As the sky in Melbourne seems to be quite grey this morning, I am playing this old favourite of mine set to Raga Amrutavarshini, meaning She Who Showers Nectar.
We Indians have always associated rain with joy. Not for us the associations of the Western world which link rain with cold, gloom, threat and generally bad times. Quite the opposite for us, isn’t it? We associate rain with joy, exuberance, hope, growth and prosperity. In Australia, an immense land with low water resources, the Western association seems like nonsense. Here, we too look gladly at rain, so this song is very appropriate.
The composer, Muthuswami Dikshitar, prays to the Goddess saying ‘you who captivates us into a nectar like joy, shower us with nectar like rain’. He goes on to praise Her compassion, entreating Her to bring us rain. Legend says that Dikshithar was on his way to Ettiyapuram to see his brother. Arriving at a place under severe drought, Dikshitar sang this song. When he came to the part ‘Salilam Varshaya Varshaya Varshaya’ a heavy downpour started which went on to relieve the drought. It is said that many agnostics and atheists became theists on seeing this.
I love the sound of Amrutavarshini. To learn more about the raga, click here. I have heard talented artists bring forth the patter of rain on roofs with their kalpanaswarams, sometimes the gentle tapping of a spring shower, sometimes the furious drumming of a torrential downpour. I personally prefer brisk renditions as the scale seems to become even more joyful with rapid execution. Here are a few renditions that I particularly enjoy :
First, click below to listen to Aruna Sairam’s brisk rendition (7 mins) which is a tattoo of sounds reminiscent of the subject matter; it is a thundershower in summer, beating out all thought but the music.
Next, listen to a more elaborate version (19 min) by the Hyderabad Brothers with a nice alapanai leading up to a brisker kriti and kalpanaswarams; much like a long afternoon of interspread light and heavy showers.
And third, listen to this fantastic violin interpretation (9 mins) by Lalgudi Jayaraman which is very lyrical and reminds me of peacocks dancing to spring showers in lush surroundings.
Footnote (Lyrics) :
The composition is in Sanskrit.
आनन्दामृताकर्षिणि अमृत वर्षिणि
हरादि पूजिते शिवे भवानि
श्री नन्दनादि संरक्षिणि श्री गुरुगुह जननि चिद्रूपिणि
सानन्द हृदय निलये सदये सद्य सुवृष्टि हेतवे त्वाम्
सन्ततं चिन्तये अमृतेश्वरि सलिलं वर्षय वर्षय वर्षय
For lyrics in Southern languages, click here.
AnandAmrutAkarshiNi amruta varshiNi
harAdi poojitE SivE bhavAni
sree nandanAdi samrakshiNi sri guruguha janani chidroopiNi
sAnanda hrudayE nilayE sadayE sadya suvrushti hetavE tvAm
santatam chintayE amruteshvari salilam varshaya varshaya varshaya
O Bhavani, you who are adored by Shiva and other Gods, who captivates us into a nectar like joy and shower us with nectar like rain.
You who are the protector of the son of Lakshmi (Kama, possibly referring to when Shiva revives Kama by request of Parvati after burning him to ashes), you who are the mother of Guru Guha (Karthikeya), you are a form of the intellect/spirit, you who dwell in hearts full of joy, you who are compassionate, give us (be the cause of – from noun hetu) good rain soon, I think of you always O embodiment of nectar, shower us with rain, shower us with rain.
17 responses to “Anandamrutakarshini”
As the rain was belting down on the tin shed of my office, I was lost to the world as I listened to all the three clips ! And again what a beautiful narrative ! Thank you so much Suja ! and the violin was absolutely fabulous as well ! Jay
Thanks Jay, you are too kind 🙂 Greateful thanks to the musicians for giving us this cascade from heaven.
Ahh so topical, for me at least. We are literally praying for rain after a long dry spell, and the consequent water shortage. And as I listened to the song in this post, I glanced out of the window and hey presto, its drizzling . Just a wee bit; but atleast enough to the smell of rain. Maybe music can move the heavens !
You really chose some brilliant renditions of this kriti. Bravo.
Btw my comments sometime come under my blog name of indigoite – WordPress has a mind of its own when it comes to my name 🙂
Grrr. it changed my name again 😦 – Ramesh
Hi Ramesh, I too have wondered about your name changes in the past, but of course the email address shows who it is too. Thats the trouble with having multiple identities 🙂 Glad you enjoyed my selection. If you are in the South, perhaps you have seen the first signs of Monsoon…I read a travel book some years ago called Chasing the Monsoon where this chap greets the Monsoon in Trivandrum at it rolls into India and follows its progress all the way across India to Chirrapunji. It was a fascinating book, I too would love to greet the monsoon one day when it rolls into Kerala. With Anandamrutakarshini playing in the background 🙂
Suja , you write: “Not for us the associations of the Western world which link rain with cold, gloom, threat and generally bad times”; I am one westerner who likes the rain, and I’m not the only one too! Listen:
“Il pleut, c’est merveilleux. Je t’aime.
Nous resterons à la maison :
Rien ne nous plaît plus que nous-mêmes
Par ce temps d’arrière-saison.
Il pleut. Les taxis vont et viennent.
On voit rouler les autobus
Et les remorqueurs sur la Seine
Font un bruit… qu’on ne s’entend plus !
C’est merveilleux : il pleut. J’écoute
La pluie dont le crépitement
Heurte la vitre goutte à goutte…
Et tu me souris tendrement.
Je t’aime. Oh ! ce bruit d’eau qui pleure,
Qui sanglote comme un adieu.
Tu vas me quitter tout à l’heure :
On dirait qu’il pleut dans tes yeux.
By Francis Carco, “Il pleut”.
(more rain-inspired Carco here: http://www.paperblog.fr/dossier/poetes/francis-carco/)
Salut Yves! Merci, j’aime bien cette poésie – surtout la strophe dernière qui est très sombre 🙂 Hmmm…donc vous avez aussie les poesies qui célèbrent la pluie.. Evidemment, quand j’écris du ‘monde occidental’, c’est mon impression basée sur ce que j’ai lu en anglais – soit la littérature anglaise soit l’écriture américaine (oui, je sais que c’est juste une petite partie du monde occidental!). En fait, j’imagine que l’association sombre est l’influence anglaise parce qu’il y a lés regions américaines comme le Texas où la pluie doit être bien accueilli, non?
On a different subject, I was listening to ‘coloeurs du monde’ on French radio this morning (which would be wednesday night for you) where Aruna Sairam was featured – both her music and an interview which, when translated in French, was sadly too fast for me to fully comprehend. Maybe there will be another emission in case you are interested : http://sites.radiofrance.fr/francemusique/em/couleurs/emission.php?e_id=14
There is a program featuring Shashank, the flautist, on 24th which you may like better. http://sites.radiofrance.fr/francemusique/em/couleurs/avenir.php?e_id=14
And yes, the programs are available for listening under the archive section for a month or so..
Suja, There is a tilting song in Amirthavarshini raaga in Rajani’s starrer Sri Rghavendra- Mazhaikku ore deveneye. Have u ever heard it? its available in you tube.
Actually I see only few Tamil films and am not at all familiar with the songs. I see that the movie is there in youtube; I’ve made a note to myself to see it. I’ll watch out for the song, thank you 🙂
Hello Suja, What a pleasure to read some French coming from you! Do you speak it sometimes? … In Australia I know there are French people, but perhaps it isn’t not so easy to be in contyact with them? On that programme, it’s a pity the French covers the English for you! And the translation wasn’t that great either.
In Carco’s poem, strange but I don’t see that last stanza as particularly sombre – When he writes “ce bruit d’eau qui sanglote comme un adieu” needs not necessarily be tragic; it’s sad like when a lover leaves you of course, but I think Carco is more playing with the rain’s resemblance to tears than really experiencing them. I can’t be sure, but it’s my impression!
Hi Yves, My French is poor and I hesitate to write it, knowing how cringe-worthy it is! 🙂 But I do get to speak it in Switzerland because I live in a francophone region, though even there I dont get much opportunity as my friends are expatriates like myself. In Australia I have no contact with any French speakers. But if I come back to live permanently, which I hope to soon, I’ll join a French conversation group to keep get some practice. The Alliance Française runs classes here; there is also a French film festival every year, the films are quite popular.
Your point about Carco’s poem is very valid, its all a matter of interpretation isn’t it? Its a lovely poem in any case so thank you for posting it.
Hey Suja, this is one of my favourite compositions. I particularly like the Radha Jayalakshmi version. BTW, I became hooked on to carnatic music after listening to RJ. People are quite surprised to know that i like their voice, singing and got interested in carnatic music after listening to their compositions. Before that i was of course familiar with songs sung by MS (as background music at home while growing up ! Will read your post later – am posting my comment first – cheers
We all have our entry point to Carnatic music somewhere, isn’t it? Mine was through my father playing non-stop (and I mean non-stop!) music whenever he was home. But his favs were the greats male singers of yesteryears like Semmangudi, Ariyakudi, Madurai Mani Iyer and so on. My mother absolutely adored Balamurali and Lalgudi so I heard a lot of their music too. So thats what shaped my musical taste. I never heard much of RJ. But now you mention their Anandmrutavarshini, I will try and find it online..
do give them a chance. Unfortunately there are only a few records of theirs available – i think they didn’t record much those days – more chances of performing live. I will try to get the name of the albums i have at home. I usually buy carnatic CDs when i visit India esp of old artists like RJ.
Ah! My favorite one – this AnandamRtAkrshini. Suja, please let me know if the recordings that you shared here are available in the market.
Hello Srinivas! I do love this song as well 🙂 As to the recordings, Aruna Sairam’s rendition is from the album Madrasil Margazhi 2005 (http://mio.to/bqu) and Lalgudi’s from Legends Volume 2 (http://mio.to/%3D7a), both of which are available in Music India Online. You can of course buy the albums commercially as well. The rendition of Hyderabad Brothers is not a commercial album but if I remember, it is available in Sangeethapriya.com. If you are not a member (free), it is easy enough to sign up and then you can listen to multiple versions of this song 🙂 Cheers. Suja