I had the privilege of dedicating the work to my revered preceptor in music, 'VaggeyakaraRatna' Brahmashri Harinagabhushanam on the occasion of his Shashtyabdi poorti at Masulipatnam in an assembly of musicians and scholars presided over by Hon. Justice T L Venkatrama Iyer. The public of Repalle in Guntur district, where I happened to compose the first part of the book, contributed generously and got a thousand copies of this book printed. I distributed gratuitously these as my humble offering to the GODDESS in the musical world and to certain libraries.
Later on by the force of circumstances, I shifted my residence to Kovvur where I continue to live. During the course of my life certain incidents inspired me to write a few more keertanas in praise of the Deity. I have dedicated the second part of 'DEVI GANA SUDHA' to Hon. Justice L Venkatrama Iyer, a profound musician scholar and critic and I am grateful to him for his having consented for the same. As I am not aspiring for material gains, some of my friends expressed a desire that this work of mine should be dedicated to GOD. As I am of the opinion that God manifests Himself in noble souls, I have dedicated my works to such noble men in whom I perceive divinity personified. I conceive that this aspect of my personality which enables me to perceive divinity in human souls as my greatest achievements in life.
Musicians of Madras are often singing these keertanas in their music recitals in scholarly assemblies. This can only be attributed firstly to the grace of Gayatri and secondly to the regard and interest the Musicians of Madras show for good and even new compositions. To quote instances that reveal their regard are too many. I shall, however cite one or two.. I had once an opportunity to recite some of my renderings to Mrs. D K Pattammal, the well known exponent of carnatic music. She not only requested to be permitted to recite my songs in her programmes and offered some money and fruits as a token of her great regard to my music. I could not oblige her and had to refuse everything but a fruit to satisfy my host as it was against my principles to accept material benefits for anything whatsoever. My host was greatly grieved but I could not help it. On another occasion, I recited some of my keertanas to the late Bangalore Nagarathnam, the great devotee of Thyagaraja. She was overwhelmed to find people of this caliber lived even in these days. Words are quite inadequate to describe her ideas. Thomas Grey could have had some such thoughts when he wrote in his famous elegy :
Some Milton or Cromwell may lie here unseen."
In my boyhood even while I was learning to chant Vedas, I was reciting Gayatri Mantra and thus I spent Brhmacharyasrama. I was really fortunate to have such an opportunity of worshipping the goddess with true devotion in the boyhood itself and consequently to be able to spend the youth of my life in the same sacred way in the devotion of Shri Gayatri. This helped me to attain knowledge and elevate myself as years went on.
At the age of 15, I had the good fortune of being the disciple of great person who was a profound scholar of the Vedas and who has spent his entire life as a Brahmachari reciting her Mantra and maintaining spotless character throughout. With spontaneous affection and interest, the great person ordered me to worship Shri Gayatri Devi without seeking material gains in return, and he initiated me in the worship. He imposed certain restrictions to be observed during my life which ultimately have shaped my present character. He further said that he would consider my strict adherence to those principles as GURU DAKSHINA. With the blessings of my noble GURU, I have been able to stick to my principles in spite of many testing experiences. I trust that the spontaneous affection and interest of my GURU towards me conferred upon me that power to maintain those principles under any trying circumstances. It is while contemplating the qualities of my GURU, I was inspired to write the first Keertana of this second: part "SADGURU CHARANA SARORUHA BHAKTI" in Behag Raga.
I feel it necessary to narrate here the incidents Which inspired me to compose some of the Keertanas that appear in the following pages. One Friday, in the presence of GAYATRI, after completion of Puja the Sanskrit Keertana "DEVI GAYATRI" in Husseni Raga originated spontaneously from me. Some innocent people who saw me performing Devi Puja, pressed me, out of delusion, to initiate them into Gayatri Mantra. In my effort to convince them that GOD cannot be attained by mere learning and recitation of Mantras with a view to gaining material ends and to do so is nothing but a false show put up to deceive the world and GOD and thereby their own selves, the Keertana "OORAKA DORAKUNA UMAPADA SARASIJAMU" in Arabhi Raga originated. I am in the habit of singing devotional songs in solitude while meditating upon the Goddess. At that moment, I experience infinite and inexplicable bliss. On one occasion, when l was in such a mood, some people came in to hear me singing. But they could neither enjoy my music nor grasp the state in which I was. They indulged in some private talk which was a hindrance to my concentration of Nadayoga. I did not proceed with my singing but distributed 'prasadam'. The. above incident is responsible for the writing of the Keertana "YOGA SUKHA VIYOGUNAKU ANURAGAMU ETU JANINCHU" in Athana Raga. Once I was offered through Shri Swaminadha Iyer, the post of a Music instructor in the Carnatic Music School at Koulalampur (Malaya) and was asked to go over there. Although I hesitated in the first instance, I finally accepted the offer. In that connection the Keertana "ONTARIGA VIDESAMULAKANUPAKA NA VENTA RAVALENAMMA came out in Vachaspati Raga while I was meditating before the GODDESS. 'As the subsequent history of this incident is out of place, it is not given here.
As an awakener to those evil people with selfish communal and provincial feelings, the Keertana "KULAMEDAITENEMIRA" in Mandara Raga was sung. One day, when I was going to bathe in the Holy GODAVARI I saw some people weeping over a corpse. I was so moved by the scene and that I lost my mental equilibrium for a moment when the Keertana "EPUDAINA BHINNAMOUDANI KORAKU INTHA MAMATA ETIKE O MANASA" came out spontaneously in Khamaas Raga. Illustrating the INDIAN concept that the importance of body as a means to attain PURUSHARTHAS, I composed the keertana "TANUVE DHARMARDHA KAMA MOKSHAMULARJIMPADAGU SADHANAMU" in Gowla Raga. As a result of the affliction I am subjected to often when I hear the atheists questioning the very existence of GOD, the Keertana "KADANERU JANANI" came out in Bhairavi Raga. I composed the Keertana "SWARAJANITHONKARA NADAKHANDA PANJARAPU CHILUKA NEMARAKA BHAJIMPARA SAPTA" in Arabhi Raga aiming at those who instead of enjoying the elaboration of Swara and Tala in Musical performances, deplore it as far-reaching, tedious and even as a curse on the audience. As an advice to those who lose faith in GOD and become victims of conative tendencies the Keertana "MUNDU VARA LEMAIRO MOHAPASA BADDHULAINA" was composed in Purvi Kalyani Raga. During Navaratri Celebrations, in the course of reciting GAYATRI MAHA MANTRA, the Keertana "HARANARI NAMAKSHARA RUCHI E NARUNAKU DORAKUNO MANASA"' came out in Madhyamavati Raga.
I have no proud possessions in this world; neither landed property nor buildings. I have no desire to acquire them in future. Gayatri is my subsistence, friend, philosopher and guide.
Mysterious are the deeds of the GODDESS who guards her devotees with utmost care, One day I had to perform the Puja as well as cooking. Puja came to a close before the meal was ready. I thought of singing in the presence of Gayatri until the meal was ready. But while I began singing I was engrossed in it and got back to my senses only at 2 o' clock in the afternoon. My wife and children grew hungry but dared not disturb me. At last my baby came to me and asked for food. Then I realised that it was 2 o' clock in the afternoon. I had entirely forgotten the cooking. I stepped into the kitchen and found that the fire in the ovens had gone out. But to my great astonishment I found every item was well cooked. My joy knew no bounds. In that state of exhilaration I sang the Keertana "VINNANAMMA JANANI NI KATHALENNO BHAKTAPANNA RAKSHANI VAINATU" in praise of ANNAPURNA in Manirangu Raga.
At a crucial period in my life, some of my friends refusing to know the truth, had a grudge against me and threatened to force me to act meanly as I did not submit to their whims and fancies. Then I composed the Keertanas NI BHAKTAVARULA KILALO NEECHOCCHA DASA LEKAMUGA DOCHU NAMMA" in Darbar Raga; "KADANAKE SIVA KAMESWARI BHAVA KANANAMUNA GASI DEERPA" in Regupti Raga; VESHADHARUDAINA NARUNI KILALO" in Shankarabharana Raga and' "SAKTI JAGAJJANANI" in Begada Raga. As a result l could tide over the hurdles caused by them without any difficulty. I prayed to Shri KAMAKSHI DEVI expressing my ardent desire to serve the GODDESS during my entire life with Nishkama Bhakti in the Keertana "KAMAKSHI SADA NI PADAPANKAJAMULE GATIYANI NAMMITI NE KANCHI" in Todi Raga. Charity to the deserved elevates one's soul and thereby brings Bhakti, Gnana and Vairagya. God's grace will ultimately reach him. Therefore charity is the foremost duty in one's life as a means to self-realisation. With this idea I composed the Keertana "CHETA KASUNNAPUDE DANA DHARMAMULU CIHESUKORADA OH MANASA" in Maya Malava Gowla Raga.
I do not lay any claims to my originality in my works inasmuch as I was inspired to write and words followed spontaneously. I have no further explanation to offer but state that these are the words of the GODDESS intended for the world and I am fortunate enough to be the medium of communication. I possess no special knowledge, nor any training in writing. But the GODDESS has endowed me with these, to communicate to the world some of her ideas. She has created the atmosphere to spread them and as such I feel I have no more claims to it, than be a mere custodian and so cannot use it to gain material prosperity. I have tried in my humble way to state some of the circumstances that inspired me to write these songs. It might perhaps sound a little egoistic. But I humbly submit that such thoughts are far from my, mind and I have endeavoured my best so as to be frank enough to make my narrative lucid.
I am highly indebted to two persons whose co-operation helped me to attain this unusual position in my life and bring ,out these two works. One is my wife. who, though not well-educated, wholeheartedly participated in my devotion to SRI GAYATRI DEVI. There were instances when I myself was struck with wonder at her patience, contentment, and devoted service. She despises material prosperity and she has always been a true companion to me in attaining my spiritual objective of my life. She was never jealous of riches. She is satisfied with what little I earn. The other is my disciple Chy. Dharwada Hanumantha Rao. I feel I am fortunate in having such a devoted disciple. He is God fearing and simple. His lofty ideals are reflected in his exemplary character. I wish him long life and all prosperity by the grace of the GODDESS GAYATRI.
Before I conclude, I am bound in duty to offer my best thanks to Prof. P. Samba Murthy, Head of the Department of Music, University of Madras, and to Shri Vinjamuri Varadaraja Ayyangar, Producer Carnatic Music, All India Radio, Hyderabad; for having kindly written forewords to my book. My sincere thanks are also due to those musicians and scholars who have kindly sent their valuable opinions on the second book with their good wishes which are included in the following pages. I am thankful to all my friends who have contributed generously to meet the cost of printing and publication of the Book. May the GODDESS GAYATRI bless them with long life, health and prosperity.
(Sd) Ogirala Veera Raghava Sarma.