Saturday, October 31, 2009


Raga Jayantashree, 20 Natabhairavi janya
Aa: S G2 M1 D1 N2 S Av: S N2 D1 M1 P M1 G2 S
Taalam: Deshaadi



marugēlarā ō rāghavā!

marugēla carācara rūpa parātpara
sūrya sudhākara lōcana!

anni nīvanucu- anatarangamuna
tinnagā vētagi telisikoṇṭinayya
ninnēgāni madinennajāla norula
nannu brōvavayya tyāgarājanuta!

English verse:

Son of Raghu, must You still evade?
All beings alive, Your Person make.

You transcend all; All you pervade.
The sun and moon, for eyes, You take.

You are all that is, now I've learned,
Looking hard within, as my mind turned.
You fill my mind; all others I've spurned,
Save this bard,- for so much, I've earned.

In this song, as in the previous one, Tyagaraja continues his quest for Rama. Here, he searches hard within himself and finds a slightly different answer to the question, "Where is Rama?".

About the verses:"Son of Raghu": Literally, a descendant of Raghu. "Charachara": All living things, those that move (generally fauna) and those that don't (generally flora). Interestingly, as we have cases such as coral reefs that don't move, and some diatoms that can move, we cannot say one class is fully motile and the other is not. "Paratpara": Literally superlative of superlatives, hence, transcendent. "Sudhakara": literally nectar giving; usually the moon, due to moonlight being cool; "Antarangamu": Anything that is interior; here, Tyagaraja's mind, in the sense of looking within himself.

I have said before that though, true to his lineage, there are abundant Advaitin (Monist/Non-dualist) references in Tyagaraja's songs, here and there he does make some allusions more typical of Vishistadvaita (Qualified Monism/Non-Duality) and other schools. He is somewhat syncretic, as are many modern Hindus. Here, he clearly describes how the various beings and entities of the universe, fill the person of Rama, that is the Brahman, which notion is often considered a trademark of the Vishishtadvaita school, though not exclusively so. In this school, the Paramatma can thus be called that Supreme Being who is the sum total of all beings and things in the universe, (as the universe is His Person), and he is the "Sarva-vyapi" or the all-pervasive Being. The Paramatma is also the "Sarva Sheshi" literally, He that is the Final Remainder or the only everlasting Being, the essence of all.

The discussion from the last song continues here. As Tyagaraja saw the light within himself there as the Lord is all pervasive, he now sees him pervade all other elements of the universe, that is all other elements save Tyagaraja himself. In that song, he restricted himself to seeing the Paramatma only within himself. Here he is moving close to pantheism, seeing the Paramatma everywhere. Now, if we loosely reckon the relevant Vedanta concept here as pantheism, we can find a few parallels to it in the rest of the world. Also, while Advaita usually is practised through the Shanmata or six-path worship or six-level worship, this school explicitly offers a single path, that of directly seeking refuge in the Lord, forsaking all other paths, in line with an injunction from the Gita. Tyagaraja's statement in the Charanas, that he shall no longer turn to anyone else in his mind but Rama, is reminiscent of this teaching about the one true path.

Extra Comments:
I may be making bold a bit here, in deriving syncretism in Tyagaraja and see him swerve from Advaita, but I think this is an interesting line of discussion, even if I receive trenchant refutations. Any credible line of inquiry that facilitates greater understanding of our august subject, I think is good.



  1. Thank you so much for the meaning of the lyrics. I did not find the meaning for the complete lyrics before. I will link to this page soon from my site ...

  2. You express so beautifully, sir! Thank you