O Mind, when a beautiful path to salvation is available, why should you take the by-lanes? When thick creamy milk is there, why do you want toddy?
In a recent conversation with my sister, she mentioned that she very much enjoyed the Raga Kharaharapriya. It got me thinking. Why do we respond to certain ragas and not to others? There are ragas which still me, whatever I am doing. My family does not find it odd to find me standing in the middle of room, eyes far away, senses alert and focused as I let my spirit absorb a phrase, a note. Some ragas catch my attention whenever they are played, others depends on my mood. I don’t always respond to Kharaharapriya but when it is sung well, it can be deeply moving. The raga demands an unhurried mind; the longer you listen to it, the better it feels. To know more about this raga, click here.
‘When the beautiful path to salvation is available, why should you take the by-lanes?’ says Tyagaraja. ‘When thick creamy milk is there, why do you want toddy?’ Is the poet-composer addressing the song to himself or us? He says ‘O Manasa’– ‘O Mind’ so perhaps it is addressed to himself but it is also addressed to to all of us who have strayed from the path of devotion and salvation. See footnote for lyrics and translation.
I will take this opportunity to present another great musician from yesteryears. M.D.Ramanathan (1923-1984). came from an illustrious Guru Parampara with an impeccable musical lineage. He was a gifted child and trained under his father until he went to Kalakshetra to train under Tiger Varadachariar. Later he was to become the principal of the same institute. He was also a composer, writing more than 300 kritis in Sanskrit, Tamil and Telugu. He won many awards and accolades, including the Padmashri in 1974. His beautifully deep and resonant voice and a relaxed style of singing was unique. He is a voice of my childhood as my father enjoyed MDR’s music very much and his voice was often heard booming out of our tape recorder. For the sake of readers with limited time, I offer below only the sahityam performed by M.D.Ramanathan.
However, this raga is meant to be heard leisurely and I very much enjoy the 52 minute detailed rendition by Aruna Sairam. Click here to listen.
Footnote (Lyrics) :
चक्कनि राज मार्गमुलुण्डग
सन्दुल दूरनेल ओ मनसा
चिक्कनि पालु मीगडयुण्डग
कण्टिकि सुन्दर तरमगु रूपमे
मुक्कण्टि नोट चॆलगे नाममे
त्यागराजिण्टने नॆलकोन्नादि दैवमे
यिटुवण्टि श्री साकेत रामुनि भक्तियने
chakkani rAja mArgamuluNDaga
sandula dUranEla O manasA
chikkani pAlu mIgaDayuNDaga
chIyanu gangA sAgaramElE
kaNTiki sundara taramagu rUpamE
mukkaNTi nOTa chelagE nAmamE
tyAgarAjiNTanE nelakonnAdi daivamE
yiTuvaNTi SrI sAkEta rAmuni bhaktiyanE
O Mind, when the beautiful path to salvation is available, why should you take the by-lanes?
When thick creamy milk is there, why do you want toddy?
When you can feast your eyes on the beautiful form of Sri Rama, when Lord Shiva himself is eternally chanting His name, the God who has graced the abode of Tyagaraja, to such a Lord of Saketa, (implied-there is a royal path) called devotion.
For notation and word by word translation, click here.