Aguner Paroshmoni – Hemant Kumar – Purifying the Soul
Chhupa lo yun dil mein pyar mera…..from Mamta (1966) the heavenly duet rendered by Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar symbolises the love of a couple beyond the realm of life. Love that will never ask for anything in return. Love that satisfies overcoming all the differences and disagreements.It is a song where Hemant Kumar’s voice takes over all your attention even if the co-singer is Lata Mangeshkar. His voice gives you that feeling of being satisfied. It relaxes you and transports you to a different world. Almost a spiritual level of love, undergoing all the ordeals. The essence of that love symbolised by the flame….lau diye ki. Mamta (1963) was the remake of Bengali film Uttar Falguni (1963) starring Suchitra Sen in both the versions. At the same point, in the same scene as the above song in the original film, director Asit Sen has used the song Aguner Poroshmoni – seeped in spiritualism, this song is written and composed by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. Based on Raag Gaud Sarang, the song features in Gitali of the Gitanjali, Gitali and Gitimalya trilogy. The trilogy reflects Gurudev’s thoughts on spiritualism and realizations. The song was written and published in 1914. It was also sung for the first time in 1914 during the Maghostav. The song has the deepest essence of purifying a soul and is very popular with all those who follow Rabindra Sangeet. Almost all Rabindra Sangeet artists have rendered this song and there are various links of this song for the same. But the song sounds totally different in Hemant Kumar’s voice.The song in Hemant Kumar’s voice itself has 3 versions.One is a film version from Mahashweta (1967) with Suchitra Mitra.
A non film version with Sumitra Roy –
His deep baritone spells enchantment and keeps the listener captivated. His voice quality is that of pure fire and the philosopher’s stone (Agni and Parasmani). Fire – One of the five elements of nature. It can be associated with creation or destruction. It is a sign of life as well as death. In a way it controls the entire life cycle. Fire or Agni, is also an important part of all the Hindu rituals be it births, marriages or funerals. But did you know that amongst all the five elements ie Air, Water, Space, Earth and Fire, fire is the most sacred element. Why? Because it can never be polluted. Fire is also associated with enlightenment. Fire is considered as the mediator between humans and God. Fire is also considered as a powerful cleanser. Invoking grace and flow, it burns all the impurities.
Philosopher’s stone (Parasmani) – a precious stone known for turning base metals into gold or silver and heals all forms of illnesses and prolongs life.It also has the ability to turn crystals into diamonds, revive the dead plants and can make a lamp eternally burn.
As Salil Chowdhury once said – If God could sing, he would have a voice like Hemant Kumar’s. Or as Lata Mangeshkar said – Listening to Hemant da, I feel as though a sadhu sitting in a temple is singing.
There is so much purity, so much virtuosity in his voice that it brings out the right ethos of the meaning of Aguner Poroshmoni.
Aguner Paroshmoni chhonao praane
Ae jibon punyo karo dahon daane…
Illuminate my soul with your philosopher’s stone which is forged from the fire. Make my life pure and virtuous, let it burn as an offering.
Aamar ei deho khani tule dharo
Tomar oi debaloyer prodip koro
Nishidin aalok sikha jwoluk gaane
Elevate, uplift my body and make it a lamp in your temple, so that it sings your praise and remains enlightened.
Aandharer gaaye gaaye parosh tabo
Saara raat photak taara nabo nabo….
Your flambeau lights up the veil of darkness, giving birth to hundreds of new stars throughout the night.
Noyoner drishti hot ghuchbe kaalo,
Jekhane porbe sethaay dekhbe aalo
Byatha mor uthbe jwole urdho paane
Your touch will efface the darkness from my sight, I will perceive light wherever I see. All my pain will burn with the flames that reach out to the skies.
Gurudev has surrendered to the Supreme one. He talks about salvation and emancipation instead of a rebirth. He wants to be liberated from the cycles of life and death and keep travelling upwards till his soul becomes one with that Supreme one. Gurudev seeks this journey after the funeral pyre is burnt as if it is a Yajna fire where an offering of his life has been made. Hemant Kumar does full justice to this deep meaning gem. A trained Rabindra Sangeet artist, Hemant Kumar was also a pure hearted soul, hence the words rendered in his voice sound as pure as the fire. His voice touches the deepest core of our heart and turns it into gold, just like the philosopher’s stone. It swells with devotion and love and purifies the soul.