--> Skip to main content

Akalanka Govindacharya – Author Of Sangraha Chudamani

Akalanka Govindacharya is the author of Sangraha Chudamani, a treatise on Carnatic music in Sanskrit. This 19th century treatise is also named Sangita Shastra Samkshepa by the author himself, but in the colophon it is mentioned as Sangraha Chudamani. The author calls himself Govinda, but later writers refer to him as Govindacharya to avoid confusion with Govinda Dikshitar.

It was known for a long time that a certain work called Sangraha Cudamani, written by Govinda, was in the possession of Manambucavadi Venkatasubbayyar, an immediate disciple of Tyagaraja, and copied by Maha Vaidyanatha Iyer and Patnam Subramania Iyer for their personal reference.

Sangraha Chudamani was printed by the Adyar Library, Madras, in 1938 in Devanagari script copied from a Telugu manuscript. The work is in perfect accord with the modern music in the Carnatic style. For the first time, we come across the modern nomenclature for the 72 melas, i.e. Kanakangi, Ratnangi. The 22 shrutis have been distributed over the seven swaras. The changeless notes, sadaja and pancama, have been assigned one Shruti each and the remaining ten swarasthanas two shrutis each. This makes the total of 22 shrutis.

Govinda’s melas are all sampurna-sampuranas and they rightly superseded the earlier and confusing asampurna melas. Govinda seems to have formulated a system of melakartas, based on the identical principles of Vekatamakhin, spelt out in his Chaturandi Prakasika. The first three chapters of the Sangraha Chudamani deal with the theory of music and these are followed by the 366 lakshanas. Govinda appears to be a staunch devotee of Bhagavan Sri Rama as each lakshanas gita ends with the words: “Sri Rama Namo Namo”. Strangely enough, Govinda quotes a Shloka from Gopala Vimasati of Vedanta Desika in the first chapter. It is no exaggeration to say that the present day Carnatic music is based on the Sangraha Chudamani of Govinda.

Source – 
A Dictionary of South Indian Music and Musicians (1959) P Sambamoorthy – The Indian Music Publishing House, Chennai.
Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume IV page 345 – IHRF – 2011