Carnatic Compositions – The Essence and Embodiment

Aparna Munukutla Gunupudi 

Our intent for this essay is to highlight the great features of the language, emotion and melody (rAgam) of a krithi (song/composition) and also to provide the song for your listening pleasure.  Most of you may know these krithis, but when you discover the distinct features of a krithi, you may enjoy a new beauty or an attribute in the krithi.

Note: Krithi is defined as a song containing pallavi, anupallavi and charanam that have high musical value and can be sung elaborately with improvisations.  Whereas, Keerthana also has a pallavi, anupallavi and charanam but is sung in a single form or simpler pattern.

Krithi: kanna tanDri
rAgam: dEva manOhari
tAlam: Adi talam
Composer: Tyagaraja

Singer: Lavanya


kanna taNDri nApai karuna mAnakE gAsi tALa lEnE


ninna chEyu panulu nEdugAka vErenna lEdanucu vEmArulaku


eduru dAnanE ingitam berigi cedaranIka pancEndriya maNaci ninnu
vadalalEni dhairyasAli gAdani madana kOtirUpa tyAgarAjanuta

kanna taNDri – Father (biological)
nApai – upon me
Karuna – kindness
mAnakE – don’t stop
gAsi tALa lEnE – can not bear

Ninna – yesterday
chEyu panulu – works
nEdugAka – not today again
vErenna – choose other
lEdanucu – did not
vEmArulaku – thousand times

eduru dAnanE – in front of you
ingitam – knowledge
erigi – knowing
cedaranIka – without fail
panchEndriyam – the five senses/desires
aNaci – controlled
Ninnu – you
vadalalEni – could not let go
dhairyasAli – courageous
gAdani – lack of
Madana – beautiful manmadha
kOtirUpa – in the form that is equivalent to million manmadha
tyAgarAjanuta – praised by tyagaraja

          Tyagaraja, being an ardent devotee of RAma, without a doubt composed many songs in praise of RAma.  However, this krithi is a rare one that refers to the father, while portraying himself as a child.  In pallavi he pleads to his father not to stop being kind to him and he can not bear his anger.  In anupallavi, he states that he has been conducting his life doing the same thing every day for thousands of days, because he knows nothing better.  In charanam, he elaborates by saying that even though he is aware that one can attain self realization with a steady and controlled mind, yet he doesn’t have courage to leave the lord who is as beautiful as million cupids or lord Rama.

          This is a song to celebrate the troubles and triumphs encountered by all the fathers across the globe.  In this song, Thyagaraja emphasizes the importance of a father, as the ultimate goal for humans is self realization through mental discipline and devotion.  He says father is the one to guide, mentor and coach us to attain such discipline.  Father is known as the “Pratyaksha Daivam” or god in front of us. Here is a very appropriate poem written by a noted Telugu poet Potana who refers to Sri KrishNa as a father of all fathers in Srimadbhagavatham.

“tanDrulakella tanDriyagu dhAtaku tanDrivi dEva! nIvu mA

tanDrivi tallivim bativi daivamun sakhivin guruDavun

danDrulu nI kriyam brajala dhanyula jesire velpulainanO

tanDri bhavanmukhambujamu dhanyata gAnaru maa vidhambunan”

          The poem is chanted by the citizens of Dwaraka saying, Oh KrishNa you are the father for lord Brahma who is the father for all fathers.  You are our father, mother, husband, friend, teacher and god.  Oh father, if all fathers (kings) take care of their children/citizens like the way you do, then everybody will be living in happiness and contentment.

The power of music is profound
The joy of music is sweet and sound
The awe of music is abound
Music makes the world go round

          Ms. Lavanya learnt Carnatic music from Sri Neti Srirama Sarma. She has performed in a few concerts along with her mother Smt. Tanikella Chandra Bhanu. She is a software professional working in Information Technology. She lives in Bangalore, India.


Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.