English Translation of “Music & Tamil”

Please bear with my 11th grader-level translation…..I did this for our non-Tamil friends…..

Once (in 1990) a music student had a discussion with her Telugu-speaking classmates and the topic was about how Telugu and Sanskrit was important in the music as all three sangeetha medhas like Thyagayyar, Shyama Sastry and Muthuswamy Dikshithar sang in those languages and indirectly de-meriting Tamil. This girl tried to argue saying that Thiruvasagam, Thevaram are equally important etc but couldn’t win that debate as she was the minority…..She went back sadly….When her mother found out that she is not alright, enquired what happened; she explained….Her mother didn’t seem to be bothered at all with this and she suggested to take a day off from college and accompany her to Kanchipuram for Periyava darshan….

She also being an artistic person, she had a drawing of all these three music legends…..she wanted to show it to Periyava and get blessing….when this painting was shown to Periyava, He called this girl and her mom. When she stood before Him, He asked her to sing one kirthana from each of their compositions….She did sing well…..Although she was tempted to ask Him about the debate she had in the college she decided not to as she wasn’t sure if that would sound good in front of Him etc….

In her drawing she made Sri Muthuswami Dikshithar’s veena differently – meaning the “yaali” should be facing upwards where as all other veenas’ yalli will be facing downwards. No matter how many times she tried, she couldn’t get it right. So she decided to leave it that way…Periyava found that mistake and said “Goddess Ganga gave that veena to him and it not right to change it in the drawings – next time when you come here, fix this and come…”. He added, “do you know anything about their background etc?”. When this girl started to say, “all of them were born in Thiruvayaru…”, He stopped. He said the following slokam

Darshanaath apra chadasi jananaath kamalaalaye

Kaasyaam thu maranaan mukthi: smarane arunaachale

Meaning in His words:

One gets mukthi by worshipping in Chidambaram. Chidambaram is called “apra sadas”. Sabhai = chith (sp?) sabhai. Sababathi=natarajar. Sri Rudram also says “sabhaabyo sabapathibyasha vo namo nama:” (sp ?)..one should worship this great sabha – Ponnambalam.

Next, “jananaath kamaalaye ….” – we will come later

“Kaasyaam maranaan mukthi:” means as we all know, one gets mukthi if we give up our body in Kasi.

“Smarane arunaachale…” – thinking Lord Arunachaleswarar – the next second we get mukthi.

Coming back to “kamalaalayam….”, since they were born in Thiruvayaru, they became jeevan mukthas…

After all these explanations, He asks this girl, “do you know that this Tiruvaarur is in “namba” Thanjavur dist?”. She nodded her head as yes. He continued, “no matter in what languages they’ve sung, simply because of their birthplace, we can say that music itself is born in Tamilnadu – rather there is no music without Tamilnadu”. “Bashai is only a mean to express – just because it is not in Tamil, one doesn’t have to feel bad….”, he concluded….

This girl was in tears to hear an apt explanation from Mahaperiyava on the very same topic that was discussed in the college yesterday, where she seemed to have lost that debate….that too without even asking ……

Jaya Jaya Shankara Hara Hara Shankara

Kaaladi Shankara Kamakoti Shankara



Categories: Upanyasam

2 replies

  1. namaste ‘
    i havew already posted my comments

  2. Namaskarams to Maha periava
    I really liked the way you have been given a reply by mahaperiava for the unasked question.Peraaiava oru deerka darisi no doubt and his way of understanding everyone is astounding.Kamakshi avataram than avar.
    May i request you help me in uploading the upansyasam of peraival please as i am finding it difficult to upload. thank you
    vijayalakshmi

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: