A Pancharatna exclusive
ADDRESS The lec-dem of the Bombay sisters at the Indian Fine Arts threw light on the essential features of Ghanaraga Pancharatnas.
LUCID EXPLANATION: Bombay Sisters at the lecture demonstration at Indian Fine Arts . Photo: R. Shivaji Rao.
"Hanumath Jayanthi is the right time to speak about Tyagaraja and his Ramabhakti," said C. Saroja, one of the Bombay Sisters, at Indian Fine Arts during their lec-dem on Ghanaraga Pancharatnas. Said Lalitha:
"There are so many pancharatnas that the Bard of Thiruvaiyaru has given us. Kovur Pancharatna, Srirangam Pancharatna and Lalgudi Pancharatna. But what stands apart are the Ghanaraga Pancharatnas, where the kritis speak of the vaggeyakara's skill and ability to focus on the wisdom inherent in Indian mythology."
Saroja added that Tyagaraja also passes on subtle messages on the futility of clamouring for wealth in this transitory drama of life. He explains the usefulness of nadopasana, which would help underplay the need for material possessions. Behavioural etiquettes are faint notes that are infused in pancharatnas and Tyagraja uses the five ragas with a purpose.
"The general features of the pancharatna highlight the brimming aesthetics of sahitya bhava, the beauty of rishabha prayogas in each raga, Nattai, Sriragam, Aarabhi, Gowlai and Varali and the unique usages of sadjam and panchamam for charanam take offs." Saroja and Lalitha lucidly demonstrated the above points.
"Notice the tanam-like treatment that Tyagaraja has brought in for Gowlai in his swara-phrases," said Lalitha. `Dhudukugala' is a composition where Tyagaraja begs pardon for his imaginary sins.
Several books explain the philosophy of the saint who did this on purpose to warn society that nobody should get into the clutches of Evil, they stressed. The kriti is Grammar personified, for understanding of the raga scale, said Saroja.
`Jagadanandakaraka' is wrapped in Nattai, from the 36th mela, Chalanattai, which has 1,008 namavalis of Lord Rama embedded in the pancharatna.
"We have heard a pundit say that singing the kriti is akin to ashtothara archanai or Vishnuparayanam," said one of the sisters. What stands out in this piece is Tyagaraja's three mudras mentioned in the charanams `Tyagaraja Nutha,' `Tyagaraja Sannutha' and `Tyaga Rajarchitha.'
Tyagaraja addressed Rama as Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara and as the all-embodiment of Omkaranada. `Saadinchane' in Aarabhi, of Dheera Shankharabharana janyam, has the saint (as explained in the Bhagavatam) extolling Lord Krishna for his actions.
Krishna Leela and the virtuosity of Rama have been dwelt upon to safeguard Dharma," elaborated the twosome, with apt points picked up from the kriti.
The gamaka-pradana ragam Varali overflows with bhakti rasam in the pancharatna that also describes Sita's emotions when Vishwamitra takes her to Rama and when Hanuman describes Rama to Sita at the Ashokavanam.
The greatness of a vaggeyakara is in true form in `Endaromahanubhavulu' where Tyagaraja is overpowered by absolute humility, the Bombay Sisters concluded.
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