October 26, 2007


Harivarasanam is a Lord Ayyappan song and though many versions exist, the one that moves me the most is a rendition by KJ Yesudas. Harivarasanam is recited just prior to closing of the temple doors at night. As the final verses are being sung, all the assistant Santhis leave the Sanctum Sanctorum one by one.

I still get goose pimples every time I hear this song, the main reason to which I believe is my Saturday night visits to the local Ayyappan temple at Siddhapudur in Coimbatore. I used to be a regular there along with my childhood pal Jayachandran, and we would time our visit so that we could be present for this song. I used to feel so much at peace with myself by the time we left the temple. It is one of those feelings that make me home-sick to this date.

There are different theories as to how the tradition of renditioning this song at the time of closing the temple started.

Anyways, according to this site, the tradition of renditioning the song at the close of the temple began with Thirumeni Eashwaran Nampoothiri (one of older Mel Santhi’s at the Sannidhanam). Apparently, there was a disciple by the name VR Gopala Menon, who used to remain in the temple of Sabarimala during the 40’s, even after everybody else had left the temple in the evening. For some strange reason, he was asked to move out and died as an orphan in a nearby tea estate. Mohan was a close, and probably only, companion to Eashwaran during those days. When Eashwaran heard of Mohan’s demise, he was deeply moved. And after pooja that day, he had remembered Mohan yet again while closing the temple door, and recited ‘Harivarasanam’, starting a nostalgic tradition, that is still being followed to this day.

The ‘Sri Hariharathmajashtakam‘ page above, also contains the lyrics and a couple of translations to this song. You can download the song from here.


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