Song of Mother Madālasā




In January 2017, Śri Vāsudevānada Saraswati, speaking about the spiritual significance of mother, referred to Mother Madālasā singing to her children, telling them that they are śudda, buddha and mukta, pure, conscious and free.


The song is part of the Madālasā Upadesa, or teachings of Madālasā. There are 8 verses of beautiful Sanskrit.


Gabriella Burnel was commissioned to set to music and perform the verses of the Song. The commission was funded by friends and students of the School of Practical Philosophy in Australia. The film is a video-recording of the final audio session in the London studios, generously provided by Gabriella.


Gabriella Burnel is a Sanskrit scholar and an accomplished musician and musical theatre performer. After studying Sanskrit at Oxford, she completed a Masters in Dram at Goldsmith University in 2010. She has since written musicals for off-West End theatres in London and performed with the band Gabriella and The Planets. She has also launched “Bespoke Song for You”, a web-based service which offers a personalized song-writing service. It was through her website that The Song of Madālasā was commissioned.


Gabriella is well-known as a composer and performer of poems and hymns drawn from the Sanskrit tradition. Early in 2016, she set to music a hymn in praise of Adi Śaṅkara which she also performed at a Teacher’s Day event in the London School of Economic Science. A performance is on YouTube at this link.


Composition & Performance: Gabriella Burnel; Videographer: Nikki Davison; Musician- Joe Davison; Studios: Auburn Jam Studios, London.


The following people made this commission possible through their generous donations:

Michele Beaven, Angela Callow, Christine Condos, John Fisher, Gayle Greenwood, Rachel Jones, Robert Lenn, Angela Miller, Darius Pavri, Lindsay Plumb, Tana Proft, Anthony Renshaw, Elizabeth Rocheta, Anne-Marie Sjogren, Robyn Stacey, Susan Taufique, Elizabeth Vincent, Chin Wong.


The story of Madālasā is in Chapters 25-30 of the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa. The Mārkaṇḍeya is one of the eighteen ‘great Purāṇas’ (mahāpurāṇas) relating to Brahmā, said to have been narrated by the ṛṣi Mārkaṇḍeya. An English translation of these chapters can be read on-line by clicking the following links:


Canto XXV – The story of Kuvalayāśva and Madālasā (continued)
Canto XXVI – The story of Kuvalayāśva (continued): The Education of his Sons
Canto XXVII – The Education of the Sons (continued)
Canto XXVIII – The Education of the Sons (continued): Madālasā’s Exhortation
Canto XXIX – Madālasā’s Exhortation (continued)
Canto XXX – Madālasā’s Exhortation (continued)