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Today is January 6th – Tyagaraja attained Samadhi at Tiruvaiyyaru 163 years ago this day.

Sort of to keep the tradition, I translated a kriti of Tyagaraja on this special day. You can see my earlier translations in the following links:

Meru Samana Dheera

Etula Brotuvo Teliya

Raga Sudharasa

anAthuDanu gAnu


daya jUchuTakidi vELarA

The composition I chose for translation  is a somewhat less-heard one,  set in the raga called Sruti Ranjani. Tyagaraja was indeed a great innovator, and  experimented with new melodies. He was the first composer to use hundreds of raagas, that were not known before his time.  Sruthi Ranjani is one such raga.  A different version of this composition in a very close rAga called Kantamani is also available. Often such different versions have sprung up in different lineages of students of Tyagaraja.

Here is the original sAhitya – Thanks to V Govindan’s wonderful Tyagaraja resource:


E dAri sancarinturA ika palkarA

SrI-d(A)di madhy(A)nta rahita
sItA samEta guN(A)kara nEn(E dAri)


anni tAn(a)nu mArgamuna canaga
nannu vIDanu bhAram(a)ni(y)ADedavu
nannu brOvu dAsa varadA(y)aNTE ( alternately, nannu brOvu rA sadA yanTE as sung in the link below)
dvaituD(a)nedavu tyAgarAja nuta (E dAri)

You can listen to the composition here.

Here is a translation in Kannada. As with my earlier translations, I have tried to keep the sing-ability of the composition :

ಆವ ದಾರಿಯ  ಹಿಡಿಯಲೋ? ಒಮ್ಮೆ ನುಡಿಯೋ! ನಾ ||ನಾವ ದಾರಿಯ ಹಿಡಿಯಲೋ||


ಸಿರಿಯೀವ ! ಕೊನೆ-ನಡು-ಮೊದಲಿರದ
ಸೀತೆಯೊಡನಾಡಿ ಗುಣದ ಗಣಿ ನಾನಾ ||ವ ದಾರಿಯ ಹಿಡಿಯಲೋ ||


ನನ್ನಲೇ ಎಲ್ಲವೂ ಇಹುದು ಎನಲು
ನಾನುತನವು  ಭಾರವೆನುವೆ*
ಎನ್ನ ಸಲಹ ಬಾರೋ ಎಂದೆನ್ನಲು
ನಿನ್ನೇ ಬಿಟ್ಟೆ ಎನುವೆ!** ತ್ಯಾಗರಾಜನುತ || ಆವ ದಾರಿಯ ಹಿಡಿಯಲೋ ||

In this composition, Tyagaraja asks  Lord Rama to show the best path to reach him.  If he  followed the Advaita doctrine that preaches oneness with the Almighty,  then Rama might say Tyagaraja has not still come out of the state of self-pride. On the other hand, if he followed the Dvaita doctrine (dualistic), then Rama might say that Tyagaraja has separated from him. So, either way, Tyagaraja thinks he is in trouble, and asks Rama to show him the right path.



October 8th, 2010 is the first day of Navaratri of this year. Navaratri signifies the conquest of the evil by the good.  In the old Mysore region of Karnataka,  Navaratri has been celebrated as a state festival for several centuries. Things such as the doll displays at homes, and  music concerts at temples make this festival make it more of a celebration than a mere ritual.

Thiruvananthapuram is another  city known for it’s special celebration of Navaratri. The  music festival at the Navartri Mandapam, next to the Padmanabhaswamy temple is unique, for its adherence to some traditional practices such as lighting up the place only with traditional oil lamps. During this festival, each night one composition from the Navaratri Kriti series of Maharaja Swathi Tirunal is rendered as the main item in the concert here at Navaratri Mandapam.

The kriti sung during the concert on first day of Navaratri at Navaratri Mandapam is “dEvi jagajjanani” in Shankarabharana rAga. Listen to this composition here:

Since various forms of dEvi are worshipped during Navaratri, listening to a composition or two that praise some form of dEvi each day, and writing a few lines about it during this Navaratri would not be a bad idea. So, here I go!

For the first day, my choice is Tyagaraja’s composition in Kalyani, “Sundari nee divya roopamunu”. Tyagaraja lived in Tiruvayyaru, near Tanjavoor in central part of today’s Tamizh Nadu. He visited Chennapattanam (today’s Chennai) on his desciple Veena Kuppaiyars invitation. During his stay at Chennapattinam, he visited the shrine of Tripurasundari at Tiruvottriyur (now in the northern part of Chennai). Tyagaraja composed five compositions on Goddess Tripurasundari at this shrine, which go by the name ‘Tiruvottriyur Pancharatna’.  This Kalyani composition is one of this set.

Goddess Tripura Sundari

Image source : )

Kalyani raga came into Karnataka sangeetha sometime during early 15th century, but somehow it did not make it’s deep mark felt for quite sometime. Haridasas of Karnataka (~1400 – ~1600 AD) have mentioned Kalyani raga by name in their compositions. However lakshanakAra Venkatamakhi (~1650 AD) says Kalyani is not fit for composing geeta or thaaya and says the rAga is liked by “Turushka”s indicating it’s relation with uttaraadi and Persian music.

However Kalyani took firm roots in Karnataka sangeetha and became the darling of many composers of later days. Tyagaraja has composed more than 30 kritis in Kalyani, of which Sundari nee is a very fine specimen. The composition is set to Adi tAla, and the sAhitya is in Telugu. Tyagaraja compares his opportunity to see Goddess Tripurasundari to a poor and distraught man begetting a fortune.

Now for a fabulous rendition of this composition, by none other than the mastero Balamuralikrishna:

Tomorrow, hopefully I’ll be back with some ramble about another composition!


Tomorrow is Krishna Janmashtmi – the day Krishna was born. What else is better than listening to a composition on Krishna,the embodiment of music – Gaanamoorti? This is a composition of Tyagaraja, in which he also includes the rAga signature at the very beginning.

Next is a composition in tODi. A composition of Muttuswamy Dikshita – although some scholars are of the opinion that it is a mis-attribution. Anyway, I like this composition and so here it is :).

A somewhat rare composition of Muttuswamy Dikshita, in an aptly named rAga called ‘jaganmOhana’ – “the one who mesmerized the whole world”!

A gem of a song in praise of the cowherd flautist who flirts around the girls in Gokula 🙂 A majestic composition of Muttuswamy Dikshita in rAga kuranji.

Here is a song from a Kannada movie ಕೃಷ್ಣನಾ ಕೊಳಲಿನಾ ಕರೆ that describes the effect of Krishna’s flute on the folks of Gokula. Originally from the play – Gokula Nirgamana written by Pu Ti Narasimhachar.

Any musical discussion about Krishna would be incomplete without the song of VyasarAya about the Krishna in Udupi – krishnA nee bEgane bArO!


The first name that comes to mind when I hear the phrase  ‘Vivaadi Raga’ it is that of Sri S Rajam who passed away last week. He was best known for very aesthetic renditions of ‘vivaadi ragas’ (so-called dissonant melodies) which need a very balanced and delicate handling-  making him no doubt the ‘King of Vivaadi’.

Sri S Rajam will be remembered for his mastery over paintings. In fact, we can surely say he was the one who ‘brought to life’  composers like Tyagaraja by his paintings!

Here is a slide show I put together – with some of  his paintings  (all taken from the internet) and in the background, listen to a  rendering Muttuswami Dikshita‘s  composition ‘kalAvati kamalAsana yuvati’ in rAga kalAvati, (One of the vivAdi-est of vivAdi ragas, so to say!) by, who else, Sri S Rajam.

Thanks to the good folks of  from where I got this beautiful rendition several years ago.

Click here for the sAhitya of the song. Notice how Muttuswamy Dikshita refers Saraswathi as ‘murAri snushA’ – daughter-in-law of Vishnu. Reminds me of Purandara Dasa’s composition on Saraswathi- SharaNembe vANi poreye kalyANi where he refers to Saraswati in a similar way.  Now, these comparisons could be the topic for another post, and I’ll stop right here!


Since today is the first full moon of the year, and since it also happens to be the brightest and largest moon of the year, I thought ‘Chandra Jyothi’ which means ‘moon light’ makes an apt title for this post.

If you did not notice yet, all full moons are not made equal, and some are bigger than others. And the full moon on January 29,2010 happens to be the biggest, brightest full moon of the year.

But why is today the biggest full moon of the year? We know the Moon’s path around the earth is an ellipse. So, the Moon is closer to us at some parts of this path than in other parts. The point where the Moon is closest to the Earth is called the perigee. If a full moon occurs when the Moon is at, or near the perigee in it’s monthly travel, then that full moon would be brighter than those when the full moon occurs when the Moon is at other points on its orbit.

To add to this effect, recall Earth moves around the Sun in an elliptical path too. That makes Earth closest to the Sun (and hence the Moon closest to the Sun) in early January every year.  So if a full moon closer to perigee occurs around this time of the year, you get an extra bright moon, like today.

Since today is the day with the brightest ‘chandra jyOthi’ (moon light), it is no surprise I was reminded of couple of compositions of Tyagaraja in the raga Chandra Jyothi as I was writing this post!

Tyagaraja, the innovator he was, tried out a lot of new melodies that did not exist before his time, and Chandrajyothi is also a raga in which he is the first known composer. He has couple of compositions – and incidentally one starting with the words  ‘Shashi vadana bhakta janaavana’  (Shashi is one of the words that mean ‘Moon’ in Samskrta). His  other composition in raga Chandra jyothi , which is probably heard more often in concerts  is  Bagayenayya. Listen to this composition on flute by V K Raman.

All this discussion about the Moon, almost made me forget that I got the Superior Scribbler award from another ‘Moon’ – Shashi Kulkarni of  ‘rasAyana‘. Yippee!!

And I am really glad to pass this to five other Superior Scribbler fellow bloggers.

So here goes my list:

Sallaapa: A wonderful weblog in Kannada by Sunaath, mostly about literary works in Kannada

MountainTop: I am a fan of Vidya’s posts on music, samskrta and alternate history

Mouna Gaala: Kannada blog by Sushruta Dodderi, who specializes in ಲಲಿತ ಪ್ರಬಂಧ

Subhashita Manjari: Regular posts of Samskrta subhashitas – often I use those posted here for my translations to Kannada!

NadhaSudharasa: A very musical blog by Musical Scientist, and Shreekrishna – who,  I must admit,  are even more  Guruguhaphiles than I am! Not recommended for those un-initiated in Karnataka Sangeetha 😉



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ಅವಧಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹೀಗಂದರು:

"ಅಲ್ಲಿದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆ…ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಬಂದೆ ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ… ಎಂಬ ಘೋಷ ವಾಕ್ಯದೊಂದಿಗೆ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ಮಂಡಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಣಿಸಿಕೊಂಡವರು ನೀಲಾಂಜನ. ಅಲ್ಲಿದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆ ಕನ್ನಡದ ಪರಿಮಳವನ್ನು ಇಂಗ್ಲಿಷ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಹರಡುತ್ತಾ ಇದೆ. ಕನ್ನಡದ ವಚನಗಳು, ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತ ಸುಭಾಷಿತಗಳು ಜೊತೆಯಲ್ಲೇ ಸಂಗೀತ ಹೀಗೆ ಹಲವು ಲೋಕವನ್ನು ಈ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ಪರಿಚಯಿಸಿದೆ." ಅವಧಿ, ಮೇ ೧೫, ೨೦೦೮
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