The full moon of Chitra / Vaisakh

It is that time of the year again…

Festival time in South India…Siva temples all over will be celebrating the celestial wedding of Siva and Parvati…Madurai, especially, will be a hive of joy, as the annual Chitra festival reverberates across the land…The powers that be will open dam controls and more waters will flow in Vaigai, for the annual dip of Azagar…

It is also the day of birth,  the day of enlightenment, and the day of Nirvana of Gautama Buddha.

Beaches in Chennai will be packed choc-a-bloc with people as they picnic in the full moon night…

The ‘procession idols’ of many temples will take tours of their sovereign…carried in palanquins, decked in the finest dress and decorations, going on a procession across the towns and cities, stopping to accept worship from devotees who wait outside the gates of their homes, plates of offerings in hand…

And this year, they have a very special celebration in a village called Tallapaka in Cudappah disctrict, in Andhra.

They are celebrating the 600th birth anniversery of a boy from that village, who went on to become one of the most extraordinary mystic-poet-musician-saint of all times…

Saint Annamacharya. 

Annamacharya (1408 – 1503 ) reached the highest of spiritual experience even as a young lad. What an extraordinary outpouring of devotion emerged from his lips…Sri Annamacharya went on to compose more than thirty thousand songs on Sri Venkateshwara, the Lord of Seven Hills….

Apparently, his songs were lost for many centuries….And then, sometime in the middle of twentieth century, they discovered a rock-cell near the Hundi at the Tirumala temple, and in that cell they found more than ten thousand songs of Annamacharya, engraved in a few thousand copper plates…. Talking of buried treasures, what a discovery that must have been!

Great musicians, scholars, connoisseurs of music have all approached the portals of Annamacharya music with great reverence, humility, and sheer awe. Such is the ocean of divinity that pours out of these leaves of copper…

One doesnt even need to know the language. When one hears a song like  “Brahmam okate para brahmam okate”, one knows….This is the voice of divine…

One Response to “The full moon of Chitra / Vaisakh”

  1. krishashok Says:

    “Brahman okate para”.

    The lyrical beauty is equally matched by the elegant simplicity of the tune that was composed for this song. Forgive me for the digression into music theory, but, the use of the folsky and immensely popular “thisram” beat (popularly called Dappaankutthu in rural TN) and the choice of a simple pentatonic (5 notes) raaga namely Bowli makes this song all the more memorable. While carnatic purists (like my relatives) tend to frown upon such attempts at reaching the masses, I used to play this song frequently on the violin when I was a little boy. My father had these noble notions of bringing carnatic music to the village masses, so he used to get me to perform at remote villages (instead of the hallowed halls of chennai) free of cost and this song never failed to rouse the crowd.

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