Beginning and End

In Hindu religion the first God who is prayed is – Ganesha and the last God who is prayed is – Hanuman. It starts with an Elephant God and ends with a Monkey God. And so it is, I found 2 songs/bhajans to go with them.

1. Ganesha Vandanam – I first heard this when Sai version of Jersey Boys performed this couple of years back at a Sai retreat in Pennsylvania. I was so moved. I love this bhajan which is in praise of Lord Ganesha.

2. At the same retreat as I was preparing for the evening program – I came across music playing over the speakers throughout the retreat center. It was an amazing song which was just so relaxing. I found my friend who was manning the music station and checked about it. It was a song called “Yoga Lullaby” by Russill Paul from AM and PM Yoga Chants. It’s in praise of Lord Rama whose bantu is Hanuman. The best cosmic lullaby ever.

Listen to Russill Paul’s Lullaby

Phibare Rama Rasam

Now that I am all nostalgic about my life (I think which happens every August) – all the heart wrenching kirtans/songs/bhajans just keep coming to mind. It’s like I am donning a memory based eye glasses. One song which plucks the strings of my memory is – “Phibare Rama Rasam”. It’s from a Telugu movie – Padamati Sandhya Ragam (An Evening of the West) – which explored the cultural differences between India and US. It show cases how we are run by tasks, money, career etc on a day to day basis and how Indians who move here struggle to adapt their lives. It’s a story of a Indian girl falling in love with a White guy (yes, the guy from Hung) and their plight.

I loved the movie but more than that this song which was written by 18th century composer – Sadasiva Brahmendra stuck with me. Here is the video of it – it’s kinda cheesy when you see any Bollywood/Tollywood movie but it’s the essence of it is what moves me.

Here are the lyrics:

pibare rAmarasaM,  rasane pibare rAma rasam

O Mind, drink the nectar of divine name Rama.

janana maraNa bhaya shoka vidUraM
sakala shAstra nigamAgama sAram

It dispels fear and grief from the cycle of birth and death.
It is the quintessence of all the Vedas and other Scriptures.

shuddha paramahaMsAshrita gItaM
shuka shaunaka kaushika mukha pItam

It is the sacred song sung in the hermitages of the holy and enlightened Yogis.
Great Sages Suka, Saunaka and Kousika enjoyed that nectar.

It basically astounds the qualities/attributes of Lord Rama from Hindu religion.

Itna to Karna Swami

I love listening and going to sleep with Anup Jalota’s music. I am addicted to his bhajans from the past 3 years. But there is one bhajan that shakes me up and brings tears to my eyes. I often catch myself humming this during my day. It’s called “Itna to karna Swami” (Oh Lord, Please do this much)

itna to karna swami
jab praan tan se nikale

Govind naam leke
ab praan tan se nikale
sri ganga ji ka tat ho
jamuna ka vansh vat ho
mera sawara nikat ho
jab pran tan se nikale

pitambari kasi ho
chavi man eh basi ho
hoto pe kuch hasi ho
jab pran tan se nikale

jab kanth praan aye
koi rog na sathaye
yam daras na dikhaye
jab pran tan se nikale

us vakt jaldi aana
nahi shaam bhul jaan
radhe ko sath laana
jab pran tan se nikale

ek bhakt ki hai arji
khud garj ki hai arji
aage tumhari marji
jab pran tan se nikale

Meaning:  Oh Lord, Please do this much, when the soul leaves my body, that I take Your beautiful name of Govinda. Whether it be the Holy Ganges River, or the Yamuna River where Lord Krsna spend His time playing the flute.

May Lord Krsna be present. Looking at Lord Krsna’s attractive yellow garnment made a strong prescene of my heart. I start to smile at this. When the souls starts to leave from my throat, and there is no way to stop this, at this critical, may I never see the face of Yamaraja.

At this critical time when death comes quickly, never forget Lord Syama! May I ask, “Oh Syama! Please bring Sri Radhe with You!” This devotee is making such a plea that is selfish. Since I have made such please, from this point, You can decide what You wish to do to me.