Category Archives: Embar S.Kannan


NRKAfter my rather depressing post last time, I wanted to post something happy. Immediately my mind went to this song that I love in Raga Nalinakanti, a most cheerful sounding piece of music.

As I pored over the translation, my mind wandered off in a tangent with the pallavi line itself. ‘O Mind, won’t you listen to my appeal?’ says Tyagaraja. This device of addressing one’s own mind occurs in music and literature often enough for us not to be surprised by it. But today I asked myself ‘Who is the addresser and who is the addressed?’.

I was first reminded of the mindfulness exercises in some meditative techniques. One is supposed to watch the thoughts flow by without stopping them, just watching them stream past without reaction. A mind watching its own thoughts? ‘Who is the watcher?’ I wondered, ‘and who is the watched?’. I have tried this meditation technique myself and yes, it is quite possible to do this. And so another question arises – if the mind can split into the watcher and the watched, can it split into more parts?

I became engrossed in reading many articles on mind and consciousness, within Hindu thought or otherwise. But I couldn’t get any specific answers to my questions. Coming back to our song,  Tyagaraja says ‘O Mind, won’t you listen to the one who knows the compassionate heart of Sri Ramachandra? I am revealing all the secrets’.  Oh! So part of his mind knows secrets that the other part doesn’t know? I do know unhealthy minds can keep secrets –such as in amnesia- but can a healthy mind keep secrets from itself? I don’t think so. But the subconscious can and does keep secrets from the conscious mind. Is this intended to be a song from the subconscious to the conscious?

I know, some of you may well be thinking that I am making too much of this, that it is merely a literary device. That is probably very likely. Still, Tyagaraja was such an evolved soul; it behoves us to examine his words and make sure we look beyond the obvious and glean as much wisdom as we can from them. That said, this is such a lovely piece of music that one finds joy in the very flow of the notes. And sometimes that is more than enough.

For the last two days I have been hearing innumerable renditions of this song. There are so many beautiful renditions that it was a difficult choice for me. But when I heard this version by Nedunuri Krishnamurthy (1927-2014), I knew at once that this was IT! I missed honouring him when he passed away in December; I am happy to have the opportunity to feature this illustrious artist in my blog today. There is a wonderful shower of swaras following the song, I am literally dancing to them as I write this! My only complaint is the missing gamaka on the word ‘Tyagaraju’ which only TMK and SKR seem to include..I just adore that gamaka, always makes me melt to a puddle!

(There is a small glitch at 5:45, I assume it is from tape conversion, please ignore)

Alternate Link : Click here and download item 5 – free membership of Sangeethamshare is needed.

And if you want to listen to an outstanding violin rendition, listen to Kanyakumari  supported beautifully by Embar Kannan.

Alternate link : Click here and download item 9.


Footnote (Lyrics and Translation) :

Composer : Tyagaraja
Raga : Nalinakanti
Language : Telugu

Note – As I do not speak Telugu, the translation is heavily dependent on various web sources.

Transliteration in Devanagari


मनविनालकिञ्च रादटे मर्ममॆल्ल तॆल्पॆदने मनसा
(common alternate version of first word : मनव्याल)


घनुडैन (श्री) राम चन्द्रुनि करुणान्तरंगमु तॆलिसिन ना

कर्म काण्ड मताकृष्टुलै भव गहन चारुलै गासि जॆन्दग
कनि मानवा अवतारुडै कनिपिञ्चिनाडे नडत त्यागराजु

Transliteration in English

manavinAlakincha rAdaTE marmamella telpedanE manasA
(common alternate version of first word : manavyAla)

ghanuDaina (shrI) rAma chandruni karuNAntarangamu telisina nA

karma kANDa matAkRshTulai bhava gahana chArulai gAsi jendaga
kani mAnava avatAruDai kanipinchinADE naData tyAgarAju


Won’t (rAda) you (aTE) listen (Alakincha) to my appeal (manavini), O mind (manasA)? I am revealing (telpedanE) all (ella) the secrets (marmamu) .

Won’t You listen (implied) to my (nA) appeal, I (implied) who know (telisina) the compassionate (karuNA) heart (antarangamu) of the great (ghanuDaina) Sri Ramanchandra (rAma chandruni)?

Seeing (kani) those who, attracted (AkRshTulai) by the opinions (mata) of the ritualistic action (karma) section (kAnDa) of the Vedas (implied), suffer (gAsi jendaga) as wanderers (chArulai) in the forest (gahana) of worldly existence (bhava), the Lord having incarnated (avatAruDai) as a human being (mAnava) exemplified (kanipincinADE) the right conduct (naData). Therefore, O Mind, won’t you listen to the appeal (implied from pallavi) of this Tyagaraja (tyAgarAju)?


Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Telugu, Embar S.Kannan, Kanyakumari, Nedunuri Krishnamurthy, Tyagaraja

Mamavatu Sri Saraswati

Saraswati3Today for this ninth day of Navaratri, Navami, and as my 100th post, I have chosen the beautiful composition of Mysore Vasudevachar, Mamavatu Sri Saraswati set in Raga Hindolam to pay homage to Goddess Saraswati. This song is specially meaningful to me. My sister learnt Carnatic Music for many years as a young girl and her lessons and her singing were one of the founding blocks of my love for this music. I cannot listen to this song without remembering her young and lovely voice singing this song while my mother kept talam in my childhood home.  In that home, where songs were sung and the listeners enraptured, Saraswati’s presence was all around us. As we worship our Goddess today, we should all remember that She exists not only in temples but in each home where the arts are practiced and loved, be it music, dance or fine arts. She exists in every home in which education is honoured and respected. She lives with us, in us, through us.

To present this song, here is a very nice performance by Sudha Raghunathan, with some lovely kalpanaswarams (improvisations). A special mention also for the violinist Embar S.Kannan whom I have come to appreciate very much. How I love Hindolam!! To know more about this raga, click here. The song is preceded by a short prayer :

सरस्वती नमस्तुभ्यं वरदे कामरूपिणी विद्यारम्भं करिष्यामि सिद्धिर भवतु मे सदा

Oh Saraswati, I salute you.  You who fulfil all desires, grant me a boon. I begin my studies today. Let me attain this knowledge successfully.

For lyrics of the song and the raga, see footnotes.

For an instrumental version, listen to the young musician A.N.Kishan on the Veena.


Footnote (Lyrics)

Language : Sanskrit

मामवतु श्री सरस्वती |
कामकोटि पीठ निवासिनी ||

कोमल कर सरोज धृत वीणा |
सीमातीत वर वाग्विभूषणा ||

राजाधिराज पूजित चरणा राजीव नयना रमणीय वदना |
सुजन मनोरथ पूरण चतुरा निजगल शोभित मणिमय हारा |
अजभव वन्दित वासुदेव चरणार्पित सकल वेद सारा ||


mAmavatu shrI sarasvatI
kAmakOti pITHa nivAsinI

kOmala kara sarOja dhRta vINA
sImAtIta vara vAgvibhUshaNA

rAjAdhirAja pUjita charaNA rAjIva nayanA ramaNIya vadanA

madhyamakAla sAhityam
sujana manOratha pUraNa chatura nijagala shObhita maNimaya hArA
aja bhava vandita vasudEva charaNARpita sakala Veda sARA


Protect (ava – root av) me (mAm) Shri Saravati ! The One who lives (nivAsinI) in the seat of Kamakoti.

Holding (dhRuta) a Veena in your gentle (kOmala) lotus-like (sarOja) hands (kara), beyond (atIta) limits (sImA), bestower (varada) of beauty (vibhUshana) to speech (vAk).

Whose feet (charaNa) are worshipped by (pUjita) kings (rAja) and emperors (adhirAja), with lotus-like (rAjiva) eyes (nayana) and a beautiful (ramaNiya) face (vadana). Swift (chatura) to fulfil (pUraNa) the wishes (manOratha) of the virtuous (sujana), whose own (nija) neck (gala) is adorned by (shobhita) a jewelled (maNimaya) necklace (hAra). Extolled (vandita) by Brahma (aja=unborn) and Shiva (bhava), the essence (sAra) of all (sakala) Vedas, ffered (arpita) to your feet (charaNa) by Vasudeva (name of poet-composer).


Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Sanskrit, Embar S.Kannan, Mysore Vasudevachar, Sudha Raghunathan