Chanda ja, chanda ja re ja, by Monica Kar

The human body is home to thousands of nerves or nadis, carrying and delivering ‘prana’ or life force to each part. According to practitioners of yoga, among these, there are 3 nerves or ‘nadis’ that are of utmost importance -the Ida, the Pingala and the Sushumna. They are said to play an important part in awakening the Kundalini, a concept and belief that requires theses to explain. The Ida is located on the left side of the spine. The Pingala on the right side, mirroring the Ida; the Sushumna runs through the spine. The Sushumna connects the 7 chakras in the body.

Many say that the Ida and Pingala correspond to the two hemispheres of the brain. The Pingala (meaning ‘brown’, ‘tawny’, ‘solar’ in Sanskrit) channelizes solar–extrovert–energy in the body, situated in the right, controlling the left hemisphere and Ida (meaning ‘comfort’) channelizes the lunar–introvert–energy, situated on the left, controlling the right side of the body.

The left hemisphere of the brain dictates all that is reasonable and logical in our natures – Pingala.
The right side of the brain deals with the fantasies, the philosophies, the creativity, the intuition, the holistic – Ida.

Get the picture? 

Hindi poets obviously know this. Time and again the moon has been addressed in our film songs as a friend. A friend, a universal witness, a messenger between lovers, a keeper of secrets, a keeper of time at clandestine meetings, often times an unwanted third at such meetings, too!  The moon is referred to as both masculine and feminine in our songs. While a fair damsel may have a ‘mahtab tera chehra’, the handsome lover may be invoked thus: ‘chand mere aa ja re’. The moon has many references in our songs as a young child ‘chand kanwal’, ‘mere chanda’…or it may be the incentive used to quiet restless babies, put them to rest. After all, Ida=lunar energy=comfort, na? 

Here the beautiful Sadhana/Lata complains to the Moon…well, he’s got nowhere to go, na? Has to stay and hear her out! 

Both stanzas treat the Moon as messenger… a ‘harkaara’, being sent to look for the beloved. Having been given identification ‘aa tujh ko pehchaan bata dun…’ so it doesn’t mess up Operation-Find-Beloved-And-Bring-Him-Home, he is asked to take a message to the same “bus itna sandesa de aa-a-aa…dekh ussey kehna meri nindiya, ho gayi soutan meri… ”

But while the Moon is likened in the image of the missing beloved in the first stanza “Nadiya mein mukh dekh le apna, vo bhi hoga vaisa…”; in the second stanza, the Moon is requested to be a witness to her plight “chanda dena tu meri gawaahi…” while she and the Moon become as one!

“Hum dono hain pyar ke raahi/ bus, itna to saath nibhaa-a-aa…”! What a plea this is!

Bade kaam aatey hain ye chaand saahab! 

Rajinder Krishan’s poetry and Madan Mohan’s saarangi-sitar rich composition; Lata’s superb execution of this complaint-plea…(that “bus itna to saath nibhaa-a-aa” is to die for! Raag Saarang, I believe?) here charms you almost as much as the Moon and Sadhana!


Written on 25 August 2017

Monica Kar received her BA in English Honours from the University of Delhi. She now lives in St. Charles, Missouri, where she wears several hats, including doing voluntary work as an educator and homemaker.

7 thoughts on “Chanda ja, chanda ja re ja, by Monica Kar

    1. Manek… deep apologies! That was supposed to be your name. I was typing in pitch dark at 2:00 am and actually thought I looked it over before posting.I guess I didn’t do a good enough job. Not sure how to edit here… many apologies!

  1. Deep essay, especially the first part. The Sun, the Moon and the Ascendant corresponding to three Nadis – the Sushumna representing more of a latent reservoir. It is along this nadi that energy ascends through seven chakras – the first elevated level being bhaya chakra. During the years 1985-1988, I read quite a bit on this and even attempted an actualization. I remember, it was September 1988 mid noon. I took bath and eased myself into the prescribed posture ( lying down ) and focused on muladhara – I do not remember for how long. Suddenly I found myself standing on my own feet !. And much as I tried to pull ‘myself’ in, it would not ! It was during this tussle that I cried Kusum ( my wife ) and the next moment the ‘me’ was inside ! And concurrently I realized that Kusum’s hand was on my forehead. I guess, I would have been in some problem if she had not touched me. It was her ‘ negative / feminine ‘ touch that pulled the positively charged electric body that stood on my feet ! It also became apparent to me as to why tantriks invariably have young unmarried girls in attendance while they attempt such kriyas.

    After some days, I again made an attempt but did not make any progress. I could not in my first attempt go beyond the bhaya chakra and that became a sub-conscious barrier. I was perhaps scared deep within.

    Monica, I do not know if I should have shared this. But I have. Suffer me therefore :).

    1. Wow! Vijay Kumar ji! That’s scary! I can only imagine what you must have gone through… I’ve lived in a town of 8000 people where 4000 were meditators. Many of them have been meditating for 30+ years and some have extraordinary experiences to relate… your experience sounds similar… I think it’s technically called an ‘out-of-body’ experience…where ‘you’ quite literally observe ‘you’ … wow! As for sharing this… I personally think it’s good to share. Eventually, this is Mabel’s website and would be his prerogative to accept our dialog here or not. As for me, ?? For sharing something so personal. Thank you.

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