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.

dakshiNA mUrtE
rAgam: sankarAbharaNam
TALam: mishra jhampa
Composer: Muttuswami Deekshitar
Language: Sanskrit


dakshiNA mUrtE vidaLita dAsArtE
SrI cidAnanda mUrtE (SphUrthe) sadA mowna keertE


akshaya suvarNa vatavruksha moola sthitE
rakshamAm sanakAdi rAja yOgi stutE
rakshita sadbhaktE sikshita duryuktE
aksharAnuraktE avidyA viraktE


nikhila samsaya haraNa nipuNatara yuktE
nirvikalpa samAdhi nidrAprasaktE
akhaNDyka rasa poorNa ArUDhA saktE
aparOksha nitya bOdhA nanda muktE
sukhatara pravruttE swAjnAna nivruttE
sva guruguhOtpattE swAnu bhOga truptE


dakshiNA mUrtE – DakshiNa murthy, another form of Siva
vidaLita – making betterment
dAsArtE – the people in need of solace
SrI cidAnanda mUrtE – always happy at heart
sadA – always
mowna keertE – famous for silent
Akshaya – imperishable
suvarNa – golden
Vatavruksha – peepal tree
moola sthitE – seated
rakshamAm – protect
sanakAdi – sages Sanaka and others
rAja yOgi – noted yogis
stutE – praised
Rakshita – protecting
sadbhaktE – good devotees
Sikshita – punishing
duryuktE – evil minded
aksharAnuraktE – interested in knowledge
avidyA – ignorance
viraktE – disinterested
Nikhila – all
Samsaya – doubts
haraNa – remover
nipuNatara – very skilled
yuktE – talented
Nirvikalpa – untainted
samAdhi – meditative
nidrAprasaktE – interested in that status
akhaNDyka – unbroken
rasa poorNa – complete essence
ArUDhA saktE – accomplished
aparOksha – in front of you
Nitya – constantly
bOdhA nanda muktE – teaches happily
sukhatara – comfortably enjoys
pravruttE – as a hobby
swAjnAna – self realization
nivruttE – clarifies
sva guruguhOtpattE – cause of guruguha’s birth
swAnu bhOga truptE – content with self realization


DakshniNa murthy (another form of Siva) is the one that provides solace to the destitute and makes betterment to their minds. He is always happy and lauded for practicing silence. He is seated under an imperishable golden Peepal tree. While Sanaka and other noted yogis praise him, he protects the good people and punishes the evil minded people. He is very interested in knowledge and disinterested in ignorance. He is skilled in clearing people’s doubts and is always in an uninterrupted meditative state. He accomplished understanding the pure essence of meditation. He is the cause (father) of Guruguha’s birth. He constantly enjoys teaching, is at ease in clarifying self realization and is content with this occupation.

          Lord Siva is seated under a golden Peepal tree facing south, hence the name DakshiNa murthy. DakshiNa murthy is known as god of knowledge (Medha DakshiNa murthy) and is prime guru for all. He is depicted as mouna vyakhya acharya , which means he imbibes knowledge to his disciples through silence. Practice of silence actually makes one realize inner peace, harmony and gratitude. It allows them to assess the surroundings in a calm and composed manner that may fetch positive results. It reduces stress and negativity. In this krithi, Deekshitar visualizes all attributes of DakshiNa murthy as written by Adi Sankara in his Sri DakshiNa murthy stotram and it is aptly set in rAgam SankarAbharaNam (ornament of Sankara). Enjoy this krithi, which is an embodiment of the ultimate guru lord Siva, who taught us everything and the importance of silence! As you enjoy listening to this song, let us try to practice a bit of silence to discover inner 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

Anupama Gunupudi works as a technical program manager, and is a disciple of Sri Arvind Lakshmikanthan.  She resides in Los Angeles, CA.


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