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Day 61: Jagadhodharana.......

Music can always change the vibrations around us. Each of us have our own favorite genre of music. I love all forms of music, but if I were to pick my first favorite, it is classical music, hands down. I love Western classical and Carnatic classical. Western classical from the likes of Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, Chopin, Brahms and many more. Carnatic classical is the genre from the south of India and the composers like Purandaradasa, Muthuswami Dikshithar, Tyagaraja, Shyama Shastry, Mysore Vasudeva acharya, Swati Thirunal, Annamacharya and many others.

This does not mean I do not enjoy other forms of music. I do. However, if I were to listen to either of the above genres of music, I am in a trance state. I was always exposed to Carnatic music. When I listened to the songs of MS Amma, Maharajapsuram Santhanam, Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, K.J.Yesudas, Bombay Sisters, D.K.Pattammal and many other instrumentalists like Lalgudi Jayaraman, Kunnakudi, Palghat Mani Iyer, A.Kanyakumari and so on, I was always wondering when and if I can ever sing like them. Of course, most other times, I was in ethereal bliss not having any thoughts on mind.

Picture Courtesy-Google Images
Jagadhodharana, composed by Purandaradasa, the Pitamaha (the father) of Carnatic music, is one of my favorite compositions. Purandaradasa's compositions were mostly set in Kannada as he belonged to Karnataka. He mostly wrote about Lord Krishna. This particular song is on Krishna's greatness and how His mother, Yashoda played with Him without knowing the 'true' self of Krishna. The raga is set in Kapi and in Adi talam. Even those of you who have not heard Carnatic music, you  will love this if you hear it once. When I was a kid, I did not understand Kannada (not that I do now!) and all I could make out was it was Purandaradasa's song and it was about little Krishna. Purandaradas (1484-1564) was born into a wealthy family in Karnataka. After about 30 years of age, he gave up all his aspirations for materialistic world and wealth and sought the feet of Krishna. He is said to have composed over 4.5 lakh (0.45 million) songs. He was a great soul and his songs questioned the banes of the society. He set the current system of Carnatic music and hence is called the Pitamaha of Carnatic music. Most of his compositions were in Kannada and a few in Sanskrit.

However, now we only have a very few of his compositions left. There were a few that have the original raga set by Purandaradasa. However, many compositions are either lost or if available do not have the original tunes. R.K. Srikantan, yet another musical genius from Karnataka had popularized Dasa songs. He had also set tunes for various of Dasa's beautiful compositions. Read here to see about what R.K.S feels about Dasa's compositions. 

Talking about Jagadhodharana, this original song was set in Kapi by Purandaradasa, which at that time was called Karnataka Kapi. However, as many of his songs were lost, during the Mysore king's reign, the 'astana vidhwan' or the court musician revived this song in the music halls of Mysore Maharaja. The court musician belonged to the family of Rudrapatinam Krishna Shastri (I am not sure if it was someone from the family or Krishnashastri himself). The whole Rudrapatinam family were blessed musicians. R.K.Srikantan, thus grew up learning from his father and other gurus. He actually belonged to the musical tutelege of Saint Tyagaraja (as he learned from the 4th or 5th generation shishya of Tyagaraja). This specific song that we hear today was learnt by the Rudrapatinam family (includes, R.K.Srikantan his brothers and cousins) who then passed it on to the musicians like MS Amma, M.L.V, and others.

MS Amma has been credited with popularizing this song as she sang it in the United Nations program. The original style and the song was learned by R.K.Srikantan and probably a few other shisya's of Veena Sheshanna and Rudrapatinam family. Even though, there are many versions and styles of this song, a couple of them linger in your mind forever.

I know this connection of R.K.Srikantan and this specific song because of my 'A'. He was the student of R.K.Srikantan till 2014, when R.K.S breathed his last. I was lucky to have sought his blessings a couple of times before he passed away. It is so interesting, how this song has transitioned over time and is still has not lost its charm. It is the beauty of the song, the composition, and of course, little Krishna. 


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