Navaratri 2005 Special
by Dr. P. P. Narayanaswami

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Kutcheri, Raga, Tala, Sahitya
Artistes, Composers, Lyrics
Tributes, Tidbits, Quizzes
Dance, Harikatha, Folk Music



During the last five navarAtri seasons, we featured the following thematic topics in  Carnatica’s “Special Features” segment:

In addition, we also uploaded several stOtrams on dEvi  (saundaryalaharI, lalitA sahasranAmam, and so on), appropriate for this festive occasion.  They can be accessed from  the "shlOka bank" of Carnatica’s Composition Bank:

This year, for a change, we deviate from this practice of discussing a selected group of compositions on a single unified theme.  Instead, we shall study nine individual k.rtis composed by nine different composers, choosing one k.rti a day for these nine days (we shall choose composers, from ancient to contemporary, other than the trinity and mahArAjA svAti tirunAL, and rAgams from popular to rare). The selection of songs, composers, and rAgams will be completely arbitrary, with no special preferences, or any particular reasons.

Traditionally, the nine days of the “navarAtri” festival are divided into three subgroups, the first three days devoted to the worship of Goddess durga, the next three days to lakSmi, and the final three days to sarasvati (culminating in the Vijaya dashami on the tenth and concluding day).  Following this practice, we shall provide k.rtis on durga on the first three days, on lakSmi, the next three days, and on sarasvati on the final three days. Each k.rti will be preceded by a dhyAna shlOkam.  Approximate meanings of the material (within the limitations of my meagre knowledge) will also be featured. Sincere thanks to Ms. Vidya (Jayaram) Ramji for reading an earlier draft of this write-up, and for her valuable comments/suggestions/inputs.

[Click here for the standard transliteration scheme]

Day 1  (durga)

dhyAna ShlOkam

ambA nUpuraratnaka”nkaNadharI kEyUrahArAvalI

jAtIcampaka vaijayantilaharIgraivEya vairAjitA |

vINavENuvinOda maNDitakarA vIrAsanE saMsthitA

cidrUpI paradEvatA bhagavatI shrI rAjarAjEshvarI ||

 (from shrI rAjarAjEshvari aSTAkam)


ambA  --  ambA (addressing the Goddess)

nUpura --  anklet (foot/toe ornament)

ratna ka”nkaNa –  golden bracelet (wrist ornament)

dharI – one who  wears

kEyUra – bracelet worn on the upper arm

hAravaII --  collection of garlands

jAtI, campaka, vaijayanti – names of various flowers 

laharI – a flood of

graivEya – necklace (ornament of neck)

vairAjitA – shining with

vINA, vENu – the musical instruments, vINa and flute

vinOda –  playing

maNDIta -- adorned

karA – with hands

vIrAsAnE – in a seat of great valour (magestic)

samsthitA – seated

cid –  consciousness (mind)

rUpi  --  with the form of

paradEvatA – ultimate Goddess

bhagavatI shrI rAjarAjEshvarI  --  Goddess shrI rAjarAjEshvari

Free Translation

Goddess ambA, shrI rAjarAjEshvari is described with various attributes: She is adorned with anklet, golden wrist bracelet, upper arm bracelet, and collection of garlands; she shines with a flood of flowers (jAti, campaka, vaijayanti, and so on), and various neck ornaments; she rejoices the sweet sounds of vINa, and flute played by her hands; she is seated in a magestic throne;  she is the abstract consciousness, and eternal goddess; she is the divine consort,  shrI rAjarAjEshvari.


pAhi mAm shrI rAjarAjEshvari

 rAgam: janara~njani, tALam: Adi

Composed by: (mahA) vaidyanAthan shivan, rAmasvAmi  shivan


 pAhi mAm shri rAjarAjEshvari
k.rpAkari sa”nkari


Ehi sukham dEhi siMhavAhini
dayA pravAhini mOhini

 bhaNDa caNDa muNDa khaNDani
mahisha bha~njani ra~njani nira~njani
paNDita shrI guhadAsa pOSiNi subhASiNi
ripu bhISaNi vara bhUSaNi


pAhi mAm – please protect me

shrI rAjarAjEshvari – the auspicious rAjarAjEshvari (the goddess of the Kings of Kings)

k.rpAkari --  the embodiment  of mercy

sha”nkari – the one who causes auspiciousness (or, the consort of sha”nkara)

Ehi –  please come (near me)

sukham – happiness

dEhi – grant me

simhavAhini – one who rides the lion

dayA pravAhini – the flow of kindness

mOhini – the enchanting one

bhaNDa,  chaNDa – demons bhaNDa and chaNDa

muNDa – head

khaNDini --  one who cut off

mahiSa --  the demon mahisAsura

bha~njani --  slayer of

ra~njani – the pleasing/delightful  one

nira~njani --  one without blemishes

paNDita –  learned/scholarly

guhadAsa – the servant of guha (the composer’s signature)

pOSini – one who supports/nourishes

subhASiNi – one with pleasant (sweet) speech

ripu bhISaNi – one who threatens the enemies

vara bhUSani --  decorarted with (the quality of granting) boons

Free Translation

Oh Goddess rAjarAjEshvari, the merciful, and auspicious, and the wife of sha”nkara (or the one who is the embodiment of auspiciousness). Please protect me!

Oh!  The one who rides on a lion, the flow of kindness, and the enchanting one, Please come near me, and grant me unsurpassed happiness

You are the one who separated the heads of demons: bhaNDa, chaNDa, and you are the slayer of  MahiSAsura. You are very pleasing, and the one without any blemishes.

You protect (take care of) the learned “guhadAsa” (the composer).  You possess a pleasant speech.  You cause fear to the enemies, and you are adept in granting boons to the devotees.

rAgam janara~njani

Janara~njani is a janyam of mELam 29, dhIrasha”nkarAbharaNam.

ArOhaNam:       s r g m p d p n s

AvarOhaNam:   s d p m r s

The ArOhaNam is vakra – sampUrNam, and avarOhaNam omits the notes ga and ni.  It is an upa”nga rAgam, with ri, dha, and ni as jIva svarams; the notes ni and ri are rendered as dIrgha kampitam. It is a rAgam that shines in madhyamakAla renditions, and is suitable for singing at all times of the day.  

Saint tyAgarAja has three popular compositions (viDajAladura, smaraNe sukham, nADAdinamATa), and shyAma shAstri has one (nannu brOva pada) in this rAgam.  We have no k.rti by Muttusvami dIkSitar in this rAgam.

Some books credit Maha VaidyanAtha Iyer as the composer of this k.rti, while others mention the composer to be his brother rAmasvAmi shivan. It is quite possible that this is a joint work of the shivan brothers (vaidyanAthan shivan, and rAmasvAmi shivan).

The composer’s mudra, “guhadAsa” is incorporated in the sAhityam. The k.rti has beautiful antyAkSara prAsams (chimes at the end of each line).

A profile of  MahA vaidyanAtha Iyer can be viewed at

Also, a write-up on the composer, with emphasis on his monumental mELarAgamAlika is available at


Day 2 - himagiri tanayE hEmalatE - shuddha dhanyAsi - muttayya bhAgavatar >>

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