The Kamalamba Navavarana kritis are works of musical and poetic excellence. They are adorned with sublime music, intellectual sophistication, soulful devotional lyrics and richly imaginative poetic imagery. Listening to the kritis is a truly rewarding experience, even if one is not aware of or ignores the underlying connotations of Sri Chakra and Sri Vidya tradition. Through its graceful lyrics , majestic sweep of ragas and descriptive details rich in mystical symbolism of Tantra, Mantra, Yoga, Sri Vidya and Advaita ; Dikshitar virtually threw open the doors to the secret world of Sri Vidya,to all those eager to approach the Divine Mother through devotion and music.
The First composition in the Navavarana krithis is a Dhyanam on Goddess Kamalamba; “Kamalambike Asritha kalpa lathike”, in the majestic ragam Thodi and in the eighth (Sambodhana prathama) vibhakthi. This composition is the invocatory one for the whole set of Navavarana krithis. Like the other Thodi raga compositions of Dikshithar, this Dhyana krithi also does not include the Raga-mudra. The meaning of the composition:
“Oh Kamalambike, You are the Kalpaka tree to those who seek refuge in You. You, the Candika-fierce one wearing beautiful red silk and sporting a parrot in the hand, protect me.
Her lotus-like feet are worshipped by Brahma and others. She who bestows abundant blessing, who is the cause of the glory of Kamalalaya Lake, consort of Shiva, ocean of compassion.
She, the sovereign ruler of all the world, is fond of music. She who bestows the talent of poesy and is lovely. She who is beyond Maya-delusion, expert in granting salvation, remover of distress, whose rays are the five elements i.e. ether, etc. She whose feet are beautiful and red in color, who is radiant, mother of Guruguha and resides in the heart of Sadashiva. She who is the personification of the alphabet i.e. A, Ka, Cha, Ta, Tha, Pa, etc. She is the only essence of all the pervasive universe”.
In this krithi, the composer addresses goddess as Chandika, only very rarely this is found (again in the 7th Avarnam in Sahana). The usage, “vinOda caraNE” in the charanam indicates the posture; She holds an esteemed position as She is seen seated in a different posture altogether. She is seen in deep meditation, placing Her legs one above the other, in a Yogic state.
We have one of the most blissful renditions of the Dhyana krithi by Bharat Ratna M.S.Subbulakshmi.