deponti (deponti) wrote,

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A Tamizh traditional lullaby

SitthadiyE – Raaga Saaranga
sempavazha sithadiyE!
en arumai kaNmaNiyE,
kaN valarAi, sithadiyE!
Arirandum kAveri adhu naduve srIrangam
srIrangam Adi thirupAr kadal Adi
maamaangam Adi madurai kadal Adi
thaippoosham Adi thavam petru vanthALO
thavam petru vandhavaLey, Aruyirey, kaN vaLarAi!

yAr adiththa kaNNeeru
ArAi perugirathu?
evar adiththa kaNNeeru
kuLamAi thEngiyathu?
Aru nirambi yaanai kuLiccheree,
kuttai nirambi kuthirai kuLiccheree,
vElikku pAynthu vAyalukkul neerOdi,
vAykkAl nirambi vazhipOkkar kAlalambi,
injikku pAynthu manjaLukku vEyrOdi
mullaikku pAynthu maruthANi verOdi.....!

yAr adicchu nee azharey...aditthArai sholli azhu! 
aditthArai sholli azhu--
AkkinaigaL seidhu veippOm!
thottArai sholli azhu--
thoL vilangu mATTi veippOm!
pattArai sholli azhu--
pettiyiley pooTTi veippOm!

mAman aditthAnO
malar koNda shendAley
mAmi aditthALO
malar maNik karaththaaley
pAti aditthALO
pAl pugaTTum shangAley
chitthi aditthALO
chinnanj chiru viralAley

Arirendum kAveri.....

this is one of the most beautiful lullabies, with haunting, evocative imagery, that I know.

The background:

Srirangam is a holy temple town  situated on an island, in the Kaveri river, in the state of Tamizh NAdu. It contains the temple of Ranganatha Perumal, and close by is the temple of my parents' family deity, Thiruvaanaikkaaval, where the presiding deities are the goddess akhilANdeshwari and  the god is jambukeshwarar or jalkhandeshwarar, so named because the lingam is in the water below ground level. The Kaveri runs almost dry now due to her being dammed in Karnataka, but the Kaveri delta, especially the Thanjaavoor district, has traditionally been the home of art and science,of  Vedic education, music and other branches of knowledge. 

The general meaning of the lullaby:

The watering eyes of the child are compared to the two streams of the Kaveri which surround the holy town of Srirangam; and the tears are such that it becomes a rushing stream and elephants bathe in it; it fills the pond and horses bathe in it; it fills the lake of the Kumbhakonam temple where the 12-yearly festival of Maamaangam is held; it fills the tank of the Madurai Meenaakshi temple; it waters the fields of turmeric and ginger, wets the mud and the henna shrubs;  it fills up the canals that wayfarers wash their feet in ....

The child is invited to tell the singer who beat her...which relative it was(er, the parents who are the most likely to swat the child, are not mentioned!)--the maternal aunts or uncles, or the grandmother....and they will be suitably punished....

I used to sing some of it in a soft monotone(not set to any particular Carnatic raagaa) to my own child when she was young and fractious before sleep. Just now, I got some more of the words from Anu Bharat of Irvine, Calif. Will get all the words clarified and then write the line-by-line translation, and no doubt others will be able to improve on it!


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