Carnatic Recommendation – 5

The name Sadasiva Brahmendra Saraswati is not a very known name. However, his kriti “Manasa Sancharare” is widely known and very famous. Manasa Sancharare is this week’s Carnatic Recommendation. Let us take a look at this great kriti by the greatest Avaduta of India of 17th century. A brief intro from Wikipedia

Sadasiva Brahmendra was a saint, a composer of Carnatic music and an Advaita philosopher who lived near Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu during the 18th century. He composed mainly in Sanskrit. Only a few of his compositions have survived but they are recognised as great compositions of Carnatic Music.[2] [Taken from Wikipedia]

Sadasiva Brahmendra is a very important figure in understanding how Carnatic spread because his work not only was in music but also in philosophy as well. He wrote several grandhas. Four of the most important are Atma Vidya Vilasa, Guru Ratna Malika, Brahma Sutra Vritti and Yoga Sutra Vritti. While Atma Vidya Vilasa is a great treatise on Advaita vedanta, Guru Ratna Malika is a great tribute to his guru Sri Parameswarendra Saraswati. Brahma Sutra Vritti is a treatise on Brahma Sutras. Yoga Sutra Vritti is a treatise on Pathanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

We take a little detour here to look at other saints associated with Sadasiva Brahmendra. It is very well known that Guru Ratna Malika is a treatise to Parameswarendra Saraswati of Kanchi. His contemporaries were Atma Bodhendra. A brief from Kamakoti site

Sri Atma Bodhendra Saraswati (1536 – 1638 AD) : He was a native of Vruddhachala, and son of one Viswamakhi. His pre-sanyasa name was Visvesvara. He toured extensively and stayed at Benares for a long time. He wrote a Bhasya on the Sri Rudram. It was Atma Bodha that directed Sadasiva Brahmendra to write the Gururatna Malika. He attained mukti on the banks of the river South Pinakini, known in Tamil as Then Pennai on Krishna Ashtami in the month of Tula of the cyclic year Eswara (1638 AD).

If we look at the events of the time carefully, Atma Bodhendra Saraswati seems to have laid foundations for the upcoming bhakti movement by directing Sadasiva Saraswati and Bhagavannama Bodhendra Swami to write and propagate devotion among masses. Some more details on story behind this here.

Now to the kriti of the day – Manasa Sancharare. Manasa Sancharare is a superb treatise on understanding Brahmam.

Manasa Sancharare Brahmani


Oh Mind (manasa) take the pilgrimage of Brahmam

Its a simple and brilliantly devised tool to make people to understand Brhamam.

Listen to this brilliant rendition by Bombay Jayasree

“Madasikhipincha alankrita chikure” is reference to Sri Krishna. So Brahmam is Sri Krishna. Now let us look at a pattern emerge. Annamacharya also talked of Brahmam. Later, several carnatic composers emphasised heavily on Brahmam. So basically they were all inspired by some forces and the recluse was in Brahmam and Nama smaranam.

Now, listen to this rendition by Chembai Bhagavatar.

And to wrap it up, listen to this soul satisfying rendition by Balamural Krishna


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