Oh, Goddess of Fortune ! Lakshmi Devi ! Please come! Slowly and surely, like butter coming out of buttermilk, come placing one feet after the other, your anklets ringing. O Daughter of Janaka who shines like countless suns, shower us with a rain of gold and fullfill our wishes. Without moving around, stay forever in your devotees’ houses, receiving daily services and worship.
‘Welcome Lakshmi, Goddess of Fortune’ Purandaradasa (1484-1564) says. Who would not welcome this Goddess who brings prosperity, wealth and good fortune to us? For 20 years or so I have been reciting the MahaLakshmi Ashtakam every morning and evening. I am convinced that it is this, my invoking Her name, which brings whatever good fortune that has come into my household. It is my mother who advised me to say prayers to Her; the picture above is the one which hung in my mother’s prayer room. My mother is gone now and as I sing the names of one mother, I remember the other as well. In these neural pathways I call my mind, there is an intricate web made of musical notes and when this web is cast, it captures memories and beliefs, love and worship. It captures life.
Purandaradasa is considered to be the father of Carnatic Music. He composed mostly in Kannada, like the song featured today. He too worshipped at the portals of Lakshmi, being a rich pawnbroker and jewel merchant until he was 30 when realisation dawned and he gave it all away to become a wandering minstrel. Purandaradasa was the guru of Swami Haridas, who was the teacher of the great Tansen, musician extraordinaire of the Mughal court, as well as Baiju, another great musician of the Hindustani tradition. This shows the strong links between Carnatic and Hindustani music sampradaya in those times.
In spirit with this harmony between the North & the South, I present the song in both Carnatic & Hindustani styles. The first clip is by M.S.Subbulakshmi, and the song is rendered in Carnatic tradition in Raga Madhyamavati. To know more about this raga, click here.
The second clip is by Nithyasree Mahadevan in Raga Bauli. I have a great liking for this raga! To know more about this raga, click here.
The third clip is from the Kannada movie Nodi Swamy Navirodu Heege (1983) sung by Hindustani Music stalwart Bhimsen Joshi. (Sorry, I could not find a better quality video). What a mastery he has over whatever he sings!! Ah, I still mourn his loss.
Something that caught my attention : the actress in this clip is the appropriately named Lakshmi!
Language : Kannada. As I do not speak the language, find below the lyrics in devanagri script. I have consulted sources, listened carefully and transcribed as best as I can but I am unsure of accuracy, given the difference in vowels and pronunciations.
भाग्यदा लक्ष्मी बारम्मा, नम्मम्मा नी सौ |
गेज्ज काल्गळा ध्वनिय तोरुता हेज्जय मेले हेज्जय निक्कुत |
सज्जन साधु पूजय वेळगे मज्जिगे-ओळगिन बेण्णयन्ते ॥
कनक वृष्टिया करेयुत बारे मनकामनया सिद्धिय तॊरॆ ।
दिनकर कॊटि तॆजदि होळयुव जनकरायन कुमारि बेगा ||
अत्तित्तलगलद भक्तर मनयलि नित्य महॊत्सव नित्य सुमंगळ ।
सत्यवतॊरुव साधु-सज्जनर चित्तदि होळेवापुत्तळिबोंबे ||
संख्येइल्लद भाग्यव कोट्टु कंकण कैया तिरुवुत बारे ।
कुंकुमान्किते पंकज लॊचने वेंकटरमणन बिन्कद राणी ||
सक्करे तुप्पद कालुवे हरिसि शुक्रवारद पूजय वॆळगे ।
अक्करे-उळ्ळ अळगिरि रंगन चोक्क पुरंदर-विट्ठलन राणी ||
bhAgyada laxmI bArammA nammammA nI sau (bhAgyada)
gejje kAlgaLA dhvaniya tOrutA
hejjaya mele hejjeya nikkuta
sajjana sAdhu pUjeya vELegE
majjige oLagina beNNeyante (bhAgyada)
kanaka vrushTiyA kareyuta bArE
manakAmanaya siddhiya tOrE
dinakara kOTi tEjadi hoLeyuva
janakarAyana kumAri bEgA (bhAgyada)
atthitthalagalade bhaktara maneyali
nitya mahOtsava nitya sumangaLa
satyava tOruva sAdhu sajjanara
chittadi hoLeva putthaLi bombe (bhAgyada)
sankhye illada bhAgyava koTTu
kankaNa kaiyyA tiruvuta bAre
kunkumAnkita pankaja lOchane
venkaTaramaNana binkada rANI (bhAgyada)
sakkare tuppada kAluve harisi
shukravArada pUjeya vELage
akkareyuLLa aLagiri rangana
chokka purandara viThalana rANI (bhAgyada)
Oh, Goddess of Fortune ! Lakshmi Devi ! Please come (implied: to my house).
Like butter coming out of buttermilk (slowly but surely), come, placing one feet after the other, your anklets ringing.
O Daughter of Janaka who shines like countless suns, shower us with a rain of gold and fullfill our wishes.
Without moving around, stay forever in your devotees’ houses, receiving daily services and worship. You shine like a beautiful doll in the minds of saints.
O elegant queen of Venkateshwara (Vishnu)! O Lotus eyed one! You who wear golden bracelets and are decorated with Kumkum, please come and bless with infinite prosperity.
O Consort of PurandaraviTala! O Queen of Alagiri Ranga! You who shine in the hearts of safes! Come to our Friday worship when streams of ghee and sugar will flow!