The Kalpatharu Research Academy, Bangalore is an Institution running with the benign blessings of
His Holiness Jagadguru Shankaracharya, Sri Sri Sri Bharathi Theertha Mahaswamiji under the
auspicious of Dakshinamnaya Sri Sringeri Sharada Peetham, Established in 1981. Kalpatharu Research
Academy has stride across the horizon of Indological Research and Publications with giant steps,
and today stands as an Institution known for its unique quality of Research work. Kalpatharu
Research Academy is dedicated to the cause of preservation of ancient heritage of India; it has
encouraged Research in the fields of Agama, Veda, Tantra, Jyoutisha, Mantra Sastra, Vaastu, Yoga,
Silpa, and Ayurveda etc.
Among its prestigious publications (numbering more than Hundred till now), are Six Volas. of
Pratima-Kosha. Twelve Volas of Agama—Kosha, Three Volas of the Art & Architecture of Indian
Temples, Vastu—Silpa—Kosha in three Volas, Devata—rupa—mala in Four Volas and several Koshas like
Ganesha-Kosha, Lalita—Kosha and Navagraha—Kosha, Oshadhi-Kosha, Salagrama— Kosha, Gita-Kosha,
Hanumat—Kosha, Vanaspathi Kosha etc.
The Academy has plans of undertaking intensive Research in the field of Veda and Vedanga, and
intends publishing a Bharatiya Samskriti-Sarvasva—Koshaa an encyclopedic work in several volumes
dealing with all aspects of Indian Tradition & Culture. It seeks to promote Education, Culture,
and Science, Art and learning in all its branches. The approach will be broad based and multi
An extensive, comprehensive and specialist reference library has been built up to assist the
Research Workers in the Indological disciplines. A valuable collection of Palm Leaf manuscripts
relating to Veda, Vedanta, Vedanga and allied subjects has already been made; the collection work
Dakshinamnaya Sri Sringeri Sharada Peetham has been running a Guru-Kula type of Institution on
traditional lines to impart Vedic Education at several places. Some of these Institutions are over
IOO years old. It is the intention of Kalpatharu Research Academy to take an active part in
continuing this age—old tradition and act as the Research & Publication wing for these
Institutions. Our ambition is to develop as a National Center for higher learning in Veda, Vedanga
and Shastras and facilitate the propagation of unique Sanskrit and Vedic texts in the National and
This Publication is the 119 “of its achievement in this field.
We are extremely happy to present this great work Kriti Sampradaya which highlights the Bhakti and
intense feelings of great kriti composers. The author describes the varied approaches to the
divine in the kritis of these inspired bhakthas.
We thank Smt. Dr. Lalita Ramakrishna for taking—up this great research work for us. She has a
Doctorate in Indian Classical Music from Delhi University and a M.phil in English from C.I.E.E.L.
We are grateful to the revered His Holiness Sri Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji, Jagadguru of
Sringeri Sharada Peetham, who as the chief patron of the Academy showers his blessings on us. We
are also grateful to Shri V.R. Gowrishankar Administrator of the Sringeri Sharada Peetham and
chairman of the Academy.
We are also beholden to the generous Financial Assistance from the Ministry of Human Resources
Development, Department of Education, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and Dept. of Education, Govt. of
We thank the Omkar Offset Printers who have produced this volume neatly and expeditiously.
This book analyses one of the most significant and enduring forms in Karnatak Music.
The title of the book is a reminder that the Krti is a flowering of our samskrti (cultural
tradition). The krti is deeply spiritual and the words in krtis project the images and values of
our culture in a poignant fashion. The krti tradition is only about 250 years old, but it has
established itself firmly in the field of classical music. The krti enjoys prime place in
concerts, because it is a form liked and encouraged by the music loving public.
The first chapter looks at the ‘name’ of this musical form. A ‘Krti’ means "that which is made".
It is a flexible name suited to the nature of the krti which is the most flexible among
precomposed forms in Karnatak music. It can accommodate changes in the future and would still be a
‘kriti’ — a readymade musical item, with certain distinct features. The second chapter looks at
the structure of a krti in detail. Its essential features and other optional decorative angas
(limbs) are enumerated.
The third chapter is a comparison between the krti and other musical forms in Karnatak music. Raga
portrayal in krtis comes in the next chapter. A krti helps in preserving the best features of a
raga for posterity. Raga is not preserved like a specimen in a bottle but in a dynamic vital form.
Raga has to adjust to the requirements of tala and words, and bring out the meaning of the lyric.
The fifth chapter is on the languages used in krtis. Krti brings together Samskrit and all the
four major South Indian languages on one platform. Even Hindi was set in Karnatak ragas for krtis
by Swati Tirunal.
Scenes from mythology and ‘the nama’ (names of the divine) are cultural archetypes. They have the
patina of the ancient and make krtis rich with their images.
Chapter six looks at Tala in krtis which enables them to live for posterity. Tala make ragas
accessible even to the untutored who repeat the popular krtis and imbibe these ragas. Tala is a
paradox. While it restrains the flow of a performer’s raga expression, it enables him to create
endless variations of raga patterns within the boundary of tala.
The seventh chapter is on Manodharma (creativity). A krti gives ample scope for creative
expression in raga and laya. A krti can also be sufficient unto itself. It sounds beautiful even
without creative extemporisation.
The origins of the krti are traced in chapter eight. The Tamizh tradition was strong in rhythm
and mathematics and in rhyme and alliteration. The next five chapters highlight the special
features of the great composers of krtis. The Big Three among them, called the Trinity in music,
set the krti on its course which is a blend of precomposed and extempore, a blend of the past and
The 14th chapter is on the proliferation of the krti made possible by our modern composers and an
eager audience in the last two hundred years. Concert music and the importance of the krti in this
domain is an important area that is analysed in the final chapter.
The Appendix carries explanations on various forms of the Divine, since these are necessary for a
proper understanding of the lyrics in krtis.
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