Bharatiya Samskriti Darshana 5 - Navagraha Kritis of Sri Muthuswami Dikshithar
Sowmya Sanak Kumar Athreya and Sanak Kumar Athreya


Sowmya Sanak Kumar is one of the founding trustees of Svarakshema Foundation (Regd) and is conducting Research on Music Therapy. Sowmya being a science graduate did her Masters in Micro biology and later went on to pursue her Masters in Music with a distinction from Jain University. She learnt music from Vidwan Sri N Subramanya Sharma, Vidushi Sharada Subramanyam and Vidushi Madhavi Rajagopalan. Sowmya is currently pursuing her Ph.D on Alternate Medicine using Music Therapy.

Sanak Kumar Athreya is the managing trustee of Svarakshema Foundation and is also conducting research on Music Therapy. A software engineer by profession, he has previously worked with multinational companies such as HP, Accenture and ITC Infotech. Presently, Sanak is learning Mridangam from Vid. Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma and is a freelance journalist having authored over 800 articles in various magazines and daily especially on music. He has completed his Teacher Training Certificate course (YIC) at SVYASA and has presented papers at prestigious seminars.
The duo has presented papers on Music therapy, Yogasanas and Bija mantras.

Excerpts from the Lecture The works of Sri Muthuswami Dikshithar deserve a lot of intense analysis and insight to be appreciated. This need is furthered while dealing with the group Kritis. Dikshithar interweaves many streams of knowledge- Vedic, Scientific, Artistic, Historical, Esoteric, and importantly Musical, making each Kriti an unfathomable enigma. The NavaGraha Kritis are a set of nine Kritis saluting the nine Planet-Gods that form a fine example to the above-stated.

Sri. Sanak Kumar Athreya and Smt. Sowmya Sanak lit-started the fine Saturday evening, with the invocation Kriti to Lord Shanaishchara – “Divakara Tanujam” in Raga Yadukula Khamboji. The introduction to the topic began with a discussion on the expression “Kala Chakra Bedha Chitra Bhanum” used in the Divakara Tanujam kriti. The profundity, complexity, and scope for extraordinary range of artistic interpretations were unwrapped and presented to the audience.

The talk continued with a sequential portrayal of each Kriti starting from “Surya Murthe” and finishing with “MahaSuram”. The highlights included varying perspectives, ranging from Modern Science to Vedas, Vedanta/Upanishads, Vedangas like Niruktam, Jyotisham, Chandas, Kavyashastram, Sangeetha Shastram, Aagamas and Puranas. The analysis was made based on both the musical and literary aspects. Occasionally, even subjects as diverse as Music Therapy, Yoga, and History were referred to.

The couple rendered certain interesting aspects of the Kritis, like possible reasons for selection of specific name and salutation for each Graha, justification on the choice of a particular Raga/Tala and the aesthetic appropriateness of some Vishesha Prayogas and Svaraksharas. Enlisting the rhetorical beauties like Praasas, Yatis and Alankaraas incorporated in the Kritis, on many slides, the presentation was an unmistakable proof to Dikshithar’s command on Kavya Shastra. The lecture also brought to light the similarities and differences across the VaaraGraha Kritis (Sun to Saturn) and the ChayaGraha kritis (Rahu and Ketu) due to the existing controversy of authorship.

The evening concluded with Vid. Meera Rajaram Pranesh’s reiteration and the duo’s acceptance that it requires the divine blessings of Sri Muthuswami Dikshithar himself to be able to foray into unravelling the splendour of the NavaGraha Kritis.