A Few Days of the Music Season

Happy New Year to all my readers! My best wishes to your health and happiness!

Returning home to a freezing Switzerland after being three months away from home, I am faced with the endless chores of unpacking, house cleaning, kitchen re-stocking, unpaid bills and mountains of laundry. I tell myself that I need to devote time to my blog which has been sadly neglected all these months. I have so much buzzing around my head, so much music which needs to be explored, understood, shared, admired! But before I do that, I’ll start with a post which is only indirectly musical; I present my diary entries from the few days I spent in Chennai during the music season. I was like a kid in a lolly-shop; so many concerts, so little time! Here is my story.

An After-Note : Now that I have finished writing the post I am wondering why I have written it! ‘Who‘, I wonder ‘cares a whit about what I heard or didn’t hear? Why am I doing this?‘. I honestly don’t know!! I suppose the diary is for myself, to document my experiences. And perhaps for other NRIs if they are planning on venturing to Chennai during the season. So don’t apologise if you want to skip this post! Below is a list of concerts I attended with my reaction.

Lalgudi Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi – So nostalgic!
Abhishek Raghuram – Technical excellence
Amrutha Murali – Very good in parts
Sikkil Gurucharan – Deeply satisfying
Trichur Ramachandran – Moving
Trichur Brothers – Oh wow!
Mahati – sigh…
Malladi Brothers – Solid and reliable
Nisha Rajagopal – Melodious
Sandeep Narayan – Amazing! I declare myself a Fan!
Ashwath Narayanan – A young man to watch
Sanjay Subrahmanyan – Thalaiva!!!!!!!
Ramakrishna Murthy – Remarkable talent

16 December 2016

12:20 pm My flight lands in Chennai. I arrived two days ago in Mumbai and have had a hectic time so far. Crippled by jet lag, I have hardly slept. Tiredness aside, I am excited about this trip to Chennai and look forward to a musical feast over the next few days. From the airport, I take an Ola cab to New Woodlands in Mylapore where I am booked to stay for 6 nights.

1:45 pm I hurriedly settle myself in my room. Having skipped breakfast, I attack my lunch with gluttony; the food here is reliably good. Looking around me surreptitiously, I spot a number of NRI types, fellow music season attendees no doubt. Very often the clothes give us away, especially the ladies. There is rather an ill-fitted look about us. I catch a reflection of myself in a mirror. With my short bobbed hair and travel clothes of short kurta and jeans,  I am not going to fit in with the concert going mamis I fear. Never mind, I will do better tomorrow.

4:00 pm The Narada Gana Sabha is an easy 10 min walk from the hotel. I have prepared a list of concerts which interest me using online schedules. My first concert today is by Lalgudi Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi. I am glad that this is my first concert; Lalgudi Jayaraman’s music has enthralled me since the first time I heard it as a child and is responsible for my love of Carnatic Music. The tickets at Rs.100 for two concerts is a steal, yet there aren’t so many people in the audience. Why? Art forms which have survived in history have done so with sponsorship from the wealthy and audience support from the common folk. Why are these skilled musicians not filling halls?

I let myself drown in their music as they proceed from the lovely Cheta Sri in Dwijavanti to the beautifully rendered Narayana Ninna Namada in Shuddha Dhanyasi. When they play Inta Soukhyam in Kapi, I am strongly reminded of their father’s playing. Talli Ninnu in Kalyani is followed by a very hypnotic Tani; in my jet lagged state I nod off at intervals. Coming to, I embarrasedly look around me to see if anyone has noticed. I hope not!  As the concert finishes with Malai Pozhidinile and then the well-loved Thillana in Madhuvanti, I am pleasurably content.

7:00 pm I should have popped outside to get something to eat before the second concert but I am afraid of losing my nice seat. So I just sit right there, waiting for Abhishek Raghuram. I am rather excited as his voice sounds very pleasing to my ears. The empty seats start filling up and I am pleasantly surprised to see that there are a good number of youngsters in the audience.

Abhishek Raghuram’s voice sounds as good as I expected. His energy is immense. His vocal acrobatics are impressive but do they really contribute to the musicality? I am unsure. After a strong Ananda Natana Prakasham in Kedaram, he launches into an alapana of a raga I don’t quite recognize, I notice a couple of NRI youngsters puzzling about the raga, just as I am. I am pleased to see so much interest amongst the young ones. Abhishek announces the Raga as being Vardhani, setting our puzzlement to rest. The kriti is Manasa Mana Samarthyamemi by Tyagaraja; I make a note to look this up. There are a couple of shorter pieces ending with a brisk Manusuloni in Shuddha Hindolam. By the time this finishes I realise I am just too sleepy to pay attention to the music. I do have a 10 min walk back and also a few mins to grab something to eat. I reluctantly abandon the concert and head back.

17 December 2016

3:30 am I am up! I have been trying for some time to get back to sleep but I just can’t. Sigh!

7:30 am Being up so early means that I am simply starving by the time the restaurant opens for breakfast. Plus I miss my first-thing-in-the-morning cuppa. After breakfast, I make a deal with an auto driver to take me to Sri Parthsarathy Swamy temple and Kapali Koil. I realise later that the auto driver has soundly cheated me by charging me almost 3 to 4 times the price. It’s not a big deal, he is poor and it’s a mere nothing to me. But I am upset. Why is that? Is my spirit lacking in generosity? ‘Think of it as charity‘ I tell myself.

I am always reminded of my parents when I visit these temples. They both grew up around these areas and would have visited these temples almost daily. A sense of nostalgia overtakes me as I remember many childhood visits in these hallowed grounds.

I get the auto driver to drop me at Citibank. I have a number of old currency notes which I mean to deposit into my account. But after wasting an hour in lines and being shuffled between multiple people, I am told I cannot do it as I don’t have a PAN card. Frustrating! I stand in one more long line to withdraw some money for my trip as the ATMs are not working.

My next chore is to get to Vummidi. A diamond earring I bought last year for my son’s fiancée needs to be repaired. They don’t make things the way they used to, do they? I chat up the nice young man who is my auto driver, listening to his woes in sympathy. After my errand I head back to the Music Academy where I buy tickets for the evening.

1:00 pm A nice lunch and back in my room, I decide to have a nap. Perhaps it will help me from nodding off during concerts!

3:45 pm I head back to the Music Academy, ready to hear some good music. First on this evening is Amrutha Murali. After a very good Kamala Manohari and a sub-optimal Ananda Bhairavi and Bilahari, she launches into Sri Vishwanatham Bhajeham, a Ragamalika in 14 ragas. I have not heard this often; I absolutely love this. Note to myself : Must feature this in my blog! Her voice has set in very nicely by now and she sounds lovely while she does a very good execution of Enduku Daya Radu in Todi and then a RTP in Purvi Kalyani. As the concert comes to an end, I feel sense of contentment. Being here, this feels real good!

6:45 pm Sikkil Gurucharan starts his concert with the Sri Raga varnam. What a wonderful energy he has! Next is Mamava Sada Varade in Natakurinji. The brisk and interesting neraval is very enjoyable. I sit up straighter in my seat, this is sounding interesting! The transition to the sad notes of Bhavapriya and then to the peaceful ambience of Yamuna Kalyani keeps the mood varied. He totally comes into his own in Kambhoji delivering an excellent Sri Raghuvara Aprameya. I am drawn in totally, my mind focused almost to a pinpoint in which only the musicians exist. It feels like meditation. The Tani is especially good. At the end of it, I feel ‘full’, as if I have had a feast beyond compare. The RTP in Saramathi is interesting but I don’t really understand the complicated rhythmic patterns. As he finishes the concert with smaller pieces, I reflect happily that this concert really made all the travel worthwhile. Kambhoji continues to whisper in my ears as I head off back to my hotel for a late dinner and bed.

18 December 2016

3:00 am My sister’s sambandhi has offered to pick me up at 3:30 am so that we can visit the Srinivasar temple at opening time. It is no trouble waking at 3, my jet lag has a fine hold on me. In the shower I realise that the hot water is inexplicably not turned on. I have no option but to clench my teeth and bathe in cold water. If anyone wonders if it is at all possible to ever feel cold in Chennai, I say an emphatic ‘Yes‘!! At the temple, there is a young woman in nine yards of madisar busy with the kolams. A man urges a cow inside. The priests are busy with age-old rituals. It feels as if I am participating in living history; that in these grounds the yesterdays and the tomorrows have somehow merged into one another. It feels good to be part of this. ‘I belong here’ my soul says; my intellect laughs at this.  ‘You who question everything and have always been determined to find your own way, you who didn’t hesitate to join yourself in an inter-caste, interstate marriage, you  a techno-crazy-westernized woman who has even rejected wearing mangalsutras, you belong here?‘ it mocks me. ‘I belong here‘ my soul says stubbornly. Dichotomy.

8:45 am After a satisfying idli-vada-sambar breakfast, I am off to hear the veteran Trichur Ramachandran at the Music Academy. It is wonderful to sit in the premier front rows during these day time concerts! ‘Next time I should treat myself to decent tickets‘ I tell myself. He starts with a brisk Swami Natha Paripalaya in Natta, then goes on to a very stately Mundu Venuka in Darbar. I am enjoying this! Next is a gorgeous Sri Chakrapuri Vasini in Gamanshrama. I haven’t heard this raga much; I note that I must make myself a playlist in this raga. After an unfamiliar song in Bilahari, a solid Neelotpalambam in Nariritigowla (so google tells me, it sounded like Ritigowla to me!), and a quick Unnadiye Gati in Bahudari, he launches into a detailed Kalyani alapana which is brilliant in bits and sadly reflects ageing vocal cords at other times.  Enduko Ni Manasu is nicely presented followed by a good Tani. I abandon the concert here as I am meeting my sister’s sambandhi for lunch.

12:00 Noon. All the newspapers go on and on and about the sabha dining experiences. I can attest to the fact the full lunch at the Music Academy canteen is a treat! Mr.Padmanabhan, who has had the contract for this sabha for a long time, lives up to his excellent reputation. We listen to the last of the tukkadas while we eat.

1:30 pm I have heard the Trichur Brothers on the net and have really enjoyed their music so I am excited about this afternoon session. They do not disappoint. Starting with an energetic Namami Vighna Vinayaka in Hamsadhwani, they go on to a sweetly sung Gopalaka Pahimam in Bhupalam and then to an interestingly slow paced Tyagaraja Yoga Vaibhavam in Ananda Bhairavi. Back again to a very brisk Dinamani Vamsa in Harikambhoji. When they launch into Varali, I know for sure that I like them a lot! Very nicely done alapana followed by Seshachala Nayakam. Many young people sing beautifully but let themselves down in the Neraval; I am happy to see how interesting the Trichur Brothers make theirs. There is a hypnotic quality about their music which keeps me enthralled. When they commence on their incredible alapana in Gamanashrama, a raga I am hearing for the second time today, I am totally wowed!! I leave when the tukkadas start as I need a short rest and freshening up before I head for my evening concerts.

4:00 pm I stand in front of Vani Mahal, defeated in my quest for tickets for this evening. I so want to listen to Ranjani & Gayatri but only the very expensive tickets remain. I hesitate; I can afford the higher-end tickets but I could probably buy their 4 CD collection for the same price. I google the offerings in the other sabhas and decide to head to Mylapore Fine Arts instead.

4:40 pm The kutcheri has already started by the time I slip into a seat. Mahati is in the middle of a Kalyani alapana. This has been a long day and I just want to relax into passive listening. But sadly, I am not really enjoying the concert. Many reasons, some to do with the environment (the seats are so uncomfortable!), others to do with the artist. Sigh! I think longingly of Ranjani & Gayatri!

7 pm I am excited to be listening live to the Malladi Brothers whose music I do admire! After a brisk varnam in Kedaragowla and an energetic Umayor Bhagane in Natta, they launch into a hauntingly beautiful Mapala Velasika in Asaveri. Next on the menu is a lovely Sriranjani alapana which lulls me into a happy relaxed state. So relaxed that I am close to sliding off my chair into a deep sleep. The jet lag and the long day has left my reserves very low. Paravata Raja Kumari follows. Their voices sound better and better but my level of concentration is hitting new lows. I shake myself out of my stupor when they launch into Amma Ravamma in Kalyani and then go on to a solid Dhanyasi. I finally give in to my need for sleep and head back to the hotel.

Google maps shows that it is not that far off so I start walking, the night air refreshing me a bit. The street I take is badly lit. There aren’t many people around. When I see a sturdy dog-walker who looks like an armed-forces type, I speed up to tag his heels for a bit of safety. It’s a good thing. A man on a motorcycle slows his speed as he comes close to me. The man with the dog barks out ‘Ennada‘ and the motorcyclist speeds off. ‘So the dog walker was aware of me‘, I think to myself. I thank him in my mind. By now I have reached an area where there is more traffic and activity and I reach my hotel in safety. Note to myself: Walk down only in main, well-lit roads at night-time.

19 December 2016

9 am. I set off this morning to see my aunt who lives in Besant Nagar. At 84, she is still sprightly and insists on cooking me lunch. Her sathumadu is just ambrosia! I wish I could cook like that! She is lonely, I can see. She talks almost non-stop about people and incidents from the past. I am often confused as she jumps seamlessly from 1950 to 1970 or 1990. She has so much more to express, I feel guilty having to say goodbye finally at 2 pm. She is jailed behind the grilled veranda as she waves me goodbye. My heart is heavy with the sorrow of the many goodbyes I have said to so many people close to me over the years.  I had said goodbye just like this to my mother, she too had waved goodbye from a veranda. ‘Eppo unnai pappeno‘ (who knows when I will see you again) she had said with sad eyes which could not hold back the stream of love pouring down her cheeks. ‘You know me Amma, I’ll be back in no time‘ I had said to cheer her up. I had looked back at her from the taxi, standing and waving as I drove away. That image is etched in my memory; she died a month later.

4 pm. I walk to the Music Academy and get tickets for this evening. The first concert is by Nisha Rajagopal. I had liked her voice on Youtube. I see that I like her voice even more in person. After my favourite Saveri varnam, she does a brisk Darbar before launching into a detailed Korinavaramu in Ramapriya. I am not much familiar with this Raga. Instead of enjoying the music, my mind goes all analytical, trying to find similarities and differences with other ragas it reminds me of.  I force myself to let go and just enjoy the music. She then goes on to Sri Kamalamba Jayati in Ahiri, a raga I love.  I reflect that Nisha’s voice doesn’t do justice in the mandra sthayi (lower octave). The RTP (ragamalika) is OK. The tukkadas which follow are excellent. This has been a good concert.

7 pm. Sandeep Nayaran‘s voice immediately makes me sit up and take notice. After an attention grabbing Brochevarevare in Sri Ranjani, he sings an amazing Azhi Mazhai Kanna in Varali. I really start taking notice. I’m not a fan of Begada but I quite like his Tyagaraja Namaste. I amuse myself by noting all his ‘Sanjayisms’!! After a quick Sevikka Vendum Ayya in Andolika he launches into an exceptional Bhairavi alapana. I am now sitting perched at the edge of my seat, not taking my eyes off him even for a second. The Upacharamu which follows is something I will remember for a long time. I lose myself in the wonder of the swarams that follow. When he finishes I am in an euphoric state; ‘this one song is worth my travelling all the way across the seas’ I think. The Charukesi alapana which follows starts gently, as soft as a breeze and then he adds more energy until it stands tall and strong. The RTP has a very modern feel, an approach which feels different to what he has sung so far. He has such an amazing vocal dexterity! Next is an excellent presentation of TNS’s Niroshta thillana. By the time the viruttam is sung and karpagame follows, I call myself a fan. I walk back to the hotel in a happy musical daze.

20 December 2016

Morning. I am thrilled, I actually slept till 6 am today! After breakfast I head back to Kapali Koil and then to the Bank of Baroda to see if I can deposit the old currency into my account even without a PAN card. It seems that I can but as of today, they allow only Rs. 5000 to be deposited! I barge into the manager’s office to do my best beg-and-plead act. Finally, after much negotiation, I am allowed to present a letter with a photocopy of the entry stamp in the passport attesting to my recent entry into India. I am then allowed to deposit whatever I have! I feel such a winner today! Next is a jewellery shop visit to buy gems for our new home foundation. Then a quick visit to a sari shop (I couldn’t quite resist!) before I head to Narada Gana Sabha.

12 noon. I meet my uncle and aunt for lunch at the canteen. It is kalanda sappadu; very tasty. My friend soon joins us as well. We get seated in the cozy Mini Hall just in time for Ashwath Narayanan‘s concert. I have been following this young man since I saw him in Carnatic Idol in 2008.  After the varnam he starts with Narada Gana Lola in Attana. Not my favourite raga. The Kamalamanohari which follows is much more to my taste. Next is the rather unfamiliar (to me) Lalitha Panchamam followed by a first class Kalyani. In the minor pieces there is sub-optimal Pibare Ramarasam and a very well sung Anandamaya Manave in Jyotiswaroopini. A good concert, I have enjoyed it. I look forward to listening to more of this young man as he matures. We all enjoy a nice coffee break in the canteen before I say goodbye to the others.

3.30 pm. I have come to Ethiraj Kalyana Nilayam to listen to Sanjay Subramanyan. I am a bit early; the very accomplished Vainika Geetha Krishnamurthy is still part way through her concert. I sit back under a fan and let the music wash over me. The drone of the Veena is very relaxing. I especially enjoy the Nalinakanti.

When Sanjay and his accompanists come on stage, I am disappointed to see that my very favourite S.Varadarajan is not on the violin today. Today is the first time I am sitting on numbered seating. Mine is not too bad visually but I don’t like the speakers blasting in my ears.  I am really put off by the loudness; I wish I was listening to Sanjay in another venue! It takes me a while to let my annoyance with the sound go and really start listening to the concert. After the varnam, there is a lovely Inta Paraka in Nadanamakriya. As I look at him, I am very taken by the incredible energy he exudes; I can almost see the beams of energy shoot out in all directions! As I let myself be drawn into the magic of his kalpana swarams which follow, I smile to myself. His each gesture, each syllable declare ‘I am the Boss!’!  The authority with which he sings the very familiar Ananda Bhairavi (Marivere) or the very unfamiliar Manavati is quite unmistakable. ‘Thalaiva!’ I whisper. I am enjoying this! I am sad he has chosen Begada for his main piece as this is not a raga I ‘feel’. Next is a crisp Pada Vendume in Hamsanadam. He does especially well with Tamil kritis, doesn’t he! An excellent RTP follows (my notes fail me, but I vaguely remember it as being Vasanta Bhairavi..I may be wrong). After the Tani, there is a short Nama Sudha Rasam in Kapi and a Senjurutti Thillana. I come out of the hall in a deep state if contentment.

21 December 2016

3.40 am. I am up early again, how sad is that! I read quietly in bed and plan my day. As this is my last day here I have many things on my to-do-list. There is not going to be much music today I guess.

7 pm. I’ve had a long day. Since breakfast I have been to Vummidi to collect an earring being repaired, to a costume jewellery shop in Pondy Bazzar to buy pearl and semi-precious strings for my daughter and future daughter-in-law, to an astrologer to see into the future, to Ratna stores to buy spice-boxes for my kids, back to the Music Academy to enjoy a full meal (yum!), waddled with an uncomfortably full belly to the hotel to freshen up, then waddled on to Fab India to buy my son some shirts, then a long walk to Citibank as I needed to change my pin (unsuccessful errand), then back to Mambalam and GRT where I bought a big something as my daughter’s wedding gift and a kadukkan for my son who has pierced his ears, to Nalli to buy some silk scarves as gifts, back to the junk jewellery shop as they said they would repair a broken string I had, then finally to the hotel to freshen up before walking to NGS and here I am all set for the concert. I am exhausted!

I am a bit late for the concert so I slide into a back seat. Ramakrishna Murthy has a big voice for a slight young man. He launches into a very nice Ritigowla and then into Talli Ninnu Nera Nammi in Kalyani. My concentration is poor; I have been running all day and now I just want to collapse into a boneless heap. I have not really been following Ramakrishna Murthy but I see that I have been missing out; this young man is very talented. I am also enjoying Sriram Kumar’s violin very much indeed. Next is a lovely Kalavati. An alapana in Harikambhoji leads into a tanam in multiple ragas and then an even more exhaustive list of ragas in a ragamalika. I am not really enjoying this; there are way too many ragas for my taste. Then there is a sweet Poonkuyil Koovum in Kapi followed by a Thillana. As I get up to leave, I am rather sad. It is my last concert for this trip. I wonder when I will come again? I have enjoyed this immersive experience though it has been rather full on. I make mental plans for future years as I walk back to the hotel.

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Filed under Carnatic Music

Just Listening 1

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I have such good intentions! I tell myself, I need to post more often. It’s not that I don’t listen as often to music, or that I don’t have as many ideas. It is time that is missing. My life has become more and more a whirlwind of movement. Days, weeks and months rush by without my even registering their existence. The few periods of stability are taken up with unavoidable (and boring) chores. It doesn’t help that I have a number of hobbies which take up my free time. I have been walking ten kilometres a day for almost a year now, missing just a few days when I have been travelling. My fitbit tells me that I have walked 3675 km and climbed 9719 floors since last November! I amaze myself! I am very much into photography and digital scrapbooking. I read at least a few hours everyday. I travel often..since the start of this year I have travelled to Australia, Dubai, India, back to Australia, the Lombardy region of Italy, Copenhagen, the Greek isles, Umbria and Le Marche in Italy. I am off in two weeks to Krakow, then to Australia. From there to India and then back to Australia before I return to Switzerland in January! I blog about my travels when I can. But music is a primary food for my soul and I do enjoy blogging about it; I don’t want to give it up. A post which includes translation takes at least four or five hours so I am inhibited even before I start! So I thought, why not just post music that I have enjoyed listening without delving too deeply into meaning, associations and such? So here I am with the first of such posts. My idea is just to give you some interesting additions for your playlist for this week. I will, of course, continue my old style of posts and translations as time permits.

On one of my walks recently, I was listening to this RTP by U.Srinivas in the Raga Vakulabharanam. Those who have heard this Raga before will know how very Arabic/Middle-Eastern the sounds are. It struck me that the Mandolin is an excellent instrument for this Raga, enhancing its Arabic feel to new heights.

RTP in Vakulabharanam – U.Srinivas (Mandolin), P.Sunderajan (Violin), K.V.Prasad (Mridangam) – The Magical Fingers of U.Srinivas by Oriental Records.

This reminded me of a video I had seen on youtube by Prince Rama Varma. I went in search of it and here it is. Saadhu Tada is by Swati Thirunal. I believe this has been set to music by Prince Rama Varma himself (unsure of this).

Enjoyable, isn’t it!

I wondered if it exists in Hindustani music and found a good article on the subject. Basant Mukhari is described as the closest equivalent.  I found a good recording of Ali Akhbar Khan’s rendition of Basant Mukhari but somehow it didn’t give me the level of Middle-Eastern feel that Vakulabharanam does. What do you think?

Remembering how very Middle-Eastern sounding Dua Kar Gham-e-Dil from Anarkali was, especially the start, I went to listen to that again.

It is not Basant Mukhari but Bhairav, the equivalent of which is Mayamalavagowla in Carnatic Music. Lata does give it a lovely quavering Middle-Eastern touch doesn’t she!

Some browsing gave me the info that Hijaz is the Maqam (definition: a set of notes with traditions that define relationships between them, habitual patterns, and their melodic development. Wonder if it’s the equivalent of the word Raga?) which is closest to Vakulabharanam. I found this site in which samples are available and yes, it does sound remarkably alike! Try for yourself; select the ‘oud in A’ . Try some of the recording samples too, they sound so good!

Having started my journey with the Mandolin, I was interested in listening to a rendition on the Oud. I found this site with some rare recordings and was pleased to find a lovely rendition of Hijaz. Click here to listen.

Looking for some vocals, I found a very enjoyable version which had me swaying happily in no time! Hope you find it as appealing. The title says ‘turk’ so I assume it is from Turkey. Excellent music!

And so I whiled away an afternoon, following a link from Vakulabharanam to Turkish music. Hope you enjoyed the journey too!

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Filed under Carnatic Music, Just Listening, Rama Varma, Swathi Thirunal, U.Srinivas, Uncategorized

Balagopala

Krishna BabyA very happy Janmashtami to all my readers! May Lord Krishna’s grace always be with you!

Today is the perfect day to meditate upon Bala Gopala, the young Lord Krishna, the cowherd who charmed the Gopikas ages ago, and who continues to charm millions even today. Don’t you think that Krishna as a child is quite irresistible? Mischievous and endearing, he is both child and God. When He steals butter from his mother’s pantry, He is a child; when He opens His mouth to show the universe contained within, He is God. When He allows Himself to be tied by a rope to His waist in punishment for his mischief, He is a child; when He drags the mortar he is tied to and uproots two trees, He is God. When He dances and plays with his friends, He is a child; when He dances on the serpent Kalinga’s head, He is God. So it is that we, his devotees, love Him like a child but worship Him like a God.

Bala Gopala is a God that children are drawn to very easily. I remember how attached I was to Him as a child. I thought of Him almost as a playmate, as a friend. How close He seemed at that time! There is a story which illustrates just that feeling. In fact, as a child of seven or eight, I acted in a play put up by Chinmaya Mission which was based on this story.

Once upon a time there was a young lad from a very poor family. Since his father had died, he was brought up by his mother. They lived in a little hamlet at the edge of a forest. When he was about seven, he started school. There were no schools in his hamlet; he had to go across the forest to the town on the other side. There were many wild animals in the forest and our little friend was fearful every time he had to cross.

“Mother, I am so afraid of the forest! Can you not walk with me to school?” He asked her.

She smiled at him. “Don’t be afraid. Your brother Gopala grazes his cattle in the forest. Call out to him if you are afraid, He will take care of you” said the wise and devout lady.

The next day as he entered the forest he grew fearful as always. Remembering his mother’s words, he called out “Brother Gopala, where are you? I am afraid, will you not walk with me?”.

He heard a voice in response and soon a young cowherd joined him, a beautiful dark-skinned little boy in yellow clothes, a joyous visage and a peacock feather tucked jauntily in his hair. They laughed and played as little boys do.  At the other edge of the forest Gopala waved him goodbye. This continued until the end of the term when all the students gave a gift to the teacher to honour him. Our lad was much too poor to afford anything but still he asked his mother.

“I must take a gift for my teacher mother. Is there anything you can give me?”.

Shaking her head she said “No son, I have nothing worthy as a gift. Why don’t you ask your brother Gopala? I am sure he can find you something”.

Which he did. Gopala gave him a small pot of yoghurt to give to his teacher. At the school, our little boy hesitated as his gift looked not very impressive compared to the gifts of the other children. Still, when it was his turn, he gave the small pot of yoghurt to the teacher, saying that it was from his brother ‘Gopala’. The teacher took it with thanks and poured out the yoghurt into a bigger pot. Much to his surprise, the little pot refilled. He kept pouring it out and it kept refilling! Realising who his pupil’s ‘brother’ was, he asked to be taken to the forest so he could see for himself. But much to the little boy’s dismay, much as he called out to his brother, he didn’t appear.

Finally he cried out piteously “Brother Gopala, don’t you love me anymore?”

They heard a voice in response. “I will always love you. I will appear only for you, for only you are worthy of seeing me.”

Hearing this the teacher was moved to tears and embraced the boy, for thanks to him he had at least heard the Divine Cowherd’s voice!

I ponder on the tale today, wondering what lessons I can glean from it. God is very close to the innocent, is he not. The little boy was not even praying; nor did he call out to God. Then whose call was He answering? It seems to me it was the mother whose prayers were answered. She tied Lord Krishna to her boy with the deft knot of love and prayer just like Yashoda tied Him to the mortar with her own bonds of love. We who have lost our innocence, what is our recourse I wonder? Innocence once lost can never be regained, can it? Something to think about….

To celebrate the day, I have chosen a beautiful composition in Bhairavi by Muthuswami Dikshithar. The words describe Lord Krishna – his appearance, his actions, his qualities, his powers. You can use each line as a gateway to a meditation on who He is. Or you could forget it all and drown in the haunting notes of Bhairavi which takes you to exactly the same place in the presence of God.

There are so many beautiful renditions of this kriti that it is difficult for me to choose one! Since I decided on the music two days ago, I have listened to at least a dozen or so renditions and I like so many of them! So here are some of my recommendations :

T.N.Seshagopalan gives a very solid and energy filled performance in this CD from 1990.

M.Balamuralikrishna’s rendition is softer, smoother and very peaceful. A touch of sadness and pathos in his Bhairavi, don’t you think?

The third is by T.M.Krishna and he makes an interesting technical note about the Bhairavi he sings being the ‘original’ of Muthuswami Dikshithar school. I also like his neraval very much. It is from the album December Season 2009 and is available in Dunya and Spotify for online listening (needs registration).

 


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Sanskrit

पल्लवि
बाल गोपाल पालयाशु माम्
भक्त वत्सल कृपा जलधे हरे

अनुपल्लवि
नील नीरद शरीर धीर तर
नीरज कर निरुपम आनन्द कर
(मध्यम काल साहित्यम्)
लीलया गोप वेष धर मुरळी धर
श्री धर दामोदर वर

चरणम्
चाणूर मल्ल हरण निपुण तर
चरण निहत शकटासुर मुर हर
माणिक्य मकुट हार वलय धर
मत्तेभ कुम्भ भेदन पटु तर
वाणीशार्चित पीताम्बर धर **
वैजयन्ती वन माला धर **
आणवादि विजय मानसाकर
अपहत कंसासुर नत भूसुर
(मध्यम काल साहित्यम्)
द्रोण कर्ण दुर्योधनादि हर
द्रौपदी मान संरक्षण कर
वैणिक गायक गुरु गुह नुत
पुर वैरि विहित (alt: विनुत ) गोपिका मनोहर

** these two lines don’t seem to be sung..

Transliteration in English :

pallavi
bAla gOpAla pAlayAshu mAm
bhakta vatsala kRpA jaladhE harE

anupallavi
nIla nIrada sharIra dhIra tara
nIraja kara nirupamAnanda kara
(madhyama kAla sAhityam)
lIlayA gOpa vEsha dhara muraLI dhara
shrI dhara dAmOdara vara

charaNam
chANUra malla haraNa nipuNa tara
charaNa nihata shakaTAsura mura hara
mANikya makuTa hAra valaya dhara
mattEbha kumbha bhEdana paTu tara
vANIshArchita pItAmbara dhara **
vaijayantI vana mAlA dhara **
ANavAdi vijaya mAnasAkara
apahata kaMsAsura nata bhUsura
(madhyama kAla sAhityam)
drONa karNa duryOdhanAdi hara
draupadI mAna saMrakshaNa kara
vaiNika gAyaka guru guha nuta
pura vairi vihita (alt: vinuta) gOpikA manOhara

** these two lines don’t seem to be sung..

Translation :

pallavi

O The Child (bAla) Cowherd (gOpAla), protect (pAlayAshu) me (mAm)! O Hari (harE), you are dear (vatsala) to your devotees (bhakta), an ocean (jaladhi) of mercy (kRpA).

anupallavi

With a body (sharIra) like (here it means the colour of) blue (nIla) rain clouds (nIrada), you are most wise (dhIra tara). Your hands (kara) are like a lotus (nIraja). You bestow (kara=the one who causes) incomparable (nirupama) bliss (Ananda). You assumed the appearance (vesha dhara) of a cowherd (gOpa) by divine sport (lIlayA). You hold (dhara) a flute (muraLI). You are bearer of fortune (shrI dhara, name of Vishnu, also means He who holds Lakshmi). You are excellent (vara) Damodara, one whose waist was tied with a rope (from the Damodara Lila).

charaNam

You are the one who destroyed (haraNa) the wrestler (malla) Chanura with great skill (nipuNa tara). You slew (nihata) Shakatasura with your feet (charaNa). You are the destroyer (hara) of Mura. You are wearing (suffix dhara) crown (mukuTa) of rubies (mAnikya), garlands (hAra) and armlets/bangles (valaya). You very skilfully (paTu tara) fractured/broke (bhEdana) the high forehead (kumbha) of a mad /furious (matta) elephant (ibha) (from the story of the killing of the elephant Kuvalayapida). You are worshipped (archita) by Brahma, husband (Isha) of Saraswati (vANI). You wear (suffix dhara) yellow (pIta) garments (ambara). You wear (suffix dhara) a garland (mAlA) of forest (vana) flowers (vaijayantI, a kind of forest flower). You are victorious (vijaya) over egoism (ANava) etc (Adi) by his excellent (Akara) mental powers (mAnasa). You destroyed (apahita) the demon (asura) Kamsa. You are worshipped (nata) by Brahmanas (bhUsura). You defeated (hara) Drona, Karna, Duryodhana etc (Adi). You protected (samrakshaNa kara) Drapadi’s honour (mAna). You are praised (nuta) by the Veena player (vaiNika) and singer / musician (gAyaka) Guruguha (signature of the composer). You put in order (vihita) the enemies (vairi) of the town (pura) [does this refer to His protecting Dwaraka? I am unsure about this. The alternate word vinuta is translated often as praised so here it could mean ‘praised by the enemies ‘]. You are the enchanter (manOhara) of the cowherdesses (gOpikA).

 

 

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Filed under Carnatic Music, M.Balamuralikrishna, T.M.Krishna, T.N.Seshagopalan, Uncategorized

Ninne Bhajana Seyu

Ananta shayanaAre you a one-God man/woman? Do you restrict yourself to praying to your One and no other?

I pray on an everyday basis to a number of Hindu deities. I do have my own One, the One who always listens with a sympathetic ear to whatever  I happen to go on about. I also have a Second-to-the-One for days when I am not on speaking terms with my One. What, you don’t have ‘I’m-SO-annoyed-with-you’ moments with your One? You must be much better tempered than I am!! Of course I also pray to different deities for their expertise in specific matters. I am most certainly not a one-God woman!

My meanderings arise from something I heard recently. I had mentioned a few weeks earlier that I have taken to listening to upanyasams (lectures on spiritual matters), mainly by Velukkudi Krishnan, Dushyant Sridhar and Visaka Hari. Velukkudi Krishnan is especially erudite; his depth of knowledge is quite astounding! Is it possible to learn this much in a lifetime? I am all admiration! Much as I admire his knowledge, I confess that at times I am confounded by some of his pronouncements!! For example, he says in one of his lectures that people should sleep in what they wear ‘normally’ and not change into night-clothes! Really??!! Leaving pronouncements such as this aside, there was one repeated advice which caught my attention. He says that if you serve Lord Vishnu, then you should pray to none other as otherwise He would be offended! Again – Really???? Surely these kind of feelings are human, not Divine? Velukkudi Krishnan does add that it is the same for whichever religion/deity you adhere to; ‘stick to your One’ he says.

I assume that these ideas are Sri Vaishnavite ones as proposed by Ramanuja, the extraordinary theologian and philosopher (11-12 CE). In his times, the Chola kings ruled in South India. Though the kings were predominantly Shaivite, the society was a secular one. Not only other Hindu sects but even Buddhists and Jains had many followers in those times. Under the circumstances, Ramanuja’s preaching that one must follow Lord Vishnu and none other was no doubt a way to preserve Sri Vaishnavism from all the other religious influences. Are his one-God-only ideas just part of the politics of religion?  Is this kind of thought even valid amongst today’s Hindus?  That said, I admit to total ignorance on the subject; I am merely thinking aloud…

I personally do not know even one single Hindu who prays to only one deity! When the Hindu pantheon offers a veritable smorgasbord of deities, each with their own domain expertise, is it not human nature to pray to as many of them as you can relate to? Leave alone Hindus, even in a strictly monotheistic religion like Christianity, prayers are offered to not just their God, but also to His messenger Jesus Christ and to his mother Mary as well as any number of Saints. Many of the Saints have their own speciality ‘domains’ too! I have visited many Catholic places of worship; there are as many candles in front of the Saints as there are in front of Jesus! Listening often to Sufi music, I see that even Muslims sing in praise of and in prayer to their many Saints. Many of us, it seems, spread our prayers wide!

Coming to Carnatic Music, our great composers wrote in praise of many different deities though they were known for their devotion to particular ones. For example, Tyagaraja was a devotee of Lord Rama, Dikshithar was a worshipper of Goddess Shakti, and Oothukkadu Venkata Subbaiyer was entranced by the young Lord Krishna.  Yet in my song choice of today, Tyagaraja says ‘I am the one who chants only your name, I shall not beseech others!’. Set to Raga Natta, it is a lovely composition which appeals to me greatly. I always enjoy Natta with its vigorous and rousing feel. But today the first rendition I have chosen for you has a more contemplative mood. M.D. Ramanathan has a unique sound, one I enjoy immensely, especially in songs such as this. For your ease of listening, I have chosen the rendition loaded in YouTube. The sound quality is poor, but the music is anything but. Listen to my ‘Alternative’ for slightly better sound and a longer rendition.

Alternative : Click here and play song 2. Free membership needed to Sangeethapriya.

The second rendition I would like you to listen to is by Jayanthi Kumaresh on the Veena. I find that the  resonance of the instrument is particularly suited for Natta, don’t you? This talented artist has gifted us with a hypnotic rendition. Don’t miss this!

Alternate link : Click here and play song 1. You need free membership to Sangeethapriya.

And for a third, listen to this energetic and vibrant performance by Sikkil Gurucharan here.  I really enjoyed the kalpana swarams. Again, the recording quality is not the best.


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Telugu
Please note that I do not speak Telugu; the lyrics and translations are credit to various online resources.

पल्लवि
निन्ने भजन सेयु वाडनु

अनुपल्लवि
पन्नग शायि परुल वेड लेनु

चरणम्
स्नानादि जप तप योग ध्यान
समाधि सुख प्रद
सीता नाथ सकल लोक पालक
त्यागराज सन्नुत

Transliteration

pallavi
ninnE bhajana sEyu vADanu

anupallavi
pannaga shAyi parula vEDa lEnu

charaNam
snAnaAdi japa tapa yOga dhyAna
samAdhi sukha prada
sItA nAtha sakala lOka pAlaka
tyAgarAja sannuta

Translation

I am a worshipper (bhajana sEyu vADanu) only of you (ninnE).

O One recumbent (shAyi) on a snake (pannaga)! I shall not (lEnu) plead (vEDa) to anyone else (paralu).

You are the provider (prada) of happiness and well-being (sukha) which come from (implied) bathing in holy waters (snAna), repeated prayers (japa), penance (tapa), Yoga, meditation (dhyAna), deep concentration leading to identification with the object of meditation (samAdhi) etc (Adi). O Consort (nAtha) of Sita! O Guardian (pAlaka) of the entire (sakala) world (lOka)! O One praised (sannuta) by Tyagaraja!

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Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Telugu, Jayanthi Kumaresh, M.D.Ramanathan, Tyagaraja

Zehaal E Miskeen

Amir KhusrauThis blog is primarily devoted to Carnatic Music but every now and then I like to feature other musical forms as well. Regular readers know that I have a great love for Sufi music and Qawwalis. My musical choice for today is of great interest both in a cultural and historical sense, I hope you enjoy it.

The poetry is by Amir Khusrau ((1253–1325), born in India to a Turkish father and a Rajput mother. He lived in a period where India saw the rule of three dynasties – the Mamluks (Slave dynasty), the Khiljis and then the Tughluqs. Khusrau wrote poetry for the court all through this period, during the reign of seven different rulers. India was a melting pot at that time. The locals in Delhi spoke Khari Boli, also referred to as Hindustani or Hindvi. The rulers were of Turkish/Afghan origin but the language of the court was Persian. The court attracted people from other parts of India who spoke different languages or different flavours of Hindustani like Braj Bhasha, Awadhi etc. As we can easily guess, the language of the masses which was originally based on Sanskrit and Prakrt became peppered with words from Turkish, Afghani dialects, Persian as well as the various regional languages. This was the period where languages we know today as Hindi and Urdu were developed.

Coming back to our selected song today, it perfectly reflects the merging of the languages that was happening in those days. Amir Khusrau has written it in a mix of Persian and Hindvi, mixing the languages in each couplet. This style of writing is called Rekhta from the Persian word meaning ‘poured, interspersed, mixed’. If you speak Hindi or Urdu, the Hindvi words are quite easy to identify even after the passage of 700 years.

The language is not the only thing that is a mix. The Bhakti Movement developed from the 7th century in South India. Though the word Bhakti (devotion) and the related concepts perpetuated by the saints come from Vedic times, it was the poetry in the local languages that spread the concept to the masses. This movement spread to the rest of India in later years. The tradition of expressing devotion to God in terms of human love came from those South Indian poet-saints between 5th to 10th centuries. Some of them wrote in a feminine perspective; this was called ‘Nayika Bhava’.  This kind of devotion was also called ‘viraha bhakti’ where the devotee intensely feels the pain of separation from God.

Sufism in India dates back to 10th and 11th centuries, just after the time of the Azhwars in South India. The Sufi saints of India too were influenced by the Bhakti movement and wrote beautiful mystical poetry in the 13th-14th centuries. As the locals were already familiar with devotion being expressed in music and poetry, the songs of the Sufi saints reached the hearts of the populace quite easily. Such is the poetry and songs of Amir Khusrau.

The rendition I have chosen for you today is by the Qawwal without par, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. As is the tradition, the Qawwal interjects the main song with poetry from other sources which enhance and add to the concepts expressed. In this rendition, the Qawwal has used Hindu poetry, some recognizably by Meera, to further enhance the poetry of Amir Khusrau. This is a great demonstration of the mix of language, culture and religious ideas to give us a complete musical and spiritual experience.

I have struggled greatly with getting accurate lyrics and translation. The Hindvi parts were easy to translate but for the Persian words I depended on various internet resources. I was very unconvinced by the majority of translations available online as they were not authenticated. There are many ‘free’ and poetic translations. I did not find even one with  word-for-word meanings. And people copy from one another, perpetuating mistakes. The internet is not in the least reliable as a resource! Further, there also seems to be a number of variations to the lyrics. I have spent hours collating what little I found online, reading journal articles or book extracts and perusing dictionaries to get meanings. Still I am not fully satisfied. My work below is sufficient for music appreciation and for understanding the mood of the poetry, but is not rigorous enough. Also note that not knowing the Persian script, I have transliterated even those sections in Devanagari script.

Colour key – Blue=Persian, Red = Khari Boli/Hindvi. Both by Amir Khusrau.  Purple=Braj Bhasha/Rajasthani, some identifiably by Meera, others I am unsure.

ज़ेहाल-ए-मिस्कीं मकुन तग़ाफ़ुल  दुराये  नैना बनाये  बतियाँ
कि ताब-ए-हिज्राँ न दारम ऐ जाँ न लेहु काहे  लगाये  छतियाँ

zEhAl-E-miskI.n makun ta.gAful durAyE nainA banayE  batiyA.n
ki tAb-E-hijrA.n na dAram-ai-jA.n 
na lEhu kAhE lagayE CHatiyA.n

Do not (makun) ignore (ta.gAful) the miserable state (hAl) of this poor  wretched one (miskI.n) by turning away (durAyE) your eyes (nainA) making excuses (banAyE batiyA.n)! I have (dAram) no (na) patience (tAb) with this separation (hijr) anymore my sweetheart (Ai jA.n)! Why (kAhE) don’t you cuddle (lEhu) and embrace me (lagayE CHatiyA.n)?

With this first couplet, the poet establishes the characters. The poet, wretched with love and his beloved, insouciant of his pain. Note that in contrast with Hindu poetry, the self is portrayed as male. In Hindu poetry, the self is almost always portrayed as the female, with the beloved (God) being male. This comes from Vedic ideas of jIvAtma (souls) being female and the paramAtmA (God) being male.

शबान-ए-हिज्रां दराज़ चूँ ज़ुल्फ़ व रोज़-ए-वसलत  चूँ उम्र  कोताह
सखी पिया को जो मैं न देखूँ तो कैसे काटूँ अँधेरी रतियाँ

shabAn-E-hijrA.n darAz chU.n zulf va rOz-E-vaslat chU.n umr kOtAh
sakhI piyA kO jO mai.n na dEkhU.n tO kaisE kATU.n andhErI ratiyA.n

Nights of separation (shabAn-E-hijrA.n) curl long (darAz) like (chU.n) your tresses (zulf), and (va) the day (rOz) of union (vaslat)  is as short (kOtAh) as life (umr) itself. Oh my friend (sAkhI), how will I pass (kATU.n) these dark (andhErI)  nights (ratiyA.n) without seeing (na dEkhU.n) my beloved (piyA)?

The invocation of a ‘sakhi’ or friend is a common poetic device which I have pointed out before in other blog posts. In Hindu poetry, this sakhi, the intermediate between God and Man, is taken to be the Guru or spiritual teacher. I do not know if there is any such special significance in Islamic poetry. The pain of separation is beautifully portrayed by the second line – alone at a time when lovers should be together, the poet wonders how the night will pass.

शाम  सवेरे नैन  बिछाके राह तकूँ  मैं साजन की
राम ही जाने कब चमकेगी किसमत  मोरे आँगन की

shAm savErE nain biCHAkE rAh takU.n mai.n sAjan kI
rAm hI jAnE kab chamkEgI kismat morE A.ngan kI

Night (shAm=evening) and day (savErE=morning), I await (rAh takU.n) my beloved (sAjan) with longing eyes (nain biCHAkE). God (rAm) alone knows (jAnE) when luck (kismat=fate) will shine (chamkEgI)  upon my courtyard (mOrE A.gan kI)!

See how apt the Qawwal’s inclusion of this couplet is! In the previous one, he talks of passing a night alone. In this couplet the poet (taking on a feminine self) awaits her beloved day and night, waiting, watching the route home.

नैन चुराके जबसे  सैयाँ दूर कहीं  परदेस गए
बिरहन की अँखियों से बरसे बिन सावन रुत सावन की

nain churAke jabsE saiyA.n dUr kahI.n pardEs gayE
birhan kI ankhiyO.n sE barsE bin sAvan rut sAvan kI

Ever since (jabsE) my beloved (saiyA.n) has disappeared/vanished from my sight (nain churAkE, an idiom) and left for (gayE) somewhere (kahI.n) far away (dUr) lands (pardes), tears pour (barasE) from this abandoned one (birhan) like monsoon (sAvan kI) even in season (rut) which is not monsoon (bin sAvan).

There is an implication here that the beloved had been with her before he disappeared to far away lands. The pain of separation is beautifully expressed here when the poet says that her ‘tears pour as heavily as monsoon rains’.

बरखा  रुत जब  छम -छम बरसे  मनवा रोये  नैना तरसे
तारों में जब चन्दा चमके दर्द उठे मन में थम-थम के
बिरहा सुलगे जब मोरे तन में चुपके चुपके मन आँगन में
आस के बंधन टूट गए हैं बालम मोसे रूठ गए हैं

barkhA rut jab CHam-CHam barase manavA rOyE nainA tarasE
tArO.m mE.n jab chandA chamkE dard uTHE man mE.n tham-tham kE
birhA sulgE jab mOrE tan mE.n chupkE-chupkE man A.ngan mE.n
As kE bandhan TUT gayE hai.n bAlam mOsE rUTH gayE hai.n

When (jab) rain pours down (CHam CHam barsE) in monsoon (barkhA) season (rut), my heart (manavA) weeps (rOyE), my eyes (nainA) yearn (tarasE)
When (jab) the moon (chandA) shines (chamkE) amongst stars (tArO.n mE.n), pain (dard) rises (uTHE) in my heart (man mE.n) again and again (tham tham kE-stopping and starting)
When (jab) separation (birhA) burns (sulgE)  in my body (tan mE.n) and enters secretly (chupkE-chupkE) into  the courtyard (A.ngan) of my heart (man),
The bindings (bandhan) of hope (As) have broken (TUT gayE hai.n), (I realise) my beloved (bAlam) has become angry (rUTH gayE hai.n) with me (mOsE)!

How long can anyone bear the pain of separation without losing hope? The pain of separation is particularly hard to bear during Monsoon, the season for lovers. In this time, despair enters the heart and she starts wondering if her beloved is angry with her and keeping away in purpose.

सूली  ऊपर सेज हमारी  किस विध सोना होए
गगन मण्डल पर सेज पिया की किस विध मिलना होए
जौहरी की गत जौहरी जाने जो कोई जौहरी होए
घायल की गत घायल जाने के जिन लागी होए
दर्द की मारी बन बन डोलूँ वैद न मिलिया कोई
मीरा की तब पीड़ मिटे जब  वैद साँवरिया होए
हे री मैं तो प्रेम दीवानी मेरा दर्द न जाने कोई

sUlI Upar sEj hamArI kis vidh sOnA hOy
gagan maNDal par sEj piyA kI kis vidh milnA hOy
jauharI kI gat jauharI jAnE jO kOyI jauharI hOy
ghAyal kI gat ghAyal jAnE kE jin lAgI hOy
dard kI mArI ban ban DOlU.n vaid na miliyA kOyI
mIrA kI tab pID miTE jab vaid sA.nvariyA hOy
hE rI mai.n tO prEm divAnI mErA dard na jAnE kOyI

My bed (sEj) is on (Upar) a gibbet (sUlI), how can (kis vidh) I sleep (sOnA hOy)?
My beloved’s (piyA kI) bed (sEj) is in the other world (gagan maNDal=literally sky world), how shall (kis vidh) the meeting happen (milnA hOy)?
The ways (gat) of a jeweller (jauharI kI) is known by (jAnE) only those (jO) who (kOyI) are jewellers (jauharI hOy),
The state (gat) of (kI) the wounded (ghAyal) is known (jAnE) only by those  who (kE jin) are wounded (lAgI hOy),
I stumble (DOlU.n) from forest to forest (ban ban) in pain (dard kE mArE), but find no (na miliyA kOyI) healer (vaid),
Meera’s pain (pID) will be erased (miTE) only when (tab)  the Dark One (sA.nvariyA) is the healer (vaid hOY),
Alas (hE rI)! I am (mai.n tO) crazed (divAnI) with love (prEm), but no one knows (na jAnE kOyI) my pain (dard)!

That last line of Meera’s is simply heart-wrenching, isn’t it! So full of angst! How alone she is in her pain! She gives apt examples of why only those who experience a situation truly understand it. She is in pain, and she knows that the only doctor who can heal her is her beloved.

यकायक  अज़ दिल  दो चश्म-ए-जादू ब-सद फ़रेबम  बबुर्द  तस्कीं
alternate :
यकायक  अज़ दिल ब-सद फ़रेबम बबुर्द-ए-चशमश क़रार-ओ-तस्कीं
किसे  पड़ी है जो जा  सुनावे हमारे पी को  हमारी बतियाँ

yakAyak az dil dO chashm-E-jAdU ba-sad farEbam baburd taskI.n
alternate : yakAyak az dil ba-sad farEbam baburd-E-chashmash karAr-O-taskI.n
kisE paDI hai jO jA sunAvE hamarE pI kO hamarI batiyA.n

Suddenly (yakAyak)  two (dO) enchanting (jadu) eyes (chashm) robbed me (ba burd=carry off) of the tranquillity (taskI.n) of my mind (dil) with their many (ba-sad=a hundred) deceptions (farEb). [Alternate : Suddenly two enchanting eyes, with their many deceptions, took away my peace (karAr) and tranquillity).  Who (jO) will bother (kisE paDI hai) to go (jA) and talk (sunAvE) of me (hamArI batiyA.n)  to (kO) my (hamarE) beloved (pI)?

Back to Khusrau, he wonders who will take the message of his pain to his beloved. Is it a memory of two eyes that he talks about? Those eyes have deceived him, perhaps promising what they did not deliver. I wonder if this ‘deception’ is akin to the Hindu idea of Maya.

जोगनिया  का बेस  बनाके पी  को  ढूँडन जाऊँ  री
नगरी नगरी द्वारे द्वारे पी की शबद  सुनाऊँ री
दरस भिखारन जग में हो के दर्शन बिछिया पाऊँ  री
तन मन उन पर वारूँ  सजनी जोगनिया कहलाऊँ री

jOganiyA kA bEs banAkE pI kO DHUnDan jAU.n rI
nagarI nagarI dvArE dvArE pI kI shabad sunAU.n rI
daras bhikhAran jag mE.n hO kE darshan biCHiyA pAU.n rI
tan man un par vArU.n sajanI jOganiyA kahlU.n rI

Adopting the look (bEs banAkE) of a wandering mendicant (jOganiyA), I go (jAU.n) in search (DHUnDan) of my beloved (pI kO).
From town to town (nagarI nagarI), threshold to threshold (dvArE dvArE), I chant (sunAU.n) the words (shabad/shabd) of my beloved (pI kI),

Having (hO kE) an appearance (daras) of a beggar (bhikhAran) in this world (jag mE.n), I will get (pAU.n) to see (darashan) a toe ring (biCHiyA-signifies getting married),
Devoting (vArU.n) my body (tan) and soul (man=mind) to him (un par), I am called (kahlAU.n) as his beloved (sajanI), his mendicant (jOganiyA).

Breaking away from the life she had, rejecting her husband, her palace and luxuries, Meera took up a life of a wandering mendicant, a beggar. She sang, she danced on streets, actions which no woman of decent upbringing would have done in those times. As she loosened her bonds with earthly matters, her bonds with her beloved Krishna became stronger and stronger. In this poetry, she talks of her wandering and her hope that she will be presented with a toe-ring, signifying her marriage to her God.

चूँ शम्म-ए-सोज़ां  चूँ ज़र्रा हैराँ   ज़े महर-ए-आँ-माह बगश्तम आखिर
Alternate : चूँ शम्म-ए-सोज़ां  चूँ ज़र्रा हैराँ हमेशा गिरियाँ बे इश्क आँ मेह
न नींद नैना न अँग चैना न  आप आवें न  भेजें पतियाँ

chU.n shamm-E-sOzA.n chU.n zarrA hairA.n zE mahar-E-A.n-mAh bagashtam Akhir
alternate: chU.n sham-E-sOzA.n chU.n zarrA hairA.n hamE.shA giriyA.n bE ishk A.n mEh
na nInd nainA na ang chainA na Ap AvE.n na bhEjE.n patiyA.n

Like (chU.n) a burning candle (sham-E-SozA.n), like a bewildered (hairA.n)dust particle (zarrA), finally (Akhir) I have become (bagashtam)  like the sun (mahar) and the moon (mah)
Alternate second phrase: Always weeping for the love of the beloved (unauthenticated).
Sleepless (na nInd) eyes (nainA), restless (na chain) body (ang), neither (na) you (Ap) came (AyE) nor (na) did you send (bhEjE.n) any message (patiyA.n).

Note : I believe that the alternate phrasing of the first line is the more common. Not knowing Persian, my translation is pure guesswork based on dictionary meanings. If anyone can help, please do comment.

With this couplet the poet describes the state of his mind in rich imagery. The restlessness, the unanchored feeling, the sadness, the sleeplessness – all this part of his state of waiting. If my interpretation of becoming like a sun and moon is correct, perhaps he means, always orbiting and never meeting? There is a sense of desperation; he wants a message, a hint, anything to keep him in hope but there is nothing…

पिया  मिलन की  आस है मन  में नैनों में  बरसातें हैं
तनहाई के चुप आँगन में मेरी उनसे बातें हैं

piyA milan kI As hai man mE.n nainO.n mE.n barsatE.n hai.n
tanhAI kE chup A.ngan mE.n mErI unsE bAtE.n hai.n

With my heart (man mE.n) full of hope (As) of meeting (milan) with my beloved (piyA), and my eyes (nainO.n mE.n) raining (barsAtE.n) with tears,
In (mE.n) the silent (chup) courtyard (A.ngan) of solitude (tanhAI), I have conversations (bAtE.n) with my beloved (unsE=with her/him).

The Qawwal makes another apt little addition with the couplet here. That feeling of waiting that Amir Khusrau has expressed in the previous couplet is mirrored in this one too. The hope of union with the beloved is born in solitude. And it is in that silence of solitude can one hear the voice of the beloved.

मोरे बाँके संजीले  सांवरिया लिल्लाह मोहे अब  दरस  दिखा
बिन दर्शन मर ना  जाऊँ कहीं मोरा जीवन  है तोरे दर्शन में

mOrE bA.nkE sa.njIlE sA.nwariyA lillAh mOhE ab daras dikhA
bin darshan mar nA jAU.n kahI.n mOrA jIvan hai tOrE darshan mE.n

Oh my dark skinned (sA.nwariya), colourful (sa.njIlE) beau! By God (lillAh), show me a glimpse of yourself (daras) now (ab)! Without (bin) a sight of you (darshan) I may well die (mar na jAO.n kahI.n), my (mOrA) life (jIvan) is in that glimpse of you (tOrE darshan mE.n)!

Interesting to see an Islamic interjection (lillAh) within Hindu poetry! I wonder if it is the Qawwal who has added this, further strengthening his Islamic-Hindu presentation of Amir Khusrau’s work.. In this couplet, the poet uses hyperbole to show how much he/she longs for the union with his beloved.

तोहे याद करत  मोरा अंग अंग  है
मोरा भाग सुहाग तोरे सँग है
इक बार जो आ मोरे आँगन में
हो जाऊँ सुहागन सखियन में

tOhE yAd karat mOrA a.ng a.ng hai
mOrA bhAg suhAg tOrE sa.ng hai
ik bAr jO A mOrE A.ngan mE.n
hO jAU.n suhAgan sakhiyan mE.n

Every part of my body (a.ng a.ng) remembers (yAd karat hai) you (tOhE),
my (mOrA)  fate (bhAg), my marital life (suhAg) are both with you (tOrE sa.ng hai),
If only (jO) you come (A ) just once (ik bAr) into my (mOrE) courtyard (A.ngan),
I’ll be known (hO jAU.n=I will become) as your bride (suhAgan)  amongst my friends (sakhiyan mE.n)

Every part of my body remembers you’ says the poet implying that there was once a union before this separation. As to becoming a ‘suhagan’ or a married lady, both Andal and Meera considered themselves married to the Lord.

मोहे छब दिखला मोरे  साँवरिया
तोरी प्रीत में हो गयी बांवरिया
तोहे नगर नगर मैं ढून्ढ फिरी
तोहे कूकत हूँ मैं  बन बन में

mOhE CHab dikhlA mOrE sA.nvariyA
tOrI prIt mE.n hO gayI bA.nvariyA
tOhE nagar nagar mai.n DHUnD phirI
tOhE kUkat hU.n mai.n ban ban mE.n

Show (dikhlA) me (mOhE) your beauty/form (CHab), Oh my (mOrE) dark one (sA.nvariyA)!
I have become (hO gayI) crazy (bA.nvariyA) with your (tOrI) love (prIt)!
I wander (phirI) from town to town (nagar nagar) searching (DHU.nD) for you (tOhE)
I call out (kUkat) to you (tOhE) from forest to forest (ban ban mE.n)

The Qawwal selected verses before to both the state of the mind (loneliness) and the state of the body (loosening of earthly bonds, wandering like a mendicant). This poetry reiterates the idea of wandering in search of God. Meera, as I had mentioned before, left everything to take up life as a wandering minstrel. She has said in another poem ‘aisi lAgI lagan mIrA hOgayI magan, wOh to galI galI harI guN gAnE lagI’ ie. She fell so in love that she became enchanted, she went from street to street singing in God’s praise. The Qawwal has selected poetry to display this rootlessness.

मोहे  प्रीत तिहारी  मार गयी
तुम जीत गये मैं हार गयी
मैं हार के भी बलहार गयी
ऐसा प्रेम बसा मेरे  तन मन में

mOhE prIt tihArI mAr gayI
tum jIt gayE mai.n hAr gayI
mai.n hAr kE bhI balhAr gayI
aisA prEm basA mErE tan man mE.n

My love for you (prIt tihArI) has defeated (mAr gayI) me (mOhE)!
You (tum) have won (jIt gayE), and I (mai.n) have lost (hAr gayI)!
And even though (bhI) I (mai.n) lost (hAr kE), I have become (gayI)strengthened (balhAr)
Such is (aisA) the love (prEm)  which resides (basA) in (mE.n) my body (tan) and soul (man=mind)!

In this love between God and devotee, who wins? God of course, for the devotee is the one to break all bonds to go in search of Him. But the devotee is not weakened by this loss, but instead strengthened by the love of God which gets infused within him/her.

ब-हक-ए रोज़-ए-विसाल-ए दिलबर के  दाद मारा फरेब खुसरो
सपीत मन के दुराये राखूँ  जो जाये पाऊँ पिया  के खतियाँ

ba-hak-E rOz-E-visAl-E dilbar kE dAd mArA farEb khusrO
sapIt  man kE durayE rAkhU.n jo jAyE pAU.n piyA kE khatiyA.n
alternate : samIpa man ke davAri rAkhU.n jo jAn pAU.n parAyi rakhiyA

On the day (rOz) of meeting (visAl) my beloved (dilbar), with right (ba-hak) I will appeal for a redress of my grievance (dAd) that I (Khusro) have been deceived (farEb)! When I turn away (durAyE) from the ashes (rAkhU.n) of this cursed (sapIt) mind (man), I will get (pAU.n) concord (khatiyA.n) with my beloved (piyA).

Alternate last line meaning : I will keep (rAkhU.n) a sentry (davAri) near (samIpa) my heart (man kE)  if I come to know (jAn pAU.n) that my beloved (implied) is kept (rakhiyA) by someone else (parAyi).

Note : The resources I found on the internet for this couplet were not convincing. Piecing together dictionary meanings is an inaccurate process but this is the only thing I could come up with. Please do comment if you have a better insight to the words or meaning.

The poet seems to say that he will ask for justice on the day of union for being cheated thus, for being kept separate from his beloved. And in the final sentence, he seems to give the solution to his pain and the pathway to reunion. He says that to gain concord with his beloved,  he needs to turn away from the ashes of his cursed mind. I do like it much better than the alternate but more common phrasing as there seems to be a conclusion of a sort.

So after this long explanation, here finally is this magnificent rendition by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. I hope you enjoy it!

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Filed under Amir Khusrau, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Qawwali

Shankari Shankuru

AkhilandeswariI am in Australia at the moment, enjoying the last traces of summer and the advent into autumn. On Sunday we set the clock back for daylight saving and I gratefully received the gift of an extra hour in the morning! The weather is perfect, neither warm nor cold but just right….Goldilocks would sure have been happy! This is such perfect weather for walking. I am a regular walker, doing a brisk 10 km everyday.  These two hours each day are precious to me as this is when I listen to music with the utmost concentration. However, for the last couple of months I have instead been listening to lectures on spiritual matters (upanyasam / hari katha). It has been educational though I find some ideas questionable and some simply appalling! But more about that some other time…

My interest in lectures has meant that I am a bit behind with catching up with the music available online. There is so much of it nowadays, don’t you think? Can anyone possibly keep up with it all? I am rather overwhelmed! My music listening experience has also changed because of this. There was a time when I had only a very limited number of tapes and then CDs. I listened to them so often that I would be pre-empting every note, every pause in my mind as I listened. Nowadays I am always listening to something new. Exciting but also a bit sad…I miss the familiarity and sense of homecoming I felt with my favourites.   As I was playing catch-up on YouTube last week, I came upon this excellent concert by Ranjani and Gayatri from which I have chosen a song to present to you today.

Shankari Shankuru is composed in Raga Saveri by Shyama Shastri. Like many songs of this genre, it is a simple prayer followed by many phrases to identify, describe and praise the Goddess. As we listen, the phrases invoke physical imagery  (e.g. slender-waisted Goddess). We are reminded of stories by some phrases (e.g. remembering how Manmatha became an enemy of Shiva) and are reassured of the grace of the Goddess by other phrases (e.g. she gives reward to her devotees).

Though I choose to concentrate on lyrics in this blog, renditions such as the one I have chosen are more about the raga and creativity than about the lyrics. In this piece by Ranjani and Gayatri, the total time of 31 minutes is composed of 26 minutes of improvisation and only 10 minutes of composed music. The improvisation is in the form of Raga Alapana (slow melodic improvisation without rhythm 0-13:50) by the vocalists and the violinist. Neraval (melodic improvisation of a single phrase from the song within a set rhythm 17:31-25:15 )  and Kalpana Swarams (melodic improvisation using the Indian solfege within a set rhythm)  to 30:27. So of a total of 31.28 minutes, more than 26 minutes is the creative component. The composed content is just over 5 minutes. So as much as I go on about words, meanings, inferences and associations, this music is more about creativity and setting the mood. Saveri is a raga which sounds like supplication, even if no word is uttered.  How beautiful are the phrases created by these two extraordinary sisters! I must especially mention the young violinist Vittal Rangan who demonstrates truly impressive skills!

And those who have fallen in love with Saveri and would like to listen to another excellent rendition, here is R.Vedavalli doing an exceptional job of it.


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Sanskrit

note – only third charanam is sung in concerts normally. Also though the long ‘I’ at the end of some words is shortened in songs, I have chosen to use the correct spelling in Sanskrit.

पल्लवि
शङ्करी  शङ्कुरु  चन्द्रमुखी अखिलाण्डेश्वरी (श्री)
शाम्भवी सरसिज भव वन्दिते गौरी (अम्ब)

अनुपल्लवि
सङ्कट  हारिणी रिपु विदारिणी कल्याणी
सदा नत फल दायिके (alt: दायकी ) हर नायिके  (alt: नायकी) जगत् जननी

चरणम् 1
जम्बुपति विलासिनी जगदवनोल्लसिनी
कम्बु  कन्धरे भवानी कपाल धारिणी शूलिनी

चरणम् 2

अङ्गज  रिपु तोशिनी अखिल  भुवन पोशिनी
मङ्गल  प्रदे मृदानी मराल संनिभ गमनी

चरणम् 3

श्याम कृष्ण सोदरी श्यामळे शातोदरी
सामगान  लोले बाले सदार्ति भञ्जन  शीले

Transliteration

pallavi
shankarI shankuru chandra mukhI akhilANDEshvarI
shAmbhavI sarasija bhava vanditE gauri amba

anupallavi
sankaTa hAriNI ripu vidAriNI kalyANI
sadA nata phala dAyikE hara nAyikE jagat jananI

charaNam 1
jambupati vilAsinI jagadavanOllAsinI
kambu kandharE bhavAnI kapAla dhAriNi shUlini

charaNam 2
angaja ripu tOshinI akhila bhuvana pOshinI
mangaLa pradE mRdAni marALa sannibha gamanI

charaNam 3
shyAma kRshNa sOdarI shyAmaLE shAtOdari
sAma gAna lOlE bAlE sadArti bhanjana shIlE

Translation

O Consort of Shankara/Shiva (shankarI)! Please create (kuru, literally do) tranquility (sham)! O Moon faced one (chandramukhI)! O Goddess (IshvarI) of the whole universe (akhilANDa) ! O ShambhavI (name of Parvati)! One worshipped (vanditE) by Brahma, the one born (bhava) in a lotus (sarasija)! O Mother (amba) Gauri (name of Parvati)!

One who removes/destroys (hAriNI) danger/crises (sangkaTa)! One who crushes (vidAriNI) enemies (ripu)! O Auspicious one (kalyANI)! One who gives (dAyikE) reward (phala) to those who always (sadA) bow to her (nata). O Consort (nayikE) of Shiva (hara)! O Mother (jananI) of the world (jagat)!

One who sports (vilAsinI) with Shiva (jambupati, from Jambukeshwara Temple of Tiruvanaikaval, where the Goddess is called Akhilandeshwari. This is one of the Pancha Bhoota Sthalams, representing water). One who takes joy (ullAsinI) in protecting (avana) the world (jagat)! One whose neck (kandhara) is like a conch (kambu)! O Bhavani (name of Parvati)! One who carries (dhAriNI) a skull (kapAla)! One who weilds a spear (shUlinI)!

One who pleases (tOshiNI) the enemy (ripu) of the God of Love (angaja)! One who nourishes (poshinI) the entire (akhila) world (bhuvana)! One who provides (pradE) good fortune/welfare/happiness (mangala)! O Consort of Shiva (mRda is a name of Shiva)! One who walks (gamanI) like (samnibha) a swan (marAla)!

O Sister (sOdarI) of the dark skinned Krishna (shyAma kRshNa) (also signature of the composer)! O Shyamala (name of Parvati)! One with a slender (shAta) belly/waist (udarI)! One who takes pleasure in (lOlE) the chanting (gAna) of Sama Veda! O Young one (bAlE)! One whose nature (shIla) is to always (sadA) dispel (bhanjana) grief (Arti)!

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Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Sanskrit, R.Vedavalli, Ranjani Gayatri, Shyama Shastri

Adum Deivam

Urdhva TandavaMaha Shivaratri is almost upon us and so, of course, my mind is on the Dancing Lord, our ADum deivam. So here I am, back to this blog to share a nice Tamil lore with you. And of course, a song too!

There are many versions of the story I am sharing, I just picked one of them. I also tried to find references to see where the story comes from, but I couldn’t find anything definitive. So just take it as a lore…

 Goddess Kali is on a war path. Created to destroy demons, she is a destructive force par none. But even after she vanquishes the demons, she continues to ravage all in her path. The Gods, along with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, approach Lord Shiva to calm his consort. Lord Shiva blocks the Goddess and challenges her to a dance contest. In some versions of the story, Lord Vishnu is called upon to act as the judge. The Goddess turns all her energies to the dance. They are evenly matched. She can match his every movement, he can match her every pose. They dance thus for eons. The universe trembles with the force of their stamping feet and their passionate movements. Some say that it is Lord Vishnu who makes a sign to Lord Shiva on how to win. Lord Shiva pretends that his earrings have dropped to the ground. Picking his earring with his feet, he raises it to his ear. This pose is called Urdhva tAnDava. To protect her feminine modesty, the Goddess smilingly concedes defeat. Her ferocity is gone and she is once more the peaceful and compassionate Goddess. Shiva is given the title of Lord of Dance or Nataraja. This is supposed to have happened in the forests of Tillai. Lord Nataraja rests in Tillai as does the dance ‘judge’ Lord Vishnu as Govindarajan. The Goddess retreats to Tiruvalankadu which is also associated with the same lore.

How wonderful are our stories, aren’t they! I can almost see it before me – Shakti, she who is power, unleashed upon the world..is it a nuclear holocaust? Tsunamis, volcanoes or earthquakes? The start of ice age or the end of one? She is destruction incarnate. It is Shiva, our dancing Lord, the other half of her, who must dance with her and drain her fury so that she becomes once more the loving Mother Goddess that she is. It is interesting that it is He we call the Destroyer! What does he destroy then? He is destroyer of the darkness within us, the darkness which lashes out like Kali in her rage. May he always dance the Tandava within our hearts to destroy the tsunamis and earthquakes which we create to destroy ourselves.

This wonderful lore is mentioned in my song choice of today. ADum deivam is written by Papanasam Sivan in raga Kambhoji. There is something about Kambhoji – the more I live, the more I listen, the more my soul sways to the mood of this raga. Listen below to Sanjay Subrahmanyan prove why he richly deserves the title of Sangita Kalanidhi. I have a really soft spot for S.Varadajan on the violin.

Raga Alapanai (exploration of the raga without words)

Kriti (song)

You can download another beautiful version by Sanjay Subrahmanyan here. You will need a free membership to Sangeethapriya.


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Tamil

பல்லவி
ஆடும் தெய்வம் நீ அருள்வாய் இடது பாதம் தூக்கி (ஆடும்)

அனுபல்லவி
நாடும் அடியர் பிறவித் துயரற வீடும் தரும் கருணை நிதியே  நடம் (ஆடும்)

சரணம்
சுபம் சேர் காளியுடன் ஆடிப் படு தோல்வி அஞ்சி திருச் செவியில் அணிந்த-மணித்
தோடு விழுந்ததாக மாயம் காட்டியும் தொழும் பதம் உயரத் தூக்கியும் – விரி
பிரபஞ்சம் முழுதும் ஆட்டும்  நின் திருப் பதம்  தஞ்சம்  என உன்னை அடைந்தேன்
பரிந்தென் திண்டாட்டம் கண்டு பரிசு தரும் துரையே சபை நடுவில் தத்திமி என்று (ஆடும்)

Transliteration

pallavi
ADum deivam nI aRulvAy iDadu pAdam tUkki

anupallavi
nADum aDiyar  piravit tuyaraRa vIDum tarum  karuNai nidiyE -naTam

charaNam
shubham sEr kALiyuDan ADi paDu tOlvi anji tiruch cheviyil aNinda -maNit
tODu vizhundadAga mAyam kATTiyum tozhum padam uyarat tUkkiyum-viri
prapancham muzhudum ATTum nin tirup padam tanjam ena unnai aDaindEn
parinden tinDATTam kanDu parisu tarum duraiyE sabai naDuvil taddimi enDRu

Translation

O Lord (deivam) who dances (ADum) with your left (iDadu) foot (pAdam) raised (tUkki), bless me (ArulvAy)!

O Compassionate one (karuNai nidi (nidi=character, attribute)) who removes/expunges (aRa) the sorrow (tuyar) of birth (piravi) and provides (tarum) shelter (vIDum) for the devotees (aDiyar) who seek you (nADum), who dances (ADum – from pallavi) the dance (naTam)….

While dancing (ADi) with Kali, who is associated (sEr) with auspiciousness (shubham), fearing (anji) total defeat (paDu tOlvi), you created an illusion (mAyam kATTiyum) that (Aga) the gem-studded (maNi) earring (tODu) which you wore (aNinda) on your sacred (tiru) ear (cheviyil) fell (vizhundadu) and you raised (tUkki) your venerated (tozhum) foot (padam) high (uyara). Knowing (implied by ena=as) that your (nin) sacred (tiru) feet (padam) makes the expanse of (viri) the universe (prapancham) move/dance (ATTum) , I sought refuge (tanjam aDaindEn) in you (unnai). O Lord (durai) who, on seeing my (en) misery/struggles (tinDATTam), shows mercy (parindu) and bestows (tarum) the gift (parisu) of seeing (?implied? not sure) you dance (implied by taddimi enDRu=to the rhythm of ‘ta ti mi’) in the middle (naDuvil) of the assembly room (sabai).

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Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Tamil, Papanasam Sivan, Sanjay Subrahmanyan