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 firstname.lastname@example.org)
Quelish: “Divinity Can change fate”. Where all in Sri Madhurageethams can we find this “exact” reference? Clues to find the answer are given below
Clue 1: It is not a Tamil kirtan
Clue 2: It is not a Krishna kirtan
Clue 3: It is related to an incident in Atmadeva charitram from Srimad Bhagavatha Mahatmyam. Sri Swamiji specifically mentions this aspect of ‘fate’ in most of his lectures on Srimad Bhagavatham Mahatmyam. Also, the song is on Lord Shiva!
The Sri Madhurageetham being referred here is the lovely kirtan on Lord Shiva, “Kunchitapadam bhajeham” written in Sanskrit.
In our scriptures, fate is usually referred to as the letters on our forehead. This reference is mentioned in Atmadeva charitram in Srimad Bhagavatham Mahatmyam. When Atmadeva goes to the forest and meets a Yogi, he prays to the Yogi to bless him with a child. At the time, the Yogi ‘reads the letters’ on the forehead of Atmadeva and learns what destiny has in store for him.
Padma Purana (Srimad Bhagavata Mahatmyam) says – “tadbAlAksharamAlAm cha vAchayAmAsa yogavAn..” (Reading the letters on his forehead, the Yogi said….)
BAla means forehead and akshara means letters.
Similarly, in the Sri Madhurageetham, Sri Swamiji refers to the letters on the forehead as “lalAta aksharam”. lalAta is forehead and akshara, as we saw earlier, means letters. Sri Swamiji sings that Lord Shiva erased the letters on the forehead of Markandeya, which is essentially, changing fate.
Here, Sri Swamiji has embellished the kirtan further by using the same word ‘lalAta’ to also refer to the incident where Lord Shiva burns Manmatha with his third eye. Sri Swamiji says, Lord Shiva burned Manmatha with the eye that is on the forehead (lalAta-forehead, aksham-eye).
This kirtanam while describing the beautiful dancing form of Lord Shiva, is filled with poetic beauty and embellishments. The lyrics and meaning are given below.
rAgam: sindhubhairavi thALam: Adi
kunjchithapAdam bhajEham – sadA
01. ranjitha manOhara Ananda nrityam
manjuLa bhAShiNi arddhAngam
02. bhasmOddhULitha mangaLa vigraham
pathanjali vyAghrapAda amOgha darshanapradam
03. vyAghra charmAmbarAlankritham
04. manmathadahana lalATAkSham
mArkaNDEya lalATAkShara nAshakam
05. gangAdhara jaTAdhara chandrashEkharam
06. mrityunjayam amrithaghaTEshvaram
bhrityamuraLIdhara sadA pUjitham
I worship Lord Shiva (the one with the raised foot)
The One whose dance captivates the mind and fills one with Bliss
The One whose is the other half of Goddess Parvati
The One covered in ashes yet having an auspicious form
The One who bestowed a wondrous darshan on Pathanjali and Vyagrapada
The One who is covered with the skin of a tiger
The One riding a bull, and the most beautiful!
The One who burned Manmatha with the eye in His forehead
The One who destroyed the letters on the forehead of Markandeya (changed fate)
The One who has Goddess Ganga, wears matted hair, and has the moon (on his head)
The One who wears the garland of skulls and resides in the cemetery
The One who has won over Death (Kala), and is Amritaghateshvara, the Lord of
The One who is always worshiped by servitor Muralidhara
Based on Sri Ramanujamji’s insights into the Sri Madhurageetham
Compiled by Sowmya Balasubramanian, Dublin, CA
Illustration by Ashmitha S Nattami, 10yrs, Richomd, VA
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