Category Archives: Anup Jalota

Payoji Maine

Ram Sita LakshmanA very happy राम नवमी Rama Navami to all my readers! Intending to share a nice Bhajan with you to celebrate this Birthday of Lord Rama, I decided very quickly on Payoji Maine, a very famous Meera Bhajan.   I have always enjoyed the nice imagery that the song evokes; I can see Meera Bai with her hands cupped and extended before her within which her Guru drops a special jewel (I always saw it as a Ruby, I don’t know why!). It gleams and changes shape as Rama or Krishna. And she a Jogin, a Sanyasini, a mendicant with no worldly possessions, wrapped in a simple saffron cloth, dancing barefoot in the streets, she holds this incongruous possession of a jewel which is so lustrous and inviting.  Don’t you, like me, want to know what secrets it holds that it enthrals her so? Don’t you wish to know how exactly it called to her that she left home and safety, wealth and respectability, to follow its call? I am fascinated especially by Meera Bai when she says ‘harash harash jash gayo’ – that she sings His praise laughingly, with joy.  That we may all find such joy in the contemplation of the Divine! For lyrics, see footnote.

Finding it curious that she sings of Raam-Ratan, she who was so devoted to Krishna, I did some googling. It seems possible that her original words were ‘Naam-Ratan’ , ‘the precious stone of the name’ or in other words, the treasure that chanting Krishna’s name is. Raam Naam or Krishna Naam, it does not matter really; let us just take God’s name today in joy just as Meera Bai does.

To present this song, here is a rendition by Anup Jalota, the kind of Bhajans.


Footnote (lyrics) :

पायोजी मैंने राम-रतन धन पायो

I have found the wealth (precious jewel) of chanting Ram’s name.

वस्तु अमोलिक दी म्हारे  सतगुरू,
किरपा करि अपणायो (पायोजी मैंने)

My Guru gave me this priceless thing, and I have accepted it with grace.

खर्च न खूटे वाको (alternate: खरचै नहिं कोई ), चोर न लूटे,
दिन दिन बढ़त सवायो (पायोजी मैंने)

No one can spend (this treasure), nor can they steal it. And day by day it increases by a quarter again.

सत की नाव, खेवटिया सतगुरू,
भव-सागर तरि आयो (पायोजी मैंने)

On the boat of truth, the boatman was my Guru, (and thus) I crossed the ocean of existence.

जनम जनम की पूंजी पाई,
जग में सभी खोवायो (पायोजी मैंने)

Now that I have found the treasure after searching in several births, I have abandoned all else in the world.

दासी मीरा लाल गिरिधर (alternate: मीरा के प्रभु गिरधरनागर)
हरख हरख जस गायो (पायोजी मैंने)

Meera is a servant of the dear Lord Giridhar (Krishna), whose glories I sing happily, joyfully.

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Filed under Anup Jalota, Bhajan, Meera

Janam Tera Baton Hi Beet Gayo

KabirWhen words have truth, it does not matter if they were uttered yesterday or 500+ years back. Truth makes you stop and think. Kabir (1440-1518) was a mystic saint-poet who was one of the pillars of the Bhakti movement. His couplets and songs have touched me since I was a teenager, as they have touched the millions from Central and Northern India. Centuries have passed and still Hindi speakers of today quote this poet with a casual familiarity. His writings  have a simplicity and certain groundedness which ensures a wide appeal.

Today, while listening to this song, I am struck anew by the truth of Kabir’s words. Why, the song reads like the story of my life! Childhood went away in play as the poet says and in my twenties I too went desh-videsh, travelling and being engrossed in my family. My thirties were indeed years of greed, focusing on my career and finances, wanting to do better and better. Maya and wants multiplied. Now in my fifties, my energies are dipping lower and lower and health concerns are getting top billing. ‘Birtha janam gayo’ says Kabir – Life has indeed been wasted. He says ‘Oh stupid mind, understand the truth, why have you forgotten? Life is passing by without having taken the name of Krishna’. I too am appalled to see how life has passed me by. In ancient India, once you were past the Grihastashram (life of a householder), you would start your Vanaprasthashram i.e. take to the forests for a life of simplicity and devotion. I, who need comfortable beds, flush toilets and internet connection at all times, how can I take to Vanaprasthashram? How can our generation focus on the next phase of our lives?

For lyrics and my very basic attempt at translation, see footnote.

Better still, listen to Anup Jalota sing this Bhajan with consummate ease.


Footnote (lyrics):

जनम तेरा बातों ही बीत गयो रे तूने कबहूँ न कृष्ण कह्यो |
Your life has passed by in mere chatter, without taking the name of Krishna
पाँच बरस का भोला भाला अब तो बीस भयो |
An innocent at 5, then you were 20
मकर पचीसी माया कारण   देश विदेश गयो ||
Due to the Maya (illusions) of the twenties, you went travelling
तीस बरस की अब मति उपजी तो लोभ बढ़े नित नयो  |
When the mind matured at 30, each day brought a new want, a new greed,
माया जोड़ी तूने लाख करोड़ी पर अजहूँ न तृप्त भयो ||
Wants multiplied into millions, never were you satiated
वृद्ध भयो तब आलस उपजी, कफ नित कंठ रह्यो |
Now old, tiredness has set in and your throat is full of phlegm
संगति तबहूँ  ना कीन्हि रे तूने बिरथा जनम गयो ||
Even then you did not seek good company, life went for a waste
यह संसार मतलब का लोभी, जूठा ठाठ रच्यो |
In this world which works to its own selfish ends, you put on a false appearance of splendour
कहत कबीर समझ मन मूरख  तू क्यों भूल गयो ||
Kabir says, oh stupid mind, understand this, why have you fogotten?

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Filed under Anup Jalota, Bhajan, Kabir