His Holiness and Sri Lalita Geetha Narayanam
Smt. Kalakkad R. Seethalakshmi
Sri Kalakkad S. Ramanarayan Iyer's association with the Paramacharya is noteworthy. Acharya appreciated Sri Ramanarayan Iyer's setting Sri Lalita Sahasranama-stotra to music with the title Lalita Geetha-Narayanam and honoured him many a time with shawls, golden bracelets etc. Here as a disciple and daughter of Sri Ramanarayan Iyer, I would like to mention a few memorable occasions when I like to mention a few memorable occasions when His Holiness Paramacharya showered His blessings on my father.
An intense devotion to the Mother of the Universe is the basis of Naryanan Iyer's musical imagination. Before he set out to set the music, he wanted to comprehend the subtle meanings in the Lalitha Sahasranama. The 38 Kirtanas like a well-cut diamond with several facets was the happy result.
The first clue that dawned on him was the striking identity of Sree Vidyopasana and Nadopasana (Nada bindu, Kalaa and the beyond). The Rasmimaala of Sri Vidya of Kula Tantra has 38 manthras with Uchishta Maha Guru Paduka.
So he had to await the manifestation of the format 4 and 38 as a rare combination.
He waited on the muse with reverence so that each formation revealed all the depths and heights.
He proceeded step by step, listened to the subtle limitations and noted them down as they came.
Who else but the Paramacharya, Siva incarnate, could be the authority to bless this work of my father? In His compassion that asks nothing in return He blessed my father with a Samandhi-maala. This was indeed a very great honour. My father was overwhelmed and said "I have not done anything other than being an instrument to his creation and I have today surrendered everything at the Lotus feet of Paramacharya from where it emerged."
As the musical rendering was being dedicated to the Paramacharya, he saw the action of the Viswa Kundalini active in the audience through different subtle nervous centers on higher and higher levels of its force. The word was revealing itself in its wave forms with a spell of ecstatic sound - wave dance with its graduations of its expressive powers of truth and vision.
As the Lalita Sahasranama was being rendered before His Holiness the singer was not aware of what was happening around him. Paramacharya alone was aware and knew that the original musical form of the Lalitha Sahasranama was flowing out in mellifluous notes.
In 1965, one of the disciples of my father, who was then recently married, went to Kanchi with her parents and her husband to have the darshan of the Paramacharya. Her father after darshan told Paramacharya that her daughter could sing Lalita Sahasranama. Paramacharya asked her to sing and listened for three hours and asked who gave this to her. Then He smiled and said "Tell your Guru that I have heard it in full. He will understand my message".
Later my father had the good fortune to sing for the second time at the Sanskrit College before the Paramacharya Himself. The Paramacharya sent word that He would like to meet my father before the performance. When my father reached the College much before the schedules time, he was informed about this. When he hurried to the place where Sri Acharya was staying, He was about to leave for performing His religious duties. Yet He ordered Kalakkad to sit near Him and referred to the rendering of Lalita Sahasranama Kirtanam. At that time He asked "Did your disciple tell you that I heard it in full without leaving a single akshara unnoticed?" Sri Acharya corrected her while singing, a long word as short one. Such was His observation even in the midst of His other work. Within that short duration, Kalakkad had the opportunity of expressing his views about a particular Kirtana "Maha Kailasa" embodying Kanchi Kshetram which was very well appreciated by Sri Acharya. That was indeed a great event in Sri Kalakkad's life. It was a rendering with the Divine Mother Herself incarnate in Paramacharya.
Further, Sri Kalakkad visited Sri Kalahasti during Chaturmasya where many prominent scholars in Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Music were present. In that sadas Jagadguru made Sri Kalakkad to render Sri Lalitha Geetha Narayanam. While he was rendering the particular Naama "Vakthralakshmi pareevahascalan meenabhalochana "he asked him to stop at that place and made an elaboration about the appropriateness of the Raga "Aarabhi" in which it was rendered and explained that Naama in great detail in Sanskrit for more than an hour. Later He asked him to continue the rendering till 5 Kirtanas were over and honoured Kalakkad with a shawl in appreciation.
On another occasion, Sri Acharya ordered two of the ardent devotees of the Math, Mr. Ramakrishnan and Mr. Kumar to learn Lalita Geetha Narayanam from Kalakkad. After completion of learning, When they asked Acharya where the maiden performance was to given, Sri Acharya said "You go and do it at your Guru's place. There the same "Kamakshi" is present". He also explained the procedure of doing it by assigning one "Suvasini" for each Keertanam after lighting "agal vilakku" (earthen lamps) and offering them with "Muravayanam" consisting of Sowbhagya Dravyams representing 38 Kala Devatas for "38 Keerthanams."
Sri Acharya also ordered them to sing along with their Guru before Him at Kanchi after the maiden performance. At that time, Sri Acharya Himself started singing that Naama in the same tune by saying "Don't think that I don't know how to sing". He also tested each of them separately while singing.
Recently with the blessings of the Jagadguru Dr. Prof. M.K. Thangavelen, present Trustee of Sri Arunachaleswar Temple, present Trustee of Sri Arunachaleswar Temple, South Arcot District, and Tamil scholar, made a transcreation of Sri Lalita Sahasranama in Tamil titled "Sakthi Charanam Aayiram." It is the divine will of Paramacharya and a pleasant coincidence that even for this work Sri Kalakkad set the music in different Ragas and Talas.
We owe our deep debt of gratitude to Paramacharya for this benign grace of blessing the Lalitha Geetha Narayanam to enable us to inherit an ancient power-base to be transmitted to our generation and posterity.