The Lullaby of Queen Madalasa
Queen Madalasa’s Lullaby or ‘The Madalasa Upadesha’ from ancient Vedic scriptures, ‘woke’ me up!
I was never a fan of Lullabies. Mostly because I couldn’t sing to save my life. However, for her age, my Grandmom has a very sweet, made-for-lullaby voice. It has been ages since I heard or sang (bless my neighbors!) a lullaby. So when I visited my Grandma over Summer last year, I stumbled into a world of profound lullabies and folktales. And it brought such extreme joy and groundedness in my being, that I wanted to share it with the world.
Grandma sang the “Lullaby of Queen Madalasa” for the kids. This lullaby is a part of a story from the ‘Markandeya Purana’, an ancient Vedic text. In the story, Madalasa, the enlightened Queen of Ritadhwaja sings this lullaby to her kids. When the child cries, instead of diverting the child’s attention with material objects, she choose to introduce him to the Ultimate Truth. And that truth is sung in the form of a sweet lullaby called Madalasa Upadesha. You can read the translated scriptures here and a distilled form of the story here. I present the lullaby with translations below. The translations are from here.
śuddhosi buddhosi niraɱjano’si
saɱsārasvapnaɱ tyaja mohanidrāɱ
Madalasa says to her crying son:
“You are pure, Enlightened, and spotless.
Leave the illusion of the world
and wake up from this deep slumber of delusion”
śuddho’si re tāta na te’sti nāma
kṛtaɱ hi tatkalpanayādhunaiva|
paccātmakaɱ dehaɱ idaɱ na te’sti
naivāsya tvaɱ rodiṣi kasya heto||
“My Child, you are Ever Pure! You do not have a name.
A name is only an imaginary superimposition on you.
This body made of five elements is not you nor do you belong to it.
This being so, what can be a reason for your crying ?”
na vai bhavān roditi vikṣvajanmā
śabdoyamāyādhya mahīśa sūnūm|
guṇāśca bhautāḥ sakalendiyeṣu||
“The essence of the universe does not cry in reality.
All is a Maya of words, oh Prince! Please understand this.
The various qualities you seem to have are are just your imaginations,
They belong to the elements that make the senses (and have nothing to do with you).”
bhūtani bhūtaiḥ paridurbalāni
vṛddhiɱ samāyāti yatheha puɱsaḥ|
na testi vṛddhir na ca testi hāniḥ||
“The Elements [that make this body] grow with accumulation of more elements, or
Reduce in size if some elements are taken away
This is what is seen in a body’s growing in size or becoming lean depending upon the consumption of food, water etc.
YOU do not have growth or decay.”
tvam kamchuke shiryamane nijosmin
tasmin dehe mudhatam ma vrajethah|
mridadibhih kamchukaste pinaddhah||
“You are in the body which is like a jacket that gets worn out day by day.
Do not have the wrong notion that you are the body.
This body is like a jacket that you are tied to,
For the fructification of the good and bad Karmas.”
tāteti kiɱcit tanayeti kiɱcit
aɱbeti kiɱciddhayiteti kiɱcit|
mameti kiɱcit na mameti kiɱcit
tvam bhūtasaɱghaɱ bahu ma nayethāḥ||
“Some may refer to you are Father and some others may refer to you a Son or
Some may refer to you as Mother and some one else may refer to you as Wife.
Some say “You are Mine” and some others say “You are Not Mine”
These are all references to this “Combination of Physical Elements”, Do not identify with them.”
sukhani duhkhopashamaya bhogan
sukhaya janati vimudhachetah|
tanyeva duhkhani punah sukhani
“The ‘deluded’ look at objects of enjoyment,
As giving happiness, by removing the unhappiness.
The ‘wise’ clearly see that the same object
Which gives happiness now will become a source of unhappiness.”
yānaɱ cittau tatra gataśca deho
dehopi cānyaḥ puruṣo niviṣṭhaḥ|
mamatvamuroyā na yatha tathāsmin
deheti mātraɱ bata mūḍharauṣa|
“The vehicle that moves on the ground is different from the person in it
Similarly this body is also different from the person who is inside!
The owner of the body is different from the body.
Ah how foolish it is to think I am the body!”
My broken knowledge of Sanskrit gave me a glimpse of the depth of this lullaby. As the kids rocked to sleep, I googled out the meaning and was blown away, all over again. I was not lucky enough to listen to Grandma’s lullabies as a kid, but I am thrilled that my kids can! Madalasa’s lullaby presents the essence of ‘Brahmagyana’, the ultimate-eternal-knowledge that ‘Seekers’ in the Vedic tradition obtain after years of meditation and spiritual practices. And it is sung to kids in this tradition? A resounding silence came in me after knowing this profound lullaby.
Such powerful truth, rendered as a lullaby. To an infant! I bowed down at the vision of the Vedic civilization. Their awareness and conscious decision to sow and nourish a soul such that, it gives only the sweetest of the fruits. If you wish your child to be empathetic, sow seeds of empathy. If you value abundance in life, introduce abundance through stories and activities. If self-realization is what you wish for your kid, Queen Madalasa’s lullaby will do just that! When one knows the laws of the cosmos, there are no accidents. Only action and corresponding results.
The Cosmos, in it’s typical fashion, threw this breathtaking YouTube video at me soon after the incident. The kids and I enjoyed Gaiea Sanskrit‘s version. The music is subtle, pleasing and Gabriella Burnel is amazing! We tend to go to sleep to the divine waves of this song. It is after-all a lullaby!
Recently I found an Indian version of the song which reminded me of my sweet Grandma! Here is the link. Enjoy!
Do let me know your thoughts on this!