The Musical Maharshi from Amravati

One of Maharashtra's gravest tragedies is the perverted polarization that separates the unfairly privileged Western Maharashtra from the rest of the state. Consequently, many legends remain perennially unsung, whether during their lifetimes or even posthumously. One such luminary was singer-composer Pandit Manohar Kavishwar.


His Geet Govind was inspired by G. D. Madgulkar's Geet Ramayan, and although equally soulful and more profound, it was denied the place of pride that was given to Geet Ramayan on a platter. Not stopping at Geet Govind, Kavishwar composed Geet Gajanan, Geet Gautam, and Geet Chakradhar, and yet this humble school teacher from Amravati is not known to most Maharashtrians.   

Thanks to the divine voice of Sudhir Phadke, Kavishwar continues to mesmerize us every time Aakashwani airs his माना मानव वा परमेश्वर, मी स्वामी पतितांचा which articulates the essence and credence of Yogyogeshwar Bhagwan Srikrishna precisely and purposefully. His winsome involvement (which the world erroneously equates with indulgence) and wholesome detachment (which most misread as ruthlessness), his grand stature as the sole maverick among Gods, his absolute disdain for helpless cries and ostensible grieving, his heartfelt concern for the well being of his ardent devotees, and his earnest appeal to all Jeevas to defy all odds only to do what they ought to....this beautiful verse unfolds all in less than 100 words. And Phadke takes it to another level like only Phadke can. Note the dexterous harkat on the word Deveshwar (vintage Babuji) and the contrasting lows and highs in the stanza:

रुक्मिणी माझी सौंदर्याची प्रगटे जणू प्रतिमा
किंचित हट्टी परंतू लोभस असे सत्यभामा

तरीही वरितो सहस्त्र सोळा कन्या मी अमला
पराधीन ना समर्थ घेण्या वार कलंकाचा

Kavishwar's composition and Babuji's rendition are both celestial. Rarely do we find words and notes become one like they do here. Beyond doubt, Lord Krishna has blessed this Malhar composition with eternal life.


माना मानव वा परमेश्वर, मी स्वामी पतितांचा
भोगी म्हणुनी उपहासा, मी योगी कर्माचा
दैवजात दुःखाने मनुजा पराधीन केले
त्या पतितांचे केवळ रडणे मजला ना रुचले
भूषण रामा एकपत्नी व्रत, मला नको तसले
मोह न मजला कीर्तीचा, मी नाथ अनाथांचा
रुक्मिणी माझी सौंदर्याची प्रगटे जणू प्रतिमा
किंचित हट्टी परंतू लोभस असे सत्यभामा
तरीही वरितो सहस्त्र सोळा कन्या मी अमला
पराधीन ना समर्थ घेण्या वार कलंकाचा
कर्तव्याला मुकता माणूस, माणूस ना उरतो
हलाहलाते प्राशुन शंकर देवेश्वर ठरतो
जगता देण्या संजीवन मी कलंक हा धरितो
वत्सास्तव मम ऊर फुटावा वत्सल मातेचा

- पं. मनोहर कवीश्वर