Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nagumomu Ganaleni

Raga Aabheri, 22 karaharapriya janya
Aa: S G2 M1 P N2 S Av: S N2 D2 P M1 G2 R2 S
Taalam: Adi

Lyrics:
Pallavi:
nagumōmu ganalēni nā jāli telisi
nanu brōvaga rādā śrī raghuvara nī




Anupallavi:
nagarājadhara nīdu parivārulella
ogi bōdhana jēsē-vāralu gārē yiṭu luṇḍudurē




Charanam:
khagarāju nī yānati vini vēga canalēdō
gaganāni kilaku bahu dūrambanināḍō
jagamēlē paramātma evaritō moraliḍudu
vaga jūpaku tāḷanu nannēlukōra
tyāgarājanuta nī
English verse:
Knowing that bereft of Your smiling face,
Distraught is my state,
Foremost of the Raghus, won't You
Come to me, to alleviate?

Bearer of the king of mounts!
The members of Your retinue,
They who give good counsel,
Could they fail to remind You?

Does not the king of birds
Hasten to do Your bidding?
Or did he find, Heaven to Earth,
A distance too forbidding?

O Supreme Self who rules over all,
Who else but You, can I invoke!
Elude and leave me not in a pall,
Take your bard under Your yoke.


Notes:
Nagaraaja is frequently interpreted as the Govardhana hill of the Krishnaavatara. But Govardhana is only described as a hill. Nagaraaja literally means king of mountains. So, Mount Mandara, which is one of the 7 major mountains, and can be called the king of mountains, is more appropriate. Vishnu in the Kurmavatara, as the Great Tortoise, supported Mandara on his back, when it was used to churn the Ksheera Saagara or ocean of milk. The king of the birds is Garuda. Also, there are more references to Vishnu and Heaven in the kriti, like retinue, Garuda's abode in the heavens etc, than to Krishna and Earth. So, Mandara is again more consistent. Rather than give the literal but convoluted, "one praised by Tyagaraja" for the last line, I have given the much nicer "bard". I have similarly varied my rendition of his "mudra" or lyrical stamp, in the remaining kritis too.



A retouched translation:
The verse translation given above is constrained by our adherence to "word for word" correspondence. As explained in the introductory pages, we adhere to such correspondence for the benefit of those not familiar with Indian languages, or perhaps even Indian culture, and to remain close to Tyagaraja's original expression. The following is a plainer and simpler translation that captures the gist.
.
Lost am I,
Vexed am I,
O Valiant Prince,
Sans Thy smiling face!
Grant Thy saving grace!
.
In the days of yore,
My Lord, 
A mountain bore,
For the hosts of 
Heaven and Hell.
Needeth He, 
His council's tell?
.
Does not the king of birds
Hasten to do Thy bidding?
Or did he find, Heaven to Earth,
A distance too forbidding?
.
Lord of All, my sole refuge,
Forsake me not, by subterfuge!


Word for word meaning:
Several readers have asked for a word-for-word presentation of this song. However, we have pointed out two things, viz., the word-for-word meanings are already embedded in the verse translation and that, this song, as it is among the first few in this site/book, represented our old approach to this work, and we did not want to alter it for historical reasons. Nevertheless, for the sake of these readers, given below is a word-map from the Telugu lyrics to the English verse, that roughly shows the word-by-word correspondence between the two. Note that these are not the word-for-word meanings, but approximations. The interested reader can easily pick out the literal word-for-word meanings where they differ from our own turn of phrase. Sufficient information is contained in our verses and elsewhere in this work, for this to be done quickly. Just click on the image below to see it in a large size. The usual color coding is used again.

/\










59 comments:

  1. I was searching for the meaning of this. The great poet has put the bhaava of the song
    (ordeal and sorrow forcing a heart-rending plea) excellently. The translation is top rate. Although a low-level rasika, I find many singers including top notch maestros are not doing justice to the bhaava. Some inappropriately fast renditions even sound like semi-disco. A slow soulful aalaapana is a must for this kind of creations. Thank you.

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  2. You are doing a great and noble service to Saint Thyagaraja, his devotion and music.
    I totally agree with Kman - many leading artistes of carnatic music really do not do justice to the language, bhava and devotion of the renditions of Saint Thyagaraja. They just mispronounce to the verge of abuse of the language. Also indulge in unnecessary and uncalled for improvisations, bravado and brigas. One only hopes and prays that they dissuade from these, and honestly stick to the original renditions.

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  3. Awesome post..I was trying to get the lyrics and meaning of the song. Finally I found it here. I was listening to this song sung by M.S.Subhalakshmi.

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  4. It is surprising how this song brings almost two thirds of new visitors to this site! This was the first "Tyagaraja" song we wrote for this site, and put up. This was before we changed our approach into the current more discursive form. So, this song doesn't even include much commentary or detail!

    Since we don't publicize this site anywhere, and the only ways to find this site are through a blog search or actual referral, we don't really know if this is a high traffic or a low traffic site. We get a few thousand visitors in a month, and interestingly, more than half of them get here searching for this one song.

    You can see more details about traffic and the site per se in the very last post.

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  5. I cannot thank you enough for making me realize how beautiful the keertana is. I have LOVED the sound of this keertana for a long time. But, today, after reading the meaning, I can just say one thing...WOW....

    Thank you. You have made my day and many more days to come. Thank you.

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  6. @Deepthinking:

    Thank you for your kind words. Tyagaraja composed this song in a particularly gruesome period of his life. It is one of the most moving of his songs, and I am glad that the verse translation brought the song closer to you.

    It moves almost all listeners, and as noted earlier, was the first Tyagaraja song we posted on this site... and single-handedly brings more than 50% of the visitors to this site. None of these are coincidences.

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    Replies
    1. sashtanga namaskaram, oh altruist .

      prof. p ravindranath

      Delete
  7. Reader Sridharan asks:

    What is the last song Tyagaraja sang, before he attained moksha?

    Answer: As you may see in our introductory pages, our work focuses heavily upon historical accuracy and rigorous methods. Since by now, much of what we know about Tyagaraja, is legend mixed with history than verifiable history, we cannot be sure about his very last song. The story goes that towards the end of his life, Rama appeared before him with his retinue, told him that his work in this world was over and that he (Rama) would come in ten days to take him to Rama's heavenly abode. Tyagaraja went home, told his disciples and took up sanyasa. On the day he attained samadhi, he is said to have attained it by kapala moksha, which is reserved for the holiest and purest of devotees.

    Two songs, based on what he conveys in them, were clearly composed at the very end of his life. In "Daya juchutakidi velara" in Ganavaridhi, he says his life's work is done and he is waiting for Rama to deliver him. In "Paritapamu Ganiyadina" in Manohari, he explicitly refers to the promise made by Rama to deliver him in ten days and yearns why the Lord hasn't yet delivered him. He took sanyasa on the pushya shukla ekadasi, preceding pushya bahula panchami the day he attained samadhi, ;Jan. 6 1847, so it was indeed a span of ten days. Paramatmudu in vageedheshwari is also among his last songs and T.S. Balakrishna Sastri, who was an authority on Tyagaraja, held so. Interestingly, the word "Paramatma" recurs more often in Tyagaraja's later songs.

    As Tyagaraja advances in years, a number of his songs start to sum up his life and ask for deliverance.

    (Revised version of a comment from Nov 2010)

    ReplyDelete
  8. From reader Saju S.:

    I just come across your site and am keen to have the book. ... Found the information provided of great help as the meaning and explanation given in English.

    Appreciate your great effort to popularize Karnatic Music.

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  9. My salute to this most thoughtful translation and to the noble motivation thereof. May the Lord grant eminent fame to your offering.

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  10. What a great song from the master composer! I used to enjoy this song (popularised by my "chickamma" during festivities when I was in India, when I was unaware of the true meaning of the composition.

    Does not the king of birds
    Hasten to do Your bidding?
    Or did he find, Heaven to Earth,
    A distance too forbidding?

    ....what fantastic playful teasing of the Lord?

    Thank you for this website.

    rajiv lochan

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  11. @Rajiv Lochan:

    What you notice here, are the beauty of Tyagaraja's imagery and sincerity and simplicity of expression. These are the very qualities that set him apart in the Trinity and why, he may be studied and his music experienced, mainly through the poetic art, as we show in our work here. As it was one of his last songs, he conveyed great pathos in it.

    Might I add that our striving to do justice to the art of translation, and using the verse form, make a great difference in communicating Tyagaraja's original thoughts? For, compare with a direct word-for-word prose translation:

    Does Garuda not speedily execute your commands? Did he say earth is too far from Heaven?

    ---

    About eighteen months this site has been up, and many discerning and well-lettered readers have been, including some good enough to grant us instruction. Yet, today, from the pages and pages here, you have caught on and highlighted the four lines that, I, as a writer and musician, have always felt, encapsulate the intent and approach of this site the best. Thank you.

    In both Tyagaraja's lyrics and music setting, the tension builds and reaches its climax in the next lines- "Jagamele Paramaatma...", whereas, in my verse rendition, the peak comes a little earlier. It is actually in these four lines, particularly in the line, "A distance too forbidding?" Even if not used to melodic and poetic nuance, we may note this by reading the English verses aloud. But, looking at my own verses as a third person, I can say that the lines capture Tyagaraja's sentiments very well. That is why I have held these lines, as emblematic of this work and this site. My thanks are again due to the anonymous person who requested this to be one of the first songs on this site. Their request, this one song, brings the bulk of our readers to this site.

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  12. An anonymous reader asked this: "Thank you for creating this site. Will you also provide commentary on ragaprayoga (sic.) in kritis? Can you give us notation for each kriti as I am learning to play violin. (sic.)"

    Well, the main purpose of this site and this work is to portray Tyagaraja's work as a lyrical poet through our verse translations and also to highlight the injudiciously neglected aspects of Carnatic music such as the philosophy, meaning, history etc., that are contained in it. We focus on this because no other sources, whether in print or on the web, do these two things in the fashion we do.

    So, we wanted to cover around 100 songs in our new approach on this website, and then provide musical notation, commentary and notes and audio from our archives for "improvisation" samples. However, based on feedback from readers, publishers etc., we had to change our approach, and wait a little before posting the 100 songs. That is why there isn't a lot of musical commentary in the songs here, though incidental musical details are always discussed, as necessitated by a given song.

    So, the answers to your questions are that

    a) Some musical commentary is already included in the notes for each song, when it is necessary.

    b) Comprehensive commentary, notation, improv notes and samples (for songs that we do have them for, in a suitable format), are all included in the book(s) of which, this site has become a preview. We will eventually provide all these materials on this site too.

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  13. well, i'm one among those 50% who has come across this site searching for this song and i'm glad i've come across it... :) i have a suggestion for your site and would be glad if you could implement it as i'm sure it would benefit the others too.. my suggestion is that you should even put up the word to word meaning and then add the verse form through which you mean to communicate the inner meaning of the song.. a person like me would want to know each word's meaning and come up with my own meaning of the keertana.. by this i dont mean that your verse form does not do justice.. it surely is excellent.. but this is my suggestion cum request to you..

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  14. @Ashwin:

    You do have a point; but we do cover it already!
    Actually, one feature of this work and site is that the "word for word" meanings are indeed given! If you see the introductory pages, you will see that we mention that we maintain line and word order, and use color coding to indicate Pallavi, Charanam etc. Where the word-for-word meaning is not immediately obvious, we explain those cases in the notes.

    Take this song: "Nagumomu ganaleni" matches with "Bereft of your smiling face", or "khagaraju...canaledo"... matches exactly with "Does not the king of words... bidding?" It is easy to match... "raja" is king in almost all Indian languages and even English! Then "birds" would go to khaga, making "khaga raju"- "king of birds" and so on. We also mark the word and line splits in the original and the verse with color coding and formatting to aid such matching., With no knowledge of Sanskrit, Telugu or other South Indian language, but just knowing the "general sense", a reader can find the word-for-word meaning in our approach.

    Or take "manasa sancharare, brahmani manasa sancharare" -- here, we give "Ponder, in your mind Ponder... ", but also included a literal translation.

    In some cases for poetic style we write "Wealth" as wealth personified, than Lakshmi. In other cases, we may scramble the lines a bit, or choose a different turn of phrase for English. In all such cases where the word-for-word is not obvious, we explain it in the commentary... not a word from the Swami is missed :)

    It is actually quite tough to write such a "word matched and line matched" verse translation, given that Telugu and Sanskrit are so different in structure from English. We don't give direct word-for-word with anvaya-krama (prose order) etc., because rather than serve as a compendium of Tyagaraja Swami's songs, we are actually developing his message and discovering his themes etc., along with the reader. For, if we did only give direct meanings, why is this work the first such work in our music? And why, when Shriman TKG's excellent volume is there, an other similar and elaborate work needed?

    But, the word-for-word is very much there! Just place the lyrics and the verses side by side as we do on this site and you will see it.

    HTH.

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  15. thank you for replying immediately, but my intentions were a bit different.. by word-for-word meaning i dint mean to say that the entire line was to be written word-for-word...
    taking for example the very song under which we are commenting, there goes a line as,

    "gaganani kilaku bahu doorambaninado"

    as you know, there is no word as "kilaku", rather it is "gagananiki ilaku".. so when i asked for a word-for word meaning, i was merely asking for the meanings of few selected words, which might be in sanskrit or in complex telugu or might have been changed grammatically (as above) for the song..

    so my suggestion was that, after having written the song and the translation that you intend to give, u could simply give the meanings of few selected words... for eg.,

    "nagumomu ganaleni,....
    ......, tyagaraja nuta ni"

    Meanings:
    ......
    ......
    aanati = order
    ila = earth
    ......

    not all the words, maybe few selected ones

    as you had mentioned, you do write notes for each song, which contains good details.. but i still would like to see the meanings of certain words placed there...

    i'm sorry if i'm being too repetitive, but i personally sometimes want to know even the actual meaning, alongwith the intended meaning.. its kind of an added thing for me.. this inquisitiveness of mine has led me to this site and i'd be very happy if u could include my suggestion...

    thanks a lot for being patient with me.. :)

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  16. @Ashwin:

    Several things to note:

    1) I do know exactly what you mean, when somebody wants to work out the literal meaning as well as the actual meaning, where they do not coincide.

    We do provide the necessary material for it with each song. Here, you must note that, what you see on the site is actually a preview of a much larger printed book.

    The book arranges the songs in a certain order and only if the songs are read in that order, will how we develop the message of Tyagaraja systematically, be evident to the reader. This is also true of the website. We explain this in the introductory pages. Individual songs are not meant to stand by themselves, beyond a casual reading, since this work is different in nature from, say, TKG's book. When people find individual songs on this website through google or yahoo, and read only those songs, than read all the songs in sequence, phenomena such as you note, will seem to be there. But, in the intended sequence we ask they be read, they are all tied together. In fact, why word for word, even philological comments and notes on Tyagaraja's diction are regularly given!

    The other historical factor, is that, Nagumomu Ganaleni was the third song to go up. As the comments and introductory pages say, the approach to this work made a radical change from the fifth song onwards. That is why there are only limited comments for this song, whereas much more detail is given for even shorter and lesser known songs, that were written later. Until the fifth song, the purpose was only to provide nice verse translations for the discerning reader; but then, we started including original research, detailed commentary, and an elaborate comparative approach from various classical literature traditions.


    2) Now, consider the second most popular song on our site, Jagadanandakaraka. This was written after our change of approach to the present comprehensive one, which is also employed in the book. If you see the verse translation and then see the comments, such as for verse 1, 4, 5 etc., you will find that the meanings and even detailed notes for "hard" words are given. This is done throughout.

    We didn't want to revise Nagumomu Ganaleni on the site, for historical reasons, because too many people have read it already!


    3) The line you point out in this song - is no more than an oddity of convenience-- it should be hyphenated or split, but got left out as is; there are other places too where this and other things happen; again, validating lyrics started only from the fifth song onwards. The printed book does amend many of these things; it is quite inviolate. So, if and when it is finally printed.... it will probably be "the" book...

    Also, when people ask about such oddities of convenience or unconventional markings, we do clarify over email.

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  17. I don't know... but so much is the traffic for this site skewed to this one song that, I am even considering calling this the Nagumomu Ganaleni site than the Lyrical Tyagaraja!

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  18. The last exchange of comments on the word-for-word meanings does bring up a question:

    This song is very popular and most visitors here seem to find the site only through this. But, this IS one of the oldest songs posted, and so doesn't have the comprehensive treatment we give from song no:5. If you would like to see the commentary for this song from the book, with the comparative study, word-for-word and philological, historical/musicological details and so on, featured on this page, please let us know. If we get, say just 3-4 requests, we'll certainly take an hour or so to clean, format and post it here.

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  19. The highly critical and ridiculously discourteous comment from an anonymous reader questioning our methods and art of translation, that was reproduced verb atim and clarified and annihilated in several comments on this page, has now been included in its own page, as one whole entity. You can find it here: http://www.tinyurl.com/ngSillyComment . We have no problem in featuring it, unedited, nor in answering it fully and with great restraint, in order to reassure any of our readers who might have questions that they have not yet sent to us.

    That said, if you have criticism, please send it in promptly, because responding to questions and criticism enriches this site and work far more than laudatory notes we receive.

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  20. When Tyagaraja swami's eye sight begins to deteriorate due to old age, he finds it he immensely frustrating that he is not able to see the Sri Rama's vigraha even in very close quarters. That is when he apparently says nagumomu kanaleni naa jaali telisi- knowing that I am not able to appreciate your beautiful smiling face, why are you not still coming down to take care of me.
    Then he asks if Garuda is not obeying Sri Rama's orders and coming soon enough. (He does not blame Rama for coming late, but gives possible excuses for Rama's delay in giving him the moksha). Is Garuda giving silly excuses to you that earth is too far from your abode, and therefore don't go to Tyagaraja? Rama, I am unable to see your ever smiling face. if you do not take care of me, who else can do it? Please, Rama, come soon. This keertana's bhava was best expressed by V. Nagiah.

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  21. @premiedoc:

    A couple of things to note.

    1) From your comment, as nothing more than pointed info is given in it, I am not sure whether you are embellishing our presentation or instructing us! But, we welcome all meaningful comments, particularly the questions and negative comments. So, we will take note too.

    2) In this work and the website based on it, historical accuracy and rigour are very important. So, it is hard for us to present even some well known traditions and legends as fact, without some other corroboration. So much known about Tyagaraja is based on legends or mixed with legend by now. So, I cannot definitively say that failing eye sight was the motive behind this song. Taking the allegorical reading given above, is much safer.

    3) Tyagaraja considered Rama to be perfect. So, rarely does he directly blame, accuse, or chastise Rama. That is what we see here. There are many forms of devotional presentation in songs,- with devotion, with fraternal equality, with amity and so on. Tyagaraja considered himself Rama's bard in many places.

    4) I presume you refer to the 1946 film version. I cannot comment on the quality of the rendition because film is also a visual art and there is one more way for expression, compared to singing the song, not to mention the benefits of the recording studio, multiple takes, post-processing etc., to the extent they were available in the Madras of 1946. I will take your word that it was well done. I recall seeing this film sometime back. What I liked most about it, was the declaration they made at the start, stating that they were presenting content that included many traditions and legends and not 100% recorded history. The intellectual honesty was appreciable.

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  22. Great site. Loved the English translation. Also let me know if i can help you in any way to keep this tradition (if i can say) going.. These compositions are all unique. Learning the inner meaning and putting it to practice is the key here.

    There are plenty of keerthana's on Rama alone. at the pace he was going, I always wonder Tyagaraja created one Keertana every day. For us each to understand each Keertana take long-time (may be life-time)...

    Please keep up the good work.

    Satya

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  23. @Satya.

    Thank you for your commendation. What you (or other readers) could do to help is a very good question. Tyagaraja bestowed upon each of us a great wealth, and it is our bounden duty to embellish and transfer it to posterity,- whether we consider his gift to be music or something beyond that.

    At the moment, the priority for our work is the printed book. There are several challenges in getting our book printed, all raised by our own objective in ensuring the widest possible access to Tyagaraja and our work, because we feel this kind of work on Tyagaraja ought to have been done generations ago. Here are some of our concerns:

    a) We don't wish to reduce the 3000 page size of the book(s). This is tough with today's printing and paper costs and shrinking book-buying population.

    b) We want to ensure that the book is realized through a major publisher or distributor, so that it gets the widest possible circulation.

    c) We want a commitment from the publisher that there would be periodic reprints, so that it wouldn't die as a one-off volume. This also makes it difficult to raise sponsorship to release it as a one-time commemorative.

    d) Most of all, we don't want a single pie as royalty, and also want the publisher to print at close to cost, so that more people can get access to Tyagaraja. This seems too idealistic and impractical for even the most fastidious publisher.

    Well, we don't want to sacrifice one or more of our concerns because, even if delayed, we want to ensure the book is done right.

    To answer your question about how you can help, unless you belong to the publishing world or can help with the concerns above, there isn't much help needed until the book sees the light of day.

    But, once the book is a reality, we plan to further such work by creating a rather unique, online and brick-and-mortar archive. This archive would expressly help with highly rigorous, multidisciplinary studies of classical music and its antiquities.

    Your help and that of any others, would be most welcome at that stage. So, please watch this site and keep in touch...

    And we whole-heartedly appreciate your willingness to help.

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  24. I came across your site by accident today and was immediately struck by how beautiful your translation is! Other sites give word by word translations but they lose the lyricism which you have retained. Well done! I will read other entries in leisure and keep an eye out for new posts. Thank you.
    Suja

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  25. @sujaa

    Thank you. Tyagaraja's work is a many layered thing, and people forget his poetry while imbibing his music; but central to it all was his message. That is what we try to highlight in our work.

    @all: Upon reader request, a few popular songs from the printed book, will come up on the site today or tomorrow, as a webpage than a blog post. You are welcome to read the verses as well as send any requests of your own.

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  26. Great job and wonderful poetic translation. I am learning to play this in Veenai and found that my teacher has wrong lyrics for this song. I needed more authoritative support to correct her! I also wanted to know word to word meaning. Not knowing Telugu I also thought that the word was keelaku. So, yes some word to word translation will be also of immense help since it aids one to appreciate the whole. More for this song since it has been the magnet for this site.

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  27. @ Anonymous:

    Thanks for your kind words. As explained in response to an earlier comment,

    a) Yes, there is an embedded word-for-word translation. It just that the first five songs to go up on this site represent a different style of writing. The later songs show word-for-word correspondence in a more obvious form. In fact,this song doesn't even show the word-splits properly; but too many people have read it compared to other songs and rather than change it with longer printed version, we just left it like that for historical reasons!


    b) As you have just found, authenticating lyrics through various techniques such as ensuring historicity, philology etc., is a major part of our work. So, you may sometimes find that we disagree with even the standard textbooks. We explain our reasons for some of the cases in the "printed book", and occasionally on this site. The first task in understanding Tyagaraja's message, is ensuring that we heard his words correctly.

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  28. Music is Divine and I have also come to this site to know the lyrics of Nagumomu Ganaleni - The song is Divine and Saint Thyagaraja has immortalized it ! I have been listening to this composition for the last few days and my eyes have been shedding tears all along at this soul-stirring composition of the great saint.I am grateful to you for your yeoman service to provide the meaning of these great compositions to lovers of music. Pranams, Sureshchandra HS

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  29. @Suresh HS:

    Thanks for your kind words. This song is surely terrific, and shows that Tyagaraja lived his life through his music. This fact leads us to imbibing his message more and more.

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  30. Those readers who requested a word-for-word breakdown might find the word-map picture now include above, and at: www.tinyurl.com/NGWordMap, to be quite interesting.

    HTH.

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  31. Another "Frothing at the mouth" and really ignorant comment, far worse than the previous one, was received today. The queries in it, have been answered in our "criticism page", under the heading "Another misguided soul's take", at this URL: http://www.tinyurl.com/NGSillyComment#j .

    Again, the same queries could have been raised respectfully and this was the main error in it, and not the level of ignorance shown.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hello sir,first of all I am a carnatic music illiterate,but music loving person.I heard of this song in a western fusion album by singer karthick(Karthick-Music I like).
    My god..!what happened to me..?I was literally stuck to this song.I am listening(enjoying) this song atleast 10 times a day since last 10 days.Truly I am not able to control my tears on listening the kriti every time(particularly at the second saranam.Plz note that I don't know telugu too..!Now I realize that language is not necessary for music.It is that "bhaavam" of the great great divine soul which is overflowing throughout the entire song & dilute the hard souls.I am addicted to "nagumomu"..!
    After enjoying the musical beauty,I had a curiousity of understanding the meaning of the kriti,because of which I am here now.Great translation sir...!Thanks a billion for making me to understand the meaning of the kriti.I pray the almighty to render all necessary support to keep up your good service.
    Shanmuganathan
    Kanchi

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  33. excellent page ! It gives an additional delight when you hear a song understanding it's meaning...thanks sir !

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  34. I request all to listen to Bhanumathi singing this song. Excellent blog

    MSRMurty

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  35. Ananda Bhairavi - Question from a reader:

    Dear Sir,
    I do not know whether you have heard this account before.Some sources say that "Nee Balama Naama Balama" was the last composition by Tyagaraja Swami in Aananda Bhairavi Ragam. The story about this is that a local Bhattar of a temple who was considered to be a master in singing Aananda Bhairavi sang the raaga for Tyagaraja Swami. Tyagaraja Swami became very happy after hearing that rendition and asked the Bhattar as to what can he do for him as "Pratyupakaaram". It is thus said that the clever Bhattar seized the oppurtunity to establish his name for posterity by requesting Tyagaraja Swami not to compose any more in Aananda Bhairavi in order to protect his reputation. Tyagaraja Swami willingly agreed and did not compose any more songs in Aananda Bhairavi after that. There are many more stories about Tyagaraja Swami that tell different accounts about why he composed only 4 songs in Aananda Bhairavi.

    Your site about Tyagaraja Swami is well documented.

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  36. @ Ananda Bhairavi Question:

    Yes, the legend about Tyagaraja "giving away" Ananda Bhairavi is well known, and the above is one version of it. Another version is that, it happened during his trip north, when he went to Kanchi, Tirupati, Thiruvottiyur etc. The legend could well have some truth to it, but as you may have noticed, in our work, we emphasize historical accuracy... and haven't come across a verfiable record of this incident. So, legend it remains to us...

    Tyagaraja, though quite recent on a historical time scale, is known to us mostly from legend. For example, there are many versions of his meeting with Govinda Marar, the singer from Travancore.

    Whatever be the reason, even the fact that there are only four Tyagaraja songs in this raga, is inconclusive for many reasons. Firstly, we don't have a complete record of all his work. So, these four might be four "extant" songs, and there may have been more, and even when he have the song, the lyrics may not have come down faithully, and the song might have been rescored or even be entirely inauthentic. Secondly, since it wasn't then common to spell out in great detail as to how and why one composed, unlike recent times, we just can't be sure. Thirdly, Tyagaraja produced or popularized many novelties. So, there are other popular ragas where he left only one or two songs, and many previously rare ragas he personally introduced or reintroduced, and so, popularized.

    To borrow a cliche, there really is much mystery to Tyagaraja's history.

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  37. O I am unable to express my gratitude..Thank God!! I found the meaning of this wonderful Keerthana at last. I have heard this keerthana only from one artist. None other than the one and only Balamuralikrishna. I have never wanted to listen to anyone else. Such overwhelming is the bhava and the rendition.I will enjoy the Keerthana more now.

    Thank you sir for your great effort.

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    1. @namahshivaya:

      Thank you for your kind words. You will be glad to know that in some weeks, we plan to include a few audios as well as notation samples too on this site. And since this song is the most popular one on this site, if and when do include audios and notation, we will cover this song first. HTH.

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  38. Good. Can we get the text version for word to word translation. Telugu english online dictionaries can be used in case the lyrics text is posted in some internet standard format. Also some words in lyrics are ambiguous. Again..good effort. Useful to me. Best wishes.

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    1. @Sudhakar:

      Thanks for your comment. We do include word for word meaning in the verses, but you must read the songs in the order we have put them in the book or indicated on the site, and then try to follow the word order we use in each poem. You don't need to look anything up in a dictionary. You also don't need such tools to do a concordance because we have only a few hundred of his songs, and Tyagaraja was fairly consistent in his usage. There is a reason why we have done it this way. We want you to feel what Tyagaraja felt when he composed. Please read our intro pages and comments on the aims of the LTP, the Art of Translation and conventions we use here. Our purpose is to make each reader or listener, no matter their background, to enjoy the music fully, and for this, understanding and enjoying the lyrical nature of his works, the history and philosophy contained there, are all necessary. Our aim is not to merely provide a translation compendium, a notation compendium or a paean to Tyagraja. For this, TKG, SVK and so many other nice volumes are already available. We have introduced our new approach to Tyagaraja to fulfill a need that's so far not been met.

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  39. Reader Seshank T. sends us this thank you via email:

    Hi,

    I just wanted to let you know that i was glad to come accross your website and extensive research and time that you are putting in to develop the same. I was looking to understand the innner meanings of tyagaraja's renditions, but then we have very few resources on the internet.

    The comparative studies on regional indian literature and poetry are taken up by very few individuals such as you and im sure it will inspire a lot more people to actively pursue it in the future.


    warm regards,
    seshank

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    1. @Seshank T:

      Hello and thanks for your kind words. But, the thing is, even in print, such a comprehensive treatment of Tyagaraja has not been done before, particularly a treatment simultaneously suitable to both Carnatic pros and audiences new to Indian culture...

      In some time, we might add a few song recordings also ... we would like readers to not stop with the lyrics or with a few songs - because the themes are developed song-by-song, and we want them to understand the whole meaning, to fully understand enjoy Tyagaraja's music. Like, to fully understand Wagner, we must not just study the Ring Cycle, but also learn the history of the period - Germany and even Europe in a nationalist ferment, place him next to Verdi and Liszt, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche and so on.

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  40. Hello Sir,
    Having learned Carnatik music for couple years and knowing several of Shri Thyagaraja's kritis, this song is my all time favorite. Though I've heard this song several times before, I did not know the meaning. After knowing the meaning from your site, this song is more close to my heart and the bhava, poetic content and the raga and Dr. BalaMurali's voice is all very soul stirring and blissful. I had no knowledge such a site even existed. I'll visit everyday from now on to enjoy bliss on a daily basis. God bless and thank you for everything :-)

    Meena.

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  41. We've caved! Nagumomu.in is in existence!

    Given that this Nagumomu Ganaleni song commands almost 50% of the traffic we get, we have acquired two new domains for Carnatic lovers to find us easily: www.nagumomu.in and www.nagumomu.org
    In some months like the December, thousands of people search for, and find their way to this page. Which is surprising given we never publicize the site and, don't exchange links with anyone, not to mention running ads. www.nagumomu.in is specifically for this page i.e. this song and www.nagumomu.org is an alias for the site itself, like www.LyricalTyagaraja.com whereas the right name for this work is "Tyagaraja Darshana", darshana meaning both glimpse and doctrine or school of thought.

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  42. Beautiful translation ....
    I were listening to some renditions by famous Singers and all of them provide a unique twist to the "keertana". where can one find the Original ? I like the presentation by Sri Mangalampalli Bala Murali Krishna to be interesting/appealing.

    Please keep up the good work. So nice to find this site with just the first 2 words of the song in google search on the very top.

    I am grateful ....

    I will look for more of my old favs.

    " Broche va revarura ?"
    "endaro Mahanubhavulu , andariki vandanalu ..."

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    Replies
    1. @DVP Rao:

      Thank you for kind words... This one song has become so emblematic of this whole "Tyagaraja as a poet" work... that we just ended up getting a separate URL: www.nagumomu.in for this page!

      Regarding new songs though, it is a bit awkward... we are constrained by the print edition not yet seeing the light of the day (in a form to our satisfaction). The difficulty is explained in the very last post, which is like a mini-blog these days: www.tinyurl.com/LTBLastPost

      We do post some new songs upon request, as lyrical translations without commentary in the Request Songs section at www.tinyurl.com/LTBRequestedSongs

      Endaro has to be extensively treated with commentary given its importance to Tyagaraja's philosophy. But, I will add Brochevarevarura soon to the Requested Songs pafe . Please check back in a few days.

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  43. Anthems and Anthems:

    This is really off-topic, but, there isn't anywhere right to post it on this site. Plus, it is probably here that most people would even find it... and it IS a universal thing. I recently caught Domingo's new Covent Garden Nabucco on video. I didn't like the modern setting which seemed like cutting costs and I always think the fourth act is a narrative non-sequiturs, but Good Ol' Domingo, carting away pleasantly but unspectacularly as a baritone, age and all, as everyone says. He's always been my favorite modern tenor. I wonder if he surprises himself with his staying power these days. But, this post is about anthems....

    Well, Nabucco means Va, Pensiero. That set me wondering. Does anyone else think that despite the role Va Pensiero has played in Italian nationalism and Verdi being so tied with it, that it actually reads even better as a poem than Verdi's setting? I think there is so much more in those words than even Verdi managed to get. I used to be blown away as a poet/writer/critic about how the librettist hit upon such universal ideas of a homeland in ruins, the trademark of every wandering dispossesed people. To me, it would mean the temples in Tanjore district falling to ruin these days. But, it is not heard to explain once we know where Solera got the germ, Psalm 137. And the Jews would be naturally fixated with everything Jerusalem. May be I want to deconstruct it to convince myself I could write something so simple, universal and moving some day I am able to return to writing at least half-time.

    But, what about the Indian anthems? As a poet/writer/critic this is what I think of the three songs. Jana-gana-mana has only one value - it enumerates all the different peoples. Everyone feels counted. There is not much more to it, and is a Tagore piece of skill than a real Tagore work of art. Sare jahan se accha... passe... just about skillful. I think Vande mataram is the best of the three, as pure poetry, if we recall that it predated a mature Indian nationalist movement and gracefully introduced the concept a nation as mother that seems universal.

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  44. Well, another OT and yet not quite OT thing: Was watching Mariss Jansons give Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique with the percussion bit. Berlioz has always resonated with me, with his program music, "tell a story with the notes" approach, and create an image as opposed to "pure music". Isn't that quite like what Tyagaraja does so often? There are his expressive works, instructional works and so on, and when he gets more expressive he tries to call a visual image to mind from the musical image he paints. And then there are those one or two songs where the narrative in the words and the one in the score somehow instinctively, don't seem to fit - imagery is what we, (or at least I), are reacting to. But, it can be by intent or accident. There is such a point in this song too - the way the AP and Charanams turn away from each other. East or West, up or down, music works the same.

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  45. This site is a great blessing for those who do not understand sanskrit or telugu and therefore cannot fully partake of Tyagaraaja's amritha..thank you so much and may you always be given the heart and mind to do this service to all the thirsty souls everywhere..

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  46. Oct 14, 2013: Fourth Anniversary of this site! Our thanks to all our readers round the world!
    This Vijayadasami day marks the fifth year of this site. The work it's based on is of course, much older. The Nagumomu Ganaleni song is still the main draw here...and the total site traffic is high considering it is not advertised or linked to anywhere. To mark the start of the fifth year, we will soon add some songs, and may be even audios. Hopefully, the fifth year of this site will see the book(s) printed. (Note replicated here from the front page for obvious reasons....)

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  47. Why is the flavor of this site so different?
    It is indeed very different from any other book or site on Tyagaraja because it is not just a paean to Tyagaraja or a mindless dictionary of all things Tyagaraja. Instead, it blends scientific precision, modern cultural theories and the art of the rigorous historian with the high art of interpreting music as finely layered as Tyagaraja's. All these elements may not be obvious at first sight, but they are all woven in, in proportion, so that the work remains accessible to all kinds of readers. It will be plainer when we get round to adding more details on the musical settings. Everyone knows Tyagaraja sang in praise of Rama. But, what's the complete picture? How does everything come together? What it did mean in his day, and does mean in our day? Such things are what we are trying to deduce. (Note replicated here from the front page for obvious reasons....)

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  48. I can't stop listening to this. The rendition by Yesudas and Poorna Chandar brings tears to my eyes. It is just too beautiful. It's depth is far too great for me to fathom. Tyagaraja is truly the greatest poet that ever lived. God Bless his soul.

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  49. I am in utter awe of your colossal contributions in tribute of my favorite and beloved composer, Tyagaraja ! This is by far, a superior translation of Tyagaraja's jewel in the crown, Nagumomu, Raga Aberi. I grew up listening to Dr. Balamuralikrishna's mellifluous voice rendering Tyagaraja kritis and other compositions. Even though, I am quite a humble layman (briefly learnt Carnatic music as a child), everytime I listen to Nagumomu, I am spellbound and experience my very own heaven on earth !! For invoking this ecstasy within me, I remain eternally indebted to Tyagaraja and maestros like Dr.BalamuraliKrishna for his rendition of this Raga. Words are inadequate to describe their prodigious genius. My heartfelt salutations and gratitude to you for your yeoman service.

    -S

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  50. Superb...Its good to keep Carnatic music alive online so that our generation will be able to know it. I am very much impressed by your valuable work. Thanks a lot for uploading..!!

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  51. Thanks a lot for the meaning of song mentioned here.

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  52. Art tends to travel incredible distances and then resurface in strange places under unexpected guises. One of the most familiar sounds in India for several decades was the little theme music played before Akashavani, the state radio, announced the time or may be marked the end of a broadcast. I suppose state television too used the same bit at some point. This music is most familiarly from Saint-Saens' Samson et Dalila and starts off the Bacchanale of the priests. Although it can be heard elsewhere. The funny thing is, in India, it was used to grab attention before sombere things like announcing the time or starting a show. But, in the opera, it was just the opposite. It was used before the Philistines lapsed into a wild dance. Strangely, the actual music that follows there evokes middle-eastern strains, whereas, the Philistines, too ancient, are not today considered to be culturally, a middle-eastern people. Elsewhere in this site are mentioned the Tukkas and music named after them.

    There are so many such quirks in the spreading of art. Many landmark movies which popularized, may be even revived Kathak in the public eye, actually incorporated elements of western dance popular early in the twentieth century, that were visually exaggerated and so, suitable for the screen, than the purist's wont. Which all brings us to this Nagumomu song. The two main points of musical appeal are the pathos-laden, rich scoring and the discontinuity between the Pallavi-Anupllavi segment and the Charanam segment, though the lyrics continue unbroken. This is a device our composer has used in other places also,- usually, places where he was going for additional lyrical effect. Similar devices were frequnetly used in the west in earlier eras. Who knows what traveled where, when. Or may be, it is the composers' version of convergent evolution.

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  53. Respectful Namaskaras., Even though I am not trained in Carnatic Classical Music, I have listened to thousands of Concerts and have enjoyed the Divine Music, particularly the Holy Kritis of Saint Thyagaraja. It is only today that I understood the full and correct meaning of "Nagumomu" Thank you very much. I know now where to look for understanding Great Music and enhance my listening experience. Balakrishna H K

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