Parvathi Sankaran, born in 1934 in Kerala, studied in Madras in Stella Maris and Queen Mayt's Colleges and gained a graduate degree in Economics with Sanskrit as second language. A keen student of the language, she took considerable interest in studying, mostly on her own, Narayaneekyam, Bhagavatam, Bhagavad Geeta, Religion and Vedanta. She was an ardent devotee of Guruvayurappan and conducted Narayaneeyam classes for many years. Her contribution to this compilation was immense, but, sadly, she passed away before it was completed.
G.Sankaran, born in 1930 in kerala, is post graduate in Chemistry from the University College, Tiruvananthapuram. He joined the Indian Customs Service in 1953 and held several senior positions and retired as the President of the Customs, Excise and Gold Appellate Tribunal. Sanskrit was his second language in school and college. He also holds a superior Diploma in French from the Alliance Francaise. Both along with two others, were co-authors of an English version of the scholarly Malayalam Bhaktaranjini commentary on Naranyaneeyam.
He is the soul of all that exists, the cause of all that is, or ever will be. He is unlimited and has many names. He has both the impersonal and the personal aspects to His personality which is Supreme, Eternal Blissful and full of Knowledge. But our true transcendental consciousness has been polluted and like a dirty mirror, it is unable to reflect a pure image.
Through all ages, great saints, devotees have remained as living proof that the permanent state of God-consciousness can be revived in all living souls and attuning our self with God is what maters most. The compositions of great masters are more refined, scientific and regarded as the highest musical form we ever have. These composers are basically scholars in the languages of their lyrics. They are also highly proficient in all aspects of music comprises the multiform Ragas and Rhythms. In the compositions, emphasis on philosophical truths is resplendent. It is indeed difficult to do justice to the wide range of ideas spelt out in about 240 kritis in "Sree Krishnam Bhaja Maanasa".
Art particularly music, is a formidable means to atma-samskriti. The life of art is inspiration. It is spiritual in its outlook, idealistic in expression and sublime in interpretation. For one thing, music has been considered divine in origin. In essence, music is an expression of the inner being in man.
It is with great pleasure that I write this foreword to this book compiled by Sri. G. Sankaran and his wife Smt. Parvathi.
The book contains Kritis of master composers which impart knowledge on the self and the Universal Spirit. These composition foster Bhakthi in the hearts of men. The way of devotion is not different from Jnana or knowledge. Knowledge becoming fully mature is Bhakthi. The uniquneness and greatness of Indian outlook lie in the value they set on higher things, things relating to the soul. They do not, however, neglect material concerns.
Sri Sankran and his wife Smt. Parvathi were a highly educated couple, Well-versed in Tamil, Malayalam, Sanskrit and English languages. Smt. Parvathi was deeply interested in religious and spiritual studies and music. She, along with her husband, was part of four member team that created an English version of a very scholarly Malayalam commentary on Srimad Narayaneeyam. She took a very significant part in compiling "Shree Krishnam Bhja Manasa" which contains about 240kritis of master composers of Carnatic music and North Indian music.
Sri Sankaran is a keen listener and a good rasika of Carnatic music for over 65 years.
This book has brought out kritis in different languages including Kannada. Much effort has gone into its compilations. My hearty congratulations to the incredibly talented couple. Their sincerity and dedication are highly appreciable.
"Sree Krishnam Bhaja Maanasa" is really valuable to all musicians, music livers and music students who can know the meanings of the kritis word-by-word, or phrase-wise or their gist because the songs are in diverse languages.
I wish the compilation all the best.
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies with us.
As a sequel to the English version of The Bhakrtanjini Commentary on Melpathur Naarayana Bhattatiri's "Srimammaraya-neeyam" (published by The Bhaktaranjini Tuest, Bangalore), we two (part of the four member team that authored that version) have been thinking of bringing out a compilation of musical composition on Sree Krishna. Over a period of time, we collected a number of such songs, authored by different composers in different languages: Samskrutam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi.
Krishna is, perhaps, the most favourite ishtadevataa- personal God- throughout the length and breadth of India. Many factors account for this: the dramatic circumstances surrounding his birth, His mischievous childhood pranks that made him the darling of Gopis and fired the imagination of generations of devotee- singer-saints like Meeraa and Kabir in the North, Naaraayana Teerta, Sadaasiva Brahmendra. Aandaal and Oothukadu Venkata Kavi in the South to name just a few and many others, to ecstatic heights of piety and creativity.
His miraculous deeds in the course of fulfilling the avowed purpose of his descent to the earth, namely, protection of the virtuous and annihilation of the wicked, and his exposition of life in the immortal Geetaa,-and many more such compelling factors. Krishna is considered to be the poorna avatara of Mahaa Vishnu, the others being only. For this reason, we find many composers identify Krishna with Vishnu in their kritis. So, we have included many such kritis on Vishnu in this collection.
For obvious reasons, a compilation of this nature cannot be exhaustive. Ours is an eclectic collection. What we have tried to do is, basically, to collect kritis which are heard frequently on the concert platform, some less so. However, we found it hard to resist the temptation to include some that appear to be practically never but which are remarkable for their lyrical beauty.
The scheme followed is this
The text of the lyric followed by the meaning of the lyric, word-by-word or, where even that is not feasible, of the compound words themselves. In some instances, we had to resort to translating whole verses without breaking them into their components. (this was mainly due to our resources constraints.) but the over-riding objective was to convey the meaning and purport of the lyrics. Again, in respect of some kritis whose meanings, we felt, would be 'lost' in translation, we have attempted to give only their purport.
We have kept in mind fact lyrics do not necessarily follow the syntactical order and flow of prose. And wherever strict adherence to the sequence of the words in a lyric would have rendered its word-by-word meaning devoid of the sequential flow of meaning when reading the English version, we have tried to give primary emphasis to the English version, we have tried to give primary emphasis to the flow of the meaning of the lyric rather than strictly adhere to the sequential order of words in the lyric litself.
Care has been taken to ensure, as far as practicable as far as practicable, not to split words at impermissible places. While we would have very much liked to use the scripts of the languages in which the lyrics have been composed for transcribing their texts, it has not been possible, owing to practical difficulties, to do so save in respect of lyrics in Samskrutam and Hindi. In respect of the other languages, we have used the Engish script but in italics. The meanings of all the lyrics have, however, been given in English.
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