Jan 13, 2008

Raga Saramati

There is a kriti by Thyagaraja - Mokshamu galada bhuvilo jeevan that captures the essence of this ragam Saramati. It appears almost that this kriti should be heard at the end of one's life. Every syllable in the song reverberates the fundamental questions in life - will anyone who has not realised the Self ever realise You, my Lord?

It makes one wonder whether the ragam was decided after the lyrics were written or was the ragam decided before the lyrics. The kriti is so beautifully woven that it gives one an idea of the depth of Saint Thyagaraja's devotion and truly emancipated wisdom and creativity.

Now, how perfect would this song be on the lips of Mahatma Gandhi (from SaBarmati) as he says "Hey Ram" to the bullets of Godse. If Gandhi was into carnatic music, he would have sung "Mokshamu galada bhuvilo jeevan" at that moment and Godse would've quivered.

"Mari mari ninne moralida" from the film Sindhu Bhairavi is in Saramati too.

FYI - Saramati is also a mountain in Nagaland measuring about 3841 meters. It kind of reiterates that one needs to master the mountain of 'Self' to reach the Lord above.

Raag Bageshri and Raag Madhuvanti

Everytime I listen to Bageshri and Madhuvanti, I am reminded of Manna Dey and Talat Mehmood. The songs that i listen to are considered "carnatic" since they are set in the framework of south indian classical music. However, they have such a distinct flavor of the North, like they belong to kings like Akbar or Raja Man Singh. It is perfectly suited for Radha or Mirabai to express their yearning for Lord Krishna set in Mathura.

I think there are a lot of compositions on Lord Krishna in these two ragas. The song - Poocho na kaise maine rain bitayi - seems to be set in Madhuvanti. I am indebted to the person who introduced me to Manna Dey and Talat Mehmood and their music.