Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sri Thyagaraja Sadguru Mangalam

Sri Thyagaraja Sadguru Mangalam

Sri  Walajapet  Venkatramana  Bhagawathar

Translated by

(Sri Walajapet  Venkatramana  BHawathar    was the chief disciple of   Sadguru sri Thyagaraja , He was   the one who took down most of the   compositions of Thyagaraja   and recorded it to the posterity  on palm leaves. I  got the lyrics of this   song in Tamil by the  facebook post of    my friend Sri  Parthasarathy Krishnan  Vanamali.My thanks to him
  You can hear this  prayer sung by  Kum.G.Deepthi   and Kum N.Vyuha  --

RAgam – surattii
Talam– Adi

1,Srimath Kakarla   vamasabdhi   chandraya   amala thejase,
Purnaya   punya seelaaya  Thyagarajaya  Mangalam

Auspiciousness  to Thyagaraja who is the moon  from ocean like clan called Kakarala
Who has pure lustre,  , Who is complete and  who had  blessed  character

2.Ramabrahhma suputhraaya Rama nama Shukhatmane,
Ramachandra  swaroopaaya, THyagarajaya  Mangalam.

Auspiciousness  to Thyagaraja who is the great son of  Ramabrahmam,
Who used to get pleasure out of name of Rama, and  who has the form of  Ramachandra

3,Naradacharya karuna paathraaya adbhutha keerthaye,
Dheeraaya nirvikaaraaya Thyagarajaya mangalam

Auspiciousness  to Thyagaraja, who due  tothe mercy  of sage Narada,
Had  wonderful fame , who was  bold and who  was unchangeable  

4.Sri Karunya samudhraaya loka anugraha kaarine,
SAkethadhipa bhakthaya, Thyagarajaya  Mangalam,

Auspiciousness  to Thyagaraja who was  an ocean of kindness ,
Who was the reason for people getting blessed and who was a devotee of king of Ayodhya.

5.Yogi pungava  mithraaya yogaananda  swaroopine,
Raga  lobha vimukthaaya, Thygarajaya  Mangalam,

Auspiciousness  to Thyagaraja  who is a friend of great yogis  ,
Who has the form the joy from yoga  and who  did not have passion or avarice.

6.Gaana  Sasthra praveenaaya, kali kalmasha  Nasine,
SAranagatha  poshaaya THyagarajaya  Mangalam

Auspiciousness  to Thyagaraja, Who was   an expert in science of music,
Who destroyed the ills of Kali age andwho encouraged  people to surrender.

7.Cauvery theera vaasaaya karunyamrutha  varshine  ,
Avanisura  Rajayam Thyagarajaya  Mangalam

Auspiciousness  to Thyagaraja, who lived in the banks   of river Cauvery,
Who rained  the nectar  of mercy and wasa king among  the devas of earth(Brahmins)
8,.Nadha Veda sudhaa pana mathaaya amala  murthaye,
Vijitheendraaya lobhaaya Thyagarajaya  Mangalam.

Auspiciousness  to Thyagaraja, who was intoxicated with the nectar,

Of the  Veda  of music, who won over sense organs and greed.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Alphabetical index of translations of Some compositions of OOthukadu Venkata Kavi

Alphabetical index of   translations Some compositions of OOthukadu Venkata  Kavi


(I am reproducing   some information  of this  great composer  from   with my thanks to them. I am also giving   English translation of 99  of his compositions(Only 300  of them have  been pulished.).My aim is to make know the meaning of these  great Tamil compositions   to the  non Tamil  musicians and  Dancing artistes )

The foremost sources of information about Oottukkadu Venkata Kavi(1700-1765) are his own compositions and surviving members of his brother's family. In Indian culture and specifically the field of Carnatic music, where the history and the source of information have more often than not, been scantily documented, the primary evidence is a composer's body of works.  Any external corraborations are a bonus. 
Birth and early life: As per available information (from the family tree Oottukkadu Venkat Kavi was born to Subbu Kutti Iyer and Venkamma in Mannargudi, a temple town near Tanjavur in South India, sometime in early 1700s.  Later on, they are said to have migrated to Oottukkadu, which was a small neighbouring village. Venkata Kavi lived in a very pious and culturally alive atmosphere. He is considered to have remained a bachelor and lived a very introspective and elevated life meditating upon God and music but his compositions also testify to the fact that he travelled extensively.
Divine influence: In his young days, Venkata Kavi expressed an interest to learn music from Shri Krishna Yogi. However, upon Krishna Yogi's refusal to teach him, his mother advised him to surrender himself to Lord Krshna in the Kalinga Narttana temple at Oottukkadu. Lord Krshna is said to have appeared before him and blessed him with knowledge.
Therefore, it is not surprising to find that Venkata Kavi refers to Lord Krshna as his 'divine preceptor' in many compositions. But some compositions also suggest that he may have had a human pedagogue too. Currently, around 500 compositions of this great composer have been discovered through various sources. Over 300 of these have been published by noted harikatha exponent, Needamangalam Krishnamurthy Bhagavatar (who was a descendant of the poet's brother's family) and others.  
Other influences and sources of inspiration: One of the most obvious factors that have made Venkata Kavi's compositions among the greatest in Indian culture are the imprint of great personalities right from Valmiki and Vyasa to Jayadeva on him.  His compositions are a testimony to the fact that he has been deeply impacted by the lives, knowledge and exemplary attitude of numerous great devotees including the 12 azhwars, 63 nayanmars and composers such as Purandara Dasa and Tulasi Dasa. 
Another powerful influence was the Bhagavata mela tradition that flourished in South India. Oottukkadu, along with Melattur, Shoolamangalam and Shalyamangalam was a major centre for Bhagavata mela. This probably would have motivated him to compose so many operas on various great personalities, as well as the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavatam. It also explains his mastery over diverse musical forms suited for music, dance, theatre as well as discourses and the emotive appeal and devotional fervor in his pieces.
Maratha presence: Maratha rulers ruled in the Tanjore region around 16th – 17th centuries and they were known to be patrons of art and culture. This might have insipired him to compose a handful of pieces in Marathi and to have employed ragas such as Dvijayavanti, Hameerkalyani and Sindhubhairavi.”

9.       Ariven, Arinthen                  
10.   Avaraga Varuvaro                  
19.   Gana nayagan thunai              
25.   Ithanai parivu Yendi?           
26.   Ithanayum poi urakkam       
28.   Ivan thaane, Ivan thane                 
32.   Kundrin melitta deepam        

35.   Mun cheitha  thava Payane     
37.   Nalla thanamai cholli                
41.   Neram Konjamum  illayo          
42.   Nillamal pogum nilave               
45.   Podhum, Podhum Kanna          
50.   Sri Rama Jayame  Jayam            
53.   Theril Vandhano                            
54.   Therodum Veeethiyile                   
55.   Thu, Thu, Thu , thu –Yengal         

      Sanskrit Krithis
77.   Bhajanamrutha  Paramananda                    
78.   Eka Dantha vinayakam                                  
85.   Navavarana Krithi- Tri lokya mohana Chakram 1 Santhatham aham Seve
86.   Navavarana Krithi- Sarva aasha Paripooraka  Chakra 2 Bhajasva  Sri Tripura Sundari
87.   Navavarana krithi SArva samkshobhana  Chakra 3   Sarva Jeeva Dhayapari
88.   Navavarana Kruthi- Sarva saubhagya Dayaka Chakra 4   Yoga Yogeswari  Tripura Vasini
89.   Navavarana Kruthi-Sarvartha sadaka  Chakram  5   Nila lohitha ramani
90.   Navavarana Krithi- Sarva Rakshakara  Chakra  6   Sadananda mayi, Chinmayi
91.   Navavarana krithi –Sarva roga hara  chakra 7   SAkala loka  Nayike
92.   Navarana Krithi – SArva Sidhi pradha Vak Chakra 8  Shankari Sri Rajarajeswari
93.   Navavarana Krithi-SArva anandamaya chakram(Bindu) 9    Natha jana kalpavalli
95.   Senapathe  Namosthuthe                               

Saturday, April 29, 2017


On May   First   the Nation would be celebrating   the 1000th Jayanthi   of Saint   Ramanujachaya. Here is a great krithi composed  by Annamacharya on him



Translated   by

Raga Mohana
Adi  Tala.

 gatulannikhilamaina kaliyugamandunu gati
yithade  chupepe ghana gurudaivamu

In this kali age    where   there  is no way to be good,
He  is the great Guru    who shows    us the way.

1. Itani karunaneka ila vaisnavula maiti
mItani vallane kanthi mI tirumanni
Ithade upadeshamiccenu Ashtakshari
mantramu ithade  ramanujulu ihapara daivamu

1..It is due to his mercy I could become a Vaishnana ,
And due to him only   I  could find   the Thiruman,
He only taught   me the   eight  lettered divine manthra,
And he  only is Ramanuja  , the god  in this and the other world.

2: velayince nItade kaa  Vedapu rahasyamulu
caliminathade  chupe sharanagati
nilipinalade kAnijamudradhaaNamu
malasi mAnuju Ithade daivamu

He is one who threw    light   on the secret   of Vedas,
And he is the one who showed   path of surrender  ,
And he was    the one    who established    the   wearing of Mudras,
And so he    only is the God   among human beings.

3: niyamamulu Ithade kaa  nilipe prapannulaku
dayato mokshamu chupe taganiItadu
nayamai shrI Venkatesu   nagamekke vakithanu
dayacuci mammunitte  talli tanDri daivamu

3.Was he not the one who   established   rules  for Prapannas,
And he is   the one who showed    salvation    along with mercy  ,
He is the one   who withhis knees   climbed  to temple of Venkatachala

And he    is  to us   mother    as well as father   to us.

Sri Ramanuja

On May   First   the Nation would be celebrating   the 1000th Jayanthi   of Saint   Ramanujachaya. Here is a Sanskrit Krithi on  him composed  by Meenakshi Sutha

Sri Ramanuja

Sri Meenakshi Suta

Translated by

 Raga  Sama-
Tala Adi

sri RamAnuja charanamboruham|
shirasa namAmyaham shubhakara charitham

With my head   I salute   the  lotus like   feet of Ramanuja,
Which   leads me to auspiciousness


parama purusham Adhisesha Dhara vesham,
parama vishishtadvaitha sara subodham
He is the divine person  who is the  incarnation of Adhi Sesha,
And the  one  taught us the essence   of the   divine  Visishtadvaitham


1.ubhaya kaveri rangapura nivasam ,
aBhaya pradayakam Ananda bhasam.
He lived in the   city of Sri Ranga  in between two branches oF Cauvery ,
He used   grant   us protection and used   to shine in joy.

2.sri vAishnavakula jalanidhi soma,
sri vara mInakshisutha vinutham
He is the moon   raising from the waters   of the  clan of Vaishnavas,
Says   the   blessed  Meenakshi Sutha with devotion

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Sri NArAyaNa Teertha’s Musical Magnum Opus

Sri NArAyaNa Teertha’s Musical Magnum Opus

Thiruvaiyaru  S R  Krishnan  
(With his kingd consent)

(When I had translated several of Narayana THirtha's krithis  I did not much about the great saint. I happened to read  it in  .Now it is for all of you to read .May God bless the author ) 

Sri nArAyaNa teertha (“nArAyaNa” aka “teertha”) was born near and lived in kAzA village close to Mangalagiri in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh and was claimed to be known at birth, as Madhava or ‘Govinda Sastrulu.’ But teertha became widely known to the music world, especially to Carnatic musicians, thanks to the Sankeertana bhAgavatAs of Thanjavur district in Tamilnadu, the seat of CarnAtic music.  He lived for a while in kUchimanchi agrahAram in GodAvari district and visited SrikAkulam, SobanAdri, and VenkatAdri before settling down in Tamil Nadu. While there is significant dissention as to his exact time, historians place him between 1610 & 1745 AD. An extensive research done with the help of archives preserved in Sarasvati Mahal library has helped place the time as 1650 to 1745 AD, and that he reportedly lived a long life*.

SanAtana dharma followers believe that the great Sage VedavyAsa (KrishNa DvaipAyana) who authored SrimadBhAgavatam and Sri MahAbhAratam took three incarnations in Kaliyuga, first as sringAra mahAkavi Jayadeva and composed the immortal Astapadis (24 immortal songs in 12 sargams or cantos) in the 12th century. His next reincarnation was that of sringAra mahAkavi Kshetrayya or kshetragna during 15/16th century (1484 to 1564), and composed as many as 24,000 romantic ‘padams’ with KrishNa as the main theme. His third reincarnation was that of Yogi NArAyaNa teertha in the mid-17th century. The theme, again, was ‘BhAgavatam’ and specifically on ‘KrishNa lIlA’ and appropriately named ‘KrishNa-lIlA-tarangiNi (“TarangiNi”) – River (or waves) of KrishNa’s lIlA.

An incident somewhat similar to what we read in the life of Adi Sankara bhagavadpAda happened in nArAyaNa’s life as well.  He was once reportedly caught in raging floods and got stuck in a whirlpool. He prayed to the Lord and promised HIM that he would, if saved, relinquish all the worldly pleasures and take up to asceticism. The waters subsided mysteriously, but when Teertha returned home he forgot his promise. From that day, his devout wife strangely felt a sanyAsin in him, and could not see him as her spouse anymore and thus directed him to an ascetic way of life. Very soon another challenge came in the form of an incurable stomach pain and this time he was guided in his dream to walk down to deep-south, in search of cure. After several hundreds of miles of pAda-yAtra, he was about to collapse when a wild white boar practically escorted and led him into a temple in a village then known as BhoopathirAjapuram in Thanjavur. Teertha was instantly cured of his long illness and stayed in that village to renovate the millennium-old temple and thus was born the masterpiece opera, tarangiNi. This village later became known as ‘varAhapuri’ or ‘VarahUr’, named after the ‘varAham’ (the boar) that guided him and in reverence of Teertha for his erudition.

Controversies abound that he was known as ‘Madhava’ and his father was ‘Gandharva’ or ‘Neelakanta sastri’ and that he finally came to be known, due to AbadsanyAsam, as nArAyaNa teertha; there is also debate as to whether it happened in the middle of KrishNa river as opposed to VeNNAr in Thanjavur district and if his final days were spent in Varanasi instead of in Varahur. These debates do not affect the universality, the excellence or the authenticity of his masterpieces including his magnum opus operaKrishNa lIlA tarangiNi.

Manuscripts saved by Tulaja maharaja as well as several scholars and devotees who belonged to 18th and 19th centuries helped the 20th century sankeertana-bhAgavatAs to publish his works for our benefit. TillaistAnam Narasimha bhAgavatar, & Nallur Venkatasubba released them in Grantha libi and in Telugu. Several publications followed in Telugu and grantha libi in 1920, 1948, and 1953. A more recent and comprehensive publication in Sanskrit was by the NArAyaNa-teertha E & C Trust, Madras. These efforts have helped preserve and propagate this masterpiece over three centuries.  Professor Varahur Brahmasri Guruswami sastrigal, Varahur Brahmasri Kalyana Sundaram and Srikantha Sastrigal worked tirelessly to bring out the most recent (1986) version under the guidance of HH Kanchi ParamAchArya.

Tarangini is an opera highly suitable for dance drama and it has been very well utilized by dancers over the last two centuries. It is documented belief that one of the Sankeertana Trinity, Bodhendra Swamigal, the 59th pontiff of the Adi Sankara order was Teertha’s disciple.  No wonder that Tarangini became one of the integral parts of the famous sankeertana tradition, the forerunner of the modern Carnatic concert form, and spread to the whole BhArata desam over the last three centuries. Tarangini consists of 12 ‘Tarangams’ and encapsulates 153 songs (many with 6 or more stanzas), 302 slokams and 31 choornikaas. While 41 of the songs do not show the signature (mudra), the remaining 112 include the mudra, nArAyaNateeertha or nArAyaNananda teertha et al. with prefixes/suffixes. Teertha followed Veda VyAsa’s BhAgavatam, concentrated on the 10th skandam and focused on the first 58 adhyAyaas of 10th skandam.  The opera covers KrishNa’s AvatAra mahima, bAla lIlA, rAsalIlA, Kamsa samhAram, DwAraka-nirmANam and Rukmini KalayaNam (around which he also describes in passing, the marriage with seven other queens). It is again popular belief that when Teertha sang the keertanam ‘GopAlameva deivatam sada’ (, Lord KrishNa appeared and danced while playing on the flute. As desired by lord KrishNa, Teertha finished his Tarangini with Rukmini vivAham ( (as retold from the narrations of 19th and 20th century sankeertana bhagavatas such as Varahur Anai-BhAgavatar, Panju-BhAgavatar, GopAlabhAgavatar, TillaistAnam Narasimha-bhAgavatar, Tiruvaiyaru Sonti VenkatrAmayya, and Pantulu bhAgavatar).

Unlike many contemporary composers, Teertha was very well versed in music and, nAtya sAstra, in addition to being a great scholar in Sanskrit. It is reported that he not only wrote these exquisite masterpieces but also methodically tuned them utilizing at least 34 rAgAs which are all very popular, even today. Teertha used for his compositions tAlams such as aTA, tripuTa, Adi, rupaka, Dhruva, ChApu, Jampa, Matya, viLamba, & Eka. Many of the songs are structurally well set for direct use as nritya or nAtya padams. Teertha himself states in 9th and 7th tarangams that GopikAs (of Gokulam) reportedly used Bhoopalam, desAkshi, Malahari, Vasantam, devagAndhAri raagams and dhruvam and aTa tAlams to the nAtya lakshaNams/specifications such as ‘alagu, laghu, dhrutagati, madhyamagati, mandhara gati, patAkam, dhrupatAkam, sookaram, kaTakA, chileemukham, sooLA.

Teertha also sang on rAma, Narasimha, Venkateswara, Durga, VaradarAja and DakshiNamoorthy with equal inspiration of sama-bhava in abeda-bhakti. While KrishNa was known to be his Ishtadeivam, he was a vedAntin set in the mode of identification with the NirguNa Brahmam. But, he reiterated that the easiest path to reach the parabrahmam (which is nirguNa), is the worship through SravaNam & keertanam, the two most important of the nine facets of Bhakti or Devotion, and strangely through the manifestations of the saguNa swaroopams such as the paripoorNAvatAra KrishNa.

His Gadyams and Padyams in most of the tarangams are exquisite in beauty, but least intimidating. Although he was one of the greatest of Sanskrit scholars, he carefully avoided complex usages and consciously used facile expressions. He used 17 different chandas or meters such as anushtup, Arya, Indravajra, BhujangaprayAdam, sArdoola vikreeditam, vasanta tilaka, and pritvi.

ChAndokya, brihadAraNyaka, Taitareeya, EasAvAsya, Mundaka, sAmavedopanishad – all of them reiterated this aspect of rAsalIlA enunciated by TarangiNi (to discern the paratatvam).  Teertha defines a ‘Gopee’ as, Aneka Janma sAhasra tapasaa paritoshitaha; Avirbhutaha sa BhagavAn tAsAm GopyAm sujanmani [The birth of a Gopee is a result of the penance done over thousands of births and ParaMatma waits to get close to the Gopee]. Teerta goes further to add: RAsakreedA mahotsavArambha sambhramachetAha Atma tatvam upadisan nAthamAha [It is said that ParamAtma did the ‘Atma-tatvopadesam’ at the beginning of the rAsalIlA].

·       Teertha improved upon his own ecstatic personal experience in his prior incarnations as Jayadeva and Kshetrayya and sang the lIlAmruta of KrishNa while being an ascetic. Notwithstanding the exalted self-realized state as a sanyAsin, he confesses in his own poetic excellence that the realization of ParamAtma has to be from the state of AnurAga and that without love, in this existence, an attempt to reach the NirguNa Brahman will be a dry and futile attempt.
·       The mythological Sukhabrahmam told ParIkshit MaharAja while narrating the BhAgavatam, that ‘….those who cannot understand the rAsalIlA as the natural yearning of all beings endowed with Rasa and rAga to get to the ParamAtman, are better off not reading it, since such dry pundits have to come back to understand or re-live the experience…’
·       Swami Vivekananda was a great admirer of Sukhabrahmam’s re-narration of Srimad BhAgavatam, Jayadeva’s GIta Govindam and KrishNa lIlA tarangini. He told the inquiring followers that “if your mind is conditioned to dispense rAsalIlA as ‘a dissipation of spiritual energy,’ it is better that you first make attempts to understand your limitations before attempting to go near such great works of philosophy.”
·       In fact, saint TyAgaraja said, “anuraagamuleni nee manasuna sugyaanamu raadhu.

nArAyaNa teertha’s Other Creations:

Other works attributed to Teertha include the following: ‘Subhodinee’ a treatise (in Sanskrit) on Brahma Sutra Sankara BhAshyam; VivaraNa Deepika (in Telugu), a treatise on PancheekaraNa vartika of SureswarAchArya, a renowned yakshagAnam in Telugu called ParijAtApaharaNam, an opera in Sanskrit by the same name, Hari Bhakti SudhArNavam, and ChaAndilya Bhakti Sutra vyAkyAnam (disputed, however, by a few researchers as to the authenticity of authorship).

It is somewhat sad that barring a very small number of musicians, Carnatic concert artists seldom feature these remarkable gems, though they are well designed, structured, and tuned, ranking on par with all other front-line compositions that are frequently presented in concerts. One of the reasons for such a void could be the lack of knowledge. But, the Sankeertanam world has been regularly using about 80 to 100 compositions in nAmasankeertanams and divine weddings, and in harikatha. Nevertheless, constant challenges for a Harikatha exponent attempting a dedicated program on ‘TarangiNi’ include the following:

1.  The need to limit such a vast subject to less than three hours.
2.  The need to cater to the varied tastes and emphasis from rasikas: Majority of the harikatha attendees are concert music lovers, and they tend to expect more than 70% of the content to be music.
3.  The need to consider the flipside to TarangiNi’s compositional excellence as an opera originally set to music with fine grammar & meters: the more one listens to such an exemplary opera, the less one would like to break the musical tempo by kathA interludes.
4.  The need to frequently provide explanations as both the structural and metrical specialties of the language used is one of the greatest in Sanskrit.
5.  The need to elaborate/melt into katha-pravachanam since it is a condensation of the most important part of VedavyAsa’s Bhagavatam, the lIlA of a PurNavatAram.

The author recently had the pleasure of attending the Varahur annual festival honoring Sri Teertha; it was heartwarming to observe hundreds of harikatha and sankeertana bhagavatAs from all over India, with most of them from outside Tamilnadu, participating in the 2-day festival so as to be able to sing, if possible even one song as their offering in the ArAdhana.

For those interested in an authentic compilation of the songs from ‘tarangiNi’, in English, the following link at US Archives has more than 120 songs available for easy downloading:

Thiruvaiyaru S R Krishnan