Lyrical genius in Gandhi's Favorite

Was at the car dealership yesterday. Started reading The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, listening to music. While there, I saw this as the organization's mission statement, presented with all the glory corporate mission statements are presented (read: framed, well-lit, and very, very visible among the usual army of wall-hangings).

A customer is the most important visitor on our premises.
He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him.
He is not an interruption in our work - he is the purpose of it.
We are not doing him a favor by serving him.
He is doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to serve him.
-- Mohandas Gandhi

One who has conducted any research on the life of the Mahatma Gandhi would know that the Mahatma was a big proponent of bhajans (hymns). His (self-acknowledged) favorite hymn was Vaishnav Jan. And believe it or not, that song shuffled onto my playlist as I was sitting there, waiting for my car, reading. The version was titled Gandhi's Favorite, sung by Shilpa Rao, the rendition from the soundtrack to the film Gandhi My Father (2007), with music by Piyush Kanojia. Great music. Even better vocals.

Remember the song Woh Ajnabee from The Train (2007)? Or Javeda Zindagi from Anwar (2007)? She clearly outperformed herself with Gandhi's Favorite.

Sheer lyrical genius, and none better than this. From this mkgandhi.org link. See the English translation below.


Vaishnav Jan to taynay kahyeeye
Jay peerh paraaye janneyray
Par dukkhey upkar karey teeyey,
man abhiman na anney ray

Sakal lokma Sahuney bandhey,
Ninda Na karye kainee ray
Baach kaachh, Man nischal Raakhey,
dhan-dhan jananee tainee ray

Samdrishi nay trishna tyagee,
par-stree jaynay mat ray
Vivihva thaki asatya na bolay,
par-dhan nav jhaley haath ray

Moh maaya vyaayey nahin Jeynay,
dridth vairagya jana manma ray
Ram-nam-shoom taalee laagee,
Sakal teerth seyna tanma ray

Vanloohee nay kapat rahit chhay,
Kaam, Krodh nivarya ray
Bhane Narsinhyo tainoo darshan karta
kul ekotair taarya re.


Translation:

A godlike man is one,
Who feels another’s pain
Who shares another’s sorrow,
And pride does disdain.

Who regards himself as the lowliest of the low,
Speaks not a word of evil against any one
One who keeps himself steadfast in words, body and mind,
Blessed is the mother who gives birth to such a son.

Who looks upon everyone as his equal and has renounced lust,
And who honours women like he honours his mother
Whose tongue knows not the taste of falsehood till his last breath,
Nor covets another’s worldly goods.

He does not desire worldly things,
For he treads the path of renunciation
Ever on his lips is Rama’s holy name,
All places of pilgrimage are within him.

One who is not greedy and deceitful,
And has conquered lust and anger
Through such a man Saint Narsaiyon has a godly vision,
Generations to come, of such a man, will attain salvation.

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