Song: Murshid

Photo: Radhika Venugopal

This is a folk song written by Fakir Kala Sai belonging to the Baul tradition of Bengal. The Bauls are itinerant singing fakirs straddling the greater Bengal (present West Bengal and Bangladesh). Murshid means Teacher or Guide in Arabic. In Sufism it refers to The Great One who has attained the highest goal in the spiritual path and is in a position to guide spiritual aspirants.

I loved this song because it tells with great simplicity and rustic charm about an irreversible physical transmutation brought about by the presence of the Teacher. The melody has the breezy, folksy signature typically found in Baul songs. I took the liberty to change the lyrics a little bit to make it more relevant for myself.

Venky has done a masterful music arrangement for this composition. I personally feel, no matter what I sing, Venky’s musical genius catapults it to a different level. The Indian stringed instrument Esraj has been played beautifully by Aranyakumar from Hyderabad.

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Meaning:

My teacher is the Philosopher’s Stone
He turned iron into pure gold
His feet are my priceless treasure
My sadhana is complete

// He turned iron into pure gold
My teacher is the Philosopher’s Stone //

Whoever cherishes his feet
Makes yoghurt without milk 
And churns butter out of it
That butter appeases worldly cravings

// He turned iron into pure gold
My teacher is the Philosopher’s Stone //

When the heart-lotus blooms
The bee of the mind busy gathering knowledge, is restless
The sight of Him has driven me crazy
Nobody dare stop me

// He turned iron into pure gold
My teacher is the Philosopher’s Stone //

Kala Sai says, O crazy mind
Don’t mix innocence with guile
Else you’ll loose the precious jewel
Go to the land of simplicity
Where you will never be corrupted

// He turned iron into pure gold
My teacher is the Philosopher’s Stone
My benefactor is the Philosopher’s Stone
He turned iron into pure gold //