One of my favourite ragas is ‘Bhupalam’. It is a morning raga. From my childhood I listened to several songs in the early morning both from temples and on the radio. It gave a sense of divine presence with the bird’s voices as a background. One morning, as I was listening to the voices of the birds, these words immediately came in my mind and I wrote this song.
1. போற்றித் துதிப்போம்
பொழுது புலர்ந்தது புள்ளினம் கூவிற்று
போற்றித் துதிப்போம் புனிதன் (முக்தே)ஈசனை*
அருணன் உதித்தனன் அன்பர்கள் சூழ்ந்தனர்
ஆனந்தப் பண்பாடி அண்ணலைப் போற்றுவோம்
பூவினம் மலர்ந்தது, பூதளம் விழித்திற்று
போற்றித் துதிப்போம் புனிதன் (முக்தே)ஈசனை
ஆலய மணி ஓசை அன்பரை அழைத்தது
ஆனந்தப் பண்பாடி அண்ணலைப் போற்றுவோம்
தூயவர் போற்றினர், தூதர்கள் பணிந்தனர்
துங்கவன் ஈசனின் தெய்வீக நாமத்தை
துயர் துடைப்போனை தூய்மை அளிப்போனை
தொழது பணிந்திட தொண்டர்கள் வாரீர்
தேசங்கள் போற்றின திருமறை வாழ்த்திற்று
திருப்பாதம் பணிந்துநாம் தினமும் வாழ்த்துவோம்.
In my early walk as a bhakta of Bhagavan Muktinath, I appreciated the deep meaning of the lyrics of the hymns sung in churches, but they remained alien to me due to their music. Therefore I wrote and composed songs according to my taste in the Carnatic style and used them for my personal devotion. I didn’t share them with others for a long time. One reason was that I was afraid of being misunderstood for their style and music. I observed that any kind of Hindu form was not welcomed among evangelical circles. I faced this a lot in the early days of my bhakti in the Lord.
I was also strongly criticised for remaining a strict vegetarian. Attempts were made me to eat non-veg, which ended up with serious commotion and shouting from my side. I was criticised and questioned for spontaneously using words like bhagavan for God, which were natural for me. One day, I quoted from a film song while I was sharing to the students in our worship service, and I was condemned for that. When I choose to wear saffron, other colours were highly recommended. Continue reading
Click here and here to see the earlier articles in this series.
Women in the Epics
Even in the major epics, women have had a tough time. They were blamed as the cause of misery in both the Ramayana and Mahabharata. At the same time, if we observe closely, it was actually the women characters who move and take the story to its logical conclusion.1 In fact women’s roles and characters generally dwarf their male counterparts in both epics. I’d love to see a deeper study on this.
Though Panchali was the main cause for the enmity between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, she was the one who redeemed the Pandavas through her powerful argument when they lost everything in the gamble. It was the boons given by King Drudharashtra to Panchali that ultimately gave the Pandavas their freedom.2
If it were not for Kaikeyi and Sita (along with Surpanaka) the entire Ramayana would stand still. Both Panchali and Sita epitomise the two side of a woman’s extreme nature: anger (revenge?) and patience. Continue reading
This is the bhajan that I wrote for my mother for her bhajan mandali. I still remember that incident. I went to Tiruvanikka (or Tiruvanikkovil) beyond river Kaveri, before Sri Rangam to visit that temple. The main goddess there is Akilandeswari, the consort of Jambukeshwarar (Siva). After I returned from the temple, as my mother was singing one of her mandali bhajans, I got some inspiration and recalling the darshan of Akilandeswari, I immediately wrote this song.
This is traditionally known as ‘padadi-kesa varnanai’ (describing the beauty from toe to head). This kind of poem is not limited to religion and several secular romantic songs were written in the same style. My mother kept a copy of the song with the ragas composed by her teacher after all these years, and I am typing it from her note:
O Mother who is adorned with gold on the breast; I adore your holy name;
Save me, the one who took a vain birth by removing my karmas
What kinds of karmas I have done to take such a menial birth worse than a dog;
I don’t know the reason and only Brahma can be blamed (for creating me like this)
All the births that I have taken are more than enough; I don’t want any more births
O merciful Sankari, save me (preventing from future births). Continue reading
281 புரிஞ்சுப் போச்சு
வேறெந்த எண்ணம் வேண்டாம்
உன்னோடு வாழும் போது
வேறெந்த கவலை வேண்டாம்
உன்னோடு நடக்கும் போது
வேறெந்த துணையும் வேண்டாம்
உன்னையே நாடும் போது
உலகத்தில் எதுவும் வேண்டாம்
தன்நிலை மறந்து வந்து Continue reading