Rayaru and Krishna

Today is Krishnastami.
This is the day when Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu, was born Krishna. It was on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of the month of Shravana (August–September) in the Hindu calendar that Krishna took birth in a dungeon. Hence, the day is also known as Janmashtami, Saatam Aatham, Gokulashtami, Ashtami Rohini, Srikrishna Jayanti or Sri Jayanti.
Krishna was the eighth son of Devaki and Vasudeva and his date of birth, as per historians and religious scholars, is July 19, 3228 BCE and he lived until 3102 BCE. Krishna belonged to the Vrishni clan of Yadavas from Mathura and he played a vital role in the Mahabharata.
Raghavendra Swamy and his previous avatar of Vyasa Raja had a close bond with Krishna. Strangely, and this cannot be a mere coincidence, both have composed songs on Krishna and both the compositions are equally famous.
While Vyasa Raja composed Krishna Nee Begane Baro, Rayaru composed Indu Yenage Govinda. Both the compositions are in Kannada.
Krishna Nee Begane Baro is in Yamuna Kalyani raga and the tala is Misra Chapu (caapu).
The Kalyani is a melakarta rāga (parent musical scale) in Carnatic music. It is also an important raga in Hindustani music. Its Western equivalent is the Lydian mode. It is the 65th melakarta rāga under the Katapayadi sankhya and it is therefore also called as Mechakaḷyāṇī. The notes for Kaḷyāṇī are S R2 G3 M2 P D2 N3.
Interestingly, Vyasa Theertha was not only a master of music but astronomy, philosophy and logic too. He was an expert in Katapayadi Sankhya which was extensively used by ancient Indians and religious scholars and saints to sonically encrypt mathematical formulas into their devotional hymns to Lord Krishna. These lyrics also recorded historical data in the codified form.
The Sankhya was widely used in south India and Vyasa Theetrtha, who was born in Bannur near Mysore, was an expert in it. Incidentally, the oldest available evidence of the use of Kaṭapayādi is from Grahacāraṇibandhana by Haridatta in 683 CE. It has also been used in Laghubhāskariyavivarana by Sankaranārāyana in 869 CE. Thus apart from the spiritual content, the composition was of mathematical and astronomical and astrological significance The Ka•ṭa•pa•yā•di is numerical notation to depict letters to numerals for easy remembrance of numbers as words or verses. It assigns more than one letter to one numeral and nullifies certain other letters as valueless, forming meaningful words out of numbers which can be easily remembered.
Vararuchi and Aryabhatta used this system in their works. Vararuchi used it in Chandra-vakyani and Aryabhata is known to have used a similar, more complex system to represent astronomical numbers.
Thus apart from the spiritual, the composition was of mathematical and scientific significance too. Kerala’s 14th century mathematician-astronomer Mādhava of Saṅgama employs the Kaṭapayādi system to enlist the trigonometric sines of angles (This Madhava is not to be confused with Madhwacharya of Udupi). Vyasa Raja (1460-1539) composed Krishna Nee Begane Baro in the Kalyani raga. The guru of Purandara Dasa and Haridasa-the teacher of Tansen, Vyasa Theertha was the pioneer of the Dasa Sahitya.
Today, Krishna Nee Begane Baro is a must in all dance performance and all singer composers, right from Purandara Dasa, Kanaka Dasa, Belur Vaikunta Dasa, Vijaya Dasa, Gopala Dasa, Mohana Dasa, Jagannatha Dasa and others have celebrated Krishna by singing this song.
Krishna Nee Begane Baro is perhaps one of the most popular songs and it has transcended countries, people and even different forms and styles of music and dance. Vyasa Raja has written several songs on Krishna but this is his most famous.
Vyasa Theertha’s pen name or ankita nama was Sri Krishna. He was such a great devotee of Vyasa Raja that Sripadaraja of Mulabagal saw an idol of Krishna dancing when Vyasa Raja was singing. Astonished over the incident, Sripadaraja gave away the idol to Vyasaraja and that idol exists even topday in the Sosale Vyasaraja matha and it is called Gopalakrishna.
The Indu Yenage by Rayaru is in Bhairavi raga and Adi tala. By the way, Bhairavi is a janya rāga in Carnatic music having seven notes. As it has two different dhaivathams in its scale making it a Bhashanga Raga, it is not classified as a melakarta rāga (parent scale).Bhairavi is one of the ancient rāgas and some of the compositions in this raga date back to 1500 years. There are numerous compositions in this rāga and Purandara, Thygaraja and others have composed in it.
Rayaru was in Udupi when he composed this song after seeing the Krishna installed by Madhwacharya at the Udupi Sri Krishna Temple. Rayaru also personally consecrated the temple of Venugopala in Manchale village and lived in the temple premises for twelve years. The idol of Venugopala sculpted by Rayaru still exists. Unfortunately, his living quarters and the well or Kalyani where he used to bathe does not exist. Rayaru has penned several compositions under the pen name of Dheera Venugopala.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s