Archive for January, 2007

160th Sri Tyagaraja Aradhana at Srirangapattana

January 9, 2007

My friend Usha had the good fortune of attending this years’ Sri Tyagaraja Aradhana at Srirangapattana, which was held yesterday (Jan.8th). Read the engrossing narrative about the event in her own words….

Tyagaraja Brindavana was constructed in Srirangapattana 50 years ago, behind the Sri Kodandarama temple. This 15th century temple, according to inscriptions, was donated to the Naadaswara players, by the kings of Vijayanagara empire.

A statue of Tyagaraja in a sitting posture has been installed in front of the Brindavana. The “Mrittika” (sacred earth) of the Tyagaraja “Moola Samadhi” in Tiruvaiyaru is placed in the samadhi. Thus it is the only ‘Mrittikka Brindavana’ of saint Tyagaraja in Karnataka. Since the aradhana is held in Srirangapattana, the place is also known as ‘Mari Tiruvaiyaru’.

It was Mukhaveena Vidwan AV Narayanappa (1912-1994) who was responsible for the construction of the Brindavana and starting “Aradhana Celebrations” here. Saint Tyagaraja (1767-1847) is the most popular musician among the Carnatic music Trinity.

The 160th annual Tyagaraja aradhana celebrations were held in Srirangapattana on 8th January, 2007. Musicians from all over the state gathered here on the morning of the first day (panchami) of the festival and went round the streets of the town, singing divyanama keerthanas. I could  get to the sabha only by 10.30 am since I started from Bangalore in the early morning. I missed out attending this colourful traditional procession. A senior musician in the traditional Tyagaraja outfit, lead the ‘Unchavrithi’ and accept ‘Bhiksha’ from the devotees.

We were welcomed by the volunteers and office members of Kodanda Rama Trust as soon as we reached the temple premises. We were directed towards the dining room where we were served delicious Uppittu, Kesaribhath and hot tea for breakfast. I was dumbstruck by the  hospitality of the organizers. Although all of us were strangers to them, they treated us with a lot of affection. I guess India is the only place on earth where we get so much ‘Upachaara’ even if we are strangers. Vande Mataram.

Then while we were having tea we were informed that Gosti Gaana is about to begin and we rushed to the assembly hall. Gosti Gaana is the most important event of the aradhana. The ‘Pancharathna Krithis’ of the saint was rendered in the ensemble. Conductor of the Gosti Gaana Sri Vid.Kumaraswamy was introduced  by the compere. Shruthi (pitch/ scale) was set to the Gosti. The compere requested everyone to silently observe and listen to the Shruthi and Thaala that Sri Kumaraswamy set for the Gosti. The compere also announced the rules and frame the Gosti was set to …and lo it began, the divine trance! Pillari Geethegalu of Sri Purandara Dasa  (Lambodara Lakumikara, Kereya neeranu Kerege chelli etc.) were rendered. While the idol of Tyagaraja was being offered abhisheka, melodious voices offered Jagadananda Karaka in raaga Naata. It was a beautiful rendering and all were immersed in the ocean of music as the  ghantanadha and the mangalarathi offered to the swami brought us back. Next, Dudukugala in raaga Goula, Sadhinchane in raaga Aarabhi, Kanakana Ruchira in raga Varali and Endaro Mahanu Bhavulu in raaga Sri were rendered wonderfully one after the other while offering of Hoovina alankara and mangalarathi to Sri Tyagaraja.

I was delighted to attend this traditional way of thanking the sadguru for  blessing us with his divine music. This practice is unique to our culture. Musicians young and old, veteran and upcoming celebrities and the new entrants, without bothering about their age or status, sang in unison. I saw a child aged about eight singing the pancharatna krithis with devotion. It is an unforgettable experience for me. Every year, nearly hundreds of voices sing together! After the Gosti gaana  individuals  rendered beautiful rare compostions of Sri Tyagaraja as Guruvandana and two blind artists, a child artist also sang melodiously on the occasion.

I was very happy to see my meshtru who taught me in my childhood and took his blessings. His affectionate pat took me to the seventh heaven. The priest was kind enough to allow me to take a picture of Sri Tyagaraja swami after the alankara. I visited the books and the CD/ Cassette stalls and bought a few collections. I saw few of the great musicians’ photos on the walls of the Sabha. I am sure they would be pleased listening to the music today. I silently thanked them for their contribution to music .

Later, we were directed to go and have lunch by the same hospitable team of volunteers who saw to it that each had sumptuous meal.

I would like to mention here the message conveyed by the organizers of the Aradhana ‘Kodanda Rama Trust. Every year the Tyagaraja aradhana mahotsava is being held here on the morning of the first day (panchami). They need monetary as well as physical help. They requested for more people to participate, especially youngsters. They want all music lovers and music students to attend the aradhana in a sizeable number and keep this  cultural practice going. Everyone is welcome to encourage the organizers make it a better fest next year and help them popularize the movement . They need technical help like better sound equipments and in event arrangement coordination. The irony is that most of these aradhana  assemblies are more  focusing  on the media attention and coverages which should stop. Participants should gather with the objective of rendering music and seek the blessings of Sadguru Tyagaraja.  

All Good things has to come to an end. We left Srirangapattana, bidding good bye and thanking the hosts for the wonderful arrangements.

Also read:
Sri Tyagaraja Aradhana

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God Save Malleswaram

January 9, 2007

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Courtesy: Vijay Times (Click on the image for a larger view)

Driving in Malleswaram will be a curse for more than a year. Till last week, driving was never a problem. But ever since the Underpass work on 5th cross Malleswaram began from December 28th 2006, the chaos is gradually increasing. The two-ways have become one-ways and vice versa.

Ever since I was in First Standard, Margosa Road was always One way. Not any more. Pedestrians must be specially careful while crossing this road. Malleswaram 4th main was a broad road, good for pedestrians and motorists alike. Now this is one-way, with all buses plying here. The worrying factor is that there are five schools on this stretch.

The stretch from Sampige theatre towards Mohammedan Block was a two-way road. Since Sunday, one can only travel up this road and not the other way.

Malleswaram 8th cross has become a dangerous stretch for the shoppers, what with buses to Market, Shivajinagar and Majestic going down this road. One can see traffic on all smaller roads and even conservancies.

Pedestrians are shocked to see vehicles out of nowhere. Really, god save Malleswaram.

Sri Tyagaraja Aradhana

January 8, 2007

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Picture: RK’s Archives 

Every Kirtana is a beautiful temple in which the great composer has installed the God of his heart for worship by those who sing and those who hear. – Rajaji.

The contribution of Saint Tyagaraja, one of the Trinities of Carnatic music, has been immense not only through his compositions but also through his Sishya Parampara, who have preserved and enriched the true tradition of classical music. 

Saint Tyagaraja is seen as an Avatharapurusha, who came to this world to savour the souls that suffer in this world. In fact, he is considered an avathara (incarnation) of Saint Valmiki.  Tyagaraja’s compositions are rich in devotional and philosophical content. They are noted for their superior structure, superb handling of ragalakshanas and apt choice of raga and words. The world of Carnatic music owes a lot to Saint Tyagaraja for the treasure that he is bestowed on them

Every year on ‘pushya-bahula panchami’ day (incidentally today), thousands of musicians throng the sanctum sanctorum of Saint Tyagaraja at Tiruvaiyaru on the banks of the river Cauvery to offer their musical tributes to the great composer. Saint Tyagaraja is believed to have reached the abode of his favourite diety Sri Rama on this day, in the year 1847. Since then, the ‘Tyagaraja Aradhana’ is commemorated on this day every year.

It is believed that Saint Tyagaraja was born on the 4th of May 1767 at Tiruvaroor. (The life-history of Tyagaraja as we now know, is only from the palm-leaf document of his disciple Sri Venkatramana Baghavathar and from the notoebooks of Sri Krishnaswami Baghavathar (son of Venkatrama Baghavathar)). Tyagaraja was born as the third son to Sri Ramabrahmam and Smt. Seethamma. Sri Ramabrahmam was patronised by the Tanjore prince Thulajaji II. Sri Ramabrahmam earned his living by giving discourses in Ramayana and singing bhajans. Tyagaraja actively participated in the religious activities of his father. Once, during one of the daily ‘poojas’, Tyagaraja sang ‘Namo Namo Raghavaaya Anisam’ in the raga ‘Desiya Thodi’, a krithi which he composed spontaneously.

Upon hearing this krithi, Sri Ramabrahmam brought Tyagaraja under the tutelage of Sri Sonti Venkataramayya for advanced musical training. Then on, Saint Tyagaraja composed hundreds of krithis wherein he extolled his favourite diety as a brave warrior, a King, a Hero. Krithis praising Sri Rama’s eloquance, gait, skill in archery were also composed during this period. Saint Tyagaraja is said to have had a glimpse of Sage Narada through his immense devotion. Sage Narada is supposed to have had gifted the musical treatise ‘Swararnavam’ and Tyagaraja’s krithis ‘Sri Narada’ and ‘Vara Narada’ express his gratitude to the Great Sage.

The Five Keerthanas known as ‘Pancha Ratna Krithis’ sung during the Aradhana are Jagadananda (Nata), Dudukugala (Gowla), Sadinchanae (Arabhi), Kana kana Ruchira (Varali) and Endharo Mahanu Bhavulu (Sri). These krithis are like epics in size and content.

A word about his devotion and love of God. Like a doting child to its mother or the suckling calf to the cow, he runs to his Rama to report, explain, complain, appeal, solicit, beg, weep or to protest and get angry with. Rama was the warp and woof of his very existence.

Lyrics and meaning:
Jagadananda
Dudukugala
Sadhinchanae
Kana kana Ruchira
Endaro Mahanu Bhavulu

Also read:
160th Sri Tyagaraja Aradhana at Srirangapattana

Stray dogs maul girl to death

January 6, 2007

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UPDATE – March 2, 2007: Dog attack leaves many worried

Was shocked to read in today’s newspaper that a pack of nine stray dogs ripped apart an eight-year-old girl in Chandra Layout. Had written a post in June 2006 about stray dog menace. Never thought it would get this brutal.

Just think about the kid’s parents. They may look very composed in the picture accompanying the report, but the pain, anger and sorrow will certinly not become any less sharp. Those feelings may take a back seat to the inevitable everyday tasks and duties that they carry out, but the smallest reminder can easily bring them to the fore again.

Happily ever after

January 5, 2007

AK Ramanujan, poet and teacher, on the male-centred and women-centred Indian folktales:

In male-centred tales a hero is featured prominently and moves out of the parental family in search of adventures. The hero may start out with a sense of rivalry with his father, kill or master an ogre (a father figure!), win princesses from different worlds, befriend animals (often a bird of the air, a fish or crocodile of the waters, ants of the earth), undertake tasks in which these animals (or the women) help him, and then return victorious to receive recognition, a princess, a kingdom — or atleast half of one. Women are no more than pawns or prizes or helpers in his life’s game. His antagonists tend to be male, though a stepmother or ogress might also want to get rid of him. The story usually ends with a wedding.

Women-centred tales have a different focus. Saving, rescuing, or reviving a man, often solving riddles on his behalf, becomes the life-task of the heroine. In such tales, women predominate and men are wimps, ruled by mothers, mistresses, or wives. The antagonists are usually women — co-wives, sisters-in-law, stepmothers. Sometimes a male — a father, a brother, or a guru — may desire the heroine inappropriately and turn into her enemy. Her chief helpers also tend to be women. In contrast to the male-centred tale, marriage begins rather than ends the story; a separation ensues, and then a rescue of the male by the female.
—  Folktales from India

Drama in Karnataka Politics

January 2, 2007

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Cartoon: RK

Karnataka minister quits as CM skips Eid

`BJP will not be given a chance to head Government’

Electric shocks in offing as Cabinet drags its feet

Minister quits; no talks to convince him: Kumaraswamy

Kumaraswamy disarms `rebel’ leaders in coalition Ministry

MLA, former MLA to debate today

`Public debate’ leads to clash in Davangere

etc., etc., etc…..