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.
Lyrics: Syama Sastri
brOvavammA bangAru bommA mAyammA
brOvavammA nAtO mATlADavammA sArvabhauma bommA kAmAkSammA nanu
syAmakrishNa pUjitA sulalitA syAmaLAmbA EkAmrEsvara priyA tAmasamu
sEyakanE (kAmAkSammA mAyammA) nA paritApamulanu pariharinci nanu
brOvavammA – protect me
bangAru bommA – like a doll with golden hue
mAyammA – my mother!
brOvavammA – protect me
nAtO – with me
mATlADavammA – speak with me
sArvabhauma bommA – like an empress doll
kAmAkSammA – mother kAmaakshi
nanu – me
syAmakrishNa – syAma krishna
pUjitA – worshiped
sulalitA – very delicate
syAmaLAmbA – goddess syAmalamba
EkAmrEsvara – lord EkAmresawara (Siva)
priyA – beloved
tAmasamu – delay
sEyakanE – don’t do
nA – my
paritApamulanu – miseries
Pariharinci – remove
Nanu – to me
Oh mother kAmAkshi, you are an empress and you shine like a doll with golden hue. Please speak to me and protect me. Oh, mother syAmalAmba! You are very delicate, very dear to lord EkAmreswara and worshiped by syAmakrishNa. Oh mother, please remove all my miseries without further delay.
The composer Syama Sastry is an ardent devotee of goddess Sakthi and especially golden kAmAkshi, and it goes without saying that he calls her bangAru bomma (a doll of gold). It is said that there is a golden statue of kAmAkshi in Ekamreswara temple in Kanchi/Kanjeevaram. As he pleads with her to remove all his miseries and protect him, we may notice that he praises her with many adjectives as a delicate woman, a golden doll, an empress, the mother and as syAmala (dark complexioned beauty). He is referring to her as mother, who is known for showering unconditional love and one need not praise the mother. Yet we see him praising her! There is a special place for praise (sthuti) in Hindu mythology. We have separate sthutis for each of the gods or goddesses such as Ganesha, Hanuman, Lakshmi, Vishnu, Siva, Lalita, Saraswati and so on. Each one of them is praising the respective gods. So whenever anybody chants a particular sthuti, it is nothing but praising that specific god or goddess. The theory is that if you praise them, they get flattered and immediately shower the boons or grant your wishes. It is known that lord Siva gets flattered very easily and showers boons from simple praise and that is why he is known as Bhola Sankara. That generally concludes that people get flattered by praises/compliments. Therefore, when you find no harm in praising somebody and especially when you know it gives them pleasure, just praise them generously. It will only do something good to you! Happy mothers day to all mothers and we wish everybody to be showered with the blessings from the mother kAmAkshi!
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.
Aparna Munukutla Gunupudi is a poet, lyricist and short story writer. She has written dance ballets such as Queen of Jhansi, Prasanna Ashtalakshmi, Usha Kalyanam, Sneham, Jamsetji Tata and they were performed in Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam styles. She wrote songs for “Prema Tarangini” an audio cassette released by noted music director Sri Manohar Murthy. She considers her parents, who provided and encouraged her in book reading, are her “gurus” and Sri Jandhyala Payayya Sastri as her writing mentor.