Sri Madhurageetham Quelish – The Lovely Poetic Embellishment of ‘Doubt’

We shall relish, little by little, the rasa in Sri Madhurageethams, compositions of HH Maharanyam Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji, in the form of ‘questions to relish’, which we call as a ‘quelish’, as shared by his disciple Sri Ramanujamji.

(These quelishes are shared occasionally in a whatsapp group dedicated to enjoying the rasa of Sri Madhurageethams. To join this group, please reach out to us at

There are poetic embellishments called ‘bhrAntimAn’ (mistaken notion) and ‘sandeha:’ (doubt) which when used, beautify the mood of the poetry.

Generic examples of these embellishments are: 
1. An intoxicated bee thinks your Feet to be a lotus
2. ‘Some said it was the moon; some said it was a lotus. I couldn’t decide!’ – The cleverness in such poetry obviously is that it could be neither but a lovely face!

Now our ‘question to relish’ (quelish) is – Give examples from Sri Madhurageetham (compositions of Sri Swamiji) that have such an embellishment.

Bhraanti refers to ‘mistaken notion’. In poetry, this is somewhat like a metaphor, except that the original object is ‘mistaken’ for a different object. This is indicated in the first example. The bee thinks that the feet of the Lord are really a lotus.

Sandeha: is a similar embellishment that refers to ‘doubt’. Here the person seems apparently confused about what the original object is, and compares it with more than one object (usually with wonder). This is shown in the second example.

bhrAnti and sandeha: are poetic embellishments that add a sort of unique beauty to the mood of the song. Of course, this poetic aspect is also beautiful in that it is open to the interpretation of the rasika (reader/listener).

There are several Sri Madhurageethams that have this embellishment. This month, we shall enjoy the Madhurageetham, ‘Alankarapriyane Aravindaksha’. In this composition, this embellishment occurs in the line ‘vaNDinam moykkum thAmaraiyO ena viyandEn’ – (I wondered if it was a lotus surrounded by bees). The eyes of Sri Krishna are mistaken (by Sri Swamiji) to be a lotus (bhrAnti).

Other songs that have these poetic embellishments include Adhenna Pazhama where the Gopis wonder if the object Sri Krishna is lifting (Govardhana) so easily is a fruit, or a leaf, or a peacock feather! Another madhurageetham with this same embellishment of sandeha: is Malaimeedhu Nirkum Marmamenna, where Sri Swamiji speculates wonderfully on the various reasons why Lord Srinivasa Perumal is standing on a mountaintop.

Let us enjoy the lyrics and meaning of the Sri Madhurageetham Alankarapriyane set in Raga Kapi and Adi Tala.

rAgam: kApi thALam: Adi 

alankAra priyanE aravindAkSha 

punugu javvAdu pannIrum sErttha parimaLa chandanam aNivAy dEva 

malligai mullai mAlathI jAthi naRumaNa mAlai aNivAy dEva

azhagan unakku azhagu seyvAruNDO pazhakkatthinAl nAnum thuNindEn dEva

kooTTiya maiyai kaNgaLil theeTTi vaNDinam moykkum thAmaraiyO ena viyandEn
anbuDan pEsi ARudal aLikkum muraLIdharA un thiruvaDi charaNam 

O Aravindaksha, One who loves to adorn Himself!

Please accept this sandalwood paste mixed with fragrant materials

Please bedeck yourself with these garlands of various flowers of jasmine, mullai, mAlathi

O Beautiful One! Can anyone beautify you? O Lord! I dare to do so by force of habit

I apply collyrium to Your eyes and wonder if it is a lotus surrounded by bees

O Muralidhara! You speak with love and offer solace. Your feet are indeed my refuge!

Audio for the song

Based on Sri Ramanujamji’s insights into the Sri Madhurageetham
Compiled by Sowmya Balasubramanian, Dublin, CA


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