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The Mindful Songs

Posted on 17/07/2022 on Trivia – The Spice of Life

Screen grab Courtesy :

We often talk of the heart, mind and body as separate entities. Further, health issues associated with each of them are addressed by a different set of medical professionals. Recent research has however shown that a person’s mind, heart and body are closely interlinked and that mental well being is important both for a healthy heart as well as an overall healthy body. Wellness is more than simply the absence of disease. And for wholistic wellness, the mind needs to be as much in shape as the body.

There are umpteen instances where unhealthy minds have led many to end their lives even though they had immense potential to contribute to the society positively. The one name that comes to mind immediately is of Guru Dutt. The fact that he had a mental health issue was perhaps known but never addressed conclusively. Unfortunately, it was never taken seriously. Those were the times when the value of professional help and support was not understood.

Come to think of it, Indian philosophy has centred very strongly around controlling the mind. Yoga is aimed at both physical and mental well being. So the emphasis is on both tan and man (तन – body, मन- mind) The time spent focusing on one’s breathing pattern helps to calm the mind. The mind wanders in myriad directions and thoughts of different kinds flood your consciousness as soon as you begin to meditate. It is only as you persist that some semblance of serenity sets in and the thoughts vanish one by one. But for ordinary humans who have to return to the humdrum of daily life, as soon as the eyes open, the worldly worries and thoughts associated with them begin to populate the mind.

When it is said in praise of the poet that he can reach those realms that even the sun’s rays can’t illuminate, (जहाँ न पहुँचे रवि, वहाँ पहुँचे कवि) it is the distance the thoughts of the poet’s mind can travel that are being referred to.

A never ending debate related to the subject at hand is that of the heart vs mind. There is a purported dichotomy because of which decision-making gets influenced. The mind is seen as the seat of ratiocination whereas the heart is seen as the epicentre of emotions. Thus, decisions that are taken using the mind are considered logical and well thought out where as those exercising the heart are perceived to be impulsive and irrational. Isn’t the Bhagvad Gita all about the right balance between the heart and the mind? Wasn’t Arjun actually perplexed about whether to listen to his heart or his mind?

Winning over the mind and getting control of its reins is perhaps the most arduous and challenging task. Once you lose mentally, complete failure is assured. Kabir has in fact put it very succinctly when he says :

मन के हारे हार है मन के जीते जीत ।
कहे कबीर हरि पाइए मन ही की परतीत ॥

Kavi Pradeep in his poem कभी कभी खुद से बात करो says that you need to introspect by weighing yourself on the scales of the mind. This would be most impartial and realistic mode of assessment.

कभी कभी ख़ुद से बात करो कभी ख़ुद से बोलो।
अपनी नज़र में तुम क्या हो? ये मन की तराज़ू पर तोलो।

Having built the premise for today’s post, I must proceed to elaborate on how I propose to link this with golden era film songs. A majority of the songs of films old or new deal with matters of the heart. There is little space for the mind. Sometimes the word मन or mind is used as a synonym for the heart or दिल (like in the song मेरा मन तेरा प्यासा). There are however a few songs where मन figures more in the sense of the mind. Many bhajans in fact refer to the mind. Further, the mind is personified and even addressed in several songs (like मन रे तू काहे न धीर धरे). This post is thus an attempt to list those songs which refer to the mind more than the heart. The songs are largely of the golden era.

1) Man Re Tu Kaahe Na Dheer Dhare (Chitralekha, 1964) Lyricist : Sahir Ludhianvi; Music Director : Roshan; Playback Singer : Md. Rafi. Set to Raag Yaman, this has been voted as one of the best songs of all times. The piece of Sarod played by Pandit Arvind Kumar Mathur, that the song starts off with, is ethereal. In this song, the mind is addressed and asked to stay patient. It is a song that enunciates the philosophy of life. It talks of how each one ultimately has to fend for oneself (koi na sang mare). It is a song that speaks of how the mind should be detached.

Man re tu kaahe naa dheer dhare
wo nirmohi moh naa jaane, jinkaa moh kare

2) Man Re Tu Hi Bata Kya Gaun (Hamrahi, 1963) Lyricist : Shailendra ; Music Directors: Shankar Jaikishan; Playback Singer : Lata Mangeshkar. This is a party song but sung in the baithak shaili with the heroine, Jamuna, playing the sitar as she pours her heart out. Interestingly, she addresses her mind to resolve the matters of her heart. Asked to sing, she asks her mind whether she should spill the beans about her troubled relationship with her husband or just tolerate the mental torture. Her husband (Rajendra Kumar) can be seen squirming as she sings.

Man re
tu hi bataa kya gaaoon
keh doon apne dil ke dukhde
yaa aansoo pee jaaoon

3) Kai Baar Yun Bhi Dekha Hain (Rajnigandha, 1974) Lyricist: Yogesh; Music Director: Salil Chowdhury; Playback Singer: Mukesh. This song from Basu Chaterjee’s movie ponders over the conundrums of life in fine quality, chaste Hindi. It talks of how, many a time, the mind ends up pursuing mirages. The mind does not know its boundaries and so it looks for new horizons; in this process, it occasionally ends up coming to grief as well. Here, there are old flames meeting after long. As Vidya Sinha, the heroine reminisces the past, she is unable to decide whom she should settle down with – her first love (Dinesh Thakur) or her present mate (Amol Palekar) – both being poles apart in terms of their outlook on life. Her mind is in a state of flux.

 Kai baar yun bhi dekha hai
ye jo man ki seema rekha hai
man todne lagta hai
anjaani pyaas ke pichhe
anjaani aas ke pichhe
man daudne lagta hai

4) Tora Man Darpan Kehlaaye (Kaajal, 1965) Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi; Music Director: Ravi; Playback Singer: Asha Bhosle. This bhajan is the perfect ode to the mind. Your mind is your mirror which shows and reflects all your deeds and misdeeds. There is no way one can run away from one’s mind. It is the mind that one needs to focus on and not the body. The bhajan is sung evocatively on screen by Meena Kumari as a devout Durga Khote listens to it mesmerized.

Praani apne prabhu se poochhe 
kis vidhi paaoon toheprabhu kahe 
tu man ko paale paa jaayega mohe…
Tora man darpan kahlaaye
bhale bure saare karmon ko
dekhe aur dikhaaye

5) Main Man Ki Baat Bataaun Kya Kya Baat (Dharti Mata, 1938) Lyricist: Pt. Sudarshan; Music Director: Pankaj Mullick; Singers : Uma Shashi & K.L.Saigal. This is a song where both the heroine and the hero bare their minds. The heroine is enthralled by the various elements of nature; she feels one with nature – be it the sunshine, the flower or the morning. The hero too joins in to complement her and says that if she is the rain then he wants to be the parched field. The most difficult thing is to express your thoughts in words. The opening music by Pankaj Mullick is wonderful.

Man ki baat bataaoon
main man ki baat bataaoon
kyaa-kyaa baat uthat man morey
sab kah kar samjhaaoon

6) Naina Deewane (Afsar, 1950) Lyricist: Narendra Sharma; Music Director: S.D.Burman; Singer : Suraiyya. It is a pity that the video of the song is not available. Based on Rabindra Sangeet, the song has sublime lyrics by Narendra Sharma. The mind is compared to the fragrant flowers of the Bakul tree and to the sweet Bulbul (chahke man bulbul, mahke man ke bakul). The play on words is wonderful. The eyes have a mind of their own and so they do manmaani. They do not know the secrets of the mind (man ka maram jaane na). While the eyes are wayward, the fragrant mind though struck by Cupid still wonders:-

Man kyaa jaane kyaa hogaa kal
dhaar samay ki bahti kal kal
jeewan chanchal jeewan chanchal
din jaake phir aane naa
maane naa maane naa
naina deewaane ik nahin maane 
ye kare manmaani maane naa
naina deewaane

7) Chanchal Man Par Chhaye Rang (Mere Bhaiyya, 1972) Lyricist: Yogesh; Music Director: Salil Chowdhury; Playback Singer : Manna Dey. This song and the movie, both are new to me. It is a Rajshri movie but I had never heard of it. The mind has traditionally been described as चंचल – i.e. fickle and astatic and loves monkeying. The lyrics of the song seem to suggest that the singer has turned into a new leaf and he is optimistic about life. The fickle mind is like the sky on which there are clouds of vibrant dreams. The song deserved more popularity with Yogesh’s optimistic lyrics, Salilda’s trademark music and Manna Dey’s peppy rendition.

Chanchal man par chaaye rang ke baadal
mere path ki dhul bani chandan
khili dhup barse jaise kanchan
dekho ye bahaare chhalkaaye pyaar
lahraaye apna aanchal

8) Mere Man Ka Baawra Panchhi (Amar Deep, 1958) Lyricist: Rajinder Krishan ; Music Director: C.Ramchandra ; Playback Singer : Lata Mangeshkar. This song filmed on Padmini and Dev Anand is all about the mind losing sanity after falling in love. The mind is compared to an insane bird that keeps wandering without pausing.

Mere man kaa baawraa panchhi
kyun baar baar dole
ankhiyon mein aaj kiska
rah rah ke pyaar dole

9) Mere Man Ke Diye (Parakh, 1960) Lyricist : Shailendra; Music Director : Salil Chowdhury ; Playback Singer : Lata Mangeshkar. This is a lovely, poignant song from a classic Bimal Roy movie, which is a satire on democracy in post independent India. This song is one of the lesser known songs of the movie. Salil Chowdhury uses a slow tune keeping in mind the mood of the song, along with a chorus (like in Ae Dil Kahan Teri Manzil from Maya, 1961). The lyrics penned by Shailendra are sublime and Sadhana is a delight to watch on screen, holding an earthen lamp in her hands. As she lights the evening lamp before the almighty, she alludes to the lamp of her dear (laadle!) despondent mind which she is determined to keep burning against all odds. This song proves beyond doubt that real beauty lies in simplicity.

Mere man ke diye mere man ke diye
yuhi ghut ke jal tu mere laadle
o mere laadle

10) Man Re Tan Hain Dukh Ka Gaon (Non-filmy Bhajan) Lyricist : Rajesh Johri (?) Music Director : Pt. Shivram ; Singer Md. Rafi. I end this post with a wonderful non-filmy bhajan of Md. Rafi. While we are usually reminded of Man Tarpat Hari Darshan Ko Aaj when we begin to list the devotional songs of Rafi, I came across this soulful non-filmy bhajan sung by him. This is a bhajan which operates at a philosophical plane; it addresses the mind to state that the body is the dwelling place of all sorrow. If you begin to think and reason as to whether life is full of sorrow or joy, then you are sure to get lost in a labyrinth. You must just remember the name of god and then you stand alleviated.

Man re tan hain dukh ka gaon 
jeevan sukh hai ya dukh koi
 jo soche woh uljhe 
ram naam ke sumiran se hi 
har ek uljhan suljhe
 kaante bhi dete hain chhaon

Songs of the mind are more to do with introspection and course correction when man is meant to be the soul or conscience. Man is also used to refer to the mind and here the focus is on reasoning and making a well thought out decision. Man is also used as a synonym for heart in which case the focus is on emotions alone. I guess for a peaceful and meaningful life both the mind and the heart need to be in the right place. Also it is for the individual perhaps to figure out where the heart needs to rule and where the mind gets precedence. Having said that, I must conclude on the note that the mind is definitely a very good sounding board.

Disclaimer claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from YouTube, daily motion and other platforms only to make the post audio visual. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.

5 thoughts on “The Mindful Songs

  1. Anitaji,

    Another interesting and well-written post on an unusual them. You have a knack of coming up with nice uncommon topics.
    I am specially glad to see one of my favorites here – Kai baar yun bhi dekha hai from Rajnigandha.
    I am quite fond of the lyrics as well as its simple yet effective picturization

    Posting a few songs that I could think of, wondering if they fit here

    Nache man more magan – Meri Surat Teri Ankhen

    Man tarpat hari darshan ko aaj – Baiju Bawra

    Man ki pyas mere man se na nikli – Jal Bin Machhli Nritya Bin Bijli

    Gao mere man chahe suraj chamke – Apne Paraye


    1. Thanks a lot for reading and commenting, Dr.Deshpande! Thanks for adding such wonderful songs! The Apne Paraye one is really different for it is Bappi Lahiri’s music with a complete Bangla folk touch. It is very difficult to find songs where the heart/mind conflict is voiced.


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