Philosophical Songs of Kishore Kumar
All the Wisdom You Need in Life
There is an incredible depth to some of the popular songs sung by Bollywood's legendary playback singer Kishore Kumar. The wisdom in these songs is applicable to almost everyone. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why Kishore Kumar's singing touched the hearts of the richest and the poorest, the oldest and the youngest, the highest and the lowest in the Indian society.
The feeling in his voice seems so raw in these songs, you get the feeling that he must have truly digested the meaning before he sang them. It's often said that he went great lengths to "get in the mood" of the song before he sang it. His singing was not just vocal, it was acting, it was a performance. That's why, it's a real treat is to listen to Kishore Kumar's voice and let the feeling of the words sink in.
The 7 songs I present here have depth, meaning and wisdom. These songs became a part of my life in ways I could never have imagined. Sometimes they inspired me. Sometimes they became a companion in helping me process setbacks in life. Sometimes they gave me the strength to pick up the pieces and move on. Sometimes they caused me to look for a deeper meaning in the events and circumstances of life. I hope they have the same effect on you!
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1. Aa chal ke tujhe, main leke chalu - Let me take you to a place where there is no sorrow, no tears but Love, only Love
This song is about a dream, a vision and an aspiration of a better place, where there are no difficulties, no sorrows, no tears but only love. The song comes from the heart of a father-figure who wants his child to live in a perfect world of love, laughter and joy, always.
The song is also an aspiration for a world for us all where troubles, difficulties and suffering don't exist. Where would you find such a place? That place is inside of us all, accessible to us all, any time we wish to access it. May be the external world won't conform to our wishes and demands, but the internal world is always ready, willing and accessible.
2. Musafir hoon yaroo, na ghar hai na thikana - A traveler I am, no home, no place
The journey itself is the reward, that's the message in this song. There does not need to be a home, a camp, or any place to stop. When we look at life this way, the nature becomes our companion and defers to our every whim, wish and command. This song captures the mood of someone who is in love with eveyrthing and everyone, feeling bliss and happiness. When we are happy, truly happy, without hankering for achievement or a destination, the Universe opens doors for us and lights up our path. As life is an eternal expansion; there is no end, no goal, no stopping, just movement.
3. Ruk janaa naheen - Don't stop moving and accept defeat
In this song we are advised not to accept defeat when things get difficult, but continue the journey as "walking on thorns will ultimately bring us to the beauty of spring." It reminds us that the journey of life that we are on is ultimately our own. Don't let others deter you from your path, from the pursuit of your destination. It could also be seen as a metaphor for the inner journey, which is a singular, solitary journey that no one can travel for us.
4. Yeh jeevan hai, is jeevan ka - This is life, some ups and some down, some happiness, some sorrow
Life consists of ups and downs, some happiness and some sorrow. That's just the way of it. This song advises us to not see victory when things are going right, nor defeat when things are going wrong and urges us to accept it all in stride. Then it goes on to say that, in the end, all that matters is Love which ties us all, not just to each other, but also to the source of all life.
5. Jo rah chuni tune - You must continue to walk the path you have chosen
This song is about perseverance and commitment, saying that once you have chosen a path, you must walk on it, no matter how difficult it may get. Above all, however, this song is about service and sacrifice, without expectations and without rewards. There is something disarming about selfless service, which touches the depths of hearts in ways that's impossible to describe in words.
6. O majhi re, apana kinara nadia ki dhara hai - The flow of the river is (what we think is) the shore
The river is a metaphor for the flow of Life, the infinite that flows through us all. The shore, "kinara," is a metaphor for things we cling to for a sense of security, support and safety. The song says that true security is in the flow itself, not in the shore, not clinging to our possessions, even our relationships, or what we think is "ours."
In other words, the flow itself is the support, not what's on the shore. That's why, real support in life is in its movement, not its events and circumstances.
7. Jindagi ka safar hai yeh kaisa safar - No one has understood, no one knows, this journey of life
Sung by someone who knows that death is near (the movie character), this song laments the mystery of life, as no one knows where it begins, where it ends and what happens when we move on to the journey beyond.