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Sunday, March 23, 2014

In Memorium: Shri B.M.N. Murthy

The Hindu: The man who knows everything
[ http://www.hindu.com/lf/2004/03/15/stories/2004031508690200.htm ]

We live in a world today where it is not uncommon for a person in the media to likely interrogate you (when you discuss someone not given to essential mainstream) in a capsuled fashion such as “Can you describe this person in two sentences or less?”

In remembering Shi B.M. Narayana Murthy we would say “Yes” with an aplomb, though rather with a certain sadness today. He passed away last week.

“Yes, we can and we are honored that we knew him. He was a man who lived his whole life in dignity and treated all those whom he came across with that same said dignity”.

He was of course many, many things more, as we have leaned on him a few times ourselves in this blog to borrow some of his articles from that vast fund of his resourcefulness.

He had retired professionally as Chief Engineer, Life Insurance Corporation of India. But after his retirement he dedicated his entire time to guiding and informing "the younger generation" in India of the spiritual wisdom of their country, reminding them to know something of the great traditional lineage to which they belonged. Many of them did listen to their "Nani Uncle" and endeared themselves to him.

BMN Murthy - Chennai Industrialist A.N. Srinivasa Rao

He was a voracious collector from his youngest days of books and periodicals and a very well read person on “any subject under the sun” which could project a value. He applied himself by sharing his fund of knowledge in penning beautiful articles in not only jogging our memories but in introducing us to names and events about which we may have hardly known anything.

His house was a veritable library and we came to know of his prodigious writing when we realized that by July 2013, he had completed the penning of a staggering 700 weekly articles spread over a period of twelve and half years.

No subject would escape his serene mind . On music you could find him waxing on the mastery of a Veena Seshanna or a Madurai Mani Iyer; on religion it could be the exemplary teachings of a Chandrasekhar Bharathi or the MahaPeriyava of Kanchi; in poetry he would be at home equally to a Kalidasa or a Keats; or in a cheerful bid towards inculcating positive thoughts he would bring to our attention that "Poverty and Humble Beginnings Are No Impediments to a Success in Life". He would bring any number of examples to bear testimony to that in a Rt. Hon. V. S. Srinivasa Sastri, a Michael Faraday, a Charlie Chaplin or a Justice Kapadia.

We close with our prayers to the essential memory of a very decent and good man.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Rama - The Abiding Subject of Carnatic Krithis

Vid. K.S. Gopalakrishnan – Flute 1977

A Contribution from R. Sachi

1977: Vidwan K.S. Gopalkrishnan in “Parvathi”

We are pleased to share with rasikas a wonderful flute recital held in the Ramanavami festival in 1977 at Parvathi, Mysore. Vid. KS Gopalakrishnan has been rather elusive and inaccessible to most Carnatic rasikas all these decades, although he is readily hailed by the cognoscenti as a great flute maestro. In this concert, like the one we shared before with rasikas from 1976, he indelibly stamps the music with his melodious manodharma and virtuosity.

The concert begins with the enchanting phrases of Ravichandrika. The raga name evokes images of the sun as well as the moon! The raga itself is a favourite of Saint Thyagaraja, with well-known krithis. The song Nirvadhi Sukhada is a special one. It is very popular with instrumentalists who render it at breathless speed. But here, Vid. Gopalakrishnan has created a wonderfully evocative mood and for the first time we feel like contemplating the meanings of the lyric. And the line śaṅkarādi gīyamāna sādhu mānasa susadana captures the Saint Composer’s sentiment about Rama. According to him, Rama is worthy of worship and therefore is the subject of his own songs: Rama is unparalleled in grandeur, grace and capacity to instil devotion. Lord Shiva himself sings Rama’s glories. And Rama dwells in the hearts of his devotees. No wonder that in the Ramanavami festivals at Parvathi, we have had a continual flow of wonderful music full of songs dedicated to Rama by so many stalwart musicians.


niravadhi sukhada nirmala rūpa
nirjita muni śāpa
śaradhi bandhana nata saṅkrandana
śaṅkarādi gīyamāna sādhu mānasa susadana
māmava marakata maṇi nibha dēha
śrī maṇi2 lōla śrita jana pāla
bhīma parākrama bhīma karārcita3
tāmasa rājasa mānava dūra
tyāgarāja vinuta caraṇa


O Lord who confers unceasing comfort!
O Lord of blemish less form!
O Lord who removed the sage's curse (on Ahalya)!
O builder of the causeway on the Ocean!
O Lord saluted by Indra!
One sung about by Siva and others, abiding in the hearts of pious people!
Please protect me, O Lord with emerald-like body!
One enamored by the precious Lakshmi!
O Nourisher of dependants!
One with terrifying prowess!
O Lord worshiped by the very hands of Bhima!
O Lord far-removed from people given to
inertia (darkness) and passion (action)!
O Lord whose feet is praised by Thyagaraja!

( Source: sahityam.net )

The concert features an expansive Abheri and the krithi Bhajare Re Manasa Sri Raghuviram of Mysore Vasudevacharya. The flute maestro is in a mood of creative exuberance as he develops the raga, the song and then embarks on an array of raga-malika swaras at the end of the song. This is like a shahi bhojan with a series of unexpected delicacies! The violin, mridangam and ghatam accompaniment are very good, too.

Details : Concert held on 7-4-1977 during Ramanavami at "Parvathi"

K.S.Gopalakrishnan ------- Flute
Chalakudy Narayanaswamy ---- Violin
Tanjore Upendran ------- Mridangam
M.A.Krishnamurthy ------- Ghatam

Song List

01 Niravadhi Sukhada – Ravichandrike- Thyagaraja *** 02 Manavinalakincha – Nalinakanthi - Thyagaraja *** 03 Abheri Raga *** 04 Bhajare re manasa-Abheri – Mysore Vasudevacharya Ragamalika swaras (Dwijavanti, Shekharachandrika, Mohana,Hindola, Bageshri, Sindhubhairavi) *** 05 Karunai daivame –Sindhubhairavi – Madurai Srinivasan *** 06 Cheline netlu Javali - Paras - T Chinniah *** 07 Ramgovind Hari (?) Kabir Bhajan –Desh *** 08 Thiruppugazh- Hamsanandi *** 09 Tillana –Kamach -- Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer *** 10 Mangalam ***