Teertha Vitthala Kshetra Vitthala

NamdevI am very short sighted. In my world, there are no edges to objects. Things which glow invade the objects beside them. Outlines merge until I never know where one thing starts and the other ends. Objects lose their individuality, my eyes see no boundaries. How odd that what my eyes saw from childhood was not understood by my brain for years! I attest to myself today once more; boundaries are but illusions.

Take your skin, for example. That which was your skin one minute ago was quite different from what it is this moment, for you have lost 30,000-40,000 cells already. What happens to them? They are dust at your feet, literally! Dust mites gobble up these dead skin cells. What was you one minute ago, changes identity and becomes a dust mite a couple of minutes later. Same matter, but identities have changed.

Identities are but more illusions, a play of maya. Isn’t more than 70% of the human body just water? I take a glass from the tap, and in no time, I call that water me. I go for a walk and that very me evaporates from my skin. It rises into the air, joins a cloud, comes down as rain and is drunk by that dog of yours. We are but two manifestations of the same, the dog and I. But of course, it is not the same molecule. The hydrogen and oxygen atoms which make up one molecule of water remain together only for some fractional time. They jump from one molecule to another, sometimes remaining as water, sometimes transforming into something else. Nothing is constant. Everything has fuzzy edges.

If even the physical cannot be contained in boundaries, how can we imagine that God can be contained in a form, be it Shiva, Vishnu, Jesus or Buddha? The wise ones, the mystics, the sages and the visionaries have told us from time immemorial, God is everywhere and in everything. Take away the edges and let God spill over. Namdev too was one amongst these wise ones. He is ecstatic in his vision of Vitthala, his ishta-devata, in everything. In this hypnotic abhanga, he says ‘Vithtala is God and Vitthala is His worship. Vitthala is my mother and Vitthala is my father.  Vitthala is my friend and Vitthala is my clan’. For lyrics and translation see footnote.

To present this song, I have a video of that astounding master of music, Bhimsen Joshi. The video has a short disturbance early on but what a pleasure to watch these old videos!

There is another short version from an old LP which I like as well.


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Marathi

Note: I do not speak Marathi but the words are mostly simple and derived from Sanskrit. I am dependent on web resources for the lyrics (aurally verified) and translation below.

तीर्थ विठ्ठल, क्षेत्र विठ्ठल ।
देव विठ्ठल, देवपूजा विठ्ठल ॥१॥
माता विठ्ठल, पिता विठ्ठल ।
बंधु विठ्ठल, गोत्र विठ्ठल ॥२॥
गुरू विठ्ठल, गुरुदेवता विठ्ठल ।
निधान विठ्ठल, निरंतर विठ्ठल ॥३॥
नामा म्हणे मज विठ्ठल सापडला ।
म्हणूनी (alt: म्हणोनी) कळिकाळा पाड नाही ॥४॥

Transliteration
tIrtha viTHTHala kshEtra viTHTHala
dEva viTHTHala dEva pUjA viTHTHala
mAtA viTHTHala pitA viTHTHala
bandhu viTHTHala gOtra viTHTHala
guru viTHTHala guru dEvatA viTHTHala
nidhAna viThala nirantara viThala
nAmA mhaNE maja viTHTHala sApaDalA
mhaNUnI (alt: mhaNOnI) kaLikALA pADa nAhI

Translation

Vitthala is a holy body of water, Vitthala is a holy land.
Vithtala is God and Vitthala is His worship.
Vitthala is my mother and Vitthala is my father.
Vitthala is my friend and Vitthala is my clan.
Vitthala is my teacher, Vitthala is the teacher of Gods.
Vitthala is tranquility, Vitthala is everlasting.
Namdev says ‘I have found sanctuary in Vitthala’.
‘Even in this Kali yuga, I can come to no harm!’

About these ads

10 Comments

Filed under Abhanga, Bhimsen Joshi, Namdev

10 responses to “Teertha Vitthala Kshetra Vitthala

  1. Narasimharaj

    ‘”God is everywhere and in everything!”
    Suja, I feel great joy – on your selecting this Abhanga by Namdeva.and rendered by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. Thank you..
    Your inimitable ‘preface-to-the-Abhanga’ is – as always – interesting & absorbing!
    I have a sizable collection of Abhangas – sung by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi – in my Media Player and THIS is one of them. I never tire of listening to the Abhangas while I work on my computer. The voice/tone of Panditji reverberates through the body and rejuvenates if physically and mentally!
    Keep ‘em coming!
    Best Wishes.
    Raj
    .

    • Hello Raj, Abhangas sung by Panditji sends me almost into a trance! He has a wonderful voice, an exceptional vidwat and an inimitable style which renders his music into an experience one cherishes. I have had the pleasure of listening to his music live; I treasure that memory. I am glad you enjoyed it too.
      Cheers. Suja

  2. Ramesh

    Wow. What an introduction to the Abhanga. Your prefaces have started to become even better than the music – I must watch out to read your posts from the end to the beginning !!

    On a tangent – would love to hear from you on the music form of Abhangas. I know zilch about this. You have briefly touched upon this in earlier posts, but would really be interested in your inimitable exposition to a layman.

    • Thank you Ramesh, aren’t you so good for my ego? :) Sure, the next time I choose to feature an abhanga, I will do a write-up on this form of music..there is much of interest here.
      Cheers. Suja

  3. i am very sure you have heard another favourite JO BHAJE HARI KO SADA SO HI PARAM PAD PAAVEGA BY joshiji that is also one of my all time favourites

    • Welcome to my blog Murali! Yes, of course I know Jo Bhaje! In fact, when panditji passed away, it was this song I posted in this blog in January 2011 to represent his life and music! Wonderful soon fact I love the whole cd. Cheers. Suja

  4. Dear Suja: I liked your abhang of Sant Namdev immensely. Abhangs are unique in the history of religious literature. My late father, Shri N.N. Subramanian, dedicated most of his time post-retirement to studying the works of the saint-poets of Maharashtra. I would like to share with you another abhang of Sant Namdev also beautifully sung by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXFHFJUZ2p0):

    Pandhari nivasa sakhya Panduranga
    O Panduranga, my companion you live in Pandharpur.
    Kari ang sanga bhaktachiya
    You are always close to your devotee.
    Bhakt kaivariya hosi Narayana
    For the sake of your devotee, you are always ready to protect him.
    Bolata vachan kai laj
    Therefore why should I be ashamed of what I am about to say?
    Mage bahutanche fediyale run
    In the past you repaid the debt for so many.
    Amasathi kon aali dhad
    Then for me, why are you giving me this excuse of a difficulty?
    Varamvar tuj laj nahi deva
    Again and again (you did not come to my rescue) oh god, are you not ashamed of this?
    Bol re Keshava mahne nam
    Speak to me, Keshava, so says Nam(dev).

    Hope you enjoy listening to this abhang.

    Regards
    Chandramouli Subramanian

    • Thank you Chandramouli, I have heard this abhanga before, its quite lovely!! Did your father write a book or journal from his studies? It would be interesting to read it..
      cheers. Suja

      • Dear Suja: My father has translated the abhangs of the saint-poets of Maharashtra. His book, “The Saint-Poets of Maharashtra” was released just three months before he passed away at the age of 91 in 2012. You can get in touch with me on my email address cmouli2004@gmail.com for further details.

        Regards
        Chandramouli

  5. Narasimharaj

    “Pandhari nivasa sakhya Panduranga
    Kari ang sanga bhaktachiya . . ”

    I am glad to share with you – Suja, Chandrmouli & others – that my grand daughter danced to this delightful Abhanga as the end/Mangalam item of her Bharatanatyam Aarangetrum on August 18, 2012 in Houston-TX. Her ‘ecstasy’ was very visible – as she danced withe great devotion to Lord Vitthala.
    – Raj

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s