Raya. This was based on my discussions (in San Antonio) with Mr Venkat Subramanian, a descendant of a Minister in the Royal Court of King Serfoji.

"Based on the accounts of my Grand father Late Needamangalam Pattabhirama Iyer, His Grannd father's Grand father Ramaswamy Iyer was the minister with Serfoji Maharaja and big patron of music in the Needamangalam area. Ramaswamy Iyer was very close to OVK and his extenses family. According to my grand father OVK got diksha from the Shaktha tantric swamiji. The only swamiji that lived during that period was Bhaskara Raya. I therefore strongly believe the link between Bhaskara Raya and OVK."

Nevertheless, in all my articles, I have given this information only after qualifying it as OVK 'is believed to have' got his deeksha from Bhaskara Raya. This clearly means that the subject can be pursued further before definite statements are made. What is perhaps more significant is that the above mail proves that there were people of fairly impeccable credentials who were close to OVK during his times.

I will respond about a few other points in subsequent posts.

With regards, Ravikiran
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#28  Postby Pratyaksham Bala » 03 May 2011 18:30

chitravina ravikiran:
Thanks a lot for the clear, balanced and convincing write-up.
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#29  Postby rshankar » 03 May 2011 18:53

Sri Ravikiran, first off, welcome to these discussions! It is our honor and privilege!
Second, I highly recommend your book to everyone who is even remotely inetersted in the composer, his music, or in the history of music. It is a very beautifully written book, where the diligent scholraship is so well hidden in easy flowing prose (rather like you music, if I may say so).
Please do continue to contribute when you find the time.
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#30  Postby cmlover » 03 May 2011 19:48

Ravikiran:
A warm welcome to our Forum. We all appreciate your taking time to clarify historical issues about OVK. His place in CM is assured due to your untiring efforts. It will be great if you share your CM knowledge (Not just on OVK) through this forum for the benefit of our readership. I was overwhelmed at the depth of Music displayed in the Ramayana program at the recent Cleveland Festival. You deserve to be categorized as a Premier Vaggeyakaraka of the present generation. It will be nice for the CM community if you can share the lyrics as well as the audio for our listening and learning pleasure. Regards...
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#31  Postby mannari » 04 May 2011 15:24

Dear Ravikiran sir, I am following all the developments on this topic with keen interest. I have no doubt about the quality and quantum of hard work done for the betterment of Karnataka music by OVK in the past and yourself at present regarding exposing the compositions of OVK. So you need not convince anyone on the work done by you or OVK. The question to be answered precisely for the examples citing Kavyas and shasthras or music treatises refuting sankeerna (9) system during the period of OVK . I was hoping to get a correct answer in this regard. Secondly , we all beleave that the debutant ragas , proved to have been created by Thyagaraja Swamy, be it Saaramathi, Jayanthashree, Saraswathi etc., is from Naradamunis Swaraarnavam. So if at all any vaggeyakaras use these ragas for their compositions, it will have logical ending that their period is either 'during (as in the case of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal ) or after the trinity. So i humbly feel that if this topic beams more light on OVk's period rather than all the good research you have done on quality, quantity and various other aspects of OVK , which no one is questioning.
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#32  Postby chitravina ravikiran » 04 May 2011 22:57

Thank you all! I will definitely share any little thing that I am conversant with as often as possible.

In this post, let us focus on Svararnava, Narada and Saint Tyagaraja.

Most leading musicologists have 'disproved' this myth several decades back in Chennai. I was frankly surprised when this point was brought up with the prefix of 'well known fact by all'. But before I responded, I wanted to double check my information, which I did with Prof S R Janakiraman, who is among the most venerated scholar-musician-musicologist today. I summarise this discussion below:

1. There is absolutely no connection between the mythological sage Narada and any treatises ascribed to 'Narada' by anybody.

2. Narada could have just been pen name used by any author.

3. There are around 4 to 5 works ascribed to such 'Naradas' in Indian musical literature.

(a) Sangeeta Makarandam – 7 & 9th century, which is definitely a work good enough for Sarangadeva (1203-1247) to quote extensively.

(b) Desi nrtta samudram – no one has seen copies of this manuscript but it has been referred to by Dr Raghavan

(c) Raga nirnaya - Prof SRJ could not provide much info on this off the cuff.

(d) Swararnava – which Prof SRJ literally described as a 'hoax'.

4. The mention given by Saint Tyagaraja in Swara raga sudharasa of the word 'svararnava' is no more than a literal word, according to leading scholars. They opine that it should be interpreted literally (as a reference to the ocean of notes/music) and no more.

5. However, a few scholars initially got confused by this reference because Tyagaraja also composed eulogies on Sage Narada, even to the extent of considering him as his manaseeka guru. This resulted in the 'myth' about Tyagaraja-Narada.

6. Expert opinion is that Tyagaraja had probable access to another treatise, Sangraha Choodamani – authored by Govinda. Even this, in the words of Dr Raghavan, is an 'ill composed book'. Its main virtue is the new names/sequence for the 72 melas with scales (and reference to their original names) and a few ragas that Tyagaraja has also employed. Tyagaraja's relative and disciple, Manambuchavadi Venkata Subbaier possessed this book (or some parts of it). Copies were also supposed to have been in Saraswati Mahal Library.

7. The author doesn't specify the period in which he wrote this. But if Tyagaraja used it as a reference, the book could have been compiled a few decades before. There is a fair possibility that composers prior could have had access to it too, since it was in a great Library.

Notwithstanding all this, my take on this has been explained in my book under the title, "Ragas handled by OVK". My contentions are:

(a) Logically speaking, "a treatise only tells us that a raga/concept could not have originated after a given period, not exactly when it could have or did". For instance, if a book cites a raga, we know for sure that the raga could not have been discovered after that period, in case a latter day musician/composer claims it to be his/her creation. In an era when such things were not copyrighted nor information flow was as it is today, no scholar can say with certainty when a specific raga / concept was originated/who discovered it.

(b) Secondly, a treatise normally documents known and accepted practices (as known to the author at the time of writing). Therefore, mention of certain ragas as ragas known at a given time implies in most cases that these ragas were in vogue for a few decades, unless the author of the treatise claims credit for 'discovering' them.

(c) There is absolutely no documentary evidence to state that Tyagaraja 'invented' or 'created' ragas. In fact, a recent article even went to the extent of suggesting that many of his krtis have been 'modified' by the Tachur Brothers.

Finally, all good musicologists and scholars of the caliber of Prof SRJ / Dr Raghavan have cautioned everyone to not place too much only on books and treatises. They are not words of God but only those of human beings prone to natural errors. A treatise is ultimately only as good as the author and treatises cover a wide range of the good, bad and ugly.

More to come...!
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#33  Postby srikanthamshastry » 05 May 2011 00:24

vid ravikiran has accepted ovk- Bhaskararaya is his belief only. The then, bhaskararaya was not only there,even Lolla lakshmidhara's parampara was also there;but we cont add any one to whom, we know ; i have already given the list of bhasurananda/bhaskararaya's shishyas.There, ovk finds no place.Here i repeat,if some composer is a srividya deekshita means, at least he will tell his deekshanama &his guru.400 compositions of ovk never reveals this. :!: By this much discussion we can come to a conclusion about one thing,that, ovk is not a shishya of bhaskararaya;even we doubt his srividya deeksha.still some one is believing means, it is a emotional one,not a fact. I know narada-tyagaraja may be a myth;but swararnavam is not a myth.Dr.Raghavan himself has edited this ; it has been printed in kannada;It is for sri S.R.J'S kind perusal. If S.R.J is telling about Govinda's corrupted text, that was followed by tyagaraja means,we can really find some ragas for the first time in GOVINDA'S.we are using this 'ill composed book' & its raga's names even in ovk :!: IN this fact also we can easily say ovk is after Govinda.Actually Govindas work is a telugu version of muddu venkatamakhi.It refers SAMPOORNA MELAS than asampoorna melas., which is now a very popular one ( almost 99% musicians are using,including ravikiran,S.R.J etc.,) than venkatamakhi paddathi.
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#34  Postby Singer_USA » 05 May 2011 08:22

Shri. Shastry,

As a student of music, I would like to know more about the krithis you have studied. You have mentioned the following in the first post.

2.His compositions are filled with modern sancharas and especially parallels which actually is a modern approach in composing kritis which cannot be seen in trinity period.

Could you please shed some light on what compositions use modern sancharas? Are there speicific sangathis in any composition that makes you think, they are modern.

How do you classify a sanchara or approach as modern or ancient?
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#35  Postby srikanthamshastry » 05 May 2011 16:21

usually i don't want to discuss with whom having pen name instead of their real names,because they may say something &disappears.It will be a spit & Run policy. They are with their respective names means some how we can catch them;In spite of that,I will say as a humble student of karnataka music as below. In gamakams so many verieties are there. my revered guru sri, Akella mallikarjuna sharmagaru,classifies these as1.shastreeya gamaka 2. lalitha gamaka;in some ovks compositions,for ex.swagatam krishna, it gives a filmy sangathis than classical.parallels like gaga sarigapa garisada;riri padasari sasadapa.....are exists in alaapa,not in usual kritis.we dont find such sangathis in others compositions.you may asume it,as ovks speciality,but not; here ear is the real judge.(hearing lot of classical music) confirms this factor.I can demonstrate these than writing;I want to say one thing here,i have done some research on ovks compositions,& its chandas, shabda prayoga,yathi, prasa, vadi etc..,&same will be shared here in future.thanking you all, Srikantham nagendra shastry.
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata Kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#36  Postby chitravina ravikiran » 05 May 2011 18:03

I will address a few more points raised by Mr Shastri from post #1.

Venkata Kavi has composed in complex taLas like Khanda Dhruvam, Sankeerna Matyam, Mishra Ata and so on which was not a prevailing trend or practice in trinity period and also changes in naDe or gati was not popular practice in trinity period.


It was very much a prevailing practice in earlier times. What we now consider complex was probably routine then.

(a) Saraswati Mahal Library publication 'Shabdam ennum Sorkattukkal' (1997) has established that composers were proficient in tala, much prior to 1750s. It talks about colourful features and sophisticated talas in compositions with examples from works of Chaturlaksham Krishnamachari (a forerunner of Annamacharya), Muttuttandavar, Arunagirinathar, Ottakkoottar and others before trinity.

(b) One of the compositions mentioned in this book is in Sankeerna triputa.

(c) There are scores of Tiruppugazh of Arunagirinathar that not only covers the five jatis widely used today but also in several other complex meters.

(d) Shyama Shastri's guru, Sangeeta Swami advised him to listen to Pachimiriam Adiappaiah acknowledged to have been the creator of the first varnam. And his choice was Khanda Ata, not Adi...

(e) Shyama Shastri himself handled talas such as Khanda Jhampa, Chaturashra Ata and Tishra Mathya.

'sangeeta sampradaya pradarshini' of subbarama deexitar does not mention shri OVK's name in its first chapter of ' vaggeyakara charitam' which covers almost all eminent composers of pre and post trinity period starting from saranga deva to patnam subrahmanya Iyer. Does it mean to say that sri subbarama deexitar was unaware of the name OVK


Yes, just as he was unaware of Annamacharya. The SSP is a magnum opus indeed but it is not exhaustive. It has not provided key details like periods of most composers. It has provided some incorrect details like Tyagaraja composed 'Narada gana lola' on Narada. (The song is entirely in praise of Lord Rama, though the opening word is Narada.)

Going further, if SSP were to be considered as gospel, what would be the status of the 250-odd compositions of Muttuswami Dikshitar's songs which are not in it? The same questions can be raised. Was Subbarama Dikshitar not aware of his own ancenstor's compositions? Did he think them unfit to include? I am not casting aspersions on SSP or Subbarama Dikshitar but only trying to show that questions cannot be settled by blindly accepting treatises, in a selective fashion.

But a close look into the history and to his compositions draw our attention to a different inference all together.


Can Mr Shastri tell rasikas how close a look he has had? And at how many compositions of OVK? This will help everyone understand his inference better.

I have maintained that unless a significant portion of a composer's works are not studied, one cannot get the right perspectives or arrive at the right conclusions. Here is an example: If a scholar were to look at Shree shukra bhagavantam of Dikshitar in isolation, he could jump to a conslusion that a composer who arbitrarily changed vibhaktis and shifted from indirect speech to direct speech cannot be considered even average. However, only after a study of at least 50/100 masterpieces of Dikshitar would (s)he even feel a sense of awe and humility when approaching even this piece and wonder at the possible reasons for a mega brain like Dikshitar's to have come up with a Shree shukra. The same holds good for OVK too. As he himself says in aDimuDi kANAda (husEni),

innAr innapaDi enRe terinda pin eDuttu sholvadE nIti
ennAle shonnadalla inda pazhamozhi ettanaiyO pEr shonna shEdi

His compositions are filled with modern sancharas and especially parallels which actually is a modern approach in composing kritis which cannot be seen in trinity period.


On the surface of it, this sounds like a scholarly, objective assertion, based on deep study. The word 'filled' suggests an image of each composition having a few such modern sancharas. Can Mr Shastri give an insight into what are 'modern sancharas' and provide at least one example per song for about 50% of OVK's works to establish his contention? This is nothing personal - but anyone airing conclusions or value assessments must do so with facts and examples.

I have given significant points which suggests that the family records (or those of descendants of Ramaswami Iyer etc) are not far off the mark about OVK's period - even after accounting for 15-20% of errors. Let us recap on some of the features:

1. Jatis: The usage of this almost vanished from the time of trinity (Among trinity, only MD used in Anandanatana prakasham and Shree Mahaganapati). OVK has used them in quite a few compositions which make his music instantly suitable for dance as well.

2. Gati bhedams: Never used by trinity and very sparingly by a few composers afterwards.

3. Sophisticated talas: Even though a few talas were employed by trinity and others such as Mysore Sadashiva Rao, the percentage came down heavily.

4. Madhyamakalas: This dazzling feature has become more of a punctuation mark used at the end of sections, if at all employed. OVK has used it skillfully and colourfully.

In short, four challenging features were eliminated / reduced in proportion by Trinity and most who followed - compositions became much simpler and therefore more accessible to more artistes, students and rasikas. I have contended that making music more accessible is probably the greatest contribution of the trinity.

Another feature seen in OVK but not in latter composers is the use of Marathi, which was prevalent in the Tanjore belt but gradually diminished in importance towards the latter stages of 18th century.

Against this backdrop, where is the 'modern' facet of OVK's compositions?

OVK has composed NavAvaraNa kritis , but a close look into these kritis reveal certain mistakes


This point has been admirably clarified by Shri Sankaranarayanan in post 25 and the example of Dikshitar's Shree shukra augments it.

b. 5th and 6th chakras are interchanged in their order and charecteristics, same with 7th and 8th chakras.
c.sarva rakshakara chakra's adhi devata tripura maalini is been replaced by tripuravaasini of 4th chakra.


Conclusively disproved in post # 10, point 5.

It is true that OVK has mentioned names of only pre-trinity composers but that can't be stated as an evidence ...


The accepted manner of assessing any internal evidence with respect to period is to study works and look for historical references and as Rangaramanuja Ayyangar notes 'OVK's references to composers such as Jayadeva is of historical significance'. When a composer mentions more than 100 personalities, it is very logical to see who was the last historically, to establish at least a ballpark figure/use as a cross reference.

vid ravikiran has accepted ovk- Bhaskararaya is his belief only.


Mr Shastri has understood the exact opposite of what is meant by the qualified usage - 'believed to have been'.

Post #17:
It is believed that ‘swararNava’ grantha was given to tyagaraja by Naradamuni. Does it mean to say that Narada gave svararnava to OVK before giving it to Tyagaraja?


Post #32: It was established conclusively that Narada muni-Tyagaraja connection was a myth. This had been one of the points repeatedly mentioned by Mr Shastri and a few others.

Post #33:
I know narada-tyagaraja may be a myth;


If Mr Shastri knew this, he has to explain why he deliberately used a myth to query a 'fact' about OVK and mislead a few new rasikas who echoed him almost verbatim (post #26/31)?

Before I sign off, let me clarify an incorrect point I made in post #32. Prof SRJ never said that Swararnava the treatise was a hoax. Only its tie up to a celestial Narada-Tyagaraja.
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#37  Postby chitravina ravikiran » 05 May 2011 18:21

Just after my reply, I saw Mr Shastri's post about 'lalita' gamakas and one sangati as one of his pointers to OVK's modern-ness. His contention is subjective and incorrect - an artiste can make even a Mukhari filmy or a Kadanakutoohala classical. Similarly, even an 'Alaippayude' can be rendered with high degree of classicism. A composer cannot be judged on that as 'modern'. His point about parallel phrases not seen in other composers can be disproved with numerous examples such as Darini telusu konti (which revels in such usages). But whether Tyagaraja himself composed such sangatis or they were latter day insertions would be a matter of debate.
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#38  Postby Ponbhairavi » 05 May 2011 21:08

The posting no 34 of Singetr USA has almost disarmed the initiator of this thread already and the matter appeared closed .But even after that you have spent so much of your time to make such detailed irrefutable clarifications on all aspects of this issue including the most elementary and this shows your systematic research mind and your commitment to the thesis. The total of all your postings would run in substance to almost four times more than those made out by the anti thesis. I am amazed by your patience and restraint.
I have carefully read your book on O V K . Somehow there are persons who want to believe that carnatic music came to Tamil Nadu only after Thyagaraja and through Telegu. In O V K we have a giant who is in no way inferior to any other composer and whose compositions are to a great extent in Tamil in a startling variety of ragas and thalas. Unfortunately Tamil nadu music world itself was not conscious of this treasure and did not give due recognition and exposure to this composer(until recently after your unearthing work ) probably because he might have belonged to the bhagavathar tradition ( Sampradaya bhajanai) which would account for the presence of jathis and until recently music in bhajanai and music in dance were considered as lesser music.
Your book is a cornerstone in revealing this PRE- Thyagaraja composer to the music world.
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#39  Postby srikanthamshastry » 05 May 2011 22:03

now also i am saying,narada-tyagaraja may be a myth;but not swararnava;it has been printed by raghavan.please read that.Ithink pon bhairavi has not studied tyagarajaswamy,being a tamilian if she feels proud, we have no objection; but she is worried about tyagarajas telugu origion,she can do aradhana of ovk than tyagaraja.I criticise her prejudised thinking.I request mr. ravikiran to change the way of presenting swagatam krishna in filmy manner. now a days some of ovks compositions are in this line.regarding bhaskara raya;after proving also you are not accepting means it is a prejudistic one;nothing else; For sankeerna we may get ref. but sankeernas value was not fixed as 9. if this is done by ovk means ,he must be the first who destroyed the other verieties of sankeerna,namely, divyasankeerna, misra sankeerna,desya sankeerna etc..,even now i say 9 is not only the value of sankeerna.all should think ,my time is as precious as ravikiran's. In this orguement each & everybodies time is imp.I want to show the chandobhangam, yathibhangam, prasabhangam in ovks compositions one by one,It will start from his navaavarana krutis. I want the readers to glance that krutis, so in the days to come,I can explain easily.
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#40  Postby ShrutiLaya » 05 May 2011 23:40

This is a fascinating thread, and I would hate to see it degenerate into OVK vs. Thyagaraja or Tamil vs. Telugu match - I enjoy all of these greatly. I also fail to see what light xxxxbhangams would shed on the original question, viz. the time period of OVK.

Sri. Ravikiran, can I ask a couple of basic questions - not as argument, but because I really would like to know the answers. Is there an authoritative source of OVK's compositions? Did he or any of his direct disciples write them down, or did some later treatise compile the then known compositions, or have they come to us purely by oral tradition? What is the earliest reference to OVK in any written work - textbook/ biography/ krithi whatever - that you have been able to discover?

Also, can you give the full citation for your book, and where it can be purchased?

- Sreenadh
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#41  Postby ShrutiLaya » 06 May 2011 01:28

I don't know what the ultimate source is (perhaps even Sri.Ravi Kiran's book?) but there is an interesting 19 page writeup at http://www.rramakrishnan.com/Articles/M ... hukadu.pdf which appears to answer several of my basic questions ..

- Sreenadh
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#42  Postby mannari » 06 May 2011 02:04

dear sirs, It is a well known fact that incidents relating to famous persons , particularly those who become idols for many in any field , let alone in the field of music, are highlighted or written in such a way that it is either unbelievable or scientifically possible ( for example Jayadeva getting his amputated limbs back or a Swine leading Narayana Thirtha to Varahapuri to cure his stomach ailment etc., ) But these legends do not discredit the fantastic work done by them. They are i think, done mainly by hardcore fans as emotional ambulations to that particular personality to boost up the image . While this is not necessary , legends and tales of miracles do not stop. Narada's swaraarnava is also one such case. As mr Shasthri rightly points out Swaraanava 's existence is true but Narada's propriety in Swaraarnava should only be clarified by Narada himself! ( may be by appearing in the dream of a third umpire ). Questioning the validity of any thing inherited from time to time as rich heritage should not be done. If one questions the authenticity of sage Valmikhi, who wrote our sacred epic, the legendary crow narrating the story to ... come along the line in the vicinity of that subject. Can anyone declare in the name of research or by a quote of a person refute this ? then whole epic stands null and void. There should not have been millions of temples all over the world. If OVK's compositions contains raagas mentioned in swaraarnava or sankeerna jaathi thaala or modern style of writing then his period is after the period of trinities as simple as that . Then why the argument and counter argument as if it is a personal feud to accept something logically ? But trust me , I am learning a lot of interesting things on how so many things are involved and the amazing knowledge of person arguing logically
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#43  Postby Enna_Solven » 06 May 2011 06:31

mannari wrote: If OVK's compositions contains raagas mentioned in swaraarnava or sankeerna jaathi thaala or modern style of writing then his period is after the period of trinities as simple as that . Then why the argument and counter argument as if it is a personal feud to accept something logically ? But trust me , I am learning a lot of interesting things on how so many things are involved and the amazing knowledge of person arguing logically

A simple yes or no answer does not seem to be available for the question being discussed. I do not see Sri Ravikiran's detailed and non-emotional replies as the kind of "personal feud" you refer to. If you read the pdf file that ShrutiLaya refers to (this seems to be written by Sri Ravikiran), you will see a very reasonable analysis. I have pasted that part for your convenience here.

CluesToPeriod
Needamangalam Krishnamurthy Bhagavatar has mentioned in page 14 of his long notebook that certain references he saw in the Saraswati Mahal library, Tanjore help him place Oothukkadu Venkata Kavi's period somewhere in the 1600-1700s. In this one page summary, he mentions Tanjore Maratha kings and some other leading personalities connected to Venkata Kavi but he has not mentioned clearly the books he referred to before arriving at this conclusion. He talks of Kattau Krishna Iyer, brother of Venkata Kavi being a court musician of Pratapasimha, whose period as ruler of Tanjore is generally accepted as 1741-1764. But Krishnamoorthy Bhagavatar, mentions (in his notes, found in a long notebook, Page 14) that there was another Pratapasimha much before this, something that needs to be verified.
While there is little reason to doubt the honesty and integrity of Venkata Kavi's descendants as to their ancestor's life history, it is a fact that sufficient supporting evidence from other sources is scarce. In such a situation, the internal evidence available in his works gains considerable prominence. A quick look at some of these.
ReferenceToPersonalities
Definitely, Oothukkadu Venkata Kavi lived after Tulasidasa, who is the last of the greats mentioned in his compositions Maybe, he lived after Bhadrachala Ramadasa too, if the two compositions narrating the story of Ramadasa (seen in Krishnmurthy Bhagavatar's long notebook) can conclusively be proved to be his.The style of at least one of them surely seems to point to that.
Venkata Kavi has mentioned scores of great people in his works including many rare ones like Bhurishena, Pippilada and Utanga. He has also composed whole pieces devoted to some of them like Jayadeva, Shuka, Valmiki, the sixty three nayanmars etc. These reflect his deep knowledge about them and his profound humility. The fact that his references end with Tulasidasa (or Ramadasa at most) is a telling pointer to his period.He must have lived before the Trinity or been a contemporary at most.
Style
Oothukkadu Venkata Kavi's style is quite unique and does not bear much resemblance to the Trinity or latter day composers.Even the tunes are quite original which is a very strong clue in itself.Attempts are also being made to look for clues in the Sanskrit or Tamil compositions for linguistic usages that may help one place a finger on the period with reasonable accuracy
MarathiCompositions
Venkata Kavi has tried his hand on Marathi in a few of his compositions.The corrupted version of that language in his pieces points to a period when that language was reasonably popular in the Tanjore area in this form. This was during the rule of the Maratha kings like Ekoji, Shaji, Tulajaji etc. It is interesting to note
that there are few other Marathi compositions in the Carnatic music repertoire.
All said and done, there is little doubt that Venkata Kavi's works place him in a league of his own.
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#44  Postby Enna_Solven » 06 May 2011 07:25

srikanthamshastry wrote:usually i don't want to discuss with whom having pen name instead of their real names,because they may say something &disappears.It will be a spit & Run policy. They are with their respective names means some how we can catch them;

Unfortunately, you should not have entered into any discussion in this internet forum that is rasikas.org. I see mostly pen names, including mine. The moderators on the forum too do not use their real names but they have not run away. People have posted several thousand times without running away. It is premature for you to write this on your 13th post. Anyway, even if I write here something bad using my real name, you can't catch me: First part is the Lord of the seven hills, second part is the Lord of one of the famous temples in Thanjavur district and my last name is the clan much maligned by the Dravida parties of Tamil Nadu. There must be thousands of people in TN with that name. :!:

Also, I have not seen any measured reply from you for Sri Ravikiran's responses. Please compare the style of your posts 33, 35 and 39 vs. your original post. Also you have started abusing OVK himself by saying he destroyed stuff (your post 39), whom you graciously referred to as Shri OVK in the first post.

What I take away from this thread so far:
- Sri Ravikiran does not categorically say that OVK lived before the trinity, but that the available data point that way.

- You say you want to find out the real period but do not pay heed to any argument which points the period to before trinity. I repeat what I said in an earlier post: There is no point in entering any inquiry with a foregone conclusion. That is equivalent to our tragicomical parliamentary commissions. You call Sri Ravikiran prejudiced. His 'prejudice' seems to be based on logical analysis but I don't see a coherent reply from you other than "so in the days to come,I can explain easily." and "&same will be shared here in future".

However, I must thank you. If you had not raised this I would not have had a chance to read this nice thread.

I do want to know more about the usage of the 'later period' ragas by OVK though.
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#45  Postby msakella » 06 May 2011 08:42

A well-disciplined system of any thing forms a tradition. In the course of evolution either to make it easier or more flexible to a common man or even to induct some new things into it to get easy fame or funds some modifications intrude later even though that is also called a ‘tradition’ but with some intruded indiscipline. Just, if we analyse the available material, for example:

(a) in respect of Saint Thyagaraja, all his compositions are said to have come out in a trance while performing Unchavritti and his disciples following him scribbled them and kept intact. All his compositions are addressed to the Almighty only and they all are very strictly in the very commonly used Adi (Chaturashra-gati or Trisra-gati), Rupakam, Khanda-chapu, Mishra-chapu, Deshadi, Madhyadi, Jhampa-talas but not in any other varieties of Talas.

(b) later, when it came to Muthuswamy Dikshitar, he himself composed them among which one composition, Venkateshwara Yettappa Mashrayeham-Megharanjani-Rupakam, is composed in praise of a human-being and his compositions are extended to other Talas also but not beyond Sapta-talas.

(c) later, again when it came to Shyama Shastry, he also composed his compositions addressing only the Almighty but in other Talas also but not beyond Sapta-talas even though he used only one rhythmical-form calling it Sharabhanandanam, which should not be rendered at all according to the well-established norms of Prastara of Tala. Both the contestants, either Shyama shastry or Bobbili Kesavayya, are not aware of the intricacies of Talaprastara but, accordingly and surprisingly, Shayama Shastry thought that he defeated Bobbili Kesavayya and the poor Bobbili Kesavayya also throught that he was defeated. However, either knowingly or un-knowlingly, Shyama Shastry used only one rhythmical-form which should not be rendered.

(d) later, again when it came to Arunagirinathar, he composed many of his compositions in various rhythmical-forms (or prosodical forms) but our musicians started using them to sing along with ‘Talas’
very conveniently forgetting the rules and restrictions of the ten elements of ‘Tala’. But, I think this is the intruded indipline of our musicians only but not of Arunagirinathar, the Great.

(e) later, again when it came to the present period, along with all the previous diluted deeds in decreasing order, now, people are also singing different gatis for each Kriya in a single cycle of Tala without minding even the norms of Mridanga where the duration of any Kriya of a Tala will never be elongated or shortened according to the Gati played and

now, thus, we have this kind of evolution and we are compelled to call it tradition in spite of all the intruded indiscipline. amsharma
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#46  Postby Enna_Solven » 06 May 2011 08:54

(d) later, again when it came to Arunagirinathar,

akellaji, please don't start another period issue here. :) Arunagirinathar was much before the trinity, not after.
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#47  Postby msakella » 06 May 2011 09:11

Dear Enna Solven, Chi. Shrikantham Nagendra Shastry is my disciple and as a responsible teacher (but not cheater) I always try to guide him properly. Long ago, having experienced some unhappy and unpleasant dialogues with an irrational and ill-cultured person in the sub-thread, AMS Easy Methods 2007-CD in the main thread, Music School, I have myself cautioned my disciple, Chi. Shastry to be careful with the persons using anonymous names just like all the people naturally using doors and locks to be safe from burglars. Everybody is not a burglar but everybody remains cautious with burglars. I think that is natural but not premature. amsharma
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#48  Postby Singer_USA » 06 May 2011 09:45

Dear Shastry,
It is good that you have started this discussion, we get to learn about various points of view. I have actually signed my name earlier in Post #6 and #7, so I thought I don't need to repeat it.

When I learn a composition, I usually don't worry about the time period in which the composer lived in. Each composers work stands out. I know that Shri.Ravikiran has compared the compositions of Dikshitar to Coconut and that of OVKs to Mangoes. Mangoes can be enjoyed with or without the skin, whereas it takes some amount of effort to break the coconut before one can enjoy it. But neither is inferior to other.
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#49  Postby Pratyaksham Bala » 06 May 2011 11:32

srikanthamshastry wrote:... Ithink pon bhairavi has not studied tyagarajaswamy ...

Your thinking is wrong.

srikanthamshastry wrote:... she is worried about tyagarajas telugu origion ...

Again you are wrong. Ponbhairavi is Shri Ponbhairavi. And he is not worried about Shri Tyagabrahmam's telugu origin. Why should anyone worry about the origin of Shri Tyagabrahmam who was born and brought up in Tamil Nadu?

Please check his post once again.

In fact many in Tamil Nadu are proud that a Maratha King could graciously gift a bit of Tamil land to Shri Tyagabrahmam's father, a Telugu Brahmin, and that Shri Tyagabrahmam could live in that place for a long time before he decided to sell it.

srikanthamshastry wrote:... I criticise her prejudised thinking.

mm... ... It is not difficult to follow forum ethics, and it is never too late.

srikanthamshastry wrote:... In this orguement each & everybodies time is imp...

Yes.

srikanthamshastry wrote:... I want to show the chandobhangam, yathibhangam, prasabhangam in ovks compositions one by one,It will start from his navaavarana krutis. I want the readers to glance that krutis, so in the days to come,I can explain easily.

You are welcome. This is a forum of Rasikas who anxiously look forward to meaningful discussions.
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Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

#50  Postby msakella » 06 May 2011 13:49

Dear Enna_Solven, To tell the fact, I am neither worried about their period nor to make it another issue but about the person who started diluting things in the absence of proper knowledge. Of course, I very well know that this kind of dilution started right from Sharngadeva himself and successfully followed by many others in one way or the other till date. amsharma
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