Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Aaradhrigam by Swami Vivekananda (Aarathi of Ramakrishna Mutt)

Srimad Bagavata advocates the path of Bakthi through nine kinds viz. Sravana, Keerthana, Smarana, Padasevana, Archana, Vandana, Dhaasya Sakhya and Atmanivedana. Out of these nine modes only Keerthana that eaily captivates the minds of all, since it is in the form of Music. To be perfect, such devotional music should have six aspects viz. Sahitya or good text, Sruthi or background of harmoniously tuned musical instruments, Raga or tune, Laya of rhythm, Tala or beat, Bhaavaa or feeling which is brought while singing or hearing the music. Whereas such perfect music, rendered by one endowed with a sweet and rich voice, can enthrall even animals, there is no gainsaying the fact that it does enrapture the minds of devotees of God.
To effect produced by such devotional music, especially at dawn and dusk, is indescribable. It is precisely due to this reason that the singing of the Suprabhatham early in the mornings and Aratrikam hymns in the evenings has been in vougue in many of the temples and places of worship over the centuries.
After establishing the main monastery of the Ramakrishna Math at Belur, Swami Vivikananda introduced certain rituals which have now become tradition in all the branches, too. One of these is a short worship to Sri Ramakrishna at dusk, followed by waving of lamps and other puja materials before the deity to the accompaniment of music. Swamiji himself composed the text of this song and also set it to music. It has now become well known as the ”KHANDANA BHAVA BHANDANA STOTRA” and is sung all over the world in the monasteries of the Ramakrishna Order, during the evening service.
It is singnificant to note here that nowhere in this hymn has Swamini mentioned Sri Ramakrishna by name. The various adjectives he has used are so general that they can be applied to any incarnation or aspect of God. Yet each one of them fits in admirably with the personality of Sri Ramakrishna. While commenting on these, quotations from the scriptures as also incidents from the life of Sri Ramakrishna have been brought in, wherever possible, to elucidate or support them.
My guru Poojyasri Nadhamuni Narayana Iyengar has taught me this aarathi and we are singing in our bajans from 1960s. I started learning playing of harmonium only when I started accompanying this Aarathy recitation. Smt.Nadhamuni Gayatri Bharat has sung this Arathi. As narrated in the introduction if sung with devotion and dedication, this aarathi to God, no doubt, it can enthrall all.