Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Raka Shashi Vadana

Raga Takka, 15 Mayamaalava janya
Aa: S G3 M1 P M1 G3 M1 D1 N3 S Av: S N3 D1 M1 P M1 G3 M1 R1 G3 S
Taalam: Adi



rākā śaśi vadana! iṅka parākā?

nīkāguṇamu kārādavanīkānta!

nammiyunna nija dāsulaku
nammikalanosagi maṛaturā!
tammi kanulanoka pāri nanu
daya jūḍa rādā? mariyādā ?

pāri pāri ninnanudinamukōri
kōrina vārini yīdāri brōcitivā?
māyādhāri! rārā! ēlukōrā!

nīvē telusukonduvanucunu
bhāviñcucunu nēnu nī pada
sēva jēsiti mahānubhāva!
English verse:

Does it befit You to lack in grace,
O Lord of the moon-like face?

Does it befit You to break Your word,
Lord of the Earth of infinite mercy,

To forget the faithful and clemency?
Deny me Your gaze and turn untoward?

Was such the refuge given,
To we who daily prayers proffered?
Fount of all worldly illusion,
Hasten, hasten, raise me heavenward.

Sure was I, as I served at Your feet,
That ere long You would note,
O Mighty Prince, at Your feet,
Lay one You must now dote.

There is not much to note in this song except that this is again in a raga in which Tyagaraja contributed a single song that we know of. In fact, no other songs in this raga are known in the common concert repertoire. But, the odd thing is that it is not a neglected or nascent raga in his time, one that Tyagaraja successfully deciphered like most of the other ragas where he contributed a single song. In fact, it is an ancient raga with more popular cognates and descendants. It was found in different parts of India and today is found both in the Northern and Southern systems. It is supposed that it takes its name from the peoples of the ancient Takka country, which the Rajatarangini by Kalhana, which chronicles the kings of Kashmir, considers to be outside ancient India and therefore possibly a northwesterly country in Persia or Central Asia, though nothing else is known about them other than this reference. Ragas named after ancient peoples are considered to have moved with them into different parts of the country. But, the Rajatarangini is from roughly around 1000 C.E., though Takka strains seem to have been known much earlier even in the remote south of India. 

"Earth", here, is the earth personified as Bhudevi, one of the consorts of Vishnu. It is line with Tyagaraja's specific Vedantic doctrine to hold all the world as an illusion and the Supreme Self as the only reality.

As we have seen earlier, the very first verses of the Ramayana describe Rama as most compassionate and having a full moon like face indicates the compassion expected of a ruler according to Indian astrology.

Extra Comments:
If I were to speculate, I would think that the Takkas referenced here, were a Turkic people who lived to the north west of the kingdom of Kashmir. It is known from the Rajatarangini that some other Turkic peoples served the kings of Kashmir.

This is not a frequently heard raga or song. We shall revisit some details about the musical terms associated with different peoples later.


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