carnatic music

Saint Tyagaraja’s Pancharatna Krithis

Pancharatrna Krithis are the real jewels of Saint Tyagaraja’s compositions. Pancharatrna Krithis are the five crown jewels of carnatic music. As the word denotes, Pancha means five and ratna jewels. Pancha Ratna Krithis are all composed in five major ragas. Jagadananda Karaka in Nattai, Duduku gala in Gowla, Sadhimchane in Arabhi, Kanakanaruchira in Varali and entaro mahanubhavalu in Sri raga. In all these pancharatnakrithis only one composition Dudugugala deals with a philosophical subject matter and the rest praises God. Jagadanandakaraka is the only composition written in Sanskrit. The rest of the krithis are in Telugu. All pancharatna krithis are composed in adi tala.

Due to its greatness, pancharatna alapana has great importance in carnatic music. The aalapana begins with the kriti in praise of Lord Ganesa, Sriganapati set in raga saurashtra. This is followed by the ragas Nattai, Gowla, Arabhi, Varali and Sri.

The first among pancharatna krithis, Jagadananda karaka praises lord Sri Rama. The krithi mainly features the qualities and attributes of Lord Sri Rama and Lord Vishnu as the creator and protector and the centre of the universe. The composition has ten charanams. The second one Dudugugala is written in a self confession mood. Here Saint Tyagaraja submits himself to god and says that there is no one else to help him. He spoiled his life by submerging into the false colors of worldly life. Only lord can help him to achieve moksha (salvation). The third composition Sadimchane praises lord Krishna. It is comprised of eight charanams. In this krithi, Saint Tyagaraja complains that why the lord is not ready to appear before him. He also complains that the lord has given pain to all those people who have love and ardent devotion to him. The forth composition, unlike the others is never learned directly from a guru. It is always sung in a vilamba kala (in a slow pace). This composition praises lord Maha Vishnu. It elaborates all his different avataras, Lord Sri Rama, Lord Sri Krishna etc.. and their deeds in that particular avatara like giving moksha (salvation) to Jadayu. The last krithi is in Raga Sri. The Krithi is entaro mahanubhavalu. There is a story associated to this composition. Once Shadkala Govindamarar visited Saint Tyagaraja on Maharaja Swati Thirunal’s request. When he reached there, Marar Sang the Ashtapathi starting Chandanacharchita in 6 Kaalas (paces). Impressed by this, the amazed saint Tyagaraja asked his students to sing entaro Mahanubhavulu. It means how great you are and in my mind I am bowing my head upon your greatness. The composition also praises lord Surya (Sun God), Chandra (Moon God) and other Devas.

Thiruvayyar Tyagaraja Aaradhana in the day of Pushya bahula panchami is an event with utmost importance in the recital of Saint Tyagarajas Pancharatna Krithis. This event is held in association with the observation of Saint Tyagaraja’s Samadhi day. Maestros and experts from different part of the country participate in this annual fete.

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