Category Archives: K.V.Narayanaswamy

Ananda Natam Aduvar Thillai

Happy Shivaratri everybody! As music lovers, our worship is music, our prayer is music and our blessing is music, is it not? And so here I am, offering a song of the Dancing Lord in worship and in prayer, praying that I shall evermore have the blessing of a heart fulfilled by music.

cosmic-microwave-map

Cosmic Microwave Map, can you spot the S and H?

It might seem strange to you but I always associate Lord Shiva with Cosmology! You see, the image I have in my mind is of Him dancing, galaxies streaming around Him, the background sound of OM keeping sruthi like a tanpura, His ascetical beautiful face blissful, His matted hair flying, the snakes on His neck swaying, the drum in Hand beating the beat of the world, His movements ecstatic, His contemplation the existence of the universe, His pulse its rhythm. So yes, I think of Cosmology when I think of Him. Knowing that Shivaratri was coming up, I picked a lecture to see from the Oxford University podcasts. I only understood parts of it but there was something there which made me laugh! Check out what the speaker shows at the 22nd minute. The letters ‘S’ and ‘H’ show up in the microwave map (see above), a cosmological message from the time the Universe was created! I wonder when they are going to find the ‘I’, ‘V’, and ‘A’!!! Lord Shiva’s signature on his handiwork, don’t you think? 🙂

There was something else which sparked my interest. The model which I had read before said that the universe was expanding like a balloon, but that the rate of expansion reduces as time passes. I had imagined that it would then attain some kind of stability. Instead, I understand (and I may be well have misunderstood!) that the expansion is in fact accelerating, and that the model that emerges is that of a universe which will expand faster and faster until it collapses into itself to become what it was before the Big Bang. And then perhaps it would start a new cycle again? Is that the cycle of destruction and creation which we ascribe to Lord Shiva? I must read up a bit more on this subject….

To remember Lord Shiva’s dance today, I have chosen a lovely song composed by Neelakanta Sivan in the raga Purvikalyani. I listened to many a rendition but this week, I couldn’t get past the old timers.. So first up is K.V.Narayanaswamy with a gorgeous rendition below.

Alternative Link : Click here and select song 3 (Free membership of Sangeethapriya required)

For a slightly longer version with an alapanai, here are the Hyderabad Brothers. I do like their singing, I should listen to them more often!

Alternate Link : Click here and select song 10 (free membership of Sangeethapriya required)


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Tamil

பல்லவி
ஆனந்த நடம் ஆடுவார் தில்லை
அம்பலம் தன்னில் அடி பணிபவர்க்(கு)-அபஜெயமில்லை (ஆனந்த)

அனுபல்லவி
தானந்தம் இல்லாத ரூபன்
தஜ்ஜம் தகஜம் தகதிமி
தளாங்கு தக  தத்திங்கிணதோம்
தளாங்கு தக  தத்திங்கிணதோம்
தக திமி(alt:திகு) தக தத்திங்கிணதோம் (ஆனந்த)

சரணம்
பாதி மதி ஜோதி பளீர் பளீர் என
பாதச் சிலம்பொலி  கலீர் கலீர் என
ஆதிக் கறை உண்ட நீலகண்டம் மின்ன

(மத்தியம காலம் )
ஹரபுர ஹரசிவ சங்கர
அருள் வர குருபர சுந்தர (alt: அருள் குருபர சிவ சுந்தர )
அண்டமும் பிண்டமும் ஆடிட
எண்திசையும் புகழ் பாடிட

pallavi
Ananda naTam ADuvAr tillai
ambalam tannil aDi paNIbavark-apajayam illai (Ananda)

anupallavi
tAnantam* illAda rUpan
tajjam takajam takadimi
taLAngu taka tatingiNatOm
taLAngu taka tatingiNatOm
taka dimi (alt: diku) taka tatingiNatOm (Ananda)

charaNam
pAdi madi jyOti paLIr paLIr ena
pAda silamboli galIr galIr ena
Adi kaRai uNDa nIlakaNTam minna

(madhyama kAlam)
harapura hara shiva shankara
aruL vara gurupara sundara (alt: aruL gurupara shiva sundara)
aNDamum piNDamum ADiDa
eNdisaiyum pugazh pADiDa

*Note : தானந்தம் is pronounced as tAnandam by most singers, however as it is derived from Sanskrit word अन्त meaning end, the correct pronunciation would be tAnatam in my humble opinion.

Translation

pallavi
The Lord (implied) will dance (ADuvAr) his Dance of Ecstacy (Ananda naTam) in the (tannil) temple (ambalam, normally hall or court) in Chidambaram (tillai) where, for those who worship (paNibavarkku) at His feet (aDi), there is no defeat (apajayam).

anupallavi
With an infinite/endless (tAnantam illAda) form (rUpan), with a beat (implied by the solkattu or beat-words) like (ena) tajjam-takajam…tatingiNatOm (..the Lord will dance)

charaNam
With light (jyOti) flashing brilliantly (paLIr paLIr ena) from the crescent moon (pAdi = half, madi = moon), the sound (oli) of ankle-bells (silambu) on his feet (pAda) ringing sharply (galIr galIr ena), His (implied) blue-hued (nIla) throat (kanTam) which swallowed (uNDa) the primeval/ancient (Adi) impurity (kaRai) glittering (minna) (reference: Shiva drinking poison from the churning of the ocean).

‘O Auspicious One (shankara)!! O Benign One (shiva)!! O Destroyer (hara)!! (Not sure what harapura indicates here…) O Beautiful One (sundara)! O Benevolent One (aruL vara)!  O Ultimate (vara) Preceptor (guru)!! Thus do (implied) all eight directions (eNdisaiyum) sing (pADiDa) His praise (pugazh) while the whole globe (piNDam) and universe (aNDam) dance (ADiDa).

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Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Tamil, Hyderabad Brothers, K.V.Narayanaswamy, Neelakanta Sivan

Eppadi Manam Thunindado

Rama ExileLet us take our minds to the scene from Ramayana where Rama is summoned to his father’s presence the day before his coronation. Kaikeyi has demanded the boons promised to her by Dasaratha; she wants her son Bharata to be coronated and Rama to be exiled. Dasaratha is devastated but obliged to keep his word.

सप्त सप्त च वर्षाणि दण्डक अरण्यम् आश्रितः |
अभिषेकम् इमम् त्यक्त्वा जटा चीर धरः वस ||

You have to leave this coronation function and dwell in the forest of Dandaka for fourteen years, with matted hair and clothed in animal skin

So says Kaikeyi to Rama, when Dasaratha finds it too difficult to utter the words.  How shocked Rama would have been to be exiled thus! Yet he takes it manfully, seeing it as his duty to fulfill his father’s words to Kaikeyi. Bidding farewell to his mother Kausalya, Rama comes to inform Sita of his imminent departure. He bids her farewell, advising her of her duty towards Bharata, who is to be king in his stead, towards his father Dasaratha and his mothers. Sita, quite unlike herself, does not take this meekly.

एवम् उक्ता तु वैदेही प्रिय अर्हा प्रिय वादिनी |
प्रणयात् एव सम्क्रुद्धा भर्तारम् इदम् अब्रवीत् ||

“Sita, who speaks kindly and deserving of kindness, after hearing Rama’s words, became angry out of love alone and spoke thus to her husband.”

She is upset and demands to go to the forest with Rama, saying that the destiny of a wife is tied to her husband. Her words are strong; she says that she cannot be prevented from her intention.

Rama explains to her the many discomforts, difficulties and dangers faced by forest dwellers. He speaks of dangerous animals, the lack of food, bed and comforts; he tells her of the rigours of the life of a hermit.

तत् अलम् ते वनम् गत्वा क्षमम् न हि वनम् तव |
विमृशन्न् इह पश्यामि बहु दोषतरम् वनम् ||

“Therefore, do away with the idea of your coming to the forest. The forest is not indeed bearable for you. Reflecting now, I perceive the forest as having too many disadvantages.”

Sita tries to convince Rama in many ways. She talks of her duty to be beside him, she talks of soothsayers predicting her stay in a forest. She even threatens suicide! When he tries to dissuade her, she demands to know why he is afraid of taking her, going so far as to ask-

किम् त्वा अमन्यत वैदेहः पिता मे मिथिला अधिपः |
राम जामातरम् प्राप्य स्त्रियम् पुरुष विग्रहम् ||

 “What will my father, the king of Mithila, think of having a son-in-law such as you, a woman having the form of a man”

Strong words indeed!! I was surprised when I read the word to word translation of this chapter; I had imagined Sita as a softer character, who goes quietly with whatever is demanded of her.

Curious to see what Goswami Tulsidas writes in his Ramcharitmanas, I looked it up. In this, it is Kausalya who advices Rama that Sita is too gently brought up to survive the forest and she advices him to leave her behind. Sita is described as अति सुकुमारी , exceedingly delicate; as being timid चित्रलिख कपि देखि डेराती – frightened even to see a picture of a monkey. Rama then dissuades Sita by demonstrating her unfitness for the forest in many ways.

मानस सलिल सुधाँ प्रतिपाली । जिअइ कि लवन पयोधि मराली ।

Can a swan brought up in the nectarean water of the Manasa lake live in salt water of the ocean?

Sita’s reply is much softer than in Valimiki’s dialogue. Her main argument is that a wife should be with her husband, and that she could not bear to be separated from him.

बन दुख नाथ कहे बहुतेरे । भय बिषाद परिताप घनेरे ॥
प्रभु बियोग लवलेस समाना । सब मिलि होहिं न कृपानिधाना ॥

You have mentioned many hardships and perils, woes and afflictions attendant in forest life; but all these put together will hardly compare with an iota of the pangs of separation from my Lord, O fountain of mercy!

She offers herself in service of her Lord, she begs and pleads in her distress.

सबहि भाँति पिय सेवा करिहौं । मारग जनित सकल श्रम हरिहौं ॥

I shall render all sorts of service to my beloved Lord and shall relieve him of all the toil occasioned by the journey.

Tulsi’s Sita is more gentle but comes across as rather servile, calling herself a दासी or handmaiden.

Arunachala Kavi’s (1711-1779) representation of her is more like what I had imagined her to be. This great Tamil poet wrote the musical-drama called Rama Natakam which is based on the Ramayana. My song choice of today is set to the scene above. In contrast to Valmiki’s Sita who angrily demands her rights or Tulsi’s Sita pleadingly offering her services, Arunachala Kavi’s Sita is distressed but aware of her rights, as she reminds Rama of promises made.

 “How can you even bear the thought of leaving me?” she asks. She reminds him of his promise to never separate from her in any birth and asks if he is breaking his word to her. She speaks of her distress;  “By distressing me again and again, you kill me without killing me with your words” she says. There is pathos in her pleas and it is well expressed in the Raga Huseni. I believe it was set to tune by Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar. For lyrics and translation, see footnote.

My favourite rendition is by Sanjay Subrahmanyan who is extraordinarily talented in showing bhava, expression, in his music. I have just listened to at least fifteen renditions and for me, none come close to the expression he portrays! I am a fan!

Alternate link : Click here

I also like very much K.V.Narayanaswamy’s rendition which is beautifully enunciated.

Alternate link : Click here and download song 4

 


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language: Tamil

பல்லவி
எப்படி மனம் துணிந்ததோ, சுவாமி
வனம் போய் வருகிறேன் என்றால்
இதை ஏற்குமோ பூமி?

அனுபல்லவி
எப்பிறப்பிலும் பிரியேன், விடேன்  என்று கை தொட்டீரே
ஏழையான சீதையை நட்டாற்றிலே விட்டீரே

சரணம்
கரும்பு முறித்தாற் போலே சொல்லல்லாச்சுதோ ?
ஒருக்காலும் பிரியேன் என்று சொன்ன சொல்லும் போச்சுதோ?
வருந்தி வருந்தி தேவரீர் வெல்ல (alt: சொன்ன ) வார்த்தையால் கொல்லாமல் கொல்ல
இரும்பு மனது உண்டாச்சுதல்லவோ?
என்னை விட்டுப் போகிறேன் (alt: பிரிகிறேன்) என்று சொல்ல

Transliteration

pallavi
eppaDi manam tuNindadO, swAmi
vanam pOy varugiREn enDRAl
idai ERkumO bhUmi

appiRappilum piriyEn, viDEn enDRu kai toTTIrE
EzhaiyAna sItaiyai naTTATRilE viTTIrE

charaNam
karumbu muRittAR pOlE sollallAchchudO ?
oru kAlum piriyEn enDRu sonna sollum pOchchudO?
varundi varundi dEvarIr vella (alt: sonna) vArttaiyAl kollAmal kolla
irumbu manadu uNDAchchudallavo?
ennai viTTup pogirEn enDRu solla

Pallavi
How (eppaDi) can your mind (manam) even bear the thought (tuNindadO; literally dare), O Lord (swAmi)? If you say (enDRAl: if so) that you will leave (pOy varugirEn) for the forest (vanam) (implied: without me), will the earth (bhUmi) bear it (ERkumO)?

Did you not hold (toTTIrE: literally touch) my hand (kai) and say “I will never part with you (piriyEn), I will never leave you (viDEn) in any birth (eppaRappilum)”? (Refers perhaps to pANigraha ritual in a wedding). And yet (implied) you leave ((viTTIrE) this wretched (EzhaiyAna) Sita mid-stream (naTTATRil)?

So there is to be (AchchudO) this harsh (karumbu muRittar pOlE: literally like a sugar cane being broken) proclamation (sollall) ? Are the words (sol) “I shall never (oru kAlum) separate from you (piriyEn) that you spoke (sonna) forgotten (pOchchudO: literally gone)? By distressing me again and again (varundi varundi), you kill me (kolla) without killing me (kollAmal) with your winning/subduing words (vella vArtayAl) O Lord (dEvarIr)! Have you become hard-hearted (irumbu=iron, manadu=mind, uNdAcchu=come into existence) enough to say (enDRu solla) that you will leave me behind (ennai viTTu pOgirEn)?

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Filed under Arunachala Kavi, Carnatic Music, Compositions in Tamil, K.V.Narayanaswamy, Sanjay Subrahmanyan

Endraikku Shiva Krupai

When will I receive Lord Shiva’s grace? When will this wretched person’s grief cease? When there is wealth, all kith and kin come to praise and serve. When there is a reduction of wealth they do not speak even when they see us! When will I receive Lord Shiva’s grace to push away this wicked and villainous world and get liberation?

Neelakanta SivanSycophancy : A self-seeking, servile flattery towards people of power or influence in order to win favour or for personal gain.

I have recently returned from a very enjoyable holiday in India. As we were accompanied by some friends from Switzerland, I found it very interesting to see India and Indians through their eyes. My topic for the day is triggered by their observation about the excellent service we received at all the hotels we stayed at.

Though their comment was positive, and true, I often noted an obsequiousness which was distasteful to me. This, of course, excludes public servants who were surly and apathetic as always. This servility in India is markedly different to one’s experience in other countries. In Western Europe, for example, for the most part one is treated with distant civility with the exception of taxi drivers in Paris who treat everyone with an equal level of insolence. In Australia one is treated with a rather familiar friendliness. In USA, it ranges from sullen indifference to pushy forwardness. It is only in India that have I seen this particular servility.

If people are just simple and humble by nature, then it is of course praiseworthy. But this is not the case. The same service staff often display marked difference in manner when dealing with their colleagues. This servility is obviously in expectation of tips. In my song choice of today, Neelakanta Sivan condemns sycophancy towards the wealthy. I am however more sympathetic with it. When the tips that they hope to gain make so much of a difference, who can blame them? Is it not need which drives their behaviour? Should we not blame the disparity in society for their servility? If obsequiousness lets them survive, so be it. I tip them more than generously and hope that at least for that one day their life is easier to handle.

Of course Neelakanta Sivan is not talking of service staff. He talks of parasitic relatives. ‘When we have wealth, many kith and kin will come to praise and serve us. When wealth reduces, they will not even speak to us’. Does he speak from personal experience? It seems he was in a position of power and wealth which he resigned subsequently. Click here to read a short article about him. He calls this world ‘wicked and villainous’ and wonders when he will be blessed by Lord Shiva to  attain liberation. He is a bit harsh on the world, don’t you think? The song is lovely though. It is set to Raga Mukhari and its effect is sorrowful, devotional and introspective. To know more about this raga, click here.

To present the song, I have first chosen a lovely rendition by a maestro from yesteryears K.V.Narayanaswamy (1923-2002). The song is often sung starting at the anupallavi, so do not be surprised.

Alternate link : Click here and download song 7 (free membership needed to Sangeethapriya.org)

Another beautiful rendition is by the mellifluous sisters Ranjani-Gayatri. Mukhari is all about bhava or emotion and they bring that faultlessly into their performance.

Alternate link : Click  here

I am also very fond of the more leisurely rendition by T.M.Krishna in his CD Janaranjani. This is available on Spotify; needs free membership to listen.

 


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Tamil
I have noted whatever alternate words that I have heard in various renditions.

பல்லவி
என்றைக்கு சிவ கிருபை வருமோ – ஏழை என் மன சஞ்சலம் அறுமோ ?

அனுபல்லவி
கன்று (alt: கன்றின் ) குரலைக் கேட்டு கனிந்து வரும் பசு போல்
ஒன்றுக்கும் அஞ்சாத என் (alt: எந்தன் ) உள்ளத்  துயரம் தீர்க்க (alt: தீர / நீக்கி )

சரணம்
உண்டான போது வெகு  (alt: கோடி) உறமுறையோர்கள் வந்து
கொண்டாடி தொண்டாடிக் கொள்வார் – தனம்
குறைந்தால் கண்டாலும் பேசார் இந்த கைத்தவமான பொல்லாச்
சண்டாள உலகத்தை தள்ளி சத்கதி (alt: நற்கதி ) செல்ல

Transliteration

pallavi
enDRaikku shiva krupai varumO- Ezai
en mana sanchalam aRumO?

anupallavi
kanDRu (alt: kanDRin) kuralaik kETTu kanindu varum pashu pOl
onDRukkum anjAda en (alt: endan) uLLat-tuyaram tIrkka (alt: tIra / nIkki)

charaNam
uNDAna pOdu vegu (alt: kODi) uramuRaiyOrgaL vandu
koNDADi toNDADik koLvAr -danam
kuRaindAl kaNDAlum pEsAr inda kaittavamAna pollAch
chaNDALa ulagattai taLLi sadgati (alt: nargati) chella

Translation

When (enDraikku) will I receive (literally, will come varumO) Lord Shiva’s grace (krupai)? When will this wretched person’s (Ezai) grief (mana sanchalam) cease (aRumO)?

Just as (pOl) the cow (pashu) comes (varum) tenderly (manam kanindu) on hearing (kETTu) the voice (kural) of it’s calf, (When will I receive Lord Shiva’s grace) to remove (tIrkka/nIkki) the grief (uLLat-tuyaram) of one who fears nothing (onDRukkum anjAda)? (unsure if it is the grief which fear’s nothing….)

When (pOdu) there is wealth (danam unDAna), all kith and kin (uramuRaiyOrgaL – short for for uravumuRaiyOrgal) come to praise and serve (konDADi-tonDADi). When there is a reduction of wealth (danam kuRaidAl) they do not speak (pEsAr) even when they see us (kanDAlum). (When will I receive Lord Shiva’s grace in order to) push away (taLLi) this abhorrent(kaittavamAna – unsure about this; kaittu is abhorrent, kaittavam I read in one translation as destined) wicked (polla) and villainous (chaNDALa) world (ulagam) and get liberation/moksha (nargati/sadgati chella-literally go to the ‘good destiny’) .

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Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Tamil, K.V.Narayanaswamy, Neelakanta Sivan, Ranjani Gayatri, T.M.Krishna