GURUGUHA VIBHAKTHI KRITHIS (7) : GURUGUHA SWAMINI BHAKTHIM KAROMI – RAGAM BHANUMATHI – DIKSHITHAR

“Guruguha swamini bhaktim karomi" is the seventh krithi in the guru theme composed exclusively in the seventh/locative case in the raga Bhanumati; which finds the same place of 4th mela ragam Vanaspathi, in the Dikshithar Asampoorna mela system. Please compare the notes:

Bhanumathi - S R1 M1 P D2 N2 S // S N2 D2 P M1 G1 R1 S

Vanaspathi - S R1 G1 M1 P D2 N2 S//S N2 D2 P M1 G1 R1 S

Unlike the other krithis in this theme we have seen so far where Dikshitar pays rich tributes to both his physical guru as well as Lord Subrahmanya, he seems to pretty much have gone into an even higher plane of existence and concentrate only on the Lord's attributes in this krithi. At the very beginning of this krithi itself, Dikshitar addresses his devotion towards the Lord Himself whom he has accepted as his guru as well as the final destination that his soul wants to attain. He also describes the Lord as one who is in a supreme plane of consciousness and the one who he visualizes to be of infinite glory. This glory that Dikshitar is describing here is a direct result of the Lord's pure consciousness which has ascended to the highest plane and hence the Lord (Subrahmanya in this case) is an embodiment of that paramatma (supreme consciousness) that a yogi (Dikshitar in this case) wishes to attain.

In the anupallavi, Dikshitar predominantly mentions the Thatwas (truths) and the type of sadhana that is characteristic of the kaulava marga / school of thought. There are many schools and systems that have been in practice for spiritual awareness and progress. It is common practice in most of these schools to believe in the concept of Thatwas or realities. These realities are associated with the physical body of the yogi and all the other material/gross objects of this world. One of the chief goals of any yogi is to use certain techniques (this varies depending on the school one is associated with) to transcend all these 'realities' and move beyond this world into a higher plane of existence, a different world altogether. The "dharanya" Thatwa that Dikshitar mentions here is classified under the pancabhootha category of realities which are to be overcome. There are seven stages of knowledge known as gnana bhoomikas through which a yogi passes. These are subeccha ("the desire for enlightenment"), vicharana ("enquiry"), tanumanasa ("tenuous mind"), satvapatti ("self-realization"), asamsakti ("non-attachment"), padarthabhavana ("non-perception of objects") and turyaga ("transcendence"). Corresponding to these stages of knowledge, there are different stages in the practice ("sadhana"). It is the first 5 stages of sadhana that are very critical as it is in these 5 stages the mind has a tendency to wander and only under the strict guidance of a guru can it obtain the discipline that is needed to proceed further. Dikshitar mentions the second stage, taruna or the youthfulness stage of this sadhana. Only after completing the fifth stage called as praudhanta ("end of maturity") is the disciple considered mature and the guru lets go of the disciple a bit as he enters the sixth stage of unmani ("mind-devoidness").

Dikshithar straightaway incorporates the raga mudra by comparing the Lord's effulgence to that of a sun at the beginning of the charanam – “pAvaka-indu bhAnumati”. He continues to emphasize the significant role that Lord guruguha plays in the spiritual progress of a yogi (could be referring to himself here) and describes how the Lord resides in the hearts of those paramahansas, those supreme yogis thereby making their heart caves as His shrine. Dikshitar then makes a reference to the incident in which Lord Subrahmanya punishes Lord Brahma, the creator, for not being able to explain the meaning of the pranava mantra “Om”. He imprisons Lord Brahma for his ignorance and hence the whole process of creation comes to a full stop. After repeated appeals by the other celestial beings, Lord Siva approaches Lord Subrahmanya and requests Him to release Brahma and forgive Him. Lord Siva also questions guruguha Himself if he knows the meaning of the pranava mantra to which Lord guruguha answers that He will explain the entire meaning to Lord Siva in His ears, climbs on his lap and speaks into His ear. Since Lord Subrahmanya teaches His own father, He is known as Swaminatha and that's how the Punya kshetra Swamimalai near Kumbakonam gets it name. Finally, He also explains the meaning to Lord Brahma, forgives Him and releases Him.

In the madhyamakala sahityam, Dikshitar refers to the Lord as one who is formless and beyond imagination. He also states that the way to perceive the Lord is through Patanjali's 8-fold yogic path. This eight limbs of this path are restraint and social discipline ("yama"), observance and individual discipline ("niyama"), posture ("Asana"), breath control ("pranayama"), sense withdrawal ("pratyahara"), concentration ("dharana"), meditative absorption ("dhyana") and blissful super-consciousness ("samadhi"). The first two limbs yama and niyama are once again extremely critical in the sadhana of a yogi. As the name suggests, yama refers to codes of conducts and it consists of 5 parts: ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (the way of living in brahma's perception) and aparigraha (non-covetousness). Niyama on the other hand refers to religious observances and self-discipline and consists of 5 parts, namely, Shaucha ("purity"), santosha ("contentment"), tapas ("austerity"), svadhyaya ("repitition of mantras and reading of scriptures") and Eshvarapranidhana ("self-surrender to the Lord"). Dikshitar talks about the techniques in raja yoga quite often in many of his compositions.

Here is a very special rendition of this composition by the legendary Maharajapuram Sri. Santhanam progeny (since the name of the singer is not mentioned, as also difficult to identify convincingly).


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