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A “Global” Praise: ♫ “Guardian Goddess” and Mother Nature

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by K. Thirukumaran

Yathum ure yavarum Kelir” – All the world is my world, all humanity is my fraternity:”– Kaniyan Poongkundran-Translated by Rev Fr Xavier Thaninayagam

Portrait taken in 1920 in Chennai-Subramaniya Bharathiyaar (Dec  11, 1882-Sep 11, 1921)

Portrait taken in 1920 in Chennai-Subramaniya Bharathiyaar (Dec 11, 1882-Sep 11, 1921)

Sakthi is the “Guardian Goddess” of Mahakavi Subramaniya Bharathiyar. He has said that Navarathri is a favorite festival of his and that he look forward to celebrate it every year.

In 2014, Navarathri is from September 25th to October 3rd. Calendars in USA and Canada have marked the beginning date as September 24th.

Mahakavi Subramaniya Bharathiyar wrote many poems in praise of Sakthi. His famous praise of the goddess invoked Sakthi as Mother of the nation in the form of Muththumari, the main deity in numerous rural parts of Tamil Nadu.

“Bhooloka Kumari” – is one of two Sanskrit songs composed by Mahakavi Bharathiyar and may not be the first song that comes to the mind in praise of Sakthi or in renderings during Navarathri.

However, Bharathiyar praises Mother Nature too as “Guardian Goddess”, making reference to her via “Vaani”, “Janani” “Sundari” “Kalyani” and “Rani” etc. in this song. The great bard remains the trailblazer Editor of a globally spirited Women’s Magazine “Chakravarthini” (The Empress) as early as the year 1905. The magazine is said to have been in tone and spirit of Women’s magazines of the West. His showering words of praise of Mother, Mother Nature – and bestowing Womanhood via this song can be said of his “secular” and “global” form of praising the “Guardian Goddess”.

Sri Lakshmi, Sri Durga & Sri Saraswathy-at Sri Venkateswara Tempe, Bridgewater, NJ-pic cia Temple 2014 calendar

Sri Lakshmi, Sri Durga & Sri Saraswathy-at Sri Venkateswara Tempe, Bridgewater, NJ-pic cia Temple 2014 calendar

Sanskrit lyrics of the song:

Bhooloka kumari , hey Amrutha Nari

Aaloka srungari , amrutha kalasa kucha bhaare,
Kaala bhaya kudari , kama vaari , Kanaka latha roopa garva dimirare

Bale , rasa jaale , Bhagawathi praseedha kaale,
Neela rathna maya nethra vishale, nithya yuvathi pada neeraja male,
Leelaa jwaalaa nirmitha vaani , Niranthare nikila loka janani,
Nirupama Sundari , nithya kalyani,
Nijam maam kuru hey Manmatha rani

An Autumn "Thanksgiving" decoration in NYC featuring Characters of "Peanuts"-by Charles M. Schulz

An Autumn “Thanksgiving” decoration in NYC featuring Characters of “Peanuts”-by Charles M. Schulz

“Bhooloka Kumari” especially at this time of the year resonates with the Fall season in the West and in Giving Thanks to Mother Nature that coincides with the Navarathri days.

Invoking the song duing Navarathri gives the opportunity to relish in Bharathiyar’s global” praise of Mother Nature as “Guardian Goddess”, penned perhaps close to a century ago!

Exemplary as it is, making Mahakavi Bharathiyar an early environmentalist too.

Bharathiyar’s worship of his “Guardian Goddess” – Sakthi in essence is this, in his own words:

“The world lives because of Sakthi
We like to live
Therefore we pray
Sakthi”,
Bharathiyar said in a brief essay about Navarathri.

In the midst of Indian freedom struggle a century ago, Bharathiyar found Navarathri fostering commonality from “Himalayas in the North” to “Kumari in South” as many in between celebrated it.

Today the world embarks with Mother Nature in a wider spectrum of cultures around the globe, including here in North America; thus the song “Bhooloka Kumari” blends with Mahakavi’s own bestowment of Nature with his “Guardian Goddess” and Womanhood in these times and places as well.

Bharathiyar’s “Bhooloka Kumari”, and the following lavish rendering by Sanjay Subrahmanyan fits the seasonal fete globally.

This clip is from the special Navarathri concert by Sanjay Subrahmanyan for Kalamandir Trust at the Music Academy, Chennai, on 20th October 2012. The accompanists are S Varadarajan – Violin & Neyveli B Venkatesh – Mrudangam. The song is a composition of Subramania Bharathi set to music by Shri Calcutta KS Krishnamurthi.

Navarthri Festival

Navarthri is celebrated at homes, schools and work places and “Vaani Villa” or “Saraswathy Poosai” cultural events are hallmarks of the festival.

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Students of Jaffna-Ramanathan Academy of Fine Arts, Kilinochchi Maha Vidyalayam and Sathya Sai Kalalayam, Kandy performed at the celebrations held on Sep 25, 2014 at the Sri Lanka Parliament complex-pic courtesy of: TamilWin

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What is a gala without traditional savoury delights? Navarathri is time for delightful sweets and spiced goodies of every kind. Moist rice flakes mixed with jaggery, chick pea medley with coconut chunks and stir fried mustard seeds and dried chillies are traditional favourites at Navarathri functions.

1964 Tamil film Navarathri starring Sivaji Ganesan and Savitri is a memorable movie that has melodies that bring to stage the gala of the festivities for the “Guardian Goddess”,

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