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There’s an occultation tomorrow (Oct 2nd, 2015) – where the Moon covers the star Aldebaran ( Rohini, as known to Indians). You can consider an occultation as an eclipse where one object in the sky covers another, as seen from the earth).

The west coast of the USA slightly misses it (or slightly gets it) depending on whee you are location. Check this link for more details.…/moon-hides-hyades-occults…/

I used the Capture1Neave Planetarium software to get some pictures of how it would appear in the SF bay area. I suspect the accuracy particularly when showing the Moon and the star is not perfect, but you can see through the 4 pictures how the Moon hovers over the star as time goes by.

Occulations are not as rare events, but occulations of bright stars is somewhat rare, as seen from a given place. Since there are only a few bright stars near the path that Moon takes in the sky and Aldebaran (Rohini) is the brightest star that the Moon can occult

Somehow this aspect of Rohini (that it comes very close to the Moon) made an impact on ancient Indians. So when they came up with a list of the 27 lunar mansions (“Nakshatras”), they were thought as the daughters of Daksha Brahma, and wives of the Moon. And out of these 27 wives, Rohini is said to be the most favorite of all to the Moon. It is not hard to see how this imagination come through given that the Moon occults Rohini quite regularly!


Nataka Chaitra

I figure it is better to post the this video of Navaratri celebration at our home – since  Deepavali is around the corner already!


Rarely does one come across a scholar who is well versed in all aspects related to music: lakshya, lakshaNa and the associated lyrical aspects. And it was the fortune of the listeners at South India Fine Arts Spring Festival (SIFA) to see one such scholar- Dr T S Sathyavathi.

Aesthetics in Muttuswamy Dikshita’s Compositions’ was the topic Vidushi T S Sathyavathi had chosen for her demonstration lecture at SIFA. She introduced aesthetics from the Indian perspective, as the essential aspect of art which elevates the listener from a lower stratum to a higher stratum. During her lec-dem, she illustrated this through various compositions of Muttuswamy dIkshita.

The first composition she chose for rendition was a kriti on Ganapati, very aptly – ‘pancha mAntanga mukha gaNapatiA’ in raaga Malahari. She illustrated how the instrumental case in the sahitya is used to connect various phrases in the charaNa, back to the pallavi enhancing the meaning. She also showed how various details of the deity on which the composition is composed is captured in the sahitya, leaving no doubt as to the identity of the kshetra. Through various phrases used in the composition, she illustrated how the raga develops as the composition progresses. She pointed out the subtle swarakshara usage in this composition.

She also alluded to the refrain of many musicians that it is very hard to take liberty with MD’s compositions. Although this is somewhat true, she showed how Muttuswamy Dikshita provides a great framework for any rAga he has composed in.The unambiguous clarity with which Muttuswamy Dikshita treats ragas in his compositions, in her opinion, forms the basis on which later day composers have built grand compositions. She sang some parts of his Saveri kriti, ‘kari kalabha mukham’, showing how the difference between Malahari & Saveri are shown right in the opening phrases of these two compositions.

She next took the sAma composition – ‘guruguhAya bhaktAnugrahAya’ drawing audience attention to the short rishabha and dhaivata, the widely oscillating madhyama in this raga – and indicated how the corpus of sancharas the composer has shown in this composition (and other compositions) could be used as a framework for a detailed elaboration of any ragas he has composed in. She pointed out how Muttuswamy Dikshita has woven a beautiful chitte swara for this composition that includes a beautiful asymmetry in symmetry, including different laya patterns.

The next raga under consideration was Brindavana Saranga. Vidushi Satyavathi sang ‘soundara rAjam Ashraye’ very beautifully describing interesting features of the sAhitya such as the Adi prAsa, antya prAsa, and interesting aspects like the caressing kaishiki nishada which is the hallmark of this delicate raga. She illustrated the differences in the treatment of nishada and rishabha in this rAga to other ragas such as Sri and Madhyamavati as well.

The last composition, the grand chaturdasha ragamalika – ‘srI vishwanatham bhajeham’ was indeed a treat to listen to. Vidushi Sathyavathi went into the details of each of the ragas in his gem of a composition showing how the sahtitya is woven to include the raga name for each raga in each segment (ragamudre), and how a modified phrase using the raga name is used as an adjective in the very next line enhancing the beauty of the sahitya, and how the key phrases of each raga are shown within a the short segment allocated to each raga.

Vidushi Sathyavathi concluded with saying that Muttuswamy Dikshita used both his heart and art in his compositions. With her scholarly presentation, the listeners at SIFA could very well appreciate that. She was very ably assisted by Vidwan T S Krishnamurthy on the violin and Vidwan Shriram Brahmanandam on the Mrdanga.

This summer, Cars 2 will be coming to a  screen near you. I really liked Cars, and am looking forward to watch the sequel.

That reminded me of some of these cars I saw on our roads in the last few months – which I could capture thanks to my Captivate.



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November 2015
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Ramaprasad K V

Ramaprasad K V

ಕನ್ನಡಿಗ. Musicphile. Bibliophile. Astrophile. Blogophile. Twitterphile.



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