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June 30, 2015 Tuesday     

Ek Onkar Guru Nanak Aarti at Jagannath Puri

As a revolutionary Sufi saint, Guru Nanak’s extensive travels in and outside India called Udaasis have several enlightening events associated with them prominently mentioned in the history books. But still it’s quite amazing to admit that not many actually know about Guru Nanak’s visit to Jagannath Puri (Orissa) and his rendition of the divine AARTI there, a wonderfully composed poetic explanation of the universe, that is now sung in every Gurdwara as a daily religious ritual as per the Sikh code of conduct post the recitation of Rehraas Sahib in Raag Dhanashri.
As per the various legends written about Guru Nanak’s visit to Jagannath Puri, a few write about the Guru attending the traditional Aarti being practiced inside the temple and in that ecstasy of watching the elaborate celebration, remaining seated that was not liked by the orthodox priest, who later confronted him for this questionable indifference shown. Another legend talks about the worshippers innocently assuming Guru Nanak as a Muslim faqir and droving him out of the premises, whereas the third one explains how the Guru helped Mardana quench his thirst expressed reaching the specific place. The fourth version talks about a fake brahmin exposed by the Guru and the fifth gives the reference of some stolen golden utensils from the temple found later. However the one linking the king says that the priests regretted their mistake of disrespecting the Guru when Lord Jagannath came in the dream of King Prataparudra Deva and said that he was listening to the hyms sung by Nanak. Seeing the dream, the King rushed to meet the saint and everyone apologized for their misbehavior recognizing the true Guru.                                       
Jagannath Puri TempleHere we might have many versions about Guru Nanak’s visit to the Jagannath Temple but one conclusion that can be easily drawn from them all is that the Guru did witness the prestigious Aarti being held inside the temple with the priests bringing in a big platter having many lighted lamps, incense, fruits, flowers, ornaments and more being offered to the deity along with musical beating of drums, bells, cymbals and continuing chanting of sacred mantras from the scriptures.
Inspired by the energetic celebration by the devotees of Lord Jagannath, Guru Nanak spontaneously came up with his own blissful version of the AARTI praising The Almighty’s beautiful creation and its continuous celebration going on every moment since eternity. All the priests and pilgrims were simply stunned to hear such mesmerizing celestial praises sung for ‘the Creator and his creation’ by the unexpected, enlightened soul and the melody touched many hearts experiencing the deeply meaningful rendition in Jagannath Puri that blessed evening.
Described in the above mentioned various versions, the two particular places related with Guru Nanak in the region are Bauli Mathh, where a water source was found in a hole dug on his instructions and Mangu Mathh where he used to sit under a tree during his stay in Puri preaching the people.
Interestingly few other lesser known links between Sikh history and the place include the compositions of Jaidev being a part of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, who was a famous spiritual poet of Orissa. And then the ninth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Tegh Bahadur’s visit to the Bauli Mathh where he stayed for a few days during his travels. Later Bhai Himmat Singh of Puri became one of the five people (Panj Piyaras) who came forward offering their heads to Guru Gobind Singh on the day of formation of Khalsa panth. Also Maharaja Ranjit Singh on his deathbed willed the Kohinoor diamond to the Jagannath Temple only on the suggestion given by his astrologer, but the wish couldn’t be fulfilled due to the refusal of its royal custodian.
Rabindranath Tagore on Guru Nanak's AARTIComing to the 20th century remembering Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, its said that once the veteran actor Balraj Sahni, who taught in Santiniketan in the late 1930’s, asked Rabindra Nath Tagore that,
“You have written the national anthem for India. Why not write an international anthem for the whole world?”
“It has already been written, not only for the world but for the entire universe. It was written in the 16th century by Guru Nanak,”
replied Tagore referring to the Aarti (the ceremony of light).
In fact such was his love and respect for the verses that Gurudev Tagore personally translated it too in order to make it reach many more, not knowing the language (Gurmukhi). And shared below is the first stanza of the same which I have tried to translate in English for all interested fellow seekers on the path as beautifully expressed by Guru Nanak.
“Gagan Mai Thaal Rav Chand Deepak Baney,
Tarika Mandal Janak Moti,
Dhoop Malyanlo Pavan Chavro Kare
Sagal Banraye Phulant Jyoti,
Kaisi Aarti Hoye Bhav Khandna Teri Aarti.
Anhata Shabad Vaajant Bheri”
(Aarti – The word having its Sanskrit origin symbolizes the loving prayers performed as a ceremony, greeting and expressing gratitude towards the one supreme power. And representing the same Guru Nanak beautifully describes how the whole universe is performing an Aarti in reverence towards the Almighty through its spellbinding nature around.)
----------
“The sky is the cosmic plate or bowl, the sun and the moon are the brightly shining lamps placed. The twinkling stars and the constellations are like jewels and pearls in it. The fragrance of sandalwood in air becomes the incense spread by the flowing wind. And all the plants (greenery) around us are the flowers offered to you.
What wonderful is this Aarti continuously happening in the universe.
O Destroyer of fear, Lord, this is your ceremony of lights, your Aarti, with the mystical music in the un-struck sound of the Shabad playing like the temple drums.
What wonderful is this Aarti continuously happening in the universe! O Lord, Your Aarti”
---------
This original Aarti (of four stanzas) composed by Guru Nanak is included twice in Guru Granth Sahib. However the present version sung in Gurudwara’s has four more stanzas added to it penned by Bhagat Ravi Das, Sant Sain, Sant Kabir & Bhagat Dhanna along with the final touches coming from the tenth guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh.
And what better example one can find of practicing equality in humanity while remembering that supreme power, the One Almighty………Ek Onkar……through such amazingly peaceful & spiritually transforming Aarti.
HIS BLESSINGS
Bobby Sing © April 2015
Tags : The link between Guru Nanak's divine AARTI, Jagannath Puri, Rabindranath Tagore and World Anthem, An insight by Bobby Sing, Articles on music, life and poetry at bobbytalkscinema.com, Ek Onkar, Sikh Spiritual Aarti, Aarti in Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Nanak in Puri Orissa.
 
 
15 April 2015 / bobbysing /
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Sahir Ludhianvi

In the early decades of Hindi films post-independence, when lyricists and composers used to heartily appreciate the memorable works of their fellow artists, there was a rare instance when a socially relevant song in film Nastik (1954) was answered later in a comic-parody form in film Railway Platform (1955) by an entirely different team of known creative men in all good spirits.
The memorable, realistic song depicting the inhuman aftermath of partition and hypocrisy practiced in the society was both penned and sung by the respected Kavi Pradeep in the composition by C. Ramchandra (film directed by I. S. Johar) and is still remembered as one of the most iconic songs of Hindi cinema surprisingly relevant even today in the present scenario. And its true to life lyrics go as:
Dekh Tere Sansaar Ki Haalat Kya Ho Gayi Bhagwaan,
Kitna Badal Gaya Insaan….., Kitna Badal Gaya Insaan,
Sooraj Na Badla, Chaand  Na Badla, Na Badla Re Aasmaan
Kitna Badal Gaya Insaan….., Kitna Badal Gaya Insaan!
A quite bold poetic statement for those nation-building times, the song took the entire country by storm and was answered by Sahir Ludhianvi in the next year along with Mohd. Rafi, S. D. Batish (as singers) and Madan Mohan (as composer using the same tune of C. Ramchandra) in film Railway Platform (1955) directed by Ramesh Saigal (the first movie of actor-director-politician Sunil Dutt). The song was a funny parody also shot in a comic setting on screen, mocking at the hypocrite social standards revealing the wide gap between the rich and the poor in relation to the supreme Almighty. And its lyrics using the subjects in reverse order were:
Dekh Tere Bhagwaan Ki Haalat Kya Ho Gayi Insaan,
Kitna Badal Gaya Bhagwaan….., Kitna Badal Gaya Bhagwaan,
Bhookhon Ke Ghar Mein Phera Na Daaley, ‘Sethon’ Ka Ho Mehmaan,
Kitna Badal Gaya Bhagwaan….., Kitna Badal Gaya Bhagwaan!
No doubt the lyrics of the parody presented a much more sarcastic vision of our society as an answer, blaming it all on the supreme power only in return. But at the same time, using the exactly similar thought, meter and composition of another team, certainly gives us a clear idea of the healthy creative environment existing among the talented creators of those times who mutually had an honest wish to have a better and peaceful society ahead in the independent India and did believe in “Imitation as the sincerest form of flattery” complimenting each other.
Interestingly a few years later in 1958, Sahir came up with another introspective answer to two highly esteemed poetic expressions of the most respected Urdu poet and philosopher Muhammad Iqbal (also known as Allama Iqbal), titled Tarana-e-Hind’ or ‘Tarana-e-Hindi’ (Song of the nation Hindustan) and ‘Tarana-e-Milli’ (Song of the Religious community).

To simplify the terms, we know ‘Tarana-e-Hindi’ by the countrywide popular phrase of “Saarey Jahan Se Achha Hindustan Hamara” and its opening lines go as:
Saarey Jahan Se Achha, Hindustan Hamara,
Hum Bulbuley Hain Is Ki, Yeh Gulsitan Hamara!
Whereas ‘Tarana-e-Milli’ talked about the Islamic community alone beginning as:
Cheen-O-Arab Hamaara, Hindustan Hamaara,
Muslim Hain Hum, Vatan Hai Saara Jahaan Hamaara!
Taking the two expressions together, Sahir again came up with an exceptional, hard hitting parody using similar phrases in film Phir Subah Hogi (1958 – based on Dostoevysky’s Crime & Punishment) sung by Mukesh in the music direction of Khaiyyam (film directed by Ramesh Saigal). And the answer very daringly depicted the cynical realities of life simply rejecting the optimistic vision of Muhammad Iqbal in a rebellious manner as:
Cheen-O-Arab Hamaara, Hindustan Hamaara,
Rehney Ko Ghar Nahin Hai, Saara Jahaan Hamaara!

Jitni Bhi Buildingen Thi, ‘Sethon’ Ne Baant Li Hain
Footpath Bambai Ke Hain Aashiyaan Hamaara
Soney Ko Hum Qalandar, Aatey Hain Bori Bandar
Har Ek Coolie Yahaan Ka, Hai Raazdan Hamaara

Cheen-O-Arab Hamaara, Hindustan Hamaara,
Rehney Ko Ghar Nahin Hai, Saara Jahaan Hamaara!
It is said that the song became a youth anthem at that time, just a decade after the Indian independence when all educated unemployed youngsters had no clear directions of where to move ahead with their individual careers. Considered as ‘controversial lyrics’ it was well-noticed by the authorities too for its unpleasant but true representation of the times by the one and only Sahir Ludhianvi, who till date finds no parallel when it comes to such poetic-satirical comment on the sad state of our society and its changing mindsets. For instance just look at the word “Seth” (Capitalists) used in both the songs mentioned above painting an ugly picture of the wide divide, painfully exploiting the poor.
However the biggest irony is that the meaningful lyrics written by the blessed poet in the mid 50s are still equally relevant in the present, after more than half a century gone and many generations changed. In fact that’s what perfectly represents the introspective, futuristic vision of an extraordinary poet with incomparable writing skills fondly known as Sahir Ludhianvi.
Incidentally Sahir too got a sharp answer for his “Taj Mahal” nazm by another renowned poet-lyricist Shakeel Badayuni in film “Leader” (1964) directed by Ram Mukherjee with music composed by Naushad and the track beautifully sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohd. Rafi.
To give you the exact phrase, towards the end of his famous nazm Sahir wrote,
“Ik Shahenshah Ne Daulat Ka Sahaara Le Kar
Hum Gareebon Ki Mohabbat Ka Urhayaa Hai Mazaaq,
Meri Mehboob Kahin Aur Mila Kar Mujh Se!”
And in answer to that Shakeel expressed it in his lyrics as,
“Ik Shahenshah Ne Banwa Ke Hasin Tajmahal
Saari Duniyaa Ko Mohabbat Ki Nishaani Di Hai,
Iske Saaye Mein Sada Pyaar Ke Charchey Hongey
Khatm Jo Ho Na Sakegi Woh Kahaani Di Hai”
Again two exceptionally talented poets/lyricist of our ‘Golden Era’ at their creative best!

HIS BLESSINGS
Bobby Sing
© Bobbytalkscinema.com April 2015 
Tags : Sahir Ludhianvi answers Kavi Pradeep and Allama Iqbal, Did You Know facts about Hindi Cinema at bobbytalkscinema, Unknown Hindi Films Facts by Bobby Sing, Lesser known facts about Hindi Cinema by Bobby Sing
 
 
09 April 2015 / bobbysing /
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It’s always great fun to see films featuring the westerners visiting INDIA for their own distinctive purposes ranging from medical urgency to spirituality and a lot more. I truly enjoy such films portraying our country in both the wrong and right way together (due to their own ignorance) right from the days of projects produced/directed by Ismail Merchant and then the more famous award winners like A PASSAGE TO INDIA (1984) directed by the maestro David Lean.
Admittedly there have been many more films made on the related themes in the last few decades, but the reason for writing about THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (2011) here are the three particular lines, the film comes up in its climax that redefines the meaning of life for its various characters fighting with their own problematic issues.
A film revolving around a group of foreigners visiting India, staying at the supposedly best Marigold Hotel, it might not be a masterpiece but remains a pleasant feel good venture offering an enjoyable amalgamation of Indian and Western cultures depicted in a loving style by director John Medden.
And the three important lines that need to be contemplated upon are:
“The only real failure is the failure to try.
And the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment.”
“The person who risks nothing, does nothing……….has nothing.
&
“Someone once said, everything will be all right in the end.
But If its not all right…….then trust me……….. its not the end yet.”
Cheers!
For more details of the movie click : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1412386/
Tags : Life Teaching Dialogues & Songs in Films, Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing, Articles on Music Poetry and Life by Bobby Sing, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011), Films made on foreigners visiting India, Wrong and right depicton of India in foreign films, Introspective articles on cinema at bobbytalkscinema.com
 
 
08 February 2015 / bobbysing /
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