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Annamayya - marali marali

Annamayya - marali marali

This is the last post in the series on Annamayya padams. I mentioned early in these posts that his compositions can be classified in 3 categories, Srungaara, bhakti and vairaagya . My selections had been partial to Srungaara padams. I tried to select some from the other two, but had been unsuccessful for two reasons. The bhakti padams are generally praise of the Lord's various attributes - it is a fine experience listening to them, but they don't offer much literary pleasure. On the other hand, with vairaagya padams, I had a tough time understanding the underlying philosophy though some of them have neat word images. All in all, I kept to Srungaara padams in this series, except for the one posted last week.

This last one, appropriately, is a Mangalam (= benediction). It is a Hindu custom that any ceremony (including worship, marriage, etc.) is concluded with some sort of a benediction, expressing best wishes for the well being of the concerned people. In the case of worship, the devotees offer best wishes to the deity with jayam (victory) and Subham (good fortune).
Typically, this is accompanied by haarati (called 'aarti' in the north), moving lighted camphor in front of the deity (or people being blessed) in a vertical circle, in clockwise direction.

There are many traditional (folk) women's ballads in Telugu for mangalam which my grandmother used to sing. They are quite delightful. Annamacarya used many folk ballad styles for his padams, and his mangalams are no different - he composed many mangalams to the god and his consort. I like this particular padam very much for the subtle Srungaara - no occasion is a bad occasion for Srungaara with Annamayya, as you will see:-) This song is tuned in raaga-maalika (string of raagams, a different raagam for each stanza). It became popular through the rendition of M.S. Subbulakshmi, in the Balaji Pancaratna Mala series of recordings - this song is featured in the fifth album. Here we go.

marali marali jaya mangaLamu
soridi niccalunu Subha mangaLamu

jaladhi kanyakaku jaladhi Saayikini
malayucunoo jaya mangaLamu
kalimi kaaMtaku aa kaliki vibhunikini
suLuvuna haarati Subha mangaLamu

kamalaa ramaNiki kamalaakshunakunu
mamatala jaya jaya mangaLamu
amara jananikini amara vandyunaku
sumuhoortamutoe Subha mangaLamu

cittaju talliki Sree vaeMkaTa patiki
mattillina jaya mangaLamu
ittala nattala niruvura kougiTa
jottula ratulaku Subha mangaLamu

You can read it in Telugu script here

A rendition in English
Again and again victorious mangalam
Plentiful and constant good furtune

To the daughter of the ocean (1) and to the Lord sleeping on the ocean (2)
All-encompassing victorious mangalam
To the lady of wealth, and to the lord of that lady (3)
A gentle aarati and good fortune

To the beautiful lady of the lotus (4) and to the lord with lotus eyes (5)
With affection victorious mangalam
To the mother of gods (6) and to the lord saluted by gods (7)
At the ausipicious moment, good fortune

To the mother of love-god (8) and to Sri Venkatesvara
An intoxicating (9) victorious mangalam
This side and that, in their embrace
to vigorous love-making, good fortune

victorious mangalam and good fortune

Notes: Annamayya is a gentleman. Not only that, he is extremely fond of his divine mother Alamelu Manga. There are many padams in which he sides with her and unabashedly encourages her in her disputes with Venkatesvara. He shows this bias in this padam also by offering his benediction first to her. In the first stanza (3), he even refers to Venkatesvara as "the lord of that lady", implying that Venkatesvara is included in this benediction only because He is Alamelu Manga's husband!
(1) Lakshmi was born in the churning of the milky ocean
(2) Vishnu resides in the middle of milky ocean - one of his names, naaraayaNa means one who recides in the ocean.
(3) explained above
(4) Lakshmi was born, in the middle of a lotus blossom, hence her name Kamala.
(5) Vishnu and several of his avataars are referred to with this epithet.
(6) Lakshmi is not really the mother of gods - it is a figurative reference to her exalted status.
(7) This refers to the Supreme nature of Vishnu
(8) This is the crowning achievement in this whole padam - with just a simple reference, Annamayya implies a world of possibilities. Manmatha, the god of love, is the son of Lakshmi and Vishnu.
(8) A delightful reference to the intoxicating power of love.