Samaja Vara Gamana

O Lord whose princely gait is like an elephant! O Lord who protects the lotus like hearts of the pious people! O Lord whose fame transcends time! O Lord who is expert in the nectar-like music arising from the sAma veda! O Virtuous! O Compassionate! Protect me! O Lord who a lamp in the mountain that is music! O Lord in the Yadava clan! O Lord who plays the flute! O Lord who amuses himself by being enchanting! Protect me!

सामज वर गमन  ‘He who walks majestically like an elephant’ says Saint Tyagaraja. Like an elephant? It sounds strange in English. One hears of a leonine walk but not of an elephantine one without meaning something derogatory. Yet it seems so right in Sanskrit. A leonine walk implies leashed violence, while an elephant represents power without violence.

Saint Tyagaraja’s ishta devata (preferred God) was Rama but in this kriti  he is talking of Krishna. Written in Sanskrit, it is set to the Raga Hindolam (click here to know a bit more about this raga) and is a composition of extraordinary beauty. In a previous post, I had talked of Shiva as Nataraja, the Lord of Dance. Here Tyagaraja describes Krishna as the Lord of Music. सामनिगमज सुधामय गान विचक्षण : He who is expert in the nectar like music arising from Sama Veda, the Veda (knowledge) of Song.

Tyagaraja goes on to say यादव कुल मुरली वादन विनोद मोहनकर  , he born in the Yadava race, player of the flute, who is extraordinarily enchanting. A God who plays enchanting music, how to describe him but in enchanting music? And who else to present but a flautist?

So today’s piece of music is from N.Ramani, flautist extraordinaire. There is a alapanai (improvised exploration of the raga) followed by the composition which starts min 12:12.

For a vocal version, listen to M.D.Ramanathan below. I think that his deep voice and extremely slow rendition suits this song very well indeed.

In the simply superb Telugu movie Shankarabharanam (1979), this song is presented with the pallavi and anupallavi (first part of song) from the original by Tyagaraja and the charanams (stanzas) written for the movie in Telugu by lyricist Veturi Sundararama Murthy (1936-2010). The singers are S.Janaki and S.P.Balasubramaniam. SPB sounds divine and won the National Award for another song in the same film.  K.V.Mahadevan, the music director, also won the National Award for his work in this film.

Samajavaragamana–S.Janaki, S.P.Balasubramaniam

 


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language: Sanskrit

सामज वर गमन साधु हृत्
सारसाब्ज पाल कालातीत विख्यात

साम निगमज  सुधामय गान विचक्षण
गुणशील दयालवाल माम् पालय

वॆदशिरॊ मातृज  सप्त स्वर
नादाचल दीप स्वीकृत
यादवकुल मुरली (गान)वादन
विनॊद मॊहन कर, त्यागराज वन्दनीय

Transliteration :
Pallavi:
sAmaja vara gamana sAdhu hrut
sArasAbja pAla kAlAtIta vikhyAta

Anupallavi
sAma nigamaja sudhAmaya gAna vichakshaNa
guNashIla dayAlavAla mAm pAlaya

Charanam:
veda shiro mAtRja sapta swara
nAdaachala dIpa svIkRta
yAdavakula muralI (gAna) vAdana
vinoda mohana kara tyAgarAja vandanIya

Translation

O Lord whose princely gait is like an elephant! O Lord who protects the lotus like hearts of the pious people! O Lord whose fame transcends time!

O Lord who is expert in the nectar-like music arising from the sAma veda! O Virtuous! O Compassionate! Protect me.

O Lord who a lamp in the mountain that is music, consisting of seven notes, born of Om (mother of the head of Vedas)! O Lord who accepted to be born in the Yadava clan! O Lord who plays the flute! O Lord who amuses himself by being enchanting! O Lord worshipped by Tyagaraja!

You can find the notation here.

 

4 Comments

Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Sanskrit, M.D.Ramanathan, N.Ramani, S.P.Balasubramaniam, Tyagaraja

4 responses to “Samaja Vara Gamana

  1. Murali

    Erudite, detailed and quite accurate. I do appreciate the fine distinction between scales and gamakas. There are few people who understand the structure, jargon and ideology of both Carnatic music and Western music, to be able to communicate effectively. Well done. Thank you for the good work.

    • Thank you Murali for your very kind comments. I try to be as accurate as I can but I am neither a musician nor a musicologist, just a great fan of Carnatic Music. Please do visit again, I am always happy to hear from my readers.
      Cheers. Suja

  2. Ajay

    There are some days when you just are incredibly lucky.
    I believe it was one for me, to have stumbled on to this.

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