Neyveli Santhanagopalan analysed the kritis composed by Dikshitar, on Lord Muruga.
“Comparing the human body to a veena and the spine to the frets, playing the instrument could achieve the rising of Kundalini,” said Neyveli Santhanagopalan talking about the musical aspects of Muthuswami Dikshitar’s compositions. By learning to play the veena well, one can get the effects of yoga. Dikshitar had gone to Varanasi where he got a veena from Ganga and when he returned to Thiruvarur his guru Chidambaranatha Yogi advised him to go to Tiruthani. Legend has it that Lord Muruga in Tiruthani came in the form of an old man and put sugar candy to Dikshitar in his mouth and from that moment on, he began to compose. He composed eight vibhakti kritis on the Lord of Tiruthani and the first one was ‘Sri Nathaadi Guruguho’ in Mayamalavagowla.
Santhanagopalan not only pointed out the musical aspects but also the lyrics which were aimed at the welfare of the people. In this song, both swara and laya play important roles. In the very first kriti he also indicates what to expect from his compositions.
Dikshitar stresses slow tempo for sowkyam but in between, for variation, there would be madhyamakala passage, generally in four lines. In ‘Sri Nathaadi,’ he uses the Jeevaswara ‘Ma’ of the raga at the beginning of every line in the charanam. “It is essential to understand the lyrics,” said Santhanagopalan. In the first one, Dikshitar says Lord Muruga makes the entire world happy.
The word or the sound of ‘Hamsa’ is equal to breathing, it is the sound of Akara; and Aadarashatjam is Aumkaram. The sixth song, ‘Manasaguruguha’ in Anandabhairavi tells us how to get rid of ‘Thaapam.’ Dikshitar gives scope for sangatis too in his kritis. Dikshitar was a specialist in swaraakshara too.
‘Swaminatha Paripalayasumam’ in Nattai on Lord Muruga of Swamimalai describes Him as Swaprakasa. Here is the beauty of his lyrics, instead of saying ‘Sa’ for Adarashatjam, he says Swaprakasa. One finds the name of the raga hidden cleverly among the words of every song, as in this one ‘Kavyanataka.’ In the Bilahari kriti ‘Sri Balasubramanya Aagachaagrahanya’ the words ‘Atmaprakasa Lavanya’ mean that self light itself is beauty. This kriti is believed to cure illness and also bless couples with progeny.
No other song on Muruga can match ‘Sri Subrahmanyaya Namaste’ in Khambodi. Kanchi Mahaswami while appreciating the beauty of the lyrics and giving their meanings had said that this song is about Muruga in every Kshetra. The snake in the image of Subrahmanya is the Kundalini and the spear or ‘Vael’ in His hand indicates sharpness of intellect. The Gayatri Mantra too is hidden in this kriti. The excellent lecture had to be ended due to shortage of time.