In this live performance, Ranjit and Unmesh Swanson sing three songs in traditional Indian Baoul style. The first song, “O Kanaiya”, is a song to Lord Krishna, written by Sri Chinmoy.

Secondly, they sing a bhajan of Mirabai Chakar Rakho Ji, – giving the English translation of the song “O Lord, make me your servant.” Sri Chinmoy writes about Mirabai:

“Mirabai was a devotee of the high, higher, highest order. Among the saints of India, she is absolutely unparalleled. She composed many, many bhajans, which are prayerful songs to God. Each song Mirabai wrote expressed her inspiration, aspiration and sleepless self-giving.”

The second recording is a performance of ‘Mano Chalo  Nija Niketane’. It is a famous Bengali song and was sung by Swami Vivekananda at his first meeting with Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar in 1881. It was composed by Ayodhyanath Pakrashi, and is one of the hymns in the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.

According to Ranjit and Unmesh, they sang “in the style of M.S. Subbulakshmi, who sang this song all over the world during her very long career.”

English translation of Mano Chalo  Nija Niketane

Let us go back once more, O mind, to
our own abode!
Here in this foreign land of earth
Why should we wander aimlessly in
stranger’s guise?
These living beings round about, and
the five elements;
Are strangers to you, all of them; none
is your own.
Why do you thus forget yourself,
In love with strangers, O my mind?
Why do you thus forget your own?

Ascend the path of Truth, O mind!
Unflaggingly climb,
With Love as the lamp to light your
way.
As your provision for the journey, bring
with you
The virtues, carefully concealed; for, like
two highwaymen,
Greed and delusion wait to rob you of
your wealth.
And keep beside you constantly,
As guards to shelter you from harm,
Calmness of mind and self-control.

Companionship with holy men will be
for you
A welcome rest-house by the road;
There rest your weary limbs awhile,
asking your way,
If ever you should be in doubt, of him
who watches there.
If anything along the path should
frighten you,
Then loudly shout the name of the Lord;
For He is Ruler of that road,
And even Death must bow to Him.

Ranjit and Unmesh, have been disciples of Sri Chinmoy for more than 30 years – since the early 1970s. They have frequently visited India, and the holy sites, such as Dakshineswar. They have learnt Bengali and have developed a real empathy with these Bengali songs.

 

Artist: Ranjit and Unmesh
Release year: 2007
Duration: 18 minutes
Acknowledgements: Sri Chinmoy
Uploads and track notes. Kamalakanta Nieves + Tejvan Pettinger
Format: Advanced Audio Coding
Image: Ranjit & Unmesh Swanson