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Vishaka Hari's Musical Essay on Guruvayurappan Leelai

Updated on August 20, 2017
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Radhika is a Carnatic music singer who is pursuing her studies in music. She enjoys other classical forms of art as well.

Vishaka Hari
Vishaka Hari | Source

Jaya TV telecasted the musical essay (Harikathai) on Guruvayurappan Leelai by Smt. Visaka Hari on Margazhi Maha Utsavam, 2013. As always, it was a beholding expression of the lovesome plays of Lord Krishna residing in Guruvayur temple, Kerala. The essay started with the song ‘Chaliye Kunjanamo’ in the raga Vrindavanasaranga. Her extreme devotion for Sri Krishna was always in the spotlight throughout the musical discourse. She pointed out that ‘Narayana’ is the Mantra of starting a day in the early morning after bath. The song ‘Guruvayurappane Appan’ in the raga Reethigowla was a reminder of this.

Origin of Guruvayur and Narayaneeyam

The legend associated with the origin of Guruvayur as the divine abode of Lord Vishnu in his avatar as baby Krishna really brought Guruvayur temple with the deity in the minds of the listeners towards the start. ‘Guru’ +’Vayu’ together created the deity of baby Krishna to install in a place in Kerala, abundant with natural beauty. This place came to be known as ‘Guruvayur’. The song ‘Gurupavanapuradisam Lokesam’ in Thodi raga illustrated this.

The first Leelai (play) of Sri Guruvayurappan in the musical essay was related to Melpathur Bhatathiri, the great scholar of Vedas. When he suffers from rheumatism, he writes 1000 Shlokas of Narayaneeyam starting with ‘Yogeendranam’ in which he pleads, scolds, cries and seeks refuge in Sri Guruvayurappa. ‘Pavanaguru’ in the raga Hamsanandi throws light on this. Sri Guruvayurappa then appears before Melpathur Bhatathiri and recovers him from the disease.

Baby Krishna
Baby Krishna | Source

Kurooramma and Poonthanam

The second Leelai was associated with Kurooramma, a poor, old, female devotee of Sri Guruvayurappa. The Lord gives ‘darshan’ to her when she goes to the temple very early in the morning for ‘Nirmalyam’. It was the baby Sri Krishna dressed and adorned very beautifully as described by the essayer Smt. Visaka Hari. Her discourse was so lovely and brilliant that Sri Guruvayurappan stood before the audience as told by the song ‘Guruvayurappa’ in the raga Chakravakam.

The incident corresponding to Poonthanam, a Veda scholar who writes the song of wisdom in Malayalam language, Jnanapana was the third Leelai. ‘Kandu kandangirikkum’ song in the raga Yamunakalyani was a graceful rendition that affirms the fact that everything in the materialistic world is in the hands of the Supreme Power.

How Guruvayur came into being?

‘Guru’ +’Vayu’ together created the deity of baby Krishna to install in a place in Kerala, abundant with natural beauty. This place came to be known as ‘Guruvayur’.

Guruvayur Kesavan and Manjula

Visaka Hari added that the history of the elephant, Guruvayur Kesavan of the temple should not be omitted in the list of plays. Her narration of its heartfelt love and devotion to Lord Guruvayurappa was a rich exude of the Lord’s Leelai that it brought tears into the eyes of the audience.

The musical essay ended with the Kalyanam (marriage) of Manjula, a female devotee of Sri Guruvayurappa. When she failed to garland her Lord one day, Manjula did the same to a tree beside the temple. Next day, when the door opened, the garland was seen lying on the neck of the Lord. ‘Om Namo Narayana’ song in the raga Karnaranjani enunciated this event.

Articulating the narrating capabilities of Smt. Visaka Hari is not easy as she seems to have a divine power inherent within her. Her lifestyle of austerity is a proof of this fact.

Vishaka Hari performing in Margazhi Maha Utsavam, Jaya TV, 2013

Do you like this musical essay?

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© 2014 Radhika Sreekanth


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    • radhikasree profile image

      Radhika Sreekanth 3 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Thank you Ruby for the nice comment. You're so kind.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is really interesting! The Baby Krishna is beautiful. Voted up. Well presented.