Adamodi Galade

Is it just, O Lord Rama, this whim of yours in not talking to me when I have held your feet with such devotion? O Merciful Lord! Is it not true that when the erudite Anjaneya saluted you, you asked your younger brother to convey the details to him? However, is this fair, this whim of yours in not replying to this Tyagaraja?

HanumanMost of us who have grown up in India have a special place in our hearts for the epic Ramayana. Our behaviour, our beliefs, our language – all this and more are influenced by this great epic. However, if we are asked if Ramayana is myth or history, if it is legend or reality, many amongst us will be conflicted. I am. My heart believes, but my mind questions many of the incredible occurrences. I try and add my own reasoning (totally unproven!) to make it real, for I want it to be real.

Take, for example, Lord Hanuman and the legions of Vanaras (apes) who have a starring role in Ramayana. ‘Talking apes? Really?’ My mind asks me. Given my beliefs, I feel both guilt and shame for asking such questions and then hasten to counter-ask myself ‘What if some Neanderthal men were still around at that time? Would they have been seen as another species i.e. as apes?’.  The dates don’t fit, but what if?

Evidently, I am not the only one who wants to find logic to fit the legends. I-Serve, the Institute of Scientific Research on Vedas seems to be populated by exactly the same kind of people. They were much in the news last year when they used astronomical dating of planetary positions mentioned in the Ramayana to get dates for some important events. Lord Rama’s birthdate was 10 January, 5114 BC, they say with authority. Their paper is an interesting read for anyone interested in the Ramayana.

So when I came to the topic of today, the first meeting of Lord Hanuman with Lord Rama, I see it in my mind’s eye as a somewhat mythical history, but history nonetheless. Before we come to Sarga 3 of the Kishkinda Kanda of the Ramayana, Sita is already taken. Rama and Lakshmana are on her trail. Dressed simply like hermits, they still have the appearance of princes. It is at this time that Hanuman is sent as a messenger seeking help from them by Sugreeva, the younger brother of Vali, the Vanara ruler of the region, who has now become Sugreeva’s enemy.

Dressing himself as an ascetic in order not to alarm then, Hanuman approaches them. His speech is full of praise, as seems to be the polite form of address in those times, before introducing himself. Rama is well pleased with his greeting. Turning to Lakshmana, he praises Hanuman’s knowledge of grammar and the Vedas. But he does not speak directly to Hanuman, letting Lakshmana be his spokesperson. This is believed to be the protocol of those times in dealing with messengers. For the verses and the translation, read here.

Tyagaraja uses this incident in our song choice of today, Adamodi Galade, set to the charming Charukesi raga (to know more about this raga, click here). Tyagaraja asks Lord Rama if it is fair that he persists in his whim of not speaking to him and reminds him that it was thus with even Hanuman, that the Lord did not reply directly to him when spoken to. Does Tyagaraja imply that if the Lord would not speak to Hanuman himself, what chance did he have? Does he see himself as a loyal servitor of Lord Rama, just as Hanuman was and thus worthy of his love? He does seem to berate the Lord, calling him whimsical! For lyrics and translation, see footnote.

To present this song, I am in the mood for some legends today. To start with, I present a rare live presentation from the musician whose Charukesi I love better than anything else, the inimitable Lalgudi Jayaraman (1930-2013).

And for a vocal version, I can present no other than the Maestro with a voice like nectar, Dr.Balamuralikrishna (1930-). He was a man who pushed the boundaries of tradition in his time and is a living legend now.

Alternate link : in Sangeethapriya, accessible with a free account.

Next I would like to recommend a very interesting interpretation by the great Veena player, Chitti Babu (1936-1996). I was surprised to note the Vedic hymn style notes produced in the alapana and in the thanam as well, something I associate with Revati, not Charukesi. It ends abruptly, but still do listen, this raga sounds particularly beautiful on the Veena.

Alternate link : In Sangeethapriya, accessible with a free account.


Footnote (Lyrics and Translation) :

Composer : Tyagaraja
Raga : Charukeshi

Language : Telugu
I do not speak Telugu and have sourced the lyrics and translation from various internet sources, especially
Tyagaraja Vaibhavam. This I have calibrated against multiple performances and modified as seemed fit.

आड मोडि गलदा (alternate: गलदे) रामय्य माट(लाड मोडि )

तोडु नीड नीवे अनुचुनु (alt: यनुचुनु) भक्तितो गूडि (नी)
पादमु (alt: पादमुल) पट्टिन नातो माट(लाड मोडि )

चदुवुलन्नि तॆलिसि शंकरांशुडै
सदयुडाशुग सम्भवुडु म्रॊक्क
कदलु तम्मुनि पल्क जेसितिवि
गाकनु त्यागराजु आडिन माट(लाड मोडि )


ADa mODi galadA (alt: galadE) rAmayya mATa (lADa mODi)

tODu nIDa nIvE anuchunu (Alt: yanuchunu) bhaktito
gUDi (nI) pAdamu (pAdamula) paTTina nAtO mATa (lADa mODi)

chaduvulanni telisi shankarAnshuDai
sadayuDAshuga sambhavuDu mrokka
kadalu tammuni palka jEsitivi
gAkanu tyAgarAju ADina mATa (lADa mODi)

Is it just, O Lord Rama, this whim of yours in not talking to me? (Note: mODi has been translated as obstinacy, haughtiness etc. but I liked whimsical which is also a valid translation by the dictionary. You take your pick!)

Is it just, O Lord Rama, this whim of not talking to me who considers you alone to be as constant as a shadow, when I have held your feet with so much devotion?

O Merciful Lord! Is it not true that when the erudite Anjaneya, born of the Wind God, who is also an aspect of Lord Shiva, saluted you, you asked your younger brother to convey the details to him? However, is this whim of yours in not replying to this Tyagaraja just?


Filed under Carnatic Music, Chitti Babu, Compositions in Telugu, Lalgudi Jayaraman, M.Balamuralikrishna, Tyagaraja

17 responses to “Adamodi Galade

  1. Narasimharaj

    Next I would like to recommend a very interesting interpretation by the great Veena player, Chitti Babu (1936-1996).
    Suja, the moment I saw the name ‘Chitti Babu’, my eyes welled-up with tears of joy – as daily I find great tranquility of in listening to ‘Shiva Leela Vilasam’. Chitti Babu made his veena recital sound as if it was a vocal recital! Did I refer to Chitti Babu earlier in some other Post? I forget!
    Thank you Suja, for the selection.
    I have no ‘value addition’ to make – o your ‘preface’ on Ramayana.
    Best Wishes.

    • Hello Raj, some musicians ring just the exact chord with us, do they not? Chitti Babu is a kind of magician on the Veena, always a pleasure to listen to. Glad it brought back good memories for you,
      Cheers. Suja

  2. Ramesh

    Very nice summary of the dilemma – the heart wants to believe; the mind wants to question. I believe the Ramayana did indeed happen, but it has been embellished considerably over the centuries. Not surprising, given that the tradition was oral for a great length of time, during that age. At least that is what I liked to believe. Haven’t listened to your chosen renditions as yet – will do so after a while, but I have no doubt they will be stunning given the three maestros you have chosen.

    • Hi Ramesh, Your belief matches mine I see and I doubt whether we are alone in this 🙂 The renditions I have chosen are quite long, so you’ll have to find a little time for it but they are all excellent and I am sure you will enjoy them – its like having a master class in Charukesi, listening to them all 🙂
      Cheers. Suja

  3. Thanks for a great post. The epics are the heritage handed down to us by our forbears. They deserve the respect and honour that we show to our grand parents and other elders. And they are based on times long past and laws that prevailed in those howry times .We have to read and understand them with regard to this and not tear them down on this count. And there are certain things and precepts in them which transcend time. If we deride them and dismiss them blanketly , we’ll be no different from iconoclasts who blast holy icons respected by millions all across the world.
    As regards the lyric under review , I feel the version “galade ?” , is more apt. it expresses a love and affection that one shows to ones nearest kin, than the bland questioning “galada?”, which is slightly stand-offish.
    And ” modi” means ” reserve “, rather than whim. The saint says you had shown a proper royal reserve ,towards Hanuman, it’s alright, he was but an erudite emmisary of Sugriva, not your trusted lieutenant yet.
    But I am already a bosom devotee, why display your royal reserve at me too.
    Thanks for the post, to which I came by chance today. It afforded me the oppurtunity to contemplate a bit of an epic meeting, on the day Hanuman , the scholarly emmissary was born

    • R S Prasad

      Dear Sir, My humble pranams. “Royal Reserve”, as you point out, seems more apt. While in Bhutan, we would often get a chance to see the then King His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuk…some of us would be awe-struck at his carriage and the “royal reserve” that you mention..if a mortal king can have this kind of majesty, I used to wonder/imagine what awesome majesty the Avatara – Purusha-s would have had, while singing krithis/phrases such as “parivara jaladhi gambheera” (ela nee daya raadu-atana)”, “Meru-samaana”(mayamalavagowlai), “Aajaanu baahu yuga” – (naadupai-madyamavati), “Saamaja vara gamana-(hindolam) etc., To exactly convey in target language the meaning/flavour of a word in the source language can be at times be extremely challenging – Sogasu is a classic example – it can be loosely rendered in some other language but the original flavour is lost..regards, rs prasad

  4. Thank you for your comment, especially for those on the language…my lack of Telugu knowledge is a hurdle as a Carnatic Music fan. I often use Carnatic Music as a trigger to think of adhyatmic matters..I see that you follow this same path.
    As to the classics, I respect them and honour them but not blindly; I prefer to use them as a guidance and not as a rule. They are written by men – of Gods but not by Gods – so looking at them questioningly is not in anyway a question of faith in the Gods, only a question of faith in men. But that’s a personal choice and I respect everyone’s right to their own interpretation and beliefs.
    cheers. Suja

  5. R S Prasad

    Suja, very happy to see Lalgudi’s Adamodi galade… I had made a mention about this while leaving a response to your post on Theeratha Vilayattu Pillai just a while ago.. Art is the summation of many a subtlety… Lalgudi lived it – extraordinary amalgam of layam, sensitivity to lyrics, grip over raaga-s.. Truly a great soul..

    • Hi Prasad, Interesting that you mentioned Adamodi galade, a kriti is which Lalgudi astounds us with his sheer mastery! I really like your quote?statement? that ‘Art is the summation of many a subtlety’ – very cleverly put!
      Cheers. Suja

  6. Hi Suja, thank you for this fantastic post and your wonderful blog. Would you know at what instance of his life Tyagaraja wrote this?

    • I am sorry, but I haven’t heard any stories or history regarding this compositon. I will keep my resume open for any details I come across. Cheers. Suja

  7. Ravi Ramamurthi

    What a treatise ! Pity I stumbled on this only on an isolated corona lockdown , it is like stumbling on an antique masterpiece shop on a country walk and finding your long lost family treasure nestled in a quiet corner. The first thing you do is shed tears of joy “Ra Rama intidaaga!” I( I don’t speak Telugu being a Tamil Iyer ) but if it tugs your heart strings language doesn’t count!

    • I do most sincerely apologise for this delayed response. I had period of quite a few months when I was not active with my blog, and when I came back to it, I seemed to have missed your message. I am always grateful when people take time to drop a few lines, and it is unworthy of me to overlook such messages, I am sorry. Adamodi Galade is rather near to my heart; I remember it sung by my sister and my mother in my childhood. As you can see, I still see the yesteryear greats as the only ones who do this justice 🙂 Being a Tamil Iyengar by birth, and never having lived in the South of India, I don’t speak Telugu either but as you rightly say, if it tugs at your heart strings, how do the words matter?
      Cheers. Suja

  8. Ravi Ramamurthi

    Thank you . Sri Ram is a “Chakravarthy Thirumagan’ as Sri Rajaji named Ramayana ,, His Darshan being an Emperor’s Crown Prince/Son His Darshan like Tirupathi Venkatesha isn’t easy, it is an answer to intense prayer and true longing in One’s heart. Even Thyaga Brahman in his plea
    ‘Thertheeyagaraadha!? With intensity made the curtain snap down to Reveal the Lord. The poignancy and child like plea of Tyagaraja resonates every time His keertanas are sung/played. When Nidhi Chawla sukhama is sung by Srimathi Nithyashree much sought after wealth becomes meaningless before
    Rama Bhakti!. In Dhenuka I will end “I do not know Rama ! The path of True Bhakthi to Your Feet!

  9. Dr. I.A.P.S. Murthy

    The selection of chaarukESi for aaDamODi

    tyaagaraja chose chaarukESi raagam in the introduction between hanuman and raama. Besides the well-known meaning of the aaDamODi galadE raamayya, the raaga selection for this song is unique.

    It is often mentioned that raama is an aarya, belonging to north India. He comes across hanuma while in search of seeta. hanuma is considered to be from south India.

    In music, SankaraabharaNam is said to have originated from north India, while tODi is known as hanumattOdi.

    The arOhaNam of chaarukeSi is S R2 G3 M1 P D1 N2 S and its reverse is avarOhaNam.

    The structure of this raagam is a combination of (dheera) SankaraabharaNam and (hanumat) tODi, as can be seen in the aarOhaNam of each raagam as given below. The avarOhaNam, of course, is the reverse of it.

    dheera SankaraabharaNam S R2 G3 M1 P D2 N3 S
    chaarukESi S R2 G3 M1 P D1 N2 S
    hanumat tODi S R1 G2 M1 P D1 N2 S

    The first half of the aarOhaNam of chaarukESi is from SankaraabharaNam, while the second half represents tODi. It is the reverse for the avarOhaNam.

    The union of raama and hanuma are beautifully embedded into this raagam. In the charaNam of aaDamODi, tyaagaraaja describes hanuma as SankaraamSudu, meaning Sankara is contained in hanuma. Thus, the content of SankaraabharaNa swaras in chaarukESi is even more justifiable for this song.

  10. Dr. I.A.P.S. Murthy

    Your post is seven years old. The kRti is about 200 years young. Still enjoyable and will be so. This music has no age and is divine (ajaram and amaram).

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