MSS Mudhal MSS Varai

MS Subbulakshmi

Extract from MS: A Life In Music by TJS George, HarperCollins India

M.S.Subbulakshmi and her husband once stayed at the New York Apartment of an executive of the Esso Oil Company. After lunch one day, MS began singing for the small gathering of friends who had assembled in the apartment. To their dismay, repairs in the adjoining apartment provided a steady accompaniment of hammer knocks and metal sawing. MS’s host was embarrassed but said was helpless. MS alone seemed unconcerned and went on singing.

A few minutes later, the noises suddenly ceased and two helmeted American handymen appeared at the apartment door. “Can’t understand a thing,” one said, “but it’s very touching. May we listen?”


by Desikan

6 years back, I was newly married. Thats not the point here. I wasn’t conversant in carnatic music, unlike my wife who has a carnatic musical base(over 18 years) thanks to her guru Mrs.Radha Vishwanathan (daughter of MS Subbulakshmi).

So it was my routine on every saturday morning to take my wife for music classes held in Radha Vishwanathan’s house. One fine afternoon when we were about to leave, MSS came to her daughter’s house. I stood up and didn’t want to sit before her. Later, I sat on the ground as a mark of respect. She offered me a seat near her and asked my wife to sing.

My wife was bold enough, sang one of Surdas bhajans(orginally rendered by MSS). MSS listened to that fully and appreciated. Throughout the song I was sitting beside the legend. I could not express what went in my mind at that time. We prostrated to MSS and recieved her blessings, before we left. She did invite us to her house.

After 6 years, I wept yesterday morning over the news.


by Latha

Perfection cannot be improved. If this statement could be related to MSS, then it wudnt be an exaggeration. All of us look upon her as the greatest musician this century has ever seen and probably will ever see. From being an ardent admirer of MSS, the Musical Legend, a single April morning of 1997 transformed me into a worshipper of MSS the person. Death alone can make me forget the moment I first met her at her residence when she walked into her living room and smiled at me. Until then I had only heard about the term Divinity Personified. That moment I realized that divinity is an understatement to describe MS Subbulakshmi. I wanted to get up & prostrate at her feet, but my knees had gone so weak that I cud not even lift myself. That day made me realise that one can look up on MSS with only one emotion. Not awe, not wonder nor admiration but reverence. Pure reverence. The mystery will always remain whether she grew on music or if music grew on her. The stark Tejas in her face & the warmth in her smile left me spell bound. Trust me, The other 2 times that I met her was no different from the first. The same shiver ran thro my spine & my throat went dry when I tried to speak to her. MS Subbulakshmi, is a human being par excellence.

Kurai Ondrum Illai Marai Moorthy Kanna. How can anyone ever sing this again ? Truly, the carnatic music world can now really have a period to talk about, The MSS Era. I am reminded of my father’s words about MSS, “Even Maha Vishnu would get up late if MSS Suprabhatham ceases”. This world may/may not see better musicians in the future. But MSS will remain the great of all the greatest. The glory of carnatic music was further glorfied by MSS voice, her passion, her respect for music & above all her Devotion. There is no doubt that she has left behind a huge void which can never be replaced. I am grateful to God, not just for having born in this century, but for also having got an opportunity to be blessed by her.

The angel who descended from Heaven has left us to get back where she belongs. Thaaye Unn Peyaer Sollumbodhey Idhyathil Minnale PaayudheMaa Tujhe Salaam !!!!

14 responses to “MSS Mudhal MSS Varai”

  1. nithya Avatar

    Great write up! She was an embodiment of divinity!
    Truly an irreplaceable loss for the music fraternity…


  2. aNTi Avatar

    Terrible loss indeed 😦 Suprabhatham.. a ubiquitous part of every family in India and more often than not, it was MSS’s melliflous voice that wakes people up gently. A gem that appears once in a million years! May her soul rest in peace….

    Btw.. is this the same Lata, she of the cola wars fame? Hmmm…


  3. aNTi Avatar

    Good one, Latha… You just have compartmentalized everything that a lot of us have felt in the last two days and did not know how to put it…


  4. Prabhu Avatar


    Very good writeup. You are really lucky to have met the goddess in person and taken her blessings as well.


  5. N.Desikan Avatar

    Excellent write-up. May be you can write one more article on the songs sung my MS.
    best regards


  6. Eeshwar Avatar


    Excellent writeup using remarkable words…This
    could be the best ever tribute to the Great Music
    Legend and her everlasting musical tunes.Maa (Lathaji) tujhe Salaam…


  7. Reflex Avatar

    I think God is bored of listening to VCD and DVD, so he took M.S from us to listen to her Live concert.

    Malargalai malara vaikum kural
    Manidhathai malara vaikum seyal
    Ini indha geetham “katrinil mattum thaan varumo” .


  8. charu Avatar

    MS was everything that is divine about music… there can be no other voice equal to MS….


  9. BALA Avatar

    This is really an excellent piece by YOU and Desikan. I also had an opportunity to see her in person in my uncle’s wedding some 30 years ago, but I was too naive and ignorant at that time to have appreciated her GREATNESS or her STUPENDOUS FEAT in the world of carnatic music. After that, I slowly got initiated to her music and many times got engulfed by the spiritual charm and the bhakthi in her soul-stirring renditions!!!
    enRenRum anbudan


  10. Nitin Avatar

    This news made me cry. I am close friends with her grandson Avinash, we attended the same school. One day, I went to his house to play cricket, and I saw MSS, and she is so nice. My grandmother is also close friends with her. Anyone living in Adyar? Well, my grandmother,and MSS always used to sit in Ananthapadmanabha swami temple, and talk.


  11. lunatic Avatar

    Thaaye Unn Peyaer Sollumbodhey Idhyathil Minnale Paayudhe…Maa Tujhe Salaam !!!!

    Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
    Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

    Hey .agreed.. a famous carnatic singer..divine looks..sweet Those lines were written for my divine mother india..please dont use it to refer it to some individual..

    as told we are all emotional idiots..


  12. another lunatic Avatar
    another lunatic

    fellow lunatic – are you in india or outside. i have seen lunatics get so emotional on their divine mother country only when they are out of it.


  13. lunatic Avatar

    u r right.welcome to the club


  14. Rajesh Avatar


    Excellent write up!

    You seem yo have a penchant for writing and you do it amazingly well.The article was a fitting tribute to a lengendary goddess.I am a “gnana suniyam” myself but used to be enthralled listening to the divine voice.