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Mathura nagarpati

January 22, 2012

Meaning and Context:

Krishna was brought up in Gokul, where he was brought up by Nand baba and Yashoda ma, where he took his cows grazing for the day, where he stole milk from gopis (women of Gokul) and smashed their matkis (earthen vessels), where he went gallivanting with his sakhas (friends) and got into all kinds of trouble, where he played his bansuri (flute) from evening till night sitting listlessly under the Kadam tree on the banks of river Yamuna, where he met Radha and fell in love with her.

He left Gokul when he had barely come of age and went to Mathura to dethrone his deviant uncle Kans. After defeating Kans, he became the Lord of Mathura, a wide-reaching prosperous kingdom of the north. However, he missed his home in Gokul and all his friends and, of course, Radha.

The song Mathura Nagarpati from Raincoat is about Krishna deciding to give up his kingdom and go back home to Gokul. It is sung most delicately by Shubha Mudgal in the Brij dialect. Brij is the region of Mathura-Gokul-Vrindavan. It is associated with all stories of Krishna and Radha and their eternal love. This song evokes vivid images from the stories of Radha-Kirshna and resounds with the very bittersweet feeling that was characteristic to their story of love.

Link to the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4Q6C1RP1Ps

The song:

Subah subah ka khyaal aaj
Wapas gokul chal mathura raaj

Mathura nagarpati kaahe tum gokul jao?

Manohar vesh chhod nand raaj
Sar se utaarke sundar taaj
Raj dand chhod bhumi par vaaj
Phir kaahe baansuri bajaao…?
Mathura nagarpati kaahe tum gokul jaao?

Kaun sa anokha geet gahe pee kakool?
Raj path jaise aaj bhai dhool
Kaun sa anokha geet gahe pee kakool?
Birhan laage phir hridaya akool
Raj kaaj man na lagaao…
Mathura nagarpati kahe tum Gokul jaao?

Tumhari priya ab puri gharvaali
Doodh navan ghivoo din bhar khaali
Biraha ke aansoon kab ke ponch daali
Phir kaahe dard jagaao…?
Mathura nagarpati kahe tum Gokul jaao?

Pur naari saari vyakul nayan
Kusum sajja lage kantak shayan
Poor naari saari vyakul nayan
Raat bhar madhav jaagat bechain
Kaahe aadhi raat saarathi bulaayo…?
Mathura nagarpati kahe tum Gokul jaao?

Dheere dheere pahunchat jamuna ke teer
Sunsaan panghat mridul sameer
Dheere dheere pahunchat jamuna ke teer
Khan khan madhav birha madeer
Use kaahe bhool na paao…?
Mathura nagarpati kahe tum Gokul jaao?

Line by line Translation:

An early morning thought
The Lord of Mathura must go back to Gokul

Oh Lord of Mathura why do you go to Gokul?

Leaving behind such splendor, oh son of Nand
Putting away your beautiful crown
Giving up your specter that rules the land
Why do you again play the flute?
Oh Lord of Mathura why do you go to Gokul?

What quaint song do the birds sing?
That makes you give up your kingdom like it is dust
What quaint song do the birds sing?
That again harmonizes to your heart the woman you left behind
That has taken your mind off your kingdom
Oh Lord of Mathura why do you go to Gokul?

The girl you loved is now married
Milk cream ghee is all she does the whole day
She wiped away the tears of separation long back
Why do you evoke that pain again?
Oh Lord of Mathura why do you go to Gokul?

All the women of city have anxious eyes
Flower strewn bed seems like a bed of thorns
All the women of city have anxious eyes
Madhav (You) keep awake all night uneasy
Why do you call the chariot driver at midnight?
Oh Lord of Mathura why do you go to Gokul?

Slowly reaching the banks of Yamuna
The river side is deserted, the wind blows sweetly
Slowly reaching the banks of Yamuna
The sound of khan khan (of her ornaments) is heard, separation is your wine
Why cant you forget her?
Oh Lord of Mathura why do you go to Gokul?

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From → Brij

2 Comments
  1. Yasmina permalink

    What is the taal?

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