Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Tribute to an Immortal

My mornings are usually signified by two things – my cuppa tea and M.S.Subbulakshmi’s ‘Suprabatham’.Her voice was one thing from I was a weeny lil thing to pull me out of bed and head straight to the kitchen for my tea. The legend passed away Saturday , at the age of 88.A deep sadness had invaded my entire house on Sunday with the when the news filtered in.

MSS introduced me to Carnatic music and for most of my childhood carnatic music was synonymous with MS, any festival morning was always began with her suprabatham and what followed was Bhaja Govindam , with Rajaji giving us a glance into spiritual journey which MSS’s voice would carry us. But my favorite song was “Kurai ondrum illa kanna”, which I think I played a thousand times to get me through a really bad period of my life and it worked. MSS was one voice who I could lean on for finding my spirituality, when I felt really alone. Her songs were filled with reverence and purity, that I felt that she prayed for all the people sitting there, listening to her.Her smile when she finished a particular favorite was infectious.

But I really think that I was really fortunate to get to experience her music by just looking at her sing. Her renditions of the Meera Bhajans created an atmosphere of devotion and spirituality towards Lord Krishna, that listeners felt they were in the presence of Meera herself. I remember shopping for cassettes in Chennai, when two foreigners walked in asking for traditional Indian music. The salesguy picked up MS and said “you will definitely like this” without a second thought. On my raising a quizzical eyebrow, he shrugged and said people fell in love with MSS by end of Ist stanza and he was sure they would be definitely back for “Kaar –naetic” music.
One of her disciples was recounting a episode in a train when some ladies approached MSS.On learning that one of ladies learnt Bhaja Govindam just by listening to MS’s tape, the great lady asked the traveler to sing along with her as she immediately started the first verse of the song

So MSS , I just wanted to say Thank You, you have inspired so many people and will continue to do so till the end of time

Thought I would leave will a translation of MSS Bhaja Govindam,,verse by verse, I know a lot of people ,including me just listened for MSS’s Voice

bhaja govindam bhaja govindam
govindam bhaja mUDhamatesamprApte sannihite kAlenahi nahi rakShati dukrunjkaraNe
Adore the lord, adore the lord,Adore the lord O fool,When the appointed time (for departure) comes,the repetition of grammatical rules will not indeed save you.
mUDha jahihi dhanAgamatrshNAmkuru sadbuddhim manasi vitrshNamyallabhase nija karmopAttamvittam tena vinodaya cittam
O fool, leave off the desire of wealth;create in the mind thoughts about reality, devoid of passion.what you get -i.e., what you have achieved through your past deeds-with that, satisfy your mind.
yavadvittopArjana saktah:tAvannija parivAro raktah:pashcAt jIvati jarjara dehevArtAm kopi na prcchati gehe
As long as you have the ability to earn money,so long will your dependents be attached to you.After that, when you live with an infirm body,no one will even speak to you a word.
mA kuru dhana jana youvana garvamharati nimeShAt kala: sarvammAyAmayam idam akhilam hitvAbrahma padam tvam pravisha vidhitvA
Do not be proud of wealth, kindred and youth;Time takes away all these in a moment.Leaving aside this entire (world) which is of the nature ofan illusion, and knowing the state of brahman, enter into it.
sura mandira taru mUla nivAsa:shayyA bhUtalam ajinam vAsa:sarva parigraha bhoga tyAga:kasya sukham na karoti virAga:
Living in temples or at the foot of the trees,sleeping on the ground, wearing deer-skin, renouncing all possessionand thier enjoyment - to whom will not dispassion bring happiness?
bhagavat gIta kincitadhItAgangAjalalava kaNikApitAsahrdapi yena murAri samarcakriyate tasya yamena na carcA
For him, who has studied the Bhagavatgita, even a little,who has drunk a drop of the Gangawater, and who has performedthe worship of the destroyer of the demon Mura (viz Srikrishna)at least once, there is no tiff with Yama
punarapi jananam punarapi maraNampunarapi jananI jaTare shayanamiha samsAre bahudustArekrpayA pAre pAhi murAre
Repeated birth, repeated death and repeated lying inmother's womb - this transmigratory process is extensive anddifficult to cross; save me, O destroyer of Mura, through your grace.
artham anartham bhavaya nityamnAstitata: sukhalesha: satyamputrAdapi dhana bhArjAm bhItih:sarvatraiShA vihitA rIti:
Wealth is no good: thus reflect always; there is not theleast happiness there from; this is the truth.For the wealthy there is fear even from a son;everywhere this is the regular mode.
geyam gItA nAma sahasramdhyeyam shrIpati rUpamajashramneyam sajjana sange cittamdeyam dInajanAya ca vittam
The Bhagavatgita and the Sahasranama should be sung;the form of the lord of Lakshmi ( Vishnu) should be always meditated on;the mind should be led to the company of the good;and wealth should be distributed among the indigent.
gurucharaNambuja nirbhara bhakta:samsAradacIradbhava mukta:sendriyamAnasa niyAmAdevamdrakShyasi nija hrdayastam devam
Being devoted completely to the lotus-feet of the Master,become released soon from the transmigratory process.Thus, through the discipline of sense and mind-control,you will behold the deity that resides in your heart.


Wednesday, December 01, 2004

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

Last weekend, I sat through 5 romantic comedies and 2 cartoons ..my mom is in town and she hates anything to do with blood, horror, screams, races, helicopter crashes,,, so that kinda rules out 98% of the movies ever produced So I just landed up in front of the DVD guy and gave the list- between Titanic and Laws of Attraction, I guess I had absolutely no choice – Laws of attraction it was :). So I sat down with my potato chips to watch the battle between the sexes which, as per every movie, has deep undying love as its basis, which in the real world I believe is not entirely true… if I don’t like someone, I truly think you wont in the next couple of days/months/years swear undying love (at least 98% of the time)
Why am even talking about this cause people all around me are either falling into love or out of it, in very fast ,almost rhythmic order and in almost with the same ferocious fervor that Hollywood, bollywood and music scene keeps sprouting out love scenes/songs which cater to either of the above segments

I have a friend who keeps listening to the song “I just died in your arms tonight” just to remember the girl at the party he saw when the song played at the background and the worst part is he sings it out loud with emotion. He doesn’t know her name, how she sounds, he just seen her and is in love. He is definite that this is the love of his life, and how is he so sure?? Because it happens in the movies, and movies are a blueprint of real life – that’s his reasoning and also , I think, most of the roadside Romeo’s who follow girls home , professing undying love scaring the poor girl half to death most of the times have the same logic :>.

I am not crusader against love at first sight, but frankly I don’t get it. I think most of us build up our expectations of the person, before we have a chance to even talk to the poor soul. And then when the expectations don’t match, there is an ugly warfare happening between two nice individuals that affects everyone next to them. I have a bunch of friends who are with their worse halves; because they are too afraid to admit to themselves that they have made a mistake in the first instance. All they do is crib and imagine how much better their life would have been if they hadn’t seen ‘her/him’ standing there .Also a friend who says that she loves her boyfriend but doesn’t like him anymore. Yes maybe they do love each other , but if they do can they cause so much misery between themselves, is it love I ask or just a feeling of being in love that they are afraid to turn their backs on?

I have seen guys/gals fall in love with the other sex and never tell them - hates/loves them the rest of their life, sounds right of the movies doesn’t it. Why cant they walk away … their answer is simple, that love happens only once in life. I don’t get it, do they mean to say that the brain, which basically controls their emotions, will react only once in their entire life in that particular manner? The next question that they say it’s the heart, its emotions and it just can’t be controlled. I agree, but let the logical side take over when the feeling dissipates and move on, there are more fish in sea atleast, and one more person will be there to make you feel all those glorious things, which is the case in today’s world anyway.

So today, I am just left wondering, as we more enamored with the feeling of being in love- the picture perfect happy couples who are generated on the large screen. Are we in search of an imaginary concept, leaving reality behind? Do we in our heart of hearts require a undying love which defies even time, I don’t know...and I guess like everybody else I will find out only when/if I experience it

As the blog was kinda serious, thought I would follow it up with a naughty joke

A woman takes a lover home during the day, while her husband is at work.
Unbeknownst to her, her 9 year old son was hiding in the closet.

Her husband comes home unexpectedly, so she puts the lover in the
closet with the little boy.
The little boy says, "Dark in here."
The man says, "Yes it is."
Boy- "I have a baseball."
Man- "That's nice."
Boy- "Want to buy it?"
Man- "No, thanks."
Boy- "My dad's outside."
Man- "OK, how much?"
Boy- "$250."

In the next few weeks, it happens again that the boy and the mom's
lover are in the closet together.
Boy- "Dark in here."
Man- "Yes, it is."
Boy- "I have a baseball glove."
The lover, remembering the last time, asks the boy, "How much?"
Boy- "$750."
Man- "Fine."

A few days later, the father says to the boy, "Grab your glove. Let's
go outside and toss the baseball back and forth." The boy says, "I
can't. I sold them." The father asks, "How much did you sell them
for?" The son says "$1,000."
The father says, "That's terrible to overcharge your friends like
That is way more than those two things cost. I'm going to take you to
church and make you confess."

They go to church and the father makes the little boy sit in the
confession booth and he closes the door.

The boy says, "Dark in here."
The priest says, "Don't start that sh*t again."

Keep Smiling,