Matters of the Mind, Nature of the Heart

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Heart (ഹൃദയം) usually refers to the organ which pumps our blood to various parts of the body, and Mind (മനസ്സ്) refers to where thought processes occur in us, where we feel emotions. However, in Malayalam movie lyrics, lyricists have painted vastly different pictures of various aspects of the mind using those terms interchangeably. Most of these have philosophical undertones. Here are some of my favourites.

1. Paavam Maanava Hridayam from Abhayam (1970)

Lyrics: Sugathakumari | Music : V Dakshinamoorthy

The poetic beauty of Sugathakumari’s lyrics combined with Dakshinamoorthy’s brilliant tune makes this my favourite. The last stanza goes like this:

ഒരു താരകയെ കാണുമ്പോൾ അതു രാവു മറക്കും
പുതുമഴകാൺകെ വരൾച്ച മറക്കും
പാൽച്ചിരി കണ്ടതു മൃതിയെ മറന്നു സുഖിച്ചേ പോകും…

As soon as it sees a lone star
It forgets the night
When it sees the new season showers
It forgets the long drought past
When it sees the sweet milky smile of a baby
It forgets death.

2. Hridayathinoru Vaathil from Poonthenaruvi ( 1974 )

Lyrics : SreeKumaran Thampi | Music :  MK Arjunan

Sreekumaran Thampi visualises the mind as a palatial mansion with just one door. Distressing if it is open, distressing if it stays closed.
The lyricist goes on to say:

രത്‌നങ്ങളൊളിക്കും പൊന്നറകള്‍
പുഷ്‌പങ്ങള്‍ വാടിയ മണിയറകള്‍
ശില്‌പങ്ങള്‍ തിളങ്ങുന്ന മച്ചകങ്ങള്‍
സര്‍പ്പങ്ങളൊളിക്കുന്ന നിലവറകള്‍.

What seems like deep vaults hiding precious gems
are in reality cheerless bridal chambers decked in faded flowers
Ceilings seemingly adorned with beautiful sculptures
are in reality dinghy cellars harbouring poisonous serpents.

I loved to listen to this song all the more for the spoken bits in Yesudas’s voice which was so musically delicious to my ears 🙂

3. Maanava Hridayam Bhraanthaalayam from Ananthashayanam (1972)

Lyrics : Sreekumaran Thampi | Music : K Raghavan

If in the previous song SKT visualised the mind as a dubious palatial mansion, in this song he says it is a mental asylum, an eternal dancing ground of incurable disease. K Raghavan’s heart-rending music and Jayachandran’s soulful rendering makes it one of my favourites.

In SKT’s words:

ഓരോ വികാരവുമോരോ ഭ്രാന്തന്‍
ഓടിയലഞ്ഞുമരിക്കും പാന്ഥന്‍ ‍

Each emotion is a lunatic
A vagrant who wanders in frenzy before his death

– So Powerful !

4. Manassoru Maayaa Prapancham from Ethirppukal (1984)

Lyrics : Unni Aranmula | Music :  TS Radhakrishnan

Incredibly difficult to fathom, man found it much easier to ascribe magical powers to it. This song says that the mind is a magical world in which Time draws and erases thousands of indistinct pictures. Several other songs also follow this theme – Manassoru Maanthrikakkoodu (Kaliveedu / 1996) S Ramesan Nair – Mohan Sithara; Manasse Neeyoru Maanthrikano (Aa Nimisham / 1977) Yusafali Kecheri- G Devarajan ; Manassoru Maanthrika Kuthirayaay (Mela / 1980) Mullanezhi-MBS; Manassenna Marathaka Dweepil (Ezhuthaatha Kadha / 1970) are just some of them.

5. Hrudayam Devaalayam from Theruvugeetham (1979)

The lyricist Bichu Thirumala compares the human mind to a temple where past become the flower offerings. Music is by the famous Jaya-Vijaya brothers.

Another in this theme where the mind could also be a temple where the love between two people becomes the worship song – Manassoru Devikshethram from ( Night Duty / 1974) Vayalar – Dakshinamoorthy;

The mind has also been represented as:

A deep sea (Manasse Neeyoralayaazhi – Surabheeyaamangal / 1986, Pappanamkodu Lakshmanan / Kannur Rajan); Manassoru Samudram (Manassoru Mahaasamudram – Kanam EJ / MK Arjunan)

A peacock dancing rapturously in happiness in anticipation of the approaching rain of love Manassoru Mayilpeda ( Akkarappacha / 1972).

As always with Vayalar lyrics, the beauty is the rich imagery presented in so few words, and the befitting music by Devarajan.

or last but not the least, a flower, a red lotus at that (Antharangam Oru Chenthaamara – Shuddhikalasham / 1979 SKT/Shyam).

This is a sweet semi-classical by Jayachandran comparing the blooming and fading of the lotus with the arrival and departure of the sun while the mind blossoms in happiness seeing a smile and fills with sadness at each farewell; But there is always the hope of another dawn fast approaching.

6 thoughts on “Matters of the Mind, Nature of the Heart

  1. Good to see your vignettes back again. Like Sajith I missed it too. You successfully showcase the richness and diversity and meaning (sometimes implied and at others hidden) in the verses. It was a pleasure listening to those songs. I look forward to your next posting.

    1. Hi Molly
      I am sorry I took a few days to respond as my computer was out of commission for a few days.
      I am happy to hear that you enjoyed this selection of songs. Thank you for your encouraging comments. More will surely follow 🙂

  2. Dear Susy
    Thanks for the short write up after a fairly long intervel. This time your theme focusing the heart and mind is really refreshing. Songs which starts with hrudayam and manassu are many. Hrudyathin Romanjam Swararaaga gangayayi pakarunna maniveena mookamaayi… of the film utharayanam (Written by G Kumara pillai and set to music by K Raghavan) is a sad song (The concentrated sorrow is distilled into the lines through the Subha Panthuvarali Ragam).
    However, i am not going to list out all i could re collect.
    Still how can i disregard the melodious song from the film Agni pareeksha? It goes like this… Urangi Kidanna Hrudayam nee… ummavech ummavech unarthi… Manassil pathanja madhuram nee… mattoru paatrathil pakarthi. The song in its pallavi itself brings in the two things – the heart and the mind. This song, as you once mentioned was appreciated by me when i heard it in the Radio (Somewhere in the late 80s – Ganopaharam of Vivid Bharathi which present on every monday some of the old songs of malayalam). The quality of the song was poor since it was recorded from the 78RPM record. Later, i heard this song with more clarity when the film got telecasted by Asianet.
    Looking forward to read more and more themes from you

    B sajith

    1. Hi Sajith
      Thank you for your comment. Those details about the songs you suggested were very interesting and informative as I know next to nothing about the Ragas on which songs are based. However the difference is significant and more enjoyable when lyrics are tuned in sync with the meaning and the atmosphere.
      I used to listen to Ganopahaaram as well in those days 🙂

  3. for your attention.please read in today sunday issue front page of malayalam news paper mathrubhumi an article on composer of too sweet songs one MADHU ALAPPUZHA ………….who is not famous in his name but all his songs are most famous……………..try to contact him………

    On Sun, May 10, 2015 at 4:20 PM, OLD MALAYALAM CINEMA wrote:

    > Susie posted: ” Image Source & Credit : > Heart (ഹൃദയം) usually refers to > the organ which pumps our blood to various parts of the body, and Mind > (മനസ്സ്) refers to where thought processes occur in us, where we feel > emotions”

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