Friday, January 2, 2015

Vishaka Hari's musical essay on Valli Thirumanam in Margazhi Maha Utsavam, Sun TV, 2014

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This Monday morning, Smt. Visaka Hari's inviting musical essay on Valli Thirumanam telecasted by Sun TV was a religious regale that drifted the minds to the Vedic period of saints and Gods. Her essay started with the mind-blowing song 'Manathir kukanthathu muruganin rupam' in the raga Sindubhairavi. Smt. Visaka's singing is so lovely that her 'Harikathai' shines with colored sparkles of her songs always.

In Veda, though there exists so many Gods, the number of musical compositions in the name of Muruga exceeds all others. Lord Muruga is said to be 'Tamil Kadavul' as most of the compositions are in Tamil by the great composers Sri Papanasam Sivan, Periasamithooran etc. Smt. Visaka's discourse starts with the attainment of 'Siddhi' by Sri Muthuswamy Dikshitar. It has connections with Lord Muruga dwelling in Thiruthani hill in Tamilnadu.

When Sri Chidambaranatha Yogi tells Sri Muthuswami Dikshidar that he has attained Siddhi, he hardly believes it because it is the characteristic of great men. Smt. Visaka points out the quote, "Don't take failure to your heart and success to your head!"
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Sri Muthuswami Dikshidar then goes to Ganga river and taking some water in his hands, wishes for a sweet Veenai(musical instrument) to sing divine songs. Soon his wish is granted that marked his attainment of Siddhi Yoga. As guided by his Guru, he returns to his native place Thiruvaroor via Thiruthani. When Sri Muthuswami Dikshidar was in the Murugan temple, an old man called him from behind. As he turns back, he asks him to open his mouth. When Sri Dikshidar opens his mouth without questioning, the old man puts some white rock sugar into his mouth. Soon he was blessed with the ability to sing Keerthanams (songs) and sings 'Srinadadi guruguho..' in which his Mudrai (sign) 'guruguha' is manifested.

It was Lord Murugan himself who blessed Sri Dikshidar with rock sugar. So the sign 'Guruguha' means the one who dwells in the cave of heart. He is Sri Murugan.  As Sri Murugan has blessed Sri Arunagirinathar also, Tamil folks worship him abundantly. Smt. Visaka Hari then narrates the Avatar and marriage of Lord Muruga or Skanda here onwards.

Tharakasura, the son of Namuchi, sought boon from Sri Brahma that he would neither be killed by a millionnaire nor by a poor man. His wish that he should not be killed by strong or weak people also was granted. But Brahma ascertains the fact that he would be killed by a small child as it is an exception from all the categories he mentioned. That child will have the power of Shiva Shakti and would kill Tharakasura.

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The jyoti or light emanating from Lord Shiva gets split into six rays while falling in Saravana river. These six rays turn into six lotuses in which six kids are born. Those kids are so cute that they have round face with cherry cheeks. Soon six Kritika (Karthika) starred goddesses arrive and start  craving for those chubby kids that is a common trait of each and every woman. Then the six kids join together into six-faced Sri Murugan who is also known as Karthikeya, Gangeya and Gourithanaya. Smt. Visaka vocalizes the song 'Karthikeya...Gangeya... Gourithanaya...' in the raga
Thodi to symbolize the birth of Sri Muruga.

The event that led to how Sri Ganesh was bestowed with primary worship (Pradhamapoojai) also got essayed by this ardent artist Visaka. Then Indra, the head of the Devas tells Sri Muruga that he wants to crown him when he embarks upon killing Tharakasura. Sri Muruga becomes the consort of Devasenai and kills Tharakasura with his Vel(spear).

Lord Vishnu has two daughters named Amruthavalli and Sundaravalli. Lord Indra adopts  Amruthavalli(Devasenai) and gets her married to Sri Muruga in Thirupparamkundram. How
Sundaravalli marries Sri Muruga is emphasized in Valli Thirumanam that has a whole lot of dedicated love filled with suspense. Valli Thirumanam story then commences with the setting of a forest with natural beauty near to Thondaimandalam.

Saint Sivamuni raises a doe in his hermitage(Ashram) in Thiruthani. One day as it grazes  in the forest, a hunter named Nambi tries to catch it. Out of panic, the pregnant doe falls down and gives birth to a girl. Seeing this miracle, the hunter or the Vedda Nambi, decides to raise her thinking that it is God's play. He takes her with him to his home of the Veddas community in the hills. She is none other than Valli, who is born with the divine word 'Muruga' in her mouth.

Smt. Visaka's beautification of the girl's features was so alluring that we could see Valli through the mirror of our minds. Valli looked like her name meaning creeper. She had a honeyed voice like the 'Nishadam(Ni)' note played in a Veenai. She would roam all around on the banks of the lake surrounded by green woods where crows and cuckoos produce sounds. She also would drone 'Alolam' as she moves eating millets that grow lavishly there. When she is asked about how she spares time alone, she would say that her God Muruga was always with her. The song 'Vizhikku thunai thirumenmalar padangal' in the raga Shanmughapriya elucidated her ardent love for Sri Muruga.

One day Sri Muruga plans to visit that lake disguised as a Vedda to meet Valli. The beautiful song 'Poonkuyil kookum pooncholayil' in the raga Kapi describes how Sri Muruga appeared beside Valli. Valli was amazed to see him as he would appear and disappear like lightning. Finally, he settles in front of her and asks her, "Hey girl, who are you?" She doesn't answer anything. He would ask, "Who has kept you here alone?" But he could not get any answer for his questions and then Nambi comes.
Seeing him, the Vedda turns into a tree and Valli becomes quite embarrassed to see this. She concludes that it was Sri Muruga who came to see her. She pleads the tree to forgive her and the song 'Muruga...Muruga..endral' in the raga Saveri indicates this.

Then Sri Muruga comes in the form of an old man some another day. He asks Valli for food and she gives him cooked millets. After that he asks her to rub him gently as he was old. But Valli says that she has devoted herself to Sri Muruga and would not touch any other man. Disappointed old man again asks her some water for which Valli says,'Go and drink from the lake!'. When he wants her to hold him on the way to the lake, she held the stick that he was carrying to walk. This time too he failed in getting her touch. Now after drinking water, he makes another trick. He slips one of his legs and falls down asking for Valli's help. But she replies him to get up holding his hands!! Visaka's discourse on this part of the story was filled with so much of fun and excitement, entertaining the audience.

The old man(Sri Murugan) ensured that Valli had true love for him from her behavior. He asks her, "what are you afraid of, in this world, Valli?" She says that she is afraid of the mad elephant that runs and comes near. Hearing this, the happy man soon thinks of his brother Sri Ganesha, the elephant who can help him in this situation. Then, Sri Ganesha appears there like a mad elephant and the frightened Valli runs to the old man and embraces him to save her life.

Afterwards, Valli becomes sad that she failed in keeping her resolution. When she lifts her head up, to her surprise, the old man was not there! Instead, she saw her love Sri Muruga sitting on the top of a peacock with his six faces!! Visaka's rendering of 'Kaliyugavaradan' in the raga Brindavana Saranga invoked the presence of Sri Muruga in front of all of us!!!
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Sri Muruga marries Valli in a small house called 'Nikunjam' where Sri Brahma, Saraswati, Vishnu, Shiva and Parvati surround them. Nambi, panicked for not seeing Valli in his home, reaches there. Seeing this golden moment of Valli marrying Sri Muruga with all other Gods standing there, Nambi overwhelms with joy. 'Sreevalli Devasenapathe...' song in the raga Natabhairavi praises the consort of Valli and Devasenai with words weaved in fine tunes.

Smt.Visaka Hari ended this musical essay on Valli Thirumanam with the Mangalam 'Erumayileri vilayadum mukham ondru' praying Sri Muruga to empower us with his blessings.

Related Posts in Hubpages:

1. Visaka Hari's musical essay on Guruvayurappan Leelai
2. Love Poem of Birds

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