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The Teachings of Sri Tirtha Lal Mahanandhar

Teachings of TL      Part Eight

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This page:                       'Mero jivana cha...'             'Dum-a- dumaru'            He who knows none knows everyone             'Namami bhakta...'                 

The Teachings of Sri Tirtha Lal Mahanandhar

Part eight

(The second notebook)

Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu



 Sri Tirtha Lal was in the habit of composing a song in praise of Lord Shiva for the occasion of Shivaratri* each year. Traditionally, the family and friends would gather at a spot in the woodland near the temple of Pashupati (Lord of Beings – an epithet of Lord Shiva Mahadev) to celebrate the day with food, teaching and song. Sometimes the words were in Sanskrit, sometimes Nepali, and maybe Hindi.

*Maha Shivaratri is an annual festival dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva ... unlike most Hindu festivals which include expression of cultural revelry, the Maha Shivaratri is a solemn event notable for its introspective focus, fasting, meditation on Shiva, self study, social harmony and an all night vigil at Shiva temples. 

... Shiva is also worshipped as the Adi Guru (first teacher) from whom the divine wisdom originates. [Wkipedia]

       Unfortunately, I have lost my notebook that contained many of these songs together with their English translation and there are some that I am still trying to piece together from my own or others' memory. The first song below is only the chorus or refrain that began the song and then followed each of the verses - which I have sadly forgotten. It is in Nepali, so apologies for my English transliteration which may not be so accurate.

Mero jivana cha...

Mero jivana cha maja dhar

My life is stranded in midstream

Shankara* garilon beda par.

O Shankar please take me across.

Kaiyon ma justa bawavicha dube,

So many like me are drowning here

kaiyon puge usapar, 

Yet so many reached the other shore, 

Baba,  chainan koi udhar.

O Father, I have no other help.

* a name of Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva's image on the rooftop of TL's house

The following song (which is complete) was written for the Shivaratri of 16 February 1977. The words are Nepali and are evocative of the sound and rhythm of the 'dumaru', a small 2-sided drum that Shiva plays, and I have tried to write the Nepali words phonetically in such a way that you might be able to get a sense of this sound...

"Dum - a - Dumaru"

“Dum-a dumaru baja-u, dumaru da-ra,
Mero hridaya kamala-ma la-una, Hara*.”

Drum one note, O Drummer! 
In the Lotus of my heart, O Hara!

Pa-un-ma Gyana, nitya nirantara,
Mero Bhagavan, Jaya Shiva Shankara*!

The Knowledge of Thy Lotus Feet, forever,
My Lord, Jai Shiva Shankara.

Dum-a dumaru.......
Drum one note......

Yas-ma raheko, tin-a guna la-i,
Bhasma gar-a ‘ma’ timi-ma mila-i,
Bhasma bana-i, linu hos kaam,
Bhasmangita pani, ho ni naam.

In this (‘me’), the three gunas are kept.
Burn ‘me’ to ashes, - make me one with You
Having made those ashes, apply them, please,
O Wearer of Ashes, for this also is your name.

Dum-a dumaru.......
Drum one note......

Mari metin-e yo, metine de-u,
Balna baneko, balna de-u.
Sap-hana hun-e bho, jivana daam,
Jaya Shiva Shankara, mero Baghavan.

In death, one has to be wiped out, so wipe it out,
It has to be burnt, so let it be burnt.
Then life’s pilgrimage will be successful,
Jai Shiva Shankara, my Lord.

Dum-a dumaru.......
Drum one note......

Nihalo hairda, bahira bhitra,
Saba-ma Shiva eka lukeko.
Abirala Bhakti, de-u ma-han,
Jaya Shiva Shankara, mero Bhagavan.

Seeing minutely, outside and in,
In everything, Shiva alone I see hidden.
O give me that great unbreakable love,
Jai Shiva Shankara, my Lord.

Dum-a dumaru.......
Drum one note......

Mahima apara, he Bhubaneshwara*,
Dhanya dhanya, prabhu Jagadishwara.
Lyo, Hari-Hara mero, koti pranaam,
Jaya Shiva Shankara, mero Bhagavan.

Glorious, infinite play, O Bhubaneshwara,
Adoration to You, O Master of the World!
O Hari-Hara, please accept my countless bows,
Jai Shiva Shankara, my Lord.

Dum-a dumaru.......
Drum one note......

* names of Lord Shiva

He who knows none knows everyone

Shivaratri, 16 February 1977 -Tape transcription

Only one thing, you know, we have to change. One, one atom. It is not necessary that we have to change this whole atmosphere - no. Blast one atom, you know, and everything will be blasted – the whole atmosphere will be changed. If it is hot now, that will turn into cold; and if that is cold, it will be turned into heat.

So one thing - we have to understand one thing, and God - He also is one alone. Although He looks to be many, in different forms He is there, no, but He alone is there. So understand alone. The moment you will understand that One alone, you will understand everything.

But if you try to understand a lot of other things, then you will not know anything. Therefore, first understand one thing. That is why I have requested you people, you know, to sit in one way, to have one deity, everything one way - one, one, one - because He is one, so it should be one first.

And you are not two, and nobody here is two - all are one, see, but it looks like two. This is the illusion, and because of this illusion, we are in trouble. When you will understand this Real One - then you will understand everything. The whole creation is within that One, and that One is very big as well as very small, the smallest possible, what you say, and within that One, everything is existing - if it is existing - otherwise that One alone is existing.

That One, the Real - the rest are nothing but one alone – That. Nothing in this sense - those that you see, you know, are nothing but He alone. So this whole universe, or this creation, whatever we see, is nothing but He alone. This is His mystery, and this is what we have to understand. And to understand this mystery we have to try with one, not with many.

See, we walk, isn’t it so - and that is also with one step, first – so every time, one step - this is how we walk and we reach the destination. How many steps are there? Only one step! Every time there is only one step. So go one step ahead - then you will reach to the goal.

The third song, written for Shivaratri in 1978 or 1979 perhaps, is set like the others to the beat of the 'dumaru' but in this case it has a much slower rhythm. It is in Sanskrit, and has the feeling of a deeply devotional chant. I am indebted to TL's son, Achyut Mahanandhar, who has helped me to remember the actual words.  The transliteration of Sanskrit words may leave a lot to be desired, and their translation, which I have tried my best to piece together from various sources may also not be so accurate but do reflect the spirit of TL's original evocation. Nevertheless, any authoritative corrections would be welcomed. The song is a kind of devotional recitation of many of the various epithets that describe Lord Shiva and His worship as the beloved form of the formless Supreme.

Namami bakhta batsalam

Namami bhakta batsalam

Pashupatim agocharam

Agamya nitya shashvatam

Prashanta shanta kevalam

I bow to you, O lover of your devotees,

Lord of beings - imperceptible,

Forever unattainable, eternal,

Peace and serenity alone

Niranjanam aho Shivam!

Aditya nitya sashvatam

Akhanda eka ras prabhu

Dhyan ide, namo namaha

Spotlessly pure, O Shiva!

Eternal sun forever,

Indivisible, one taste alone,

Absorbed in meditation, I bow to thee.

Alaksha laksha lakshatam

Soham bibho dibarkaram

Bhasmangitam shwetambaram

Degambaram, namo namaha

Beyond all purpose, yet my aim

I am Thee, O Lord Supreme.

Wearer of ashes, of white appearance,

O sky clad, naked one, I bow to Thee

Bhavani nata komalam

Prashanta Ganga dharam

Ananta rupa vashwetam

Arupa nischalam, namaha

Husband of Bhavani,*

Peaceful Lord of Ganga,**

Endless forms of Thee are seen

Yet ever formless, I bow to Thee

Vishwambaram chidambaram

Triloka nayakam namaha

Hari-Haram namo namaha

Namo namaha, Namo namaha.

All-pervading sky of consciousness,

Lord of the three worlds, I bow to Thee,

Hari-Hara,*** I bow to thee,

I bow to Thee, I bow to thee

* Mother Goddess, wife of Shiva

** the River Ganges

*** epithet for the unity of Vishnu (Hari) and Shiva (Hara)

<Contents & intro      <Part 1      <Part 2      <Part 3      <Part 4      <Part 5      <Part 6    Part 7    |     Part 9>