Tag Archives: Meera

Chalo Man Ganga Jamuna Teer

Triveni SangamMy posts this spring and summer have been so very infrequent! I’ve had a busy time with lots of visitors and my own travelling. Just last weekend my husband and I returned from a long road trip to the North of Spain, driving nearly 4300 kms in 16 days.

This was a trip that I had had in mind for quite some time. Five years back I had made plans to go on the famous Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route with my two lady friends from Australia to celebrate all of us turning 50. We had planned to walk about 300 kms of this route but sadly for me, I had some health issues and could not join in. As it is unlikely that I would ever be able to do this walk, I took the opportunity this summer to do the route the easy way.

I have a great love of Cathedrals and in this trip we saw some really outstanding ones. I will never forget the sheer magnificence of the Burgos Cathedral, nor the magic of the stained glass at León. The Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela had that indescribable atmosphere that only holy places have. But this is a music blog; you’ll have to wait for my travel blog to read details about it all! Those of you who are wondering why this Iyengar woman goes on a Christian pilgrimage, I see the presence of God in the beauty of the architecture, in the skills of the artisans, in the creativity of the sculptors and painters, in the bhakti of all the believers who have come to these cathedrals for the last thousand years. And if I address Jesus or Mary with a couple of Hindu shlokas, I don’t think they mind very much!

This concept of a holiday which is a pilgrimage comes from my childhood. In fact, I used to think that was the way everyone had holidays! Come school break, my parents would take my sister and me to either our grandparents’ homes or on a teertha yatra, or a combination of the two. We went to many sthalas all over India but the most memorable ones for me involved a dip in Ganga. I remember the crowded ghats of Kasi, the swirling rush of Haridwar and Rishkesh, the freezing waters of Badrinath and the body-and-mind-numbing waters of Mandakini at Gaurikund, en route on our walk from Soneprayag to Kedarnath. (I just referred to my article published in my school magazine to remind me of the name of the place. If you would like to read of our pilgrimage at that time, here is a link to my rather immature article from 1975!) But most magical of all was a dip in Prayag at the Triveni Sangama; my then teenaged and very fanciful mind was quite taken by the idea of the hidden river Saraswati quietly flowing and meeting with Ganga and Yamuna.

And thus I come upon my song choice of today. Meera is said to have written Chalo Man Ganga Jamuna Teer in Prayag (unconfirmed).  In her song, she says ‘O Mind, Go to Prayag’, The Prayag that she urges us to is not the confluence of the rivers but the sangama of the NadisIda, Pingala and Sushumna– at the Ajna chakra (between our brows, position of the third-eye) . Ida is associated with Ganga, Pingala with Yamuna and Sushumna with Saraswati. This meeting point is called ‘Mukta Triveni’; it is the point of liberation. Meera urges us to this sangama, saying that the waters here are pure, stainless; such a dip, she says, will cool down our bodies. Cool from what? I imagine she means the heat of the passions and emotions that we live with.  So, you see, though I have been on a many a pilgrimage, I have not dipped in the most important of sangamas. What use such physical pilgrimages then? !!

To listen to the song, there can be none other than the voice of D.V.Paluskar who made this song his own. Enjoy, and perhaps you will be inspired to take the dip that Meera urges us to.

 


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Rajasthani / Brijbhasa

(Lyrics as sung by D.V.Paluskar; I could not verify Meera’s original words which could well differ)

चलो मन गङ्गा-जमुना तीर ।
गङ्गा-जमुना निर्मल पानी ।
शीतल होत शरीर ।।

बंसी बजावत गावत कान्हा ।
संग लिये बलबीर ।।

मोर-मुकुट पीताम्बर सोहे ।
कुण्डल झलकत हीर ।।

मीरा के प्रभु गिरिधर नागर ।
चरण कमल पर सीर ।।

Transliteration

chalO mana gangA jamunA tIra
gangA jamunA niramala pAnI
shItala hOta sharIra

bansI bajAvata gAvata kAnhA
sanga liyE balabIra

mOra mukuTa pItAmbara sOhE
kuNDala jhalakata hIra

mIrA kahE prabhu giridhara nAgara
charaNa kamala para sIra

Translation

O Mind (mana), go (chalO) to the shores (teera) of Ganga and Yamuna (this means Prayag, where the two meet with Saraswati). The body (sharIra) becomes (hOta) cool (shItala) in the stainless (niramala) waters (pAnI) of Ganga and Yamuna.

There (implied), Krishna (kAnhA) is playing (bajAvata) his flute (bansI) and singing (gAvata), accompanied (sanga liyE) by Balarama (balabIra).

Krishna’s crown (mukuTa) of peacock (mOra) feathers and yellow garments (pItAmbara) suit him (sOhE). And from his earrings (kuNDala), diamonds (hIra)  glitter (jhalakata).

Meera says (kahE) that her head (sIra) is on the lotus (kamala) like feet (charaNa) of her Lord who held up the mountain (giridhara nAgara).

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Filed under Bhajan, D.V.Paluskar, Meera, Uncategorized

Jago Bansi Vare

Hari Rang RaatiAll Hindus are no doubt familiar with the tradition of waking God in the morning with prayers and music.  Much as we believe that God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, we still enjoy the play of wishing Him a good night, and waking him with a ‘Good Morning’ each day.  Surely, M.S.Subbulakshmi’s Suprabhatam is one of the most recognized prayer songs in India? This is addressed to Vishnu, but there are waking rituals for other Gods and Godesses, be it a Sanskrit Shloka or a simple prayer song.

Today I have selected a Bhajan written by Meera Bai (1498-1547), arguably the most well-known Saint in India.  The version I like best is rendered by  Shobha Gurtu, in her CD Hari Rang Raati, an album  of devotionals that I have had and listened to with great pleasure for the last 20 years. 

I do so love songs which paint a picture! Jago Bansi Vare is a particularly evocative piece of poetry.  Even those not familiar with village life in those times can well imagine how the village slowly wakes up in the morning. ‘Wake up’, Meera urges Krishna ‘the night has passed, and dawn has arrived. The shutters are opening in every home. You can hear the bangles of the cowherdesses as they churn the yoghurt. Do wake up, both Gods and men are their doors. The young cowherds are joyfully cheering as they gather with bread and butter in their hands. Do wake up!’.

It seems to me that it is Krishna’s mum who is singing this song for did I not wake my son just like this each morning, hurrying him to catch the school bus? The world has changed, yet the world remains the same. The jingle of cowherdesses churning butter have been replaced with the ping of the microwave and the whirr of the juicers, instead of shutters we draw open the curtains, the muted sound of cars starting have replaced the sounds of men readying for work, and the boys still shout cheerfully, waiting for the school buses, with school bags and lunch boxes, instead of cowherds collecting their cattle, holding their bread and butter for lunch. Meera’s song to wake Krishna is the song of mothers everywhere. For those wondering why this is a prayer song – there is not a single prayer-like request – I think it is symbolic; Meera is urging Krishna to wake to her plight.

For lyrics and translation, see footnote. Now listen to Shobha Gurtu who emotes so beautifully with her voice alone.


 



Footnote (Lyrics) :
Note : I use ITRANS transliteration scheme.

जागो बंसी वारे ललना, जागो मोरे प्यारे ।
jAgO bansI vArE lalanA, jAgO mOrE pyArE
Awake, oh little one with the flute, awake my dear,
रजनी बीती भोर भयो है, घर घर खुले किवाड़े ।
rajanI bItI bhOr bhayO hai, ghar ghar khulE kivAdE
The night has passed, dawn is breaking and shutters are opening in every home
गोपी दही मथत सुनियत है, कंगना के झनकारे ॥
gOpI dahI mathat suniyat hai, kanganA kE jhankArE
We can hear the gopis churning yoghurt as their bangles jingle
उठो लाल जी भोर भयो है, सुर नर ठाढ़े द्वारे ।
uThO lAl jI bhor bhayO hai sur nar ThaDe dvArE
Do wake my dear, it is dawn, Gods and men are at their the doors
ग्वाल बाल सब करत कोलाहल , जय जय शब्द उचारे ॥
gvAl bAl sab karat kOlAhal, jay jay shabd ucharE
The young cowherds are joyously cheering
माखन रोटी हाथ में लीन्ही , गउवन के रखवारे ।
mAkhan rOtI hAth mE(n) lInhI, gauvan kE rakhvAre
With bread and butter in their hands, these protectors of cows
मीरा के प्रभु गिरिधरनागर, शरण आयां कूं तारे॥
mIrA kE prabhu giridharnAgar, sharaN AyA.n kU.n tArE
Oh Meera’s Lord who held the mountain up, I fall upon your grace (note: unsure of last phrase)

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Payoji Maine

Ram Sita LakshmanA very happy राम नवमी Rama Navami to all my readers! Intending to share a nice Bhajan with you to celebrate this Birthday of Lord Rama, I decided very quickly on Payoji Maine, a very famous Meera Bhajan.   I have always enjoyed the nice imagery that the song evokes; I can see Meera Bai with her hands cupped and extended before her within which her Guru drops a special jewel (I always saw it as a Ruby, I don’t know why!). It gleams and changes shape as Rama or Krishna. And she a Jogin, a Sanyasini, a mendicant with no worldly possessions, wrapped in a simple saffron cloth, dancing barefoot in the streets, she holds this incongruous possession of a jewel which is so lustrous and inviting.  Don’t you, like me, want to know what secrets it holds that it enthrals her so? Don’t you wish to know how exactly it called to her that she left home and safety, wealth and respectability, to follow its call? I am fascinated especially by Meera Bai when she says ‘harash harash jash gayo’ – that she sings His praise laughingly, with joy.  That we may all find such joy in the contemplation of the Divine! For lyrics, see footnote.

Finding it curious that she sings of Raam-Ratan, she who was so devoted to Krishna, I did some googling. It seems possible that her original words were ‘Naam-Ratan’ , ‘the precious stone of the name’ or in other words, the treasure that chanting Krishna’s name is. Raam Naam or Krishna Naam, it does not matter really; let us just take God’s name today in joy just as Meera Bai does.

To present this song, here is a rendition by Anup Jalota, the kind of Bhajans.


Footnote (lyrics) :

पायोजी मैंने राम-रतन धन पायो

I have found the wealth (precious jewel) of chanting Ram’s name.

वस्तु अमोलिक दी म्हारे  सतगुरू,
किरपा करि अपणायो (पायोजी मैंने)

My Guru gave me this priceless thing, and I have accepted it with grace.

खर्च न खूटे वाको (alternate: खरचै नहिं कोई ), चोर न लूटे,
दिन दिन बढ़त सवायो (पायोजी मैंने)

No one can spend (this treasure), nor can they steal it. And day by day it increases by a quarter again.

सत की नाव, खेवटिया सतगुरू,
भव-सागर तरि आयो (पायोजी मैंने)

On the boat of truth, the boatman was my Guru, (and thus) I crossed the ocean of existence.

जनम जनम की पूंजी पाई,
जग में सभी खोवायो (पायोजी मैंने)

Now that I have found the treasure after searching in several births, I have abandoned all else in the world.

दासी मीरा लाल गिरिधर (alternate: मीरा के प्रभु गिरधरनागर)
हरख हरख जस गायो (पायोजी मैंने)

Meera is a servant of the dear Lord Giridhar (Krishna), whose glories I sing happily, joyfully.

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Listening to : Meera (1979)

If there was a popularity poll for Indian Saints, I reckon Meerabai (1498-1547) would do very well indeed! Her story has all the makings of a blockbuster – a beautiful princess, a handsome prince – or is he a heartless husband?, an evil priest, a conspiring sister-in-law, political machinations and war, murder attempts, rebellion, devotion, music and poetry  written so beautifully that they are still on the lips of Indians after 500 years – not historians and academics, but on the lips of the average man and woman.

There had been a Tamil film made in 1945 on Meera featuring the Carnatic singer M.S.Subbulakshmi as Meera, later dubbed in Hindi. My mother used to sing Meera bhajans from this film. I learnt चाकर राखो जी and पग घुँघरू बाँध मीरा नाची रे as an 8 year old at school. As I grew, I became attached to Lata Mangeshkar’s Meera bhajans as they were broadcast over morning radio in Delhi. Even now, I catch myself murmuring some bhajans to myself quite often. These songs have formed a musical background to my life.

So when Meera came out in 1979, I was very eager to see the film. The music was written by the renowned Ravi Shankar, the songs sung by Vani Jayaram, and the part played by Hema Malini. It seems interesting to me now that my filmi associations of Meera, a Rajasthani pricess, are with MSS, Hema and Vani – all Tamilian ladies. An example of national integration?

Unfortunately, the film fails, mainly I think because Hema is wrongly cast as Meera. The other cast are more impressive, Vinod Khanna in particular (well, I have a weakness for him!).  The music is excellent, I will not hesitate to recommend this album. The tracks are as follows:

  • Mere to giridhar gopal Open-mouthed smile
  • Jago bansiwale Smile
  • Pyare Darshan Dijo Smile
  • Bala main bairagan hoongi I don't know smile
  • Karna Fakiri Sad smile
  • Jo tum todo piya Open-mouthed smile
  • Karuna Suno Shyam Open-mouthed smile
  • Badal Dekh dari Sad smile
  • Main Sanvre ke rang ranchi Smile
  • Mere to giridhar gopal (duet) Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Shyam mane chakar rakhoji Smile
  • Ranaji main to govind Open-mouthed smile
  • Ayri main to prem diwani Open-mouthed smile

I have found most of the lyrics online, please see footnote. I have yet to confirm if the film version matches the lyrics as listed on the site.

I present my favourite song (please ignore the subtitles, they don’t seem well done). I realised after I selected it that Vani Jayaram won a Filmfare award for this song; very well deserved!

Mere to giridhar gopal–Vani Jayaram

मेरे तो गिरधर गोपाल दूसरो न कोई |
जाके सर मोर मुकुट मेरे पति सोयी ||
मेरे तो…..
अंसुवन जल सींचि-सींचि प्रेम-बेलि बोई।|
अब तो बेल फैल गयी आणंद फल होई ||
मेरे तो…..
तात मात भ्रात बन्धु आपनो न कोई |
छांड़ि दई कुलकी कानि कहा करिहै कोई॥ ||
मेरे तो……
चुनरी के किये टूक ओढ़ लीन्ही लोई |
मोती मूंगे उतार बनमाला पोई |

The only one for me is Giridhar Gopal (=Krishna the cowherd, who held up a mountain)
the one with the crown of peacock feathers is my husband.

I watered the creeper of love with my tears,
now that the creeper has spread, there are flowers of happiness.

Father, mother, brother, friend – I have no one who is mine,
I have left the honour of my family, what can anyone do.

I have forsaken my head scarf and wrapped myself in rough clothing,
I have shed my jewels (pearls & ??) and wear a garland of forest flowers.

I transcribed it myself and then later found the site below which confirms my lyrics. There are a couple of words that I do not know, please do comment with the correct translation if you know it.


Footnote (lyrics):

Here are the some of the lyrics of bhajans in this film from the site www.kavitakosh.org

Jago Bansi Wale :

जागो बंसी वारे जागो मोरे ललन।
रजनी बीती भोर भयो है घर घर खुले किवारे।
गोपी दही मथत सुनियत है कंगना के झनकारे।
उठो लालजी भोर भयो है सुर नर ठाढ़े द्वारे ।
ग्वाल बाल सब करत कोलाहल जय जय सबद उचारे ।
मीरा के प्रभु गिरधर नागर शरण आया कूं तारे ॥

Pyare Darsan Dijyo :

प्यारे दरसन दीज्यो आय, तुम बिन रह्यो न जाय॥
जल बिन कमल, चंद बिन रजनी। ऐसे तुम देख्यां बिन सजनी॥
आकुल व्याकुल फिरूं रैन दिन, बिरह कलेजो खाय॥
दिवस न भूख, नींद नहिं रैना, मुख सूं कथत न आवै बैना॥
कहा कहूं कछु कहत न आवै, मिलकर तपत बुझाय॥
क्यूं तरसावो अंतरजामी, आय मिलो किरपाकर स्वामी॥
मीरां दासी जनम जनम की, पड़ी तुम्हारे पाय॥

शब्दार्थ :- रजनी =रात्रि। सजनी =दासी। कलेजो खाय = बिरह कलेजे को मरण जैसी पीड़ा पहुंचा रहा है। बैना = बचन। पाय =चरण।

Bala Main Baragan Hoongi :

बाला मैं बैरागण हूंगी।
जिन भेषां म्हारो साहिब रीझे, सोही भेष धरूंगी।
सील संतोष धरूँ घट भीतर, समता पकड़ रहूंगी।
जाको नाम निरंजन कहिये, ताको ध्यान धरूंगी।
गुरुके ग्यान रंगू तन कपड़ा, मन मुद्रा पैरूंगी।
प्रेम पीतसूँ हरिगुण गाऊँ, चरणन लिपट रहूंगी।
या तन की मैं करूँ कीगरी, रसना नाम कहूंगी।
मीरा के प्रभु गिरधर नागर, साधां संग रहूंगी।

Jo Tum Todo Piya :

जो तुम तोडो पियो मैं नही तोडू। तोरी प्रीत तोडी कृष्ण कोन संग जोडू
॥ध्रु०॥
तुम भये तरुवर मैं भई पखिया। तुम भये सरोवर मैं तोरी मछिया॥ जो०॥१॥
तुम भये गिरिवर मैं भई चारा। तुम भये चंद्रा हम भये चकोरा॥ जो०॥२॥
तुम भये मोती प्रभु हम भये धागा। तुम भये सोना हम भये स्वागा॥ जो०॥३॥
बाई मीरा कहे प्रभु ब्रजके बाशी। तुम मेरे ठाकोर मैं तेरी दासी॥ जो०॥४॥

Karuna Suno Shyam Mori :

करुणा सुणो स्याम मेरी, मैं तो होय रही चेरी तेरी॥

दरसण कारण भई बावरी बिरह-बिथा तन घेरी।
तेरे कारण जोगण हूंगी, दूंगी नग्र बिच फेरी॥
कुंज बन हेरी-हेरी॥

अंग भभूत गले मृगछाला, यो तप भसम करूं री।
अजहुं न मिल्या राम अबिनासी बन-बन बीच फिरूं री॥
रोऊं नित टेरी-टेरी॥

जन मीरा कूं गिरधर मिलिया दुख मेटण सुख भेरी।
रूम रूम साता भइ उर में, मिट गई फेरा-फेरी॥
रहूं चरननि तर चेरी॥

शब्दार्थ :- बावरी =पगली। सुणी =सुनी। जोगण = योगिनी। नग्र बिच = नगर में भभूत =भस्म, राख। यो तन =यह शरीर। टेरि-टेरि = पुकार-पुकारकर सुख भरि = सुख देने वाले। रूम-रूम =रोम-रोम। साता =शांन्ति। फेरा-फेरी =आना-जाना, जनम-मरण।

Badal Dekh Dari :

बादल देख डरी हो, स्याम, मैं बादल देख डरी
श्याम मैं बादल देख डरी
काली-पीली घटा ऊमड़ी बरस्यो एक घरी
जित जाऊं तित पाणी पाणी हुई सब भोम हरी
जाके पिया परदेस बसत है भीजे बाहर खरी
मीरा के प्रभु गिरधर नागर कीजो प्रीत खरी
श्याम मैं बादल देख डरी

Chakar Rakho Ji :

स्याम! मने चाकर राखो जी
गिरधारी लाला! चाकर राखो जी।
चाकर रहसूं बाग लगासूं नित उठ दरसण पासूं।
ब्रिंदाबन की कुंजगलिन में तेरी लीला गासूं।।
चाकरी में दरसण पाऊँ सुमिरण पाऊँ खरची।
भाव भगति जागीरी पाऊँ, तीनूं बाता सरसी।।
मोर मुकुट पीताम्बर सोहै, गल बैजंती माला।
ब्रिंदाबन में धेनु चरावे मोहन मुरलीवाला।।
हरे हरे नित बाग लगाऊँ, बिच बिच राखूं क्यारी।
सांवरिया के दरसण पाऊँ, पहर कुसुम्मी सारी।
जोगी आया जोग करणकूं, तप करणे संन्यासी।
हरी भजनकूं साधू आया ब्रिंदाबन के बासी।।
मीरा के प्रभु गहिर गंभीरा सदा रहो जी धीरा।
आधी रात प्रभु दरसन दीन्हें, प्रेमनदी के तीरा।।

Ranaji Mhain Tho :

राणाजी, म्हे तो गोविन्द का गुण गास्यां।
चरणामृत को नेम हमारे, नित उठ दरसण जास्यां॥

हरि मंदर में निरत करास्यां, घूंघरियां धमकास्यां।
राम नाम का झाझ चलास्यां भवसागर तर जास्यां॥

यह संसार बाड़ का कांटा ज्या संगत नहीं जास्यां।
मीरा कहै प्रभु गिरधर नागर निरख परख गुण गास्यां॥

शब्दार्थ :- गास्यां =गाऊंगी। दरसण जास्यां =दर्शन करने जाऊंगी। निरत =नृत्य। झाझ =जहाज। ज्या =जिस।

Mere Tho Girdhar Gopal full version :

मेरे तो गिरधर गोपाल दूसरो न कोई॥
जाके सिर है मोरपखा मेरो पति सोई।
तात मात भ्रात बंधु आपनो न कोई॥
छांड़ि दई कुलकी कानि कहा करिहै कोई॥
संतन ढिग बैठि बैठि लोकलाज खोई॥
चुनरीके किये टूक ओढ़ लीन्हीं लोई।
मोती मूंगे उतार बनमाला पोई॥
अंसुवन जल सींचि-सींचि प्रेम-बेलि बोई।
अब तो बेल फैल गई आणंद फल होई॥
दूधकी मथनियां बड़े प्रेमसे बिलोई।
माखन जब काढ़ि लियो छाछ पिये कोई॥
भगति देखि राजी हुई जगत देखि रोई।
दासी मीरा लाल गिरधर तारो अब मोही॥

शब्दार्थ :- कानि =मर्यादा, लोकलाज। अंसुवन जल = अश्रुरूपी जल से। आणद =आनन्दमय। फल =परिणाम। राजी =खुश। रोई =दुखी हुई।

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