Kurai Onrum Illai

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C. Rajagopalachari

Kurai Onrum Illai (Tamil: குறை ஒன்றும் இல்லை, meaning No grievances have I) is a Tamil devotional song written by C. Rajagopalachari.[1] The song was written in praise of the Hindu god Krishna and set in Carnatic music. The song was sung by M. S. Subbulakshmi at the United Nations in 1969.

Kurai Onrum Illai is one of the few songs written by Indian politician, freedom-fighter and Governor-General of India, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari. This song is unique due to the fact that it does not assume the tone of devoted prayer as most Hindu devotional songs but one of thankfulness to God. The song comprises 3 stanzas each set in three different ragas.

Kurai Onrum Illai is a very popular song in South India and is a regular in most Carnatic concerts. It became very famous after it was sung by M. S. Subbulakshmi.

History[edit]

Rajagopalachari, or Rajaji was he was popularly known, was a religious Hindu and a devout Vaishnavite.[1][2] Apart from his illustrious political career, he is also known to have authored books on history, religion, politics and Hindu mythology.[2][3] His translations of the Ramayana and Mahabharata are considered classics[3] and are used by American universities as a part of their syllabus on "Oriental Studies".[2]

However, Rajaji is not a popular composer of Carnatic music and "Kurai Onrum Illai" is his sole Carnatic composition that has gained widespread recognition.[2][3] The song depicts his intense devotion to God.

The date of the composition is not clearly known. The song became popular for the first time in 1969 when Indian singer M. S. Subbulakshmi sang the composition at the United Nations.[2] Rajaji also composed a benediction verse in English which was sung at the same concert.[2] Since then, the song has been widely appreciated and sung in most Carnatic concerts.[2][4][5]

Text of the composition[edit]

குறை ஒன்றும் இல்லை மறைமூர்த்தி கண்ணா
குறை ஒன்றும் இல்லை கண்ணா
குறை ஒன்றும் இல்லை கோவிந்தா

குறை ஒன்றும் இல்லை மறைமூர்த்தி கண்ணா
குறை ஒன்றும் இல்லை கண்ணா
குறை ஒன்றும் இல்லை கோவிந்தா

கண்ணுக்குத் தெரியாமல் நிற்கின்றாய் கண்ணா
கண்ணுக்குத் தெரியாமல் நின்றாலும் எனக்குக்
குறை ஒன்றும் இல்லை மறைமூர்த்தி கண்ணா

வேண்டியதைத் தந்திட வேங்கடேசன் என்றிருக்க
வேண்டியது வேறில்லை மறைமூர்த்தி கண்ணா
மணிவண்ணா மலையப்பா கோவிந்தா கோவிந்தா கோவிந்தா கோவிந்தா

திரையின்பின் நிற்கின்றாய் கண்ணா
கண்ணா திரையின்பின் நிற்கின்றாய் கண்ணா - உன்னை
மறையோதும் ஞானியர் மட்டுமே காண்பார்
திரையின்பின் நிற்கின்றாய் கண்ணா - உன்னை
மறையோதும் ஞானியர் மட்டுமே காண்பார்
என்றாலும் குறை ஒன்றும் எனக்கில்லை கண்ணா
என்றாலும் குறை ஒன்றும் எனக்கில்லை கண்ணா
குன்றின்மேல் கல்லாகி நிற்கின்ற வரதா
குன்றின்மேல் கல்லாகி நிற்கின்ற வரதா
குறை ஒன்றும் இல்லை மறைமூர்த்தி கண்ணா
குறை ஒன்றும் இல்லை மறைமூர்த்தி கண்ணா
மணிவண்ணா மலையப்பா கோவிந்தா கோவிந்தா கோவிந்தா கோவிந்தா

கலிநாளுக்கிரங்கி கல்லிலே இறங்கி
நிலையாகக் கோவிலில் நிற்கின்றாய் கேசவா
கலிநாளுக்கிரங்கி கல்லிலே இறங்கி
நிலையாகக் கோவிலில் நிற்கின்றாய் கேசவா
குறை ஒன்றும் இல்லை மறைமூர்த்தி கண்ணா
யாதும் மறுக்காத மலையப்பா
யாதும் மறுக்காத மலையப்பா உன் மார்பில்
ஏதும் தர நிற்கும் கருணைக் கடல் அன்னை
என்றும் இருந்திட ஏது குறை எனக்கு
என்றும் இருந்திட ஏது குறை எனக்கு
ஒன்றும் குறையில்லை மறை மூர்த்தி கண்ணா
ஒன்றும் குறையில்லை மறை மூர்த்தி கண்ணா
மணிவண்ணா மலையப்பா கோவிந்தா கோவிந்தா கோவிந்தா கோவிந்தா
கோவிந்தா கோவிந்தா கோவிந்தா கோவிந்தா

English transliteration[edit]

Kurai ōndrum illai, Maraimūrthi kanna!
kurai ōndrum illai, Kanna!
kurai ōndrum illai, Gōvinda!
Kannukku theriyāmal nirkinrāy kanna;
kannukku theriyāmal ninrālum enakku
kurai ōnrum illai maraimūrttik kanna.
Vendiyadhai thandhida Venkatesan enrirukka,
Vendiyadhu ver illai maraimūrthi kanna-
Manivannā! Malaiyappā! Gōvinda! Gōvinda!

Tiraiyinpin nirkinrāy kanna - unnai
marai ōdum gnaniyar mattume kanpar,
enralum kurai onrum enakku illai kanna.
Kunrin mel kallākki nirkinra varadā
kurai onrum illai, Maraimūrthi kanna!
Manivannā! Malaiyappā! Gōvinda! Gōvinda! Govinda!Govinda!

Kalinānukkirangi, kallile irangi,
silaiyāka kōvilil nirkinrāy kesavā
Yādum marukkāda malaiyappā – un mārbil
Edum tara nirkum karunai kadal annai
enrum irundhida ædu kurai enakku
ōnrum kurai illai maraimūrthi kanna
Manivannā! Malaiyappā! Gōvinda! Gōvinda!!!

English translation[edit]

Gopal Gandhi's translation of Kurai Onrum Illai from the article "Rajaji's unknown collaborator" which appeared in The Hindu dated December 22, 2002.[1]

No regrets have I
My lord,
None.
Lord of the Written Word,
My light, my sight,
My very eyes
No regrets,
None.
Though you stand
Where I behold you not
My light, my very eyes,
Protector of all earthlings
I know you sustain me
Lord of the Venkata Hill so pure
You meet my hunger, my thirst
My hope, my prayer
You keep me from harm,
Lord of the Sparkling Gems,
I need naught else
Father of the Seven Hills,
Naught else.

You stand — do you not? —
Veiled by a screen
Only the learned can part
For they are the learned
Which I am not
But no, no regrets have I.
Crowning this hill
You stand as rock
Giver of Boons
Immutable God
Father to these hills
No regrets have I
Govinda !

In this benighted Age of ours
Lord —
The worst of all the Four —
You have entered
The sanctum
A shaft of granite
Where though I see you not
No regrets have I.
Boulder of strength
With the Ocean,
Heaving on your breast,
Of the purest compassion —
My Mother,
My very own, who grants
Anything I ask of her
Can I possibly have regrets?
The two of you, I know,
Stand there for me
Eternally
No regrets have I my Govinda
None, none whatsoever
Govinda! Govinda!
Govinda! Govinda!

Explanation and interpretation[edit]

This composition by Rajaji is one of its kind, in the sense that the author does not elicit any favour from God but only maintains that he has no regrets or dissatisfaction about anything in life.[2] In this song, he regards both Lord Vishnu or Venkateswara of Tirupathi and his incarnation Lord Krishna to be one and the same and uses the names interchangeably.[2]

Rajaji's grandson Gopal Gandhi believes that there were multiple factors that led to the composition.[1] He also suspects the presence of hidden meanings in the song.[1] He believes that the song had been inspired by an incident which took place in the shrine of Tirupathi in 1925, when Rajaji had defended the right of an untouchable to enter the shrine of Tirupathi.[1] Gopal Gandhi believes that Rajaji compares the untouchable's inability to have a glimpse of his favorite God to his own inability to have a glimpse of the invisible creator.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Rajaji's unknown collaborator". The Hindu. December 22, 2002. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Rajagopalachari". Chennai Online. March 31, 2004. 
  3. ^ a b c Kesavan, C. R. (2003). Unfolding Rajaji. East West Books (Madras). p. 49. ISBN 8188661104, ISBN 978-81-88661-10-7. 
  4. ^ Jeshi, K. (August 21, 2004). "Song night". The Hindu. 
  5. ^ K. JAYANTHI, ASHA KRISHNAKUMAR (2004). "ENDURING MUSIC :M. S. Subbulakshmi 1916 - 2004". Frontline 21 (26). 

External links[edit]