How did they sing, O Lord Shiva? I too would like to sing like that! Just as the saints Appar, Sundarar, Sambandar and Manikkavasagar sang of you with full knowledge, I too would like to sing like that!
Poetry. Music. Sainthood. Do these three words make a seamless connection in your mind? Perhaps not. Whichever part of the world you come from, I assume that Poetry and Music will seem intimately connected to you . But Sainthood?
Perhaps the first word-association with Saints would be to teaching and miracles. Christian Saints always remind me of martyrdom, as do the courageous Sikh Saints. Buddhist Saints remind me of detachment and compassion, of renunciation and self-realisation. Sufi Saints call to mind their mysticism.
But when we talk of Hindu Saints, my mind almost always jumps to poetry and music. Be it Narada from mythical times, Valmiki from Vedic times, the Azhwars (6th-9th c.), the Nayanmars (5th-10th c.), Adi Shankara (8th c.), Namdev (14th c.), Purandaradasa (15th c.), Meerabai (15th c.), Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (15th c.), Tulsidas (16th c., Tukaram (17th c.), Tyagaraja (18th c.).…the list is endless..we associate so many of our most important Saints with song.
The list of poet-musician Saints is indeed so long and intimidating that any devotional poet-musician would be struck with a sense of inadequacy! How did they write such beautiful poetry that centuries afterwards we still talk of them with awe? How did they sing such that God himself descended to bless them, as legends tell us? How did they create music which leaves leaves us spellbound even after hundreds of years, even when the world has changed so much from the world in which the music was created?
A poet-composer of today has much to live up to, which is what my song choice of today is about. ‘How did they sing?’ Suddhananda Bharati (1897-1990) wonders. ‘I wish to sing in the same way!’. He goes on to say ‘Overflowing with compassion, heart melting with your love, how did they sing sweetly of you in chaste Tamil everyday ?’ For lyrics and translation, see footnote.
Though I knew of Suddhanada Bharati’s poetry, I knew little of his life. I did some research online and found that he had led a very interesting life indeed. I have written a short synopsis for those who would like to know more of him. Click here to read.
Eppadi Padinaro is set to Raga Karnataka Devagandhari. To know a bit more about the raga, click here. From what I have read, Suddhananda Bharati was a poet. I could not verify if he set the song to music as well and if not, who did so.
To present this song, I have chosen a particularly pleasing rendition of a great musician from yesteryears, D.K.Pattammal (1919-2009).
For an instrumental version, listen below to Kadri Gopalnath on the Sax.
Footnote (Lyrics) :
Language : Tamil
எப்படி பாடினரோ அடியார்
அப்படிப் பாட நான்
ஆசை கொண்டேன் சிவனே !
அருள் மணி வாசகரும்
பொருளுணர்ந்து உன்னையே (எப்படி பாடினரோ)
இனிதுனை அனுதினம் (எப்படி பாடினரோ)
eppaDi pADinarO adiyAr
appaDi pADa nAn
Asai koNDEn shivanE (eppaDi)
aruL maNi vAsakarum
poruLuNarndu unnaiyE (eppaDi)
inidunai anudinam (eppaDi)
How did they sing, O Lord Shiva? I too would like to sing like that!
Just as the saints Appar, Sundararar, Aludai Pillai (another name for Sambandar) and Manikkavasagar sang of you with full knowledge/understanding (I too would like to sing like that).
Overflowing with compassion, hearts melting with your love, how did the great Guru Shankara, the dear Thaayumaanavar, Arunagirinathar and Vallalaar sing sweetly of you in chaste Tamil everyday? (I too would would like to sing like that).