Murli bairan bhayi, by Sneh Dhingra

The invocation of Lord Krishna often relies on the magic of a murli or flute. Many songs are written to praise the Lord through his beloved flute, which had the gopis, and the cows he tended to, in total rapture. Krishna is said to be “solah kala sampann”. A number of these kalas, which really is a reference to the phases of the moon… where it goes from zero visibility to total visibility, are related to the art of song, instrumental music, dance, painting, even lying and stealing. Krishna used his charm as one aspect of his divinity to steal hearts after practicing on stealing butter from the “ghaagri”.. and then he lied so perfectly. He would run away from a battle and at the same time pick up the Sudarshan Chakra, capable of destroying the enemy. The one aspect of his divinity is that his murli was so melodious that whoever heard it went into rapture.

There is a depiction in this song, by Vijayantimala, of an aspect of Krishna’s murli, which is the object of a complaint by her. The murli has gone crazy.. along with it, I have gone crazy, says Radha… I have lost sudh-budh and my heart. I close my eyes, she continues, there is only this robber that resides in them.. and my competitor is this murli of yours, O Kanhaiya. You showed pure love and stole my heart and everything. You took me to the banks of the Yamuna and made me listen to the melodious music that pierced through and through my heart.. it is this crazy flute of yours, Kanhaiya, it is this flute of yours that has gone crazy…

The video begins with a superb performance of the Tilaana by the mistress of Bharatnatyam, Vijayantimala… As the dance ends, Vijayanti exchanges glances with Kishore in the audience..and that is how the song is born.

Hasrat’s wonderful words are anointed by Shanker Jaikishen, the flame in the aarti is the divine voice of Lata. I enjoyed it tremendously, and hope you will too.


Originally published on 4 December 2017

Sneh Dhingra (nee Khanna) was born in Delhi to an Army Officer father; consequently, she spent time in several cities, going to school at Patna, graduating in Physics major from Meerut, and also living in Delhi, Lucknow and Kanpur before migrating to Canada, where she has lived since 1975. She is currently based in Ottawa.

3 thoughts on “Murli bairan bhayi, by Sneh Dhingra

  1. Thank you so much, Manek. Your words so humble me and make me feel that had it not been for your guidance, none of this would have been forthcoming. Grateful to you.

  2. Stunning post to a remarkable song Sneh! I have been in love with this song from childhood, and tell you what, if I had the option of playing one instrument in just one Hindi film song to show my class, it would be this song and it would be the harmonium 🙂 But this has all-round class, the dance, the voice, the composition, the poetry, wow….MIH!

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