Song of the day – 2

Rob tagged me to this:

The rules are to post the lyrics of a favorite song five days in a row, explain what they mean to you (if you like) and add the video if available. 

I am also supposed to nominate two bloggers to carry on the meme, but I would like to leave that open.  Anyone who blogs, reads this post and wants to take it on, please do, and link back to this post so we can all read about your choices of songs. You may also leave your choice in the comment section here.

**

People born in TamBram (which is short for Tamil (language), Brahmin (caste)) households in South India during the last few decades of the past century, grew up listening to the honeyed voice of M.S. Subbulakshmi singing the Suprabatham, Sahasranamam, Bhaja Govindam etc.  Her perfect pitch, the way her voice blended with the background tambura (pitch setter), her accurate diction in any language, and that blissful face that comes to the mind’s eye the moment one hears her voice – for many of us, MSS’s voice flows through our veins, and triggers an automatic “coming home” reflex in the brain.  At least in me.

My favourite of MSS’s pieces is “Kurai onrum illai“.   “What regrets have I in this world , when the Lord gives me everything”, to me, is the essence of “Bhakthi yoga” – unquestioning devotion and faith. More recently, I read that the composer, Dr. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) , faced many adversities in life, and yet had it in him to sing that he had no regrets. I read that

As Rajaji lay dying in General Hospital, Madras, in December 1972, all his regrets must have crossed his mind, all his sorrows. But also, all his reconciliations of those emotions with his faith in the “rock”. The last words spoken by him from his death bed, when asked how he felt were simple: “I am happy”.

That upped my love for the song a bit further.  I reproduce below, the translation made by Gopal Gandhi and Gowri Ramnarayan. And of course, the immortal voice of MSS singing it.  The video is of a rather aged MSS singing it, I could not find a video of a younger MSS singing Kurai onrum Iillai.

No regrets have I
My lord,
None.
Lord of the Written Word,
My light, my sight,
My very eyes
No regrets,
None.
Though you stand
Where I behold you not
My light, my very eyes,
Protector of all earthlings
I know you sustain me
Lord of the Venkata Hill so pure
You meet my hunger, my thirst
My hope, my prayer
You keep me from harm,
Lord of the Sparkling Gems,
I need naught else
Father of the Seven Hills,
Naught else.

* * *

You stand — do you not? —
Veiled by a screen
Only the learned can part
For they are the learned
Which I am not
But no, no regrets have I.
Crowning this hill
You stand as rock
Giver of Boons
Immutable God
Father to these hills
No regrets have I
Govinda !

* * *

In this benighted Age of ours
Lord —
The worst of all the Four —
You have entered
The sanctum
A shaft of granite
Where though I see you not
No regrets have I.
Boulder of strength
With the Ocean,
Heaving on your breast,
Of the purest compassion —
My Mother,
My very own, who grants
Anything I ask of her
Can I possibly have regrets?
The two of you, I know,
Stand there for me
Eternally
No regrets have I my Govinda
None, none whatsoever
Govinda! Govinda!
Govinda! Govinda!

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2 thoughts on “Song of the day – 2

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