God ! Grant me Transcendental Wisdom.

Poorvi Kalyani is a great, hoary raagam. It is as old as Mecha Kalyani. The main distinguishing difference is its flatter Rishabhm compared to the sharper Chatuhsruti rishabham in Mecha Kalyani. The flatter rishabham called Suddha (pure) rishabham imparts a measure of poignancy to this raagam in contrast to the sprightly Kalyani. The other difference is that Nishadam is absent in the ascendant notes.
This raagam is also called Gamana Srama, Deekshitar calls this raaga as Gamaka kriya.
It is significant that the swan songs of both Deeksitar and Tyagaraja happen to be in poorvikalyani.( as an aside, the word swan, hansa, is normally used to signify the soul flying away from the body.)It is not with out reason that great and discerning sages are referred to as Parama Hansas meaning those who can discern the permanent from the transient, just as ( as the belief goes) a swan can suck in milk alone leaving water behind, from diluted milk.
There is a poignant story about the swan song of Dikshitar, which I hope to recount in another post.
Meanwhile , here is my attempt at translation of the great song of Tyagaraja in the raagam regarded as his swan song, – he is believed to have breathed his last with this song on his lips. Significantly the lord is referred in this lyric as Garuda gamana. ( The Lord who rides on Garuda, the eagle), Garuda being the great preceptor of what lies beyond this worldly life, in Garuda Puranam.

Grant me My Lord, Benign Knowledge.
Why not grant me wisdom and knowledge ?
Pray, why don’t you grant me benign wisdom and knowledge ?
Oh Lord who rides over the Big Eagle, Garuda !
Why not grant me wisdom and knowledge ?
Do you have any grouse against or a feud with, me ?
Your name ( it’s perennial,ceaseless, ardent chanting) has cleansed my mind. Now. that It has turned pristine and pure, why not grant me wisdom and knowledge-benign ?
Oh The Complete One. Oh The Immaculate one. Oh, The Graceful Purveyor of perennial, and boundless bliss!, Oh, The Lord worshipped devoutly by Tyagaraja ! Why not grant me the realization, the wisdom, the knowledge that I am no different from, or that i’m indeed the same as The Transcendental Ultimate All-pervading Soul or The Soul resident in living things, or for that matter, the fourteen worlds, or the divine beings, the celestial folks or even the great sages like Narada, that I’m indeed one with them, that they are same as me, after all?,

The Telugu lyric in Roman script.
Pallavi –
Jnaanam-osaga raada?
Sujnaanam-osaga raada ?
Garuda-gamana naa to vaada ?
Nee naamamu chae naa madi nirmalam-ainadi
Jnaanam-osaga raada?
Sujnaanam-osa raada ?
Paramaatmudu, jeevaatmudu
Padunaalugu loakamuloo
Nara kinnara kimpurushulu, Narada-adi mumuloo,
Paripoorna ! Nishkalanka ! Niravadhi sukhadaayaka !
Vara Tyagaraajaarchita!
Vaaralu taananae
Sujnaanam-osa raada ?

Legend has it that this raaga was in fact sung by Tyagaraja in the 46 th basic raaga ( melakarts), Shadvidha Margini, and not in Poorvi Kalyani.

You can find Priya Sisters rendering this soulful song at thefollowing link.


About versa kay

Agile, keen, versatile,considerate,patient
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