‘Bhaya bhanjana vandana sun hamari…’

It is often said that ‘ Thinking maketh the Man’ . We are consistently fighting and resolving conflicts in our mind . One such thought in varying degrees is ‘Fear’ – Fear of the Powerful , of failure, of economic insecurity , of well being of our dear ones ,of failing health, of the fickle […]

It is often said that ‘ Thinking maketh the Man’ . We are consistently fighting and resolving conflicts in our mind . One such thought in varying degrees is ‘Fear’ – Fear of the Powerful , of failure, of economic insecurity , of well being of our dear ones ,of failing health, of the fickle happiness etc. To seek solace we some times turn to friends , medical help , religion or literature . Yet; some words, some phrases have such power that they uplift us from our apprehensions and lows when ever we listen to those words; specially in songs and poetic expressions .

This song sung by Manna Dey, written by Shailendra , composed by Shankar Jaikishan for the film ‘Basant Bahar’, is one such poetic expression . Shailendra remains supreme in composing variety of songs. He also wrote some famous bhajans such as ; ‘na mein dhan mangu na rattan mangu’( Kala Bazar),), Jago Mohan pyare( Jagte raho) and Shivji bihane chane palki sajayke Bibhuti lagayke ( Munimji) and others

Bharat Bhushan the hero of the film ‘Basant Bahar’ sings the song on screen. He was always cast well in the roles he played- ‘Baiju Bawra’, ‘Barsaat ki Raaat’, ‘Mirza Galib’ or ‘Basant Bahar’. Matching with his personality he played low key roles of a singer, poet, lover very well. This song ( Bhajan) belongs to all three-Shailendra( lyricist), Manna Dey( singer)and Bharat Bhushan ( Actor). But the primary role is of Shailendra for creating this landmark Bhajan .

The most remarkable quality about this song is the manner in which it addresses ‘God’. It is different from other Bhajans which may be melodious but are appeasing, praising, appealing to the Almighty. Here he addresses ‘God’ as ‘Bhaya Bhanjan’ ( the one who demolishes/shatters /perishes ‘Fear’ ) .Unlike normal devotees here the singer is merely asking for a glimpse of ‘Bhaye Bhanjan’. And in my opinion that is what we need in life – Free from Fear. Instead of asking for richness and wealth if we ask for only freedom from fear we shall be able to achieve on our own. What is distinct in this plea is that the devotee is asking for very little , a small support from ‘Bhaye Bhanjan’. The lovely images , the offerings to God are also new and unique. The Bhajan goes like this:

Bhaya bhanjana Vandana sun hamari
Daras tere mange ye tera pujari
(O the one who removes all fears, listen to my prayer
this devotee seeks your Appearance )
As stated earlier he is invoking ‘God’ by calling him as ‘Fear-Demolisher’ ! This is a new form of address not totally absent in other invocations but yet something fresh which draws attention of the listeners as well as that of the Almighty!
The first stanza is also interesting in terms of imagery:
Geeton ke phoolon ki mala banakar
Laya hoon dil aarti mein sajakar
Ye sanson ki sargam karoon tujhko arpan
Tujhe aur kya doon mein thehra bhikari
Daras tere mange ye tera pujari…
(with garland of flowers consisting of songs
I have come to offer my heart decorated in ‘prayer – plate’ to worship you
I sing the full scale as song as offering !
What else can I give; I am a mere popper !
I seek your ‘Appearance’…..)
Here the devotee is offering his songs as garland of flowers. His musical notes as offering. He is a singer and says has nothing else to offer as he is a poor person. Singing to God is also an offering!
Aaja madhur swapan si muskarati
Mun ke bujhe deep hanse kar jagati
Jape dil ki dharkan tera naam hardam
Utar jyot kirnon ki lekar sawari
Daras tere mange ……
(appear as sweet dream smiling
And lighten my dark life
My heart chants your name always
Descend on the shaft of light ,
I seek your appearance )

In the second stanza he continues with his plea to appear in his dreams and smile at him as this would bring light in his dark life . He says that he is ever chanting his name and finally invokes God to descend on the shaft of light/rays as carrier( Hindu Gods have their carriers- Shiv-Nandi the Bull, Vishnu- Garud the eagle, Ganesh-Mouse , Durga-Lion)
The Nucleus of this Bhajan – ‘Bhaye-Bhanjana’. Invoking Supreme as one who perishes Fear. Offering garland of songs ( geeton ki phoolon ki mala banakar) and asking God to descend on a Shaft of light( Utar Jyot kirnon ki lekar sawari). These images are strong and immensely rejuvenating.

Ravindra Nath Tagore also talks about removing ‘fear’ and the following extract is from the poem ‘ Where the mind is without fear’ from ‘Geetanjali’ :

“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held highWhere knowledge is free Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls”
In the above lines the poet seeks for its people in free India ‘Fearlessness’, which would give confidence and self esteem. In a ‘fearless’ society there would be no insecurities and hence ‘knowledge’ shall be free . A Nation without divisiveness and parochialism .
Below is yet another example of ‘fearlessness’ as portrayed by Willian Henley the English poet of the 19th century . His famous poem titled ‘Invictus’ meaning ‘Unconquered’ in Latin ,is very popular and much quoted. He suffered from tuberculosis since childhood and on account of that his one leg had to be imputed. The poem in four stanzas is below..


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
(In the first stanza he talks of his life in darkness because of his illness but still his core strength the’ soul’ is fighting. He thanks the invisible unknown power for his upbeat morale ; the ‘unconquered’ soul. )
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
(Further; in adverse situations too his head is high and not lowered. He has been battered but not subjugated. Like a adamant boxer in a ring bloodied and bruised he stands firm )
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
(The situation in life is unchanged even in the third stanza. It is a hopeless condition even if the poet moves ahead for there is no brightness or sunshine but only shade. But he is undeterred and not afraid )
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

(In the final stanza he sums up his firmness and resolve when he says that it does not matter how narrow is the gate to salvation and how adverse is the ‘balance sheet’ of his doings and life ; he shall carve his own fate and steer himself the ship of his soul.
A remarkable analogy on ‘Individualism’ and ‘optimism’)

It is stated in ‘Bhagwat Gita’ chapter 12 verse 15 that “ He by whom the world is not afflicted and whom the world cannot afflict , he who is free from joy and anger, fear and anxiety is dear to me”. And again in chapter 16 verse 1 Shri Krishna lists ‘fearlessness’ ( Abhayam) first among the qualities of a virtuous ( Saatvik) person.

A ’fearless’ society may be ideal ; but Societies should endeavour to seek the same ; for ‘fearlessness’ ensures – Justice , equality , liberty and fraternity.


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