SRI SATHYA SAI PANCHARATNA KRITS—THE INSIDE STORY
“Pancharatna” denotes “Five Gems” and Kritis are songs and musical compositions in Carnatic music. Thus, Sri Sathya Sai Pancharatna Kritis are five songs that sing the ever-effulgent glory and magnificence of the Lord Sri Sathya Sai. The uniqueness of these kritis lies in the fact that they are an outcome of intense pining which sprang forth from the core of several hearts and symbolises the resolute love and devotion of thousands and millions of devotees of the Divine Master – Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
The tradition of musical offering based on the Divine Master’s favourite genre, the Kritis (musical compositions in Carnatic music) that sing His glory in Prashanthi Nilayam, on Aradhana Day began in the year 2015 by His devotees who are stalwart musicians from the Carnatic classic background. The soulful rendition of these kritis with lyrics suffused with the beauty and grandeur of Bhagavan unified with the spontaneous yearning and love of Lord that knows no limit is an inexplicable divine experience, both for the singers and the listeners.
The making and composition of the these Kritis is very thought-provoking. Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba loved to sing and listen to classic compositions of Carnatic music (traditional music of South India). Even today, listening to “Pibare Rama rasam” in the divine voice of Bhagawan is like the ambrosial nectar pouring into the ears.
As already mentioned, Sri Sathya Sai Pancharatna Kritis are five songs that sing the ever-effulgent glory and magnificence of the Lord. Why five songs? Saint Thyagaraja whose very breath was Lord Sri Rama composed songs in Telugu in praise of Sri Rama. Tiruvaiyaru in Tanjore district of Tamilnadu, where the samadhi of Saint Thyagaraja is, till today resonates with the songs of the saint that are rendered by Carnatic musicians from all over India commemorating his Aradhana week. It has been a custom that every year on the event of Aradhana day, which usually falls in the month of January, the five songs which are classified as Pancharatna Kritis, are sung to lilt up the ambience. These Panchratna Kritis are offered by thousands of common people and hundreds of veteran musicians of Carnatic classical yore. It is in similar sense that the thought of Carnatic musical offering to Bhagavan Baba first occurred to Prof. G. Venkatraman of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, a scientist par excellence and an ardent and distinguished devotee of Baba. This thought flashed to him on the evening of Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s 85th birthday in 2010. A few months later Swami left His physical form in April 2011 that left many in distraught who could not even think of the sudden disappearance of the ecstatic form of Bhagavan Baba. Two years from then the thought of Carnatic musical offering reappeared and took its first infant step when late Sri Mandolin Srinivasan, endorsed this idea and composed five musical tunes based on different Raagas. With the tunes ready, the challenging task of fitting in the lyrics warranted a person possessing high literary skills in Telugu with enough knowledge of music and most importantly a staunch devotee of Bhagavan who could do justice to the task. The chosen devotee for this task was Smt. Vasantha Lakshmi, a scholar in Sanskrit and Telugu with a doctorate in Music as well. It was divine intervention when Sri Rajkumar Bharathi, grandson of the famous poet Bharathiyar, took the project into his hands with the task of fine tuning the song in manner befitting His Glory and magnificence. Finally, as He willed, the kritis were given the current form. These were rendered for the first time in Prashanthi Nilayam on 24th April 2015 after indefatigable efforts to achieve perfection by the most celebrated Carnatic music singers and instrumentalists. Since then, every year on Aradhana day, these Kritis are offered at the Lotus Feet by the Carnatic musicians and singers who are also joined by devotees from all over the country at the sanctum sanctorum of Bhagavan in Prashanhti Nilayam.
These songs can be accessed for the lyrics and tutorial by clicking on the links below each song:
SONG 1: Pranamaami Saayeesha—This song speaks of the divine blessing on the Ratnakara family to have the Lord incarnating in their clan. It also speaks of the enthralling leelas, music and pranks used by Bhagavan to teach profound lessons during his childhood and early days.
SONG 2: Sada Bhavayami—The song tells about how fortunate the mankind is to witness the Lord talking and walking and having the privilege to blissfully enjoying His entire attention. The song also recalls the glory of Vibhuthi Abhishekam and Lingodhbhavam (bringing forth the Lingam from within) by the Poorna Avataar Sri Sathya Sai who lived to teach lessons of Love and Sacrifice.
SONG 3: Charana Sevanam —-This song expresses the choicest blessings showered by Bhagavan on His students in form of granting them His Darshan, Sparshan and Sambhashan – the privileges which even the Devas long for. Paramount of all the blessings to His students, is Swami claiming them to be His property. Swami installs Himself as the Divine Light in everyone’s heart.
SONG 4: Kaliyuga Avatari——The song brings out the significance of the avatar of Kali Age, Bhagavan Baba, also signifies His Mahavakya – “Love All, Serve All” and its demonstration through practice in form of the exemplary service projects in the arena of educare, medicare and socio-care.
SONG 5: Sathya Sai Avatara—-This song acquaints us with the eternal truth that Swami is the very source of the Primordial Sound Om and how He loves it when it flows out as Bhajans, with Raga, Bhava and Tala in harmony. Is also brings forth the essence that Bhakthi without Karma and Jnana is incomplete. Most desirable of all Karmas is selfless Service to Mankind and the Jnana worthy of realisation is that Love is the only religion.
Let us commemorate this Aradhana Day, 24th April 2019, by listening to and singing these songs while contemplating upon the glory of the Avatar and His Message. Let us strive to realise and nurture the innate divinity present in each one of us and every being and live by practicing the dictum given by the Master – “Love All, Serve All” – the very purpose for which the Divine incarnated in the most beautiful form of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
“I have come to light the lamp of Love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added luster. I have not come on behalf of any exclusive religion. I have not come on any mission of publicity for any sect or creed or cause; nor have I come to collect followers for any doctrine. I have no plan to attract disciples or devotees into my fold or any fold. I have come to tell you of this unitary faith, this spiritual principle, this path of Love, this virtue of Love, this duty of Love, this obligation to Love.”
-Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Please click below link for lyrics: