Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Carnatic composers (other than performing vidwans)
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vasanthakokilam
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#201 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by vasanthakokilam » 29 May 2011, 21:45

Akellaji, OK, got it. My mistake for getting the serial number thing mixed up.

Let me restate my question then..

You wrote earlier that 'Chando-roopas are prosodic-forms'. That indicates to me that chando-roopa is a poetic meter and not a musical rhythmical meter.

When it is set to music, what do you call the musical rhythmical meter that closely mirrors the poetical meter chando-roopa?

What do yo suggest musicians and rasikas do for our habit of keeping beats ( rendering ) to that song?
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chitravina ravikiran
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#202 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by chitravina ravikiran » 29 May 2011, 22:26

Dear Akella garu,

I have spelled my views quoting references earlier. However, I will respect your life-time's work on dasha pranas. This post is specifically to address your sentence below:
even if they lived after OVK, it must be pointed out that, even though they all are more capable than any other musician in so many aspects, they always remained ideal very strictly following all the normal disciplines.
This sentence needs a lot more clarification from you.

1. Even by your own criterion, if an 'exemption' clause is invoked for Sharabhanadana of Shyama Shastri or for piece on Maharaja of Dikshitar, how come you are not invoking the same for one song by OVK? (Let me add that I am not labelling SS, MD or OVK as violating norms in any of the cases under discussion. I am merely highlighting the fact that even were one to go by your yardstick, one will find it baffling that exceptions can be made for some and not others!)

2. You claim that only you formulated the rules of prastara in 20th cent for the first time in the history of mankind. Yet, you say others violated the rules. How can anyone violate unexplained or unformed rules?
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msakella
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#203 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by msakella » 30 May 2011, 02:57

hamsaa

I shall be very thankful to you, dear, if you kindly point out where I have criticised the Sankeerna-mathyam of OVK and hope anonymous persons are clever enough to go through the details and understand things properly.

vasanthakokilam:

Yes dear, you are right. I think, Chando-roopas or prosodic-forms is the correct name of them. We all are used to call all the musical rhythmical meters ‘Talas’ which fit in the terms and conditions of Taladasha-pranas of our music. Then, in such case, the other poetical chando-roopas or prosodic-forms, which do not fit in the terms and conditions of Taladasha-pranas must be called with any other name than ‘Talas’. That is why I suggest that they may be called ‘Chando-roopas’. Our musicians, who want to bring them into the fold of our music but without fitting them in the terms and conditions of Taladasha-pranas, can call them ‘Chando-rooopas’ or with any other suitable name and render beats etc., as they like. Hope I made it clear enough.

Ravikiran:

I thought that our Ravikiran can very easily understand my Tenglish. However, I shall certainly clarify, dear. Having become compelled to act accordingly in one such incident only, that too, only for the favour of others, both Shyama Shastry and Dikshitar, the towering personalities, having all along lead a very pious life as great devotees and composers, were very well blessed by the Almighty by the inclusion of them in the musical Trinity. Is that not enough to reveal their greatness in spite of their accidental acts? When the Almighty HIMSELF graced them well, in spite of their accidental acts, who am I to talk anything? I hope, nobody needs to talk anything.

Dear, you do not know and you cannot even imagine the power of this body in this birth which has very graciously been blessed by the Almighty saving me every second in every possible way. Except me and my parents, nobody knows in which way, right from my birth, HE has been providing me the needful and saving me in every manner. Initiating me to solve this un-solved topic, Talaprastara, which has all along been kept in pitch dark for 800 years and also to find the easy, effective and innovative methods in teaching music, for the first time in the history, making it ‘time-bound and result-oriented’ are the real proof of the Almighty’s graceful actions.

Yes, the Almighty had initiated me in streamlining all the rules and in bringing novel features and methods pertaining to Talaprastara for the first time in the annals of our music literature.

This topic, Talaprastara is of mathematics having more precision than any other topic on earth. Being of mathematics, any rule framed must be precise and kept open for correction by any person at any time. That is why, only by the grace of the Almighty, I am able to streamline each and every bit of this topic. Everything of this topic is furnished by me in my three books which are available with Carnatic Music Book Centre, Chennai and I shall be very highly thankful if any person brings out any corrections of them to be made in which way I made the corrections in Sangita Ratnakara.

Every time I very clearly wrote that people have committed mistakes in the absence of the knowledge of Talaprastara and hereby to avoid the same. amsharma
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viswanathmysore
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#204 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by viswanathmysore » 30 May 2011, 06:29

I think this thread is digressing completely away from the main topic...

let us settle for renaming the topic as - ovk - trinity - pre talaprasthara composers ?? we can then continue to enjoy the beauty of ovk.
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chitravina ravikiran
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#205 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by chitravina ravikiran » 30 May 2011, 06:33

Dear Akella garu,

There is no problem with your communication skills! Nor with your untiring dedication as the timestamp of your posts prove. This is why I have refrained from analysing the validity of individual statements you make and limited myself to offering merely broad perspectives so that readers can get to see various angles of a given issue.

However, it would be best to refrain from presuming things about great composers and offering value judgements, especially if we have not familiarised ourselves thoroughly with their works. I am constrained to give a few examples in this post. When I said
it would not be fair to invoke exception clauses to some and not to others
your response was:
Shyama Shastry and Dikshitar, the towering personalities, having all along lead a very pious life as great devotees and composers
Our great country is replete with people who have led such lives. OVK was surely among its best representatives. He was so pious that he shunned every bondage including marriage and dedicated himself entirely to God.
were very well blessed by the Almighty by the inclusion of them in the musical Trinity
There is no doubt that they were divinely blessed. But let us please get this right - it was not the Almighty who coined the term trinity... It was 20th century music scholars, for purposes of classification. As late as Subbarama Dikshitar, we don't see the term Trinity.
When the Almighty HIMSELF graced them
The Almighty has graced many great personalities - Purandara Dasa, Arunagirinathar, Andal, Bhadrachala Ramadasa are among examples known to us. OVK is believed to have received his towering music gnyana from Lord Krishna Himself. Even though this could be a myth, the anupallavi of his Abhogi composition Guru padaravinda, offers a definite glimpse of some kind of divine transformation in his life:

parama yOga vEdam paDittilEn
paDittadu pOl naDittilEn
pArvai onRilE viLainda bhAgyamidu yArkum aRidAnadu sad (guru padAravinda)


Meaning: I have not mastered the yogas or vedas; nor have I ever pretended to be erudite. My entire knowledge was received through just one glance, a fortune that is among the rarest of the rare.
reveal their greatness in spite of their accidental acts
This is speculative. We don't know if their acts were accidental, incidental, intentional or divinely inspired.
Even in case of Dikshitar, must be only by the compulsion of somebody
Again, if we are willing to speculate so far to offer a justification for Dikshitar, the same approach must be maintained with respect to all other towering composers too. The key word here is consistency.

With regards...
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msakella
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#206 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by msakella » 30 May 2011, 09:19

Chi. Ravikiran dear, I still remember you as a kid in 1975 as I have not met you later. What you wrote is absolutely true, dear and I very well appreciate your open-ness in this regard. I am very happy to find a very sensitive musician along with an open heart. I would like to congratulate you in this connection for having been blessed by the Almighty not only with a very nice sense of music but also with an open heart.

I always feel that I am nowhere and this body is delivering the acts as directed by the Ever Great Almighty. I always feel that behind each and every act of any being initiation of the Almighty always remains.That is why on the cover page of all my books I wrote ‘Samartha Sadguru Shri Sainatha Kripa’. By the Almighty’s initiation only the Trinity is also formed and even OVK has also been blessed with all the rare talents, I feel.

As you wrote, I fully agree with you that our great country is replete with people who have led such pious lives. And I also agree with you fully that the Great OVK is in no way lesser than them. Me too revere him like you as a son of our great soil. Did I write anything against the great personality of the Great OVK in any of my posts? No, never.

When I was writing about the Trinity I wrote the truth about them as I have studied about them like many others. But, unfortunately, I did not read about anything of OVK. That is why I cannot write and did not. By the by, if I write some thing good about Trinity does that mean I have bad opinion of OVK? How can you arrive at that hasty negative decision against me, dear?

‘the same approach must be maintained with respect to all other towering composers’ I fully agree with every word of you, dear. You need not and should not carry any negative opinion against me. We shall sincerely and honestly discuss the subject only for the benefit of all of us. OK. amsharma
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chitravina ravikiran
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#207 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by chitravina ravikiran » 30 May 2011, 23:28

Dear Akella garu,

Thank you very much for your gracious reply.
I would like to congratulate you in this connection for having been blessed by the Almighty not only with a very nice sense of music but also with an open heart.
I always seek your blessings in anything that I do.
You need not and should not carry any negative opinion against me.
Never, Akella garu! If anything, I respect you for your untiring efforts and selfless committment to music... I was only concerned that even unintentionally no one should misunderstand anything that is discussed by us. As you say, this is being done with all honesty for the benefit of all of us.

With sincere regards...
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cmlover
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#208 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by cmlover » 30 May 2011, 23:34

...Touching indeed is the interaction among two well-respected musical giants!
We are eternally grateful to You for sharing your knowledge among us!
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msakella
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#209 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by msakella » 31 May 2011, 06:41

Ravikiran & cmlover:
….. even unintentionally no one should misunderstand anything that is discussed by us. As you say, this is being done with all honesty for the benefit of all of us.
We are eternally grateful to You for sharing your knowledge among us!
Yes, no doubt, brothers & sisters, with all honesty, this is for the benefit of all of us. Thank you all.
Sarvejanaah Sukhino bhavanthu’. amsharma
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srikanthamshastry
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#210 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by srikanthamshastry » 03 Jun 2011, 12:58

Dear Rasikas,

At this point before continuing further discussion on OVK, I think I should address the question, what shastriya(classical) sangeetha is? I'm tempted to write on this because many rasikas/musicians seems to carry an opinion that we should not rely much on treatises/texts as most of them are just collections of information, not an authentic one, and they reflect only a few practices prevalent at a certain period/place. In most cases, it is not so. Unlike today, in olden days, people never had the opportunity to present papers in world class journals or conferences or write articles in newspaper or internet to propagate their ideas. The only means they had was writing treatises of their own, in which they first mentioned the state-of-the-art after which they included their own contributions.

Sangeetha and Shastriya Sangeetha are different. The dhatu ‘shas’(in shastra/shastriya) stands for the one which commands or directs the rules and regulations or the framework within which the art should be exercised. Music whose boundaries are defined by this shastra, which adhers to the strict scientific rules and regulations can only be called as shastriya sangeetham. Unlike folk arts/music, shastriya sangeetha is not just that which is developed or transferred only through generations. It just one attribute of it. Hence, there is no point saying we shouldn't rely 'more' on treatises.

We should, in fact rely only on treatises to ensure that our music is strictly within the classical notions. For every classical art, there are two aspects: lakshana(shastra) and lakshya(prayoga). In most of the cases, the second one is obtained through guru mukham, and rigorous practise while the first one through the learning and understanding of the shastra of music mainly through treatises. 'Prayoga pradhanamhi shastram'- Shastram defines the borders within which creativity can develop and flourish. A classical musician can be called so, only if he is conversant with both the above mentioned qualities. Most of today’s 'classical musicians' have stooped to such a level that they have to depend on musicologists to answer any controversies or inconsistencies regarding the shastras of classical music, even those raised by a commoner. This trend is very clear from this thread on OVK also, in which the musicians discuss only about the aesthetics in the kritis, while regarding the science (shastra), they take their time to get it clarified from musicologists like SRJ etc.

Before coming back to the topic, I want to make it clear to everyone that I'm not anyone's servant or assistant. I have given pointers to evidences, only those who are interested to know may refer those. But please come back to me only after referring those. I’m always ready to clarify and discuss with those who are genuinely interested. But it is impossible for me to reply to comments like, list all the ragas in a treatise, quote the whole section of a treatise etc.

There has been so much discussion going on regarding chandas and talas here. Chandas and talas are different. So many chandas can be created using permutation and combinations but all of them can't be called talas. Arunagirinathar has created so many chando rupas not talas. Even today, Sri Kumara Nijaguna Swamiji of Chilakavadi near Kollegala in Karnataka has created so many chando rupas. He can give nashta and uddishta for these chandas. Interested people may clarify this (I can provide his contact, if required). There are so many confusions prevailing even among musicians regarding chandas and talas. It took 800 years to correct the mistakes done by sarngadeva, also, the mistakes done by shyamashastri was corrected by akella sir. If it was so easy why were people unable to understand the intricacies and nuances of the tala system? Why did it take so many years for us to correct such fundamental mistakes? Hence, I request people not to pass derogatory comments unless they are so sure of it. There are so many varieties of sankirna which shouldn't be confused with each other. In gAnabhAskaramu, K V Srinivasa Iyengar comments about varieties of sankirna. About divya sankirna he quotes

"Divya laghum ca mOddhAtma tishra jAti gurum yathA,
yo bhrOyati mahA pApi tasya pApam mahAdbhavet"

Here, I'm quoting ananthAmAtyA's chandO darpanamu in telugu also in which he explains about prAsam and aksharamaithri in rigour,

"prAsambhagu RenDavayadi
vAsanagala modali vrAyavaDiyanambarangun
brAsambulanni yadalanu
bhAsuramuga vadulu pAdapAdamulahari"

The motivation for me to start the investigation on OVK was the same rumor which CML has quoted. I decided to have an unbiased research not depending on evidences like words from family members etc. as they can be easily fabricated. I noted that the only person till then, who has quoted the date of OVK was NKB, which was done only based on some bizarre speculations. That left me with only one option, to look for intrinsic evidences available in OVK’s compositions.

But there is a loophole in this approach as well. It is well established now that compositions like sree raghukula, natajana paripalakhana, needucharanamule etc. which were attributed to tyagaraja are not his compositions but done by tiger in his name. The same could've happened with OVK as well. Still, studying compositions at large can give an idea about the pattern and character of the composer.

The best method to study any composers' work is studying maatu and dhaatu,i.e. music and lyrics, separately. Studying the lyrics gives us an insight into composer's poetic abilities, rules of the grammar he followed, state of literature at his time period ,places he might've visited, his favorite deity, his gurus, his friends or contemporaries etc.

The observations after a detailed study on OVK's compositions are as follows:

1) The prasam which has been followed for 2500 years by all great poets and composers of dravida desam, the dwitiyakshara prasam has been broken in case of OVK. In literary world, this is a latest trend which emerged towards late 18 hundreds. We can see a good kavi bhavana in OVK, but it is unclear, on which shastra he depended.

2) OVK, in none of the available lyrics so far, has mentioned his guru, parents or friends/contemporaries (as far as my knowledge goes).

3) Any composer, who is a srividya upasaka, connects the deity whom he praises to srividya finally. Typical examples can be seen in dikshitar kritis. Because for any srividya upasaka, the sri mantra, sri yantra and sri guru are one and the same. This is the rahasyam (secret) given in ‘bhAvanOpanishat vyAkhyAnam’ by bhAskara rAya. OVK has composed many kritis on Krishna. It is widely acclaimed that OVK is a srividya upasaka. But this is ironic as we can’t see any effort from the composer to connect Krishna to srividya in these compositions. Then on what basis is OVK raised to class of srividya upasakas? What evidence substantiate this? (I don't want to comment on the bhaskara raya myth here again. Those who want the list of all disciples of Bhaskara raya can come to me personally for it.)

4) Regarding sankirna jati, Akella sir has given detailed descriptions. Another point to ponder here is, none of the olden day composers other than OVK composed in jati of 9. It is surely not because they didn't have the capability to do so. Then why was 9 nishedham to every one, but OVK?
Here, again people mix up between jati, gati and the total mAtrAs. The total mAtrAs of 20 corresponds to ‘ra’gana mathyam not sankirna mathyam (refer tAlasangraham of Sri B M Sundaram).

5) Another characteristic seen in OVK's kritis is sudden kalai and nadai change. Similar cases can be seen in case of a few 18th century haridasa composers et al. What really happened here was that the available lyrics were tuned by some later musicians. When there were shorter or longer lines, nadai/kalai changes were incorporated to fit these into the talam. Did this happen to OVK kritis also?

6) Regarding his music, there are few of his popular songs in ragas which became popular after trinity. How could he use these ragas when the lakshya and lakshana were given by the trinities?

These delineations from the tradition may portray OVK as a revolutionary and people may add it to his credit. I'm fine with it as long as you don't add tags to OVK like one who motivated trinity, one who created talas, ragas etc. because all these claims are just like words written in water.

In western literary criticism, they follow a concept of ‘psychical distance’ in which a degree of emotional detachment is maintained towards a person, work or a group to be analyzed. This concept is essential to conduct a study and to understand the pros and cons of the subject of interest. In case of a musician or an artist, studying the work of a particular composer for a prolonged period leaves him empathetic to the composer. This is derogatory for any critical work as it will leave you blind from the negatives of the composer. Moreover, any comments thrown will be taken as a personal attack to his ego.
The musician, instead of being unbiased, ends up saying that the mistakes he committed are not mistakes but his greatness! The rules he bent are the new rules to be followed!! And blindly regards him in a high state compared to any other composer adding to his greatness!!

At this point I should thank Vid.Ravikiran, for; he was the sole reason for me to initiate my study on OVK. I should elaborate on this. Once, there was a workshop by Neelambari trust on OVK conducted by Vid.Neela Ramgopal and Vid.Ravikiran. I was privileged to give a talk on OVK’s Navavaranams in the valedictory function held at the Sri Rama Lalitakala Mandiram, Bangalore. Being a keen music student, the rare compositions of OVK and his Navavaranams inspired me to know more about the composer. In fact, most of my inputs are from the books and compositions published and publicized, respectively, by Vid.Ravikiran himself. Doing such a noble job deserves sincere appreciation and salutations. I’m happy and thankful to Vid.Ravikiran for the work he is doing to spread the work of one of our Karnataka music composers.

Before concluding, let me thank all those rasikas, musicians and musicologists who actively participated in this discussion. Through this, so many information which otherwise would've been left unnoticed, came to light. I'm sure this discussion will be a good pointer with documentation for all those who want to have an unbiased study on OVK, if not for the present generation at least for the future ones. To all those people, who are genuinely interested in an investigation rather than a destructive debate, the scope for future work is to reach an inference based on these and more intrinsic evidences. Only such a study can lead us to truthful conclusions. I urge unbiased youth to carry on with this study answering questions like who was OVK, is there any notated materials available on OVK kritis, is there any manuscripts on or by OVK or his shishyas, has he mentioned the ragas and talas for his compositions somewhere, was he really a composer or a poet, or was there an OVK at all? I'm not worried about any of the personal attacks I may face for asking these questions. I'm not in an urgency to get the answer for these questions also. This is a sincere documentation of my study and a valuable database for the future generation if they ever want to pursue on this topic. A true history of arts, artists and science is as essential and important as the history of civilizations and culture. It took so many centuries for people to realize that earth is round and still many more years to accept it. Similarly, I’m sure someone will be destined to clear all the confusions, leaving no stones unturned, if not today or tomorrow, a few centuries later.

Regards
Srikantham Nagendra Shastry
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Ponbhairavi
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#211 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by Ponbhairavi » 04 Jun 2011, 15:53

Sri Nagendram shastry started this thread:these are the last 2 lines of his first post
Since the very purpose of any inquiry or questioning is to find truth ,I hope these queries lead to a meaningful discussion and if possible to a logical conclusion .
the last or latest 210th post is again by him.I request him to pl explain whether he has found the truth and if so what? This will be his gift for the thousands of perplexed viewers like me.
Of course he may say that everyone can draw his own conclusion . In that case i would still like to know what is his.
rajagopalan
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hamsaa
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#212 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by hamsaa » 07 Jun 2011, 07:31

I was quite excited to see that Shri Shastry had posted after a gap of almost a month and almost a hundred posts. I was eager to read it expecting that he would have done his study on OVK and would get back to us with altered perspectives and contribute something positive towards our understanding of this great composer.

But looks like he has not even travelled along with the rest of the forumites, in the progress this thread has made and has not managed to absorb the interesting and point-perfect answers provided by Shri Ravikiran, Uday ji and many others. Looks like he has also missed other threads that give clear perspectives about OVK.

I am even more surprised that after 200-odd posts, he has come back asking the very same questions that have been asked a few dozen times through this thread and for which conclusive answers have been provided as well. So I wonder who can cast stones about others having closed minds here!!!
compositions like sree raghukula, natajana paripalakhana, needucharanamule etc. which were attributed to tyagaraja are not his compositions but done by tiger in his name.
Wrong. These are by K V Srinivasa Iyengar.
Those who want the list of all disciples of Bhaskara raya can come to me personally for it.)
Why? Is it such a personal information that cannot be shared on this forum?

List of ragas in Svararnava - is that a personal list too that is yet to shared by you in this forum? Secondly, the onus is on someone who claims that others are creating myths about OVK to explain his rationale for banking on a myth about another composer.
I have given pointers only"
Is this a school assignment to the rest of the forumites?! It doesn't work that way.
I'm not anyone's servant or assistant.
Any true artist should consider himself as the servant of the art. Providing information about claims made is fundamental responsibility towards other forumites. Otherwise, any speculation can be claimed as authoritative.
"OVK has not mentioned his guru. by name.."
Nor have the trinity or many other composers. Even MD doesn't name any guru. They all had too much respect to even call them by name. But as Shri Ravikiran has pointed out in his book (that you also have claimed to have read), OVK has done as many as 15 compositions on his guru, more than any other CM composer. Certain passages in these clearly show the kind of guru-bhakti he had.
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chitravina ravikiran
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#213 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by chitravina ravikiran » 07 Jun 2011, 08:59

Hence, there is no point saying we shouldn't rely 'more' on treatises.
The key word here is more. Every musician and composer of worth has acknowledged and appreciated that treatises have made CM one of the most intellectually accessible systems in the world for centuries. It is also well known that these treatises have given our system a classical continuity in musical history over millennia that is matched by few others in the world. Nevertheless, it is important to take cognizance of the following facts:

1. Music is a blend of lakshana and lakshya. What came first is like the chicken and egg situation. To a certain extent, the universal laws of (aural) physics (frequency, length, decibel levels etc) play an important role in our biological responses and most of these rules (lakshana) are fairly common to music in many parts of the world.

2. However, the lakshana of individual systems are normally developed by observing not only conventions but also human response to aesthetics and beauty in specific contexts.

3. Some of it is cultural (like certain melodies developed from vedas/Gregorian chants), some becomes cultural over a course of time (like our gamakas or musical forms or the ornamentation and grace in Western music and their forms).

4. In this regard, there are treatises

(a) which follow and document practice that has been established over at least a few decades/centuries.

(b) that anticipate and catalyse progress such as Venkatamakhi's Chaturdandi Prakashika where the possibility of 72 melas were proposed (though not all of them were named).

(c) which comment on and/or critique existing practises and sometimes suggest better alternatives.

(d) that critique many other treatises before them and even flay the authors (Venkatamakhi vs Ramamatya).

5. It is easy to see from the above that the quality of a treatise is directly proportional to the kind of person who wrote it. Treatises from the earliest to the latest papers and books today come in all types and shapes - great, good, bad and ugly.

6. Even in the greatest works, many of the so called 'rules' are nothing but contextual observations to period, region and culture. For instance, Sarngadeva talks about 32 qualities needed for a uttama vaggeyakara. If one were to use this yardstick, not one of our composers may fit the bill! Sarangadeva was not wrong. He was brilliant - but so were the great composers who followed him! We cannot apply his yardstick blindly on everyone else and write them off...

7. Therefore, musicians as well as musicologists and historians must understand the context in which each observations or opinion is stated - be it about raga, tala, jati or literature. These should not be taken out of context at selective convenience and applied inconsistently as the sankeerna, chanda and prasa conventions have been in some posts. Any study of OVK, Trinity and other quality composers would prove beyond doubt that they knew more about all such subjects than the analysts - me not excluded!

8. Nor should they be portrayed as immutable laws of life. As Prof Sambamurthy has observed, "in art, it is more about survival of the most beautiful, rather than just survival of the fittest".

9. To sum it up, reliance on treatises is not wrong but blind/over reliance on it could be muddy and dangerously mislead practitioners and followers of music.

I will respond to specific points on OVK in my next post.
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hamsaa
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#214 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by hamsaa » 07 Jun 2011, 10:19

I was reading Shastry's post again and was compelled to address this point that he had made.
Any composer, who is a srividya upasaka, connects the deity whom he praises to srividya finally. OVK has composed many kritis on Krishna. It is widely acclaimed that OVK is a srividya upasaka. But this is ironic as we can’t see any effort from the composer to connect Krishna to srividya in these compositions.
Ofcourse OVK has done this in his phala stuti to the navavaranams, where he addresses the Devi and says

haladharAnujam prAptum vayam AgatA dEhi dEvi
akhilANDEshvari guruguha janani Ananda sukha vara pradAyini - shree

meaning - in order to get closer to Lord Krshna (brother of Balarama), we are coming to you, O dEvi -

So, as per Shastry's own words, he himself has clearly proved OVK is indeed a Srividya upasaka !!!! It shows that Shastry has not done his homework on these compositions and is making claims even without studying their beauty with an unbiased mind !!! :D

The audio for this is also available in http://www.sangeethapriya.org

http://www.sangeethapriya.org/tributes/ ... index.html
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mannari
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#215 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by mannari » 08 Jun 2011, 01:42

sirs, it is unfortunate that empty vessels are making more noise. In my opinion it may take decades to understand the depth of knowledge a pro' musician, a musicologist or a musician-musicologist poses. Passing silly comments on such personalities like ' he has proved that he doesn't know sarale varse or has not done his home work etc.,will only reflect the frame of poor mind or poor knowledge of the person/s shooting off such comments , trying to be on the same pedestal of the learned ones. Anyone with any sense , if not common sense can see that Mr Shasthry has said "composer to connect Krishna to srividya in these compositions." which is in plural. One can not pass such comment based on a single kruthi ( Which might as well has been created in say during early or around 1940s , for which debates were made , which might be the reason why sri OVK's name has not been etched or discussed on par with musical giants). I do not know nor i am capable of analyzing kruthis as regard to srividhya. If such silly comments are made, one will be forced to wonder which Srividhya upasaka he was ?. I think it needs the expertise of AM Sharmas or DrBalamuralis or Sambamuthys or Ganeh Avadhanis or Ra Satyanarayanas to authoritatively judge the beauty of composition or its creation as per shasthra. Till such time we should , i think , try to learn whatever we can when two good people indulge in a debate. It is high time we understand, through a dictionary if required, the meaning of the word LOCUS STANDII
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Singer_USA
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#216 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by Singer_USA » 09 Jun 2011, 16:32

In response to post #210, I have few things I can share.

5) Another characteristic seen in OVK's kritis is sudden kalai and nadai change. Similar cases can be seen in case of a few 18th century haridasa composers et al. What really happened here was that the available lyrics were tuned by some later musicians. When there were shorter or longer lines, nadai/kalai changes were incorporated to fit these into the talam. Did this happen to OVK kritis also?
--

Examples of those haridasa composers' work please? Are there any audios available? Do we know for sure that these nadai/kalai changes were incorporated because the lyrics could not be fit into the talam.



In OVK's songs where the nadai/kalai changes the flow of the song is not interrupted, neither were the quality of the lyrics compromised.

Here are few examples.

The song Shankari Shree Raja Rajeshwari, which is the 8th Avarana Krti in Madhyamavathi (about which I have written earlier) the song starts in Chaturashra gati and then the gati shifts to Tishram midway in the second avarthana. It comes back to chaturashram in the 4th cycle. When it returns back to Chaturashram, we don't see a sudden change, but the melody of the song stays undisturbed. Similarly when the song continues in slow Tisram of 1.5 aksharas per beat and switches to normal tishram of 3 aksharas per beat, you can find the lyrics fitting in proper place.

Also, in the 6th Avarana krti, Sadanandamayi in Hindolam, the pallavi and anupallavi are in 2 kalais and the entire charanam is in one kalai. If you observe, the seating of the tala works well only if you sing it in 1 kalai. It cannot be possibly written for 2 kalai and somebody later tuned it to one kalai, because they had trouble singing it.

Similarly, in the Kriti Umamaheshwaratmajam in Raga Umabharanam , the song starts before the beat in Tishra gati. The second line onwards is in Chaturashra. Clear observation of the second line will reveal that the last flip (or veechu) in the second dhrutam, actually is set in Tishram so the link to the first line will flow smooth. This is certainly not because the lyrics could not be fit into the talam.

To my knowledge , none of the above mentioned krtis were tuned by any later musicians. It is not an accident that these compositions have nadai/kalai changes. These were intentional. There is a vast difference between the haridasa's works and OVK becaue OVK was a Vaggeyakara of the highest merit.
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hamsaa
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#217 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by hamsaa » 09 Jun 2011, 22:56

it is unfortunate that empty vessels are making more noise.
It is so hilarious that this statement is made by one of the emptiest vessels in this thread :grin:
In my opinion it may take decades to understand the depth of knowledge a pro' musician, a musicologist or a musician-musicologist poses. Passing silly comments on such personalities will only reflect the frame of poor mind or poor knowledge of the person/s shooting off such comments , trying to be on the same pedestal of the learned ones.
If it took decades for that, then it would take centuries to comprehend divine composers' works, that too, when it is approached with an unbiased mind !! Making flippant comments about the works of divine composers', without studying them properly with a right attitude is equally abominable.
Anyone with any sense , if not common sense can see that Mr Shastry has said "composer to connect Krishna to srividya in these compositions." which is in plural.
I thought I would give Shastry the benefit of doubt by considering it a typo. But you have claimed it is not !!! First of all, no composer is expected to link every song of his, to his ishta devata. Here, I would like to point out that even MD has not linked his navavarana krtis to his ishta devata at all. It so happens that since his mudra seems to be 'guruguha', it gets a mention in all the krtis. But there is no distinct mention by him where he links his ishta devata to the purpose of devi upasana in the navavarana krtis. So in this context, what I mentioned in my earlier post is atleast a clear proof that OVK is indeed a Srividya upasaka !
created in say during early or around 1940s .....which might be the reason why sri OVK's name has not been etched
There is an idol of OVK in the Kalinga narttana temple in the Oottukkadu village. I've visited this temple personally and its quite an old temple. If OVK belonged to the 1940's,

a. he could still be alive somewhere in this world
b. How could the idol have been built there?
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Ponbhairavi
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#218 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by Ponbhairavi » 10 Jun 2011, 19:56

Mannari's post:
wonder [bwhich[/b]Srividhya upasaka he was ?
The implied sarcasm is a vilification of Devi Upasana and not of OVK
This pathological hatred to recognize a composer's merits whose language is not understood can only be justified by linguist chauvinism
The thread was started with a preconceived notion that OVK 's period is after the Tiruvarur trinity and that his compositions are full of mistakes and worthless befitting a third rate modern composer. But when evidences and proofs and arguments pour in like deluge to the contrary there is no grace to concede or keep quiet. May be we should wait till prof Sambamurthy, or Thyagaraja or better Purandara dasa or all the three together should come alive and declare.
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chitravina ravikiran
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#219 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by chitravina ravikiran » 11 Jun 2011, 08:14

The thread was started with a preconceived notion that OVK 's period is after the Tiruvarur trinity
There is a bit of genesis to this.

(a) When Shri Needamangalam Krishnamurthy Bhagavatar first came to Chennai and gave a series of lec-dems including at the Music Academy, the vidvans here had not heard about OVK. So, their intrigue was quite understandable. NKB spent the next several decades dedicated to not only clarify such misconceptions but also to teach and share the intricasies of his ancestor's works.

(b) However, even in the 1955 Academy demo, there was absolutely no doubt among the giants present including Prof T V Subba Rao about the merit of the compositions. The 1956 Journal clearly documents the awe with which the compositions were viewed. Very soon, Shri GNB - himself no mean a musician or vaggeyakara (not to mention Devi upasaka) wrote an article on OVK 'Kattil vilainda kasturi'. He also organised a series on OVK in All India Radio by NKB.

(c) Others who learnt from NKB include stalwart violinist Smt Savithry Satyamurthy, Smt Aruna Sairam, Shri Kunjumani Bhagavatar - nephew of Papanasam Sivan, octogenarian jalatarangam exponent Smt Seeta Doraiswami, Shri T N Seshagopalan's mother, Shri Vijay Siva's mother and Ms Alamelu and Dr Subbaraman, who are active harikatha exponents

(d) These people have seen NKB first hand and spent years with him. Everyone agrees that

(i) his dedication to his ancestor's works and integrity were beyond reproach
(ii) his musicianship and scholarship was exceptional - but
(iii) he only popularised the compositions and did not compose them

5. NKB himself has consistently explained that the compositions of OVK were copied periodically by his family for generations and other artistes such as Mannargudi Raju Shastrigal have also popularised them. (NKB attempted a handful of compositions but has clearly noted them in his book as 'idu sonta sahityam' - this is my own piece.)

Let me again summarise the external evidences that I have shared in this thread:

1. Non-family accounts which prove that OVK was a contemporary of Shri Ramasami Iyer, Minister of Serfoji - which also imply that he was a contemporary of Serfoji as well as Bhaskara Raya. Whether he was a disciple or not needs more follow up but the fact remains that he was a contemporary.

2. His compositions were quite popular by 1800s - as is clear from the fact that Raju Shastrigal (1815-1903) was considered a specialist in those (Ref. his disciple Paruthiyur Krishna Shastri learnt OVK and Arunachala Kavi's compositions from him).

3. Musicologist Shri B M Sundaram mentioned that Kattu Krishna Iyer (nephew of OVK) was a contemporary of King Amara Simha.

Now let us examine the compelling internal evidence, of 400 plus compositions of the highest merit from a common source which is not merely OVK's family but also disciples in the strict sense of the term. If the number were 4 or 40, one can say all kinds of things about it but 400 is a huge number to merely speculate about. (I have said 400 because I have so far seen only 400-odd - there are several more that I have not seen and several that maybe lost forever.)

1. OVK has saluted the max number of historic personalities - as Rangaramanuja Iyengar says, "These are of historic significance". Any logical person in the world will list them and look for chronological references and inferences. The latest names in this are: Tulasidasa and (possibly Bhadrachala Ramadasa.)

2. Most of the 100 plus Krishna songs in Tamil are operatic - from Bhagavatam. A few more are from other operas of OVK such as Ramayana, Mahabharata and so forth. These are enough to prove his style - which can be used to extrapolate the other pieces of his including his kshetra krtis in Madurai, Kanchi, Chennai, Udupi, Pandarapur, Tiruvarur, Tirukkannapuram, Needamangalam, Sikkil, Pazhani and a host of general krtis on various dieties.

3. The village Oottukkadu has two main temples - Kalinga Nartana Krishna and Shiva. OVK is said to have spent a lot of time in the former temple and his personal favourite was Lord Krishna. So, many of his Taml and Sanskrit compositions have a clear signature that mentions or relates kalinga nartana (like bhujanga shirasi natana, nAga phaNa nartana etc).

4. In a rare few, we see the signature 'Venkata Kavi'. This includes a piece from the Navavarana krti (Shankari), his sankshepa Ramayana krti (Shree rama jayame jayam) and a few others that I have mentioned in my book.

4. The Krishna temple has a small sannidhi of Nartana Ganapati and the other one has sannidhis of Surya and OVK has composed on these as well (Ananda nartana ganapatim - Nattai and Padmini vallabha - Dhanyasi).

5. His family diety was Devi - the family has a Devi idol for over 600 years. So, his Navavarana krtis are hardly surprising as also other songs on Devi.

6. He is said to have spent his childhood in Mannargudi - so a plethora of songs on Rajagopala in both Tamil and Sanskrit.

7. He has composed at least 15 krtis on guru - I will be sharing some in the other thread but his guru-bhakti as well as his relationship with his guru is never in doubt. The songs prove the caliber of the guru as well - like any true sishya should. Out of respect, he has never even referred to him by name (at least in the songs I have seen so far).

8. Oottukkadu is known as Dhenushwasapuram in Sanskrit - OVK has composed a brilliant shloka on Krishna where every stanza ends with the phrase:

dhEnushwasapura dEva dEvaya namO namastE

He has composed several other shlokas like Madhava Panchakam and Ranganatha Panchakam.

9. OVK talks repeatedly about music and his compositions contain more musical specific terms than seen in any other part of CM literature.

10. His handling of talas and other rhythmic aspects (like gati-bhedam) that we consider challenging were much more in vogue then - as any study of dance and bhagavata mela repertoire will prove. But even here, he has revealed a level of musicianship that is rare.

11. There are a few songs of his in Marathi - which definitely diminished in significance by 1800s.

Given all the above, no rational person can continue to live in denial. Statements such as

(a) OVK was 'modern' - reveal continued or even deliberate ignorance
(b) he was fabricated - reveal the above plus and irrational bias not only towards the composer but also towards his descendants who have honestly and sincerely preserved a great treasure and shared with the music world
(c) his compositions are not upto scratch - reveal both (a) and (b) as well as a completely closed mind

And we must pause to think if our questions make sense:

1. When it is easy to spot even 4-5 spurious modern compositions such as Natajana or Needucharanamule, would it even be possible for someone to mass-produce 400 plus songs and palm it off?

2. Why would anyone - including NKB or his disciples want to play an elaborate hoax on the music world? Those familiar with them also know them as impeccable, even if not infalliable, human beings. The music world needs to show them the same respect that have been accorded the parampara-preservers of the other great composers like Walajapet/Ambi Dikshitar and so forth.

3. Would someone hailed as a 'mahAkavi' not be aware of fundamental rules of prAsa, yati or chanda nor know when what can be used or when what should not be used? There was an instance when the paramacharya of Kanchi - HH Chandrashekharendra Saraswati admonished NKB when the latter changed what he thought was a typo in a song of OVK. He said, "OVK knew what he was using. It is for us to contemplate much before we can understand them.'

It may be a truism but we must remember that facts cannot vanish just because they may be uncomfortable to a small section of people. They can neither be wished away nor washed away... Let us accept facts as we know them today and appreciate the monumental works of OVK with an open mind. We will only be enriching ourselves in the process...
Last edited by chitravina ravikiran on 11 Jun 2011, 10:30, edited 3 times in total.
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chitravina ravikiran
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#220 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by chitravina ravikiran » 11 Jun 2011, 08:44

I have heard some people wondering if these are Ravikiran's works. Since this includes a section of senior and frontline musicians and musicologists, I will categorically clarify the following:

1. I have composed close to 600 pieces that includes varnams, tillanas, krtis, padams, javalis, folk melodies, bhajans and operatic creations like Ramayana or Lakshmi Prabhavam (which means that this 600 includes many smaller link pieces and viruttams).

2. These are in Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit, Hindi and Kannada and each one has been documented in my own handwriting.

3. I have noted the dates on which they were composed (over 95% at least).

4. They are nowhere in the league of OVK, trinity or any other great vaggeyakara. (I may even write off or refine some of the songs I wrote between my 12th and 14th years.)

5. My style is quite distince from the above composers though the influence of Trinity can be seen in a few.

6. I did try to intersperse jatis with lyrics in a Dhanyasi tillana of mine first and thought it was an innovation - till I saw several of OVK's works which contained such features in abundance and with far greater class.

7. 25 of my own compositions have been published first in a book titlted Adityodayam, 'as a surprise' (without my knowledge) by my student Savita Narasimhan with a Forewords by Shri Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and Shri V V Sundaram. Another 40 were brought out in a book as well as a 4-volume DVD (titled 'Sada Sharanam') by Swathi in Dec 2009.

8. There are a few audios of some of these as well.

9. Most of my operas have been staged in USA, Australia, India, Canada etc.

10. Many of my disciples are learning more of my other compositions including my 35-tala set and 72 mela raga malika geetam and singing them in their concerts/albums.

11. More than 300 of OVK's works were published even before I got to study his works.

12. I have not even set them to music - except one shloka - Ranganatha Panchakam. I do not like to tune things when I know that original tunes of a composer can be accessed, with effort.

13. I have learnt the songs from NKB's disciples and presented/taught them.

14. The kind of polishing I have done is the same I have done for Trinity or any other composer and even less than what great artistes like Muttaiah Bhagavatar or Semmangudi did for Swati Tirunal's works.

15. I have tuned some compositions of Purandara Dasa, D V Gundappa, Azhwar's pashurams, Pillai Tamizh and recent lyricists such as Mr Brazil Subramaniam and Shri Sampath. Most of these have been presented too.

Finally, as I jokingly mentioned to a noted musicologist recently, my ego and sense of factual accuracy will not let me share credit for my works with even my own brother - even though my mudra is ravi shashi... So where is the question of sharing it with or handing it over entirely to another composer?!

This speculation - even though personally flattering - must be put to rest forever!
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cmlover
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#221 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by cmlover » 11 Jun 2011, 10:28

Bravo! Excellent honest defence...
Let us focus on understanding and appreciating OVK's contribution to CM and stop bickering about the
'conspiracy theory'.....
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Pratyaksham Bala
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#222 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by Pratyaksham Bala » 11 Jun 2011, 11:41

Though it has been clearly established that Sri OVK was a pre-Tiruvarur Trinity composer, the contents of post #1 are repeated again and again, in vain.

As CM rasikas we enjoy the creations of Sri OVK, the Tiruvarur Trinity and so many others. Let not the hatred displayed by a few individuals towards Sri OVK distract us.
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sr_iyer
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#223 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by sr_iyer » 11 Jun 2011, 18:57

as Rangaramanuja Iyengar says, "These are of historic significance".
Dear Sri Ravikiran, In his book "History of South Indian (Carnatic) Music ", 1972, Sri Rangaramanuja Iyengar also mentions that OVK compositions, preserved over centuries, were tuned in the early twentieth century. I must clarify that I have no opinion on this (and must add that I like to hear the compositions, sanskrit and tamil), and thought I would just point this out in context. Thanks. Also, in the context that Sri SSI has been quoted elsewhere, I was curious if anyone has heard him render any OVK compositions. Again, the answer makes no difference to my respect for the composed material.
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cmlover
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#224 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by cmlover » 11 Jun 2011, 19:23

The lyrics written down through generations may be (mostly) original. But we cannot rule out the music being adapted over the years. Since these compositions have passed through the harikatha system the probability is high since these performers do adapt the tune of songs to fit their story-telling. While it is difficult to manipulate the tALa structure the modification of the raga is fairly easy. Bharathy did set the ragas for a few of his songs but musicians changed them later to more popular adaptations. Only foolproof method is to weave the raga mudra into the lyrics as MD has done.
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#225 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by uday_shankar » 11 Jun 2011, 21:43

sr_iyer wrote:Sri Rangaramanuja Iyengar also mentions that OVK compositions, preserved over centuries, were tuned in the early twentieth century
It would be nice (and responsible under the present circumstances) to quote the exact words of Rangaramanuja Iyengar on the matter and how he came to the conclusion. Absent that, this is just more noise without substance, whether by design or inadvertence.

The simple fact that Raju Shastrigal was considered a specialist in OVK adduces to the fact that at least a fair number of compositions existed with "tunes" (if it were just a handful of compositions, there is no meaning in calling somebody an expert on those) prior to the "early twentieth century". If indeed the much maligned poor Shri NKB (born circa 1897) tuned about 400 extremely complex and beautiful compositions "in the early twientieth century" he must have done it in his tender teen years or early twenties!

I rely on the genius and expertise of Shri Ravikiran who has assured us about the dhaatu-maatu integrity of the compositions, i.e, it is simply inconceivable that much of the material did not flow directly as inspired music.

There is no scientific temper in these discussions. Where facts are scarce and evidence indirect, those with an open mind can be good Carnatic forensic experts by constantly searching for "the most plausible". This requires a good understanding of human nature above all. When one's own nature is weak, devious, envious, suspicious, etc... it leads to a poor judgment! Then there are the OVK "detractors" with thinly disguised malice. What waste of malice! It is so much more worthwhile directing one's malice at something like Al Qaeda instead of a harmless, divinely inspired composer like OVK or an equally harmless and wonderful person like NKB :). I've personally heard well-known Carnatic personalities make such inane and spurious remarks (typically made with a fake humorous moronic Tamilian "heh-heh-heh" type of snicker) as "Oothukaadu enakku Othukkadhu" (an idiotic Tamil pun meaning "Oothukaadu doesn't agree with me") and so on. Human idiocy knows no bounds but those of us born with an open mind should consider ourselves lucky (and wish a similar openness on our suspicious brethren :)).
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