/* START Google Analytics Code*/ /* END of Google Analytics Code */ A home called "Parvathi": Why their music can only be Divine?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Why their music can only be Divine?

They say that the most miniscule drop of ambrosia is sufficient for immortality.

It is only with such thoughts that we console ourselves and bring you the remnants of an almost destroyed tape, on what might have been an extraordinary concert of the early 60’s by the Alathur Brothers and who else? but T.Chowdiah and Palghat Mani in “Parvathi”, Mysore. While the snatches of a brilliant ‘Tani’ between Mani-Chowdiah in a barely preserved 3 minute ‘Chakanniraja’ reveals their virtuosity, the Alathur Brothers rendering of ‘Epapamu’ (the only fully retrieved piece) reveals an extraordinary devotion. As everyone knows by now, the Brothers were known to be adepts in ‘laya’.

Bhakti’ is the one singular aspect that the great artists from the past brought from their own lives into their performances. Their voices, back then, revealed that aspect of the theatre of their lives. The compositions that they sang all came from Saints who had revelations (Purandara Dasa, Thyagaraja, Muthuswamy Dikshitar et.al.) and who expressed themselves only poetically of their divine experiences ( ‘Kavim Kavinaam Upa mashra vastamam’ ). The ‘Vidwans’ and the ‘Vidushis’ who carried their expressions to us masses were basically ‘Upasakaras’ and fixed in the ‘Niyamas’ of the faith and tradition of their times.

This is brought to us in many ways and in many aspects of all the artists of old; we learn how Chowdiah was devoted to his Guru Bidaram Krishnappa and was a great Anjaneya devotee. We learn of another example, from that of GNB and we let the following words ( written by a person who could not be any closer to him ) amongst other things speak for itself

“... Pooja. He had a mantap built specially for his puja and it had a Mahameru, Srichakram, and also a 8inch panchaloha idol of His ishtadevatha Nadaroopa sundari, made at home on his instructions.”

Of “Parvathi” itself, we have shown of how the place was a transported mini-durbar from the Wodeyar’s durbar, sans the royal regalia. The same leading citizens of art and culture would move from there to here. Through our posting “Homams”, and through participating pictures of Vasudevachar, M.S. Subbalakshmi, Lalgudi Jayaraman, Umayalpuram Sivaraman et.al. we have shown how the ‘yagnas’ of prayer and music would take place. We have Chowdiah himself expressing through an audio of how the matriarch of the family would be found “twenty-four hours” in supplication. On K. Puttu Rao and Chowdiah we found the following interesting link

“... after visiting Kanyakumari we (Chowdiah, K.Puttu Rao and K.Srikantiah) were on our way to Madurai. On the way we halted at a wayside village temple to enable my father (K.Puttu Rao) to perform the evening ‘sandhyavandanam’…..the local onlookers (then) recognized Chowdiah and gasped “Soundayya!” ….the priest (at that point) entered the scene and pleaded Chowdiah to give a ‘sevartha’ concert there…”

To sum up all this ‘devotional’ aspect of the past and difference in generations today we leave you best with the words of the great mridangist Dr. T.K. Murthy ’s take on this:

“Tyagaraja sang and Lord Rama came. Muthuswami Diskhitar sang and Lord Murugan came.

Shyama Sastri sang and Goddess Kamakshi came.

Purandaradasa sang and Lord Narayana came.

Who comes when we sing?

They forgot themselves when they sang. That is bhakti. They were totally devoted to their God.

It is not like the way we sing today.

These days we pray that we will go to the temple and break 2 coconuts if we get 1 lakh rupees or if a marriage gets fixed.

We must totally surrender to God! "

Now, onto whatever music we could save.