Aa: S R2 G2 M1 P D2 N2 S Av: S N2 D2 P M1 G2 R2 S
nāda tanumaniśaṃ śaṅkaram
namāmi mē manasā śirasā
modakara nigamottama sāma-
vēdasāraṃ vāraṃ vāram
sarigamapadhanī vara saptaswara
vidyālolaṃ vidalita kālam
vimala hṛdaya tyāgarāja pālam
To Sankara, the embodiment of the musical art,
I bow my head with all my heart.
Of delightful Sama Veda,
The acme of the Vedic domain,
As He is the essence,
I bow time and time again.
From Sadyojata and the others of His five faces,
The scale Sa-Ri-Ga-Ma-Pa-Dha-Ni, arises.
Etudes of the fine seven notes, Death's bane, titillate,
That guardian of Tyagaraja the immaculate.
As a Nadopaska, or one whose music was his worship, Tyagaraja frequently praised music itself, or its elements, and considered it the most exalted. This kriti is an example. Sama Veda is considered the origin of music, as singing its verses was the first sacred music. The other vedas are not sung. In his five headed form, Siva is considered the creator of music. Such themes appear in many places in Tyagaraja's kritis. Strangely, though Tyagaraja calls Siva the essence of Sama Veda, in his form as Rudra, or as one of the Rudras, Siva appears in the Sama Veda in only eight or nine verses of nearly two thousand. Sankara literally means "He who does good". Usually, the allusion to crushing Death, is taken as a specific reference to Siva saving the boy-sage Markandeya. But more generally, Siva as the destroyer of the Trinity, has overlordship over Kala, Yama, Dharma or Death, and is described as having saved several other devotees from death. That is why he is called Mrityunjaya, and when someone is at death's door, the Mrityunjaya Homa is performed to save them. Allusion to Mrityunjaya is more frequent. Vidalita Kaalam can in fact, be alternately given as Mrityunjaya literally, Victor over Death. Studies of the seven notes is a figurative reference to music, and literally can be taken as an etude.