VINAYAKA KRITIS IN KARNATIK MUSIC
Compositions from other composers
Among the recent composers, pApanAsham shivan, harikEshanallUr muttiAh bhAgavatar, and the modern composer tuLasIvanam have composed gaNEsha k.rtis in large numbers, the former in chaste Tamil, and the latter two in simple sanskrit. Others have far less number, some only one song, but they are all of high quality, and all of them have stood the test of time.
Besides the gItam, "shri gaNanAtha", purandaradAsa has composed an ugA bhOga, "satata gaNanAtha", and two more compositions, "gajavadana bEDuvE" (hamsadhvani) and "sharaNu siddhivinAyaka" (saurASTram).
Though a true devotee of Lord rAma, this saint composer has composed many songs in praise of many other gods and goddesses - a few on dharmasamvardhani, some on shiva, pa~NcanadIsha, pa~ncaratnams on lAlguDi, kOvUr, shrIrangam temples, and so forth. But we find very few tyAgarAja k.rtis on Lord gaNEsha. The bangALa rAga k.rti "giri rAja sutA tanaya" is in very simple sanskrit. The other one, "shrI gaNapatini sEvimparAre" in saurASTram is an invocation to gaNapati in the prahlAda bhakti vijayam opera. Then there is this disputed k.rti "shrI gaNanAtham bhajarE" in the mELa rAgam kanakA~ngi, which has both the tyAgarAja mudra and the dIkSitar mudra (guruguha). It is considered as a spurious k.rti wrongly attributed to tyAgarAja.
It is a puzzle that we do not have any composition by ShyAma ShAstri on Lord gaNEsha.
Strangely, we are able to find only one k.rti on gaNEsha by this royal composer, who poured out a large number of soulful compositions on Lord Padmanabha. In the navarAtri k.rtis on dEvi, we find the gaNEsha dhyAnam - "paripAhi gaNAdhipa". The other instance where he mentions Lord gaNEsha is at the commencement of the utsava prabandham k.rtis - a malayalam shlokam beginning with "dvirada vadananAkuM dEvanEyuM pramOdAt".
UttukkAdu venkata kavi
The following compositions are popular:
Ananda nartana gaNapatim bhAvayE (nATTai)
Just like the Sanskrit compositions of dIkSitar, the Tamil compositions of pApanAsham shivan on gaNapati are very popular. Here is a partial list of some of his gaNEsha k.rtis we often hear. The last entry in this list is a mangaLam for gaNEsha.
mUlAdhAra mUrti gajamukhane (hamsadhvani)
His only known gaNEsha composition "vinAyaka ninnuvina" in hamsadhvani is a classic by itself. (A recording of Sri. G. N. Balasubramanian )
N. S. rAmacandran
"shri mahAgaNapate" (Abhogi) is his popular composition. (Sample from a rendition by Sri. S. Kalyanaraman )
The invocation song (kAppu pAdal) for his work on 72 meLa compositions, kanda gAnAmutham is on vinAyaka - "vAranamukha vA" in hamsadhvani - a very popular piece heard frequently in concerts. In addition, he has a few more k.rtis on vinAyaka - "mahAgaNapate mAvallabhA pate" (kAnaDa), and "dandi mukhathenthai varuka" (nATTai)
harikEshanallUr muttiAh bhAgavatar
We find several Sanskrit compositions on gaNEsha by muttiAh bhAgavatar. One k.rti is in mOhanakalyAni, a rAgam invented by him. The following list includes songs in navarasakannaDa, and janara~njani.
shrI mahAgaNapatE (malahari)
mahArAja jayacAmarAja OdeyAr
The k.rti "gaM gaNapate namaste" in the rare rAgam dUrvAnki by the royal composer is often heard. The caraNam line refers to the vinAyaka caturthi day, "bhAdrapada mAsa caturthi".
"praNamAmyaham" (gauLa), "vandE anishamaham" (hamsadhvani) and "lambOdaram avalambE" (kAmbhOji) are k.rtis that have gained popularity.
G. N. bAlasubramaNian
The compositions karimukha varadA (nATTai), and vara vallabha ramaNam (hamsadhvani) are popularized by his disciples.
The Tamil song, "gaNanAthanE guNabOdhanE (sAranga) is regularly heard in concerts.
Credit goes to bAlamuralIk.rSna for composing k.rtis in all 72 mELams at the very tender age of 14! Some of these mELa rAga k.rtis are devoted to gaNEsha. The kanakA~ngi raga composition "shrI shaputrAya namaste', the sALagam song "vAraNa vadanam" are on gaNEsha. His rare rAgam sarvashrI (which employs only 3 notes sa, ma and pa and placed under mELam 1, kanakA~ngi) has a composition "umAsutam namAmi". A few other compositions on gaNEsha are "gaNAdhipam satatam Ashraye" (nATTai), "siddhi nAyakEna" (am.rtavarSini), and "hIra gaNapatiki hArati" (suraTi)
tanjAvUr shankara ayyar
The tamil composition, "mahAgaNapati vA vA" (nATTai) is the only k.rti on gaNapati by this composer.
The contemporary composer, rAmacandran nAyar, an IAS Officer from Kerala uses the pseudonym "tuLasIvanam" and has composed numerous compositions on various shrines, mainly in the region of Kerala, Trivandrum in particular. His style is simple sanskrit, and he uses the vAggeyakAra mudra "tuLasI" in all his compositions - employing phrases like "vana tuLasI, kAnana tuLasi" and so forth in his songs. He has to his credit numerous gaNapati songs in praise of the vinAyaka temple at pazhava~ngADi (in downtown Trivandrum, walking distance from the famous Padmanabha temple). We find explicit reference to the pazhaya (old) angADi (bazaar) in the phrase pUrvApaNa that appears in all these gaNapati compositions. Musician T. V. Sankaranarayanan has sung many of these gaNEsha songs in two 45-minute cassettes (AVM audio); also Sankaranarayanan frequently sings a tuLasIvanam gaNapati song in his concerts. His Music Academy 1987 concert had the kAmbhOji k.rti "lambodaram bhAvayE" as the main item. Some of the popular gaNEsha k.rtis by tuLasIvanam on pazhavangADi gaNapati are:
vAraNa vadanam bhaja (gauLa)
Several tapes/CDs are commercially available where the artiste sings exclusively gaNEsha songs. Some of the popular ones are:
mahArAjapuram santAnam - k.rtis on
vinAyaka (Sangeetha 6MSC 6112)
S. sowmya - Om shrI gaNanAyaka (Super
Recording SR 060)
In conclusion, I would like to add that
if any composer was left out, it is only due to lack of memory, or
because I was unaware of their compositions, and not due to any disrespect
or disregard for their contributions. It is virtually impossible to cover
every composition on gaNEsha in a small article of this nature!
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