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September 2011

- Sandhyavandanam Madhva Muni Rao, Bangalore
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I attended a Lec-Demo of Shri Vijay Siva on raga lakshanas of Devakriya, Manjari, Devakriya. Devamruthavarshani and Karaharapriya at the Music Academy on 18th December, 2010.

Vijay Siva played some of the doyens and legends recordings - Kittappa, Semmengudi Srinivasa Iyer and Pattammal- singing the kriti 'Everani Ne' of Thyagaraja in Devamruthavarshini and rightly pointed out that all the doyens had liberally used varjya swaras of Devamruthavarshini or the swaras of karaharapriya in their renditions. He took the stand that he would also render the kriti in the same patanthara, learnt from his guru, to continue the tradition, unquestioningly. There was no conclusion at the end of the question and answers session, at the end of the Lec-Demo.

This is a typical case of "Dharma Sankatam". Keeping the ideal of patanthara discipline and the tradition of Bani of illustrious Guru can create dharma sankatam, such as the one discussed here.

During the raga lakshnas lec-demos at the Music Academy in the late 50' or early 60', similar issue did come up. It was concluded that even though primacy is for lakshya over lakshana, the artist(s) should strictly stick to lakshana, once lakshana is formed, accepted and fixed. Occasional and unintentional lapses by the usage of varjya swara(s) for the sake of rasashrishti/rasanubhavam by the veterans should not be subjected to undue criticism (Subbudu's effects). Just like poets are given poetic license for any transgressions of the grammar, the veteran performer also to be given similar license. If every artist takes the license for granted, the lakhana suffers and the unique identity of the raga (rare one) is lost, for ever. The tradition demands that such heritage should not be lost. All those artists, including Shri Vijay Siva, with ideals of strictly adhering to the Sampradaya or Tradition, need to make the necessary corrections in their patanthara and renditions. By doing their duty as required by the sampradaya/tradition, they are not doing any disservice to their Guru(s).