Tag Archives: Shyama Shastri

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 and Translation) :

Composer : Shyama Shastri
Raga: Saveri
Language : Sanskrit
Note – only the 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.

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

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


shankarI shankuru chandra mukhI akhilANDEshvarI
shAmbhavI sarasija bhava vanditE gauri amba

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


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)!


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

Kamakshi Bangaru

KamakshiHappy Navaratri, Dussera and Durga Puja to all my readers! I hope you are all enjoying the festivities of this season!

I feel very blessed by the Goddesses this week; we’ve had some very good news in the family. My son has just been accepted into the College of Psychiatry, a dream he has had for a long time.  For those who haven’t read my occasional forays into personal life, my son (25) is a doctor currently working as a Resident. He has long dreamed of becoming a Psychiatrist. His getting a placement as a Psych Registrar is a very big step in the many steps that it has taken to embark on his chosen career. It feels especially good to get this news during Navaratri.

I believe he owes his success to his worship of the Goddesses, but not in any way you imagine. In fact, much to my distress, he claims to be somewhere between atheistic and agnostic. So why do I say that he worships the Goddesses? Is it possible to get blessings without a single shlOka or puja, without even acknowledging the existence of the Goddesses? Let me share my thoughts…(Note: I am in a mood to ramble, so if you want just the music, jump right ahead!)

We believers think that our Gods and Goddesses are omnipresent. That they are present both in those who acknowledge them and those who don’t. Let us search for Shakti first. She is manifest as energy all around us. Touch your skin – even the warmth there is but a manifestation of the energy your cells create. But just as in a temple we need to perform a prANa pratishTHa to consecrate the idol and bring the power of the deity within it, we too need to ‘consecrate’ ourselves to let her manifest her powers within us. How can we do that? I have a theory..

Is Shakti not energy? So if we follow our goals with energy and vigour, surely it is a celebration of her! Shakti is prANa, the life energy itself. How better to worship her than by looking after the health of our bodies and minds? Shakti is courage. By developing our self-confidence and courage, we invite Her to take residence in our hearts. As a baby my son was afraid of the whole world. I could not even enter a lift if there were others there! It took years of coaxing for him to accept the world outside our family. As a boy, he was shy and retiring. He would hardly meet anyone’s eyes when he talked. I remember a moment of pride when at sixteen he voluntarily walked up to a visitor at home and introduced himself; it felt as if he had crossed an important threshold! When he bravely presented a research paper at a Psych conference at 21, almost a decade younger than the next youngest conference attendee, I was bursting with pride. I have seen him slowly build on his courage, his self-confidence to a level that he performs very well in interviews. If this is not the prANa pratishTHa  of Shakti, what is?

Lakshmi too is ever present in our lives. Every time anything good has happened to you, every time you have felt lucky, every time you have enjoyed a sense of well-being and happiness, it is but Lakshmi kaTAksham – Her eye has fallen on you. Or so I believe. She may look in our direction but unless we have done the groundwork to receive it, her blessings may slip and fall from our fingers! In his last rotation, my son was lucky enough to have the Head of Psych Training of another leading hospital as his supervisor. That was Lakshmi kaTAksham. She gave a glowing reference saying that ‘I’ll be happy to work with him as my colleague’! By working hard and well enough to gain such a reference, he prepared himself to receive Lakshmi’s blessings; I see it as Lakshmi pratishTHa.  At another conference he attended, he learnt that one of the interview panellists was there. That was Lakshmi kaTAksham. He walked up to him and introduced himself, talking of the job he hoped to get. That is Lakshmi pratishTHa. A senior nurse he worked with happened purely by chance to meet one of the panellists. She remembered my son voluntarily and spoke well of him. That was Lakshmi kaTAksham. That he had established a good relationship with the nursing staff, that is Lakshmi pratishTHA.

Where would we be without Saraswati? Knowledge governs our life at every turn. An infant who recognizes his mother as his source of nourishment and succour, even that infant has an important piece of knowledge. We are bombarded with information in this world, we absorb only a minute fraction of which even a smaller fraction gets converted into knowledge. As to wisdom, I don’t know how one gets that but I hope that one day our knowledge leads us to wisdom! Is not Saraswati in all sources of knowledge,  in all wisdom? When we convert information to knowledge and then into wisdom, what is it but Saraswati pratishTHa? Even with his limited income as an intern and a resident, my son made the effort to attend many seminars and conferences in Psychiatry over the past two years. I myself was surprised when I saw his CV – ‘When did he get the time to do all that?’ I wondered. When we pursue knowledge we are but paying homage to the Goddess!

I have rambled on a bit, haven’t I? But then a proud mama is allowed to gloat a while! But back now to music. My song choice today is a composition by Shyama Shastri in the Raga Varali. ‘Please protect me’ says the composer, invoking the many qualities and symbolisms of the Goddess. He was a priest at the Kamakshi temple in Tanjavur; his love for his Goddess is very evident in this composition. I present below this beautiful song in the mellifluous voice of Bombay Jayashri.

Alternate link : Click here

Footnote (Lyrics and Translation) :

Composer : Shyama Shastri
Raga : Varali
Language : Telugu
Note – As I do not speak Telugu, the lyrics are transliterated in Devanagari. I referred to various internet sources for the translation.

कामाक्षि बङ्गारु कामाक्षि (अम्बा)
नन्नु ब्रोववे

तामसमेले रावे
साम गान लोले सुशीले

श्याम कृष्ण परिपालिनी
शुक श्यामळे  शिव शङ्करी
शूलिनी सदा शिवुनिकि राणी
विशालाक्षि  तरुणी  शाश्वत रूपिणी

स्वर  साहित्य
ना मनविनि विनु देवी
नीवे गतियनि नम्मिनानु
मायम्मा  वेगमे करुण जूडवम्मा
बङ्गारु बॊम्मा


kAmAkshi bangAru kAmAkshi (ambA)
nannu brOvavE

tAmasamElE rAvE
sAma gAna lOlE sushIlE

shyAma kRshNa paripAlinI
shuka shyAmaLE shiva shankarI
shUlinI sadA shivuniki rANI
vishAlAkshi taruNI shAshvata rUpiNI

svara sAhitya
nA manavini vinu dEvI
nIvE gatiyani namminAnu
mAyammA vEgamE karuNa jUDavammA
bangAru bommA

Translation :

Note : I do not speak Telugu; I have sourced the translation from multiple web sources.

O Kamakshi! O Golden (bangAru) Kamakshi! Please protect (brOvavE) me (nannu). Why (Ela) delay (tAmasam)? Please come (rAvE)!  O Enjoyer (lOlE) of recitation (gAna) of sAma vEda! O Virtuous One (sushIlE)!

O One who protects (paripAlinI) shyAma kRshNa (signature of composer)! O dark-skinned One (shyAmaLE) who holds a parrot (shuka)! O Consort of Shiva (shiva shankarI)! O One who holds a trident (shUlinI)! O Queen Consort (rANI) of shivA (shivuniki)! O Large-eyed One (visAlAkshi)! O youthful One (taruNI)! O One who is manifest (rUpiNI) eternally (shAshvata) !

O Goddess (dEvI)! Please listen (vinu) to my (nA) plea (manavini). I trust(namminAnu) you alone (nIvE) to be (ani) my refuge (gati)!! O my (mA) mother (ammA)! Quickly (vEgamE) show (jUDu) mercy (karuNa) O Mother (ammA)! O Golden (bangAru) Idol (bommA)!


Filed under Bombay Jayashri, Carnatic Music, Compositions in Telugu, Shyama Shastri

Rave Himagiri

Kanchi KamakshiYou are what you are eat’ , so say the wise ones. The tradition of watching what you eat is an old one in India. According to Ayurveda, our bodies have vata, kapha or pitta doshas, or a combination thereof. For good health, we should eat that which stablizes the imbalance between the three doshas in our body. This has been a proven health system, surviving for centuries in India.

What about the makeup of our minds? Our minds are a combination of sattvik, rajasik and tamasik gunas, says Ayurveda. The gunas associated with what we eat affect our mind. For good mental health and well being, we need to ingest lots of sattvik food, less of rajasik food and avoid tamasik food.

But I ask, why consider only the food we eat? True, the body ingests only food. But does not the mind ingest so much more? What we see, what we read, what we hear – they all form food for the mind, do they not? Should we not watch out what we ingest mentally as well as physically?

It amazes me that the young ones, even those who are careful about their health, listen frequently to loud, throbbing music with lyrics which are often very passionate. The films they watch are much of the same, with added violence. Will these types of ‘ingestion’ not lead to future generations of people who are strongly rajasik or tamasik? Where are they getting their daily does of sattvik food for the mind?

I assure you that I am not deaf to the talent and music which exist outside the Carnatic world. I am known to hum along with Bollywood songs, not just the classically based ones, but even foot-tapping ones such as Piya tu ab to aajaa  from olden times to even Kajra Re, Munni Badnam Hui and Sheela Ki Jawani! There, I have shocked you, I know!  I admire the talent of the singers and the music directors who have created songs which find such mass appeal. I am not deaf even to Beyoncé gyrating to Put a ring on it  or Shakira declaring that Hips don’t lie (wow!); they are both such incredible singers and dancers! So yes, there is interesting music everywhere but is it sattvik music? Far from it!

Carnatic Music is on the whole sattvik, but some compositions epitomize that. So today, my music has been selected to balance all the rajasik and tamasik qualities that our minds ingest from the world around us. I had the pleasure of listening to a performance by the Iyer Brothers on the Veena in Melbourne last October. They played Rave Himagiri, a swarajati in Raga Todi composed by Shyama Shastri. It is a prayer for blessings addressed to the Goddess Kamakshi. A truly wonderful composition, it is stately in pace, deep in tone, quiet in its quest.  I never appreciated the full beauty of it until I listened to this performance by the Iyer Brothers. In the reverberating tones of the strings, the composition becomes the resonance of the universe, a pranava mantra in many syllables. A wonderful sattvik feast for your mind. I hope you love it as much as I do!

For a vocal version, I feature a unique combination of voices – Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer singing along with M.S.Subbulakshmi, two of the greatest musicians of the Carnatic world.

Alternate link : Click here


Footnote (Lyrics and Translation) :

Composer : Shyama Shastri
Raga : Todi
Language : Telugu
Note: I do not speak Telugu. The lyrics from multiple internet sources were verified / corrected by listening to many renditions by different artists. The translation is sourced from the web.

रावे हिमगिरि कुमारी कञ्चि कामाक्षि वरदा
मनवि विनवम्म शुभमिम्म मायम्म

चरणम् 1
नतजन परिपालिनि वनुचु नम्मितिनि सदा ब्रोव (alt: ब्रोवु )

चरणम् 2
मदमत्त महिष दानव मर्दिनि वेतदीर्चवे दूरमुगनु

चरणम् 3
काम पालिनि नीवे गतियनि कोरिति कोनियाडिति वेडिति

चरणम् 4
कामितार्थ फलदायकीयनेटि बिरुदु महिलो नीके तगु

चरणम् 5
कमल मुखी दरगळ घन नील कच भरा मृग विलोचन मणि रदना
गज गमना मदिलो निन्नु सदा दलचुकोनि नी ध्यानमे तल्लि

चरणम् 6
श्याम कृष्ण नुत विनु नाचिन्तनु वेवेग दीर्चभयमिय्यवे (दीर्चि अभयमिय्यवे)
कल्याणि कञ्चि कामाक्षि नी पादमे दिक्कु

For notation click here

Transliteration :

rAvE himagiri kumArI kanchi kAmAkshi varadA
manavi vinamma shubhamimma mAyamma

charaNam 1
natajana paripAlini vanachu nammitini sadA brOva (alt: brOvu)

charaNam 2
madamatta mahisha dAnava mardini vEtadIrchavE dUrmuganu

charaNam 3
kAma pAlini nIvE gatiyani kOriti kOniyADiti vEDiti

charaNam 4
kAmitArtha phaladAyakIyanETi birudu mahilO nIkE tagu

charaNam 5
kamala mukhI daragaLa ghana nIla kacha bharA mrga vilOchana maNi radanA
gaja gamanA madilO ninnu sadA dalachukOni nI dhyAnamE talli

charaNam 6
shyAma krishNa nuta vinu nAchintanu vEvEga dIrchbhayamiyyavE
kalyANi kanchi kAmAkshi nI pAdamE dikku


O Kamakshi of Kanchi! O daughter of the snow clad mountains! O bestower of boons! Please come! O mother mine! Listen to my prayers and grant me welfare!

Protector of all those who bow to you! I believe in you only to protect me always.

O destroyer of the arrogant demon Mahisha! Please dispel my agony.

O protector of Cupid! You are my sole refuge. I praise you and  beseech you (to protect me). There is no equal to you in all the worlds. Listen to my entreaties.

O lotus-faced one with a neck like a conch shell, thick dark hair, eyes like a deer, teeth like pearls, with a gait as majestic as an elephant! I always reflect upon you and meditate upon you !

O the one worshipped by Shyamakrishna (signature of the poet)! Quickly dispel my worries and bestow me with fearlessness. O auspicious one! O Kamakshi of Kanchi! Your feet are my only refuge.


Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Telugu, Iyer Brothers, M.S.Subbulakshmi, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Shyama Shastri

Nannu Brovu Lalita


On this third day of Navaratri, I pay homage to Goddess Lalita, Tripura Sundari, a form of Goddess Shakti. What better way than to sing her praise? For today’s prayer, I have chosen one of Shyama Shastri’s (1762-1827) songs from Navaratnamalika, his nine gems in praise of Goddess Meenakshi in her many forms.  This song is most appropriate not only because it sings Her praise but even the name of the Raga is Her name. Lalita – what a lovely name! As an adjective, it can mean any or all of innocent, charming, lovely, gentle, pleasing, desired, elegant etc.  A Goddess who is all that and more, who can resist Her? The Raga Lalita is equally pleasing, as feminine as the Goddess.

To present this song, here is a clip by Nithyasree Mahadevan.

I must also urge you to listen to a beautiful rendition by T.N.Seshagopalan which you can listen here

Footnote (lyrics) :

This is a Telugu song but as I don’t know the language, I give below the song in Devanagari script.

नन्नु ब्रोवु ललिता वेगमे
चाल निन्नु नॆर नम्मियुन्न वाडु गदा
भक्त कल्पकलता

निन्नु विना एवरुन्नारु गति जननी
अति वेगमे वच्चि (नन्नु)

चरणम् 1
पराकु सेयकने वच्चि  कृप सलुप रादा मॊर विनवा (or विनदा)
पराशक्ति गीर्वाणि वन्दित पदा
नी भक्तुडनम्मा सन्ततमु (नन्नु)

चरणम् 2
सरोज भव कमल नाभ शङ्कर सुरेन्द्रनुत चरिता
पुराणी वाणी इन्द्राणी वन्दित
राणी अहिभूषणुनि राणी (नन्नु)

चरणम् 3
मदात्मुलैन दुरात्म जनुलनु कथलनु पॊगडि
सदा ने वारल चुट्टि तिरिगिति
वॆतल नॆल्ल दीर्चि वरमॊसगि (नन्नु)

चरणम् 4
सुमेरु मध्य निलये श्याम कृष्णुनि सोदरी कौमारी
उमा श्री मीनाक्षम्मा शङ्करी
ओ महा राज्ञी रक्षिम्प समयमिदे (नन्नु)

For transliteration and translation click here.

Footnote (Raga) :

The scales of Raga Lalita are as follows :

Aarohanam (Ascending) : S R1 G3 M1 D1 N3 S’
Avarohanam (Descending) : S’ N3 D1 M1 G3 R1 S

15-2 Lalita

Lalita is a janya raga, derived from Mayamalavagowla (see below), 15th on the Melakarta scale. This is not related to the Hindustani Lalit. Hiranmayim by Muthuswami Dikshithar is another composition in Lalitawhich I enjoy very much.

15 Mayamalavagowla

Note : The 12 notes in the octave are named as below. Please note that C is used as Sa for the sake of simplicity as the scale is relative in Carnatic Music. Also note that the scales paint only a superficial picture of the raga as the gamakas(ornamentations) are a very important part of a raga.



Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Telugu, Nithyasree Mahadevan, Shyama Shastri, T.N.Seshagopalan


Tripura Sundari Yantra

Sri Yantra, shown on the left, is the most important of Hindu yantras or geometric devices used for meditation. This represents Shakti and Shiva,  Creation and Destruction. One can meditate outwards, starting at the central bindu (dot) and slowly going outwards, meditating on the creation process, from simplicity to complexity, from unity to diversity. Or one can meditate inwards, meditating on the destruction process, eliminating complexity one by one until you arrive at the central bindu. There is, of course, symbolism involved in each of its component parts, which this site explains.

There is great mathematical interest in the Sri Yantra as it is quite complicated to construct, especially the forms with spherical triangles. Correctly drawn, all the intersections should be correct and vertices of the large triangles should fall on the enclosing circle. This needs an advanced understanding of mathematics which the Hindus did not have at the time when it was first seen in the Atharva Veda (12 BC?). There are other points of interest. When correctly constructed, the base angle of largest triangles is the same as that of the Great Pyramid of Giza built in 2600 BC. From its proportions, one can derive Pi (π) and Phi (φ), the Golden Ratio. This research paper describes the complexities for mathematically inclined readers (quite beyond me!!). For practically minded people, this site shows how to construct this Yantra.

One interesting story (I don’t know if it is indeed fact) is that when Dr.Hans Jenny, Swiss researcher in Cymatics (study of relationship between sound and form) used a Tonoscope to record the ‘form’ of the sound Om, it produced a perfect Sri Yantra!

What has the Sri Yantra to do with my music blog? There is a researcher who says that Ragas and Raginis can be derived from the proportions of the geometrical elements of the Sri Yantra. But what triggered me to write of this Yantra today is that the song I have chosen  is in praise of Lalita, Tripura Sundari whose symbolic representation is the Sri Yantra. Just as this yantra can be used as a focus for meditation, Mayamma written by Shyama Shastri (1762-1827) in Raga Ahiri can ease you into a tranquil state. A song in Telugu, it is sung in vilambit kaal (slow pace). The raga creates a devotional mood and a stilling of the mind. To know a bit more about the raga, click here.

The poet-composer says ‘When I call out to you as ‘Mother’, will you not respond to me?’. The predominant mood of the song seems to me to be surrender, especially in the first charanam where the poet repeats नम्मिति (I trust in you) thrice, surrender and affirmation in one. (See footnote for lyrics). Surrender is an important concept in Hindusim which I have not talked about before. In the Bhagawat Gita, Sri Krishna says :

सर्व धर्मान् परित्यज्य माम् एकं शरणं व्रज ।
अहम् त्वाम् सर्व-पापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः ||

Dharma means not only religion, but also duty, virtue, custom, law,  decree, righteousness, customary observance etc. ‘Leave every dharma’, Krishna says ‘and surrender only to me, I will deliver you from all sins, do not worry’.  It is this sense of surrender that rings loud and clear in this beautiful song.

To listen to a beautiful version of this song by T.M.Krishna, click here.

For an instrumental version, listen below to Maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman on the violin

Footnote (Lyrics) :

In Sanskrit

मायम्मा(य)नि पिलचिते
माट्लाड रादा (नातो) अम्बा  ||

न्यायमा मीनाक्षम्मा मीनाक्षि(नी )किदि
निन्नुविना वेरे दिक्के वरुन्नारु ||

सरसिज भव हरि हरनुत सुललित नी पद पङ्कजमुल
स्थिरमनि नम्मिति नम्मिति नम्मितिनि
करुण जूडवे कात्यायनि कालिका भवानि
परमेश्वरि सुन्दरेषु राणि बालांबा मधुरवाणि ||

विमुत जन पाप विनोचनी ओ जननि घन नील वेणी
विदल्लित दानव मण्डल शमनी (दमनी ?)
वनज लोचना सुधाकरानना वरदायकि
अनमयु निनु कोरियुन्नानम्मा बङ्गारु बोम्मा ||

अभयमोसगि नन्नु ब्रोवुमु ओ वरदा नेर दातवु गदा
अम्बिका बिड्डपै गॊप्पग दयरादा अखिल लोक जननि
अनाथ रक्षकी अनेटि बिरुदु गादा वैभवमु गल
श्यामकृष्ण सोदरि वीर शक्ति त्रिपुर सुन्दरि ||

Transliteration and Translation :

mAyammA yaninE pilacitE mATlADa rAdA (nAtO) ambA

When I call out to you as ‘Mother’, will you not respond to me?

nyAyamA (mInAkSammA) mInAkSikidi
ninnuvinA vErE dikkevarunnAru

Is this fair mother Meenakshi? Who else is my sanctuary but you?

Charanam 1 :
sarasija bhava hari haranuta sulalita nI padapankajamula
sthiramani nammiti nammiti nammitini
karuNa jUDavE kAtyAyani kALikA bhavAni
paramEshvari sundarEshu rANi bAlAmbA madhuravANi

O lovely one, extolled by Brahma who resides on a lotus, Vishnu and Maheshwara. I steadfastly trust only your lotus like feet, I affirm (by repeating). Please show mercy O Katyayani, O Kalika, O Bhavaani, O Supreme Goddess. O Queen of Sundaresha (Lord Shiva of Madurai), O Balamba with the sweet speech.

Charanam2 :
vimutajana pApa vimOcani O jananI ghana nIlavENi
vidaLita dAnava maNDala shamanI (damanI?)
vanaja lOcanA sudhAkarAnanA varadAyaki
anayamu ninu kOriyunnAnammA bangAru bommA

O Mother, you dispel the sins of your worshippers. Your dark tresses are like rainclouds. O destroyer of demons! O lotus-eyed one! O Moon-faced (=beautiful)! O giver of boons! I constantly pray to you, o Golden One!

Charanam 3 :

abhayamosagi nannu brOvumu O varadA neradAtavu gadA
ambikA biDDapai goppaga dayarAdA akhilalOka jananI
anAtha rakSaki anETi birudu gAdA vaibhavamugala
shyAmakrSNa sOdari vIra shakti tripurasundari

Please grant me refuge. O granter of boons, are you not very generous? O Ambika! Don’t you have abundant compassion for your child? You are the protector of the whole universe. You are called the protector of destitutes. O sister of the celebrated dark-skinned Krishna. O courageous Shakti, Tripura Sundari.



Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Telugu, Lalgudi Jayaraman, Shyama Shastri, T.M.Krishna

Marivere Gati

Shyama Shastri

I noticed today that the random selection of Carnatic Music that I have presented so far in this blog does not include any by Shyama Shastri (1762-1827), one of the Carnatic Trinity. I associate Shyama Shastri strongly with Raga Ananda Bhairavi and the first song which comes to mind is Marivere Gati so I have naturally selected this song for today.

Raga Ananda Bhairavi is quintessentially South Indian. I have read that it has origins in the folk music of the South, though it could well be the other way around. Shyama Shastri has composed a number of beautiful songs in this raga making it his very own. In fact, he is said to be responsible for the raga being sung as it is today as he made some changes to the scale. If he was indeed responsible, we must all thank him for it sounds quite beautiful like this!

Shyama Shastri was a great devotee of the Goddess Kamakshi and like many of his compositions, Marivere Gati is a prayer to the Goddess Bangaru Kamakshi of Tanjore, the Goddess of the temple where he was the priest.

‘Who else have I but you?’ says the poet-composer. ‘You protect those who seek sanctuary (sharanagata)’ says he.  Nammiti Nammitini he cries, ‘I trust in you, I trust in you’ ! The words are a heartfelt plea and Ananda Bhairavi is the perfect raga for the mood the words create. Every time I hear this song, it manages to slow my heart beat down and gentle any restlessness I may have. The doctors should prescribe this song for hypertension ! To know more about this raga, click here.

You can find the lyrics here. For a better translation, go to this site.

For presenting this composition, I have deliberately chosen a young artist; it makes me happy to see young voices take up their inheritance. The young M.Balamuralikrishna shares both the initial and name with the illustrious maestro. Born in 1985, this young man with prodigious talent has a style reminiscent of his elders and a voice which will no doubt lead him to greater success in this field.

While on young artists, the Akkarai sisters are young violinists to take note of. Here is a performance from 2011 (they sound even better nowadays).

For a more seasoned performance, I very much like T.M.Krishna’s Anand Bhairavi, his style suits this raga perfectly.However I think this is a old recording.

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July 19, 2011 · 11:49 am