Sri Satyanarayana is a form of Vishnu worshipped at auspicious occasions. So it is appropriate indeed that I start my blog with a prayer to Sri Satyanarayana.
If you are a Carnatic Music fan, you are perhaps wondering why I am starting with a rather minor raga with a not-often heard kriti. But what can I say, the heart likes what it likes! I recently came across an album called Ekaika Ragam by Aruna Sairam. It has just this one kriti, in two tracks. I was totally hooked after just one listen! Generally music is a private pastime for me, not a group activity. But while listening to this wonderful rendition, I so wanted to share it with someone else – anyone else. So on that impulse I have commenced on this blog.
What is it about the haunting notes of the Shubhapantuvarali raga? It has such a great appeal for me! It is a somber and gentle raga, drawing me into a meditative state with ease. If you want to read more about this raga, click here.
Sri Satyanarayanam is composed by Muthuswami Dikshithar. Written in Sanskrit, it pays homage to the Lord of Badrinath. I have such lovely associations with Badri! I remember visiting it as a teenager with my parents, my grandmother, my sister and another family very close to us. I was perhaps 15. We went to Haridwar and Rishikesh, taking dips in the Ganges, walking across Lakshman Jhula, visiting temples and ashrams. Then we went on a bus to Badrinath and I lost my heart to the mountains. To this day, I love being amongst mountains and if the Alps that I see from my window in Switzerland are not quite as lofty as the Himalayas, they are equally beautiful. Our trip ended with a long trek to Kedarnath which remains, to this day, one of the best memories of my lifetime. When I listen to Sri Satyanarayanam, all of those wonderful memories come rushing back and I am lost in memories of days which will never come back again. See the footnote for lyrics and meaning of this song.
You can listen in to the album here . Track 1 is the alapana and taanam and track 2 is the kriti. I hope you enjoy listening to it as I much as I do.
Footnote (Lyrics ) :
Language : Sanskrit
श्री सत्यनारायणं उपास्महे नित्यं
सत्य ज्ञानानन्द मयं सर्वं विष्णु मयं
वासवादि पूजितं वर मुनि गण भावितं
दासजन परिपालितं भासमान बदरी स्थितं
वैश्य जाति कारणं वटु वेष धारिणं
कलियुग प्रसन्नं वसु प्रदान निपुणं
मत्स्य कूर्म वराहादि दशावतार प्रभावम्
शङ्ख चक्राब्ज हस्तं गुरुगुह नुत प्रसिद्धं
shrI satyanArAyaNam upAsmE nityam
satya jnAnAnada mayam sarvam vishNu mayam
vAsavAdi pUjitam vara muni gaNa bhAvitam
dAsa jana paripAlitam bhAsamAna badari sthitam
vaishya jAti kAraNam vaTu vEsha dhAriNam
kali yuga prasannam vasu pradAna nipuNam
matsya kUrma varahAdi dashAvatAra prabhAvam
shankha chakrAbja hastam guruguha nuta prasiddham
I always (nityam) worship (upAsmahE) Shri Satyanarayana. He is full of (-mayam) of truth (satya) and knowledge (jnAna). He is all things (sarvam), he is the essence of Vishnu (vishNumayam).
He is worshipped by (pUjitam) by Indra etc (vAsavAdi) (or the Vasus etc?). He is contemplated on (bhAvitam) by the foremost (vara) groups of sages (muni gaNa). He protects (parapAlitam) his devotees (dAsa jana). He is situated at (sthitam) as the lustrous (bhAsamAna) Badari (=Badrinath).
He is the creator (kAraNam) of the business community (vaishya jAti). He wore (dhAriNam) the disguise (vEsha) of a Brahmachari=young Brahmin (vaTu) (refers to Vamana avatara). He is kindly disposed towards (prasannam) the Kali yuga. He is expert (nipuNam) in providing (pradAna) wealth (vasu). He came forth (prabhAvam, from verb prabhavat) in the ten incarnations (dashAvatAra) like Matsya, Kurma and Varaha etc. He holds in his hand (hastam) a conch (shankha), a discus (chakra) and a lotus (abja). He is renowned (prasiddham) as being worshipped by guruguha (Dikshithar’s signature).
For notation click here.