Sunday, July 06, 2008

Shyama : The Personification of Sat-Chid-Ananda

Shyama Sangeet, devotional songs sung in the praise of the Divine Mother, has always been an important component of the Bengali cultural landscape. I think the appeal is in Shyama Sangeet’s inherent simplicity. You didn’t have to be oozing Vedanta through your ears to enjoy one.

Take, for instance, the famous Shyama Sangeet, - Aamaar Chetona Chaitanya Kore. It’s so simple yet so very deep. It so eloquently explains how Ma Kali may be visualized as the Giver of Knowledge, the saviour and indeed the personification Sat-Chid-Ananda.

Here are the words:

Amaar Chetona Chaitanya Kore De Ma Choitanyamee
Tor Bhav Saagare Bhaase Ami, hobo ma tor podasroyee

Aagyano mor shobhab tekhe, tor bhabe tui ne ma deke
Gyaan Chohu kule dekhi, kemon tui gyanodamoyee

Amaar… (repeat)

Tor Bhaber Kela diye, de ma aamar ja kuchu shob obhab mitiye

Kotohol mor e-jinone, neye ne ma tui o-chorone
Mahanande Jai Chole ma, hoye shorbo ripu joyee

Amaar Chetona Chaitanya Kore De Mai Choitanyamee.
Which roughly translates to the following:

Enlighten my consciousness, My Mother

Bestow enlightenment to my ignorant mind, my mother.
O Mother, You are unalloyed consciousness personified.
Even as I float in this Ocean of transitory worldly existence, (Bhava Saagar)
O Ma Bhava Taarini, grant me refuge at your lotus feet of eternal existence

Drain away my ignorance, Mother, inundating me in torrents of your love
That thus enlightened, I may gaze, at the countenance of the giver of all knowledge

Touch me with you divine magic for once ma,
So that I receive from you all that I lack.

Pull away the attachment that I have to all things in my life, mother, and have them focus to your feet. With limitless bliss, may I come to you having vanquished all my foes (greed, anger, jealousy, anxiety) that have kept you away from me.
I feel blessed to have been born in a family where Indian Classical Music in both its pristine and bhajan forms has been constantly practiced. Letting yourself flow in a soulful rendition can provide you a whiff of the magical journey that awaits you in path of your progression in Ma’s Bhakti.

The Shyama Sangeet that I presented above is one such that I have grown up hearing my father sing and has a special place in my heart. Both the tune and the words transport me instantly to realms of a serene but overpowering ecstasy.

Originally made famous by Pannalal Bhattacharya, the snippet of a superb rendition by Anuradha Paudwal can be accessed at this link.

Even if you don’t understand Bangla or even if you haven’t explored the Shakta Philosophy I would still say - Please go ahead and listen, it is seriously cool.

I hope that you like the song as well…