This page: 'Mero jivana cha...' 'Dum-a- dumaru' He who knows none knows everyone 'Namami bhakta...'
The Teachings of Sri Tirtha Lal Mahanandhar
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"
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
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
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
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)