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M S Subbulakshmi's Rendition at the UN General Assembly , 1966

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  • M S Subbulakshmi's Rendition at the UN General Assembly , 1966

    M S Subbulakhsmi’s rendition of ‘Maitreem Bhajata’ at the UN General Assembly of 1966.

    Introduced to the audience by C V Narasimhan (the then Under Secretary-General of UN) as the ‘First Lady of Carnatic Music’, Subbulakshmi began with a Sanskrit ‘Guru Vandana’ in praise of Dakshinamurthy (Lord Shiva as the supreme cosmic teacher). From thereon, she held her audience in thrall, taking it on a grand journey of various songs in every South Indian language.

    Deeply religious, Subbulaksmi never left for any important concert without taking the blessings of her revered spiritual leader, Acharya Sri Chandrashekharendra Saraswati of Kanchipuram. It was the Acharya who composed the lyrics of the hymn ‘Maitreem Bhajata’, which Subbulakshmi sang at the conclusion of her UN concert, ending with the ringing words Srey o bhooyat sakala jananam (Let grace and happiness abound for all mankind).

    An anthem for universal friendship and world peace, the singer made this song a regular feature in almost all her subsequent concerts for the rest of her life. This is how the beautiful song goes:

    Maitreem Bhajatha , Akhila Hrujjethreem,
    Atmavadeva paraanapi pashyatha
    Yuddham thyajatha , Spardhaam Tyajata , thyajatha Pareshu akramamaakramanam
    Jananee Pruthivee Kaamadughaastey
    JanakO Devah Sakala Dayaaluh
    Daamyata Datta Dayadhvam Janathaah
    Sreyo Bhooyaath Sakala Janaanaam

    மைத்ரீம் பஜத, அகில ஹ்ருஜ்-ஜேத்ரீம்! ஆத்மவதேவ பராநபி பச்யத! யுத்தம் த்யஜத! ஸ்பர்தாம் த்யஜத! த்யஜத பரேஷ்வக்ரமம்-ஆக்ரமணம்! ஜநநீ ப்ருதிவீ காமதுகாஸ்தே, ஜநகோ தேவ: ஸகல தயாளு:! தாம்யத! தத்த! தயத்வம் ஜநதா:! ச்ரேயோ பூயாத் ஸகல ஜநாநாம்!

    இந்த கீதத்தின் தமிழாக்கம்: அனைத்துளம் வெல்லும் அன்பு பயில்க! அன்னியர் தமையும் தன்னிகர் காண்க! போரினை விடுக! போட்டியை விடுக! பிறனதைப் பறிக்கும் பிழை புரிந்தற்க! அருள்வாள் புவித்தா, காமதேநுவா! அப்பன் ஈசனோ அகிலதயாபரன்! அடக்கம் – கொடை – அருள் பயிலுக, மக்காள்! உலகினரெல்லாம் உயர்நலம் உறுக! – என்பதுதான்

    While translations do not do justice to the grandeur of the occasion, the greatness of the music, or the sublimity of the message, here is the meaning of this song:

    Cultivate friendship to conquer all hearts
    Look upon others as yourself
    Renounce war, forswear competition
    Give up wrongful aggression on others
    Mother earth is ready to grant all our desires
    The lord, our father, is merciful to all
    People of the world! Be restrained, generous and compassionate
    Let grace and happiness abound for all mankind.

    Here is M S Subbulakhsmi’s rendition of ‘Maitreem Bhajata’ at the UN General Assembly of 1966.

    This was the first time that any Indian classical musician was performing at the UN and, thanks to M S Subbulakshmi, the performance received stupendous reviews.

    The Secretary General of United Nations, U Thant, described it as “extraordinarily good music,” while Harold Schornberg, the famed music critic of The New York Times, praised Subbulakshmi’s performance sky high and declared that “it would live in his memory forever”.

    On December 4, Subbulakshmi returned to a warm welcome in Bombay, having halted in Rome on the way for a private audience with Pope Paul.

    “I am glad you are back home. Tell MSS we are proud of her achievement,” said Dr S. Radhakrishnan, President of India, in a telegram to Sadasivam.

    Source: thebetterindia.

    This post is for sharing knowledge only, no intention to violate any copy rights