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Fourth Gana Raaga Pancha Rathnam in VarALi --part 2

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Fri Jan 09 1998 - 15:23:24 PST

                                    SRI :
                  NAMO NAARAAYANAAYA
 
Sakala bhuvana rathnam SarvasAsthrArtha Rathnam
Samara Vijaya Rathnam SacchidhAnandha Rathnam I
Dasa mukha Hara rathnam DhanavArAthi Rathnam
Raghukula Nrupa Rathnam Paathu Maam Raama Rathnam II

Isavara Samvathsaram , Marghazhi 25
" Orutthi MahanAi piRanthu " ThiruppAvai Dinam
January 9 , 1998

Dear Raama BhakthAs : I will cover the sAhithya vAkhyams
of Saint ThyagarAja celebrating the unmatched beauty of
Sri RaamA as a prelude to his celebration in the fourth  
pancha rathnam in  this posting . I will start on the actual 
sahithyam in VarALi in the next posting . First , I will say a 
few words about the VaraaLi raagam that was very dear
to Saint ThyagarAjA .

VarALi Raaga VisEsham and our Sadhguru"s krithis in VarALi
*********************************************************************

Prominent among the gana rAgAs is VarALi . It has GhandhAram
and Madhyamam as ChAyA svarams .This sarva svara gamaga 
varika raagam can be sung at all times for NadhOpAsanA . Its rUpa
visEsahm can not be understood from text books . It has to be learnt
under a proper teacher . It is adorned by Suddha Rishabham ,
Suddha GAndhAram , Prathi Madhyamam , Panchamam ,
Suddha Daivatham and Kaakali NishAdham for its svarAs .
The sudhda rishabham of this rAgam hints at chathusruthi
rishabham during the " Ga Ri Ga " prayOgam . Therefore , it
has been said that the Rishabham of VarALi lies in the shadow 
of the powerful GhandhAram ; it is recognized as a point lightly 
touched upon in the fall from the flat GandhAram . This has 
reference to the JeevAthmA- paramAthmA realtionship that
might fall outside the main stream of discussions of this posting . 

Saint ThyagarAjA has taken note of this factor and has composed 
atleast 15 krithis in VarALi Raagam to etch his multi-faceted 
relationship with his ArAdhana mUrthy . He has celebrated 
Sri Ramachandran's soundharyam , kalyaNa guNAs , 
and the blessings of Raama nAma japam . Kana Kana RuchirA
is one of the 15 krithis that he set in Raagam VarALi to
enjoy the saukumAryam and LaavaNyam of the Lord . 

When one visits the house of the relatives of the Saint 
in Tanjore ( Varahappiyer lane ) and has the darsanam of 
the archA murthys there that our Sadhguru worshipped , 
one is amazed to see the small size of the vigrahams of RaamA 
and his consort seated in Eka Peetam . For our Sadhguru ,
our Lord must have taken a human form and sat in front of 
His devotee and conversed with him . 

rUpa MahimA & VarALi rAga Krithi
*************************************

Adhi Kavi Valmeeki celebrated the adhyadhbhutha 
soundharyam of Sri Ramachandran this way in 
his IthihAsam :

Aadhitya iva tEjasvi loka kAntha: Sasee yathA I
rUpavAn subhaga: SrimAn gandharbha iva mUrthimAn II

Saint Thyagaraja was a devout RaamaayaNa PaarAyaNar 
during each day of his life . His father was known for his
RaamAyaNa pravachanams . He therefore enjoyed the beauty
of Sri Ramachandran just as Sage Valmiki did .

In the above verse , Sage Valimki states that Sri RamA had
the tEjas of Adithyan . He cooled the worlds with the power 
of a full moon . He is like a manmathan in bodily beauty . 
Thyagaraja swamigaL , who is the kali yuga avathAram of 
Valmiki celebrated the beauty , the effugence and cooling
power  in many of his krithis . Examples are :

apramEya tEjas : SowrAshtrA krithi -- RaghavAnya SUPRADHEEPA 

apramEya tEjas : KedAra GowLai krithi ( O jagannadhayani
bilachitE ) -- Raajeeva nayana ! rAgendhu vadana ! raajillu
SitAramaNi hruth sadana ! RAVI KOTI TEJA !

Cool Beauty of the Moon ( Chandran ) : rAgendhu Vadana 
in the above krithi ; mOhana Raama mukha Jitha sOma !
( One who defeated the Moon in his beauty ) . 

Beauty exceeding that of Manmathan : PanthuvarALi krithi
( Sundaratara dEham vandEham ) -- " kundaratanamAptha
Kumudha sasAnkam , Kantharpa satha kOti Kaanthimathi 
nishkaLangam (the blemishless Beauty that exceeds that of 
hundred crore ManmathAs and who is like the cool Moon that 
makes  theblue lillies /neelOthpalams blossom at night ) . 

Saint ThyagarAjA , who was forever engaged in the suguNOpAsanA
of Sri RaamA  has saluted the Mohana Raaman as SundarAngan 
with beauty exceeding that of crores of Manmathans in his 
Navroz krithi ( NaapAli Sri RaamA bhUpAlaka sthomA ) this way :

koti Manmathulaina sAdigA nee sogasu 
naadiunnathi madhini mEDi Sri RaamA 

( Oh Lord , Your elegance and attractiveness is the integration 
of crores of manmanthAs . My mind , which has been overtaken
by your beauty wants always to be immersed in the aanandha
anubhavam of Your soundharyam ) .

In his SuryakAntha Raaga krithi , he explained how the very same
beauty that enchanted him captivated the Rishis of SiddhAsramam,
when he walked with sage ViswAmithrA :

muddhumOmu yElAku selankanO 
munuletlugani MOHINCHARO 

Thyagaraja Swami wondered about the athilAvaNyam of
Sri RaamA's face and became one of the Rishis of 
SiddhAsramam in wonderment . 

In his RudrapriyA Raaga krithi , " LaavaNya Raama!
kannulAra jUtavE , AthilAvaNya Raama " , he saluted the unique
sogasu and dinusu of Sri Ramachandran this way :

nee manasu , neesogasu , needinusu vErE 
taamasa matha Dhaivamula ThyagarAja nutha Divya
( LaavaNya RaamA ) 

Oh Lord with adhbutha soundharya rUpam ! Your beauty,
Your mind set , Your ways of blessing devotees have an
incomparable way ! When that is the case , why seek 
the lesser Gods with Taamasa guNams ?

In his Kannada GowlA krithi, " Sogasu jUda TaramA , nee ? " ,
the saint asked : " Is Your ahyAsccharya soundharyam easy
to be enjoyed by anyone ? The beauty of your forehead ,
theluste of your eyes , the chest adorned with VakuLA garland ,
the coral red lips resembling the bimbhA fruit and the hands 
holding the arrows and your bow ( Kothandam ) is beyond 
description :

vara bimbha samAdhaaramu VakuLa samambhulayuramu
karadhrutha sara kOthanda marakathAnga Varamaina ( Sogasu )

At many krihtis , he will be expressing his exasperation over
saluting appropriately the unmatchable beauty of Sri RaamA 
and will concede that even Adhi sEsha with his thousand heads and 
ShaNmukhan with his six heads can not with all their heads and
tongues describe the beauty of the Lord properly . For instance , 
in his BindhumAlini krithi , Entha MuddhO ,entha sogasO " , 
the saint says with resignation , " Yevari valla varNimpa tagunO?
yenta Vaaralaina gAni kaantha chinthAkrAnthulainAru ? " . He expreesed
his asakthi ( powerlessness ) and said : " Oh RaamA ! Who can 
adequately describe Your matchless beauty? Who can indeed
comprehend and describe the  beauty and attraction of Your
subha tanu , which has created and rules over the universes ? ".

In his Kaikavasi rAga krithi ( VachamAgOcharamE , manasA
varNimpataramA ? ) , he concluded that Sr RaamA's besuty
is beyond speech and mind to grasp . 

At another time , in a krithi set in raaga GuntakriyA 
( Inthanusu VarNimpa taramA , BrahmEndrAdhulakaina ,
nee sogasu ) , he stated that Sri RaamA';s beauty can not
be desribed properly  even by chathurmukha Brahma and IndrA .

In his atANA krithi , he cried out : Oh KaamakOti rUpa 
RamachandrA ! Jn~ana SvarUpa RaamachandrA ! 
In this world and the other , there is nothing that I ask for 
as a boon except the chance to see your beautiful
face and be immersed in the enjoyment of that beauty .

He addressed Sundara Raaman in his RamA manOhari
rAga Krithi as " SeethA ManOhara , SrungAra sEkhara " 
and conceded in his danyAsi krithi that the beautiful ,
blue-hued Raaman is his sarva sakthi ( SyAma SundarAnga ! 
Sakala saktiyu neevErA ) . 

In his KalyANa VasanthA krithi , " KanulA tagani " ,
he described his helpless state this way : 

ManamOhanAnadha madha chakOra nayana kundaratana
chandra vadhana SundarAnga , ThyagarAja vinutha RaamA !  

In this krithi , he went on to say that his mind is engaged 
in the contemplation of the Lord's lotus feet , his eyes on 
the beauty of the Lord and his ears on the naama sankeerthanam 
of the Lord . 

In his kEdArakrithi , " RaamA neepai " , he declared that 
the water (saliva ) in his mouth flows only to recite the Lord's
nAmAs . 

In the spirit of NishkaLangam , his mind was engaged in 
enjoying the bliss of rememberance of the beauty of the Lord
and he described that state in his Janaranjani krithi , smaraNE
sukhamu :

Raama Naama sravaNamuvalla , nAma rUpamE hrudhayamunindi 
prEma putta chEyaka lEthA nishkAma ThyagarAju sEyu nAma 

(Oh People ! Raama rUpa dhyanam alone can yield indescribable
bliss . The moment the first wave of sound dealing with the name
of RaamA hits your ears , it will plunge you into the ocean of 
nectarine bliss) . 

In the spirit of the RaghavAshtaka Krithi , Saint ThyagarAja 
visualized the sarvAnga Soundharyam of the Lord and lost
himself in ecstasy :

hema kuntala mandithAmala kantadEsamarinthamam
sAtha kumbha mayUra nEthgra vibhUshaNEna vibhushitham I
charu nUpura hAra kousthubha karNa bhUshaNa bhUshitham 
Bhaanu vamsa vivardhanam praNamAmi Raghava kunjaram   II

In one of his gadhya sections , Saint ThyagarAjA visualized 
Sri RaamA as Sri VaikuntanAthan ( ubhaya pArsvOjwalitha 
karNa kuntala nindhitha chandra mandala, sEvitha muni
mandala : Sriman NaarAyaNa ) and revealed that it was 
Sriman NaarAyaNan , who took the form of a human to
bless the denizens of this earth in a sankarAbharaNa 
divya naama anjali krithi  :

vara bhUsha vamsa BhUsha natha pOshaNa 
mrudhu bhaashaNa ripu bheeshaNa
nara vEsha naka BHEshana vara sEsha bhUsha 
tOshitha Anaga 

( O priceless gem of the noble Soorya Vamsam !  
Bhaktha raksha ! O Lord who converses charmingly
with Your devotees ! O Maste rwho frightens Your enemies 
in the battle field and scatter them to the four corners ! 
O Lord who incarnated as a human being to bless 
the people of this earth ! O powerful one who pierced
the seven tak tree trunks with one arrow ! O YajamAnA 
who is eulogized by the Lord wearing serpents as His 
jewelery ! O Blemishless nirdhOsha Parabrahmam! 
Oh RaamA ! How can I begin to describe Your rUpa mahimai ? )

In his Mohan akrithi , Nannu Paalimpa , he addressed 
the Lord as ThyagarAja PrEmAvatharan and asked his
Lord a question : O my Master!Did You come before me 
as a rsult of your comprehension that my life's goal is
to enjoy the beauty of Your face ? ( Vanaja Nayana mOmunu
jUchudajeevanamani nenaruNa MANASU MARMAMU TELISI  , 
nanu paalimpa nadachi vacchithivO ? ) . Did You walk all the way 
to give me the darsanam of Yours with the peral garlands on 
Your chest moving with Your gait and with the shining arrows
and Bow in the company of Jaanaki MaathA ? ( karmauna 
sara kOdhanda kAnthithO , TaraNi TanayathO , 
ThyagarAchArchitha , Nanu paalimpa nadachi vacchithivO?) 

In hisDevaghAndhAri raaga krithi , he vowed that he will 
never ever forget the beauty of the Lord , who was like 
a new manmathan even in his sleep :

MaravakarA Navamanmath arUpini ,aajanma
hrudhrAjeevamuthO , pujimchurA , Thyagaraja-
nuthuni manasA 

In his KamalA ManOhari krithi , " nee muddhu mOmu
jUpavE " , he declared that the meditation over the Lord's
beauty makes his hair stand on end and he can not forget
that experience ( Pulakarinchani pUjasethugAni kalanaina
maRava sukkalarAyani pOlu ) 

In his ThOdi raagaKrithi ( Nee dayarAvalekAga ) , he saluted
the Lord standing in front of him with the integrated essence
of the 32 sAmudhrikA lakshanams :

sAra Saara kaantharasasaramatha vidhAra SundarAkAra 
SuguNa SukumAra Maara ramaNa neerajAdha kula paarAvAra 
sudhA rasa pUrNa ( Nee dayarAalEkAga )

In his Suddha SaavEri Krithi , he invited all of us to
come together and enjoy the " Maara kOti nibha dEha
SukumAra Raaja Mohana Ragunandanan " and perform
pradakshiNms around Him :

LakshaNamulu kala Raamuniki PradakshiNamonarinthAmu rArE 

He stated time and again that his mind was thrilled over the thought
of the beauty of the Lord and that there is no one to match that 
soundharyam that enraptured him ( manasukenthO Aanandhamai 
meiyipulakarinchaga , ninuvinA Sukhamu gaana neeraja nayanA ) 

He submitted to the Lord that His ApramEya tEjOmaya 
rUpa lAvaNyam spurred him to compose hundreds of
krithis ( Keethana SathakamonarchE , Raaga Rathna 
maalikachE ) in gems of Raagas and adorned the divyAnga
Sundaran with those gem studded necklaces .

To this Lord of unsurpassable , indescribable beauty ,
he confided about his darsana sowbhAgyam of His
subhAsrayam and sundara dEham filled with sarvAnga
soundharyam in his VarALi pancharathna krithi 
starting with the pallavi , " Kana Kana ruchirA , Kanaka
vasana ninnu " . 

Sri Raamachandra ParabrahmaNE Nama :
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri SadagOpan