The myriad emotions and the psyche of the human mind, its understanding and portrayal has fascinated artistes from times immemorial. Through ages many a poet and artiste have tried to capture and elucidate their meaning and presence in our lives.
The present work is a reflection on a 100 padam written by Telugu poets such as Kshetreyya, Dasu Sreeramulu, Tallapaka Annamacharya, Sarangapani and others.
A successful exposition of a padam, is often regarded as a touch stone of the calibre of a dancer. The work intends to help dancers from all backgrounds, including the non-telugu dancers and connoisseurs to understand the words of their poets, through its easy structuring. The transliteration of them is followed by a word to word meaning of each of these padams, which is succeeded by a précis of the song stanza-wise along with the Sthayi bhavas (permanent emotion), Sancari bhavas (transitory emotions) and the Nayika classification. The classification of the Nayika, the heroine with innumerable yet definable psychological states of mind is drawn from the various texts of yore that have expounded on them. A dancer is expected to reveal and make the audience too experience the meaning of these padams through her Sattvikaabhinaya (state of mind/natural emotion). The Devadasis have through the ages safeguarded, presented and ensured that these padams and all that they divulge about the human mind stand the test of time.
This study is an attempt at immortalizing the works of these poets and human psyche in the process.
The book includes a DVD with some padams performed by prominent artistes like Sudharani Raghupati, Bragha Bessell, Priyadarshini Govind, Vasanthalakshmi Narasimhachari, Yashoda Thakore and others.
Dr. Pappu Venugopala Rao, (born 1948) a well-known scholar, poet, musicologist, Sanskritist, dance theoretician, writer and orator has more than 20 books on various subjects to his credit.
He holds Masters Degrees in English, Sanskrit and Telugu, Phd in Sanskrit-Telugu, a Doctor of Letters in Indology and an All India Gold Medal in Business Management.
The most recent of his books that have received acclaim are 'Flowers at His Feet', 'Science of Srtcakra', 'Rasamanjari' 'Bunch of Javalis' and 'Nritta Rathnavali' (co authored with Dr. Yashoda Thakore). He has presented and published over 100 research papers.
After 32 years of service as Associate Director General with the American Institute of Indian Studies, Dr. Pappu now holds many important portfolios in prominent institutions, such as
• Visiting professor, Madras University & Tumkur University, Karnataka
• Member of Experts' Committee and Secretary, the Madras Music Academy.
• Editor, Journal of the Music Academy.
• Editor of Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini English translation critical edition, The Music Academy supported by eminent members of Editorial Board.
• Member of the Academic Council, Kalakshetra Foundation, Chennai etc.
• Heads The Indian Music Experience, Resource Section and is on the advisory board of the same.
He is the coordinator of Nada Neerajanam of the Sri Venkateswara Bhakti Channel of Tirumala Tirupathi Devsathanarns. He lectures on music, dance, religion, philosophy and literature.
His workshops on Natya Sastra conducted all over the world, particularly at the Harvard University, have received high critical acclaim and appreciation from artistes and rasikas.
He has been delivering a monthly 'Pravachanam', spiritual discourses every month at the TAG Centre in Chennai, dealing with various topics of Hinduism.
• He is an adjudicator of Doctoral dissertations in dance, music, Theatre Arts and literature for a number Universities across the globe.
Some Recent Awards:
• Artiste of the Year 2012 from Bangalore Gayana Samaja
• Nritya Kala Saagara from Cleveland Thygaraja aradhan 2012
• Musicologist Award, Music Forum, Mumbai, 2013.
In the parlance of music, the terms Composer and a composition are often used to signify an author and his work. However, when these words are used in the realm of Indian music these are usually inadequate. A 'Vaggeyakara', one who authors the lyric, and sets it to music is a usage that encompasses a wider range of roles than just the word composer. Likewise the word composition too embraces many musical structures such as a Padam, Krti, Kirtana, Samkirtana and so on. The repertoire that we have today in Carnatic Music broadly falls under one of these varieties. Apart from these, there are many others like Varnam, Javali, Tillana, Jatisvaram, etc,
The origin, evolution, etymology, definition and their changing connotations over a period of time continue to be a rich source of information for students of art. of all the terms, Padam, Krti, Kirtana, Samkirtana, the oldest is Padam and the earliest treatise to have defined it is Bharata's Natyasastra; dated around 2nd Century BC.
Bharata in his Natyasastra defines Padam as:
Gandharvam yan maya proktam svara tala padatmakam
Padam tasya bhaved vastu svara talanu bhavakam
Yat kincidakshara kritam tat sarwam pada sanjnitam
Nibaddham ca anibaddham ca tat padam dwividham smrtam
Gandharva comprises of svara tala and padam.
In this, padam is evocative of svara and tala.
Any meaningful syllabic composition can be called a padam.
It is of two kinds, Nibaddha (bound) and Anibaddha (unbound)
It can also be with tala or without tala. Drawing from the above, all music compositions can be broadly termed as Padams. Ancient treatises mention 6 components of a Prabandha; viz Swaram, Birudam, Padam, Tenakam, Patam and Talam. That which deals with the description is called a Padam. However, this too is a broad definition, under which most compositions can be included. Kalidasa in one of the slokas in Meghaduta says....
"Madgotramkam Virallvita Padam Geya Mudgatu Kama"
The heroine sends a song, a padam describing the gotram, name, etc of the hero, which clearly indicates that in the ancient times, the entire song could be referred to as a padam.
Jayadeva's compositions (1090-1153) are called Astapadis which means Astanam Padanam Samaharah a lyric which has 8 Caranams. Here a padam means a stanza and not the whole composition.
"Samayamu delisi punyamu largincani ....” in Asaveri says,
"Padamu Thyagarajanutunipai ganidi padi yemi yedcitenemi ...”
What is the purpose of singing a padam if it is not about the one that Thyagaraja praises?
This goes on to establish that even during the period of Thyagaraja most compositions could be referred to as Padams, but the connotation, the definition, the text and the context kept changing over the period of time.
In Sanskrit, the same word can contain many meanings, and at times these could be mutually contradictory or negative in sense to one another.
A Padam, is therefore a line/padam, a stanza, or a full composition that is its literary meaning. Padakavita Pitamaha, Annamacharya (1408-1503) composed about 32,000 padams of which 14, 328 are available to us today. He authored a treatise or a hymnody called Samkeertana Lakshanam in Sanskrit. The original work is unfortunately not available but its faithful Telugu translation bearing the same title by his grandson Chinna Tirumalacharya is available. It is here that we find a clear definition and characteristics of a Padam.
Not only does he talk about what other treatises say about the nibaddha and anibaddha padas, but goes a little further and defines a Pallavi (the first line or lines in the song) and caranam (the stanza) for the first time ever. There seems to be no Anupallavi (the lines that follow the Pallavi, continuing the idea in the Pallavi) in Annamacharya's time, owing to the fact that the padam was probably in the very beginning of its evolutionary stage. There are, however some scholars who enthusiastically split a Pallavi and name the later part Anupallavi.
According to his book, if a caranam has four lines, a Pallavi has two lines. The idea, mood and spirit in the Pallavi alone must be expanded in the stanzas. It should contain the signature or mudra of the composer at the end.
Subbarama Dikshitar (1839-1904) defines a Padam as an erotic composition, sung generally in vilamba kalam, with a Pallavi, Anupallavi optionally and generally comprising three caranams, with the nayaka mudra in Anupallavi and or in the third caranam.
Prof. Sambamurthy says, "Padas are scholarly compositions, originally used to signify a devotional song." It is in this sense that we talk of the Kannada Padas of Purandara Dasa, Dasara padagalu, and the Tamil Padams of Muttu Tandavar.
In its usage in the modem period, the term is restricted to the type of composition which belongs to the sphere of dance-music and which treats the various aspects of nayaka-nayika relationships. He adds further and says "Although strictly a dance form, yet the padams are sung in concerts of art music, on account of their musical excellence”.
This in my understanding is the most apt definition of the word. We can conclude that a padam is normally an erotic composition, sung in vilamba kalam and employed in dance for expression of Sattvikabhinaya.
A composer who without a doubt upheld the integrity and notion of pada literature by assiduous understanding and application of the same is, beyond any shadow of doubt Ksetrayya (1600-1680). Scholars have tried to find out the etymology of his name and have come to the conclusion that his original name could have been Varadayya and later came to be known as Ksetrayya or Kshetrajna because of his travels to many pilgrim centers (ksetras). Scholars have also assigned his origin to a place called Movva, in the Krishna district very near Kuchipudi village where there is a 500 year old Venugopalaswamy temple. In a reconstruction of his life history scholars believe that in his younger days Varadayya was student of Music, literature, drama and dance and he fell in love with a devadasi Kanakangi. There are some padams which seem to reflect his love life.
In Sangeeta Sampradaya Pradarsini, Subbarama Dikshitulu writes about Ksetrayya and mentioned that Ksetrayya was initiated to Gopala Mantra by a Yogi and as a result had the glimpse of Muvvagopala, and began writing his compositions, starting with "Sripati sutu bariki" padam in Anandabhairavi. In the padam 'vedukato nadachukonna' we have references to conclude that he composed around 4500 or 4100 padams in all. This padam is called Meruva padam. As of today we have about 380 padams some of which are also attributed to other composers. Ksetrayya visited about 18 to 20 pilgrim centres and many royal courts, particularly of Tanjavore of Vijayaraghava Nayaka, of Chengi, Madhura Tirumalanayaka, Golkonda Abdullah Qutub Shah and many minor kingdoms. Some very interesting episodes in his life have been mentioned by Rallapalli Ananta Krishna Sarma, Vissa Appa Rao, Prof. Sambamurty, Balantrapu Rajanikanta Rao and many others.
The padams of Ksetrayya reflect a master craftsman's genius, his exquisite poetic talent, extraordinary prosody, proficiency, unparalleled knowledge of Alankara sastra and great knowledge of different branches of arts and science.
In fact a treatise has been authored by an unknown writer, defining and classifying Nayikas, exclusively based on Ksetrayya padas.
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