Lost in the celestial music…

I am not a connoisseur of music! I probably am not a layman in terms of it too, and hence, can feel a good song, when I hear one! Transcending the boundaries of language is probably the greatest achievement of music! Albeit, in the current scenario, the negative elements seem to have gained momentum in defeating this purpose too, for die hard romanticists like me, there still seems to be some hope. Some of my favorite composers in Karnatik music, are varied – ranging from our very own kannada composers to tamil and telugu. One such composer of divine songs is Oothukadu Venkatasubbiyer. His compositions were predominantly in Tamil, as well as in Sanskrit. They were written on Lord Krishna, celebrating his childhood pranks, and divine deeds. One such song that has always held me enraptured by its sheer brilliance of expression and grandeuse of composition is “Alaipayuthey”. This song was also featured in the movie by Maniratnam of the same name, under the efficient music direction of ARR. The chorus effect on the song is what renders it a celestial magic, quite different than when one hears it in a solo voice. Some of the renditions that I really enjoy are from Maharajapuram Santhanam, Bombay Jayashree, and Anuradha Sriram. After a lot of patient hearing, and some research on the web, I was able to zero in on what I feel is a rather accurate presentation of the song, and one can really see the sheer devotion and love oozing out of its lyrics, the eagerness of the lover to be encompassed by the divine music of Lord Krishna’s flute, as if it were a burst of the morning dew waiting to be sucked up by the flowers and convert to nectar, or as the moonlit drops of the swati rain, waiting to be transformed into radiant pearls! It is the sheer magic of music, at work in this song, and hence is my most favorite of his compositions.

alaipaayudhe kaNNaa en manam alaipaayudhae
aanandha mohana veNu gaanamadhil
alaipaayudhe kaNNaa en manam alaipaayudhae
[O Lord Krishna, my mind is wandering, lost in the divine transcendental music of your flute]

nilaipeyaRaadhu silaipolave ninRu (2)
neramaavadhaRiyaamalae miga vinodhamaana muraLeedharaa
en manam alaipaayudhae kaNNaa aaaa

[Without moving, I stood rooted and transfixed like a statue. I did not realize nor care for the passing of time, for lost I was in the enigmatic music emmanating from your flute. My mind is aflutter.. O Krishna.. ]

theLindha nilavu pattappagal pol eriyudhe (2)
dhikkai nokki en puruvam neRiyudhe
kanindha un veNugaanam kaatRil varugudhe (2)
kaNgal sorugi oru vidhamaay varugudhe (2)

[In this radiant moonlight that has made a day of the night, I strain my eyes and look in your direction. Even as the transcendetal tunes of your flute come floating unto me in the cool breeze, my eyes close in ecstasy and a new feeling envelopes my heart.]

kadhiththa manaththil oruththi padhaththai enakku aLiththu magizhththavaa (2)
oru thaniththa manaththil aNaiththu enakku uNarchchi koduththu mugizhththavaa (2)

[Mould my tender heart as you wish, filling it completely with love for you and joyous feeling of your company. Carry me off to a remote, lonely grove and release on me, the flood of the ecstatic emotions of love making and celestial union with you.]

kaNai kadal alaiyinil kadhiravan oLiyena iNaiyiru kazhalena kaLiththavaa
kadhaRi manamurugi naan azhaikkavoa idhara maadharudan nee kaLikkavo (2)
idhu thagumo idhu muRaiyo idhu dharmam thaanoa (2)
kuzhaloodhidum pozhudhu aadigum kuzhaigaL poalavae manadhu vaedhanai migavodu

[Aren’t you the one dancing on the waves on which the rays of the sun too are dancing! Here I am pleading with you, with a bleeding heart, endlessly, while you there you are making merry with other women! Is this right on your part? Is this a proper conduct for you? Is this what you call dharma? Yet, at the sight of the dance of your ear rings to the tunes of your flute, my pained heart rises in joy and happiness]

alaipaayudhae kaNNaa en manam alaipaayudhae
un aanandha moagana vaeNu gaanamadhil
alaipaayudhae kaNNaa aaaa

[My mind is afloat, O Krishna, in the joyous, enchanting music of your flute, my mind is afloat]

It is hard for me to imagine a being that wouldn’t be touched by the ardent pleadings and arduous pains suffered by the bereft lover, burning in the anguish of viraha! Do not hear the song, but listen to it, closing your eyes, and opening the sight of your heart! And trust me, when I say that the overwhelming emotions, shall water down your eyes! Such is the magic of music! Let’s get enchanted!


    • anukta on December 15, 2005 at 6:20 PM
    • Reply

    What a translation! I’m gonna sit with this ‘n’ listen to Alaipayuthey again.
    Have you heard of Shankarabharanam (telugu)? I guess you must have.

    • Praveen on December 16, 2005 at 2:55 PM
    • Reply


    yep.. ofcourse I have. You can find those songs among my favorites! Especially the songs “shankara naada shareeraapara”, “brochevaarevarura”, “dorakunaa iTuvaMTi sEva”, are my favorites!

    • anukta on January 6, 2006 at 8:06 AM
    • Reply

    When I first listened to Alaipayuthey, felt there should have been flute in the composition.But that is not possible with vocal.Both M.Santanam Vocal and A.R Rahman’s composition have only pakka vaadya. Was little diappointed. Now,I’m thrilled to listen to the same song in Chitra’s voice with venu, veena samagama. New fusion version has come out. Not really a perfect blend of instruments.
    Totally in four different ways I’ve listened to the song…. still yeh dil mange more.If a bamboo flute stirs the air …hmm,just waiting for the instrumental.

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