Value of OVK's contributions

Carnatic composers

Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#51  Postby cmlover » 18 May 2011 01:05

Actually Siva had six faces one of which is hidden. It is the adho mukham which becomes manifest only on special occasions. When skanda was created a spark from each of the six faces emanated which joined in the sharavaNa poigai to create the six children later unified by Parvati into the single Shanmuga. Kripananda variar clearly deliniates the birth of skanda in his discourses. In fact Shanmuga is a spitting image of his Father with each face resembling his dad (with three eyes etc.,)
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#52  Postby rshankar » 18 May 2011 01:09

Sri Ravikiran - thank you....the words gave me goosebumps...I will download the song when I get home...It is awesome....loved the part where the sun becomes the ball!
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#53  Postby Ponbhairavi » 18 May 2011 01:32

Thanks R.K. for the information about OVK's telegu composition
I think that there are no composition of thyagaraja in tamil either,

now about the five faces. I revised some puranic tales. According to kandapuranam, MURUGA kills Surapadman. In the final battle every time Muruga's vel takes off one head of Surapadman. he comes back with another head which Muruga takes off again. This happens five times successively(remember the kanda sashti festival at tiruchendur where the idols of the lord and that of the demon walk back and forth 5 times ) This boon of 5 resurrections was given to Surapadman by Lord Siva. So Muruga surpasses the boon given by Siva ( mEleri), anju mugam kanda to be taken to mean won over five heads.This also sounds Ok
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#54  Postby hamsaa » 18 May 2011 11:05

Chitravina Ravikiran wrote:

OVK has used this phrase in a couple of other pieces too like sEnApatE namOstutE (gowLa).


Another one I can think of is the Dhyana stuti in Kalyani of the navavaranam set - Vancchasi yadi.

gajamukha guruguha vinutAm
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#55  Postby cmlover » 18 May 2011 19:20

Interesting puranic interpretation ponbhairavi!
You can also use the plain interpretation of 'anju = fearing' to suggest that he witnessed
the element of fear on Surapadman (since he was never afraid of anybody until he encountered the prowess of Muruga...)
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#56  Postby chitravina ravikiran » 18 May 2011 22:59

Very instructive to read the various interpretations of just the first lines of this composition. A great rasika once wrote that creativity of a true artiste can be measured by the extent to which he/she is able to stimulate imagination among listeners. The same holds good for creativity among composers like OVK, Tyagaraja, MD etc. Every look at some of the pieces can give us fresh perspectives.

I have been wondering about the last two lines of the charanam of this song, which I have reproduced entirely. Audio of this is available in an album that I played for King Records in Japan (with Tiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam and Ghatam Karthick).

husEni - Adi tALA.

P: aDimuDi kANAda deivattin mElEri anju mukham kaNDa deivamE engaL
Arumukham kaNDa deivamE engaL Arumukham koNDa deivamE

A: paDi palavAna pazhani malaimElE pArkkat-tighaTTAda panniru kai vElA

innAr innapaDi enrE terinda pin eDuttu sholvadenrO nIti
ennAlE sholvadalla indap-pazhamozhi ettanaiyO pEr shonna shEdi
shonnAlum teriyAda tUya niraivAna shuddha nirguNamAna jyOti
ponnAlE AnAl enna - Ambalam ambalamE pinnAl teriyum anda shEdi


The last two lines (in bold) suggest some kind of a sequel song? Or is it a philosophical ending? There are a few songs of OVK which have baffled scholars at times but meanings have been found after deeper studies.
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#57  Postby rshankar » 18 May 2011 23:11

Sri Ravikiran, IMO, he is alluding to the 'cidambara rahasiyam' through those lines...
shonnAlum teriyAda tUya niraivAna shuddha nirguNamAna jyOti
ponnAlE AnAl enna - Ambalam ambalamE pinnAl teriyum anda shEdi

The cidambara rahasiyam is 'open space' - cidAkAram - could also be a light (jyOti) that is truly (Suddha) without guNa, good or bad (nirguNamAna), filled (niraivAna) immaculate purity (tUya) that ordinary mortals cannot understand (teriyAda) even if explained (SonnAlum) to us. So what (enna) if that (temple) is made of gold (ponnAlE AnAl) (reference to the ponnambalam), a temple (ambalam) is a just temple (ambalamE); but that (anda) secret/knowledge (SEdi) will become apparent (teriyum) later (pinnAl)...
pinnAl could also mean 'after embracing' or 'becoming one with (the lord)'
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#58  Postby cmlover » 18 May 2011 23:28

nice explanation!
But this is a song on Muruga and not Nataraja!
How does this fit?
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#59  Postby chitravina ravikiran » 19 May 2011 00:16

Shankar,

I agree with that explanation and I had arrived at it too.

1. But as CML says, how is that linked to this song on Muruga?

2. Also the first 4 lines of the charanam talks about the ideal approach for a judge. Would that be tied to the famous mango story where Muruga felt that the judgement was not fair, which in turn resulted in glory for Pazhani as a kShEtra?

3. If one were to take pinnal teriyum anda sheidi literally, it could be a prelude to another opera or at least sequel that he composed (or intended to compose).

Some OVK experts have linked Adinan vilaiyadinan (Sama) as a prelude to the operatic song on pranavopadesham.

Musically speaking, Huseni for this song is a great choice by OVK for a song that has blended lilting and peppy elements with a mild percentage of hasya rasa thrown in... He has used the same raga for satire on Krishna in another composition, ADum varai avar ADaTTum.

PS: I am giving audio information because a few rasikas like Sreenadh ji felt that it would be nice to hear the audios to relate better to the musical values of OVK.
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#60  Postby cmlover » 19 May 2011 20:33

innAr innapaDi enrE terinda pin eDuttu sholvadenrO nIti
ennAlE sholvadalla indap-pazhamozhi ettanaiyO pEr shonna shEdi
shonnAlum teriyAda tUya niraivAna shuddha nirguNamAna jyOti
ponnAlE AnAl enna - Ambalam ambalamE pinnAl teriyum anda shEdi


To explain this caraNam you have to take it as a whole:
I resort to Tamil here for ease of explanation since the main points will be lost in translation. My apologies...
I am posting the audio rather than in Tamil scripts since some of you may not be able to read Tamil..
http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?dtndj7c0kcrl8e6
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#61  Postby rshankar » 19 May 2011 22:20

cmlover wrote:nice explanation!
But this is a song on Muruga and not Nataraja!
How does this fit?
OOps...doesn't fit....
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#62  Postby Ponbhairavi » 20 May 2011 16:37

May I venture one Possible interpretation?
The subject of the song is Muruga
-Pallavi talks about the prowess of Muruga son of Siva who has slain the five faced Asura.
- Anupallavi talks specifically of the lord who dwells on the Hill Palani . The word Hill brings forth to his mind the thought of another hill with which a story is attached. Hence the coherence with charanam.
- In the first 2 lines of the charanam OVK lays foundation that he is going to talk about some secret controversy which should be exposed ( eduthu cholvadhu) told only after knowing the person’s conviction and beliefs( innar innabadi).– OVK who has composed songs on Muruga and Krishna does not have personally any saivam vaishnavam bedham that is why this elaborate precaution. Caution again:

- I am not the person who is telling this proverb ( old orally propagated story )this has been told by so many people
Even If you say this( story) people cannot see it( theriyadha)
In the olden days there was a story that the idol atop the Tirupathi hill was in fact that of muruga but the idol is covered with gold kavacham to make it look like Perumal.
This jyothi (refer to Arunagirinathar’s “deepa mangala jyothi namo namo to indicate Muruga ) which is the immaculate complete and suddha nirguna brahmam what if it is covered with gold ? ambalam ambalame everything is space only( in the meaning of advaithic paramporul - ) this will be resolved in some future day.
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#63  Postby rshankar » 20 May 2011 19:29

Ponbhairavi - wonderful....!!!
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#64  Postby cmlover » 20 May 2011 19:32

interesting insight!
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#65  Postby chitravina ravikiran » 20 May 2011 22:54

Thank you CML and PB for very interesting and insightful interpretations. I also checked CML's audio explanation. Since the piece offers us scope to interpret, here is another thought that came to me... Please see if it makes sense.

1. The Pallavi says Muruga did what Brahma and Vishnu could not do - see the very limit of Shiva.

2. The charanam puts him on a pedastal with respect to Shiva himself - without alluding to his role as Shiva's guru.

3. Even if the tUya niraivAna shuddha nirguNamAna jyOti was made to get an abode of Gold (ponnAlE AnAl enna), the secret of ambalam (chidambaram/akasha/Shiva) is now ambalamE (out in the open). It was Muruga who had to give the upaesham to his father...

Tthe hero of this piece has been projected even above the Trinity without even mentioning their names... It also looks like OVK is playing on the word ambalam. He was a master of word play in both Tamil and Sanskrit and I will share more examples soon.
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#66  Postby cmlover » 20 May 2011 23:22

That sounds quite reasonable since it boosts the image of Muruga.
But then are you sure there is no missing charanam here?
Again there is no madhyama kaalam here which apparently is a favourite of OVK!
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#67  Postby chitravina ravikiran » 21 May 2011 04:37

OVK and Madhyamakala

OVK is one of the greatest masters of madhyamakala in Indian music. It has to be noted that MK is one of the most dazzling features of music, when handled by a master composer. However, for musicians, it can be highly daunting - because it requires tremendous skills in melody, rhythm and pronunciation as well as lyrics as well as breath-control. But true skill lies in being able to master MK and render it with bhava, rakti and bhakti, be it the works of OVK, Tyagaraja, MD, Mysore Sadashiva Rao or HH Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar's compositions. But this is not impossible, if one works hard.

MK is generally used as an optional part by most composers, often to serve as a contrast/punctuation point. Almost invariably, it is used only at the end of a section. However, OVK has employed MK in at least 10 different ways. It is surely one of his greatest melodic contributions and one of his most distinctive features as well. From the point of view of MK usage, his compositions can be classified as below:

1. Pieces with no madhyamakalas.
Eg: Rajaraja gopala (Manji), Ennadan inbam kandayo (Devagandhari), Parvai onre podume (Surati) - Adi 2-kalais.
Taye yashoda (Todi), Kathaya kathaya (Suruti), Adimudi kanada (Huseni) Adi 1-kalai.
Enna punniyam sheideno sad gurunatha and Koti janmani saphalani santu (Reetigowla) - Mishra Chapu
Agama rajagopala (Kedaram) and Vandaduvum ponaduvum (Bilahari) - Khanda Chapu.

2. Compositions which are wholly in MK. Eg: Pranavakaram (Arabhi) and Ananda nartana ganapatim - Nattai

3. Pieces mostly in MK but have normal speed sections more for contrast. Eg: Shri Vighnarajam bhaje (Gambheeranattai) and Chintittavar These are brilliant examples which inverse conventional concept of compositions where MKs are used in small doses more as contrast.

4. Conentional pieces with a sprinkling of MK: Hundreds of examples like Geeta rasike (Kalyani), Brindavana nilaye (Reetigowla), Adinan (Sama).

5. Pieces with several charanams in MK: Saptaratna krtis, Ranganatham anisham (Gambheeranattai) and Kshanameva Ganya (Bhoopalam).

6. Pieces where MK is used within a section, in between 2 lines in normal speeds: Aganita mahima (Gowla), Vanchasi yadi kushalam (Kalyani). Here the first lines are in normal speed, there will be a line in MK and then the music moves back to normal speed.

7. Pieces where MK fits into pre-composed jati patterns: Marakata manimaya (Arabhi), Nalladalla enru sholladi (Shankarabharanam), Bhuvanamoha sundara (Dhanyashi) etc...

8. Pieces where MK is used with the same melody but lyrical variations - sahitya sangatis: Mahashaya hrdaya (Abhogi)

9. Pieces in MK in two gatis: Uma maheshwaratmajam (Umabharanam), Mummada vezha mukhattu vinayakan (Nattai).

10. Pieces which use MK in 2 degrees of speeds (double and quadriple): Oyyaramahave (Saranga), Vitasamavara (Vasanta).

As one can see, just this one aspect - madhyamakala - would alone by sufficient to give one an idea of OVK's stature as a master of melody, rhythm and lyrics. But it is still only a small part of him...
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#68  Postby Ponbhairavi » 21 May 2011 08:02

Rk's interpretation is also very apt. But it does not account for the apologetic precaution that ovk takes in the first 2 lines of the charanam. The transition is cautiously introduced here before what he is going to divulge in the next two lines. then the final PinnAlE theriyum andha shedi.Murugan's preeminence over Shiva is a poetic statement acceptable at any point of time and it has nothing that only future can prove. R K may also pl consider whether OVK has composed any song specifically on the Lord of Seven hills. Pl do not mistake. I have no personal prejudice.It may be quite possible that the controversy was prevalent more strongly in those days than it is now.The appreciation of ambalam ambalame is also exactly applicable in the interpretation proposed by me
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Last edited by Ponbhairavi on 21 May 2011 08:59, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#69  Postby rshankar » 21 May 2011 08:09

Sri Ravikiran - thank you for helping all of us appreciate the genius of this amazing individual. Is it right that he composed in a trance as he visualized the gods dancing, and that is why his compositions literally dance out off the page?
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#70  Postby cmlover » 21 May 2011 21:56

Ponbhairavi
That 'ambala rahasiyam' is a time bomb which still evokes a lot of emotional responses!
If OVK is alluding to that then he must have referred to it elsewhere...
What historical evidence you have to claim that the controversy was raging hot at the putative time when OVK lived?
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#71  Postby Ponbhairavi » 22 May 2011 15:35

Dear CML,
You are perfectly correct when you say that the charanam should be taken as a whole when we do an interpretation. I would add: not only charanam but the whole song .It is something like a Sudoku puzzle which has to satisfy the horizontal, vertical and each of the 9 boxes (sangirnam !) exigencies .Here is my way of looking at it.
Adi mudi kAnAda deivam= sivan.
mElEri=overriding him(It was HE who gave the boon of successive resurrection to surapadman)
Anju mugam kanda= five faces of surapadman as per the kanda puranam.
Aru mugam kanda = Aru padai veetil ezhundarulum
Aru mugam konda= six faced lord
Anupallavi : hill =Palani.alliteration on the sound pa (5times)
Charanam: innAr innapadi yenre therindapin. I find it difficult to accept it as referring to the mango episode, because judgement should not depend upon who he is and what (innapadi) he is. nIdhi stands for niyadhi practice of the world .innAr and innapadi are colloquial words which do no fit Ganesha and Muruga though I am well aware that OVK has used lot of colloquial words in other contexts.
My view is that OVK says that only after knowing whom we are addressing and what he is, shedI ,particularly controversial shEdi should be told.( Pl think of the danger of talking politics in bus stands and public places )
By these words he is laying the foundation and takes preliminary precaution before he is going to hint (not openly saying) something which is only a shedi that also not my own creation but “ already told by so many people”
thUya niraivAna sudha nirguna jyothi= murugan
ref Arunagirinathar’s deepa mangala jyothi namo namah
sonnalum theriyAdu=even if I say that (this is the idol of muruga) you cannot see- not visible.
ambalam ambalame= It is sivAmsam sivAmsam only – for the interpretation of ambalam as sivAmsam pl see few lines below for the reference to “kanakasabai” in shashti kavacham.
“pinnAl theriyum anda shedi”= This fact will come to be known in future centuries
Even to-day there are people who believe that the idol at Tirupati is that of muruga.Whether this belief is right or wrong is not the question. Such a belief or rumour was not born suddenly today. It should have been in existence quite for some centuries in a society in which saivam and vaishnavam have been at loggerheads since centuries. Historical evidences are aplenty for this controversy.
On a different plane,attention is invited to the fourth line FROM THE END of kanda sashti kavacham reproduced below,
Uyar giri kanaga sabhaikOr arasE
Pl relate this kanaga sabhai with the ambalam of OVK.The author Devaraja swamigal lived a few decades after OVK.
I am fully aware that music today should stand away from religious controversies. We need not elaborate on these but we may not bend ourselves for the sake of universal approbation in these days when music world superstitions cling on to the idea that non- telegu genius is NOT possible before the era of the Trinity.
Rajagopalan.
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#72  Postby chitravina ravikiran » 22 May 2011 17:29

Mr PB,

Thanks for sharing a detailed perspective on this. I agree with you that the jyOti line is Muruga (tallies with AN's dIpa mangala jyOti). Nice observation on the alliteration of 'pa' in AP. It continues in the 2nd line too.

I also agree with you that that OVK was not a 'defensive' composer and I have seen him speaking out about issues or human behaviour in compositions like uruhAda manam enna manamO (Todi), though such instances are rare. Most of his compositions reveal his mental state of bliss with divine associations.

However, in this composition, he is addressing Muruga directly. (It is not about him - in indirect speech.) Why would OVK tell Muruga himself about a temple controversey?

The flow of the song suggests that it is still being addressed to Muruga in the charanam. It looks like he is building Pazhani above Chidambaram or there is either some satire (ninda stuti) involved here.

On another note, I have never seen an OVK piece on Tirupati. But NKB has composed a piece on Lord Srinivasa and he has mentioned it clearly as his own attempt.
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#73  Postby Ponbhairavi » 23 May 2011 15:25

Dear R.K.Thanks . I agree with you that OVK addresses Muruga directly
.P and AP end with deivame, vela ,. but the charanam is not addressed to muruga.
Here is how I view the flow and continuity of the thought process of the composer
P; he calls upon muruga and evokes his greatness (parentage ,his own prowess, his statureArupadai ezhundarulal six faces)
Ap-He lauds his palani abode and his 12 hands prowess.
C—As soon as he utters Palani his thought goes to another hill abode where he is enshrined.. then he pauses for a moment and ponders as to how what he is going to say would be received as he knows that others are not as convinced as he is.: sonnAlum theriyadU it cannot be proved.—Upto this it is the loud-thinking of OVK. Sort of soli loqui revealing his mental state at the time of composition..
After this pause ,he declares his view somewhat concealed : it is thUya…jyothi what if it is covered by gold it is ambalam ambalamE. pinnaltheriyum inda shEdi. This part expresses his conviction and conclusion and is meant to the audience or readers.
Golden ambalam?- murugan’s shrine ?? atop a hill??
Pl correlate this with Devaraja Swamigal’s kanda sashti kavacham
uyar giri kanaga (golden) sabai(ambalam) ku Or arasE
I agree the charanam is not addressed to Muruga. The first 2 lines are a sort of introspection and the last 2 lines seem to be meant for the audience. Such pause and introspective remarks in the middle are quite common in poetry.
I think that OVK may resort to such soliloquy in some other composition also about which you know much better than me.
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#74  Postby Ponbhairavi » 24 May 2011 20:12

Cml, post at 70 above:

What historical evidence you have to claim that the controversy was raging hot at the putative time when OVK lived?

Deekshithar's time was closer to OVK than Devaraja Swamigal's. In his krithi Subrahmanyena rakshithoham
in suddha dhanyasi we find this line:
" venkateswara nama rupena". For this expression Rangaramanuja Iyengar's Sri krithi mani malai gives the following explanation: vEnkatanAtharAha urukondavar(Tirumalai rahasyam)
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Re: Value of OVK's contributions

#75  Postby cmlover » 24 May 2011 22:06

There is a controversy on this lyric
The lines venkaTEshvara nAmarUpENa are also sung as venkaTEshvara vibhAvitEna (worshipped by Venkateswara).
Of course Arunagirinathar clearly refers to muruga as
'vaDa vEnkaTa mAmalayil uRaivOnE' and
'vaDamalai ninRa permAlE' etc., clearly suggesting the controversy in his times...
We need more evidence to show that OVK subscribed to those views!
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