This year Ganesha Chaturthi was on Aug 31st. I meant to write this blogpost that day but missed ! Many of us Tamilians and those who attend Carnatic music concerts have heard the Ganapati Kriti – “Vatapi Ganapatim Bhajeham”. Its a Sanskrit Kriti written by the legendary singer, poet and composer Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar.
Just listen to it in the divine voice of M S Subbulakshmi –
If you are lost in the divinity of MS Amma’s voice, stay there. My blog can be read later :). I listened to the whole thing before writing further. MS Amma’s face is glowing as always and her voice is as perfect at 80 as it was at 15.
This Ganesha Kriti is usually sung as the first song during Carnatic music events. The lyrics are as follows –
Vathapi Ganapathim Bhajeham,
Vaaranaasyam vara pradham sri,
Bhooothadhi samsevitha Charanam
Bhootha boudhika prapancha bharanam,
Madhyama Kala Sahithyam
Veeta raaginam , vinatha yoginam,
Viswa Karanam , Vigna vaaranam.
Pura Kumbha sambhava munivara prapoojitham,
Trikona Madhya gatham,
Murari pramukath upasitham,
Mooladhara Kshethra sthitham,
Paradhi Chtahvari Vakathmgam,
Pranava Swaroopa Vakra Thundam,
Nirantharam nidala chandra kandam,
Nija Vaamakara Vidrutekshu Dandam.
Madhyama Kala Sahithyam
Karambhuja pasa bheeja pooram,
Kaloosha vidhuram bhoothaharam,
Haradhi Guru guha thoshitha Bimbam,
Hamsadwani bhooshitha Herambham
A short translation –
I sing the praises of Ganapati of Vatapi, he who has a face of an elephant and showers boons. He is beyond desires, praised by yogis and removes obstacles. He was worshipped by Agastya, is the centre of the mystic srichakra and has a curly trunk. He drives away all evils and is loved by Bhagwan Shiva, Guruguha and others.
The Kriti starts with Vatapi and till I read Book Review – Sivakamiyin Sabadham Vol #4, Shattered Dream I never made the connection !! The Ganesha being referred to in this Kriti by Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar is the same Ganesha that Paranjyothi, the Pallava commander brought back from Pulikesi’s Vatapi.
When Narasimha Varmar’s army is ready to break down the Vatapi fort entrance, Paranjyothi finds a vigraha of Ganesha just outside the fort door. He asks his soldiers to bring the murti safely inside his tent and takes permission from Narasimha Pallava to consecrate that murti at his village Thiruchenkattankudi. The Murti still exists inside the Utarapatishwaraswamy (Shiva) temple.
I find our history rich and fascinating… the Vatapi Ganesha is 1400 years old. Let that sink in. Its probably a little older than that because it was brought to Thiruchenkattankudi in 642 AD after the battle of Vatapi.
ॐ श्री गणेशाय नमः