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Articles on Carnatic Music

Enna Thavam (Part I)
by M.G. Vasudevan

Dear Readers, "I must beget a son, to relieve the claws of being put in the 'puth' naragam, for me and my ancestors, my pithrukkaL, and to enable us, to reach the swargam easily. That is why the son is called puthran."

This is the general statement as per saasthrams [tradition], for all of us, mortals. If para vaasudhEvan, that supreme Lord himself, who is that ultimate problem solver and the solution, for all ills in this and all other worlds, is the puthran for a set of human beings, what is the sort of relief he will give to his parents. To put that question the other way, what are all the benefits the parents will get from such a son? Is it only relief from the "puth" naragam or moksham or something else.

I feel, it may be something more valuable. That something else is, that, their name will always remembered along with the name of the Lord, as long as that Lord is meditated on or thought about in this world. Can any thing else be equal to this benefit or bhagyam in this world or that world.

So, is it a wonder, if many address such parents like King dhasaratha or vasudhEvar, dhEvaki or YasOdhaa "what is that you did to beget that purushOththaman, the supreme lord as a son?" or "what is that penance did you do to beget such a son?"

Can these or some body really quantify or qualify, what is that thavam or penance? Is it really possible to get an answer. See the lines below, here the mother yasOdhaa is showered with such accolades. This song is by Sri Papanaasam Sivan [PS] in raaga kaapi - a song marvel.

pallavi: enna thavam seidhanai- yasOdhaa
engum nirai para bhrahmam ammaa enru azhaikka - enna

anupallavi: eerEzhu bhuvanangaL padaiththavanai kaiyil Enthi
seeraatti paal ootti thaalaatti vaLarkka nee - enna

CharaNam 1: biramanum indhiranum manathil poraamai koLLa kaNNanai
uralil katti vaai poththi kenja vaiththa thaayE- nee- enna

CharaNam 2: sanakkaadhiyar thava yOgam seithu varunthi saadhiththathi
punitha maathE, eLithil pera nee - enna

Meaning of pallavi: oh! YasOdhaa!! what was that penance you did? That para brahmam- that supreme universal Lord calls you "Oh! my mother!". To get such a call, from such a supreme person, what was the penance you did?

Point: The author did not name that supreme child as krishna or kesava or by any one of those "one thousand names" which are made familiar to us by Sri Bhishma called sree vishNu sahasra naamam. He calls it straight "Engum nirai para bhrahmam". The author puts in very simple words a mahath thathvam. He is a realised soul. "bahoonaam jenmaanaamanthE gnaanavaan maam prapadhyathE, vaasudhEvam sarvam ithi sa mahaathmaa sudhurlabha" says the same krishna bhagavaan in his magnum opus Sreemadh bhagavath geethaa ch 7- sl 19. This author simply puts it across for us to realise.

That supreme Lord, the jagat kaaraNan, that engum nirai parabhrahmam from which all were created, has come in the form of child and calls yasOdhaa, "Oh! my mother!".

Is there any doubt, that, she is a blessed soul. So it is fully logical to inquire and know from her what penance she did, to beget such a child, or to know what is the means to get him.

Meaning of anu pallavi: To hold that Lord in your lap as your own child, to caress that child - to feed that child with milk with your hands, to see the child growing in your care - that child - who created all the 14 lokams - 14 worlds - to do all those things, oh! YasOdhaa! what was the kind of penance you did?

Meaning of charaNam 1: The creator of worlds, the brahma, the king of dhevaas, the Indhra- these people envy with you, oh! YasOdhaa!! On your extra ordinary capacity in making that Lord, - krishna subdued - that kutti kaNNan subdued - you are able to subdue him, by tying him in the mortar, as a sort of punishment, made him to keep quiet by putting a finger on the mouth. To get released from this punishment, he also started begging to you for pardon- to make that Lord do all this, oh! YasOdhaa!! what was the kind of penance you did, Why not enlighten us on that thavam.

Comment: Tears, are they not flowing from your eyes in that marvelous joy of seeing that scene on your mental screen / plane, if you visualise such a scene, that krishna is tied in mortar, begging to mother and she says "chup"- keep quiet. Why brahma and indhra alone to become jealous about yasOdha? What about you and me on her bhaagyam to have that Lord goes begging before the mother.

In tamil, there is a quote by "unknown" which reads, "chiththiram enpathu kaNNaal paarkkum kavithai, kavithai enpathu padiththu paarkkum chiththiram"

Put in other words this is "kavithai enbathu sol kEttaarku poruL kaNkoodaathal, chiththiram enbathu kaNNaal paarththOrku porul kaNkoodaathal"-

meaning- the painting or picture or sketch (Oviyam) is a poem for the eyes. A poem is a painting which is to be read and heard for enjoyment.

Point: See that scene in your mind- that chiththiram- it is a kaNNaal paarkkum kavithai.

kaNNanE oru kavithai- akkavithai thaayin mun kenchuvathu maRRoru kavithai - krishna himself is a poem - begging before mother another poem ^ it is a poem^s poem - definitely you will also get that jealousy on mother yasOdha^s bhaagyam. That is the "jeevan"- life of this PS song - make you visualise this "uralil katti vaai poththi genja vaiththa" scene.

Meaning of charaNam 2: The rishis and sons of brahma, namely sanakar, sananthanar, sanandhar, sanathkumaarar et al did strain a lot, by doing lot of penance and got that Krishna darsana sowbhaagyam. But you, Holy lady! simply got all these so easily. Tell us, what is that penance you did?

Comment: PS says, these Sanaka and others suffered and then got as a fruit for their suffering his dharsanam and consequent benefits, but, oh! yasOdhaa! You got it so easily.

Then, is she not a revered mother, deserving that bhagyam. "enna thavam seidhanai"- this is that thavam of filling him, through the mouth into the mind and filling the entire body, mind and soul. "En eNNaththOdu kalantha ezhilan" anthak kaNNan, says Ooththukkadu Venkata subbu Iyer in a krithi.

To be continued...

M.G. Vasudevan is a civil engineer in active service as well as a devoted rasika. He has also written many articles on Krishna, and more recently on Raama, in addition to Tyagaraja kritis linked to incidents in the Ramayana, all of which are available at the Bhakthi list and the Oppiliappan Yahoo group.

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updated on 03/20/2009