KAMALAMBA NAVAVARANA KRITHIS – MANGALAM – “SRI KAMALAMBIKE” - SHRIRAGAM

We have seen the details of the compositions of Sri. Muthuswami Dikshithar on the Nine Avaranams and also listened to some excellent renditions of the same; now we have come to the last krithi – Mangalam, in Mangala ragam “Shri”. Dikshitar concludes his auspicious mangala kriti in deep devotion, fulfilment and celebration of the Mother’s transcendent powers and glory. The meaning of this composition can be found as:

“Shri Kamalambika, the spouse of Shiva, oh Lalita, please protect me. You are worshiped by Vishnu and You are always with Shiva.

Your face is like the full moon, You who protected Kolamukhi-Varahi. You are the companion of Lakshmi and Saraswati. You enjoy the Rajayoga, oh Shakambari, the mother of nature, of slender waist, oh wearer of the crescent moon. Oh benevolent one, You are fascinated by the devotees of Siva and Guruguha. You are the single syllable Om, oh empress of the world, one who enchants Lord Shiva. You are the the bestower of prosperity and happiness. You are Shri Maha Tripurasundari”.

This concluding song is in the vocative case. The basic sentence unit (anvaya) is shrI kamalAmbike shive lalite mAM pAhi (Oh Kamalambika, gracious and auspicious one, protect me). All phrases ending in ``e'' or ``i'' qualify the proper name kamalAmbikA.

This krithi is written in the eighth (sambodhana prathama) vibhakthi and has only a samashti charanam, unlike the Navavarana krithis. The central theme of the krithi is "Oh Kamalamba, protect me". As one would've observed, the Navavarnams follow a definite pattern. The pallavi is usually small and Dikshithar would seek the blessings or protection of the Goddess. The anupallavi is usually an exquisite description of the Goddess, Her different forms and the charanam would be a long paragraph talking about the chakrams in the sree chakram and hence the esoteric, yogic connection that a human must establish to surrender himself and completely merge with the paramathma. This mangala krithi is extremely "light" in comparison to the other krithis. A cool conclusion to the hot matter conveyed in the whole set. The raga mudra is repeatedly employed in the pallavi just to symbolize the auspiciousness of this set of krithis. Other than that there is nothing much to explain in these simple lines. The charanam is very beautiful. It has a wonderful rhythm and rhyme scheme which keeps the flow tight and simple. The charanam is basically a summary of the various forms of the Goddess and is yet another display of the grammatical and poetic skills of the composer. Dikshithar chooses beautiful words which just fuse in with the krithi and maintain the rhythm. That is where Dikshithar stands out in this krithi. Also, everyone know that Shri ragam is considered as the 22nd mela instead of Kharaharapriya in the Venkatamakhin school. The Dhaivatham in the avarohanam was added to make it a melakartha and hence it is to be used sparingly. Dikshithar sticks to this tradition too in all of his Shri ragam krithis. In this krithi, he uses the Dhaivatham only once; in the last line of the charanam “shrIkari sukhakari shrI mahAtripurasundari”. On the whole, this is a really cute krithi which serves as a worthy conclusion to the brilliant Navavarnams; so also, it is definitely the best set of krithis ever composed and rightly establishing Sri Dikshithar as the best composer ever across all genres of music.

We shall listen to a brilliant, same time blissful rendition of this mangalam krithi by vid. Sikkil Gurucharan.


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