navagraha worshipped as deities

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 7 06:28:36 UTC 1998

"N. Ganesan" <GANESANS at CL.UH.EDU> wrote:

>Muthusvaami Dikshitar's navagraha kshetra krithis are
>precise and packed, I have heard. Dikshitar knew very well
>all the intricacies of jyothisa and mantra shastras.
>Prof. V. Raghavan, Madras university must have written on
>navagraha krithis, as he was always fond of Dikshitar.

See the following website (maintained by Todd McComb) for the lyrics of
the navagraha songs -

These nine compositions have references to the mantras used to
propitiate the nava grahas, from the saurAshTrArNa mantra for the sun,
to ketuM ghRNvan for ketu. There are also full references to the
standard mythology of the planets, but they don't have any special
reference to the navagraha kshetras in Tamil Nadu. The only exception is
the suraTi composition on angAraka, which refers to vaidISvaran koil in
Tanjavur (pUjita-vaidyanAtha-kshetram).

There is some doubt if the compositions on rAhu (smarAmyaham sadA rAhum,
in ramAmanoharI) and ketu (mahAsuram ketum, in cAmaram) were originally
by muttusvAmi dIkshitar, or if they were added by a later, anonymous
composer, to an older set of seven, for the sake of completeness. The
original seven would then be sapta-vAra (not navagraha) compositions.
This hypothesis is strengthened by the fact that these seven are set to
the seven different mArga tAlas (the SUlAdi sapta tAlas - dhruva, maTya
and so on), while the ones on rAhu and ketu are both in rUpaka. The
language of these last two compositions is also said to be very unlike
dIkshitar's usage, but this is debatable.

There is also some talk of manuscript evidence in this regard, but none
of the contemporary Indian musicologists seem to have the requisite
training to say much about this. I'm not sure if anything conclusive can
be said from the point of view of mss, as all available ones are copies
of the same 19th century sources, connected to the Dikshitar family. As
is often the case with controversies, there seem to be some ad-hoc
claims being made.

The controversy over the compositions on rAhu and ketu presumes that the
seven others are genuinely muttusvAmi dIkshitar's compositions. Now,
although nobody seems to have brought this up in the Carnatic music
world, the composition on Sukra (SrI Sukra bhagavantam, in Paras) is
quite problematic. The song begins in the accusative case, but shifts to
a vocative case (hE Sukra bhagavan mAm ASu pAlaya, vRshatulAdhISa), and
reverts to the accusative case (daitya hitopadeSam, keSava
kaTAkshaikanetram) immediately after. This happens quite abruptly in the
middle of the same sentence in the anupallavi, which sounds very
unprofessional for a composer of muttusvAmi dIkshitar's calibre.


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