Monday, April 27, 2009

Harivarasanam - A nostalgic and divine lullaby

Harivarasanam was written by Kumbakudi Kulathur Iyer in 1950. Swami Vimochanananda recited this song for the first time at Sabarimala in 1955. This beautiful song originally has 16 padas of which only the first 7 are sung at Sabarimala. This song is in the language of Sanskrit and is sung in Madhyamaavati raagam.

It is said that the then Mel Santhi of Sannidhanam, Thirumeni Easwaran Nampoothiri had a companion called VR Gopala Menon of Alappuzha. Mr. Menon used to stay on in a shack at the Sannidhanam even when the temple is closed. Wild animals never used to trouble him and he used to feed them. Revered Menon used to recite Harivarasanam with great devotion. Later when Devaswom Board was formed, he was asked to move out. He died as an orphan in a tea estate at Vandiperiyar. It was with immense grief that the Mel Santhi heard about the demise of Revered Menon. At that end of the pooja that day, when he was about to close the doors of the Sanctum Sanctorum, he remembered Revered Menon and recited 'Harivarasanam' starting a nostalgic tradition that remains unbroken to this day.

But according to some other sources, the tradition was started for the first time after the Punah Prathishta ceremony in the Sabarimala temple. The ceremony had to be conducted after a major fire that consumed the temple in the year of 1955. It was Swami Vimochananda's (Krishnan Nair) efforts to popularize Ayyappa bhakti by travelling the whole of South India that made the chief priest accept the song as a lullaby to Lord Ayyappa.

Harivarasanam is recited just prior to closing of the temple doors at night. As the final verses are being sung, all the assistant Santhis leave the Sanctum Sanctorum one by one. As the song ends, only the Mel Santhi is inside the Sreekoil. He extinguishes the lamps one by one and closes the doors for the night after the last lamp is extinguished.

You can read the lyrics by clicking the link below, watch the youtube video and listen to Sri K.J. Yesudas' rendition of the divine lullaby.

Click here for the lyrics.
Click here to Watch the video.

1 comment:

  1. The song is a very nostalgic one for every malayalee irrespective of caste and creed.