Jeyaraaj and Jayasri highlighted the musical aspects and spiritual content in the composer's work.G. SWAMINATHAN
Notwithstanding the torrential downpour, a large audience took part in the interactive lec-dem on ‘Divine Musical Journey with Dikshitar', presented by veena artists Jeyaraaj Krishnan and Jayasri Jeyaraaj. The programme was held under the aegis of Nadajyothi Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar Foundation at Vani Mahal.
Stating that the late 18th century was the Golden Era of Carnatic music, Jeyaraaj emphasised that the Trinity was responsible for the musical renaissance that spread devotion and wisdom. They explained how the compositions of Dikshitar (1775-1835 showcased the intricacies of music as well as aspects such as Advaita philosophy, customs and iconography.
Tracing his life history briefly, the duo dwelt on the aesthetics, musical genius and devotional aspects of Dikshitar. His compositions followed Asampoorna Mela Padathi of ragas which differed from the Melakarta ragas.
The couple dealt with Guruguha Vibhakti kritis in detail and explained the principle of the grouping; based on Sanskrit grammar, 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.' Jeyaraaj and Jayasri explained how this offered the composer scope to employ a host of alliterations, poetry and aesthetic values to his compositions. If one prosaically recites his Begada kriti ‘Vallabha Nayakasya,' one cannot miss the musical rhyme throughout, Jayasri said.
The lec-dem was full of information and covered places such as Tirupati, Kalahasti, Tiruvotriyur, Tiruvallikkeni, Tiruvateesvaranpet, Kancheepuram, Sholinger, Virinchipuram, Tiruvannalmalai, Chidambaram, Vaitheeswaran Koil, Mayuram, Tiruvarur and Kuzhikkarai. The Panchalinga kritis come under these kshetras. Jeyaraaj and Jayasri selected kritis related to each of the pilgrim centres mentioned above and highlighted their speciality.
Some significant points made worth special mention were the clever inclusion of the raga name Bilahari in ‘Kamakshi Varalakshmi' which also refers Vishnu (Hari) in a hole (Bila) behind Kamakshi of Kancheepuram, bringing out the beauty of Khambodi in the pallavi itself in ‘Kailasanathena', discussing the unique structure of raga Kedaram in ‘Ananda Natana Prakasam', the inclusion of Kundalini Yoga's effect musically through ‘Ambigaya Abhayambigaya' in Kedaram (Mayuram), westernised nottu swaras in ‘Chintayeham Sada' on Chidambaram, the splendour of Kamalamba Navavarnam of Tiruvarur and the complex marathon Chaturdasa ragamalika ‘Sri Viswanatham' on Kuzhikkarai deity.
The magnum opus ‘Meenakshi Memudam' in Gamakakriya when Dikshitar attained immortality during the recitation of the line ‘Meenalochani Paashamochani', was explained beautifully by the duo, who then played the kriti on their veena, thus bringing the curtains down on a solemn note.
However, it was a bit disappointing that the duo preferred to sing and not play their veena during the demo part. But it cannot be denied that through this remarkable journey, Jeyaraaj and Jayasri proved their credentials and scholarship.