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Yugaadi marks the beginning of the traditional lunar new year celebrated in several states of India such as Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Literally, Yugaadi means Adi – “the beginning of” and yuga – “an era”. As per current understanding, a yuga is a measure of time, associated the term with long periods – as in Krta, Treta, Dwapara & Kali yugas, each spanning thousands of years.
However, if we go back in time for about thirty five centuries, we find Indians had a very different interpretation of the term yuga. Vedanga Jyothisha compiled by Laagadha around ~1400BC very clearly defines a yuga as a period of five years. The very opening verse of Vedanga Jyotisha has the following verse:
pa~ncha saMvatsaramayam yughAdhyakSham prajApatim |
dinartvayana mAsAngaM praNamya shirasA shuchih ||
which approximately translated to the following:
“I bow to thee, Oh Prajapati, one who has the day, season and the half-year as limbs, the over-seer of the five-year long yuga”
Vedanga Jyotisha also tells us when the five-year yuga began based on the alignment of the Sun, Moon and stars (specifically both meeting at the star Shravishta) in the sky. Also, according to the text, five years of a yuga were called samvatsara, parivatsara, idaavatsara, anuvatsara and idvatsara. Incidentally, this beginning of a new yuga took place at winter solstice, and not at (or close to) Vernal equinox as the current yugaadi is.
Things change over time. Now, we call every year a samvatsara, and the five-year long yuga is almost unknown to most people! If you are more interested on this topic, I suggest you to read this paper by B.N.Narahari Achar is a good resource.
Wishing a very happy Yugaadi to all visitors at ಅಲ್ಲಿದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆ!
I figure it is better to post the this video of Navaratri celebration at our home – since Deepavali is around the corner already!
In 2009, I posted a swarajati that I had composed during Navaratri. Last year too, I posted another swarajati, in ranjani raaga, during Navaratri. Now to continue the tradition, I am posting another swarajati that I composed sometime back – This is in raaga BindumAlini.
You can download a PDF file, by clicking here: bindumaalini
An audio track is available here – played on the flute, by @IndianMusicFan. Click on the play button to listen to the composition.
Your comments and feedback welcome.
Today is the ninth day of Navaratri – Mahanavami. I start with some of my translations of some popular samskrta shlokas.
ಮೈಬಣ್ಣ ಮಂಜುಮಲ್ಲಿಗೆಚಂದಿರರ ಬಿಳುಪು; ಬಿಳಿಯರಿವೆಯನುಟ್ಟು
ಕೈಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹೊಳೆವವೀಣೆಯ ಹಿಡಿದು ನಿಂದಿರುವೆ ಬೆಳ್ದಾವರೆಯಲಿ;
ತಾಯೆ! ಆ ಹರಿಹರಬೊಮ್ಮರೂ ಅನುದಿನವು ಪೂಜಿಸುತಲಿಹರು ನಿನ್ನನು!
ಕಾಯೆನ್ನ ಸರಸತಿಯೆ ಎನ್ನನೆಂದಿಗೂ ಬಿಡದೆ ತೊಲಗಿಸಿ ಆಲಸಿಕೆಯನ್ನು
ಯಾ ಕುಂದೇಂದು ತುಷಾರಹಾರ ಧವಳಾ ಯಾ ಶುಭ್ರ ವಸ್ತ್ರಾವೃತಾ
ಯಾ ವೀಣಾವರದಂಡಮಂಡಿತ ಕರಾ ಯಾ ಶ್ವೇತಪದ್ಮಾಸನಾ|
ಯಾಬ್ರಹ್ಮಾಚ್ಯುತ ಶಂಕರಪ್ರಭೃತಿಭಿಃ ದೇವೈಃ ಸದಾ ಪೂಜಿತಾ
ಸಾ ಮಾಂ ಪಾತು ಸರಸ್ವತೀ ಭಗವತೀ ನಿಶ್ಶೇಷ ಜಾಡ್ಯಾಪಹಾ||
ಸರಸತಿಯೆ ತಲೆಬಾಗುವೆನು ಮನದಾಸೆಗಳನೀವಳೆ
ಅರಿವಿನಾಸೆಯೆನಗಿರಲು ಹರಸು ಕೈಗೂಡುತಿರಲೆಂದು
ಸರಸ್ವತೀ ನಮಸ್ತುಭ್ಯಂ ವರದೇ ಕಾಮರೂಪಿಣೀ|
ವಿದ್ಯಾರಂಭಂ ಕರಿಷ್ಯಾಮಿ ಸಿದ್ಧಿರ್ಭವತು ಮೇ ಸದಾ ||
ಶಾರದೆಯೆ ನಮಿಸುವೆನು ಕಾಶ್ಮೀರದಲಿ ನೆಲೆಸಿಹಳೆ
ಕೋರುವೆನು ಅನುದಿನವು ಅರಿವು ತಿಳಿವನು ನೀಡು
ನಮಸ್ತೇ ಶಾರದಾ ದೇವೀ ಕಾಶ್ಮೀರ ಪುರವಾಸಿನೀ |
ತ್ವಾಮಹಂ ಪ್ರಾರ್ಥಯೇ ನಿತ್ಯಂ ವಿದ್ಯಾ ಬುದ್ಧಿಂ ಚ ದೇಹಿಮೇ||
On the ninth day, the performer elaborates the last Navartri Kriti of Swathi Tirunal – Pahi parvata nandini in Arabhi rAga.
In Karnataka, there is a tradition of doing Saraswati pooje on Mahanavami. So, it is a good time to listen to a nice composition about Saraswati.
Mysore Vasudevacharya was a very important composer of the 20th century. Coming in Tyagaraja’s school, he has composed more than 300 compositions – most of them in Samskrta and Telugu. He was born in Kanakapura, and spent most of his life as a palace musician at Mysore. He is also the guru of Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Odeyar. Just like Tyagaraja, his compositions have his own name – ‘Vasudeva’ as the signature. Since his compositions are very much on Tyagaraja’s lines, he was called ‘Abhinava Tyagaraja’. He has chronicled his experiences with other artists in his memoir in Kannada – “Naa Kanda Kalavidaru”.
The kriti for today is Mysore Vasudevacharya’s ‘Mamavatu Sri Saraswati’ in raga Hindola, which is quite popular.
Tomorrow is Vijayadashami – the day when Goddess Chamundeswari takes her stately ride on the royal elephant! I’ll conclude this series with a composition fit for that ocassion.
Today is the eighth day of Navaratri. Durgashtami is celebrated on this day. The Swathi Tirunal composition that would be elaborated at Navaratri Mandapam is ‘Pahi janani santatam’ in raga Natakuranji. Listen to this composition sung by Amrutha Venkatesh, sung at the Navaratri Mandapam in 2008. Till quite recently, women did not perform in the Navaratri Mandapam concerts. Thankfully, that has changed now!
Here is another rendition of the same composition, by K V Narayanaswamy.
Thanks to my post yesterday, I am in a ‘ranjani’ mood! The raga ranjani is a contribution of Tyagaraja. It is one of the many ragas that sprang to life with his compositions. There are a number of ragas with end with the suffix ‘ranjani’. They are not related musically, though.
But how about making creating a garland of such ragas? The composition you are going to listen to is indeed a garland – a ragamalilke in four ragas – Ranjani, Sriranjani, Megharanjani and Janaranjani. Interestingly, each section also includes the name of the raga in the sahitya. This is a composition of Tanjavoor Sankara Iyer, and quite well known as ‘Ranjani Mala’ because that is what it is – A garland made of Ranjanis.
Tanjavoor Sankara Iyear, born in 1924, is a well known composer, and known as ‘Musician of musicians’. Ranjani Mala is one of his famous compositions.
If you can read Kannada, here is the composition in Kannada script. The song is in simple Samskrta, and there are nice chitte svaras after each raga.
ರಂಜನಿ ಮೃದು ಪಂಕಜ ಲೋಚನಿ
ಮಂಜು ಭಾಷಿಣಿ ಮನೋಲ್ಲಾಸಿನಿ ಮಂದಗಮನಿ ಶ್ರೀರಂಜನಿ
ಸಾಮಗಾನ ವಿನೋದಿನಿ ಶಶಾಂಕವದನಿ ಮೇಘರಂಜನಿ
ಪಾಮರಜನ ಪಾಲಿನಿ ಶೂಲಿನಿ ಪಾಪವಿಮೋಚನಿ ಜನರಂಜನಿ
Listen to Dr Nagavalli Nagaraj and Ranjani Nagaraj singing Ranjani Mala here:
Happy Durgashtami to all!