Brindavani Sarang also known as Sarang is a very beautiful raga. It is an audava jati raga and has only the five swaras of shadja, rishabha, madhyama, panchama and nishaadha. The speciality of Sarang is in its usage of both shuddha and komal nishadha. Komal nishadha is used in avarohana whereas shuddha nishadha is used in arohana. This raga gives a very beautiful soothing effect and a proper portrayal of the raga is as beautiful as the flute playing of Lord Krishna.
NI SA RI MA PA NI SA
SA ni PA MA RI NI SA
NI SA RI, RI MA PA, ni PA (MA) RI SA
(NI is shuddha and ni is komal)
Chaliye Kunjana from Swathi Tirunal (one of his compositions)
Brindavana Saranga is the Janyam of Karaharapriya (22nd Melakartha raga).
S R2 M1 P N2 S
S N1 P M1 R2 G1 S
Kaakali nishadam is used in the arohanam and kaishika nishadam is used while in avaroham. There are different versions of usage of G1 thus making different versions of avarohanam for this raga. In one version R2 G1 R2 S is used and in some R2 G1 S is used while in avarohanam. This might look little bit like Sri raga, but the vakra usage of G1 makes it sound different from Sri raga.
Akhilaandeshwari – Krithi of Muthusaamy Dikshithar in the raga Dwijaavanthi Akhilaandeshwari raksha maam aagama sampradaaya nipune shri
O Ruler of the entire world, protect me; one who knows all the traditions in the aagamas (scriptures).
Nikhila loka nityaatmike vimale nirmale shyaamale sakala kale
One who is the eternal Self in all the worlds (all-pervasive nature); one who is without impurities; one who is pure; one who is of dark complexion; one who knows all the arts.
Devi as the Lord of all
Generally the term Lord means someone who owns people under him but the term of Lord in Vedanta isn’t used in that sense (alone). The Lord in Vedanta is one who controls the entire world and this controlling is not just mere external control but control through the beings themselves; such a control is where the Lord is the essence of all beings and through being all-pervasive, control comes automatically.
Vedanta isn’t against any particular form worship as we may sometimes think it to be. Vedanta preaches that Nirguna Brahman or Brahman without any qualities is the ultimate truth. But this ultimate truth is very tough to apprehend for those who are still under the clutches of Maya, considering the world and their own body to be real. The Lord thus says in Gita that Nirguna Upasana is tough for those who think they are the body (embodied feeling). Hence in order to transition from the world that is perceived to the world-less, quality-less, duality-less truth of Brahman, various forms are prescribed in various scriptural texts. No form is greater than another – all forms are equal in that they serve as a bridge from our ignorant state to the state of nirguna Brahman. Comparing one form to another is like comparing the left eye to the right eye – both have its purposes.
So what are the purposes of various forms (from a form perspective rather than their real purpose of guiding to Brahman)?
As is the inner tendency or vasana or guna of a person, so will he or she be attracted to a particular form. Some might get attached to the form of beautiful Krishna or beautiful Vishnu whereas others might get attached to the form of Siva; yet others might get attached to Devi as Parvathi; yet others might get attached to the form of Kali. Depending on one’s inner tendencies, the various forms have been prescribed in the scriptures. No form will lead us to eternal bliss unless we are able to take the bridge towards form-less Brahman – the bridge is through pervading the form to the entire world. This is what we see Dikshitar explaining in the second paragraph about Devi as one who is all-pervasive and eternal. Any form whether it is the form of Krishna or Vishnu or the form of a human being cannot be eternal and will die after a period of time. A human form survives for 100 years but Krishna’s form might survive more but no form can be eternal. The Lord himself proclaims clearly in multiple places of Gita that those are fools who consider the Lord as being a form – the Lord is all-pervasive form-less Consciousness. That which is all-pervasive cannot be limited by a form (all-pervasive means in all spaces and form is that which is limited to a form).
It doesn’t matter whether we worship Devi or Krishna or Vishnu, we have to pervade the form in the entire world. This pervasion is through seeing the form in the entire world. Whatever we see, we have to remember that it is Devi or the Ishta Devata alone. This is mental perception and hence easy to implement too. We don’t have to externally prostrate at the feet of our boss but internally we can prostrate through remembering our boss also to be Devi and Devi alone. Thus with this vision of oneness, we will progress from our likes and dislikes or dual notions to the non-dual truth of Brahman.
What is special about the forms of Devatas rather than let’s say celebrities form like Shah Rukh Khan or Amitabh Bacchan or Aishwarya Rai?
The speciality about the form of devatas is that they are pure (as Dikshitar mentions). The idea behind those forms or the meaning of those forms as in scriptures is different from the form of worldly beings. Worldly beings are motivated by passions and desires. They are subject to attachment, aversion, greed, pride, jealousy etc. whereas the forms of these devatas aren’t subject to any of these. The devatas are content in themselves; they are pure; they are blissful in nature; they are all-knowing; they are satisfied. Only a person who is blissful can give bliss to another person. Since the various celebrities themselves aren’t happy with whatever they have achieved till now and they crave to achieve more and more, therefore they cannot give us fulfillment or peace or bliss.
Thus the various fans of these celebrities themselves fight with each other and none of them are content with themselves. Only a seeker who is able to take up the form of various devatas who are content in themselves will be able to gain contentment in life.
What easier way to contemplate on the ishta devata than through music or sangeetham. Today music has become a source of livelihood where many of the singers and musicians are busy trying to earn more money by selling records or performing on big stages. But the music that we tradition has left us in the past isn’t the music that we see today. The trinities of music themselves didn’t consider music as a source of money but as a source towards the goal of Brahman (sangeetha jnaanamu bhakthi vinaa sanmaargamu galade o manasaa). Today singers and others perform the songs of the trinities but with no devotion whatsoever – the only thing we get out of their performances are just few hours of temporary happiness which vanishes once we come out of the katcheri hall. Of course such unfortunate decline of music is part of the illusory nature of the world and cannot be changed. But we as seekers should remember to use music as a chariot for gaining more and more devotion. We should use music as a way to remember our Ishta Devata thereby forgetting all duality and trying to abide in the non-dual truth through making the Ishta Devata pervade our minds.
May this brief song of Dikshitar help us in gaining devotion towards Devi or our Ishta Devata so that we are able to use it to build the bridge of one-pointedness towards Nirguna Brahman – may this help us to attain the goal of eternal bliss in this very birth itself rather than wasting yet another precious human birth.