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Pramathi Samvathsara Sri Rama Navami series : Part I, Saint Thyagaraja's Dhivya Naama and Uthsava SampradhAya Krithis

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Sat Mar 25 2000 - 19:48:42 PST

Dear BhakthAs :

Saint ThyagarAjA's " dhaasya-Vaatsalya Bhakthi 
Bhaava VisEsham " has been cited as the inspiring source 
of his sacred krithis ; these krithis are considered as
" the puNya theertham associated with the RaamAbhishEkam "
that he performed during every moment of his earthly life. 

He was a garbha-BhaagavathA and is considered as the amsam 
of Sage VaalmikI , who blessed us with the magnificent
IthihAsam , Srimath RaamAyaNam .No wonder that Saint 
ThyagaraajA became a Raama chaithanyA and performed 
Aaraadhanam with dhivya Naama kusumams for 
Sri Raamachandran with such ardour .

The Exemplary Life led by Saint ThyagarAjA

He led a simple life and had parama vairAgyam . 
He spurned wealth and asked his mind " Nidhi chAla
sukamA? Raamuni sannidhi sEva sukamA ? " and answered
decisivly that the nithya , niravadhya kaimkaryam to
Sri Raaman was the preferred sukham for him . In his 
Yamunaa-KalyANi krithi , " NaarAyaNa Hari , NaarAyaNa Hari ",
he confessed to Sriman Raama NaarAyaNan : 

"NarAyaNa Hari ! nasvaramaina dhanAsvamulanu nE 
vishvasincha bhUjEsavara Hari Hari , kOtisulagani 
saaDilEni palku BhODi nOsagi mummADiki vEDanu ,
aasa pishAchAvEshamu galugu dhanEsula gaachEDu dEsamu 
nElanu  " 

(Meaning): " Oh Jaanaki RamaNA ! I consider perishable
(material) wealth in the form of money , cattle as worthless.
I shall certainly not approach  rich men and beg them 
for wealth through krithis praising them .I shall not
go near places frequented by greedy men , who are 
possessed by the devils of desire and attachment to
material things ". 

With parama vairAghyam , Saint ThyagarAjA stayed away
from royal courts and felt uncomfortable about the status
of VidvAns , who eked a livelihood from musical services
to the wealthy ones. He reminds us in this context of 
Swamy Desikan's memorable decalaration in his VairAghya 
Panchakam :

" vayam vaachA mahIsvarAn thruNamapi na YaachAmahE "

(meaning): We shall never ever beg even for a blade
of grass from the kings (wealthy ones)". He concluded like 
Swamy Desikan that the great wealth , Sriman NaaraayaNan 
that gladdens the hearts of BhaagavathAs is the eternal,
ever-lasting wealth . Swamy Desikan's words are:

" Dhananjaya Vivardhanam dhanam udhUDa Govardhanam
  susaadhanam  aBhAdhanam sumanasAm samArAdhanam "

Like Swamy Desikan , Saint ThyagarAjA conducted 
unchivrutthi every day and lived on the alms that
the citizens of ThiruvaayARu gave him. He presented 
it to Sri RaamachandrA , performed AarAdhanam for Him
and partook of the naivEdhyam and spent his day and night
singing about the glories of his Raama NaarAyaNan .

The origin of the Dhivya NaamA Krithis 

During his unchivrutthi around the streets of this river town,
the Saint used to sing with ThamburA in one hand and 
chapLa kattais on the other hand the dhivya naamAs of 
his AarAdhana moorthy , Sri Raamachandran . Out poured 
moving krithis that were composed on the spot with 
great Bhakthi . These krithis are known as dhivya naama
krithis and had many small charaNams and have great 
bhakthi bhAvam .

The Raagams used in the Dhivya Naama  krithis
Rakthi Raagams , Ghana Raagams,upAnga-BhAshAnga raagams , 
sampUrNa, varja-vakra and chAyalaka raagams 
took their turns to be adorned in his free-flowing
Saahithyams and to take their immortal place as dhivya-
Naama Krithis emanating from the bard. The musical genius 
of Saint ThyagarAjA blending perfectly with his great
Bhakthi gave us a body of dhivya naama krithis that
have very few parallels in Bhakthi literature .

Typical raagaas used by the Saint in composiiton of these
dhivya naam krithis are: Aananda Bhairavi, Kaapi, BhouLi, 
SaavEri, Bhairavi, AsAvEri, Thodi, MadhyamAvathi , 
PunnagavarAli , GowLipanthu and NaadhanAmakriya,
ReethigowLai and some times even MukhAri and rare
raagams like KalakaNTi.

Typical Features of a Dhivya Naama Krithi
These dhivya Naama krithis have many , short charaNams
that permitted singing with manOdharam , while moving 
from house to house receiving bikshai. Usually , these
krithis do not have any anupallavi.The message will be
like an upadesam .

An Example of a Dhivya Naama krithi in GhouLipanthu raagam

Pallavi: Raama Raama KrishNa yanarE raathiri- 
         pahalumaa Sitha 

( Oh People You will all do well by chanting  
  the holy names of my SitA Raaman and KrishNaa
  day and night)

CharaNam 1: ithara maarga soukyamulaku
            athani hrudhayamE Saakshiyu (Raama Raama--)

( Your heart will be the witness (ssakshi) to
  the fact that there are no other ways to
  get happiness and deliverance . " Naanya:
  panthA ayanAya vidhyathE " is the message of 
  Purusha Sooktham ).

CharaNam 2: kAnipanulu kOri kOri 
            karaguchuNDu maanavulu ( Raama Raama)

CharaNam 3: kuthisathapu maaDalaku
            uddhuga pOrElEDu janalu (Raama Raama)

CharaNam 4: sarvasAsthramulanu jdhiva 
            aasa dhaasulayinavAru (Raama Raama)

CharaNam 5: yedhuDi paccha jUDalEka
            hithavu mADalADu Janulu (Raama Raama)

CharaNam 6: challani vaakulu Baliki
            svAntha manalamainavAru (Raama Raama)

CharaNam 7: palukanErcchi yaDukaBhOthE
            teliviki haaniyainavAru (Raama Raama)

CharaNam 8: JaathiheenulainavAru
            JaaNalainaaradhE Saakshi(Raama Raama)

CharaNam 9: paamu pandhi Gaja pisAcha  
            paathakAgrEsarulE Saakshi ( Raama Raama)

CharaNam 10:ThyagarAju dhelusukOnna 
            taaraka mihapara sAdhakamu( Raama Raama)

The beauty of the architecture of the dhivya Naama 
Krithi and the symmetry of the individual CharaNams
set in Aathi Taalam is exquisite.There is not an extra
word in each of the CharaNa Vaakhyams. The refrain is 
a sweet lilting "Raama Raama KrishNa yanarE ".The meanings
and the references are deep . 

General Meaning of charaNams 2-10 :

Oh people , You who chase after desires and 
activities forbidden by ShAsthrAs and revel 
in them ! You will do well by cbanting 
the Lord's name day and night !

Oh People , Who wallow  profoundly in demeaning
talks and who have become helpless slaves to Your
desires , even if you have gone thru all shAsthrAs!
You will have salvation by reciting the Lord's 
names day and night.

Oh People! who are filled with asooyai (jealousy)
because your neighbor is prosperous and yet are
pretending to mean well by saying kind words in
front of them ! You can get relief from all these
miseries, if you chant the names of my SithA Raaman
and KrishNan .

Oh people, who talk sweetly , while having poison 
in your hearts ! You will overcome these harmful
dispositons , if you chant my Lord's names .

Oh People, who have been formally educated
to use your speech effectively ! When the time comes to 
demonstrate your intelligence , you are unable to
manage your speech and give the right ansewers .

The unassailable fact that low birth is no hindrance 
to salvation by chanting the Lord's names has been
proven by many.They are the witnesses to the redemptive
power of the Lord's names and naama sankIrthanam ,
which leads up to total self-surrender at the lotus
feet of our dhivya Dampathis.

Prominent among this assembly of heinous sinners
are the serpent (Ajakaran), Pig ( MookAsuran), Elephant 
(MatthakAsuran),the demon /PisAsu( DhunthumAran).
Their sins melted away ,when they chanted Hari's names.

This path of redemption has been learnt by ThyagarAjA
as the means to achieve moksham .Raama Naamam is the Taaraka 
manthram known to Thyagarajan as Iha Para Saadhanam .
You will do well by reciting the Lord's many names.

We will cover the introduction to the Uthsava SampradhAya
krithis in the next posting and come back to selected
examples of dhivya naama and uthsava sampradhAya Krithis
in subsequent postings.

AdiyEn, Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan
ThiruviNNagar BrahmOthsava Hanumantha Vaahanam day
Panguni Kettai ( March 27, 2000 ) 





                  - SrImate raamaanujaaya namaH -
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