Ninnai Charanadainthen

Subramanya Bharathi

It has been in my mind for sometime to mention the poetry of Subramanya Bharathi (1882-1921). There is so much of his poetry that I like that it is difficult to decide where to start! A prolific writer of prose and poetry, he is one of the National Poets of India. He was also a Nationalist who fought for Indian Independence and a social reformer. I can not begin to say how important he is to the Tamil people; he is part of their identity. His songs are sung often in Carnatic Music concerts; they also make an appearance in Tamil films.

I am sure that this wonderful poet’s work will appear again and again in my blog. For today, I have selected the song Ninnai Charanadainthen (see footnote), set to music and sung by the incomparable Ilayaraja for the film Bharathi (2000). I believe that it has been set to Raga Puriya Dhanashree of the Hindustani tradition. I love this soothing rendition by Ilayaraja, whose genius I salute. 

Footnote (Lyrics) :


நின்னைச் சரணடைந்தேன் — கண்ணம்மா!
நின்னைச் சரணடைந்தேன்!


பொன்னை உயர்வைப் புகழை விரும்பிடும்
என்னைக் கவலைகள் தின்னத் தகாதென்று (நின்னை)

மிடிமையும் அச்சமும் மேவியென் நெஞ்சில்
குடிமை புகுந்தன, கொன்றவை போக்கென்று (நின்னை)

தன்செய லெண்ணித் தவிப்பது தீர்ந்திங்கு
நின்செயல் செய்து நிறைவுபெறும் வண்ணம் (நின்னை)

துன்ப மினியில்லை, சோர்வில்லை, தோற்பில்லை,
அன்பு நெறியில் அறங்கள் வளர்த்திட (நின்னை)

நல்லது தீயது நாமறியோம் அன்னை!
நல்லது நாட்டுக! தீமையை ஓட்டுக! (நின்னை)

Translation :

I surrender to thee, the Ultimate
I surrender to thee!

I, who yearn for riches, status and fame, 
do not wish to be eroded by these yearnings..(I surrender to thee)

Cowardice and fear spread in my heart and
make it their home. To let these perish (I surrender to thee)

May my revelling in conceit end here and
may I fulfil what you destined for me.. so (I surrender to thee)

No more sorrows, no more despair, no defeats!
So as to nurture noble things by Love (I surrender to thee)

I lack wisdom to differentiate evil from good [Oh mother]
Let good prevail and evil perish! (I surrender to thee)


Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Tamil, Ilayaraja, Subramanya Bharathi, Tamil Film Music

18 responses to “Ninnai Charanadainthen

  1. Nice site your article and lyrics is really good…. நின்னைச் சரணடைந்தேன் — கண்ணம்மா! It’s an awesome article in favor of all the online visitors; they will obtain benefit from it I am sure.

  2. beautiful song which never fail to mesmerise me with the melody. Do you have any idea on websites that i can get the caranatic dance steps for this song?

    • Indeed, it is a lovely song! But sorry, I don’t know of any websites which have dance steps for this song. Good luck with your search!
      Cheers. Suja

  3. Whenever I listen to this beautiful song, I end up with tears in my eyes, so deep lyric wise and melody wise that touches anyone’s soul.

  4. sneha

    its an awsome song do u know what thaalam for this song

  5. Tried to type something profound while under the song’s influence about how great it is. Words have failed me. :,)

  6. meera

    i think it is eka thalam


    Awesome!!!.. Two legends.. We are fortunate to live in Raja’s period…

  8. Thank you for the translation! Your choice of words were beautiful. Usually, I have trouble reading translations of Bharathi songs because the English words sometimes sound a little jarring. But your translation was melodiously blending with the Tamil words 🙂

  9. In the album, the same song has also been sung by Bombay Jayashree. Further the song “Keladaa Manida ……” has been sung by Bharathi’s grandson Rajkumar Bharathi. The song “Mayil Pola Ponnu onnu …..” sung by Ilaiyaraaja’s daughter, Bhavatharini was awarded the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer in 2001.

    • Thanks for the comment. It’s an excellent album, isn’t it! I am not really familiar with Tamil film music, I don’t really listen to this genre so I was glad to come across this one.

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