C. V. Narasimhan
SANSKRIT COMPOSITIONS IN CARNATIC MUSIC
Some examples analyzed
Of the three inspired composers who are regarded as the holy trinity of Carnatic music, Tyagaraja composed practically all his songs in Telugu and only a few in Sanskrit; Muthuswami Mksitar was an erudite scholar, a widely travelled man for his time, and his songs are all in Sanskrit; Syama Sastri composed all his songs in Telugu.
Most of Tyagaraja^ songs are in praise of Rama. Diksitar^ compositions are addressed to a wide variety of deities in the Hindu pantheon. In fact, his compositions constitute almost a Baedeker of the major Hindu pilgrimage centers of India. Syama Sastri^ compositions are all addressed to Amba, the Divine Mother.
In this article, I reproduce first two typical compositions by Diksitar. The third and fourth compositions are somewhat rare examples of Tyagaraja^ compositions in Sanskrit.
As a casual reading of the first composition, beginning with the words Srivenugopala, will show, the text is mainly descriptive. There is no attempt to provide the emotional appeal that is common in most of the compositions of Tyagaraja. However, one can clearly perceive Diksitar^s verbal dexterity in the pattern of the rhyming he uses in this composition. In practically every case, the first syllable of each second line rhymes with the first syllable of the previous line. The last two syllables of each unit of two lines also usually rhyme. Diksitar also used tempo variation at the end of his compositions; here, lines seventeen to twenty are intended to be sung in double time.
It is common in Carnatic music for the composer to introduce his name or mudra ("seal11) in the composition itself. Diksitar used the mudra Guru Guha, which is in the fourteenth line. It was also Diksitar's practice to introduce the name of the raga itself in the course of the composition. In this case the raga is kuranji, which is referred to in the eleventh line.