Thursday, June 6, 2013

Ugabhoga and Suladhi - An Introduction



Traditional Shastric sangeeta classifies compositions into 3 prabhandas

1. Viprakeerna
2. Ali
3. Sula

Ugabhoga and Suladhis both fall under the Sula prabhanda category. In order to judge who was a better singer; this category would be used to determine who was more talented.

According to shastras; to a prabhanda has four parts

1. Udgraha
2. Melapaka
3. Dhruva
4. Abhoga

Udgraha - Udd grahayate iti (to rise up ) this part ... sets the tempo / the groundwork for the song. ( anupallavi in modern parlance )
Melapaka - this part ... links the Udgraha with the Dhruva ( charana in modern parlance)

Dhruva - this is heart of the song; this part does not change ( it is fixed hence the name dhruva) it is repeated many times. The main message of the song is carried in the Dhruva. ( pallavi in modern parlance )

Abhoga - the part that brings the composition to a logical end ( ankita in modern parlance )


Singing of shlokas,churnikes, shubashita's etc in an extended form set to raaga and taala is called Ugabhoga; even though this was in practice before. The term "Ugabhoga" is first got in the works of Sri Prasanna Venkata Dasaru. Once this seperate category was created; the characteristics are defined that it is sakshara aalabdhi. Rules such as "shlokascha chaturpadi" don't apply to Ugabhoga; it has the essence of raaga and is open to be change.

It has no visible distinctions like pallavi, anu pallavi etc. This contains only two parts Udgraha and Abhoga. Hence the name Ugabhoga; Ugabhoga does not have Dhruva or Melapaka hence there is no repition. The speciality of Ugabhoga is that it has no specifications of raaga/taala etc.; this is a speciality because it is like a blank canvas to an artist. The singer is free to present and project the lyrics any way he/she chooses to. Generally in classical concerts they are used to lay the ground work or set the mood/tone for the concert. It is very special because it has to be sung with a lot of emotion and conviction. Get it right and it pulls at your heart strings the audience is hooked.

Tamilians know this as viruttam. This has been copied into other traditions; a more well known example is the reading of a shayari before a ghazal. It is a very loose example because Ugabhoga is on a different plane altogether; but the basic idea is the same.
There are Ugabhogas with 2 stanzas and some as long as 22 stanzas; the characteristic feature of Ugabhoga is that there are no repitions.

Although modern texts may assign raaga and taala to them; traditionaly Ugabhogas are anibhada i.e. not restricted.
Even though Ugabhoga keeps moving forward; the singer is free to repeat to hilight the effect; this shows the elasticity of the Ugabhogas.


They are diametrically opposite to Ugabhogas in terms of structure and discipline ( i.e. Nibhada ) in that they have a taala assigned to them. One subject is chosen and it is expounded in great detail. Each letter has to match the beat of the taala ( yatakshara prabhanda) ; this makes them restricted. Some suladhis are sung in one raaga or raagamalika ( multiple raagas )

The characteristics of Suladhis are:

. Minimum 5 stanzas

. Each stanza is called a "dala" ( petal ). dalas put together form a beautiful flower

. Each stanza has a beginning and ends with the ankita ( Each stanza can be considered as an Ugabhoga )

. Each stanza has a different taala. (one of the sapta taalas Dhruva, Matya, Rupaka, Jhampa, Tripuata, Ata, Eka )

. At the end of the Suladhi; there is couplet ( 2 lines ) called jatte where the Suladhi's essence is presented.

. Traditionally this jatte is sung twice

. Singing of Suladhi once gives effect of 10 X stotra patane

Dasaru would show the laya with the chittike and sing along; but it is a very complex form; to show in a mishra jampa. Even it takes 2 cycles( avarata ) as per taala while singing it will be completed in one cycle itself.
Another method is to split into categories of 5 each; it is a simpler form.

How to Compose

Let us apply this knowledge to see how to compose a song.

Firstly we must decide on a subject; and then compose the dhruva by wording it appropriately. By this I mean; that the lyrics should grow on the listener. It should not become boring to repeat the lines over and over again. The dhruva is the identity of the song so it should be nice worded.

Next the Udgraha; how to bring the Dhruva into context. The emphatic nature of the Dhruva should be justified by the Udgraha.

The melapaka would then be a detailed presentation of the Dhruva with the dhruva intreluded.

The aabhoga should be used to drive home the point and present the identity of the composer.

It goes without saying that this was for humans for Dasaru's all compositions are extempore.

Hope this will help people appreciate Dasaru's compositions even more and expose new depths.

If people are interested we shall see some examples and more detail.

BharatiRamana MukhyaPrana antaragata SriKrishnarpanamastu !
Jai Bharateesha !

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Chakrabja Mandala

Jai VijayRaya !!!
Om Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !!!
Jai Bedi Anjaneya !!!


Chakarabja Mandala

SriMadAcharya in TantraSaraSangraha has declared "Poojascha Bhagavan nityam Chakrabja mandale"; everyday wherever/whenever possible Chakrabja Mandala rangoli has to be drawn and the Saligrama/Devara Pooje has to be done on this rangoli.

This is a transliteration of Sri 1008 Suvidyendra Teertharu's "Chakrabja Mandala" audio discourse.

There are seven valayas(circles) in this Mandala. We will start from the centre and then away for the centre for the next Valayas.

First Valaya

a) A circle ( Kankana Akara) is drawn;
b) The word "Grini" is written in the middle; Om is written to the left and right side of this.
Grini has been described as Surya Mandala roopa in TantraSaraSangraha. Grini also means Dayalu or compassionate one.

aayathAbhyAm vishAlAbhyAm shIthalAbhyAm kRupAnidhE
karuNAmRutha pURNAbhyAm lOchanAbhyAm vilOkaya

SriHari has MahaLakshmi as his consort; he has absolutely no need for our limited pooja; but still out of his compassion for us... he accepts our Pooja.

c) The Swara Aksharas Am and Aha are written to the top and bottom of Grini respectively.
Am is an abbreviation for Anta - which means SriHari; starting from Trina jeevas if one goes up the tartamya; the final one is Paramatma (Sarvothamma) - Ekanta ( no-one above SriHari )
Aha means ArdhaGarbha - which represents BhartiRamana MukhyaPrana - Ardha means MukhyaPranaDevaru - Aa + Dha + ra - One who samruddhi of Gyana - ArdhaGarbha - means

BharatiRamana MukhyaPrana antargata SriHari

d) This circle is enclosed in a triangle.
There are several aspects to this triangle ( ordering is ...)
i) Shree (Shreem), Bhu (Kleem) and Durga ( Hreem)
ii) IcchaShakti, KriyaShakti and GyanaShakti
iii) Annirudha Roopa; Sankarshana and Pradyumna.
iv) Vyaghrati Bhu , Bhuvaha and Suvaha
v) Vishva, Taijasa and Praajna roopa
vi) Sattva guna; Rajas and tamas ( also shows that one should increase sattva and keep rajas and tamas away )
vii) SriHari is called Tridahama in Vishnu Sahasra Nama; KsheeraSagara , Anantasana and Vaikunta
viii) Vishnu, Brahma and Rudra

SriHari will always be with his parivar apart from MahaLakshmi; his own roopas for his parivar "Svamurthy gana madhyagaha".

All these chintane has to be done for this Valaya.

Second Valaya

a)Cirumscribing the triangle of the first valaya; a circle is drawn; this creates 3 segmental areas.
The order is ... top left, top right and bottom
i) Surya Mandala, Chandra Mandala and Agni Mandala
Narayana represented by Lam in Surya Mandal provides nourishment for all animals and plants
Krishna represented by Ram in Chandra Mandal provides nourishment for plants
Narasimha represented by Yam in Agni Mandal provides nourishment and provides body heat continuously.

Through Surya, Chandra and Agni SriHari constantly looks after us; this is tattva to be understood here.

iii) Eyes and mouth of SriHari ( one eye has surya; the other chandra and the mouth fire )
a) Chandra Mandala - Khari beechi
Agni Mandala- Ratha beechi
Surya Mandala - Aja beechi
The speed refers to the speed of the sun's movement. In 4 months it goes slow means sun sets late means summer; in medium days and nights are same length so it's

monsoon and in fast months the sun sets early means it's winter.

b) Four rashis per Mandala ( 2+2)
Chandra Manadala - Mesh, Vrishaba,Mithun, Kathaka ( Summer)
Agni Mandala - Simha, Kanya, Tula, Vrishchika ( Monsoon )
Surya Mandala - Dhanush, Makara,Kumbha, Meena ( Winter )

Third Valaya

a) A Shatkona (six pointed figure) is drawn with the second valaya circumscribed ( 2 triangles; one straight and one inverted )

MadhuMadhava - Kaal roopi paramatma
i) Six ritus and 2 months each
Vasant - Chaitra and Vaisakha - Spring - Mar to May
Grishma - Jyeshta and Aashaada - Summer - May to Jul
Varsha - Shravana and Bhadrapada - Monsoon - Jul to Sep
Sharad - Ashwija and Kartika - Autumn - Sep to Nov
Hemant - Margashirsha and Paushya - Pre-Winter - Nov to Jan
Shishir - Magha and Phalguna - Winter - Jan to Mar

ii) Sixty samvatsaras spread across 6 nodes; 10 samvatsaras at each node

1 Prabhava , 2 Vibhava ,3 Shukla ,4 Pramodoota ,5 Prajothpatti ,6 A-ngirasa ,7 Shri-mukha ,8 Bha-va ,9 Yuva ,10 Dha-ta
11 I-shvara,12 Bahudha-nya ,13 Prama-thi ,14 Vikrama ,15 Vrusha ,16 Chitrabha-nu ,17 Svabha-nu ,18 Ta-rana ,19 Pa-rthiva ,20 Vyaya
21 Sarvajith ,22 Sarvadha-ri ,23 Virodhi ,24 Vikruti ,25 Khara ,26 Nandana ,27 Vijaya ,28 Jaya ,29 Manmatha ,30 Durmukhi
31 Hevilambi,32 Vilambi ,33 Vika-ri ,34 Sha-rvari ,35 Plava ,36 Shubhakruth ,37 Shobhakruth ,38 Krodhi ,39 Vishva-vasu ,40 Para-bhava
41 Plavanga,42 Ki-laka ,43 Saumya ,44 Sa-dha-rana ,45 Virodhikruth ,46 Paridha-vi ,47 Prama-deecha ,48 A-nanda ,49 Ra-kshasa ,50 Nala
51 Pingala ,52 Ka-layukthi ,53 Siddha-rthi ,54 Raudri ,55 Durmathi ,56 Dundubhi ,57 Rudhirodga-ri ,58 Rakta-kshi ,59 Krodhana ,60 Akshaya

iii) Ritu Niyamaka Parmatma Roopas
Vasant Ritu - Veda Vyasa
Grishma Ritu - Annirudha
Varsha Ritu - Pradyumna
Sharad Ritu - Sankarashna
Hemant Ritu - Vasudeva
Shishir Ritu - Narayana

iv) Masa niyamaka roopas
Chaitra - Vishnu Vaishaka - Madhusudhana
Jyeshta - Trivikrama Aashaada - Vamana
Shravana - Sreedhara Bhadrapada - Hrishikesh
Ashwin - Padmanabha Kartika - Damodara
Margashisha - Keshava Paushya - Narayana
Magha - Madhava Phalguna - Govinda

v) Each Samvatsara has a niyamaka roopa of SriHari; if it is difficult to remember these... then each samvatsara has a SriHari roopa with the same name

For ex. Prabhava Samavatsara has a Prabhava namaka Sri Hari roopa; Vibhava has Vibhava roopa so on ...

1 Prabhava , 2 Vibhava ,3 Shukla ,4 Pramodoota ,5 Prajothpatti ,6 A-ngirasa ,7 Shri-mukha ,8 Bha-va ,9 Yuva ,10 Dha-ta
11 I-shvara,12 Bahudha-nya ,13 Prama-thi ,14 Vikrama ,15 Vrusha ,16 Chitrabha-nu ,17 Svabha-nu ,18 Ta-rana ,19 Pa-rthiva ,20 Vyaya
21 Sarvajith ,22 Sarvadha-ri ,23 Virodhi ,24 Vikruti ,25 Khara ,26 Nandana ,27 Vijaya ,28 Jaya ,29 Manmatha ,30 Durmukhi
31 Hevilambi,32 Vilambi ,33 Vika-ri ,34 Sha-rvari ,35 Plava ,36 Shubhakruth ,37 Shobhakruth ,38 Krodhi ,39 Vishva-vasu ,40 Para-bhava
41 Plavanga,42 Ki-laka ,43 Saumya ,44 Sa-dha-rana ,45 Virodhikruth ,46 Paridha-vi ,47 Prama-deecha ,48 A-nanda ,49 Ra-kshasa ,50 Nala
51 Pingala ,52 Ka-layukthi ,53 Siddha-rthi ,54 Raudri ,55 Durmathi ,56 Dundubhi ,57 Rudhirodga-ri ,58 Rakta-kshi ,59 Krodhana ,60 Akshaya

vi) Six letter Mantra ( MahaMantra - Om Vishnave Namaha - Sha+Na should be split )

Om Vim Om - Poorna Gyanaatma - hrudaya Namha
Om Sham Om - Poorna Aishwaryatma - shirase swaha
Om Nam Om - Poorna Prabhatma - shikha vashat
Om Vem Om - Poorna Anandatma - kavacha ham
Om Nam Om - Poorna Tejatma - netrabhyam vaushat
Om Mam Om - Poorna Shaktyatma - astraya phat

Fourth Valaya Inner

i) Circumscribing this six pointed figure draw a circle; this creates six segments.
ii) In the six corners lie the 51 matrika roopas of SriHari.

   a aa ka kha da dha ma ya
   i ii uu uu ga gha na ta ra la
   ru ruu lru lruu Na cha tha dha va sha
   ai aii cha ja da na pa sa
   oo oou cha nya pa fa da na
   am aha ta tha ba bha ksha

 If you go around 4 times you cover all the 51 roopas

 For SriHari always 4 pradikshinas; Surya 7 pradikshinas for Rudra half a Pradikshna ( old Rudra temples have an exit immideately after half a pradikshana)

    am Ajaya Namaha
    aam Anandaya Namaha
    im Indraya Namaha
    iim Ishanaya Namaha
    um Ugraya Namaha
    uum Urjaya Namaha
    rum Rutambaraya Namaha
    ruum Rugaghaya Namaha
    lrum Lrushaya Namaha
    lruum Lrujaya Namaha
    aim Ekatamane Namaha
    Aiim Airaaya Namaha
    om Ojobrute Namaha
    oum Ourasaaya Namaha
    am Antaya Namaha
    aha Ardha-garbhaya Namaha

    kam Kapilaya Namaha
    Kham Khapataye Namaha
    gam Garudasanaaya Namaha
    dam Dharmaaya Namaha
        Nasharya Namaha
    cham Chaarvangaya Namaha
    chham chhandogabhyaam Namaha
    jam Janaardhanaaya Namaha
    jham Jhaatitaaraye Namaha
    nam Namaaya Namaha

    tham Tankine Namaha
    thham Thalkaaya Namaha
    dam Darkaaya Namaha
    dham Dharine Namaha
    Nam Naatmane Namaha

    tam Taaraya Namaha
    tham Tabhaaya Namaha
    dam Dandine Namaha
    dham Dhanvine Namaha

    pam Paraaya Namaha
    fam Faline Namaha
    bam Baline Namaha
    bham Bhagaaya Namaha
    mam Manave Namaha
    yam Yagnaya Namaha
    ram Raamaya Namaha
    lam Lakshmipataye Namaha
    vam Varaaya Namaha
    sham Shantasamvide Namaha
    sham Shadgunaaya Namaha
    sam Saaraatmane Namaha
    ham Hamsaaya Namaha
    lam Laalukaaya Namaha
    ksham LakshmiNarasimhaya Namaha

Fourth Valaya Outer

i) One more circle around this
ii)eight petalled lotus on this ( ashta dala padma )

   a) Om Na Mo Na Ra Ya Na Ya ( Ashtakshara Mantra is written in each of the petal)

       There are infinite forms of Omkara; SriMadAcharya has specified eight parts of the Omkara and the Bhagavad roopas associated with each roopa

       Nada - Turya
       Bindu - Aatma
       Ghosha - Antaratma
       Shanta - Paramatma
       Atishanta - Gyanatma

       From each of these eight roopas; the Narayana Ashtakshara was brought forth.


   b) Write Nava Grahas; start with Shani from the top. Surya is represented by Ghrini in the centre; the remaining eight grahas are distributed in the eight dalas.

       Vishva controls Shani
       Taijas controls Rahu
       Prajna controls Guru
       Turya  controls Budha
       Aatma controls Shukra
       Antaratma controls Chandra
       Paramatma controls Kuja
       Gyanatma controls Ketu

Ghrini has two meanings Bimba Roopa as well as SuryaMandala antargata Narayana. So while worshipping at home; Bimba roopa chintane can be done, if outside then SUrya

Mandala antargata Narayana.

Fifth Valaya

a) Draw a circle circumscribing these eight petals
b) This creates eight empty spaces between the fourth and fifth valaya
     i) Place the eight parts of Omkara along with Paramatma roopas
       Nada - Turya
       Bindu - Aatma
       Ghosha - Antaratma
       Shanta - Paramatma
       Atishanta - Gyanatma
    ii) Make the 51 letters into eight groups and write down each group

    This is how all the alphabets came out of Narayana Ashtakshara ( from Omkara )

    Group I - Vishva - Aakara

    Group II - Taijasa - Uukara

    Group III - Prajna - Makara

    Group IV - Turya - Nada

    Group V - Aatma - Bindu
    ta-tha da-dha-na
    Group VI - Antaratma - Ghosha
    Group VII - Paramatma - Shanta

    Group VIII - Gyanatma - Atishanta

        Aakara Upasana - Vishva is niyamaka for Shruti, Kala and avyakta tattva
        Uukara Upasana-
                         Taijasa - niyamka for Panchabhoota
                                 aakaasha - Ganesha -Achyuta-Sukhini
     vayu   - Vayu - Janardhana-Sugandhi
                                 tejas - agni -  Upendra-Sundari
                                 appu  - varuna - Hari-Vidya
     prithvi - dhara devi -  Krishna-Susheela  ( different from Dashavatara Krishna this is 24 vyuha roopa Krishna )
        Maakara Upasana- Pragnya - niyamaka for PanchGyanIndriya ( Niyamaka for Guru as discussed above )
                                 Shrot         - DigDevata - Vishnave
                                 Tvak        - AhamPrana - Madhusudhana
                                 Chakush Indriya - Surya - Trivikrama
                                 Rasana        - Varuna  - Vamana
            GyanaIndriya  - Ashwini - Sridhara
      Nada Upasana - Turiya - niyamaka for Panch KarmaIndriya -
                                Vak - Agni - Hrishikesh
    Pani - Daksha - Padmnabha
    Pada - Jayanta - Damodara
    Payu - Yama - Sankarshana
                                Upastha - Mitra - Vasudeva
       Bindu Upsana - Aatma - niyamaka for Pancha Tanmatra
                                Shabdha -
                                Sparsha -
                                Roopa   -
                                Rasa    -
                                Gandha  -

      Ghosha- Anatatma - niyamaka for Pancha Manovritti
                               Manas ( doubtful nature; problems) - Indra /Kama - Sankarashna
                               Buddhi ( decision making)          - Uma         - Pradyumna
                               Ahankara (I, me )                  - Rudra       - Annirudha
                               Chitta  ( memory)                  - Garuda      - Vasudeva
                               Chetana ( past life memory )       - Shesha      - Narayana
     Shanta - Paramatma - niyamaka for Sapta Dhatu of sthula deha
    tvake; charma; mamsa; udheera; medhas; majjasati
     AtiShanata - Gyanatma - niyamaka for
                                a)jagratavaste-swapna avasthe- sushupt avasthe;
                                b)avyakta tattva, mahhat tattva;ahankara tattva

c) Now draw a twelve petalled lotus around the fifth valaya
     i) Distribute Dwadasha akshara mantra in each of the petals
           Om -Na-Mo-Bha-Ga-Va-Te-Va-Su-De-Va-Ya
     ii) Twelve Rashis in each of petals
          Mesha  - Keshava
          Vrishaba - Narayana
          Mithuna  - Madhava
          Karkataka - Govinda
          Simha     - Vishnave
          Kanya     - Madhusudhana
          Tula      - Trivikrama
          Vrishchitika - Vamana
          Dhanush   - Sridhara
          Makara    - Hrishikesha
          Kumbha    - Padmanabha
          Meena     - Damodara

    iii) Distribute Matrika rupas in twelve petals similar to described above

Sixth Valaya

a) Draw a circle touch these tip of the twelve lotuses
b) The 12 spaces created between fifth and sixth valaya
         i) 27 Yogas with 4 padas each ( 108 padas )
         ii) 27 Nakshatras with 4 padas each ( 108 padas )

c) draw a 24 pettaled lotus around sixth valaya
         i) Write Gayatri mantra
         ii) Keshavadi Roopas

Seventh Valaya

a) Draw a circle around the tip of the 24 petalled lotus
b) Draw a 51 petalled lotus here
            i) Place matrika mantras here

BharatiRamana MukhyaPrana antargata SriKrishnarpanamastu !!!