Tag Archives: Carnatic Classical Music

Sri Hanuman and the music competition

Narada and Tumburu are the well known celestial musicians who constantly sing the glories of Lord Vishnu. Once when Sri Hari praised Tumburu’s music, Narada became very unhappy. The Lord then sent Narada to learn music from the music teacher of the celestial musicians Ganabandhu. Still not up to the mark, he then went and learnt music from Rukmini, the consort of Lord Krishna. Thus, after sufficient training, Narada wanted the Lord to judge both, Tumburu and himself and declare who was the best musician amongst the two. Narada and Tumburu sang with all devotion unto the Lord. Both of them were very good and the Lord did not want to displease anyone by taking any one particular name. He thought of calling an expert and accomplished musician for this task. He summoned HANUMAN – who is Kavya – Nataka – Sangeeta – Natya – Paripoorna!!

Hanumanji came and the contest started. Tumburu sang along accompanied by his veena – Kalavathi. His music was so enchanting that the whole universe of things and beings came to a standstill, almost froze and became silent! Hanumanji nodded in appreciation. Next was Narada’s turn. He rendered his music accompanied by his veena – Mahathi. The celestial music melted all that which was previously frozen!! Both of them were exceptionally good. Everyone was eagerly awaiting Hanumanji’s judgement.

Hanumanji asked for both their veenas and removed the frets of the veenas (the vertical strips on which the horizontal strings run), gave it back to them and asked them to go ahead and play the veena. Rather annoyed, they asked him how the veena can be played without the frets. Hanumanji silently took the fretless veena and played on it using a small piece of bamboo stick. He was an expert in playing the veena with or without frets. He sang and played on….. All the devatas were lost in the divine ecstatic devotional outpouring of Hanumanji. After some time when they looked around, they found Lord Sri Hari Himself present amongst them listening in rapt attention to Hanumanji’s Sangeeta.

Narada and Tumburu bowed down and acknowledged that indeed Hanumanji was not only the  greatest devotee of the Lord, but also the most accomplished musician !!

[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]


Aadimoolame Maaku – Annamacharya

Annamacharya was a 15th century saint composer who has composed a number of kirtans on Lord Venkateshwara. It is said that he has composed 32,000 songs. Annamacharya considers each of his kriti as a floral offering to the Lord. Most of his kirtans are in Telugu and in Sanskrit.

Lord Venkateshwara

In this beautiful composition, the Saint asks the Lord to protect all beings – Jeeva Raksha. He also invokes Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space (Pancha Maha Bhootas) for Protection – Bhumi-Raksha, Jala-Raksha, Agni-Raksha, Vayu-Raksha and Akasha-Raksha. The Pancha Maha Bhootas are nothing but a manifestation of the Lord’s Supreme Powers. The Lord indeed is the Sole Protector of all.


Language : Telugu

Adi moolame maku anga raksha
Sree devude maku jeeva raksha

Bhoomi devi patiaina purushottamude maku
bhoomi pai neda nundina bhoomi raksha
amani jaladhi Sayi yaina devude maku
sameepya mandunna jala raksha

Mroyuchu nagnilo yagna moortiyina devudu
ayamulu takanunda agni raksha
Vayusutu nelinattivanaja nabhude maku
vayuvandu kanda kuda vayu raksha

PadamakaSamunaku parajooche vishnuve
gadiliai maku akaSa raksha
sadhinchi SreevenkatadreeSude maku
sadaramu meerinatti sarva raksha

Anuraagamule – Saraswati – Tyagaraja

There are a number of compositions by Saint composers like Tyagaraja, Purandaradasa and others extolling the importance of Bhakti – devotion. In this composition Saint Tyagaraja talks about Divine Love – Anuraaga. Without Devotion, one remains deprived of true Knowledge and Wisdom. It is Bhakti which helps us to shift our focus from leading a pure materialistic life to a life filled with purpose (wisdom). The PURPOSE of human life is not to just earn money and enjoy a high “standard of living”. The STANDARD of LIFE should be taken care of with the help of Right Knowledge, Positive Values and Right Actions.


anuraagamu lEni manasuna sujnaanamu raadu


ghanulaina antar jnyaanulaku eruka gaani


vaga vagagaa bhujiyincEvaariki truptow reeti
saguNa dhyaanamu* paini sowkhyamu tyaagaraajanuta