navagraha worshipped as deities

Srinivasan Pichumani srini at ENGIN.UMICH.EDU
Wed Apr 8 22:09:19 UTC 1998

        Vidyasankar wrote:

        from the saurAshTrArNa mantra for the sun, to ketuM ghRNvan for ketu.

A lot of print editions show it as saurA.sTrArNa emphasizing
the rAga name (saurA.sTra), but saurA.sTArNa is the correct
form... the mantra for sUrya - hrIm ghRNi sUrya Adityom -
is a.sTa arNa or eight-syllabled.

Also, the mantra for ketu is ketuM krNvan... TS
goes as "om ketuM krNvan aketave pes'o maryA apes'ase..."

        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.

Most probably, the doubt itself arose only due to the fact
that the Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini (SSP) of Subbarama
Dikshitar - in many ways the definitive work on Muttusvami
Dikshitar's compositions -  does not include the rAhu/kEtu

However, in this century, within the "immediate" Dikshitar
tradition itself, the compositions have been seen as an
integral set i.e. as navagraha compositions.

As for well-known musicians, only vINa DhanammAl, around the
turn of the century, knew all of these kritis and included
them in her performances... she seems to have considered/
rendered these kritis as a set of 9 kritis.

        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.

Are you thinking only of Srivatsa here ?
Since it seems to me that the problem is more of scholars
not having all the necessary access !

        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.

This is quite a flimsy reason for doubting the authorship of
this composition (I am reading between your lines here).

First of all, the phrase is only "daitya hitopades'a" in many
renditions that I have heard...and in the SSP, in both the
original 1904 edition in Telugu script and in the Tamil script
edition put out by the Music Academy, Madras.  So there is no
change in the middle of the "musical" sentence.

In the madhyamakAla, which is a self-contained unit in 1 Avarta
of the tALa and which connects the anupallavi back to the pallavi,
he reverts to the accusative... seems quite fine as a general
procedure... questioning the authorship of the composition based
on just this issue seems uncalled for.

[We do know about a complete example - the Ahiri composition of
the kamalAmbA navAvaraNa - where he goes thru all the 8 vibhaktis...
there he goes thru the 8 vibhaktis in this 9th composition after
completing 8 other compositions, each one completely in one vibhakti...
so, yes, there are a lot of "valid" reasons there.]

Maybe, you can entertain doubts about just the first line of the
anupallavi... but for the authorship, you cannot ignore the absolutely
compelling evidence of the texts and the tradition, and the
musical/textual content of the kriti itself.

First off, the SSP gives it clearly as a composition of MuttusvAmi
Dikshitar... it should be remembered that Subbarama Dikshitar doesn't
hesitate to introduce his own compositions, or mention his composing
abilities, or that of his other ancestors, in the SSP with the proper
attribution... so there is no necessity to think of someone else's
authorship within their family itself.

Secondly, there is near unanimity ( ;-) ) on the authorship of this
composition among the entire tradition.

Thirdly, and most importantly, if one looks at the music and the
text in this composition carefully, and look at it from a Carnatic
music background, you can be assured that no other person could
have composed it.  The long drawn out kriti, the exquisite music,
the phraseology, the astrological/zodiacal lore, are the clinchers...
you cannot ignore this essentially "adhikArabheda" style argument.


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