Concepts of Ganesha
by composers and artists (Part-1)
Let us now consider the special significance in the creations of different Vaggeyakaras (composers) and artists. Some of them give just the physical description, while a few others go in for deeper meanings touching upon philosophy, mythology, epics etc. While certain elements like clothes, ornaments and implements are mentioned for each of form of Ganesha in ancient Agama texts, composers or artists do not seem to have followed the directions very strictly, but have used their own imaginations in their lyrical or visual compositions.

Annamacharya, who was a much earlier composer to Purandaradasa had set the tradition of beginning with the Charanam in the Todayamangalam ‘Murahara Nagadhara’. It appears that later composers like Kshetragna had followed this method in the Padams. In olden days in the stage plays the hero would begin singing from the Charanam.

Annamacharya had devised Bhajanotsava Paddati, in which before the Todayamangalam, there is a sloka praying to Lord Ganesha for hindrance free conduct of the Bhajanotsava. Purandaradasa, the Sangeetapitamaha, also had composed songs on Ganesha; in fact the very first Geetam taught to youngsters is ‘lambodara lakumikara’. Similarly Oothukadu Venkatakavi (1700-1765), who was earlier to the Carnatic music trinity Saint Thyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Sastri had composed several songs on Ganesha, as did the Trinity and also the composers known as Tamil Moovar (Tamil Trinity) namely Muthu Tandavar, Marimutha Pillai and Arunchala Kavirayar; Arunagirinathar, a devotee of Lord Muruga (Subrahmanya) and author of Tiruppugazh had begun his oeuvre with a couple of verses on Ganesha; poetess Auvaiyar had also sung on him and later the Saivite saints known as Nayanmars, particularly the four, namely Tirunavukkarasar also known as Appar, Tirugnanasambandar, Sundarar and Manikkavachakar, also have composed verses in their Tirumurai and Tiruvachakam; Tirumoolar, one of the important of the eighteen Siddhars and the author of Tirumandiram was no exception to the tradition of paying obeisance to Lord Ganesha before beginning an oeuvre. Besides these people there have been many Vaggeyakaras, in whatever might be the language, who have sung on Ganesha at least at the beginning to pray for trouble free completion of their projects.

Purandaradasa came to be known as the Sangeethapitmaha since he had devised the basic lessons in Carnatic music for learners in the Raga Mayamalavagowla. Though he was a devotee of Lord Panduranga, he had composed the Geetham ‘lambhodhara lagumikara’ in Raga Malahari; this Raga is a Janya of Mayamalavagowla. This Geetam is usually sung beginning with the Anupallavi or Charanam instead of the Pallavi.

sri ġananātha - Geetam

sri ġananātha sindhoora varna karunasāgara karivadana lambodhara lagumikara ambāsutha amara vinutha

Caranam 1
siddha cārana ganasevita siddhivinayaka the namo namo

Caranam 2
sakalavidyādhi poojitha sarvothama the namo namo

Leader of Ganas, who is red in colour and is an ocean of mercy and has the face of an elephant

Charanam 1
Siddhas and Charanas serve Him with music; He is the divine remover of obstacles; salutation to Him, salutations to Him

Charanam 2
All learned people worship Him, He is the paramount person, salutation to Him, salutations to Him

Above picture is God Ganesha with human head at Aadhi Vinaykar Temple, Koothanur, Tamil Nadu.
This article will be continued in forth coming issues. It was written by Lakshmi Venkatraman, a renowned scholor, music and art critic. She was the founder of Kalpakalakshmi Chritable Trust to help the deserving in the area of Education, Environment and Art.

Happiness Quotient.......