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.

This month of Maagha is special for Sun god. Among three million gods listed in Hindu mythology, Sun is the only visible god, shining and showering his blessings everyday! One can actually see it everyday like clock works. This month denotes the importance of sun and upcoming summer. Many people celebrate, worship and provide special offerings to the Sun during this month. Therefore, we bring you a very rare krithi on Sun by Deekshitar.

Krithi: sUryamUrthe
rAgam: Sourashtra
tAlam: Dhruva
Lyrics: Muttuswami Deekshitar
Language: Sanskrit


sUryamUrtE namOstutE sundara chAyAdhi patE


kArya kAraNAtmaka jagatprakAsa simhA rAsyadhipatE
AryavinutatEjasphUrtE ArogyAdiphaladakIrtE


sArasamitra mitra bhAnO sahasrakiraNa karNasUnO
krUra pApahara krusAnO guruguha modita svabhAnO
sUri janeDita sudinamaNE somAdi graha sikhAmaNE
dhIrArcita karma sAkSiNE divyatara saptAsva rathinE
saurAshTrArNa mantrAtmanE sauvarNa svarUpAtmanE
bhAratIsa hariharAtmanE bhukti mukti vitaraNAtmanE


sUryamUrtE – Oh sun

namOstutE – salutations to you

Sundara – beautiful

chAyAdhi patE – lord of the Chaya (shadow)

kArya – actions/work

kAraNAtmaka – intend to cause  

jagatprakAsa – lights up the world

simhA rAsya – zodiac sign of leo

adhipatE – lord/commander

Aryavinuta – praised by scholars

tEjasphUrtE – full of radiance

ArogyAdi – health and wellbeing

phaladakIrtE – provider

sArasamitra – a friend of lotuses

mitra – a friend

bhAnO – Sun

sahasra kiraNa – one with one thousand rays

karNasUnO – has KarNa as his son

krUra pApahara – remover of the evil

krusAnO – burns everything with heat

Guruguha – Guruguha, Deekshitar’s signature

Modita – praised

svabhAnO – self radiant

sUri janeDita – praised by learned

sudinamaNE –  a gem for a good/sunny day

somAdi graha – moon and other planets

sikhAmaNE – crown jewel

dhIrArcita – worshiped by righteous

karma sAkSiNE – witnesses the actions of the world

Divyatara – very powerful

saptAsva – seven horses

rathinE – rides the chariot

saurAshTrA – solar

ArNa – red

mantrAtmanE – contains the power

sauvarNa – golden

svarUpAtmanE – possesses the form

bhAratIsa – Brahma (the lord of BhArati)

Hari – Hari/VishNu

Hara – Hara/Siva

AtmanE – embodiment

bhukti – food 

mukti – salvation 

vitaraNAtmanE – provider


          My salutations to the Sun god, who is the lord of beautiful shadow.  He is the cause of the activities, illuminates the world, is the lord of the zodiac sign Leo, is radiant, is provider of health and crops and he is praised by the scholars.  He is a friend of lotuses and a friend to everybody.  He shines with a million rays and has KarNa as his son.  He is self effulgent, removes and burns up the evil and pleases Guruguha.  He is praised by the learned and he is the jewel for the day.  He is the crown jewel among the moon and other planets.  He is worshiped by the righteous and he witnesses all the activities during the day and rides the chariot that is driven by seven powerful horses.  He has the golden form with the most powerful solar energy, provides food and salvation to one and all and is the embodiment of Brahma, VishNu and Siva.

          This is first and foremost krithi of the navagraha (nine planets) krithis of Deekshitar as Sun is the king of the planets!  Deekshitar starts with offering salutations to Sun god, who is the most powerful and visible god (pratyaksha daivam) in Hindu mythology.  Evershining Sun plays a crucial role in the atmospheric conditions, and is essential for life and growth of crops.  It is customary to pay oblation with pure water to the Sun early in the morning to bestow good health.  Many yoga practitioners perform Sun salutations facing the Sun in the morning, which is comprised of twelve different poses along with chanting the twelve names of Sun – Mitra, Ravi, Bhanu, Khaga, Poosha, Hiranyagarbha, Mareechi, Aditya, Arka, Soorya, Savitru and Bhaskara.  Morning sun is supposed to be very healthy and is good for improving vision.  Just as the composer described, the Sun is the provider of energy, which is evident in the present world with many industries powered by solar energy.  Sun is also a cleanser and remover of evil, for example viruses and bacteria do not grow in the hot sun.  While we can not list all the benefits of the Sun in a small essay, we sure can say that a sunny day is always a cheerful and energetic day as opposed to a cloudy day that brings gloom and depression.  This krithi is a gem and packed with a lot of positive energy.  If one sings or hears this song every Sunday, it will provide good health and happiness.  Enjoy!

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

Tanikella Chandra Bhanu is an accomplished Carnatic musician and a graded artist in All India Radio (AIR).  She teaches music at Smt. Durgabai Deshmukh Music College.  She has performed extensively in India and abroad.  She currently lives in Bangalore.


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