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This Time Let's Say Hello To Bharati!

Discussion in 'Wednesdays with Varalotti' started by varalotti, Feb 6, 2007.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Most Gracious ILites,

    We are of course going to take Kambar again. In the interlude let’s just say hello to Bharati, the one and only Subramanya Bharati.

    As we all know Bharati worshipped Parasakthi. One day a friend asked Bharati, “Can you show me the Sakthi, you have been worshipping all along?” Maybe Bharati smelt a sense of derogation in the words. Or may be the friend was so naïve that he thought that the poet would point out to the picture of Kali, the one with four hands and a vanquished demon under her feet.

    Bharati was a mystic too. Sakthi to him was not a person, but a presence. Sakthi was not a symbol, but a state.

    The Poet started to roar. The words in Tamil which were waiting eternally to serve Bharati rushed up to his pen in an anxiety to have a place in the immortal lines penned by him. The poet true to his nature chose only the simplest of them; but the effect he created with them was really profound.


    துன்பமிலாத நிலையே சக்தி தூக்கமிலாக் கண் விழிப்பே சக்தி
    அன்பு கனிந்த கனிவே சக்தி ஆண்மை நிறைந்த நிறைவே சக்தி
    இன்பமுதிர்ந்த முதிர்வே சக்தி எண்ணத்திருக்கும் எரியே சக்தி
    முன்பு நிற்கின்ற தொழிலே சக்தி முத்தி நிலையின் முடிவே சக்தி

    சோம்பர் கெடுக்கும் துணிவே சக்தி சொல்லில் விளங்கும் சுடரே சக்தி
    தீம்பழந் தன்னில் சுவையே சக்தி தெய்வத்தை எண்ணு நினைவே சக்தி
    பாம்பையடிக்கும் படையே சக்தி பாட்டினில் வந்த களியே சக்தி
    சாம்பரைப் பூசி மலைமிசை வாழும் சங்கரன் அன்புத் தழலே சக்தி

    வாழ்வு பெருக்கும் மதியே சக்தி மாநிலம் காக்கும் வலியே சக்தி
    தாழ்வு தடுக்கும் சதிரே சக்தி சஞ்சல நீக்கும் தவமே சக்தி
    வீழ்வு தடுக்கும் விறலே சக்தி விண்ணையளக்கும் விரிவே சக்தி
    ஊழ்வினை நீக்கும் உயர்வே சக்தி உள்ளத்தொளிரும் விளக்கே சக்தி

    Sakthi is a griefless state, sleepless alert
    A state of flowering love and of flourishing strength
    It's the flame in the mind! And the celebration
    It's the work at hand, and also the liberation!

    It's the courage that dispels all laziness
    The light that dwells in the spoken word
    The sweetness of the fruit!
    And the thought that dwells in God
    It's the army that kills the snake! <sup>1</sup>
    It is the joy of singing!
    It is the flame of love that adorns
    The ash-laden Shiva, who lives in the hills!

    It's the life-enhancing wisdom
    And the strength that defends our borders
    It's the dance that for ever keeps us up
    The penance that blasts our worries
    To smithereens!
    It's grit that prevents our fall
    The infinity that measures up
    The vast expanse of the sky
    It's that state of exaltation
    That keeps the fate at bay
    And the light that for ever adorns the mind!

    1 This would at first glance look quite odd. Why should the great poet should talk of a whole army killing a snake. Bharati always held out against the conventional wisdom. There is a mortal fear of snakes as it is embedded in a Tamil Proverb,
    பாம்பென்றால் படையும் நடுங்கும் (Even the army would be afraid of a snake). As Bharati gave his own Aathichoodi overriding the old one, he now reverses the conventional wisdom and defines Sakthi as the army that kills the snake. As a translator my hands are tied as Bharati has used the specific words. But I have a duty to explain the context, lest the great poet should be perceived as weird.

    And now Bharati is yours to enjoy.


    Regards,
    Varalotti
     
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  2. Manjureddy

    Manjureddy Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Varalotti

    You have chosen a really thrilling song.
    Bharatiyar, I have read, was something of a mystic who went into trance whenever he pondered upon Divinity pervading the entire universe. He has also written:

    Engengu Kaaninum Shakthiyada.

    As Shakthi is all- pervading , it is to be found in the tiniest speck of dirt to the largest of galaxies ( Vinnaiyalakkum virive ), the life force of the subtlest( the sweetness of fruit) to the strongest (the flame in mind), and as a corollary, destroyer of evil ( or Malam of any sort) of any dimension - whether mighty or modest. The snake is a metaphor of a lowly creature( oorvana, moving on belly ). we dont of course need an army to kill one, like not needing a wheel to break a butterfly. Yet if Bharathi has chosen to use the snake, we can assume that Shakthi or the state of Shakthi-ness is such that even a lowly vice or wrong, will be wiped out with ferocity, as with an army.
    Thats how I would see it.
    ( To us, dear Bharathi can never be a wierdo . Can't say the same for the wife's-point-of-view. Poor Chellammal !)

    Regards
    Manjula
     
  3. vidyasarada

    vidyasarada Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,
    ( Are we permitted to continue using this form of address, now that you have started signing off as Varalotti ?)

    I wish to start off saying: Yaam arindha mozhigaliley Bharatiyin Thamizh pol inidavadu engum kanom. "

    This shakthi song is an ecstatic outpouring of one who has communed with the cosmic spirit. Pullarikkiradhu ayya.

    The essence of this song is found in the ancient Vedic sloka from Devi Bhagavatham, the famous set of hypnotic lines that start like this:

    Ya Devi Sarva Bhooteshu ............roopena samsthitha
    Namasthasyai ( three times) namo namaha.
    ( "I Salute that Devi who is present in all creations as ..............")

    The words filling the blanks, in each rendition, are Consciousness, Intelligence, Prosperity, compassion, contentment, peace, faith, hunger, sleep,thirst, Vishnu Maya, meditation etc. So ultimately everything is that Mother. So Shakthi is not just a red saree clad , multilimbed form.
    Similar also to the awesome "Rudram" .
    Another mesmerising vedic chant " Shivasankalpam" lists out blissful qualities ( sivam) wishing that they become the core of oneself: " Tan Mey manah shivasankalpam asthu"

    These are generally thought to be states of consciousness beyond the ken of ordinary folk. But Bharathi , an ordinary man , caught up in ordinary life circumstances was still able to achieve it and sing of it so beautifully, because he had the passion to feel with all his heart, to react with his entire being. That quality made him the supreme patriot, the prolific poet , the fiery mystic that he was.
    My reading of the snake part is, if a paambu makes the padai anja-fy, then Shakthi is that force that makes the padai overcome that fear and kill the snake. Would that make sense ?
    VS
     
  4. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Varalotti,

    And we enjoyed Bharathi! And what a majestic outpouring of obeisance to the primal force,the strength that drives us all, that fuels all life and living! And your translation matches the veeram and vegam of Bharathi's gushing! You have rendered another translation that captures the original and keeps us captive! Bharathi was probably a mystic, probably a poet propelled on opium (suspected not proven), but wierdo he never was. Maybe Bharathi would have objected to his deification as an Azhwar in MadhyaKAilas temple. But his praise of Shakti will definitely deify Her presence,her being in all of us.

    Thank you for another flawless Varalotti, you do Bharathiar proud again!

    regards
    Vidya
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2007
  5. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sridhar,

    I feel a little discomfort to be a part of this thread due to lack of my knowledge about these works, but am quick to realise that this is meant exactly for people like me. Although I am well aware of Bharatiyar, Kambar and other Tamil literary figures, I have not attempted to read them and it has also been out of my reach on many accounts.
    Now, I feel fortunate that you are bringing snippets from these great works for people like me to taste and savor their beauty. I am truly grateful to you.
    It was really thrilling the way you explain how Bharati came to write the above lines on Shakti. Reading his lines in Tamil is certainly a pleasure and a revelation. Your translation is just as poetic and impressive. Awesome Varalotti.
    I must say that the posts by Manjureddy and Vidyasarada adds to the glory of this thread. Thanks to both of them for embellishing the already magical thread.

    L, Kamla
     
  6. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,
    I enjoyed readng these verses of Bharathi...i am a grat follower of Bharatis works...for bvious reasons, since we use his songs in dance form also...and there is always immense power in his choice of words, that it lets a dancer feel more and emote easily too.....
    so thanks for this posting and the lovely english translation too.....very well done as usual....u seem to have a flair for it !
    More shakthi to you and your words !
     
  7. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    to manjula....

    Dear Manjula,
    I liked ur interpretation of the snake and army.....you really seem to have a knack of analysing things in depth,, be it a film review, or Sridhar's post or Bharathi's potry( i have not really seen ur other posts!)
    But i do appreciate the depth in your power of analysing and writing so well ! Kudos to u, you are really enriching our IL site! Keep them coming!I am sure you have a fan following now!:yes: :2thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2007
  8. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Vidhya sarada,
    I really liked your comparison to the devi slokam, and sivam.....it does sound difficukt to understand when it is in sanskrit...but when it comes as outpourings in a language u understand, the way Bharathi has done, it feels so good and true! isnt it?
    And of course thanks to our Varlotti for posting this and i remember Vidhya was the one asking for this ...so thanks to all of you , for the opportunity to rad and share such lovely verses of these great poets.
     
  9. Varloo

    Varloo Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,
    I have mugged up Bharathiyar poems while I participated in the recitation competition while I was in school. Did not understand the meanings then. Even later, there was not much chance of reading poems due to lack of interest.
    Now that you are bringing poets like Kambhar and Bharathy to us in a more simplified manner, I am warming up to them. And you give the rasa in the poems and it is easy to digest.
    Please keep posting such immortal works so that mortals like me could also enjoy.
     
  10. Vandhana

    Vandhana Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,

    I admire all of Bharatiyar's works. Just love allof them. This one is so good, ever since i read it yesterday, it has just stayed with me.
    I keep getting reminded of Prahalad's reply to Hiranyakasyapu about Where is God present? Bharatiyar's poem on Shakti is similar to that.
    She is there everwhere.

    Vandhana
     

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