Saturday, 9 June 2012

Daśa Viḍha Rāga Navati Kusuma Mañjari


Daśa Viḍha Rāga Navati Kusuma Mañjari is a musical work in which Pandit Adibhatla Narayana Das exhibited his monumental skill in literary craftsmanship and musical composition.  It is a rāga mālika comprising ninety ragas in ten categories and nine rāgas in each category. The ten categories are: (1) Sarva-sampurna ragas (2) Shadava-oudava ragas (3) Oudava-shadava ragas (4) Sampurna-oudava ragas (5) Oudava-sampurna ragas (6) Suddha-shadava ragas (7) Sampurna-shadava ragas (8) Shadava-sampurna ragas (9) Suddha-oudava ragas & (10) Vakra ragas. As the ninety ragas are woven as flowers in a garland, it is named dasavidha raga navati kusuma manjari.

The rāga mālika is a prayer to goddess Kanyakumari and is in two parts, the first half in Samskrit and the second in Telugu. The names of the ragas are used as a part of the prayer in each line of the first part. Thus the composer dictated the ragas in which each line should be sung. The same ragas are repeated in the inverse order in the second half. The rāga mālika can be sung in all tālās evolving from the five jātis of eka-tāla.

Another important feature of this raga malika is this: while a vocalist sings it, and five musicians keep time each with a different eka-tāla, by the time the raga-malika is completely sung all the eka-tālas could be concluded and not in between.

If a musician can accomplish singing the rāga mālika to five different tālās it would be a great achievement. Pandit Narayana Das used to perform such a feat which he called Panchamukhi, after the five facets of Paramasiva. The five facets of Paramasiva are Sadyojatha, Vamadeva, Eesana, Tatpurusha and Aghora. The performance of Panchamukhi earned Pandit Narayana Das the title of Panchamuki-Parameswara. The five talas he used to perform were trisragati with the right hand; chaturasragati with the left hand; khanda with the right shoulder; misra with the left shoulder and sankeerna with the head. He also performed Shanmukhi also known as Laghusekharam in musical theory. The performance of five and six talas earned him the title, Layabrahma.

Mahamahopadhyaya’, ‘SangeethasekharaNookala Chinasatyanarayana has this to say of the Sangeetha Prabandham: A student of this prabandham who begins his musical education with the first line becomes a vidwan by the time he accomplishes singing the 180th line or aavartham. If a music vidwan practises this Prabandham daily, there would be nothing beyond his capability with regard to performance of music or tala.”