Thursday, November 5, 2009

Manavini Vinuma

Raga Jayanarayani , 22 Karaharapriya janya
Aa: S R2 G2 M1 P D2 S Av: S N2 D2 P M1 G2 R2 S
Taalam: Adi



manavini vinumā! marava samayamā?

kanugona kōri duṣkalpana māniti
kanikaramuna ninu pāḍucunna nā

parulaku hitamagu bhāvana gāni
ceracu mārgamula cintimpa lēnu
parama dayākara! bhakta manōhara!
dharādhipa karārcita tyāgarāju!

English verse:

Hark the cry from my heart, O Lord!
Now from Your mind, am I barred?
I purged evil but to see You, O Lord!
Mercy! For I sing of You ever 'n hard!

Nary an evil thought toward one and all,
Carry did I,- only goodwill toward all.
Most kind, Joy of the flock, the hands of all
Kings, in Your worship lock! Heed my call!

A key focus of this site is viewing Tyagaraja as a lyric poet. This is close to the justifiably overworked description of Tyagaraja's songs as being Bhava or emotion filled, that is prevalent in Carnatic music circles. So, in this song, we return to that theme. What more emotion can a poet convey than to speak of the pain in his heart? Is emotional expression not the point of music? When Man first broke out into song, was it not a spontaneous expression of emotion?

One thing we did not note while discussing the kriti 'Raga Sudha Rasa' is the fact that it was in Andolika, a raga not used before Tyagaraja and therefore generally ascribed to him. That song is also the one popular song in that raga in the mainstream concert repertoire. The raga of this song, Jayanarayani, is also similarly ascribed to him. There is always a question about the eighty odd ragas in which he has only one or two songs, as to whether each was created or pioneered by him. Some explanations are given for this extensive introduction by Tyagaraja. There are interesting legends about how Tyagaraja came to possess many long lost books on music, often believed to be through the intercession of the celestial sage Narada. Tyagaraja had access to rare texts on the theory of music, imbibed them expertly and experimented successfully with then unheard ragas with unprecedented frequency- this much is clear. Of course, we shall hold back on musical details for some more time.

About the verses: There is not much mystery to this song. 'Marava Samayama':Literally, is this the time to forget? 'Bhakta manohara':He that enlivens the hearts of His worshipers- taken to be Rama, though he is not directly mentioned in the song.

A Comparative Study: The theme of this song is that Tyagaraja, having cleansed himself of all base thoughts and deeds, and armed with the power of virtue, now finds himself eligible for Rama's grace, and so registers his plea afresh. The merit of virtue is a frequent theme across all cultures. Here is Wordsworth, on "The Moral Law":

    All true glory rests,
    All praise of safety, and all happiness,
    Upon the moral law. Egyptian Thebes,
    Tyre by the margin of the sounding waves.
    Palmyra central in the desert, fell !
    And the arts died by which they had been raised.
    Call Archimedes from his buried tomb
    Upon the plain of vanished Syracuse,
    And feelingly the sage shall make report
    How insecure, how baseless in itself,
    Is that philosophy, whose sway is framed
    For mere material instruments : — how weak
    Those arts, and high inventions, if unpropp'd
    By virtue.
Tyagaraja makes his case to Rama based on his being virtuous. Virtue is universally seen thus, as a requirement for divine approval and bounty. Here is Milton, on the reward for virtue, in Paradise Regained:
    This is true glory and renown, when God
    Looking on the Earth, with approbation marks
    The just man, and divulges him through Heaven
    To all his Angels, who with true applause
    Recount his praises.

No comments:

Post a Comment