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Form and substance, The importance of Hrudhaya Bhaavam

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Fri Oct 15 1999 - 20:13:56 PDT

Dear BhakthAs : Sri Mani Varadarajan touched
upon an important point , when he described about 
the DhaNdavath PraNAmam before reverd elders and
the Lord . He referred to the Bhaaavam behind such
prostrations that is essential . 

Saint ThyagarAjA , an excellent student of the foibles
of the Human beings has referred to the importance 
of the feeling behind observances instead of the ritualistic
performances in number of his krithis . During his own
upachArams to the Lord in his daily aarAdhanam ,
his conversation with Sri RamachnadrA was filled 
with the delectable language of his heart filled
with prEma (parama) Bhakthi. I will refer to these 
two items in this posting .First section is about 
the varattu (formalastic without substance )observance .

 Krithi Nadachi nadachi in Raagam Karahara PriyA

Here the Saint asks: " If bathing often (in puNya theerthams),
fasting , closing one's eyes (during the japam ) etc.,
constitute all that is to be done , surely, there are
others, birds and animals , who will get first place 
in heaven.

In support of these ideas , he elaborates in another krithi:
Balamu Kulamu in Raagam SaavEri

"Crows and fish dive , does it become the regular 
morning abolution ? Cranes close their eyes (while waiting 
for their prey ).Does that become divie dhyAnam ?
Goats eat only leaves. Is that UpavAsA ?Birds soar
high, but do they compare with the Sun or the Moon 
in their trajectories? Monkeys rsiding in the forests
do not become VaanaprasthAs and unclad children can not
be deemed as avadhUtha sanyAsis". 

Darsanamu sEya naa taramA( NaarAyana GouLai Krithi)

In a rare raagam , which has become obsolete today 
due to the ascendance of KedAra GouLai , Saint ThyagarAjA
contrasts precisely the differnece between the real darsanam
of the Lord in the temple and going to a temple for the purpose
of His darsanam . 

He says :" going to a temple ,gazing there at the gopurams ,
the sculptured pillars ,focusing on the dance of youthful 
courtesans (in his time , the deva daasi system was prevalent ) ,
enjoying the rows of light , the wondeful vahanams on which
the Lord rides around the Raaja Veedhis , and looking at
the ladies who come to participate in the temple festivals 
and in between talking loudly about some scandal or other
that is one thing ! Refraining from such activities and 
enjoying the soundharyam of the Lord and reflecting on
Him with Bhakthi and seeking His protection is another thing ! "

Here Saint ThyagarAja is echoing the thoughts expressed
by KulasEkarA in one of his Mulundha Maalai slOkams:

" The Lord is all glorious , without the constant thought
of whose lotus feet , all recital of the scriptures (Vedams)
becomes a cryin the wilderness ; the observance of austerities 
only exercises for slimming ; making gifts (dhAnams) etc., is
like oblation (havis) thrown on ashes; the bathing in holy
waters is like the proverbial elephant's bath ".

Following the bhakthi maargam and using his discriminating 
intellect, Saint ThyagarAja concluded in his suddha BangaaaLA
raaga Krithi:

Raamabhakthi SaamrAjyamE, mAnavula kabbenO manasA 
( Raama Bhakthi is the greatest kingdom one can 
wish for and it is the Supreme BrahmAnandham 
to attain. No words can explain this ; it has
to be known only by experience ).

Bhagavadh anubhavam of the Saint in his daily upachArams

>From the first upachAram in the morning (viz).,
SuprabhAtham to the last upachAram for the day
(viz)., sayanOthsavam , his conversations with
the Lord were deeply mingled with his prEma
BhAshA . Some examples are:

mElukOvayyaa mamElukO RaamA ,
mElain aSitAsamEtha naabhAgyamA :(BhouLi Raagam )

 Oh SitA RaamA ! Pray wake up to protect the universe ! 
It is already day break ! Please wakeup to partake of butter 
and milk at the right temperature that I am holding in
my hand for You . 

with longing to have the darsanam of the Lord , the saint
wakes the Lord tenderly .

UpachAramulanu chkOnavayya , UragarAja sayanan!(Bharavi Raagam ):

Oh SeshasAyee ! Pray , graciously accept my worship
and the shOdasOpuchArams ! 

Laali laaliyani uchEdharA VanamAli --( HarikAmbhOji)

Oh vanamAli ! gazing at Your dhivya soundharyam
with great affection , adiyEn rocks You in the swing
(Oonjal) addresing You as the Lord of Lords !

PhUlu paanpumIdha bhAga poorNa pavvaLimchu
Neelaghana shyAma harE Nirupama Raamayyaa mallE(Aahiri)

Oh perfect Lord! Pray, rest well on this bed of
Jasmine flowers that adiyEn has prepared for You 
after partaking honey, sugared milk and ThAmbhUlam !

These are the krithis with bhakthi language of
the heart that we have to reflect upon , while
differnetiating between form and substance 
in our saadhanAs .

Oppiliappan Koil V.Sadagopan