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Saint ThyagarAjA : A parama VaishNavA : Part 5

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Sun Dec 13 1998 - 05:19:19 PST

Dear BhakthAs :

In this posting on the SaraNAgathi aspects 
immortalized in Saint ThyagarajA's four songs 
listed below.It appears that one more postign is needed
to complete this series .That last posting would deal
with the sthira Bhakthi or ananya Bhakthi to Sriman 
NaarAyaNan in his form as Sri Raamachandran .During the final
period of his life, Saint ThyagarAjA 's sthAyi Bhavam was 
sthira Bhakthi in preparation for his SaraNAgathi . 

There are four krithis , which were composed 
almost during the last years of the Saint's life 
that relate clearly to his performance of SaraNAgathi to 
Sri Raama NaarAyaNan .It is instructive to contemplate
on the significance of the Raagams that Saint ThyagarAjaa
chose for these four krithis listd below:

1. MaakElarA VichAramu : RavichandrikA Raagam
   (Ravi and Chandran are the two eyes of the Lord.
    when you add the thrid eye on the lalaatam, He
    becomes Sri Narasimha BhagavAn or Trayambhakan as
    explaine by Sri MukkUr Swamy in His disussions on
    Nrusimha Vaibhavam ; This is the view supported
    by Nrusimha TaapanIya Upanishad and Swami DEsiakn's 
    KaamAsikhAshtakam .Our Saint was a great admirer 
    of Bhaktha PrahlAdha and  created an Opera type of
    work known as PrahlAdha Bhaktha Vijayam ).  
2. nee chitthamu naa Bhagyamayya: Vijaya VasanthA Raagam .
   Here in the contest between the Jeevan and SaraNyan ,
   in the spirit of the Thirumanjana Kaattiyam dialog 
   between the SarvEsvaran and the deluded jeevan, our
   Lord establishes the Vijaya Dhvajam . The victory is
   like VasanthOthsavam celebration by the Muktha Jeeavn .
   One can therefore say that the choice of Vijaya Vasantha
   is very appropriate. 
3. Raghu Naayaka ! nee paadha Yuga Raajivamula nE viDajAla   
   Hamsadhvani Raagam ( Hamsam refers to SanyAsis ; dhvani
   is the auspicious sound here of the SanyAsi ).
4. SaraNu SaraNanuchu mOraliDina naa: MadhyamAvathi Raagam
   ( Saint ThyagarAjA has chosen this most auspicious
     Raagam that can be sung at all times , which banishes 
     all DhOshams and cleases one ).  

There are few other krithis , which are brimming with 
Daasya Bhaavam like the one pointed out by Sri Rangaswamy 
(Tava DaasOham -Raagam PunnagavarALi and others ( Bandu rIthi 
Koluviyavayaa RaamA-Raagam HamsanAdham ,chEmthanE sadhaa 
umchukOvayaaa--KunthalavarALi ) .There are Krithis on
Sthira Bhakthi that prepared the Saint for SaraNAgathi
listed below that I will come to in the concluding post:

1. Oh Raama Raama : NaagaghAndhAri
2.VidajaaladurA : Jana Ranjani Raagam
3. KoniyAdEdu :Kokiladhvani Raagam
4.Bhuvini DaasuDanE : Sri Ranjani Raagam
5.DinamaNi Vamsa Tilaka :Hari KaambhOji Raagam
6.Naa JivAdhaaramu : Bilahari Raagam and many more.

First , we have to understand the periods in the life
of Saint ThyagarAja to fully appreciate his 
progression as a PrapannA .This will provide some answers 
to Sri KrishNa Kalale's questions .

The periods In Saint ThyagarAjA's Life ( 1767-1847 A.D.)
Roughly , the three periods are (1) 1767-1805 (2) 1805-1839
(3) 1839-1847 A.D.

In the first period , he assisted his father to perform 
AarAdhanam for their Kula Dhaivam , Sri SItha-
LakshmaNa -Hanumath SamEtha Sri Raamachandran .He had 
manthrOpadesam of Sri Raama Taaraka manthram , got married,
had a daughter, performed Unchivrutthi and composed many , many 
songs on RaamA and occasional songs on ithara Dhaivams 
( GaNapathi , Subramanyan , Sivan , AmbhAL ). He composed 
PrahlAdha Bhaktha Vijayam , NowkhA charitham et al .He underwent 
a lot of Sothanais and intensified his Raama Bhakthi .He had
the darsana soubhAgyam of RaamA and LakshmaNA as Yaaga 
Rakshakars in front of his house in Thirumanjana 
Veethi of ThiruvayyARu .

In the second period , he undertook KshEthrADanam
and visited Srirangam, Thiruppathi , Kaanchipuram ,
RaamEsvaram , NaagapattiNam , ThiruvorriUr , kOvUr ,
Laalgudi et al. During this pilgrimage , he
visited temples of Sivan and AmbhAl and 
sang about them. At Srirangam , the Pancharathnam
was composed on Sri Renganathan and that could
have been the turning point  .This pilgrimage covered 
a few months . He returned home in time for celebrating 
Sri Raama navami uthsavam .During the rest of the Years 
in this second period , he underwent a total
transformation and intensified his ananya Bhakthi .
He sang many , many songs with ripe Raama Bhakthi .
He was rewarded with the visit of Sri Raama with
Sita and HanumAn to his house . He partook the meals 
cooked by Hanuman for all the three.The famous Mohana raaga 
krithi, Bhavanutha was born at this time . 

In the final period of his life , intense Japa yOgam , 
GhAnAnjali and Raama Naama SankIrthanam was practiced.
With great nirvEdam , he wanted to quicken his time on 
this earth and to reach the Lord's lotus feet . He performed
Prapatthi and was an aarthi prapannan .He followed the yathi 
dharmam and took sanyAsam by performing Jeeva SrArdham 
to get ready for the ascent to Sri Vaikuntam .He took SanyAsam
because it is considered TuriyAsramam , the UttamAsramam,
although he had  adream in which Sri RaamA mentioned about
the possibiliy of one more life , before reaching his 
Lotus feet. Just like MaNavAla Muni sought the holy feet of 
Sri Adhi VaNN SatakOpa Jeeyar to enter into SanyAsramam ,
Saint ThyagarAja entered this fouth Asramam to cut 
asunder completely any bonds that may remmain . During 
these final days were born the moving krithis begging
RaamA to take note of his parithApa nilai and to take him
to the Lord's home : ParithApamu kaniyADina in ManOhari
Raagam and Giripai nela konna in SahAnA raagam .On the day ,
he predicted that Sri RaamA will take him to His lotus feet ,
(PaguLa Panchami ) he sang the glories of the Lord and 
his skull shattered and a divya JyOthi left his body 
and entered the Raama Vigraham .The earthly remains were 
reverentially interred by his sishyAs at a BrindhAvanam 
on the banks of the river Cauveri .

In my book on Pancha Rathna Krithis of Saint ThyagarAja
released in 1989 , I have dwelt at lenght the Veda 
PramANams and Saasthra PraMAnams for SaraNAgathi in 
the context of the illustrious life led by Saint ThyagarAjA .
I will confine my remarks here just to these four songs ,
although the saint's reference to SaraNAgathi is
found in many other krithis . 

1.SaraNAgathi Krithi : MaakElarA VichAramu

In the anupallavi of this krithi ,Saint ThyagarAjA
lovingly calls his SaraNyan : SaakEtha Raaja kumAra !
Sadhbhaktha mandhAra and Srikara! 

In the CharaNam , he addresses Sri RaamA as "Girisa Vinutha ! "
The One who is worshipped and praised by Sankaran
is the reminder .He is the MandhAra ( a kind of PaarijAtha
pushpam for the dear devotees and He is the Srikaran or
the one who brings auspiciousness to sadhbhakthAs (viz).,
the acceptance of the bharam of protection .

In this beautiful CharaNam , he lets RaamA know 
that he has no concerns anymore , now that he has
laid the burden of his protection at the Lord's
thiruvadi .He then lets RaamA know why he is least
concerned with the statement : " Why should I feel 
any concern , when You hold in Your hands all the leading
strings of all the Bhommais (jeevans ) in the BhommalAttam
( drama ) ,which You conduct with unerring rhythm 
(perfectly according to the course of each jeevan's
karmA ) and to the immense happiness of the whole world ?

The saint has placed now the burden of Aathma RakshA Bharam
at the lotus feet of the SaraNAgatha Vrathi .He says: You have 
now made me enjoy the Nirbharam((Freedom from fear and 
anxiety ) resulting from this act of SaraNAgathi.After this , 
at the right time , "maam tvath paadham prApaya svayam " . 
At the end of this life , please make me reach Your 
lotus feet .I am now cetain about one thing : " Tvath sEshathvE 
sthira dhiyam " ( firm about being Your sEshan ) ; I am also resolute
about having the sole purpose of enjoying nithya Kaimkaryam
to You and You alone ( Tvath PrApthi yEka PrayOjanam ). 
Make me Your eternal servant ( Kuru maam Nithya Kinkaram ). 

Second Krithi:Vijaya VasanthA krithi 

Pallavi : nee chitthamu naabhAgyamayya :
NiruphAdhika ! neevADanayya 

Anupallavi : YOchimchi kaaryamu lEdhanuchu
             nOka paari SaraNanu kODinayya 

           DharalOna naa sarivAralalO
           dahya jooDavayya; ThyagarAjanutha

Oh RaamachandrA ! My Master ! Your will is my 
sowbhAgyam and I am always Yours. Realizing that it
is fruitless to be brooding , I have 
once and for all sought refuge at Your holy feet .
SEE YOU SHINING IN THEM. When I am in the company 
of my compeers , please cast on me Your look
of Compassion (KaruNA kataKsham ). 

Swami Desikan's words ( Sri NyAsa Vimsathi )
come to my mind , when I think of the strategy
of the Saint regarding his decision to perform 
SaraNaagathi at the feet of this DheerAthi Dheeran .
The saint recognizes that the Lord is compassionate
( saanukrOsE ); he comprehends that the Lord is Samarthan
in handling SaraNAgathi as the SaraNAgatha DhIkshithan ;
he fully knows that the sages have recommended 
this saraNAgathi to be blessed with Moksha Siddhi 
( AbhIshta Siddhyai prapadhanam Rishibhi: smaryathE ).

The saint points out that he has MahA visvAsam
in the Lord to protect him and therefore , he has
no doubts( Nirvisankha: ).Swami Desikan uses a
beautiful word combination in NyAsa Vimsathi
that is applicable here , when the Saint says that 
he has stopped brooding and plunged to perform 
SaraNAgathi . Swami's words are: " SankhA parshiNigraha
arhA samayithum uchithA hEthubhi:tath tath arhai:".
Swami Desikan states here that Doubt does not pull him by 
its hands anymore and his doubts have been destroyed .

3.Hamsaadhvani Krithi:
Pallavi :

RaghunAyaka ! nee paadhayuga raajivamula 
nE viDajAla, SrI 

agajAlamula vAra dhOli nandnAdharimpa 
neevE gathi ghAdha , SrI

CharaNam :

bhavasAgaramu dhADlEka nE 
bhalu gAsiBaDi nee mrugu jErithini
avanijAdhipAsritha rakshaka ! 
Aanandhakara !Sri ThyagarAjanutha!

(Meaning ) : Oh RaghunAyaka ! protector of 
SaranAgathAs ! Grantor of Transcendental
bliss ! I can never consider giving up
Your blessed feet ! Are n't You the only
Being that has the power to burn all my sins 
and protect me? Unable to cross the fearsome 
ocean of SamsAram and having suffered immensely 
Puhal onRumilA adiyEn has sought refuge 
at Your sacred feet.

4.MadhyamAvathi Kruthi : SaraNu saraNanuchu --

This is a very long kIrthanam .Here saint says:
{{ Oh Lord , When I cry "saraNam , SaraNam , RaaghavA " ,
are You seriously listening ? Following You , I appeal 
to You repeatedly and piteously . 

When , unable to withstand Your BrahmAsthram , which chased 
him ,KaakAsuran appealed to all  demi-gods including his 
father (Indran) to save him from certain death from Your
arrow . All the gods were afraid and they turned away stating
that it was Your arrow and they were powerless against it. 
KaakAsuran rushed back with anxiety to Your feet and
performed SaraNAgathi .You accepted the  saraNAgathi
of this MahaaparAdhi.SivA and others eulogised You 
ardently at that time . 

When Once the irascible sage DhurvAsA put Dhraupathi 
to a severe test and she sought refuge in You with 
mahA visvAsam , You immediately responded to her 
out of Your SaraNAgatha Vaatsalyam ; the muni gaNams ,
the saadhus , gods , kings and men praised You at
that time.

Your feet protected AhalyA and removed her curse.

To the Saint , Lord RamachandrA was the prop of his
life (naa jIvAdhAramu ), he is the strength of his 
body (naa mEnu Bhalamu ) , his wealth ( naa Dhaanamu ),
his auspicious deeds ( naa sbha karmamau ), his mind's
delight ( naa chitthAnandamu ), my pleasure-filledanubhavm 
( naadu SanthOshamu ) and  naa manOharamu .
This is the mind-state of this great PrapannA .

AzhwAr, AchAryan , SaraNyan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam ,
Oppiliappan Koil VradAchAri SadagOpan