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: varalakSmIm bhajarE
rAgam: Sourashtra
tAlam: Adi
Composer: Muttuswami Dikshitar
Language: Sanskrit


varalakSmIm bhajarE rE mAnasa vAnchitArtha phalapradAm varadAm vanaja padAm


carAcarAtmaka prapanca jananIm saurASTra dEsa patinuta dhaninIm
nirAmaya mahAviSNu mAninIm
niranjanIm nikhilAgha bhanjanIm
surArcita padAmbuja vikAsinIm
nirAlamba mAnasOllAsinIm
murAri vakSasthala nivAsinIm
purAri guruguha cidvilAsinIm


varalakSmIm – lakshmi that grants boons (vara)
bhajarE rE – praise
mAnasa – in your heart
vAnchitArtha – things you wish
phalapradAm – will be bestowed
varadAm – provider of boons
Vanaja – things born out of a garden (flowers)
padAm – feet

carAcarAtmaka – movable and immovable objects
Prapanca – universal
jananIm – mother
saurASTra dEsa – the land of Sourashtra
Patinuta – praised by the king
dhaninIm – provider of wealth
nirAmaya – simple
mahAviSNu – Lord Vishnu
mAninIm – consort
niranjanIm – effulgent
nikhila agha – all the blemishes
bhanjanIm – remover
surArcita – worshiped by the celestial bodies
padAmbuja – lotus feet
vikAsinIm – shining
nirAlamba – independently
mAnasOllAsinIm – causes happiness
Mura ari – the enemy of Murasura – Lord Vishnu
vakSasthala – on the chest/ in the heart
nivAsinIm – resides
Pura ari – the enemy of Tripurasura – lord Subramanya
Guruguha – Guruguha
cidvilAsinIm – resides in his heart


          Whole heartedly praise at the feet of goddess Varalakshmi.  She is the one who bestows boons and grants your wishes.  She is the mother of this universe that is full of movable and immovable objects.  She showers wealth to the king of Sourashtra, who praises her.  She is the consort of Sri Maha Vishnu.  The one that shines always and removes the blemishes/sins.  Her lotus feet are worshiped by the celestial bodies.  She independently bestows happiness and resides in the heart of lord Vishnu and is always in the heart of Guruguha the destroyer of TripurAsura.

          This is yet another song in praise of goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, among many.  Perhaps, there may not be enough songs for all the different wishes and desires people have.  Traditionally, there were ashta aiswarya (8 different wealths), such as courage, crops, children, money, education, success, strength and wealth of well being, represented by Ashta Lakshmis!  But now with changing times, we have passed beyond the eight basic wealths – vehicles, internet, cell phones, remote work, political power, stardom, general safety and what not!  Since we have ashta lakshmis for ashta aiswaryas, then who is Varalakshmi?  If we define every little wish as a form of wealth, Vara Lakshmi is that one special goddess to grant every little wish including the ashta aiswarya!  That is why praising and worshiping goddess Varalakshmi is known to bestow one with whatever he/she/they wish!  Whole heartedly worship Varalakshmi to obtain health, wealth and peace!

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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