Sri. Muthuswami Dikshitar is probably the most intellectual composer ever. His intellect was combined with bhakti, gnana and vidwat. He followed Adi Shankara (Sri Sankara Bhagavadpadar) in almost all aspects. He was a staunch follower of Advaita philosophy. His Sanskit, like Adi Shankara’s is so simple, yet so lofty. Adi Sankara brought a great vedantic truth in “bhaja gOvindam” in four simple lines by saying “punarapi jananam punarapi maranam, punarapi janani jathare shayanam, iha samsaare bahudustare, kripaya pare pahi murare” in such simple Sanskrit. Dikshitar also displays similar flair for language in many of his songs.
Dikshitar used the mudra guruguha (Anugraha of Guhan as a Guru in Tiruttani). He was adept in Sri Vidya Upasana in which the mother Goddess is regarded as the Brahman and is the prime deity of worship. The Sri Vidya mantra is embedded in the vedas:
“kAmO yOniH kamalA vajrapANir guhA hasA mAtarishvAbhram indraH |
punar guhA sakalA mAyA ca purucyEsha vishvamAtA adi vidyA ||”
The word “guha” also means the “shAkhta praNava hrIm”. The guru has the most exalted position – “na gurOr adhikam tattvam”. These two great words “guru” and “guha” when combined give us the mudra.
Guruguha vibhakti krithis, In his first batch of eight krithis he composed in praise of Lord Subrahmanya of Tiruttani, with the mudra (author's signature) guruguha, soon after he received the Divine Blessing. 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. As I mentioned before, these krithis perhaps reveal the making of a great phenomenon called Muthuswami Dikshitar whose name and krithis will ring in this universe as long as it exists.
This set of krithis is used by Dikshitar as a sort of a training ground. Filled with references to vedanta, yoga, adopting the guruguha mudra, employing the raga mudra, playing with grammar, etc, Dikshitar pretty much sets this mould which became the trademark of his compositions and his greatness. The ease with which he handles rare ragas such as Padi, Purvi, Balahamsa and Bhanumati is astounding. He has employed the raga mudra in each of the 8 kritis in this set and the genius clearly is on display the way he beautifully weaves it into each kriti. Just amazing. Each kriti has its own rare speciality.
We have come to the last composition, which is not a Vibhakthi krithi, but included in the set. This composition, “Sri Guruguha Tarayasu mam” is in ragam ‘Devakriya’, which is normally said to be same as ‘Suddha Saveri’ of Sankarabharanam janya. But Devakriya is considered to be janya of mela(20) Natabhairavi, with notes:
Aroh: S R2 M1 P N2 S; Avaroh: S N2 D1 N P M1 G2 R2 S
In the Thyagaraja school. As per Sangeetha Sampradaya Pradarshini, Devakriya has the following notes, similar to Suddha Saveri,
S R M P D S // S D P M R S
Suddha Saveri is being sung with panchasruthi rishabha dhaivatas. Interestingly Devakriya which has the same scale which Dikshitar composed uses Thrisruthi.
(we shall discuss this also in the separate post as mentioned earlier). Since the lyrics is easily available, here is the meaning:
“Oh Lord Guruguha, born in the lake Sharavana, come quickly and guide me. You are attended on by Indra, Vishnu, Cupid, Brahma, kings, and Lord Shiva.
You are contemplated in the hearts of those devoid of passions. You are worshipped by the celestials and the sages. The son of the great Tyagaraja, oh Kumara, you dispel the three kinds of afflictions. Your divine feet are extolled by the serpent king, and you take delight in the religious rituals performed by the righteous ones. You, the great Yogi, take delight is the minds of sages who perform Yoga and Rajayoga”.
Tis composition also is in the eighth vibhakthi – Sambodhana prathama. Today, we have one of the greatest musicians and musicologists of all times, Dr. S. Ramanathan to render this song – with this I conclude the Guruguha Vibhakthi krithis.