Ode to the Mother

With Mother’s Day coming up this week, I thought of several songs that featured the mother as a central theme. 

In his composition Mathe Malayathwaja in the Carnatic raga Khamas, Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavathar describes the daughter of the Pandya king – Meenakshi of Madurai. This “dharu varnam” is a unique piece as every chittaswara following the charanam (latter half of the varnam) has a sahitya and a sollakattu. It is heard in classical concerts as well as Bharatanatyam programs. Here is a rendition of this varnam by M.S.Subbalakshmi,

In his song Amma Ravamma in raga Kalyani, Tyagaraja praises the Tulasi plant and likens it to a mother. The plant is used in the ritualistic worship of Vishnu and also known for its healing properties. I found the theme unusual as the composer’s songs are mostly centered around Lord Rama and his family. Here is a rendition of Amma Ravamma by the Hyderabad Brothers. 

In his song Maata Parashakthi the Tamil poet Bharatiyar asks the mother Goddess that if she cannot protect him, who else is there for him?  The song is sung as a ragamalika. Here is a rendition by vocalist  S.Soumya.

In his rendition of the song Maata Kalika, Pandit Jasraj brings out the nuances of raag Adana. 

Vaishno Devi is a manifestation of Devi and the temple nestled in Katra, Jammu and Kashmir valley is one of the holiest shrines of India. Here is a bhajan Bhakthon ko Darshan de gayi that  speaks of a young girl who blesses her devotees.

The film music composer AR Rahman composed this piece as a benediction to the country – Bharata Mata. Here is a soul-stirring rendition of the patriotic number Maa Tujhe Salaam in his inimitable voice. The visuals are moving.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Chitra Srikrishna
About Chitra Srikrishna 49 Articles

Chitra Srikrishna is a Carnatic vocalist and writer living in Bengaluru. She’s the musical half of a multimedia performance duo HumRaag. She also produces RaagTime, a radio show on Indian music. Her latest program BHAKTHI explores the journey of the mystics of India. She blogs at chitrasrikrishna.com.