Category Archives: Yesudas

Achyutam Keshavam

Krishna BabyHappy Janmashtami to all my readers!

Our celebrations are so often about food, decoration and socialising that we forget to be prayerful, do we not? Though I  start each day with prayers, I am not very religious, I confess. Even in those few moments of prayers, I sadly lack concentration. My mouth mumbles one prayer after another and often my mind wanders off to planning the day or reflecting on one matter or the other. I try to focus my mind but I fail most of the time.  Is it not pathetic? What use prayers then?

Today I wanted to recite some special ones for Lord Krishna. But knowing my sad deficiencies, I decided instead to spend some time just translating one stotra and thinking about it’s meaning. It is a beautiful one by Adi Shankaracharya (8th century AD) which I learnt in my childhood. I love these old hymns which have passed through so many centuries, sung by so many over time, each adding to the power of the hymn by their own belief in it. I too join the long line and, for a moment, I feel as if I am holding hands with an unending line of worshippers of Sri Krishna.

So here I am with the fruits of my labour.  The stotra is about Lord Krishna and by the many names by which he is invoked, we remember the many stories from his life. It also reminds us that he is an avatar of Narayana; we invoke Lord Rama as well. It goes beyond that, naming Him as Infinite, thus reminding us of the ultimate Brahman.

To present this stotra, I have chosen a beautiful version by Yesudas with good pronunciation (except for the word pAtu which he pronounces as pAdu), a good reference for those who wish to learn this hymn.


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language: Sanskrit

अच्युतं केशवं राम नारायणं कृष्ण दामोदरं वासुदेवं हरिम् ।
श्रीधरं माधवं गोपिकावल्लभं जानकी नायकं रामचंद्रं भजे ॥१॥

अच्युतं केशवं सत्यभामाधवं माधवं श्रीधरं राधिकाराधितम् ।
इन्दिरामन्दिरं चेतसा सुन्दरं देवकी नन्दनं नन्दजं सन्दधे ॥२॥

विष्णवे जिष्णवे शङ्खिने चक्रिणे रुक्मिणि रागिने जानकी जानये ।
बल्लवी वल्लभायार्चितायात्मने कंस विध्वंसिने वंशिने ते नमः ॥३॥

कृष्ण गोविन्द हे राम नारायण श्रीपते वासुदेवाजित श्रीनिधे ।
अच्युतानन्त हे माधवाधोक्षज द्वारकानायक द्रौपदीरक्षक ॥४॥

राक्षस क्षोभितः सीतया शोभितो दण्डकारण्य भू पुण्यता कारणः ।
लक्ष्मणेनान्वितो वानरौः सेवितोऽगस्तसम्पूजितो राघव पातु माम् ॥५॥

धेनुकारिष्टकोऽनिष्टकृद्द्वेषिणां केशिहा कंस हृद्वंशिका वादकः ।
पूतना कोपकः सूरजा खेलनो बाल गोपालकः पातु मां सर्वदा ॥६॥

विद्युदुद्योतवानप्रस्फुरद्वाससं प्रावृडम्भोदवत्प्रोल्लसद्विग्रहम् ।
वन्यया मालया शोभितोरःस्थलं लोहिताङ्घ्रिद्वयं वारिजाक्षं भजे ॥७॥

कुञ्चितैः कुन्तलैर्भ्राजमानाननं रत्न मौलिं लसत्कुण्डलं गण्डयोः ।
हार केयूरकं कङ्कणप्रोज्ज्वलं किङ्किणीमञ्जुलं श्यामलं तं भजे ॥८॥

फलस्तुति
अच्युतस्याष्टकं यः पठेदिष्टदं प्रेमतः प्रत्यहं पूरुषः सस्पृहम् ।
वृत्ततः सुन्दरं कर्तृ विश्वंभरं तस्य वश्यो हरिर्जायते सत्वरम् ॥९॥

Transliteration

achyutam kEshavam rAma nArAyaNam
kRshNa dAmOdaram vAsudEvam harim
shrIdharam mAdhavam gOpikA vallabham
jAnakI nAyakam rAmachandram bhajE [1]

achyutam kEshavam satyabhAmAdhavam
mAdhavam shrIdharam rAdhikA rAdhitam
indirA mandiram chEtasA sundaram
dEvakI nandanam nandajam sandadhE [2]

vishNavE jishNavE shangkhinE chakriNE
rukmiNi rAginE jAnakI jAnayE
ballavI vallabhA-y-Archita-y-AtmanE
kamsa vidhvamsinE vanshinE tE namah [3]

kRshNa gOvinda hE rAma nArAyaNa
shrIpatE vAsudEvAjita shrInidhE
achyutAnanta hE mAdhavA-adhOkshaja
dvArakA nAyaka draupadI rakshaka [4]

rAkshasa kshObhita sItayA shobhitO
danDakAraNya bhU puNyatA kAraNa
lakshmaNEnAnvitO vAnarau sEvitO
agastasampUjitO rAghava pAtu mAm [5]

dhEnukA-arishtakO-anishTa-krid-dvEshiNam
kEshihA kansa-hrud vanshikA vAdakah
pUtanA kOpakah sUrajA khElanO
bAla gOpAlakah pAtu mAm sarvadA [6]

vidyut-(u)ddyOtavAna-prasphurad-vAsasam
prAvRD-ambOdhavat-prOllasat-vigraham
vanyayA mAlayA shObhitOrahsthalam
lOhitAnghri-dvayam vArijAksham bhajE [7]

kunchitaih kuntalai-r-bhrAjamAn-Ananam
ratna maulim lasat-kuNDalam gaNDayOh
hAra kEyUrakam kangkaNa prOjjvalam
kngkiNI manjulam shyAmalam tam bhajE [8]

phalastuti:

achyutAshTakam yah paTHEt prEmatah
pratyaham pUrushah saspRham
vRttatah sundaram kartR vishvambharas-tasya
vashyO harirjAyatE satvaram

Translation

I revere (bhaj) the dark-hued (krshNa) One called Damodara (refers to being tied at the waist by his mother Yashoda) who is imperishable (achyutam), with beautiful hair (kEshavam) (alternate: who killed the demon kEsI), who is Rama the incarnation of Nayarana, the son of vasudEva (vAsudEva), the one who will steal away our sins (harIm). I salute the descendent of Madhu (mAdhavam) who holds Lakshmi in his chest (srIdharam), beloved (mAdhavam) of the cowgirls of Brindavan (gOpikA), the husband (nAyakam) of  Janaki, Ramachandra.

I fix my mind (sandadhE) on the imperishable (achyutam) one with beautiful hair (kEshavam) (alternate: who killed the demon kEsI), who is adored (mAdhavam) by Satyabhama,  the beloved (mAdhavam) who holds Lakshmi in his chest (srIdharam), who is revered by (ArAdhitam) by Radhika, the dwelling (mandiram) of beauty (indirA), who is intelligent (chEtasA) and beautiful (sundaram), son (nandanam) of Devaki, son of Nanda (nandajam).

Salutations (tE namah) to Vishnu, the victorious (jishNu), the one who holds the conch (shankha) and discus (chakra), beloved (rAgiNE) of Rukmini, the reason for the birth (jAnayE) of Sita, the daughter of Janaka (jAnakI), beloved (vallabhA) to the cowherdesses (ballavI) and worshipped (archita) by their souls (AtmanE), destroyer (vidhvansinE) of Kamsa, player of the flute (vansha=flute).

O Krishna, the chief cowherd (gOvinda), O Rama the incarnation (implied) of Narayana, O Consort of Lakshmi (srIpatE), son of Vasudeva (vAsudeva), unconquerable (ajita), O receptacle of beauty (or Lakshmi) (srInidhE), O Imperishable One (achyuta), O Infinite (ananta), O descendent of Madhu (mAdhava), the one born in the month of Shravana (adhOkshaja), O Lord of Dwaraka, O Protector (rakshaka) of Draupadi.

Protect me (pAtu mAm) O Raghava (of the Raghu clan), who makes the demons (rAkshasa) tremble (kshobita), who is adorned by (shObhita) by Sita, the One who caused (kAraka) the land (bhU) of Dandakaranya to be sanctified (puNyatA), the One who is accompanied by (Anvita) by Lakshmana, who is served by (sEvita) apes (vAnara), who is greatly honoured by (sampUjita) by Agastya.

Protect me (pAtu mAm) always (sarvadA) O Young (bAla) cowherd (gOpalaka), O enemy of (dvEshiNa) of the evil-doing (anishTa krit) Dhenuka and Arishtaka, O Destroyer of Keshi (kEshihA),  who trapped (hrut) Kansa, player (vAdaka) of a flute (vanshikA), who shook (khElana) the angry Putana who was pretending to be (implied) born of the Devas (sUrajA) (unsure of this last line).

I revere (bhajE) the lotus-eyed One (vArija akshi) with clothing (vAsasam) which shine (prasfurat) like the rising (udyOta) lightning (vidyut), with a body (vigraha) like (vat) the cloud (ambhOda) after the rainy season (prAvrD) which shines brightly (prOllas), with the chest (urahsthalam) adorned by (shObhita) garlands (mAla) of wild flowers (vanya), with a pair (dvaya) of red (lOhita) feet (anGri).

I revere (bhajE) that dark-hued One (shyAmala) who has curly (kunchita) locks of hair (kuntala), a shining (bhrAja) face (Anana), a jewel (ratna) on the topknot (mauli), whose sides of the face (gaNDa) glitter (lasat) with earrings (kuNDala), and who glitters with garlands (hAra), armlets (kEyUra), bangles (kangkaNa) and pleasing (manjula) small-bells (kingkiNI).

Rewards of reciting the hymn:

He will give (da) that which is wished for (ishTa) to those people (purusha) who, filled with longing (sasprha), recite (paTHEt) this hymn (achyutAshtakam) everyday (pratyaha) with love (prEma). They will quickly (satvaram) become (jAyatE) obedient to Hari, the (beautiful (sundara) all-sustaining (vishvambara) creator of the world (kartR).

8 Comments

Filed under Religious, Yesudas

Mata Saraswati Sharada

Saraswati2

On this eight day of Navaratri, Ashtami, I continue to pay homage to Goddess Saraswati. I have chosen the painting of Prince Ravi Varma for today’s illustration; a print of this  painting used to be in my mother’s prayer room, a very well loved portrayal of the Goddess.

This past week I have written on traditional hymns and prayers. I wrote about Ya Kundendu to Goddess Saraswati which is ~7000 years old, Mahishasura Mardini to Goddess Durga which is a much more recent ~1200 years old . Do prayers have to be in Sanskrit or that old to be effective? Of course not! A hastily muttered ‘Please protect me’ is a prayer as much as any other.  But the old prayers carry a strength with them, as if by years and years of heartfelt repetitions the very sounds become an effective conduit to the Divine. Or perhaps it is the sound itself  which is Divine.

To contrast, my today’s prayer is from the Hindi Film industry. One day I will write one or more posts on the lovely bhajans which have come from Bollywood. Mata Saraswati Sharada is from the film Alaap (1977) and is my favourite bhajan on Saraswati.  The music is by Jaidev set to Raga Bhairavi  and the lyrics are traditional. It is exquisitely sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Yesudas.

माता सरस्वती शारदा
विद्या दानी दयानी दुःख हरिणी
जगत जननी ज्वालामुखी (माता सरस्वती)

कीजे सुदृष्टि सेवक जान अपना
इतना वरदान दीजे तान ताल और अलाप
बुद्धि अलंकार (शारदा, माता सरस्वती)

Mother Saraswati, Sharada, bestower of knowledge, merciful, remover of sorrows, mother of the world, bright faced (Mother Saraswati)

Please look at us, your worshippers, and bless us with melody, rhythm and cadence, intelligence and the right words (figure of speech). (Sharada, Mother Saraswati)

Leave a comment

Filed under Bhajan, Bollywood 70's Music, Lata Mangeshkar, Yesudas

Listening to: Chitchor (1976)

Our ephemeral world of Bollywood is a world of short memories. Yet, now and then, it provides us with movies or music which last a lifetime. What is that x-factor which makes some music so very memorable? I don’t think even the music composers know the answer. It just happens. And for this album, it happened, and how!!

Basu Chatterjee introduced Amol Palekar, the ‘everyman’, in the film Rajnigandha (1974) which was an unexpected hit. Chatterjee then went on to direct Chhoti Si Baat (1975), again with Palekar, which was another hit. With Chitchor he got his Hat Trick. A naive village belle, an ‘everyman’ overseer, a case of mistaken identity and there, you have a charming little story. How refreshing it was when it came out! No over-dressed beauty (or should I say under-dressed?) with bouffant hairstyles and clothes we normal Indian girls would never wear. Zarina Wahab is natural and normal in her role as an innocent young village girl. No leading man who is astonishingly handsome and roguish  (Dharmendra), brooding and violent (Amitabh) or  full of mannerisms (Rajesh). Just a gentle and nice fellow who could be the man next door, a man one would like to have as a friend. Just a tiny bit detached from reality but not too much and definitely not depressing like some films were in the name of reality. It was a romance and a musical, just as we Indian audience like our films to be. I wish there had been more films like this. A genre I like very much indeed.

The music and lyrics by Ravindra Jain are simply superb. Just four songs and each a gem. Yesudas, a very talented singer from the South, did a great job with all the four songs and Hemlata did her part very well – perhaps not as well as Lata would have (I admit I am biased) but very well indeed. The politics of the film industry being what they are, Yesudas did not go from this to a great career in Bombay as one would have expected but sang only infrequently in Hindi films.  Of course, he has had a stellar career in the South. Unconfirmed sources on the net say he has won the National Award seven times and regional awards 30 times and has sung 30,000 songs in 17 languages!!

So here are the songs from Chitchor. Click here if you want to listen to the whole album.

  • Gori tera gaon – Yesudas. This song won Yesudas a National Award. Smile
  • Jab deep jale aana – Yesudas & Hemlata. A beautiful melody matched by lovely lyrics, just a touch melancholy, this song is a sure winner. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Aaj se pehle – Yesudas. Quite charming but for me it is overshadowed by the other songs in this album. I don't know smile
  • Tu jo mere sur me – Yesudas & Hemlata. A perfect song in everyway. Memorable lyrics, great melody, excellent singing which won Hemlata a Filmfare award, this song represents all that is beautiful about Hindi film music.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart 

I present this last song for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

3 Comments

Filed under Bollywood 70's Music, Hemlata, Yesudas