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.



Blogger Sriram said...

yes, she is an immortal indeed! and even in tirumala temple her cassettes are played daily. blessed she is!!!
and we are all just fortunate to born after her so that we could enjoy her renditions....

2:56 AM  
Blogger Sowmya said...

Kurai ondrum illai is my favourite too.

5:56 AM  
Blogger saranyan said...

Anu, thanks for the translation.
Do you know if she has rendered any of Swami Vendanta Desikan's Stotrams? I'm in search for some excellent renditions on these, just like the way MS did on Venkatesa Suprabatham and Vishnu Sahasranamam.

12:00 PM  
Blogger surya said...

yes, she is a legend. She lives in our hearts forever through her music. Her breath control is something superhuman.
MS is immortal.

8:10 PM  
Blogger hari said...


Great work done by you. It is a unique but a befitting tribute. I am sure there would be many like me who just listen to the MSS Bhaja Govindam almost daily without knowing the meaning, for whom this is real treat.

When you know the meaning of the rendition, then along with MSS' melodious voice, Bhaja Govindam will have a totally different effect altogether. It is like you have served the Goddess of music by doing this service to her devotees.

8:29 PM  
Blogger Anu said...

Thanks all of you
I guess all of us feel her absence pretty strongly.
I am kinda illiterate on carnatic music, however a pal suggested this site


1:34 AM  
Blogger The Last Blogger said...

Good eulogy and definitely a nice transation job, whoever did it.

9:29 AM  
Blogger REFLEX said...

Good blog. Translation is good and special thanx for that piece of information.

2:17 AM  
Blogger JaganLee said...

Thats a good post.
Her demise is a great loss to nation and carnatic world.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Chakra Sampath said...

Good post Anu. Thanks very much for the translation.

'Kurai Ondrum Illai' is my fav too.. everyone seems to like it!

2:19 AM  
Blogger hari said...

Hi Anu,

Wish you a Very Happy New Year. Where are you. On a extended New Year Holidays, is it. Very eager to read your spirited posts with a nice joke to suffix it.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Miss J said...

Hi Anu,

Happy New Year. How have you been doing?


2:39 AM  
Blogger JaganLee said...

Happy new year and Pongal Anu.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Ganesh Karthik said...

MS is simply awesome.I'm badly in need of KURAI ONRUM ILLAI song,since i lost the CD that i had.COuld some one help me in sending a file,so that i can download and listen the song.Your help would be highly appreciated.


1:35 PM  
Blogger Just Another Brick said...

Bhaja Govindam is immortal. Shankara is my hero ;-) You read his Anatma Sri Vigarhana? http://www.kamakoti.org/shlokas/kshlok27.htm

I like that one too.

8:19 PM  

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