Ghana Ghamanda Nabh

Monsoon, Music & Poetry: “Ghan Ghamand Nabh” – Dhrupad in Raga Miya Malhar

Goswami Tulsidas, one of the greatest writers of Hindi Poetry, describes the monsoons using some unique similes. It’s sung in Dhrupad style in Raag Miya Malhar by the Gundecha brothers.

The Mumbai monsoon has a peculiar characteristic. Its arrival in early June is heralded by thunder & lightening, as is its departure in September. However, it is quite rare to have a thunderstorm during the intervening period.

It is September, thunder & lightening have kept their appointment with Mumbai, and it is time for the final monsoon melody of the season.

This poem from Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas has been set to Raag Miya Malhar and sung in Dhrupad style of Indian Classical Music by the Gundecha brothers.

The Poem:

Sita has been kidnapped by Ravana. Ram and Lakshman are traversing through the forests in search of her. The monsoon season has set in, and Ram is lamenting her absence. He describes the thunder, the lightening, the rains, and compares them with various human traits.

The beauty of the poem lies in the similes Tulsidas has used. Nowhere else have I seen such similes used to describe nature.


घन घमंड नभ गरजत घोरा ।
प्रिया हीन डरपत मन मोरा ।।

दामिनि दमक रह न घन माहीं ।
खल कै प्रीति जथा थिर नाहीं ।।

बरषहिं जलद भूमि निअराएँ ।
जथा नवहिं बुध बिद्या पाएँ ।।

बूँद अघात सहहिं गिरि कैंसें ।
खल के बचन संत सह जैसें ।।

छुद्र नदीं भरि चलीं तोराई ।
जस थोरेहुँ धन खल इतराई ।।

भूमि परत भा ढाबर पानी ।
जनु जीवहि माया लपटानी ।।

समिटि समिटि जल भरहिं तलावा ।
जिमि सदगुन सज्जन पहिं आवा ।।

सरिता जल जलनिधि महुँ जाई ।
होई अचल जिमि जिव हरि पाई ।।


The clouds thunder in the skies
I am afraid without my beloved

Flashes of lightening cannot be contained within the clouds
Just as a cruel person cannot sustain the feeling of love

The Earth soaks up the rains from the clouds
Just as a young intellect soaks up knowledge

The mountains bear the blows of the raindrops
Just as saints bear the insults of a cruel person

The small stream, full of water, prances about
Just as a cruel person becomes vain on getting a little wealth

Earth soaked on water glistens in an illusion of light
Just as living beings are entangled in worldly illusions

Ponds fill themselves up by gathering the water from everywhere
Just as good human beings learn good qualities from everyone

River waters calm down after entering the oceans
Just as the soul attains peace on achieving God

The Poet:

Goswami Tulsidas (1497 – 1623 AD) was a poet-saint who is best known as the author of Ramcharitmanas. He has been widely acclaimed as one of the greatest writers of Hindi Poetry.

The Music:

Indian Classical Music refers to music based on ancient musical traditions which have evolved through several thousand years. Its roots are traced to chants of Sama Veda. It is often referred to as Raga music, because it is based around traditional classical modes called Ragas.

Dhrupad is the oldest surviving form of Indian Classical Music. It first gained recognition around 1500 A.D. during the reign of Raja Mansingh Tomar of Gwalior.

Raga Miya Malhar is a raga associated with torrential rains. It is attributed to the legendary singer Miya Tansen (c 1493 – 1585 AD) who was one of the jewels of court of Mughal Emperor Akbar.

The Artistes:

The Gundecha Brothers, Umakant & Ramakant, are leading Dhrupad singers of the Dagarvani. They received their training under late Ustad Z.F. Dagar and his brother the Veena maestro late Ustad Z.M. Dagar.

Interested in more information on any of the above topics? Please comment on this post, and I will try to write about them soon.


2 comments on “Monsoon, Music & Poetry: “Ghan Ghamand Nabh” – Dhrupad in Raga Miya Malhar

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