Modern Facts of the Nine Planets

Dikshithar's Navagraha kritist


Muthuswamy Dikshithar

Muthuswamy Dikshithar (17751835) was born in Tiruvarur in Tamil Nadu.

Dikshithar was the youngest of the Trinity of Carnatic Music along with Tyagaraja (1762-1847) and Syama Sastri (1762-1827). They were contemporaries. They shared similar beliefs and ideals; their musical outpourings were religious and spiritual in nature and are considered to be the pinnacle of original creative achievement in carnatic music.

Muthuswamy Dikshitar's father, Ramaswami, "was a highly respected composer, whose compositions included technically complicated works which encompassed many Rogas and Talas.

Muthuswamy followed his father's systematic approach (which led to the modern Melakarta system of ragas from the Venkatamukhi system of classification and nomenclature) and composed musical compositions at a very high intellectual level.

He was a Sanskrit scholar who knew traditional literature and philosophy very well. His vibrant compositions are rich in use of symbolisms as well as extensive application of iconographic description of Hindu deities with the terminology drawn from Indian astrology and philosophy.

His texts were predominantly written in Sanskrit 10 the Grantha script (based on the Tamil alphabet) as opposed to the Devanagiri script used 10 North India considered to be the classical Sanskrit script).

The Navagraha kritis of Muthuswamy Dikshithar, along with the Pancharatna kirtanas of Tygaraja and the Svarajatis of Shyama Sastri, are without doubt the peaks In Carnatic music.

Choice of Ragas, Talas

Suryan (Sun) as the principal deity was assigned the imposing Saurashtra raga which contains all the ascending and descending notes of the scale. The other planets (excluding Rahu and Ketu) were allocated incomplete scales of less than seven notes.

Sukran (Venus), as the leader and adviser to the demonic forces, was assigned the Paras raga, significantly not part of the classical Carnatic system. He is placed in a realm apart from those accorded to the heavenly deities. Similarly, the choice of the Talas of the Navagraha kritis shows a concern for the proper status of the planets.

Thus, Muthuswamy Dikshithar has produced these rune outstanding tributes to the planets while fully conforming to the grammar of language, and the rules and precepts of Carnatic music.

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