No Regrets

Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (1878-1972), popularly known as ‘Rajaji’ or ‘CR’ was a renowned advocate, statesman, writer, freedom fighter, journalist, and political leader. He was hailed as M K Gandhi’s conscience-keeper (somebody had to be, for better or for worse). A voracious reader, original thinker, astute politician, and prolific writer, Rajaji was a modern-day renaissance man. He was also a devout Hindu with a firm belief in the almighty and great admiration for saints like Shankara and Ramanuja. Though he was born in an orthodox brahmana family, he strove tirelessly to transcend varna-based discrimination that had crept into the Indian society over the years and had particularly intensified with the barbaric foreign invasions that began as early as in the 8th century.

Kurai onrum illai – “I have no regrets” – is perhaps the only song that Rajaji composed. The lyrics are devotional in nature but offer gratitude instead of prayer. It was first published in the Tamil magazine Kalki in 1967, when Rajaji was 89 years old. It is noteworthy that a soon-to-be nonagenarian writes that he has no regrets from life; it is perhaps an indication of the full life that he led. The song gained immense popularity ever since M S Subbulakshmi recorded it in 1979-80.

Here is the original lyric followed by my free-verse translation.

குறையொன்றும் இல்லை மறைமூர்த்தி கண்ணா
குறையொன்றும் இல்லை கண்ணா
குறையொன்றும் இல்லை கோவிந்தா

கண்ணுக்குத் தெரியாமல் நிற்கின்றாய் கண்ணா
கண்ணுக்குத் தெரியாமல் நின்றாலும் எனக்கு
குறையொன்றும் இல்லை மறைமூர்த்தி கண்ணா
வேண்டியதைத் தந்திட வேங்கடேசன் என்றிருக்க
வேண்டியது வேறில்லை மறைமூர்த்தி கண்ணா
மணிவண்ணா மலையப்பா கோவிந்தா கோவிந்தா

திரையின்பின் நிற்கின்றாய் கண்ணா - உன்னை
மறையோதும் ஞானியர் மட்டுமே காண்பார்
என்றாலும் குறையொன்றும் எனக்கில்லை கண்ணா
குன்றின்மேல் கல்லாகி நிற்கின்ற வரதா
குறையொன்றும் இல்லை மறைமூர்த்தி கண்ணா
மணிவண்ணா மலையப்பா கோவிந்தா கோவிந்தா

கலினாளுக்கிறங்கி கல்லிலே இறங்கி
நிலையாகக் கோவிலில் நிற்கின்றாய் கேசவா
குறையொன்றும் இல்லை மறைமூர்த்தி கண்ணா
யாதும் மறுக்காத மலையப்பா உன் மார்பில்
ஏதும் தர நிற்கும் கருணைக் கடல் அன்னை
என்றும் இருந்திட ஏது குறை எனக்கு
ஒன்றும் குறையில்லை மறை மூர்த்தி கண்ணா
மணிவண்ணா மலையப்பா கோவிந்தா கோவிந்தா

I have no regrets my dear lord Govinda

 Unseen by human eyes, you stand
Yet I have no regrets
You give me whatever I want, Venkatesha
but I need nothing my dear lord Govinda
Lord of the sparkling gems

Behind the curtain, you stand
Only the wise can see you, not me
Yet I have no regrets.
Immutable as a rock, you stand
A crown to this hill, O giver of boons
I have no regrets my dear lord Govinda
Lord of the mountains

 In this tainted Kali yuga
you have entered into stone, O Keshava
Making the temple your home, you stand
bestowing boons on all
Enshrined in your heart
is the goddess, the ocean of compassion
She grants me whatever I desire
You both stand by me
What regrets can I have?
I have no regrets my dear lord Govinda
Lord of the sparkling gems
Lord of the mountains


For the musically inclined, here is a live video of M S Subbulakshmi singing this song:






Hari is a writer, translator, violinist, and designer with a deep interest in Vedanta, Carnatic music, education pedagogy design, and literature. He has worked on books like The New Bhagavad-Gita, Your Dharma and Mine, Srishti, and Foggy Fool's Farrago.