Chants & Shlokas at Somnath Light & Sound show

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A note about the chants and shlokas selected for the somnath sound and light show with an explanation of the music design and how it was created

Somnath is a Jyotirlinga, one of the twelve most powerful temples of Shiva in India, named by Adi Shankaracharya, the great saint-philosopher of India. Needless to say, the music design for the sound and light show mounted at this wondrous temple had to be spectacular and memorable.

Towards this end, special attention has been given to the choice of stotras and chants, folk songs and dohas included in the show. The ragas to which these are set have been chosen with extreme care. For instance, ragas associated with Lord Shiva have been used in several episodes and for many of the stotras. Among these are ragas Bairagi, Shivaranjani, Yaman and Bhairavi.

For the episodes which concern the mythical story of the moon and his penance at Somnath, raga Chandrakauns has been selected.

For the episodes which tell the story of Shri Krishna Nijdham Prasthan, the flute has been used for maximum impact. Here too, ragas are used with care. Since Shri Krishna’s heavenward journey is likened to a clap of lightning and thunder among dark clouds, the raga chosen is Miyan Ki Malhar, a monsoon melody. Streaks of lightning and thunder– with specific colours and sounds – have been used as special effects.

Ragas Bilawal, Bageshri, Darbari Kanada, Marwa, Kafi, Pahadi, Shree, Bhairavi and Hansadhwani have been used effectively to create the Nava Rasas (nine classical moods or emotions) in the show.

The instruments used include the veena, the sitar, the flute, the sarod, the ektara, the shehnai and the tanpura. Chorus singing adds to the mood of several episodes. The percussion instruments include mridangam, chand, nagara, pakhawaj, jhanjh, damru and the shankh. Keyboards have been used sparingly for the right impact. Several melodic compositions have been chosen to depict the distinct mood of each episode. The constant lashing of waves establishes the persona of the ocean, who is the narrator.

The translations of the shlokas and stotras used in the show are given here so that viewers can understand and enjoy the precision and passion which have gone into the production and design of the show.

1. The Shiva Tandav Stotra by Ravana: (few stanzas) “I worship Shiv Mahadev, from whose matted hair the heavenly Ganga flows with her waves and on whose auspicious head sits the crescent moon. I worship Shiva who is pleased with the lustre created by the beauty of Parvati, the daughter of the king of mountains Himalaya. Shiva’s mercy gives peace and joy to devotees. He is the essence of all creation.

2. Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: I worship the sacred Shiva whose benevolence is limitless. Like a heavenly fruit (which gives salvation), Shiva gives release from death. O Shiva, release me from the bond of death and give me salvation.

3. Rigveda: Where the Ganga and the Yamuna flow, where the eastward-flowing Saraswati blesses the land (Prabhas Kshetra), where Lord Somnath lives in splendour, give me salvation. O Soma, create a shower of nectar for Indra, the god of heavens!

4. Dwadasha Jyotirlinga Stotram of Adi Shankaracharya: (stanza one) In Saurashtra stands Somnath. In Shri Shailam is Mallikarjuna. In Ujjain, stands Mahakaleshwar. With Omkareshwar (Amaleshwar) these are counted as the Jyotirlingas (among the twelve in India).

5. Shlokas from the Bhagwad Geeta: O Bharat (Arjuna), non violence, truth, conquest of anger, a spirit of sacrifice, gentleness, steadfastness, peace, sensitivity, lustre, forgiveness, courage, purity, absence of hatred, fearlessness, modesty – these are divine qualities. This heavenly treasure belongs only to fortunate people.

6. Bhagwat Purana: (few stanzas) Shri Krishna, (who lay down) with closed eyes, gave up his beautiful earthly body with the fire of Yoga and returned to his blessed abode upon which devotees meditate. When he left on his divine journey, drums began to beat a cosmic rhythm in the heavens. A shower of flowers fell upon the earth from the sky. With him, truth, righteousness, dutifulness, courage, lustre and prosperity went from this earth. All the gods, among whom Brahma is the chief, were struck with wonder and stood still, for they wished to see the miracle of Shri Krishna’s return to heaven. Just as a streak of lightning cleaves the cover of clouds (unknown to mankind), Shri Krishna’s heavenward journey left the galaxies in a wonder-struck silence.

7. Shiva Raksha Stotra by Yadnyavalkya: (few stanzas) The greatness of Mahadev, who is the god of gods, is limitless. His generosity is legendary. His sacred name helps devotees to achieve salvation through the four valorous principles of life, namely Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. I worship Shiva, with Parvati and Ganesha. I worship Shiva who has five heads, three eyes and ten arms. The chanting of the Shiva Raksha Stotra gives salvation to all devotees.

8. Two folk songs have been used in the narrative – one describes the historic love story of Raja Bheemdev and Choula Devi and the other, the martyrdom of Hamirji Gohil.

Also see
1. Pictures of Somnath Mandir 
2. Temple site