In the Eyes of a Potter (Bhakta Kumbara)


A bit philosophical this evening. Was watching the video of Commentaries on the Bhakti Sutras of Narada by my beloved Master, HH Sri Sri Ravishankar. No, I am not going to redo the commentary here (nothing beats the style in which it is delivered – suggest everyone should watch this set of 14 VCDs – it is a good pastime, the commentaries delivered in His Characteristic Humour at the same time Rich with knowledge). However this blog entry is related to something that I did a couple of weeks ago (I wrote down 2 blogs subsequent to this incident though). Excuse me if my diary looks haphazard with utter disregard to Chronology.

On another of my favourite blogsite, a fellow blogger wanted lyrics of an All-time Hit Song, sung by Sri PB Srinivas for a movie called Bhaktha Kumbara (The Devoted Potter). PBS has special place in my hearts, for one he is a regular furniture in the Drive-in Woodlands Restuarant, Chennai sipping his endless supply of favourite Filter Coffee with his trademark Hat and a black coat. With reams of old newspaper on the table, he is busy penning new verses (these days he is a good lyricist) apart from exhausting the cup of coffee. Coming back to the song, it goes with the Title, “manava dehavu mULe mAmsada taDike

While I was contemplating on nothing in particular, suddenly hummed this song the lyrics of which I recently posted to the fellow blogger (it was quite fresh in my minds). This was a song which was thoughtlessly sung by me since when I was a kid, but today when I hummed it I was touched by the profound purport of each and every word in that song.

The stanza below means that the body is just a lump of flesh and bones and as long as you breathe, why be with the attitude of Me, Mine, and the moment the breathing stops, it is crematorial rites. Then why be so self seeking materialism (feverish desire) for the sake of this decaying body that would be consigned to the earth.

“usiraaDuva thanaka naanu nannadhemba mamakara
nintha maru galigeye masaNadhe samskaara,
maNNali berethu, mellage koLethu, mugiyuva dehake vyamohaveke?”

The gist of the song is – unlike any other so called lowly living beings, human body has some value only as long as Prana (breath) is present. The moment human body stops breathing , it becomes useless (while part of many other animals find lot of uses even after they die, ivory of the elephant, wood from the trees, hide of animals like buffaloes and cows that goes into making leather etc). Human body is disposed at the earliest (traditionally before sunset). It is only when the light of life glows in the body that it has any charm, after that even the closest of the relative (wife, children) refer to it only as a Body. What a depth these words carry, isnt it? Are we acting so petty or mean to maintain this piece of flesh? Degrading everything around us that made us in the first place.

The song goes on to say, we came into the world nude, we will go from the world nude and from the time or arrival to the time of departure (between life and death) it is darkness. So brighten you life by immersing yourself devoted to the Lord.

baruvaaga beththale hoguvaaga bethethale
bandu hOguva naduve bari kaththale
bhaktiya belaku baaLige beku
mukthige vittalana kondadad beku

The couple of stanzas excerpted here touched me to the core. The purport can’t come out in toto in my translation (the reason why I reproduced it in Kannada for those who know the language) Food for thought. The inimitable rendition of the song by Sri. PBS made it even more profound (just heard it online once again). Upon specific request from HH Sri Sri Ravishankar, Sri PBS rendered this song, in the whole world’s view (25 million converged in Bangalore during the 3 days and millions more watched it live on TV or Webcast), during the final day of the Silver Jubiless Celebrations of the Art of Living in Bangalore.

It now has changed my perspective and outlook to life in general  (atleast in this present moment). Put down this thought to reflect sometime later even if things settle down and it probabily becomes a memory tomorrow and out of my active thoughts! But the Truth expressed by the poet in this Verse is real and eternal too.

You can watch the video and hear it in Sri PBS Voice