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Mudra used by Sri Ramaswamy Deekshitha

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Mudra used by Sri Ramaswamy Deekshitha
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    Mudra used by Sri Ramaswamy Deekshitha Apart from identifying raga-s sung by a musician, another exercise that enthuse a listener and musician alike is identifying the composer (vaggeyakara) of a song. This is important as sahityam forms the basis of our music and a vaggeyakara expresses his feelings only through the sahityam. Identification of a vaggeyakara becomes simpler if we have a basic knowledge about the ‘mudra’  employed by each one of them. Mudra used by a vageeyakara is not uniform; it can be his name (svanama mudra), his patron’ s name (poshaka mudra) or the place with which he is associated with (sthala mudra) and so on. Also a vaggeyakara can use one or more mudra-s and conversely two or more vageeyakara-s can use a same mudra. For instance, the mudra ‘venkatesa’  was used by Manambuchavadi Venkatasubbaier, Patnam Subramanya Iyer and Kothavasal Venkatarama Iyer. This has created confusion in attributing a composition to a particular composer. Dhanyudevvado, a krithi in the ragam Malayamarutham is attributed to both Patnam Subramanya Iyer and his Guru Manambuchavadi Venkatasubbaier. Another interesting krithi which suffers this identity crisis is ‘parabrahmamu’. When a musician considers this as a composition of Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer, he is supposed to sing this in the ragam Kapinarayani. Whereas, if a musician feels it was composed by Manambuchavadi Venktasubbaier, he should sing this in the ragam Pravalajyothi. A single musician can use one or more mudra-s too. Kshetrayya and Melattur Virabhadrayya can be cited as examples. Kshetrayya has used the mudra ‘muvva gopala’ in majority of his works where muvva is the sthala mudra. In few of his padam-s we can also see the mudra- s like ‘kanchi varadudu’ and ‘cevvandhi lingudu’. 1  Virabhadrayya, a famous composer of the medieval period has used the mudra ‘pratapasimha’ in few of his compositions. Mudra - s like ‘achudabdhi nilaya’, ‘unnathapurisha’ and ‘achuthapuri’ are seen in his other compositions. Whereas pratapasimha is to be ta ken as poshaka   mudra, achudabdhi nilaya and achuthapuri indicates the sthalam, Melattur to which he belonged to (sthala mudra) and unnathapuri denotes the svami mudra (Unnatapurishvarar is the deity in Melattur). Ramaswamy Deekshithar (1735-1815), father of Muthuswamy Deekshithar was a much underrated, prolific composer of 18 th CE. His initial training in music was from Melattur Virabhadrayya and later learnt the intricacies from Venkata Vaidyanatha Deekshithar, maternal grandson of Venkatamakhi, propagating Venkatamakhi’s illustrious legacy to his disciples. His early years were spent at Tiruvarur, where he codified the raga-s and compositions to be sung by Nagasvaram vidvans in Tyagarajasvamy temple upon the divine instruction by Tyagaraja himself. He was then patronized by father-son dubashi-s of Manali, Chennai (erstwhile Madras) - Manali Muddukrishna Mudaliyar and Chinnaswamy (Venkatakrishna) Mudaliyar in later part of his life. Unfortunately, not many of his compositions are available and it is Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini, which gives us a significant number of compositions. Though, mudra of Ramaswamy Deekshithar is considered to be ‘venkatakrishna’  (poshaka mudra), it will be illustrated from the following discussion that he can be considered as a dvi-mudra vaggeyakara. Compositions of Ramaswamy Deekshithar Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini of Subbarama Deekshithar 2  lists the following compositions of Ramaswamy Deekshithar: 1.   Sarigani  –  Todi  –  Adhi - Svarasthana varnam 2.   Inkadaya - Vegavahini - Adhi - Keertanam 3.   Amba ni - Anandabhairavi - Adhi - Keertanam 4.   Rammanave  –  Hindola  –  Ata - Varnam 5.   Valcahi vachi - Hindolavasantha  –  Rupakam - Varnam   6.   Sami ninne - Sriranjani  –  Adhi - Varnam 7.   Vashivashi  –  Sahana  –  Adhi - Keertanam 8.   Sambho jagadeesa - Shankarabharanam  –  Adhi  –  Keertanam 9.   Ra ra puseyaka Shankarabharanam  –  Ata  –  Varnam 10.   Candaseyala - Hamsadvani  –  Matya - Lakshya Prabandham 11.   Ela namne - Purnachandrika  –  Rupaka  –  Varnam 12.   Sivamohana  –  Ragamalika  –  Adhi 13.   Manasaveri  –  Ragamalika  –  Rupakam 14.   Nattakadi vidyala  –  108 Ragatalamalika 15.   Samaja gamana  –  Ragamalika  –  Adhi 16.   Paga jupa, an ata tala varnam in the ragam Mohanam is seen in some printed texts (not mentioned in Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini). 3   Analysis of these compositions Of these available compositions, the mudra ‘venkatakrishna’ is seen in svarasthana varnam, krithi in the ragam-s Vegavahini, Anandabhairavi, Sahana and in the lakshana prabandham. This mudra is also seen in the ragamalika-s natakadi vidyala and sivamohana. Hence, 7 compositions out of 16 bear the mudra ‘ venkatakrishna ’ . When the remaining 9 compositions were analysed, the ragamalika ‘manasaveri’ does not possess the mentioned mudra; “venkataramana” can be seen in that krithi. It is to be understood here that this krithi was composed on the Lord Venkateswara of Tirupathi. Let us see the 8 compositions without the mudra “venkatakrishna” in detail.    1. Varnam in Hindola This ata tala varnam ‘ rammanave tyagaraja sami neevu ’ is on Tyagarajaswamy of Tiruvarur. This is a cauka varnam with 4 ettugada svaram-s. 2. Varnam in Hindolavasantha This is a cauka varnam is set to rupaka talam. Interestingly this varnam has only 3 ettugada svaram. This is on Tyag esha of Tiruvarur. Anupallavi of this varnam reads ‘velayu sripuravasa veeravasantha tyagesha ’. The epithet ‘veeravasantha’ is used only for Tyagaraja of Tiruvarur and this was used only by vaggeyakaras linked personally and intimately with that deity (Ramaswamy Deekshithar and Muthuswamy Deekshithar). 3. Varnam in Sriranjani This adi tala varna was also composed on Ty agesha of Tiruvarur. Anupallavi reads as ‘tamasamika seyaku mrokkera tyagaraja daya sagara sri’. This varnam has 4 ettugada svaram -s. Of these, only the first svara passage was composed by Ramaswamy Deekshithar. Second, third and fourth svara passages were contributed by Syama Sastri, Chinnaswamy Deekshithar and Muthuswamy Dekshithar respectively. 4   4. Varnam in Shankarabharanam This grand ata tala varnam follows old varna template seen with the varnam- s like ‘viriboni (Bhairavi)’ and ‘sami nine (Shankarabharanam). Contra st to his other varnam-s , this one has an anubandham which is linked to anupallavi and mukthayi svaram-s. Hence, this varnam is finished by singing pallavi. This is again on the Lord Tyagesha and he desc ribes Tyagaraja as ‘koti lavanya tyagaraja maharaja’. 5. Keertanam in Shankarabharanam   This krithi is on Natesha of Chidambaram and has no mudra. 6. Varnam in Purnachandrika This rupaka tala varnam is again on the Lord Tyagaraja and he asks him ‘  jalamelara natho sami sri tyagesha ’ . This is a pada varnam with sahityam for mukthayi and ettugada svaram-s. 7. Varnam in Mohanam This is a rare work of Deekshithar not found in Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini. This can be seen in few private manuscripts. We find the epithet ‘veerasantha tyagaraja sami’ again here in anupallavi. 8. Samajagamana This ragamalika is a string of 20 ragas composed on the Raja Amarasimha of Tanjore. It is said Deekshithar praised Amarasimha with this garland when the latter visited Tiruvarur. This is one of his best creations wherein he has skillfully woven the raga mudra into the sahityam. Though this is a pean to Amarasimha, Deekshithar has invoked Tyagesha too - ‘aharindruni pujinchu  tyageshu krupanijamu’. From the above discussion, it becomes clear that, of the 8 compositions lacking the mudra ‘venkatakrishna’, 6 were composed on the Lord Tyagesha of Tiruvarur. All these bear the mudra ‘tyagesha’ or its variant. Of the remaining 2 compositions, 1 does not have any mudra and the ragamalika krithi has the mudra ‘tyagesha’ though the ‘nayaka’ glorified there was Amarasimha. Conclusion The above discussion shows Ramaswamy Deekshithar was a ‘ dvi-mudra vaggeyaka ra’ with ‘tyagesha’ and ‘venkatakrishna’ as his mudra -s. It can also be assumed that he has used the mudra ‘tyagesha’ when he spent his life in Tiruvarur and used the mudra ‘venkatakrishna’ when he was in Manali, in memory of his benefactor Venkatakrishna Mudaliyar.
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