They say music has no language or religion. Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma is a beautiful Hindu Kannada devotional song composed by 15th century poet Purandara Dasa and is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the divine consort of Lord Vishnu. Goddess Lakshmi means Good Luck to Hindus. The word Lakshmi is derived from the Sanskrit word Lakshya, meaning aim or goal, and she is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, both material and spiritual. Here is a compilation of this song, sung and played on instruments by various artists at different times, a Diwali gift to all my readers.
M S Subbulakshmi :
Bhimsen Joshi :
S P Balasubramaniam :
The lyrics roughly translated into English go like this :
Oh, Goddess of Fortune, Lakshmi Devi,
Do come slowly with your anklets making the jingling sound,
Come to us like butter emerging out of buttermilk when it is churned.
Come and shower on us a rain of gold and fulfill our aspirations,
Come with the brightness of countless number of rays of the sun,
Come and bless us, Oh, Devi, who has taken incarnation as Sita.
Oh, lotus eyed Devi who is the pride of Mahavishnu,
Appear before us wearing the shining golden bracelets on your wrists,
and the auspicious vermilion mark on your forehead,
Oh, Consort of Purandaravithala.
Welcome to You who shine auspiciously in the hearts of great sages,
Oh, Queen of Alagiri Ranga,
Come to our worship on Friday when ghee and sugar will overflow.
Suprabhatam (सुप्रभातम in Sanskrit or ‘auspicious dawn‘ in English) is the name given to Sanskrit hymns recited in the morning to awaken the Lord. The rendition by M S Subbulakshmi can be heard in many Kannada, Tamil and Telugu homes each morning. Suprabhatams by M S Subbulakshmi, perhaps the most essential songs anywhere in the world, is staple music to the Hindu people of South India. If you don’t have them, then you must be a non believer.
Blogging platforms like Blogger/Blogspot and WordPress, nowadays, have more to offer to their users than a non-techie person like me can ever take. Young bloggers, however make full use of the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools, easily available all over the web, plus the in-house statistics these sites provide you. Google analytics is a revelation in itself, and the stats offered by WordPress cannot be undermined either. More often than not, a novice like me tends to get lost in the maze of stat figures. However, on venturing out to know more about my visitors I could easily find the ‘search words‘ they entered, that led them to my blogs. Here, I am posting four songs that were ‘googled‘ and ‘yahooed‘ the most, during the past week.
Pandit Jasraj – Bhimpalasi – Om Namo Bhagwate : (Download)
Shobha Gurtu – Chhoti Si Umar Parnai O Babasa : (Download)
Nirmala Devi – Pahadi – Sawan Ka Nazara Hai : (Download)
I was actually surprised to find Nirmala Devi among the top ‘search words‘ as she was not a very accomplished artist of her time. For those who do not know this, she is film actor Govinda‘s mother (died 1996). She also sang along with Lakshmi Shankar in a few acclaimed songs.
Watch out for more ‘Most Wanted Songs‘ in future posts.
Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi (1916-2004) has been the queen of Indian classical music in the South Indian Classical style (Carnatic) in the modern times. From Mahatma Gandhi to the most common of the people have admired her voice, conditioned perfectly to render some of the great Indian works of devotional literature. Her ‘Suprabhatam‘ is like staple music in temples all over south India.
With her rock-solid technique, sure tone, deep spirituality and splendid emotional expression, M S Subbulakshmi was rightfully considered an Indian national treasure during her lifetime. Thanks to a legion of great recordings, her place among the great vocalists of the 20th century is assured.
She was born in 1916 in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, to a family of famous instrumentalists. While still quite young, she began Carnatic musical training with Madurai Srinivasa Iyer and briefly studied Hindustani music from Pandit Naryan Rao Vyas.
Surdas Bhajan – Maiya Mori Main Nahin Makhan : (Download)
Surdas Bhajan – Bujhat Shyam Kaun Tu Gori : (Download)
She debuted as a soloist at 17, and with the full support of her husband Thiagarajan Sadavisam (whom she married in 1940), she began acting and performing in films. Her most famous film was 1945’s Meera, in which she portrayed the revered medieval poet-saint Meerabai and sang several popular Meera bhajans (Hindu devotional songs attributed to Meerabai). After the huge success of Meera, however, Subbulakshmi turned her career entirely away from films.
While she was an extremely popular performer throughout India, she did not appear abroad as often as other Indian artists of similar renown. However, she did appear at New York‘s Carnegie Hall in 1977 and at London‘s Royal Albert Hall in 1982, among other high profile venues.
An intensely devout person, Subbulakshmi specialized in singing kritis (religious songs) and such religious hymns as the Bhajagovindam, a series of praises for the lord Krishna written by the Sankaracharya, and the Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam (a recitation of the 1000 names of the lord Vishnu).
Among her many awards were the Padma Bhushan in 1954 and the Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1968, she was the first female artist to be awarded the latter title. Subbulakshmi was also named the Bharat Ratna (‘Jewel of India’, India’s highest civilian award) in 1998 by the president of India. After her husband’s death in 1997, Subbulakshmi withdrew from performing, and passed away in 2004.