Monday, March 15, 2010

Panchabhoota Linga Kritis - Jambhupathe

Muthuswami Dikshitar- the eternal pilgrim that he was, composed on all major kshetras. Among them are the five kshetras sacred to Lord Shiva where He is worshipped as a manifestation of the five elements , collectively known as Pancha (five)-Bhootha (element) linga Kshetras .
Like all his other compositions, the kritis that he composed here too abound in creative visualisations and puranic illustrations. I will take up each kriti one by one begining with "jambhupathe"

Kshetra- Tiruvanikkaval
Song- Jambhupate

This is a a brilliant song with great lyrical and musical beauty. This is the kshetra where Shiva ia worshipped in the form of Water- It is known as "Aapah Lingam" (many times wrongly termed as appu lingam). The presence of water can be seen in the temple itself whee the sanctum sanctorum is always seeped in water and during rains, water from Kaveri river floods the shrine.
In keeping with the water symbolism, Dikshitar similar phrases and metaphors. The pallavi begins with

jambUpatE mAm pAhi nijAnandAmRta bOdham dEhi -

Oh Jambupati, protect me and give me the knowledge of the nectar of true bliss.

Dikshitar' s brilliance comes in forefront right away- He begins with the most sublime form of water- nectar (amrit) . When the feet of saints and holy men are washed, the water is called 'charanaamrit' . And here in the temple, the Lingam itself is constantly in contact with water therby becoming amrit to all devotees.
And look at the sly pun which Dikshitar plays- asking the Lord- who swallowed the halahala poison - to grant him nectar !!

nijA nand AmRta- What kind of amrit is it? The one that grants the knowledge of Self ,the one that destroys all notions of "I", "me" and "mine". The one that bestows true bliss. This is what the Lord of this Kshetra did to Parvati when She created a lingam out of water particles and performed penace.

Ambujaasanaadi sakala deva namanaThe Lord here is worshipped by Brahma and other devas. Look how Dikshitar describes Brahma- Ambujaasana- one who is seated on a Lotus (in keeping with the water theme).

tumburunuta hRdaya tApOpashamana . He quenches the fire in the heart of sages like Tumburu

ambudhi gaNgA kAvErI yamunA - He is the Lord of rivers like Ganga, Kaveri and Yamuna (name of the raga)

kambu kaNDyakhilANDEshvarI ramaNa. He is the beloved one of Akhilandeshvari, whose neck is as beautiful as a conch.

parvatajA prArtthita Apah liNga vibhO- In deference to the prayers of goddess Parvati, the Lord manifested in the form of the Linga representing the element water.

As is his wont, Dikshitar deftly incorporates the sthala purana in a single line. Devi Parvati once performed penance to LOrd Shiva here by creating a lingam out of water. Pleased with her devotion the Lord manifested as Himself Shiva, and imparted updesha to Her. In terms of legend and structure of lingam, this kshetra is similar to the one at Amarnath.

pancha bhUta maya prapancha prabhO He is the Lord of the universe, which is made of five elements.

sarva karuNA sudhA sindhO He is the nectar-like ocean of mercy to his devotees - ( again bringing inthe water motif)

I will shortly post a recording of this song. FOr a wonderful and soulful rendition, listen to T M Krishna in his album "Panchabhutam" released by Charsur.


  1. Dear Sujata

    Thank you for this wonderful post. I happened to chance on your blog when I googled for Panchabhutam. I am also a good fan and friend of TMK. And, I love his Panchbhutam album and especially the rendition of the Jambhupate Kriti.

    Best regards,
    Subbu Iyer

  2. Look forward to reading about the other four kritis. Very good explanation

  3. Thank you for a great and insightful description. Looking forward to read the description of the other 4 Kritis.