Bhaja Govindam

Adi ShankaracharyaIt was more than a month ago. I had a call from an old friend in Dubai. ‘Suja, Ravi here. It’s bad news. Gautam is no more’. My mind went blank for a few minutes, I could not quite come to grips with the explanations that followed.

Through the next few days I learnt of more details. I struggled with my emotions, seemingly having lost control of my tear ducts which welled up during the most mundane activities in my life. My husband and I met Gautam in 1985 when we were all very young. There were times when we saw a lot of each other, there were times when we hardly met. Yet he was there. And now he was no more. He was only 53. Father to two beloved  sons, husband to a now desolate wife, he died alone in a hotel room while on a business trip in Singapore. I have taken it harder than I would have thought; after all, we did not live in each other’s pockets. Yet with him gone, I feel as if I have lost a part of the history of my life for he was very much part of it.

Two weeks back I flew into Australia. For those who are newcomers to my blog, my husband and I live in Switzerland, my two grown children live and work in Australia. Trying to live in perpetual summer, I almost always visit Australia in Dec-Jan. Meeting mutual friends of Gautam here was a heart-rending experience as we relived shared moments of our lives.

I tried to write this post a couple of weeks back but grief overcame me and I could not write sensibly at all. But even then a couple of verses from Bhaja Govindam kept running as a refrain in my head –  पुनरपि जननं पुनरपि मरणं पुनरपि जननी जठरे शयनम् – Once again birth, once again death, once again lying down in the womb of a mother. How fragile life is, how uncertain. One day a man goes to work and the next day he is no more. It seems so unbelievable! Adi Shankaracharya (788-820?) advises us to worship Govinda, pointing out to us fools ‘मूढमते’,  the illusory nature of life on earth. I have heard this sung hundreds of times, I have myself recited it many times, but today I have finally come to grips with Shankaracharya’s verses.

Listen below to M.S.Subbulakshmi sing the version she made famous. She sings only 10 out of the 31 verses. See footnote for my translation of the verses which are sung. If you are interested, the words of the complete version can be found easily online.

 


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Sanskrit

Note: I am giving below only the verses sung in M.S.Subbulakshmi’s rendition, with the actual verse number in the full version for reference.

Raga : Yamuna Kalyani

भज गोविन्दं भज गोविन्दं गोविन्दं भज मूढमते ।
संप्राप्ते सन्निहिते काले नहि नहि रक्षति डुकृञ् करणे ॥ १ ॥

bhaja gOvindam, bhaja gOvindam, gOvindam bhaja mUDHamatE samprAptE sannihitE kAlE nahi nahi rakshati DukR.nkaraNE   ॥ 1 ॥

Worship (bhaja) Govinda, worship Govinda, worship Govinda, Oh fool (mUDHamatE)! On reaching (sampraptE) close to (sannihitE) the appointed time of death (kAlE, time, implies time of death), grammatical formulae (DukR.nkaranE) will not save you (nahi nahi rakshati).

Raga : Brindavana Saranga

मूढ जहीहि धनागमतृष्णां कुरु सद्बुद्धिं मनसि वितृष्णाम् ।
यल्लभसे निज कर्मोपात्तं वित्तं तेन विनोदय चित्तम् ॥ २ ॥

mUDHa jahIhi dhanAgamatRshNAm kuru sadbuddhim manasi vitRshNAm
yallabhasE nija karmOpAttam vittam tEna vinOdaya chittam ॥ २ ॥

O Fool (mUDHa)! Abandon (jahI, verb jahita) the desire (tRshNA) for the acquisition (Agama) of wealth (dhana) now (iha)! In a mind without desire (manasi vitRshNAm), comprehend (kuru buddhim) the Truth (sat). That (yat) that you obtain (labhasE) as your own (nija) work’s (karma) gain (upAttam), delight (vinodaya) your mind (chittam) with that (tEna) wealth (vittam).

Raga: Pantuvarali

यावद्वित्तोपार्जन सक्तः तावन्निज परिवारो रक्तः ।
पश्चाज्जीवति जर्जर देहे वार्तां कोऽपि न पृच्छति गेहे ॥ 4 ॥

yAvadvittOpArjana saktah tAvannija parivArO raktah
paschAjjIvati jarjara dEhE vArtAm kO’pi na pRchCHati gEhE ॥ ५ ॥

As long as (yAvat) one is engaged in (saktah) earning (upArjana) wealth (vitta), till that time (tAvat) one’s own (nija) family (parivAra) remains attached (raktah) (implied: to you). Later (pashchAt) while one lives on (jIvati) in a decrepit/aged (jarjara) body (dEha), no one (kah api) in the house (gEha) inquires (pRchCHa) of one’s news (vArtA).

Raga : Bageshri

मा कुरु धन जन यौवन गर्वं हरति निमेषात्कालः सर्वम् ।
मायामयमिदमखिलं हित्वा ब्रह्मपदं त्वं प्रविश विदित्वा ॥ 11 ॥

mA kutu dhana jana yauvana garvam harati nimEshAtkAlah sarvam
mAyAmaymidamakhilam hitvA brahmapadam tvam pravisha viditvA ॥ ११ ॥

Do not be (ma kuru = do not do) proud (garva) of wealth (dhana), tribe (jana) or youth (yauvana). Time (kAla) can take away (harati) everything (sarva) in a moment (nimEsha)! Abandoning (hitvA) this (idam)  illusory (mAyamayam) universe (akhilam), with realisation (viditvA), you (tvam) should (implied) resort to (pravisham) the place of Brahma (brahmapadam).

Raga : Behag

सुर मंदिर तरु मूल निवासः शय्या भूतल मजिनं वासः ।
सर्व परिग्रह भोग त्यागः कस्य सुखं न करोति विरागः ॥ 18 ॥

sura mandira taru mUla nivAsah shayyA bhUtala majinam vAsah
sarva parigraha bhOga tyAgah kasya sukham na karOti virAgah ॥ १८ ॥

Dwell (nivAsa) in the temple (mandira) of Gods (sura), in the roots (mUla) of trees (taru). Live with the earth (bhUtala) as bed (shayyA). (I could not find the word  मजिनं in any dictionary). Renounce (tyAga) the claim on (parigraha) all (sarva) possessions/enjoyment (bhOga). Who (kasya) will not be (na karOti) happy (sukha) with such indifference to worldly things (virAga)?

Raga : Nadanamakriya

भगवद् गीता किञ्चिदधीता गङ्गा जल लव कणिका पीता ।
सकृदपि येन मुरारि समर्चा क्रियते तस्य यमेन न चर्चा ॥ २० ॥

bhagavad gItA kinchidaDHItA gangA jala lava kaNikA pItA
sakRdapi yEna murAri samarchA kriyatE tasya yamEna na charchA ॥ 20 ॥

Yama (Lord of Death) does not argue (kriyatE na charchA) with one who has read (adhITa) a little bit (kinchit) of the Bhagavat Gita, sipped (pIta) even a drop (kaNikA) of a bit of (lava) of water (jala) of the Ganges (gangA), by whom (yEna) Lord Krishna (murAri) has been worshipped (samarcha) even (api) once (sakRt).

Raga : Kapi

पुनरपि जननं पुनरपि मरणं पुनरपि जननी जठरे शयनम् ।
इह संसारे बहुदुस्तारे कृपयाऽपारे पाहि मुरारे ॥ २१ ॥

punarapi jananam punarapi maraNam punarapi jananI jaTHarE shayanam
iha sa.msArE bahudustArE kRpayA’pArE pAhi murArE ॥ 21 ॥

Once again (punarapi) birth (jananam), once again (punarapi) death (maraNam), once again (punarapi) lying down (shayanam) in the womb (jaTHara) of a mother (jananI)….in this (iha) world (sa.msArE) which is so much (bahu) difficult to endure (dustAra), with boundless (apAra) compassion (kRpA), protect me (pAhi) O Krishna (murArE) !

Raga : Mohanam

गेयं गीता नाम सहस्रं ध्येयं श्रीपति रूपमजस्रम् ।
नेयं सज्जन सङ्गे चित्तं देयं दीनजनाय च वित्तम् ॥ २७ ॥

gEyam gItA nAma sahasram dhyEyam shrIpati rUpamajasram
nEyam sajjan sa.ngE chittam dEyam dInajanAya cha vittam ॥27॥

That which ought to be sung (gEyam) is the Gita and the thousand (sahasram) names of the Lord (nAma). That which ought to be meditated on (dhyEyam) endlessly (ajasram) is the form (rUpam) of Vishnu, the consort of Lakshmi (shrIpati). That to which the mind (chittam) ought to be led to (nEyam) is the company (sa.ngam) of virtuous people (sajjana). That which ought to be given (dEyam) is the wealth (vittam) to the wretched (dIna) people (jana).

Raga : Senjurutti

अर्थमनर्थं भावय नित्यं नास्ति ततः सुखलेशः सत्यम् ।
पुत्रादपि धन भाजां भीतिः सर्वत्रैषा विहिता रीतिः ॥ २९ ॥

arTHamanarTHam bhAvaya nityam nAsti tatah sukhalEshah satyam
putrAdapi dhana bhAjAm bhItih sarvatraishA vihitA rItih ॥ 29॥

There is no (na asti) true (satyam) divine (Esha) joy (sukha) resulting from (tatah) wealth (artha) on which one thinks of (bhAvaya) all the time (nityam) uselessly (anartha).  One fears (bhIti) sharing (bhAja) wealth (dhana) even (api) with one’s son (putrAt)! This (EshA) practice (rIti) is followed (vihita) everywhere (sarvatra).

Raga : Sindhu Bhairavi

गुरुचरणाम्बुज निर्भर भक्तः संसारादचिराद्भव मुक्तः ।
सेन्द्रियमानस नियमादेवं द्रक्ष्यसि निज हृदयस्थं देवम् ॥ ३१ ॥

gurucharaNambuja nirbhara bhaktah sa.msArAdachirAdbhava muktah
sEndriyamAnasa niyamAdEvam drashyasi nija hRdayastham dEvam
॥ 31 ॥

The devotee (bhakta) who relies on (nirbhara) on the lotus-feet (charaNa ambuja) of the Guru is soon (achirat) liberated (mukta) from being (bhava) in this cycle of worldly existence (sa.msAra). Indeed (Eva), with restraint/control (niyamat) of his senses (indriya) with (sa) his mind (mAnasa), he sees (drashyasi) the God (dEva) who is in his own (nija) heart (hRdayasTHa).

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Ab Ke Baras Bhej

Ab Ke Baras BhejDo we live in a society where isolation and alienation is rife? This in spite of the innumerable ways that one is ‘connected’ ?  I look at the world busily and constantly ‘communicating’ around me and wonder if it really does make people feel connected! Perhaps it is just me, but all this communication rushes over me like water over a duck’s back. I remain untouched. Isolated. At times even alienated.

My thoughts are triggered by a recent message I received from a batch mate from school. He invited me to join a whatsapp chat group that he is forming. I promptly declined. You see, a few years ago I had joined an email group of school mates,  foolishly expecting a meeting of minds. Instead, most of the mails were just re-distribution of junk mail. The communication on most social media sites follows the same pattern. People call themselves ‘friends’ but seem content to remain the most superficial of acquaintances. Is it only me who clings to the old fashioned meaning of a ‘friend’? 

What happened to conversations where one talked of everything with mates, from the very personal to the very public? What happened to sharing of real feelings and emotions? What happened to ‘adda’ sessions when one talked of nothing but felt so connected nonetheless? I honestly don’t remember when I last had a conversation which left me intellectually or emotionally stimulated. What happened to me? Why cannot I not connect with anyone anymore?

In comparison, my husband has a much more nourishing circle of friends. His mates from university are not only in touch on a daily basis via various media, but they talk on the phone and even get together every couple of years. This is not as easy a matter as you may think as his friends are spread around the globe. From what I have observed, they have somehow managed to hold on to a connection which goes beyond the superficial. I am envious! So today’s post is in honour of his friends, especially his ‘Pal’ who I hold in great esteem, and who says he misses my features on Hindi film music.

My song choice of today is a perfect little gem from the Hindi film Bandini (1963). Composed by S.D.Burman with lyrics by Shailendra, it is sung by Asha Bhosle. It is a song from another time when women married and left home, sometimes without being able to go back for years. But even in today’s time of facetime calls and whatsapp chats, it strikes a chord. The song talks of the longing for family, of the sadness for innocence lost, of the grief for a time that will come no more, of the need for re-connection. But under it all, it is a song of alienation. It is a song for all who struggle with the changing roles that life throws on them.

Asha is perfection in this song. Listen to the oh so gently done vibrato over the word ‘talE’, the almost abrupt enunciation of ‘chalkE’ in contrast to the wringing of the word ‘kaskE’, the lovely transition to the next phrase in the word ‘churAyI’…what singing! And while you are about it, look at Nutan’s swan neck and perfect profile..a timeless beauty!


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Hindi

अब के बरस भेज भैया को बाबुल सावन में लीजो बुलाय रे
लौटेंगी जब मेरे बचपन की सखियाँ दीजो संदेशा भिजाय रे  ||

अम्बुआ तले फिर से झूले पड़ेंगी रिम-झिम पड़ेंगी फुहारें
लौटेंगी फिर तेरे आंगन में बाबुल सावन की ठंडी बहारें
छलके नयन मोरा कसके रे जियरा बचपन की जब याद आये रे ||

बैरन जवानी ने छीने खिलोने और मेरी गुड़िया चुराई
बाबुल थी मैं तेरे नाजों की पाली फिर क्यों हुई मैं पराई
बीते रे जुग कोई चिट्ठिया ना पाती ना कोई नैहर से आये रे ||

Transliteration

ab kE baras bhEj bhaiyA kO bAbul sAvan mE.n lIjO bulAy rE
lauTE.ngI jab mErE bachpan kI sakhiyA.n dIjO sandEshA bhijAy rE

ambuA talE phir sE jhUlE paDE.ngI rim jhim paDE.ngI phuhArE.n
lauTE.ngI phir tErE A.ngan mE.n bAbul sAvan kI THanDI bahArE.n
chalkE nayan mOrA kaskE rE jiyarA bachpan kI jab yAd AyE rE

bairan javAnI nE chInE khilOnE aur mErI guDiyA churAyI
bAbul thI mai.n tErE nAjO.n kI pAlI phir kyO.n huI mai.n parAyI
bItE rE jug kOI chiTTHiyA nA pAtI nA kOI naihar sE AyE rE

Translation

O Father (bAbul), do send (bhEj) my brother (bhaiyA) to fetch me (lIjO bulAy) this year (ab kE baras) during monsoon (sAvan mE.n) . When (jab) my childhood (bachpan) friends (sakhiyA.n) return (lautE.ngI), do send (dIjO bhijAy) news (sandEshA).

Swings (jhUlE) will be set up under (talE paDE.ngI) the mango trees (ambuA) while light showers (phuhAr) will fall (rim jhim paDE.ngI). The cool (THanDI) breeze (bahArE.n) of monsoon (sAvan) will return (lauTE.ngI) again (phir sE) to your (tErE) courtyard (A.ngan), father (bAbul). My eyes (nayan) spill over (chalkE) by the squeeze (kaskE) of my heart (jiyarA) when (jab) I remember (yAd AyE) my childhood (bachpan).

Youth (javAnI), my enemy (bairan), snatched away (chInE) my toys (khilOnE) and (aur) stole (churAyI) my dolls (guDiyA). Father (bAbul), I was brought up tenderly (nAjO kI pAlI) by you (tErE), why then (phir kyO.n) have I become (huI mai.n) an outsider (parAyI)? Ages (jug) have passed (bItE) without my receiving any letter (chiTTHiyA nA pAtI), nor has anyone (nA kOI) come (AyE) from my natal home (naihar sE).

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Tatvamariya Tarama

GaneshaToday my thoughts are running to a war that millions of people wage with themselves; a secret war, unspoken of, which every one of us has faced at one time or the other. I am speaking of our battles against a sense of inadequacy. Falling short of other people’s expectations is bad enough but when we fall short of our own standards, that is really difficult to deal with. The nature of such failure is that it can be seldom talked about openly; it lies dormant, a dirty secret which poisons our thoughts and behaviour in innumerable ways.

Take the inadequacy that millions feel regarding the way they look. Shallow, perhaps. but so very core to the sense of ‘I’ in all of us. I consider myself to be not at all superficial, but I can’t remember a day in my adult life when I have not worried about my rather plump form and ways to shed the ever-increasing excess weight. I doubt if I am alone in this. When this sense of inadequacy blows out of proportion, it leads to problems like bulimia or anorexia, self-mutilation, seeking the plastic surgeon’s scalpel etc. Most people however just learn to live with this feeling of inadequacy.

The same sense of being suboptimal regarding one’s financial, social or academic status is, no doubt, equally prevalent. I guess a certain level of insecurity acts as an incentive to work harder, to strive and achieve. But is it not also the seed which turns some others into crooked ways, be it cheating or bribery, embezzlement or plain thievery? The same sense of inadequacy turns some into snobs and others into sycophants, some into bullies and other into the bullied.

What about moral inadequacy? How many of us tell ourselves that we are not ‘good’ enough? How many constantly bring up their old wrongdoings in their mind, never forgiving themselves for their own slips?

Let me present an imagined scale of human morality Morality Scaleas a bell curve. At the bottom end, section 1 is filled with the pits of humanity, from ethnic cleansers like Hitler, pillagers like Attila the Hun, murderers, violent dacoits, rapists, child molesters, torturers and all those who thrive on violence. Section 2 is more populous, made of non-violent criminals, bribe takers, dirty and greedy politicians, con artists and such. Section 3 is the most populous with ordinary people who are saddled with the common human weaknesses such as greed, selfishness, envy, anger and laziness. All these weaknesses are still capable of harming others. Section 4 are the ones who have controlled these weaknesses to a large extent and also strive to help others, are thoughtful, charitable, forgiving, ethical, moral. Section 5 are those who devote themselves to the betterment of humanity in any way they can, either through charitable work, intellectual and creative endeavours or devotion to God. Where do you stand on the scale? I ask myself this question when a sense of moral inadequacy overtakes me. And I tell myself, ‘Average+ is ok! There is hope!’. But the truth is, I think I was a better human being at 10 than I am 55. So was this life a waste? sigh!

So you see, I am in perfect sympathy with Papanasam Sivan when he writes ‘Am I worthy of understanding your reality?’. Calling himself a hard hearted villain and saying that he has no Satvik qualities seems a bit harsh though. Seems to me that he is suffering from a bout of moral inadequacy! He seems to forget what our scriptures and epics say again and again – that it is possible for the basest of beings to achieve the grace of God. Think of Valmiki, surely he belonged to the bottom pile of my bell-curve before he redeemed himself? Whatever the sense of inadequacy we all battle with, we are ALL still in the running for God’s forgiveness and grace, and with that, the understanding of His truth. See footnote for lyrics and translation.

To present this wonderful song in Raga Ritigowla, I have selected two renditions for you to listen to. The first is by Trichur Ramachandran whose unique voice adds even more beauty to Ritigowla.

Alternate Link : Click here

The second is by O.S.Thyagarajan. I noticed that I had not featured this illustrious artist so far, a sad oversight on my part. So here he is.

Alternate Link : Click here and download song number 2 (needs free membership to Sangeethamshare.org)

 


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Tamil

பல்லவி
தத்வமரிய தரமா (நின் )
மூலாதார கணபதே சுரபதே உனது

அனுபல்லவி
சத்வ குணமும் ஜீவ தயையும் ஞானமும்
சற்றும் இல்லாத  கிராதனுக்கு உனது

சரணம்
மதுர பரிபூர்ண மோதக கரனே
மகா விக்ன வன குடார வரனே
நிதியோன்பதும் அன்பர்க்கருள் பரனே
நிகில சராசர பீஜான்குரனே
மதிசேகரன் மகனே சுமுகனே
மத வாரண  முகனே
சுருதி  முடி  உணர்வருள் சித்பரனே*
குக சோதரனே  ராமதாசனக்குனது

* uncertain about this line

Transliteration

Note : For some Sanskrit words are used, I have preferred to transliterate them in their original Sanskrit pronunciation rather than the Tamil one in common usage!

pallavi
tatvamariya taramA (nin)
mUlAdhAra gaNapatE surapatE unadu

anupallavi
satva guNamum jIva dayaiyum jñAnamum
saTTRum illAda kirAdanukku unadu

charaNam
madhura paripUrNa mOdaka karanE
mahA vighna vana kuTHAra varanE
nidhiyonbadum anbarkkaruL paranE
nikhila charAchara bIjAnkuranE
madishEkharan maganE sumuganE
madavAraNa muganE
shruti muDi uNarvaruL chitparanE
guha sOdaranE rAmadAsanukkunadu

Translation

Am I worthy (taramA) of understanding (ariya)  your (nin)  truth / reality (tatvam)? Oh Lord of the Ganas (gaNa patE), Lord of the Suras (sura patE), O Lord of the Mooladhara chakra (or the support (AdhAra) for the origin (mUla)), your (unadu) truth (continuation meaning from first line).

Is this hard-hearted villain (kirAtan)  who is totally without (chaTRum illAda) Satvik qualities (satva guNam), compassion (dayA) for other (implied) beings (jIva) and higher knowledge (jñAna) worthy of understanding your truth (from pallavi)?

O one who holds (karanE) the Modaka sweetmeat which is saturated (paripUrNa) with sweetness (madhura)! O the excellent (varanE) wielder (implied) of the axe (kuTHAra) against (implied) the great (mahA) forest (vana) of obstacles (vighna)! O God (paranE) who blesses (aruL) his devotees (aNbar) with the nine (onbadu) treasures (nidhi) (this refers to the nine treasures of Kubera)! O Seed and Sprout (bIjAnkura) of the entire (nikhila) world (charAchara, literally that which moves (chara) and that which does not (achara))! O son (maganE) of Shiva (madishEkhara)! O benign one (sumuganE) ! O one with the face (muganE) of a proud (mada) elephant (vAraNa)! O Supreme Spirit (chitparanE) who blesses with the realisation of (uNar varRuL) the last sound (shruti muDi) (I am uncertain about shruti muDi). O brother (sOdaranE) of Guha! Is this (implied) RamadAsan (signature) worthy of understanding (implied from pallavi) your (unadu) truth/reality (from pallavi).

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Filed under Artist, Carnatic Music, Compositions in Tamil, O.S.Thyararajan, Papanasam Sivan, Trichur V.Ramachandran

Last Night

Az YetIt was 1996. What a whirlwind my life was in those days! I used to work full time in a demanding field. My children were still young at 10 and 6. It used to feel as if I was always under pressure for time! I would wake early, get prepared for the day, wake and get my children ready for school, get them to before-school-care, get to work before 8 am, rush around all day, pick them up from after-school-care, cook dinner while listening to my children’s stories, get them fed, bathed and in bed before 9pm, clean the dishes and do odd chores before collapsing for the day.

Weekends were equally rushed but in another way. While my husband busied himself in chauffeuring the kids from one sports practice to another, I would clean the house, wash the clothes, go to the grocery store, pay the bills and handle the endless tasks that a household produces. And then there was socialising to do and outings for the kids as well.

I had no time for music.

Sunday mornings were the sole oasis of calm in those years which rushed headlong into each other. The children loved to watch the musical hits countdown show on television while their father or I made some special breakfast for them. Those couple of hours were the only time I heard any music in those days.

So there I was that Sunday morning in 1996, happily mixing my pancake batter, doing a nice little dance move in time to the music while singing loudly along with a song by Az Yet when the sound of the TV was abruptly put off. My two children stood frowningly in front of me.

You can’t sing that song!’ My 1o-year old daughter told me in stern tones.

Why, what happened?’ Puzzled, I looked at both their serious faces. She hesitated, not finding the right words. Then her face cleared.

You probably don’t understand!’ she said kindly ‘but the words are Adults-Only!’. Her six year old brother nodded sagely. ‘This is not for mummies!!’.

Having said her piece, she nodded firmly, and my two guardians-of-decent-motherhood went back to watching their show!

Remembering this incident today, I giggled to myself and went searching in YouTube for the song. How well the young men sing, especially Babyface! What voices! I hesitated over presenting it thinking that my fellow Carnatic Music lovers may not find this much to their taste. But I have such warm associations with this song that it definitely has a place in this blog which I have titled ‘Music to my ears’. It is no doubt a far cry from the deeply spiritual Dikshithar kritis that I presented for Navaratri. But do join me in a little change today.

And yes, I do have an important point to make in presenting this song. Music does not stand in isolation in our lives but instead it weaves a pattern into it. Do you remember your mother’s humming in the kitchen? The treble of your young child’s first nursery rhyme? The song which you listened to while you dreamed of your beloved? All that music, I believe, is as important to our souls as the most deep and meaningful music written by the greatest of composers.

So here are Az Yet with Last Night. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Last Night,
you were so into it,
you told me secrets that
you’ve never told a soul.
You were so nervous and
yet oh so comfortable
as we explored your image of love.
I drank your wine
as you taste mine.
I kissed your lips,
you felt my body slip
into your soul.
I almost cried ‘cause it was so beautiful.

Last night
I was inside of you.
Last night
while making love to you,
I saw the sun, the moon,
the mountains and the rivers,
I saw heaven when I made sweet love to you.

Last night
there was no planning it.
It was so special and
so very innocent.
We talked of memories,
our favourite fantasies,
as we explored our visions of love.
Deep in the night,
right by the fireside,
You felt my candlelight
in your soul.
You felt incredible
I started to explode.
I almost cried ‘cause it was so beautiful.

Sunlight, red roses,
the scent of you, it calms the heart
The sight of you, I fall apart
Moonlight, the things we notice
When we’re in love, that’s when it comes
And I’m so, I’m so in love.

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Sri Kamalamba Jayati

Sri Yantra 9Durga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Navami everybody! These nine days have flown past, haven’t they? This Navaratri I have been featuring Dikshithar’s Navavarana kritis. It has been an intense nine days for me, reading about the philosophy, examining the ideas behind it and charting my own take-homes. Today we have arrived at the culmination point, the kriti dedicated to the ninth Avarana, सर्व आनन्दमय चक्र Sarva Anandamaya Chakra (Suffused with Complete Bliss). The presiding deity is Tripurasundari. Here reside Shiva and Shakti, unified as one and are represented by a bindu (dot). This bindu represents the sum total of all possibilities of the Universe. 

In this celebratory kriti, Dikshithar says प्रीति युक्त मत् चित्तं विलयतु  ‘Intent upon Her love, let my mind dissolve’. If you have reached this stage of the Sri Yantra upasana, there is no more philosophy, no more logic, no more ritual, nothing but the merging of your mind into the absolute. So let us immerse ourselves in our own musical upasana as we let our minds seek Kamalamba.

This kriti is set to the deeply meditative raga Ahiri, perfect for quieting our minds. It is beautifully presented to us today by Sumithra Vasudev (from 7:16). What a lovely song, and what a lovely way to finish this series! May the Goddesses be with you!



Footnote (Lyrics) :

पल्लवि
श्री कमलाम्बा जयति अम्बा
श्री कमलाम्बा जयति जगदम्बा
श्री कमलाम्बा जयति शृङ्गार रस कदम्बा मदम्बा
श्री कमलाम्बा जयतिचिद्बिम्ब प्रतिबिम्बेन्दु बिम्बा
श्री कमलाम्बा जयति
(मध्यम काल साहित्यम्)
श्री पुर बिन्दु मध्यस्थ चिन्तामणि मन्दिरस्थ 
शिवाकार मञ्च स्थित शिव कामेशाङ्कस्था

अनुपल्लवि
सूकराननाद्यर्चित महा त्रिपुर सुन्दरीं
राज राजेश्वरीं श्री-कर सर्वानन्द-मय -
चक्र वासिनीं सुवासिनीं चिन्तयेऽहम्
(मध्यम काल साहित्यम्)
दिवाकर शीत किरण पावकादि विकास-करया
भी-कर ताप-त्रयादि भेदन धुरीण-तरया
पाक रिपु प्रमुखादि प्रार्थित सु-कळेबरया
प्राकट्य परा-परया पालितो-दया-करया
चरणम्
श्री मात्रे नमस्ते चिन्मात्रे सेवित रमा हरीश विधात्रे
वामादि शक्ति पूजित पर देवतायाः सकलं जातम्
कामादि द्वादशभिरुपासित कादि हादि सादि मन्त्र रूपिण्याः
प्रेमास्पद शिव गुरु गुह जनन्यां प्रीति युक्त मच्चित्तं विलयतु
(मध्यम काल साहित्यम्)
ब्रह्म-मय प्रकाशिनी नाम रूप विमर्शिनी
काम कला प्रदर्शिनी सामरस्य निदर्शिनी

Transliteration

pallavi
shrI kamalAmbA jayati ambA
shrI kamalAmbA jayati jagadambA
shrI kamalAmbA jayati
shRngAra rasa kadambA madambA
shrI kamalAmbA jayati
chidbimba prati-bimbEndu bimbA
shrI kamalAmbA jayati
(madhyama kAla sAhityam)
shrI pura bindu madhyastha chintAmaNi mandirastha 
shivAkAra mancha sthita shiva kAmEshAnkasthA

anupallavi
sUkarAnanAdyarchita mahA tripura sundarIm
rAja rAjESvarIm shrI-kara sarvAnanda-maya
chakra vAsinIm suvAsinIm chintayEham
(madhyama kAla sAhityam)
divAkara shIta kiraNa pAvakAdi vikAsa karayA
bhIkara tApa trayAdi bhEdana dhurINa tarayA
pAka ripu pramukhAdi prArthita sukaLEbarayA
prAkaTya parA-parayA pAlitO-dayA-karayA

charaNam
shrI mAtrE namastE chinmAtrE
sEvita ramA harIsha vidhAtrE
vAmAdi shakti pUjita para dEvatAyAH sakalam jAtam
kAmAdi dvAdashabhirupAsita -
kAdi hAdi sAdi mantra rUpiNyAH
prEmAspada shiva guru guha jananyAm -
prIti yukta maccittam vilayatu
(madhyama kAla sAhityam)
brahma maya prakAshinI nAma rUpa vimarshinI
kAma kalA pradarshinI sAmarasya nidarshinI

Translation

May Kamalamba be victorious (jayati)! O Mother (ambA)! May Kamalamba be victorious! O mother of the world (jagat ambA)! May Kamalamba be victorious (jayati)! My (mad) mother, who is the sum total (kadambA) of the pleasure of love (shRingAra rasa)! May Kamalamba be victorious! The image (bimbA) of the spark (indu) of reflection (pratibimba) of the form (bimba) of consciousness (chit)! May Kamalamba be victorious! She who resides (sthita) in the bindu (dot) in Sripura, in the middle (madhyastha) of Brahma’s (chintAmaNi) temple (mandira) (I think it implies our body, as it is the temple created by Brahma for the soul), sitting (sthita) on pedestal (mancha) which is the body (AkAra) of Shiva, situated (-stha) on the lap (anka) of Shiva, the Lord of Love (kAma Isha).

I meditate upon (aham chintayE) on the great (mahA) Tripurasundari, the ruler of all rulers (rAja rAjeshwari), the respected one (suvAsinI), who is worshipped by (archita) by Varaha (sUkara), etc (Adi) (I don’t know what Anana means),  the one who causes prosperity (shrI kara), the one infused with (-maya) complete (sarva) bliss (Ananda). By She who causes (karayA) growth(vikAsa) to the sun (divAkara), moon (shItakiraNa), Agni (pAvaka) etc (Adi).  By She who is charged with (dhuriNa tarayA) relieving (bhEdana) fear (bhIkara), the three (traya) afflictions (tApa) (=physical, mental, supernatural). By She who has the beautiful su-) form (kaLEbara) worshipped by (prArthita) the chief (pramukha) enemy (ripu) of Paka (=Indra), etc (Adi). By she who is manifest (prAkatyA) as both past (para) and future (apara). By she who is compassionate (dayAkarayA) to those who cherish (pAlita) her.

Salutations (namastE) to the auspicious (shrI) mother (mAtR), the mother (mAtr) of consciousness (chit). The Goddess (ramA) Mother (vidhAtrI) worshipped (sEvita) by Vishnu (hari) and Shiva (Isha). The Shakti worshipped by (pUjita) by Vama etc (Adi), from whom was born (jAtam) all other (para) Gods (dEvata) (unsure about this). Honoured (upAsita) by the twelve (dvAdasha) like Cupid (manmatha) etc (Adi) (dont know what is abhi). The embodiment (rUpinI) of the mantras starting with ka, ha, sa, etc. The seat (Aspada) of love (prEma) of Shiva, the mother (janani) of Kartikeya (guruguha, also signature of composer). Intent (yukta) upon Her love (prIti), let my (mat) mind/consciousness (chittam) dissolve (vilayatu). She who shines (prkAshinI) suffused (-maya) by the Brahman, the ultimate consciousness. She is the imparter (vimarshinI) of all names (nAma) and forms (rUpa). She is displayer (pradarshinI) of the art (kalA) of love (kAma). She is the knower (nidarshinI) of essence (rasa) of Sama veda.  

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Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Sanskrit, Muthuswami Dikshithar, Sumithra Vasudev

Sri Kamalambike Avava

Sri Yantra 8Happy Ashtami everyone! We continue with the Navavarana kritis of Muthuswami Dikshithar, a series which I started last week from this post. Today’s song is devoted to the eighth Avarana, the triangle within which the bindu, representing the Goddess, resides. The three corners of the triangle are said to represent a number of different things – the three gunas (sattva, rajas, tamas), the three powers of the Goddess (inclination, knowledge and activity), the three dimensions of the soul (AtmA, antarAtmA, paramAtmA), the three processes of creation (sRshTi, sthiti, samhAra), the three shaktis (Rudra Shakti-Parvati, Vishnu Shakti-Lakshmi, Brahma Shakti-Saraswati) and a few other ideas as well. It is clear that there are many ideas in sets of three in Hindu thought!

The name of this eighth chakra is सर्व सिद्धि प्रद Sarva Siddhi Prada Chakra (That which gives all accomplishments) and the presiding deity is Tripuramba. Yesterday I suggested that all of us who are nor that spiritually adept examine the chakras to set ourselves long term spiritual self-improvement goals. I also suggested short-term measurable targets so that we can monitor our progress. Therefore today, prompted by the name of the Chakra, I ask ‘What gives us all accomplishments?’ .

The answer flashes easily. First there has to be a seed, a wish to accomplish. This is triggered by something deep within us, our souls. Next there is the growth of the plant, the slow gathering of knowledge and skills. This is controlled and directed by the mind. Then finally the tree bears the fruit of accomplishment which can only come with the blessings of the Divine. Unknowingly, I have landed on the AtmA-antarAtma-paramAtmA symbolism after all!

This chakra tells me to strengthen the soul-mind-God connection so that it can work as a unit in our physical or metaphysical improvement (long term goal). Let us examine ourselves for the seed of one accomplishment, however small, which will give us joy. Let us find an inspiration before the end of this year (short term target). Let us then diligently take action to accomplish it next year and pray that our actions will bear the fruit of accomplishment.

This kriti in honour of the eighth Avarana is set to raga Ghanta. This is presented to us by Amritha Murali.

 


Footnote (Lyrics) :

पल्लवि
श्री कमलाम्बिके अवाव शिवे कर धृत शुक शारिके

अनुपल्लवि
लोक पालिनि कपालिनि शूलिनि
लोक जननि भग मालिनि सकृद्
आलोकय मां सर्व सिद्धि-प्रदायिके
त्रिपुराम्बिके बालाम्बिके

चरणम्
सन्तप्त हेम सन्निभ देहे सदाऽखण्डैक रस प्रवाहे
सन्ताप हर त्रिकोण गेहे सकामेश्वरि शक्ति समूहे
सन्ततं मुक्ति घण्टा मणि घोषायमान कवाट द्वारे
अनन्त गुरु गुह विदिते कराङ्गुलि नखोदय विष्णु दशावतारे
(मध्यम काल साहित्यम्)
अन्तःकरणेक्षु कार्मुक शब्दादि पञ्च तन्मात्र विशिखाऽत्यन्त
राग पाश द्वेषाङ्कुश धर करेऽति रहस्य योगिनी परे

Transliteration

pallavi
shrI kamalAmbikE avAva shivE kara dhRta shuka shArikE

anupallavi
lOka pAlini kapAlini shUlini lOka janani bhaga mAlini sakRd-
AlOkaya mAm sarva siddhi pradAyikE tripurAmbikE bAlAmbikE

charaNam
santapta hEma sannibha dEhE sadAkhaNDaika rasa pravAhE
santApa hara trikONa gEhE sakAmEshvari shakti samUhE
santataM mukti ghaNTA maNi ghOshAyamAna kavATa dvArE
ananta guru guha viditE karAnguli nakhOdaya vishNu dashAvatArE
(madhyama kAla sAhityam)
antaHkaraNEkshu kArmuka shabdAdi pancha tanmAtra vishikhAtyanta
rAga pAsha dvEshAnkusha dhara karEti rahasya yOginI parE

Translation

(sourced from guruhuha.com temporarily. I will do a word for word translation as soon as possible)

Kamalambika protect me, protect me.The auspicious one! The one who holds the parrot and the maina-bird* in her hands.

The protector of her worlds, the bearer of the trident. The consort of the bearer of the skull. The mother of the worlds. The one who is the garland of sweetness. Glance at me. The giver of all powers! The one known as tripurambika and balambika.

The one whose body is splendorous like molten gold, the one who always is an everflowing bliss, the one who dewells in the triangle with kAmeshwari and other shakthis.The one whose gate from which the bell of mukti beckons one to salvation. The one known to the eternal guruguha; the one who produced the 10 incarnations of Vishnu out of her 10 finger-nails. The one who resides in the mind, as the form which holds a sugarcane, the 5 tanmatras as the arrows, desire as the noose, hatred as the goad; The secret yoga power.

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Filed under Amritha Murali, Carnatic Music, Compositions in Sanskrit, Muthuswami Dikshithar

Sri Kamalambikayam

Sri Yantra 7Happy Saptami to all of you! I started this series of posts on Prathami, trying to follow and understand Dikshithar’s Navavarana kritis which are based on the worship of Sri Yantra. Over the last seven days, I have read many texts and tried to understand Avarana after Avarana, giving you a summary in my posts. The texts all seem so complicated and convoluted! Yesterday I gave up, considering this quite beyond me. It is a veritable mountain of ideas in which I am quite lost.

Yet mountains too are climbed just one step at a time. So my question to myself today is simply this : what steps can I take today so that one day, in some future life, I will finally be upon the right path? Can we set measurable and achievable targets? Focusing only on the names of the Avaranas, I propose the following :

  1. Bhupuram : Trilokya Mohana Chakra, the outermost layer. Tied to the earth, as the name Bhupuram suggests, I prefer to think of it as the physical preparatory layer. Mountain climbers train, acclimatize. Olympians practice. Those on the quest of the Goddess should surely start with training their bodies and minds with discipline, yoga and meditation (long term goal). Let us all try and do yoga at least twice a week and meditate at least once a week (short term target).
  2. Sarvasa Paripooraka Chakra , the chakra where all desires are fulfilled. Is it ever possible to fulfil all desires? Isn’t the wish to fulfil all desires itself a desire? Desires come from discontent, if we remove discontent from out lives, all our desires will be fulfilled, will they not? So for me, the lesson of this chakra is to learn to be content (long term goal). Every morning, let us thank God for just one thing which makes us content with our lives; let us count our blessings (short term target).
  3.  Sarva Samkhsobhana Chakra, the chakra which agitates all. The law of inertia states that ‘An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.’ If we want to be different, we have to start doing something different! ‘Shake it up’ says this chakra to me, ‘start seeing the world with different eyes, the eyes of those on a quest’ (long term goal). Every month, let us teach ourselves one new thing in the spiritual realm from any religion of the world (short term target).
  4. Sarva Saubhagya Dayaka Chakra, the chakra which bestows all prosperity. What if we are not meant to be the receivers but instead are the providers? What is prosperity – health, wealth, happiness? We cannot provide physical health to others, but we can provide mental health by being loving, supportive, understanding and accepting. We cannot provide everyone with wealth but we can try and be generous and charitable (long term goals). We cannot make everyone happy but let us try and bring a little smile to someone, somewhere every single day – be it a text to a friend, a small charitable act, a lovingly cooked meal..anything (short term target).
  5. Sarvartha Saadhaka Chakra, the chakra which is the accomplisher of all objectives. Our schooling, our work, our life all tells us to set objectives and work towards achieving it. Let me tell you my experience : this is a whirlpool from which you will never emerge. Every objective achieved only paves the way for the next objective; it is an unending cycle. It tells me one thing very clearly – the objectives I am setting are wrong ones, they breed dissatisfaction, not satisfaction. So the lesson from this chakra is to set our objectives for those things which will bring us long time joy (long term goal). Let us think for the rest of this year and make a list of those things which will give us long term happiness (short term target).
  6. Sarva Rakshakara Chakra, the all protecting chakra. Protecting what? I ask myself. What is worth protecting in me? What is not already tainted? This is a hard question for it seems that all that is good within me has already been soiled by this life.  The lesson for me from this chakra is to protect diligently all that is worth protecting in all of us – honesty, honour, charitability, kindness, patience, gentleness, peacefulness, nobility etc..(long term goal). To do that, we must first go through mentally of all we have done by which we have let ourselves down and then forgive ourselves for those things (short term target).

    So we come to today’s Avaranam :

  7. Sarva Rogahara Chakra, the chakra which removes all diseases. ‘What is it which is diseased within me?’ I ask myself. Life sets the rot within us, does it not? Let us all examine ourselves, determining that which has started to rot in us and then heal ourselves, with kindness, with patience, but with determination as well (long term goal). Every third month, let us stop one bad habit, behaviour, or thought pattern which leads to the disease in our body, mind or soul (short term target).

Now this kind of practical steps sit much more easily with me than talk of worshipping hundreds of shaktis and yoginis with mantras and puja vidhi! Dikshithar’s kriti in honour of the seventh chakra is set to raga Sahana. It is presented today by Sikkil Gurucharan, an excellent young artist.

 


Footnote (Lyrics) :

पल्लवि
श्री कमलाम्बिकायां भक्तिं करोमि
श्रित कल्प वाटिकायां चण्डिकायां जगदम्बिकायाम्

अनुपल्लवि
राका चन्द्र वदनायां राजीव नयनायां
पाकारि नुत चरणायां आकाशादि किरणायाम्
ह्रींकार विपिन हरिण्यां ह्रींकार सु-शरीरिण्यां
ह्रींकार तरु मञ्जर्यां ह्रींकारेश्वर्यां गौर्याम्

चरणम्
शरीर त्रय विलक्षण सुख-तर स्वात्मानुभोगिन्यां
विरिञ्चि हरीशान हरि-हय वेदित रहस्य योगिन्याम्
परादि वाग्देवता रूप वशिन्यादि विभागिन्यां
चरात्मक सर्व रोग हर निरामय राज योगिन्याम्
(मध्यम काल साहित्यम्)
कर धृत वीणा वादिन्यां कमला नगर विनोदिन्यां
सुर नर मुनि जन मोदिन्यां गुरु गुह वर प्रसादिन्याम्

Transliteration

pallavi
shrI kamalAmbikAyAm bhaktim karOmi
shrita kalpa vATikAyAm chaNDikAyAm jagadambikAyAm

anupallavi
rAkA chandra vadanAyAm rAjIva nayanAyAm
pAkAri nuta charaNAyAm AkAshAdi kiraNAyAm
hrImkAra vipina hariNyAm hrImkAra susharIriNyAm
hrImkAra taru manjaryAm hrImkArEshvaryAm gauryAm

charaNam
sharIra traya vilakshaNa sukha-tara svAtmAnubhOginyAm
virinchi harIshAna hari-haya vEdita rahasya yOginyAm
parAdi vAgdEvatA rUpa vashinyAdi vibhAginyAm
charAtmaka sarva rOga hara nirAmaya rAja yOginyAm
(madhyama kAla sAhityam)
kara dhRta vINA vAdinyAm kamalA nagara vinOdinyAm
sura nara muni jana mOdinyAm guru guha vara prasAdinyAm

Translation

I give my devotion (bhaktim karOmi) to Kamalambika, to Her who is a a garden (vAtikA) of wish-giving trees (kalpa) to her worshippers (shrita), to Her who is Chandika (a rudra form of the Goddess), to Her who is the mother (ambikA) of the world (jagat).

To Her with a face (vadana) like the full moon (rAkAchandra), whose eyes (nayana) are like the lotus (rAjIva), whose feet (charaNa) are worshipped (nuta) by the enemy (ari) of the demon pAka (=Indra), who radiates (kiranAy) the skies (AkAsha) etc (Adi), who is the doe (hariNi) in the forest (vipina) of the sound hRIm, whose noble (prefix su) body (sharIra) is the embodiment of the sound hRIm, who is like the cluster of blossoms (manjara) of the tree (taru) called hRIm, who is the Goddess (IshvarI) of the sound hRIm, who is fair-skinned Goddess (gaurI).

To Her who enjoys (anubhOga) her own (svAtma) blissful self (sukha tara) which is manifold (vilakshaNa) and beyond (implied) the three (traya) bod-states (sharIra) (the causal, the subtle and the gross), who is the secret (rahasya) Yogini known (vEdita) to Brahma (virinchi), Shiva (Isha) Vishnu (hari) and Hayagreeva (harihaya), who is the embodiment (rUpa) of the deity (dEvata) of speech (vAk), who is differentiated (vibhAga) as Vashinis (deities of the 8-triangles, representing alphabets, pa ra etc (Adi)), who is the Raja Yogini who  removes (hara) all (sarva) communicable (chara-Atmaka, moving nature)diseases (rOga) causing good health (nirAmaya) , who plays (vAda) the Veena she holds (dhRta) her hands (kara), who takes pleasure (vinOda) in the Lotus-city (kamalA nagara), who delights (mOdin) the Gods (sura), men (nara) and sages (muni jana), who graces (prasAda) Kartikeya (guruguha, also signature of composer) with boons (vara).

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