GURUGUHA VIBHAKTHI KRITHIS (8) : SRI GURUGUHA MURTHE – RAGAM UDAYARAVICHANDRIKA – DIKSHITHAR

“Sri Guruguha moorthe” is the 8th in this series and is in the eighth vibhakthi – Sambodhana Prathama. This krithi is composed in the ragam Udaya ravichandrika, as seen by the raga mudra, “AtmOdaya ravi candrikA saMdIptE” in the charanam. Though many musicians and musicologists of current period say there is no difference between this and Suddha Dhanyasi, Dikshithar has clearly mentioned the raga. URC is a janya of mela (9) ragam Dhenuka (Dhunibhinnashadjam in Dikshithar sytem, with notes:

Arohanam: S G2 M1 P N3 S; Avarohanam: S N3 P M1 G2 S

The tone that Dikshitar uses throughout this composition sounds as if he has achieved or won something that he has been longing for. He dedicates this victory to Lord Guruguha and hence ends the pallavi, anupallavi as well as the charanam hailing the Lord for his victory. It is said that Dikshitar performed austerities and deep meditation for forty days at tiruttani before the Lord appeared in front of him as an old man and put sugar crystals in his mouth after which Dikshitar straight away burst into music with the guruguha vibhakti series. Hence, one can assume that on a physical plane, Dikshitar was probably ecstatic on completing his first set of compositions. Of course, on having been able to visualize and interact with the Lord at higher spiritual realms, it is only appropriate that Dikshitar pays his respects and thanks to his guru and the Lord in this concluding piece of this set of compositions. Another interesting point to note in the pallavi is the way Dikshitar describes guruguha as one vibrating with chit shakti, the power of consciousness. Shakti is believed to be the manifestation of the kinetic component of Brahman. Hence, it is Siva (consciousness) who manifests as Siva Shakti. Therefore Shakti is consciousness by itself. Once we understand this, we can attach two aspects to this Shakti, namely, chit shakti or vidya shakti (the illuminating consciousness) and maya shakti or avidya shakti (the deluding/veiling consciousness). The two shaktis are conscious by themselves and are independent energy forces. But this maya shakti itself is composed of the three gunas, sathwa, rajas and tamas and by using these gunas it not only makes itself appear unconscious but also shrouds the vidyashakti from the human mind. One has to hence first overcome this maya shakti and then tap the chit shakti to attune to divine vibrations. Dikshitar here visualizes the Lord as the one who throbs with this chit shakti and by tapping into His divine consciousness for probably even just a second, one can get enlightened and free themselves from bondage. And imagining the Dikshitar's state of mind to even realize the Lord as this throbbing energy is scintillating.

Now apart from the direct interpretation of yOginI hRdaya as given above, the first line of the pallavi could also be interpreted as a description of Lord guruguha as "the one who enlightens the mind and shines forth through the yoginI hrdaya concept". Dikshitar also clearly displays his scholarly handling of Sanskrit grammar once again. While the antyakshara prasam utilizing the sambodhana prathama vibhakti runs throughout the krithi beautifully, the yati and monai aspects of the grammar (yogini-yugapad and Agama-Ananda pairs) are also showcased quite brilliantly. It all seamlessly blends in and only when we take out word by word can we even realize that it is like separate pearls making up a nice garland with a common thread running through. Dikshitar finally describes the Lord as one who is full of bliss and at the same time devoid of any attachments. This concept (which could also be used to describe the ideal guru that a disciple wants to find in this world) strikes a remarkable similarity to the supreme lotus (quite aptly, the national flower of india) whose petals and leaves are never sullied even if it grows in a dirty pond.

The steadfast advaitin that Dikshitar is, comes to the forefront in the charana. He begins by describing the Lord as the one who removes the sheath that creates a sense of individuality and that ego called "I". This is where the distinction between the guru and the Lord completely vanishes. Since Dikshitar accepts Lord guruguha Himself as his guru, he attributes quite a lot of the characteristics that one would normally associate with a guru to describe the Lord Himself. In the first 3 lines of the charanam, he describes the Lord as one who protects and guides His disciples and the one who is the means as well as the path of self-realization. These 3 lines perhaps are the climax of this series of krithis. It is quite clearly visible here that Dikshitar has attained great heights of spiritual maturity by the virtue of which He is not only able to see the Lord as His own guru but also is able to use the Lord Himself as his vehicle to reach self-realization. Now, that perhaps happens to only one in probably a million (even among the greatest of yogis). Ofcourse, dIkshitar continues to show his other faces in the following lines of the charanam

Dikshitar describes the Lord as one whose feet is a mixture of white and red. This is perhaps best understood as a reference to the union of Siva and Shakti who are usually symbolized by white and red respectively. This is the reason why Vibhoothi (sacred ashes) which is white in color is splashed across the forehead and kumkum which is red in color is placed as a dot (a bindu) at the spot between the eyebrows (the location of the third eye and the Agnya cakra). Finally, Dikshitar seems to have merged with the Lord (his guru) when he sings "AtmAnubhava sAra samtRptE". Here, he describes himself (his soul) as the one who has experienced this divine joy of realizing him"self" and hence becoming complete and achieving divine communion. He describes the essence of this divine journey as the Lord Himself. what brilliance!!

Finally, Dikshitar the composer comes out in the madhyamakala sahityam where he slips the raga mudra in without disturbing the serenity or the theme of the krithi, rather, enhancing the effect further. He describes the Lord as the one who stimulates the divine urge in His disciples with the brightness of the sun and the moon and in the process incorporating the raga mudra, as “AtmOdaya ravi candrikA”. What an audacious display of ingenuity. He ends the krithi by once again offering his salutations to the Lord. He probably couldn't have ended the krithi on a more appropriate note ("jaya jaya"). Composing such a magnum opus for his first ever set of compositions is not only a victory to Dikshitar but also to the divine Lord guruguha Himself and with this victorious beginning, Dikshitar never looked back, composing one masterpiece after another for the next 35 years of his life.

Here is one of the best renditions of this composition by vidushi. Sumitra Vasudev, disciple of vid. R.Vedavalli; please enjoy the total bliss.


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