Tuesday, July 14, 2009

shrI vishvanAtham bhajEham - Part 3


sadAshivam sAma gAna vinutam prakrtyAdi sapta rUpa sAmagAna vinutam:
सदाशिवम् सामगान विनुतम् प्रकृत्यादि सप्तरूप सामगान विनुतम्

sadAshivam :He is SadAshiva, ie, 'everlasting auspiciousness'

sadAshivam is associated with the "anugrahA (Divine grace)" aspect, which is one of the five aspects of parama-Shiva. (the others are srishti or creation (by brahmA), stithi or preservation (by vishnu), layam or destruction (by rudrA), or tirOdAna- illusion or veiling (by IshwarA))

(Reference: deivatthin kural, Volume 7 - ra.gaNapathy)

sadAshiva denotes predominance of the sattva guNA

sAma gAna vinutam : He is worshipped through the sAman chant (sAmavEda is the most sacred of all music).

prakrtyAdi sapta rUpa sAmagAna vinutam:

prakriti constitutes the basic intoned verse of the saman chant.
Sama Veda consists of about 1900 verses, called sAmans.
The seven notes that occur in sAman music are called prathamA, dvitIya, tritIya, caturtha, mandra, atisvArya, krushTa. According to the nAradIya sikshA,these correspond to the notes Ma,Ga,Ri,Sa,Dha,Ni,Pa, which gives not a straight progression but a vakra-gati. Thus the sAman-singing shows notes in a descending series,which is referred to as in ancient treatises as nindhana-prakrti.

The second word sAma is the rAga mudra.

sanmAtram lalita hrdaya viditam kAma krodhAdi rahita lalita hrdaya viditam:
सन्मात्रम् ललित ह्रदय विदितम् काम क्रोधादि रहित ललित ह्रदय विदितम्

sanmAtram - sat + mAtram : which is the svarUpam of the Brahman, denoting "nothing but pure existence".

The Objective Universe is varied and ever changing.The only unchanging aspect of the universe is its “Existence” which is recognised as the essential nature of brahman.

The Lord is known by those who possess a pure and simple heart which is devoid of vices. (vices refer to the "shatripu or six enemies of mankind", namely,lust (kama),anger (krodha),greed (lobha),vanity (mana), infatuation (mada),envy or jealousy (mAtsarya)).

Again the qualifications of a seeker are expanded.
The second word lalita denotes the rAga mudra.

cidAkAsha bhairavam puraharam vidhi kapAla trishUladhara bhairavam puraharam:
चिदाकाश भैरवम् पुरहरम् विधि कपाल त्रिशूलधर भैरवम् पुरहरम्

The Lord (who is actually the cidAkAsha svarUpA), is the Bhairava (a manifestation of Siva who took pleasure in destruction). He is the Bhairava who destroyed the three cities (tripurA).The three principle regions of the world are svarga (heaven), Akasha (space between heaven and earth) and prthvi (earth). Having been defeated by the demons (asurAs) the gods appealed to Shiva to destroy tripurA.

For this purpose he called vishvakarmA,the architect of the Gods and asked him to make a suitable chariot, bow and arrow.He then armed himself with the earth as his chariot, the mountain mandAra his bow, and vishnu his arrow. All other beings of the worlds of the gods became parts of his chariot with brahmA as charioteer. Thus Shiva destroyed tripurA and all its inhabitants (and hence is referred to as tripurAntakA).(Reference: matsya purANA,shiva purANA)

While on one hand we can visualise the Lord in a fierce form for destroying the evil, we reckon the same Lord as all pervading pure consciousness also.

(Brahma originally had five heads (the matsya purAnA gives an explanation for this.)

[There are different explanations for why Brahma only has four heads , as opposed to his original five:

According to the purANAs, brahmA's fifth head was burnt off by the fire of shivA's central eye, because brahmA had spoken disrespectfully of Lord shivA.

shivA-bhairavA became 'kapAlin' or skull-carrier,and carried a skull in his hand to confront the world with its mortality. Sometimes this skull became the drinking bowl.The skull is said to be the fifth head of Brahma, cut off by Shiva. The skull of brahmA became stuck to his hand and although himself being a God, shivA-bhairavA had to somehow expiate his sin and thus bhairavA became the Supreme beggar. bhairavA took upon himself the kapAlika vow,according to which he had to go around the world,begging,until the skull fell from his hand.

It is interesting to note that when bhairavA reached the holy city of vAraNAsi, the skull fell from the hand of shivA and thus bhairavA was released from the sin.]

The second word bhairavam is the rAga mudra.

cit sabhEshwaram sAranga dharam; dArukAvana tapOdana kalpita sAranga dharam:
चित्सभेश्र्वरम् सारङ्गधरम् दारुकावन तपोधन कल्पित सारङ्गधरम्

cit sabhEshwaram : He is the Lord of the citsabhA at Chidambaram.

sAranga dharam : Shiva is sometimes represented holding a 'deer' in his hand.

[Puranic reference: The first legend of origin of Nataraja is that the rishis of dArukA vanam questioned the relevance of God, arguing that karma (action) was everything, that only action mattered. To remove their agnyAnA (ignorance), shivA took the form of a beautiful man-sundaramUrthy and came as an alms taker bhikshAdaNA along with vishNu who took the form of mOhini (enchantress) and came to the village. Enchanted all the women followed sundaramUrthy and Lord vishNu enticed the rishis with his mOhini form. The rishis,enraged that they had been fooled,conducted a 'hOmam' to destroy shivA. From the fire first came the demon muyalagan.The Cosmic dance of eternal bliss( Ananda tAndavam) began. muyalagan was trampled under the foot. The snakes from the fire became Lord shivA's garlands and ornaments. A deer with huge antlers was made small and held in one hand.]

Another interpretation of “deer” is more appealing. Deer by nature is a restless animal and wanders all the time.Hence a deer can represent the "wandering mind". Unless the mind is restful and can focus,spiritual progress is not possible. The Lord, by having Deer in hand indicates that he has mastered the Mind ,thus reminding the seeker the need for mastery over mind.

The other occurence of sAranga refers to the "elephant" whose form the Lord adopted in dArukAvana.

(In the purANAs, one of the 25 lilAs (manifestations) of Lord Shiva is that of killing the demon gajAsurA.When this asurA troubled the dEvAs, they went and prayed to Lord vishvanAtha.The Lord killed the asurA,tore the elephant skin and wore it as His garment.)

The third word sAranga is the raga mudra.

sadA AshrayAmi shankarAbharaNam cintitArtha vitaraNa dhurINatara mANikyamaya shankarAbharaNam:
सदाश्रयामि शङ्कराभरणम् चिन्तितार्थ वितरण धुरीणतर माणिक्यमय शङ्कराभरणम्

I surrender to the Lord shankarAbharaNam – shankarAbharaNam can be interpreted in two ways:

1. The Lord manifests in everything in which the rAga shankarAbharaNam can also be included.Thus a devotee can visualise the rAgam itself as the Lord.

2. bharaNam stands for support and the Lord is the Auspicious (samkara) support of the Universe. I surrender to that Lord.

The Lord is resplendent like mANikyam and is an unparalleled expert in giving his devotee whatever he desires.

The second word shankarAbharaNam is the raga mudra.

sadgati dAyaka ambhoja caraNam dharmArthadi nikhila puruSArtha prada samarthatara ambhoja caraNam:
सद्गति दायक अम्भोज चरणम् धर्मार्थादि निखिल पुरुषार्थप्रद समर्थतर अम्भोज चरणम्

Four aims in life are called puruShArthAs. These are: dharma(righteousness), artha(material wealth), kAma(pleasure) and mOksha(liberation). Dharma is the law of being; wealth (artha) has to be earned and life enjoyed (kAma) according to dharma. The final goal will be mOksha, that is Liberation from bondage and that is the highest puruShArtha or aim. The Lord possesses Lotus-Feet that are capable of bestowing all these and Liberation.

The rAga mudra occurs in the two words dAyaka ambOja.

vadAnya dEvakriyA kElanam; sriShTi stithi vilaya tirOdAna anugraha kAraNa kriyA kElanam:
वदान्य देवक्रिया खेलनम् सृष्टि स्थिति विलय तिरोधान अनुग्रह करण क्रिया खेलनम्

vadAnya: liberal, bountiful

The Lord blesses the dEvas liberally by helping them to perform their functions effortlessly.

The Lord performs the five-fold functions (panchakarmA) of creation, protection, destruction, veiling and bestowing Grace as child’s play.

The five aspects of parama-Shiva; these are accordingly represented in their personal forms as the gods Brahma(srishti-creation), Vishnu(stithi-protection), Rudra(laya-destruction), Ishvara(tirOdhAna-veiling) and Sadashiva(anugraha-bestowing Grace)

kElanam: Performing the panchakarmA is child's play for the Lord.

[[(A similar reference in lalitA sahasranAmam):

"उन्मेष निमिषोत्पन्नविपन्न भुवनावलिः "

"For Devi, performing the panchakarmA (creation,preservation,destruction etc) is as simple as batting her eyelid". ]]

The second word dEvakriyA is the rAga mudra.

vaidyalinga bhUpAla pAlanam shrIpura nirrti bhAga garta tIra sthira tara bhUpAla pAlanam:
वैद्यलिङ्ग भूपाम पालनम् श्रीपुरनिर्ऋतिभाग गर्ततीर स्थिरतर भूपालपालनम्

The Lord is the protector of vaidyalinga (the then trustee and owner of the Kuzhikkarai temple) who was also dIkshitar's patron; The Lord resides at gartatIra situated to the South-West of srIpuram, i.e., tiruvArUr.

It is believed that the landlord vaidhyaLinga mudaliar who patronised Dikshitar wanted a composition in his praise.Dikshitar would never sing glories of anyone other than the Lord.To recognise the patronage,dIkshitar intelligently added the name of the patron in this composition as a devotee of the Lord.

The composition also clearly identifies the kshetrA where he composed this Kriti – he has ingeniously coined a word "garta tira" – garta meaning Ditch (Kuzhi in tamil) and Tira meaning bank (karai in tamil), combining both giving the name of the village Kuzhikkarai.He further confirms the venue by giving its direction – southwest of tiruvArUr (srIpuram)

Again the second word bhUpAla is the mudra.

guruguhEsha suranaresham anisham:
गुरुगुहेश सुरनरेशम् अनिशम्

He is the Lord of Guruguha (the composer's pen name),and also of the devAs and humans.

kuja budhAdi graha gati vihitam:
कुजबुधादि ग्रहगति विहितम्

He determines the movement of planets,such as Mars, Mercury. (Planetary movements are governed by the laws of nature which come under divine design.)

varadam anala ravi shashi nayanam:
वरदम् अनल रवि शशि नयनम्

The form of Shiva having three eyes, the Sun, Moon and Fire, the three sources of light which illuminate the worlds. His right eye is believed to be the Sun,the left eye is the Moon and the central eye represents Fire. The central eye looks inward on the forehead but when directed outwards it can destroy all that appears before it.

vanaja candra sannibha vadanam:
वनज चन्द्र सन्निभ वदनम्

The Lord possesses a face that is as beautiful as the lotus and the moon.

paramahamsam Anandanartanam:
परमहंसम् आनन्दनर्तनम्

The Lord is the highest form of Bliss and performs the dance of ecstasy.

Lord Shiva is also natarAja.108 different varieties of dance are attributed to Him.

Anandanartanam : Cosmic dance of Lord shivA. Ananda also indicating the third aspect of bliss or fullness of the Lord.

patita pAvana karaNam agha haraNam:
पतित पावन करणम् अघ हरणम्

The Lord purifies the downtrodden and removes their sins.

parataram parama manOlaya jayam:
परतरम् परम मनोलय जयम्

The Lord is the Supreme Being. He has controlled (quietened) or destroyed the mind, symbolising Liberation.We can also say that a seeker by quietening and controlling his mind can succeed in his spiritual pursuit.

parAdi vAk prakAsha Anandamayam:
परादि वाक् प्रकाशानन्दयम्

There are four kinds of speech production (vAk), namely,parA, pashyantI, madhyamA and vaikarI.

The stages of sound from the most subtle to articulated sound have concordance with the evolution of Primal Being from Avyakta through Brahman, Isvara, Hiranyagarbha, and Virat, the last being the manifest world.

ParA nAda-transcedental sound

pashyantI-seeing,observing-visual sound

madhyamA-middle,intermediate-mental sound


The three invisible sources of speech coming from our within,namely,parA,pashyantI and madhyamA are expressed as exterior sound coming from the mouth (vaikarI) and these are controlled by the Lord.

All the four components of speech reveal the blissful Lord.


It can be seen that understanding the true meaning of dIkshitar's compositions is a very difficult task as he is an embodiment of expertise in several sciences (sAstrAs).
I am sure that if we dwell more into his kritIs,we will always get more and more.
I have attempted to bring out some aspects of this great composition with the help of a few references to the best of my ability.

At this juncture, I offer my praNAms with gratitude to Swami Paramarthananda who was kind enough to review my notes and provide several clarifications and suggestions.


Sathej said...

Thats a long post, that again I've to read at leisure and comment :-) Nice efforts indeed - with pains taken to obtain suggestions/proof reading et al - quite an academic venture! :-)


Priya Ram said...

Herculean task this is Gayathri. kudos to you !. I got a clear idea of Bhairava and many other concepts. And meanings of many words which i was unaware of like shatripu, sAranga and others. keep it up ! God bless you.

Pushkala said...

I finally managed to sit down with a printout of all three parts, and read it. It is a very scholarly commentary. I read along with listening to your Raga Manjari CD of same song and it was great. The songs in the raga manjari are just amazing renditions. Please release more CDs for rasikas who cannot attend your concerts regularly!