We are beginning with another series of compositions, generally known as Sri Guruguha Vibhakthi krithis; written by Nadajyothi Muthuswami Dikshithar. Since it would be better to know the history and circumstances under which Dikshithar composed these nine (8+1) krithis, before we begin with the series.
These Vibhakthi krithis is the first set of krithis that Dikshithar composed and there are so many things that this series reveals about the man behind the compositions. Since Dikshitar pays rich tributes to his guru in all the 8 krithis of this series, it is necessary to have small introduction to his spiritual guru, Shri Chidambaranatha yogi of Benaras. Muthuswami Dikshitar's family was invited to Manali (near Madras) when a family friend, Muthukrishna Mudaliar visited Tiruvarur. Upon repeated requests, the family shifted to Manali and Muthuswami was about 15 years old at this time. Ramaswami Dikshitar (Muthuswami's father) was given ShrI Vidya deeksha at Tiruvarur by Chidambaranatha yogi. On the yogi's way to Kashi from Tiruvarur, he stopped at Manali and spent a few days with the Dikshitars.
Muthuswami took a liking to the yogi and used to sing and play the veen during the yogi's pooja. The yogi also developed a liking to the young boy and requested the boy's father to send Muthuswami with him to Kashi. Sensing this as a rare opportunity and considering the immense benefits that his boy would gain from the association with the yogi, Ramaswami reluctantly agreed. After reaching Kashi, the yogi initiated Muthuswami in Sri vidya, taught him the shodashakshari mantra and taught him yoga and vedanta. This disciplined and austere life must have been the main reason for Dikshitar acquiring a perceptive intellect capable of delving into spiritual matters and turned him into a great bhakta and an aspiring yogi. He spent around 4 years at Kashi and probably had an opportunity to listen to hindustani music which helped him evolve musically, the influences of which can be clearly seen in quite a few of his compositions in Hindustani ragas. And it is during this stay with the yogi that he went for a bath in the ganges and a veena came floating into his hands with "Rama" inscribed on it and with an upturned yali. The great Chidambaranatha yogi then instructed Dikshitar to return to Manali, follow Lord Subrahmanya as his natural guru and told him that he will soon realize the purpose of his birth. So saying, the yogi bid farewell to his disciple and attained jala samadhi in the ganges.
After coming back to Manali and spending time with his parents, Dikshitar found a great urge to go to Tiruttani, one of the 6 Arupadai veedus of Lord Subrahmanya. After reaching tiruttani, Dikshitar decided to do penance and meditate on Lord Subrahmanya for a mandala (40 days). On the 40th day, while was Dikshitar was meditating, an old man came to him and asked him to open his eyes. He then put a sugar candy in Dikshitar's mouth and disappeared. This was Lord Subrahmanya himself in the guise of an old man and overwhelmed with joy and devotion, Dikshitar immediately burst into his first krithi, the first of the 8 krithis in this set, "Shri Nathadi Guruguho" in Mayamalavagowla. Each of the 8 krithis in this set is unique and brilliant in its own sense. The common theme of all these 8 krithis, each kriti composed exclusively in the 8 declensions of Sanskrit language, is to glorify the guru, exhalt the importance of a guru and showcase the supreme truths and show the way for a yogi in his spiritual progress. The vibhakti kritis cover the seven plus one case endings such as ‘Guruguho, Guruguha Roopam, Sri Guruna, Guruguhaya, Guruguhath anyam, Guruguha Dasoham, Guruguha Swamini, Guruguha Moorthe', this offered the composer scope to employ a host of alliterations, poetry and aesthetic values to his compositions. Now, we will deal with each of the compositions seperately.