Samayamam radhathil (On the chariot of time)
If one tries to find out which is the Christian song in Malayalam that the maximum number of people know, the answer is likely to be 'Samayamam radhathil njan swarga yathra cheyyunnu' (I am traveling towards haven on the chariot of time).
However, one is also likely to find that people sing it very rarely and that most people are rather uncomfortable with this song.
'Samayamam radhathil' is an absolutely beautiful song that was written by the missionary V. Nagel. But people are uncomfortable with this song as this songs is sung during all funerals. Thus, people associate this song with death. However if we can live with our discomfort for a moment and look at the song more carefully, we will find that this song is more about life than it is about death. Our journey towards haven begins much before we die. Actually, the key part (and possibly the part that we can influence the most) of the journey takes place while we are alive. So this song is mostly about our walk
with God while we are very much alive. Yes, this song does speak about death. But it is to make us aware that we have only a finite time on earth and hence to encourage us to live/experience life fully. So, the next time we come across (or seek out !) this song, let us listen to it/read it with an open mind and hope that it would enable us to be more effective in our walk with God.
English Translation of the song "Samayamam radhathil (On the chariot of time)"
In the chariot of the time I am on my homeward journey
Running,striving all my waty to..
see the land of my own I will be reaching to its end
When I wake up at the daybreak I am blessed and fresh new day..
For the end of all my voyage is closer than yesterday..!
While in peacefull night of sleep I rest upon the arms of God
Still my chariot wheels keep rolling Straight forward my Sweet Homeland.
It's no time to seek the pleasures of this world and for the flesh
Look upon the face of God there,at my home, that's all I want..
Nothing needed on my journey that makes it so cumbersome
Just some water, just a li'l bread For the thirst and hunger's sake!
What a beauty is my homeland, How sweet is my Lord's reward..
No I dont want this world's glory this is not my real home! .
I do have my home eternal By the shore of Paradise
Tree of life with fruits the sweetest Standing by my window's side..
Angels waiting all my way long Welcome me to my own home
Refresh my strength, restore my soul Meet my needs till I'm home there!
I will praise God, forever more For He made me heir of this
Glorious portin, life eternal With His saints, though I was dead!!
You are hearing the song "Samayamam radhathil (On the chariot of time)"
MISSIONARY TO ‘GOD’S OWN COUNTRY’
V. Nagel (Valbright Nagel) was born on November3, 1867 in Hasan, Germany to godly Christian parents. Nagal attended school briefly but was largely self-educated. His father was a farmer.One day he heard the gospel from a cobbler turned itinerant preacher and gave his life to Christ. He had a missionary vision and went to Switzerland Bible College to study the Word of God in a systematic way,
After which he joined the missionary team known as Basal Mission in Germany.In 1892 he went as an ‘ordained basal missionary’to India. He landed in Malabar region of Kerala, South India and started his
ministry based at Kannur.He was quick to learn Malayalam, which is the language in Kerala. He was fondly referred as ‘second Hebbick’ because of his dedication and effectiveness in the ministry.
He moved to Vaniyamkulam and later left the Basal mission and stared to live a life of faith.He went with his helper Sathyarthy, a believer, in a bullock cart and reached Kunnamkulam. He met Paramel Itoop, a new liever, and stayed with him and continued in Kunnamkulam and established assemblies.From Kunammkulam he went to Paravoor. The work among the criminals in jail was noteworthy. He married Harriet Mitchell, an Anglo-Indian teacher. They were blessed with 5 sons and 2 daughters. A boy and a girl died in their infancy and another son Godly who became as a missionary also died at the age of 22.
At a young age itself he was able to sing songs melodiously and compose small songs in German.This gift he utilized in like manner for writing Malayalam songs.He remembered his favorite English hymns and composed his songs in Malayalam in like manner without compromising on doctrinal soundness or spiritual richness. Regardless of denomination they are still sung today.
1. The Great Physician (Eppozhum njaan)
2. Alas! and did my Savior (Yehova ethra nallavan))
3. Sowing in the Morning (Vithachiduka nam)
4. Wonderful Words of Life (Yesuvin thirupadhathil)
5. What can Wash Away my Sins (Papakam thirkkuvan)
6. How I Praise Thee (Daivatnite eka puthran)
7. Blessed Assurance (Yesuen swantham Halleluyya
The song ‘Samayamam Radhathil’ (On the Chariot of Time) was originally written by Nagel in Malayalam and has won worldwide acclaim. Not only has this song been translated into 17 languages but it became so popular that a secular music director incorporated it into a film. There are almost 100 Malayalam songs for his credit!
He easily identified with the needy and poor. Suffered much for the Lord; poverty and hardship was his portion.
In 1914 at 47 years of age, Nagel traveled back to Germany with his two children. He went there with the intention of returning back to India in 6 months. But presently the First World War broke out and his desire to come back went unrealized. During the war he was instructed to go and stay in the neutral country of Switzerland. And even though he left for that country in accordance with this, his heart’s desire was always to come back to Kerala. But somehow this did not materialize.
The letter he sent to the assembly fellowship in Paravur 4 years prior to his death reflects the hunger in his heart for souls in Kerala. That letter contained the following words, “My sweetest treasures are in India. My heart belongs to that But the Lord did not permit his desire to be fulfilled. In due course he became afflicted with palsy and became bedridden.
Even though he was in obvious discomfort because of this, it was without complaint or worry and with total hope that he spent his time in bed. His last days were spent in a place called Widnest, which was only about 2 miles from the German capital of Berlin. His wife, Sister Mitchell went from Kerala during his last days to care for him.On May 21st 1921, at 54 years of age, V Nagel proceeded to his heavenly abode in the ‘Chariot of Time’. And it is thus that the beacon of light which was the sacrificial ministry of V Nagel that was shining for 22 years in Kerala and 7 years in Germany was finally extinguished. And yet, through his wonderful songs and his lasting memorial which is the orphanage in Nellikunnu, Thrissur, his light still shines.