Endaro Mahanubhavulu

There are so many great ones! My salutations to them all ! To all those who experience the eternal bliss of seeing Him whose complexion is like the moon in the lotus of their hearts, salutations! To all the best amongst the blessed, whose hearts have become beautiful by being immersed in the singing of Sama Veda, salutations!

Tyagaraja

Humility : ‘the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance’. So says the dictionary.

I admit, I really struggled with this concept in my youth. ‘Why is it considered good?’ I would wonder. When we think less of others, it is belittling them – a decidedly negative thing. Why does it become noble just because it is applied to oneself? My argument was that  humility presupposes the existence of a superior quality. A person with no good qualities cannot be called humble. Then, if a person is unaware or downplaying this superior quality, they have either insufficient self-appraisal and self-valuation skills or they are pretending. Ergo, there is nothing admirable in humility!

It is only with maturity that I understood that humility is the only possible result of a true and rational appraisal of one’s qualities, of gaining perspective of one’s true place in the time and space continuum of the universe.

As an example, I can confidently say that I draw well; if you took a random sample, I might well fall within the top 10% for drawing skills. Humility is not being unaware of this quality or about pretending to be less than one is. It is in understanding that the distribution of skills is a bell curve; the top 0.1% is so sparsely populated that to get from being in the 90th percentile to the 99.9th percentile is improving my skills not by 9.9% but by an unquantifiable large ratio. It is also understanding that my skills as they stand are the result of influence from many artists before me, from cave painters to modern masters. It is to be grateful to the genes passed on to me. It is to be grateful to my mother and my teachers who encouraged me. It is to do with so many factors outside myself that humble is the only way to be! In fact I feel rather embarrassed even mentioning my drawing skills but I do want to illustrate my change of mind about the concept of humility so I will leave it in.

And so I come to my song choice of today which clearly demonstrates the humility of the great saint-poet-composer Tyagaraja, who is, I can say without hesitation, one of the most important figures in the musical history of India. Last week I listened to the music from the 167th Tyagaraja Aradhana and today I commemorate this event with this post.

There are so many great ones!’ he says in this song. ‘My salutations to all of them!’. Who all does he acknowledge? It is not a random salutation to all the greats in all spheres of life. Instead, it is a salutation to the those worthy of his salutation in his own sphere of greatness. By choosing to salute those who have excelled in his own strengths of music, devotion, spirituality and esoteric knowledge, it is clear to me that he was well aware of his own qualities.

For music, he salutes Narada, Tumburu, to those immersed in the singing of Sama Veda, to those who sing in praise of the Lord with raga and laya, those who do nama-sankirtana, and those who understand the happiness of listening to music with bhava-raga-laya.

For devotion and spirituality, he salutes those who see the Lord in meditation,  those who keep Him in their hearts, those who surrender to Him, those who view the world with love and compassion and those who have become true servants of the Lord.

For  esoteric knowledge he salutes the great sages and those who have understood the core knowledge of our great scriptures.

As to the composition, it is just a magnificent piece of music which one never tires of, however many times one hears it. Set to raga Sri, the sounds are dignified, contemplative, quiet. To know more about the raga, click here.

It is difficult to choose a rendition for you today. I have listened to so many renditions- voices old and young, male and female, brisk and meditative, stentorian and gently graceful, stylistic and straight-forward. To my ears today, what feels most ‘humble’ – my theme of the day – is T.M.Krishna’s simple rendition of this timeless kriti. Hope you enjoy it too!

You can download all the pancharatna kritis sung by TMK from this site.

For an instrumental version, I could not walk past this rare live video of the great Veena maestro from yesteryears, Chitti Babu. Is it not hypnotic? They say that Veena is the instrument best suited to display the beauty of Carnatic Music. What do you think?

For a more in-depth look at this kriti, listen to this interesting lecdem . The sound quality is unfortunately not so good but the content is excellent.

 


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Telugu

As I am not a Telugu speaker. I am indebted to multiple web sources for meaning of words. I have reworded the translations I found for language and readability. For notation, click here.

Transliteration in Devanagari

पल्लवि
ऎन्दरो महानुभावुलु अन्दरिकि वन्दनमुलु

अनुपल्लवि
चन्दुरु वर्णुनि अन्द चन्दमुनु हृदया-
अरविन्दमुन जूचि ब्रह्मानन्दमनुभविन्चु वार-

चरणम् 1
साम गान लोल मनसिज  लावण्य धन्य मूर्धन्युल-

चरणम् 2
मानस वनचर वर सञ्चारमु निलिपि मूर्ति बागुग पॊगडने वार-

चरणम् 3
सरगुन पादमुलकु स्वान्तमनु सरोजमुनु समर्पणमु सेयु वार-

चरणम् 4
पतित पावनुडने परात्परुनि  गुरिञ्चि परमार्थमगु निज मार्ग-
मुतोनुपाडुचुनु सल्लापमुतो स्वर लयादि रागमुलु (alt:रागमुलनु ) तॆलियु वार-

चरणम् 5
हरि गुण मणिमय सरमुलु गळमुन शोभिल्लु भक्त कोटुलिललो
तॆलिवितो चॆलिमितो करुण गल्गि जगमॆल्लनु सुधा दृष्टिचे ब्रोचु वार-

चरणम् 6
हॊयलु मीर नडलु गल्गु सरसुनि सदा कनुल जूचुचुनु पुलक शरीरुलै
आनन्द पयोधि निमग्नुलै मुदम्बुननु यशमु गल वार-

चरणम् 7
परम भागवत मौनि वर शशि विभाकर सनक सनन्दना
दिगीश सुर किम्पुरुष कनक कशिपु सुत नारद तुम्बुरु
पवन सूनु बाल चन्द्र धर शुक सरोज भव भूसुर वरुलु
परम पावनुलु घनुलु शाश्वतुलु कमल भव सुखमु सदानुभवुलु गाक

चरणम्  8
नी मेनु नाम वैभवम्बुलनु नी पराक्रम धैर्यमुल
शान्त मानसमु नीवुलनु वचन सत्यमुनु रघुवर नीयॆड
सद्भक्तियु जनिञ्चकनु दुर्मतमुलनु कल्ल जेसिनट्टि नी
मदि नेरिङ्गि सन्तसम्बुननु गुण भजनानन्द कीर्तनमु सेयु वार-

चरणम्  9
भागवत रामायण गीतादि श्रुति शास्त्र पुराणपु
मर्ममुल शिवादि षण्मतमुल गूढमुलन मुप्पदि
मुक्कोटि सुरान्तरङ्गमुल भावम्बुल नॆरिंगि भाव राग लयादि सौख्य
-मुचे चिरायुवुल् गलिगि निरवधि सुखात्मुलै
त्यागराजाप्तुलैन वार-

चरणम्  10
प्रेम मुप्पिरिकॊनु वेळ नाममु दलचे वारु
राम भक्तुडैन त्यागराजनुतुनि निज दासुलैन वार

Transliteration

pallavi
endarO mahAnubhAvulu andariki vandanamulu

anupallavi
chanduru varNuni anda chandamunu hrdayA-
aravindamuna jUchi brahmAnandam anubhavinchu vAr-

charaNam 1
sAma gAna lOla manasija lAvaNya dhanya mUrdhanyul-

charaNam 2
mAnasa vanachara vara sanchAramu nilipi mUrti bAguga pogaDanE vAr-

charaNam 3
saraguna pAdamulaku svAntamanu sarOjamunu samarpaNamu sEyu vAr-

charaNam 4
patita pAvanuDanE parAtparuni gurinchi paramArthamagu nija
mArgamutOnupADuchunu sallApamutO svara layAdi rAgamulu (alt:rAgamulanu) teliyu vAr-

charaNam 5
hari guNa maNimaya saramulu gaLamuna shObhillu bhakta kOTulilalO
telivitO chelimitO karuNa galgi jagamellanu sudhA dRshTichE brOchu vAr-

charaNam 6
hoyalu mIra naDalu galgu sarasuni sadA kanula jUchuchunu pulaka sharIrulai
Ananda payOdhi nimagnulai mudambunanu yashamu gala vAr-

charaNam 7
parama bhAgavata mauni vara shashi vibhAkara sanaka sanandanA
digIsha sura kimpurusha kanaka kashipu suta nArada tumburu
pavana sUnu bAla chandra dhara shuka sarOja bhava bhUsura varulu
parama pAvanulu ghanulu shAshvatulu kamala bhava sukhamu sadAnubhavulu gAka

charaNam 8
nI mEnu nAma vaibhavambulanu nI parAkrama dhairyamula shAnta mAnasamu nIvulanu vachana satyamunu raghuvara nIyeDa
sadbhaktiyu janinchakanu durmatamulanu kalla jEsinaTTi nI madineringi santatambunanu guNa bhajanAnanda kIrtanamu sEyu vAr-

charaNam 9
bhAgavata rAmAyaNa gItAdi shruti shAstra purAnamu marmamula shivAdi shanmatamula gUDhamulan muppadi mukkOTi surAntarangamula bhAvambula nerigi bhava rAga layAdi saukhya
muchE chirAyuvul galigi niravadhi sukhAtmulai tyAgarAjAptulai na vAr-

charaNam 10
prEma muppiri konu vELa nAmamu dalachEvAru
rAma bhaktuDaina tyAgarAjanutuni nija dAsulaina vAr-

Translation

pallavi
There are so many great ones! My salutations to them all !

anupallavi
To all those who experience the eternal bliss of seeing Him whose complexion is like the moon in the lotus of their hearts (salutations..)

charaNam 1
To all the best amongst the blessed, whose hearts have become beautiful by being immersed in the singing of Sama Veda (salutation..)

charaNam 2
To all those who clearly see the form of the Lord by stopping the monkey like wanderings of the mind (salutations…)

charaNam 3
To all those who immediately surrender the lotus of their hearts at the feet of the Lord (salutations…)

charaNam 4
To all those who, cognizant of the true path which leads to the ultimate knowledge,  joyously sing about the supreme Lord who sanctifies the wretched, in ragas which arise from the seven notes and rhythm (salutations..)

charaNam 5
To all those countless devotees whose necks are adorned with the precious garland of divine qualities, who protect the world with their sweet glances filled with understanding, love and compassion (salutations..)

charaNam 6
To all those who are famous for remaining joyfully immersed in the ocean of bliss and ecstacy by always seeing with their (mind’s) eyes the beautiful Lord with his charming gait (salutations…)

charaNam 7
To all the great sages who are devotees of the Lord, to the Moon, the Sun, sage Sanaka, sage Sanandana, the Lords of the four quarters, the celestials, the kimpurusha, to Hiranyakashipu’s son Prahlada,  to Narada, the celestial musician Tumburu, to Hanuman, to Lord Shiva, sage Suka, Lord Brahma, the Brahmanas, the great holy ones, the eminent ones, the eternal ones, to all those who have experienced bliss (salutations..)

charaNam 8
To all those who, knowing your disaproval of wrong paths, in order to generate true devotion towards you, always sing joyful chants in your praise,  about the glory of your body, your name, your valour, your courage, your fortitude, your serenity of mind and the truth of the words uttered by you (salutations..)

charaNam 9
To all those benefactors of Tyagaraja who understand the core of (the hidden meaning of) Bhagavatam, Ramayanam, Gita, the Vedas, the Shastras, the ancient lores, the six schools of religious worship like Shaivism, the mindset of  thirty three crores of celestials, the happiness of (implied:music) with emotion, melody and rhythm, and have attained a long life of uninterrupted joy (salutations..)

charaNam 10
To all those who meditate on the name of the Lord at the time when love multiplies and have become true servants of the Lord praised by this Tygaraja, a true devotee of Lord Rama (salutations…)

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10 Comments

Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Telugu

10 responses to “Endaro Mahanubhavulu

  1. Ramesh

    Interesting take on humility. I second your view – humility does not necessarily mean lowering one’s ability ; its recognising that the ability was a product of a lot of things and that others have this , or better, ability too. I suppose the Saint did not in anyway demean his own greatness, when he acknowledged others. By the way I propose that your standing in the drawing world is in the 99th percentile rather than in the 90th – after all that would still make you only the 40 millionth best ; surely you are better than that and probably in the 99.9th percentile ! The tyranny of numbers is such that we are all in the 99th percentile of something or the other !

    Interesting your choice of TM Krishna – the piece is of course a simple and nice rendition, but his name would not be the first to come to my mind if I think of humility :):)

    By the way, if I am allowed a remark bordering on heresy, I am of the view that chorus singing is not suitable to Carnatic music at all. The various Pancharatna kriti renderings of last week get full marks for devotion and respect and zero marks for music – so much so that I have termed the rendering at Thiruvaiyaru as “Cacophony” !! That has riled my mother so much that she has anointed me as a “gnana soonyam” and has advised me to go back to post no 1 of yours and read diligently to get back some gnanam :) Ha Ha Ha

    • Hi Ramesh, How clever of you to sum my multi-paragraph rambling on humility to one single sentence! If only I could learn brevity from you…

      Your comment on my choice of TMKs rendition made me giggle; it was my exact thought as I inserted his music in :) And no, I am not critical of him, I find his attitude very disarming! After having listened to 20 renderings this last week, I thought his was the most true to the mood of the song. Interesting, isn’t it?

      As to my drawing skills, the sad fact is the more I learn, the more accurate my self-appraisal becomes, and the more I realise how little I know! In short, I am good enough to know that I am not good enough!

      I agree with your comment on group singing. Do ask your mum to listen to the first few minutes of Jagadanandakaraka – she will totally agree with you then! No, it is not made for group singing and that too a mixed-group singing, yet there is such joy in seeing so many voices raised as one in homage to a great soul and his beautiful music. How can one not be touched?
      Cheers. Suja

  2. Narasimharaj

    Who am I to adda comment on Sri Thyagaraja’s Compositions/s? So it is when it comes to expressing the motions that the Veena rendering of Chitti Babu created – rapturous/mesmerizing! Yes ‘hypnotic’ says it all !!
    Suja, in giving the analogy of your drawing skills, you’ve made understanding ‘humility’ so simple. Of course you’ve exposed your one more talent – other than love-for-music, travel etc.,How about sharing creations of your drawing skills with us – by weaving them into your ‘posts’ on Music?
    Best Wishes.
    Raj
    P.S.: This evening, I sat through watching Beating The Retreat – for the 25th year! A truly splendid, serene, and yet reverberating Armed Fores Band-Music extravaganza – and the soft sounds of ‘Abide With me” which would humble even the hardest heart! And for the last few moments one would forget all the bad around the country – as the Bands played ‘Sare Jahaa se Achchaa . . ‘ A riot of color, rythm and synergy of sounds! . . ‘

    • Hi Raj, I am glad you enjoyed Chitti Babu’s veena rendition. Its rare to see live videos from that era so it was a pleasure for me to watch as well.

      I take a great interest in art, reading about it, visiting museums and when the mood takes me, dabbling at it in an amateur and untrained way. And I did link it to a story last year, perhaps you had not started visiting my blog then. Here is a link http://sujamusic.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/vilaiyada-idu-nerama/

      Your experience of Beating the Retreat sounds wonderful, exactly as it should be! I grew up in Delhi and watched in every year in my growing years – you bring back fond memories of sitting with my parents and sister, watching the band at dusk..
      Cheers. Suja

      • Narasimharaj

        Suja, I was quick to visit your ‘post’ on ‘vilaiyada-idu-nerama’. I was delighted to do so. Your multifaceted talent is ‘Awesome’!
        Seeking your permission, I share the lines of ‘Abide With Me’ :
        “ABIDE WITH ME””
        Text: Henry F. Lyte, 1793-1847

        1. Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
        the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
        When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
        Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

        2. Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
        earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
        change and decay in all around I see;
        O thou who changest not, abide with me.

        3. I need thy presence every passing hour.
        What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
        Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
        Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

        4. I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
        ills have no weight, and tears not bitterness.
        Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
        I triumph still, if thou abide with me.

        5. Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
        shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
        Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows
        flee; in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

  3. The central idea of composition behind this krithi by Tyagaraj is different from expressing humility. In those days, in Bhakthi cult, there used to be arguments whether it is proper to praise Bhakthas or only one has to pray God. There were even some discussions on who is great? Devotees or God? We can see narrating some stories on this. Mainly shivas preferred to pray only God. But Vishnavas used to pray even great devotees believing that they are embodied with God spirit. By and large this split is there in every religion. It is called, Daasoham and Dasa dasa dasoham (devotion to God and devotion to devotees of God ). Tyagraj expressed many krithis as devotion to God . But in this krithi, he expressed devotion to devotees of God : ) there by he conveys that he is not against to any argument .it is neither God nor Devotee that is great. What is great is, the feeling of Bhakthi ! He prays finally, devotees believing that they are embodied with God spirit. By and large this split is there in every religion. It is called, Daasoham and Dasa dasa dasoham (devotion to God and devotion to devotees of God ). Tyagraj expressed many krithis as devotion to God . But in this krithi, he expressed devotion to devotees of God : ) there by, he conveys that he is not against to any argument. In every stanza, he clarifies why he is praying to nija dasu (TRUE devotee) highlighting the quality of bhakthi mixed with bliss that they experience, which is nothing but the feeling of godliness.

    • Thank you for your perspective, it is very interesting. When it comes to interpreting music from the past, there are so many different aspects, don’t you think? Each interpretations adds to the meaning and feeling, enriching the listener’s experience. Thank you.
      Cheers. Suja

  4. Jay

    Suja,

    The great masters are highly evolved; they do not attribute themselves to any singular contributions. Issac Newton says that he if had seen far it was only by standing on shoulder of masters before him. In the Gita, Krishna says that the teachings are not new but repetition of what was preached by others.

    There are so many renditions of endaro but we remember them based upon our associations. Many years back, I came across a video of a
    performance at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and it was such an endearing sight to watch Dr Abdul Kalam, watching attentively and lisping the lyrics. I’ve often wondered when did the chitta svaram become part of Thyagaraja’s kritis – since these kritis are essentially devotional offering to be sung in bhakti bhava.

    Ramesh makes a very good point about chorus singing and carnatic music that’s close to what I too feel. When more than one singer tries to sing in unison it’s best rendered by one of those sister duo’s or like the Malladi brothers or students of the same guru. In contrast, if you have observed, western chorus or their hymnal renditions are so meticulously synchronized!

    The Veena version by Chittibabu embodied grace. The stage reminds me of the performance that we had attended sometime in ’95. His kindness was remarkable. Some parents sitting at the front were trying hard to managed their restless little ones calm and one parent after another alternatively tried to take turns with calming babies back and forth without much success. Chittibabu, clearly understood the exasperation. He stopped and calmly said, it is OK. They will learn slowly and it is important to bring them to listen. This is how they will learn about our music. We have to be patient. He said it so naturally and did not at all sound preachy, more like a kind grandpa.

    Jay

    • Hello Jay,
      How clever of Newton to say it so well ‘if I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulder of others’ – thanks for reminding me of that. In fact, this kind of humility – acknowledging that he has seen further but also that this was possible due to myriad others – this is exactly what I was referring to in my post.

      I love the anecdote about Chittibabu! Thank you for sharing your thoughts,
      Cheers. Suja

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