Saturday, October 19, 2013

ಓ ರವಿಯೆ, ನಮ್ಮ ಕುಲಪತಿಯೆ, ...

When you witness a musical production such as Jaya Jaya Vijayee Raghurama, presented under the auspices of One School at a Time (OSAAT), with a string of songs each of which is composed in a raga to suit the mood portrayed by the song, you will find yourself humming, or recalling, that one song over and over again. The following song is one such in today's presentation in Los Altos Hills, California:

ಓ ರವಿಯೆ, ನಮ್ಮ ಕುಲಪತಿಯೆ,
ನಿನ್ನರಕ್ಷೆಯೊಳುಗೀಕೆಯನು ಬಿಡುವೆ —
ಬಾನರಸೆ, ಮಾರುತನೆ, ಸರ್ವಭೂತಂಗಳೇ
ಶಿವಸತ್ವಗಳೆ, ನಿಮ್ಮ ಹೊರೆಯೊಳಗಿವಳನಿಡುವೆ

Lakshmana's Appeal. (Photo: Mani Varadarajan).
These foregoing lines are excerpts from ಹರಿಣಾಭಿಸರಣ1, one of the many literary works of Padmashree Dr. P. T. Narasimhachar, ಪು. ತಿ. ನ., and were presented as part of an Alamelu Iyengar production, ಜಯ ಜಯ ವಿಜಯೀ ರಘುರಾಮ. The dance-drama was directed by Chinmayi Bettadapur and Ramya Abhijit, with a very able musical direction by Subhapriya Srivatsan.

In this one piece where Lakshmana is forced to leave Sita alone in the woods because of Sita's forcing him to do so, his utter unhappiness is being portrayed. He is unhappy because he is doing it against his brother's wishes that he should always be at Sita's side as her protection. As he leaves, it is as if he is telling his dynastic ancestor, ರವಿ, that he can only expect Sita to be protected by no one other than the five mahabhoothas — Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, Air (ether) — and the shivasattvas, the essential components of nature. In other words, there is no mortal at Sita's side to protect her.

A very tumultous situation for Lakshmana, beautifully visualized by the poet, and the emotional content resoundingly expounded by the music in Revati raga. Singer: Manudath Gurudatha.

I recommend to you, the reader, that you try to listen to the audio clip ...

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