Happy Navaratri, Dussera and Durga Puja to all my readers! I hope you are all enjoying the festivities of this season!
I feel very blessed by the Goddesses this week; we’ve had some very good news in the family. My son has just been accepted into the College of Psychiatry, a dream he has had for a long time. For those who haven’t read my occasional forays into personal life, my son (25) is a doctor currently working as a Resident. He has long dreamed of becoming a Psychiatrist. His getting a placement as a Psych Registrar is a very big step in the many steps that it has taken to embark on his chosen career. It feels especially good to get this news during Navaratri.
I believe he owes his success to his worship of the Goddesses, but not in any way you imagine. In fact, much to my distress, he claims to be somewhere between atheistic and agnostic. So why do I say that he worships the Goddesses? Is it possible to get blessings without a single shlOka or puja, without even acknowledging the existence of the Goddesses? Let me share my thoughts…(Note: I am in a mood to ramble, so if you want just the music, jump right ahead!)
We believers think that our Gods and Goddesses are omnipresent. That they are present both in those who acknowledge them and those who don’t. Let us search for Shakti first. She is manifest as energy all around us. Touch your skin – even the warmth there is but a manifestation of the energy your cells create. But just as in a temple we need to perform a prANa pratishTHa to consecrate the idol and bring the power of the deity within it, we too need to ‘consecrate’ ourselves to let her manifest her powers within us. How can we do that? I have a theory..
Is Shakti not energy? So if we follow our goals with energy and vigour, surely it is a celebration of her! Shakti is prANa, the life energy itself. How better to worship her than by looking after the health of our bodies and minds? Shakti is courage. By developing our self-confidence and courage, we invite Her to take residence in our hearts. As a baby my son was afraid of the whole world. I could not even enter a lift if there were others there! It took years of coaxing for him to accept the world outside our family. As a boy, he was shy and retiring. He would hardly meet anyone’s eyes when he talked. I remember a moment of pride when at sixteen he voluntarily walked up to a visitor at home and introduced himself; it felt as if he had crossed an important threshold! When he bravely presented a research paper at a Psych conference at 21, almost a decade younger than the next youngest conference attendee, I was bursting with pride. I have seen him slowly build on his courage, his self-confidence to a level that he performs very well in interviews. If this is not the prANa pratishTHa of Shakti, what is?
Lakshmi too is ever present in our lives. Every time anything good has happened to you, every time you have felt lucky, every time you have enjoyed a sense of well-being and happiness, it is but Lakshmi kaTAksham – Her eye has fallen on you. Or so I believe. She may look in our direction but unless we have done the groundwork to receive it, her blessings may slip and fall from our fingers! In his last rotation, my son was lucky enough to have the Head of Psych Training of another leading hospital as his supervisor. That was Lakshmi kaTAksham. She gave a glowing reference saying that ‘I’ll be happy to work with him as my colleague’! By working hard and well enough to gain such a reference, he prepared himself to receive Lakshmi’s blessings; I see it as Lakshmi pratishTHa. At another conference he attended, he learnt that one of the interview panellists was there. That was Lakshmi kaTAksham. He walked up to him and introduced himself, talking of the job he hoped to get. That is Lakshmi pratishTHa. A senior nurse he worked with happened purely by chance to meet one of the panellists. She remembered my son voluntarily and spoke well of him. That was Lakshmi kaTAksham. That he had established a good relationship with the nursing staff, that is Lakshmi pratishTHA.
Where would we be without Saraswati? Knowledge governs our life at every turn. An infant who recognizes his mother as his source of nourishment and succour, even that infant has an important piece of knowledge. We are bombarded with information in this world, we absorb only a minute fraction of which even a smaller fraction gets converted into knowledge. As to wisdom, I don’t know how one gets that but I hope that one day our knowledge leads us to wisdom! Is not Saraswati in all sources of knowledge, in all wisdom? When we convert information to knowledge and then into wisdom, what is it but Saraswati pratishTHa? Even with his limited income as an intern and a resident, my son made the effort to attend many seminars and conferences in Psychiatry over the past two years. I myself was surprised when I saw his CV – ‘When did he get the time to do all that?’ I wondered. When we pursue knowledge we are but paying homage to the Goddess!
I have rambled on a bit, haven’t I? But then a proud mama is allowed to gloat a while! But back now to music. My song choice today is a composition by Shyama Shastri in the Raga Varali. ‘Please protect me’ says the composer, invoking the many qualities and symbolisms of the Goddess. He was a priest at the Kamakshi temple in Tanjavur; his love for his Goddess is very evident in this composition. I present below this beautiful song in the mellifluous voice of Bombay Jayashri.
Alternate link : Click here
Footnote (Lyrics and Translation) :
Composer : Shyama Shastri
Raga : Varali
Language : Telugu
Note – As I do not speak Telugu, the lyrics are transliterated in Devanagari. I referred to various internet sources for the translation.
कामाक्षि बङ्गारु कामाक्षि (अम्बा)
साम गान लोले सुशीले
श्याम कृष्ण परिपालिनी
शुक श्यामळे शिव शङ्करी
शूलिनी सदा शिवुनिकि राणी
विशालाक्षि तरुणी शाश्वत रूपिणी
ना मनविनि विनु देवी
नीवे गतियनि नम्मिनानु
मायम्मा वेगमे करुण जूडवम्मा
kAmAkshi bangAru kAmAkshi (ambA)
sAma gAna lOlE sushIlE
shyAma kRshNa paripAlinI
shuka shyAmaLE shiva shankarI
shUlinI sadA shivuniki rANI
vishAlAkshi taruNI shAshvata rUpiNI
nA manavini vinu dEvI
nIvE gatiyani namminAnu
mAyammA vEgamE karuNa jUDavammA
Note : I do not speak Telugu; I have sourced the translation from multiple web sources.
O Kamakshi! O Golden (bangAru) Kamakshi! Please protect (brOvavE) me (nannu). Why (Ela) delay (tAmasam)? Please come (rAvE)! O Enjoyer (lOlE) of recitation (gAna) of sAma vEda! O Virtuous One (sushIlE)!
O One who protects (paripAlinI) shyAma kRshNa (signature of composer)! O dark-skinned One (shyAmaLE) who holds a parrot (shuka)! O Consort of Shiva (shiva shankarI)! O One who holds a trident (shUlinI)! O Queen Consort (rANI) of shivA (shivuniki)! O Large-eyed One (visAlAkshi)! O youthful One (taruNI)! O One who is manifest (rUpiNI) eternally (shAshvata) !
O Goddess (dEvI)! Please listen (vinu) to my (nA) plea (manavini). I trust(namminAnu) you alone (nIvE) to be (ani) my refuge (gati)!! O my (mA) mother (ammA)! Quickly (vEgamE) show (jUDu) mercy (karuNa) O Mother (ammA)! O Golden (bangAru) Idol (bommA)!
10 responses to “Kamakshi Bangaru”
Pleased that you rambled, Suja, more pleased than when you don’t, in fact! Indeed why not feel proud and say so, when something important happens to our dear ones? It is only natural. And I appreciate of course your understanding of God present within us, whether we believe or not. Belief or lack of it doesn’t stop God from making his home in us.
Thank you for reading and encouraging my happy rambles Yves 🙂 I am glad that my thoughts of spirituality, coloured by my Hindu faith as they are, speak at a fundamental level with your Christian faith! If we all believed that God finds a home within us, whatever our faith or lack of faith, so much of the strife in this world can be averted!
Suja, congratulations to your son for gaining admission in the College of Psychiatry with the blessings of Kamakshi! Like your son even my son will be 25 this month. He studied engineering but is a digital media photographer-cum-photographer by choice. He is also an agnostic but like your friend Yves says so beautifully God dwells in us.
Hello Chandramouli, good to see you here after a long time! An engineer by training but a photographer by choice? Does he have an online presence? Why don’t you share a link here? I wish your son every success in his artist quest, may the Goddesses be with him!
Sorry, that should read designer-cum-photographer. Kartik works for an online company called Flying Cursor. It is on Facebook. He thoroughly enjoys his work. Thanks for your blessings. I will convey it to him. Did you read the Saint-Poets of Maharashtra book? I am keen to know your views on my father’s book. Regards
Yes, I did enjoy all the informative parts but have not yet read through all the translations of songs. But I will remember it as a reference when the need arises. I had plans of featuring one of the abhangs with a translation from the book, but haven’t come to it as yet. I will of course write to you and get your permission to print the translation when the time comes.
Many congratulations to your son, and to the proud mama as well! I enjoyed your ‘rambling’ too, and hope you’ve been having a good Navarathri.
Brilliant song choice – I haven’t heard much in Varali, and it’s easy to forget how beautiful it is, especially in the voice of one of my favourite singers.
Thank you Sakthi 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the song. Varali is one of my favourite ragas, never fails to grab me! If you liked it, you should read my old posts on two very well known and popular songs in this raga – Ka Va Va and Kana Kana Ruchira .
Convey my best wishes to your son, Suja and you should indeed be proud of his achievements.
Thank you for your kind wishes 🙂