The story of this chant is part of the history of Dharmaram College and my personal story. In the 1970s, Dharmaram College organized an annual light and sound Christmas show for the public. Part of the west wing of the College was redone into a mini theater with about seating for over 50 people. Each year, talented students from the theology faculty got together to create a script. Technically talented students created several scenes connected to the Christmas story. Recorded music matched with the scenes and the script. The show lasted for about thirty minutes. Teachers and students of all religious backgrounds from public and private schools looked forward to the Dharmaram Crib show every year in December. In those days, the name Dharmaram was familiar to the young people in Bengaluru because of the Christmas show.
In 1971, Fr. Thomas Kandathil, CMI, was in charge of the show's musical aspects. Fr. Kandathil, a talented musician, had received training in Karnatak music. He was the unofficial house composer for liturgical and other occasions at Dharmaram and at Christ College. That year I arrived at Dharamaram and attended Christ College for my Bachelor's degree. Meanwhile, Fr. Kandathil voluntarily gave vocal lessons in Karnatak music. I was one of his students. Fr. Kandathil, who was in charge of the background music for the show, wrote the lyrics of this bhajan and composed the melody in Rag Amir Kalyani. This was intended to be played at the end of the Crib Show. Fr. Kandathil chose me to sing this song for the recording. This is the first song that I sang for a recording. And we recorded the song on to a spool tape recorder in the college's music room. The song became instantly popular among the spectators of the show. Although the song text is in Malayalam, non-Malayalam speakers could easily recognize the crucial words as "Saranam" and "Maheswaran." The catchy tune captivated many members of the audience who left the theater humming the melody. Gradually, the song became part of prayer services and Advent and Christmas liturgies at Dharmaram.
Christian Musicological Society of India is an international forum for interdisciplinary research, discussion, and dissemination of knowledge, on the music, art and dance of about thirty million Christians in India, who belong to a diverse set of communities and linguistic groups and follow a variety of liturgical traditions some of which date back to the early Christian era. Founded in 1999 by Dr. Joseph J. Palackal CMI, the Society hopes that such researches will draw attention to the lesser known aspects of India in connection with the rest of the world.