Happy Navaratri to all my readers! Though as I’ve been away so long from blogging, I am not certain if there are any readers left to see my greetings..
The thing is, I’ve not been listening to music and really, its quite impossible to be a music blogger if that’s the case! When I blogged regularly, I was listening to music all day long….when I walked, when I did my household chores, when I drove or pursued my artistic interests. But for quite a while I’ve been very distracted. First, by the stressful process of moving internationally, and then because my attention turned to spiritual matters. Music was replaced by lectures on topics related to the vedas, upanishads, itihasasas and mysticism. We live in lucky times with so many lectures available on YouTube and podcasts as well! I’m learning so much, and my mind is so very occupied that there hasn’t been much space left for music. For those who are wondering, I’ve listened to simply hours and hours of lectures by Swami Sarvapriyananda who is amazingly erudite and a wonderful speaker. But given that I cling to my devotion and advaita is not really my marga, I also listen to upanyasams by Velukkudi Krishnan swamigal, Dushyant Sridhar etc. Of course, music itself is divine and Carnatic Music is devotional in essence so I have not wandered too far from where I was!
I’ve also been busy with family. My grandson is a little bundle of energy, mischief, playfulness and above all, love. I cook for him, tell stories and sing songs, play lego, hide&seek, chase, digging in the backyard and myriad other games which keeps us both occupied all day. He has taken over my life and I feel so blessed to have him even as I lie exhausted after a day of baby sitting! Good karma there..
My daughter made me a grandmother again recently but both mother and child did not have it easy and we have been through some very worrying times. And I’ve had some niggling health issues as well. Life throws these challenges when you least expect them, doesn’t it! We all have to deal with our karma. Who knows what I did in my previous lives? Who can keep track of all the harm I have done in this life? How are we to escape from this never ending loop that we are stuck in?
That brings me to the song choice of today. I was listening to a kutcheri on YouTube yesterday when the musician sang Shivakama Sundari in Mukhari, composed by Papanasam Sivan. Though I have listened to and liked this song for longer than I remember, it was only yesterday that the words of the anupallavi struck a chord. ‘Bless me‘ says the poet-composer ‘to meditate on you so that my old karma does not cling to me‘. How interesting, I thought to myself, that I am searching in all those lectures for something that the music I have listened to all my life has always been saying!
I have to, of course, start with D.K.Pattammal’s rendition as she was famous for singing Papanasam Sivan’s many compositions. I admit that I have not done the due diligence of picking the best possible rendition; the one I found first is what I present below.
I also quite enjoyed Sanjay Subrahmanyan’s rendition which he sings with a lot of emotion. I hope you enjoy it too.
Footnote : Lyrics and Translation
Language : Tamil
சிவகாம சுந்தரி ஜகதம்பா வந்தருள் தந்தருள்
பவ ரோகம் அற வேறு மருந்தேது
பழ வினைகள் தொடராமல் உனை பஜிக்க
கேளாயோ என் முறைகள் ( திரு செவியில் – for repetition) உயர் சாம
கீத வினோதினி போதும் உன் சோதனை
(இனி) தாளேனே அகதி நானே
ராமதாசன் பணியும் அபிராமி வாமி
Transliteration in English
shivakAma sundari jagadamba vandaruL tandaruL
bhava rOgam aRa vERu marundEdu
pazha vinaigaL toDarAmal unai bhajikka
kELAyO en muraigaL (tiru seviyil – for repetion) uyar sAma
gIta vinOdini pOdum un sOdanai
(ini) tALEnE agadi nAnE
rAmadAsan paNiyum abhirAmi vAmi
Translation in English
Oh beautiful (sundarI) mother (ambA) of the world (jagat) who is desired (kAma) by Shiva, grace (aRul) me (implied) by coming (vandu) and giving (tandu) me (implied) your blessings (aruL).
What else (vEru Edu) is the medicine/cure (marundu) to destroy (aRa) the disease (rOgam) of existence (bhava)? Bless me (implied by pallavi) to meditate on you (unai bhajikka) so that old (pazha) karma (vinai) does not cling/follow (todarAmal).
Do listen (kELAyO) (with your to divine ears (tiru seviyil)) my (en) complaints (muRaiyai – muRai is a rule, muRaiyIDu is a complaint against a rule, here the rule of karma), Oh Goddess (implied) who delights (vinOdini) in the great (uyar) music (gIta) of Sama Veda! Enough (pOdum) of your (un) trials (sOdanai), I cannot bear it (tALEnE); I am indeed (nAnE) helpless / with no other recourse (agadi), Oh Abhirami (Paravati-who is beautiful), Oh Vami (Parvati-who is the left half of Shiva) who is served by/bowed to by rAmadAsan (the signature of the composer) (paNiyum).