Mareya Beḍa Manave – WHY?

हरि सर्वोत्तम । वायु जीवोत्तम | श्री गुरुभ्यो नमः

The first Daasara Pada taught to our children (by our dear friend Laxmi Suparna, Malleswaram) was मरेय बेड मनवे नीनु. Composed in simple Kannada in the basic rhythm of Rupaka Taala, she taught it in Raga Mohana, an easy pentatonic scale, so little children could pick it up easily. It quickly became their favorite for rendition on-demand – whether for a musical or august audience, a bhajan session or while offering thanks during Lord’s तीर्थप्रसाद.

Here are the lyrics as they were taught to the children:

मरेय बॆड । मनवे नीनु । ,,हरिय स्मरणे- । य ॥

याग यज्ञ । माड लॆके ॥ ,,यॊगि यतियु । आग लॆके ॥
नाग-शयन । नारद-वन्द्यन ॥ हॊगि भजने । माडॊ बेग ॥ (मरेय)

सतियु सुतरु । हितरु येन्दु ॥ ,,मतिय केट्टु । केडलि बेड ॥
गतियु तप्पि । हॊगुवाग ॥ सतियु सुतरु । बाहॊरॆनो ॥

हरिय स्मरणे । मात्रदिन्द ॥ ,,घोर दुरित- । वेल्ल नाश ॥
परम-पुरुष । पुरन्दर-विट्ठल ॥ पदवि कोडुव । पावननय्य ॥ (मरेय)

An alternate version of the lyrics is here: LINK

And here are some renditions of this wonderful Daasara Pada:

  • A simple rendition in Mohana with lyrics : LINK
  • A nice picture collage and rendition in Rageshri: LINK
  • Devotee’s home rendition in Mishra Thilang: LINK
  • Upendra Bhat professional studio recording: LINK

Composed by Purandara Daasa, master of philosophy and allegories, this seemingly simple composition has deep and profound messages, which open up upon repeatedly asking the question “WHY?”.

While the basic meaning of the first verses was easy to convey to the boys, the चरण २ was challenging since it says “Don’t let your mind be disillusioned (मतिय केट्टु) and spoilt (केडलि बेड) by focusing on spouse, kids, friends (सतियु सुतरु हितरु). When your path gets difficult or you go astray (गतियु तप्पि हॊगुवाग) can you expect them to help (बाहॊरॆनो)?”

Especially to a child this is hard to digest since it could easily be misinterpreted as “Your relatives and friends wont care for you – so don’t care for them!”

A popular self-help message that can explain this partially is along the lines of “Don’t have any expectations on others – trust only yourself”, but this is unsatisfying and superficial since it does not address:

1. WHY should we not expect from others?

2. From WHOM can we then expect?

3. And WHAT should we expect?

The answer to (1) is that mere mortals (spouse, children, friends) are not ABLE to help because none of us are in control or INDEPENDENTLY CAPABLE of anything. It is the power of the supreme and sanctifying Lord within us that gives us whatever we deserve (परमपुरुष पदवि कोडुव पावननय्य). So what is the use of expecting anything from others? Or even ourself?

By extension this also answers (2), i.e. only the Lord remains as an option. Anyone or anything else including His emissaries and the whole universe’s operation are dependent on Him – operating under His power and following His universal and impartial rules.

So coming to (3), WHY not expect anything we want from the Lord? After all, isn’t that the purpose of prayer?

A beautiful episode in the Bhagavatam comes to mind, where the Lord, in ferocious man-lion Narasimha form, dispatches the Demon Hiranyakashipu and then allows Himself to be pacified only after praise from His dear and fearless devotee Prahlada. Despite insisting that he has no desire (apart from devotion and service to the Lord), when forced to ask for a boon, the tender five-year old amazingly asks only for “the very growth of desire in my heart to be removed”! (… कामानां हृद्यसंरोहं भवतस्तु वृणे वरम् Bhaagavata 7.10.7)

But again, WHY?

Prahlada explains that “one who desires some material benefit is not a devotee but just transacting like a merchant” (… यस्त आशिष आशास्ते न स भृत्य: स वै वणिक् Bhaagavata 7.10.4). Instead when there is no material desire, the devotional service is pure and this is the only path to liberation from sorrow and eternal happiness.

This is exactly what Daasaru emphasizes in the closing चरण of the Pada that “only with Lord’s remembrance (हरिय स्मरणे मात्रदिन्द) – also only due to His grace – can all dire difficulties be overcome (घोर दुरितवेल्ल नाश). After all, the Supreme Lord (परमपुरुष) is the only One who purifies and saves us (पावननय्य) and gives us everything (पदवि कोडुव) including liberation from sorrow.”

And all this Prahlada learned from within his mother’s womb from Naarada Muni, which is WHY Daasaru uses the phrase नारद वन्द्यन in the first अनुपल्लवि!

“To accomplish your duties in life (याग यज्ञ) and become enlightened (योगि यति), quickly (बेग) go and do service to Lord (भजने) who rests on the serpent (नाग-शयन) , and is bowed to by Naarada Muni (नारद-वन्द्यन)“.

But WHY does Daasaru use the other references in the opening stanzas? There must be a reason for this too, not just aesthetic choice.

The relevant background is that Prahlada Raja is the first अवतार of Shankukarna (LINK), a Karmaja Devata who served Lord Brahma for his daily worship and due to a misdemeanor was cursed and born on earth – just the dramatic prologue for Lord’s own Narasimha Avataara to rid the demon Hiranyakashipu and uplift His devotees through Prahlada. This very Shankukarna’s third अवतार is Shri Vyaasarajaru, a योगि यति extraordinaire!

What’s more, Shri Vyaasaraajaru is none other than the Guru of Purandara Daasaru, the proponent of Daasa Saahitya in addition to Vyaasa Saahitya! No wonder the disciple refers to his Guru’s prior accomplishments of याग यज्ञ accomplished as Prahlada Raja .

Even more amazing is the connection to Shankukarna’s current, fourth and final अवतार as Shri Raaghavendra Swamy. Also an illustrious and revered योगि यति, Raayaru is still in his Brindavana blessing devotees with his excess पुण्य – and at the very location in Mantralaya (Manchale) that he himself performed याग यज्ञ previously as Prahlada Raja in Treta Yuga!

From Purandara Daasa’s own life, the Pada teaches us not to waste time in worldly matters – being too attached to wealth, wife, children or material benefits (सतियु सुतरु हितरु) – but instead quickly (बेग) grow devotion and service to the Lord (भजने)!

Connecting back to the opening of the Pada, “O mind (मनवे), do not forget (मरेय बॆड) the remembrance of the Lord (हरिय स्मरणे)”, since all our actions depend on our mind which can easily lead us astray, Daasaru appeals to मनसु, a reference to Lord Rudra, the regulator of the mind who derives power from Lord Narasimha, and who meditates upon the Lord (हरिस्मरणे) in his Primordial form of Narayana (नागशयन), constantly without forgetfulness (मरे).

In conclusion, while the gift of life is for us to devotedly serve the Lord following one’s traditional duties of Varna-Aashrama (स्वविहितवृत्त्या भक्त्या भगवद्-आराधनं एव परमो धर्मः), and the supreme goal of liberation can only be attained by knowledge (ज्ञानेनैव परं पदं), the path to both is paved only by detached and investigative thinking (ॐ ॐ अथातो ब्रह्म जिज्ञासा ॐ) by accepting that nothing is random and repeatedly asking the question “WHY?

/Raghunath Rao/ “Do your Best … and leave the Rest … “

(All mistakes mine – all credit to Gurus and Acharyas )

|| sarvaṁ śrī kṛṣṇārpanamastu ||