Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Thyagaraja Pancharatnas - Five Priceless Gems

The Aradhana season is on and all Sabhas all over the world are organising festivals and erecting pandals for Pancharatna Kriti rendition. One feels that familiar thrill and joy participating in this once more. It's something that's so much looked forward to.

The Shanmukhananda Fine Arts and Sangeeta Sabha held a grand function on Sunday, the 22nd of Janurary, 2006, to mark the auspicious occasion. There was the usual excitement, flurry of activity and most of all, the attitude of bhakti or devotion among one and all present there. Noted artist, Shri.T.N.Seshagopalan, had conducted a seven day Harikatha session prior to the event and he too participated on the said occasion.

As one sang the Pancharatnas, one yet again realized the true significance and greatness of the event. Inspite of today's existing commercialism and very harried lifestyles of people, there's a definite camaraderie to be seen among everyone present there. It's the only occasion where the teacher and the taught sit together, as equals, and pay tribute to the great Saint. All artists, right from the novice to the expert, to the stalwart, assemble as one, to pray to the bhakta of Rama, who is regarded as an avatar of Narada himself. In an age where everyone is generally rushing around to get somewhere in life, it is truly astounding to see all coming together at one time, to celebrate one event such as this.

The Pancharatnas, apart from being very beautiful pieces, are also technically very perfect in every sense of the word. They are a beacon of light to anyone who would be eager to delve deeper into the world of music and gain wisdom from it. These five priceless gems contain a hidden blueprint to manodharma sangita, which is a very important part of our music.

Firstly, the sangatis, which develop gradually in the Pallavi and Anupallavi, help one to get into the raga and get involved in the rendition as a whole. Further, the swaras in the Charana clearly show the path towards development of swara kalpana. It teaches the right method of approach to the subject and how it is to be handled. It also contains vadi-samvadi prayogas, janta and dhatu prayogas, ranjaka and apoorva prayogas, nyasa, amsa swaras, their treatment etc.

The style of development is like that of a taana exposition, constant practice of which enables the student of music to improve himself/herself in taana rendition in the future. Instrumentalists learn the fine art of playing the ghana-panchaka taana, or the taana in the five ghana ragas, namely, Naatai, Goulai, Arabhi, Varali and Shri. This is especially important for Vainikas, many of whom play the same during rendition of Ragam Taanam Pallavis too.

The sahitya contains all possible literary beauties and when learnt properly, teaches the student to carefully manipulate breath, so as not to commit Padachcheda,(splitting the sahitya inappropriately).

A detailed study of the life and works of Thyagaraja is a truly humbling experience. The Saint Composer's unfaltering devotion to Rama and his humility and total surrender at The Divine Lotus Feet, teach the student to be humble and surrender to the soothing waves of music engulfing his/her entire being.

Rendering the kritis keeping the spirit of Thyagaraja's devotion in mind, will help the student improve his/her performance and will also enable him/her to improve the general attitude towards music as a whole.


Blogger Viji said...

Beautiful blog!
Thirsty for more posts... :)

1/26/2006 12:36:00 AM  
Blogger mitr_bayarea said...

Landed here from Viji's blog- wonderful post on the Pancharathna Kritis and Thyagaraja Swamigal.

Am a Carnatic music lover, although have had formal education only for a couple of years in my childhood , but bharathnatyam for several years, it is nice to see your passion for this kind of art.

Keep blogging...........

1/26/2006 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger thennavan said...

Hi I dunno how I landed on this blog but the important thing is I did :-) and I find it fascinating that you discuss things that are my favorites too (like Pancharatna Kritis for example). That was a very good post on it and I'll keep watching out for more.

Sruti - Mata; Laya - Pita.


1/26/2006 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger Padma said...

Truly..priya the pancharatna's are the gems of carnatic music..but wud like to add, in fact every composition of tyagaraja is so beautiful that its difficult to differentiate which is better...the beauty of it is everytime you render there is a sense of joy that cannot be expressed in words...n its my earnest request to all those music lovers out there please get to know the meaning before rendering the krithis you would know the difference..the feel would be different. i hope you accept with what i have said.

2/10/2006 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Viji said...

Waiting for your next post...

2/27/2006 12:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your post on pancharatna kritis was truly good... as an ardent lover of carnatic music, i really found happiness in reading the post... anyway, let's cotinue to share many more like these......

8/17/2007 12:53:00 PM  

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