PERSPECTIVES – Mangalam: the song auspicious


by Sivapriya Krishnan

Mangalam bhagavan Vishnu, mangalam Madhusoodhana, mangalam Pundareekaksha, mangalaya tano hari!

Many would think of this as the presiding sloka to conduct a marriage, as often depicted in Hindi cinema!

‘Mangalam’ in Sanskrit means auspicious, welfare, good fortune. It is common practice in the Bharatiya tradition to wish others with “Mangalaanee bhavantu” in Sanskrit, “Mangalam undaagattum” in Tamizh or “Mangalmay ho” in Hindi.

Mangalam is a musical composition that beseeches the gods to shower goodness by paying obeisance to them through a song of praise about them. Some mangalam compositions are like a namavali or garland of names, some describe the appearance of the deities, their adornments, and some hail the worthiness and qualities of the god.

Mangalam as a musical composition, occupies a special place in Carnatic music and the bhajana music tradition. Concerts almost always conclude with a mangalam; what begins with a Ganesa vandana seeking blessings for a successful show, gets wrapped up with a mangalam, praying for auspiciousness to all and everything around. Madhyamavati, Surati and Saurashtram are three preferred ragas for mangalams, as they have come to be known as auspicious ragas… read more