Monday, November 2, 2009

Tyagararaja Yoga Vaibhavam

Raga Ananda Bhairavi , 20 Natabhairavi janya
Aa: S G2 R2 G2 M1 P D2 P N2 S Av: S N2 D2 P M1 G2 R2 S
Taalam: Roopakam

##If formatting is off for the English verses and you see lines being split, please click on the picture below##



tyāgarāja yoga vaibhavaṁ sadāṣivaṁ
tyāgarāja yoga vaibhavaṁ sadāśrayāmi
tyāgarāja yoga vaibhavaṁ
agarāja yoga vaibhavaṁ
rāja yoga vaibhavaṁ
yoga vaibhavaṁ

Samashti Charanam:
nāgarāja vinuta padaṁ
nādabindu kalāspadaṁ
yogirāja vidita padaṁ
yugapadbhoga mokṣapradam
yogarūḍha nāma rūpa
viśva srṣṭyādi karaṇaṁ
yugaparivṛtyabda māsa
dina ghaṭikādyāvaraṇam

śrī guruguhaguruṁ satcitānanda bhairavīśaṁ
śiva śaktyādi sakala tatva svarūpa prakāśaṁ
śaṁ prakāśaṁ
svarūpa prakāśaṁ
tatva svarūpa prakāśaṁ
sakala tatva svarūpa prakāśaṁ
śiva śaktyādi sakala tatva svarūpa prakāṣam

English verse:

King of sacrifices' penance fanfare, All abiding-
King of sacrifices' penance fanfare, I'm adoring,
King of sacrifices' penance fanfare,
King of mounts' penance fanfare
King of paths' penance fanfare,
Penance fanfare

Holy feet adored by the king of serpents,
Abiding in the musical elements,
Revered by the king of sages,
In an instant, liberates past the ages.
By the power of penance, the cause
Of creation of many forms and names,
They enthrall us past Time's games.

Bliss, Sire to the warlord, Lord to the startling
As Grace, Power and all truths shining,
Giving, shining,
In the True Form shining,
Form of truth and so shining
The form of all truths and so shining
As Grace, Power and all truths shining!

Finally, Dikshitar makes his debut on our site. He is the sixth composer to figure here. My apologies to his many fans. His approach to music is vastly different, and would be tough to reconcile with the theme of this site. As small recompense, we have something flashy. For a change, I have posted a song that has more to do with poetry and word play than with esoteric concepts.

This song is about Tyagaraja, 'the king of renunciates', a form of Shiva and the presiding deity of the temple at Thiruvarur, where the Trinity was born. The main feature of the song are the two "yatis", roughly forms, used in the pallavi and the latter, faster Charanas. The Pallavi uses "Gopuccha yati", in that it elides syllable by syllable with each phrase, and so resembles the taper of a cow's tail or 'Gopuccha'. In the Charanas we find the "Srotovaha" or river yati, that accretes syllables with each phrase and so resembles a widening river.

About the verses: Before reading the English verses, please note a few things: There is a vast difference the alphabets of Sanskrit and English. Without getting very technical, we can simply say that the Sanskrit alphabet is more phonetic, as almost all letters make up a syllable. So, to show either of the yatis, we just need to elide or accrete by a letter, which will also be a syllable. But, in English this may not apply. Happen and open have 4 and 6 letters, yet two syllables each. Consider eliding the word 'phone' successively. We get phone->hone->one->ne, each with a very different pronunciation. This is what happens in English most often. So, in English, the nicer way to show the yatis, is to elide or accrete by a syllable. The effect will be consistent aurally. That is, in our verses, we will remove one syllable and not one letter, with each phrase.

Note that we could have made the verses a lot tighter to "look" more symmetric like the original; but wanted to preserve the word meaning and be faithful to the original, than paraphrase. Since the composer did not maintain the tightness he had earlier, in the Charanas, we too have followed suit.
If you don't see the kriti or the verses in the proper shape, you need to maximize your browser window or make some other adjustment. This page is best viewed at a minimum width of 800 pixels. If you still can't see it clearly, there is a picture at the end of this song for you to see. I will remove this in a couple of days.

The verses and the words: Tyaga: Sacrifice. The practice of yoga is taken as a penance. Sadasivam-"The Eternal Shiva", or "Always pleasing", or "who holds all things". The word Shiva has myriad meanings. Later in the Charanas, Shiva is taken as Benevolence or Grace personified, to contrast with Shakti, the active force or Power. King of mounts: This refers to Kailasa, the abode of Shiva and hence Shiva. "King of paths": Raja Yoga is considered the "royal" path among the yogic paths. The two words "Bhavam" and "Vam" in the pallavi are tricky, as is how we have rendered them. Bhavam signifies many things, generally existence, a God etc. One way to take it, is to consider Shiva, the king of renunciation here, as delivering one across the ocean of worldly ties. In this sense, He is the "Fare" or passage, or even 'the fellow traveler' for this journey, taking two shades of the meaning. Again, "fare" as a noun also means state, or existence. So, this can also be taken. "Vam" is a syllable which stands for the cause of everlasting existence. Ar, pronounced the same as air, and which means "before", signifies that Shiva came before all things and all time, and so has has the same connotation as vam. Alternatively, we could use "air" instead of "ar", and could get the same meaning, as "air" is the root of existence too. This would also be acceptable while reading aloud. I used "ar" mainly for the visual effect, as it is contained in fare and fanfare. Warlord: Subhramanya, as the commander of Shiva's hosts. "Bhairavi": Fearsome, Startling. A form of Parvati or Shakti, Shiva's consort. "Sham": This syllable stands for munificence. "Tatvam":Truth(s) In the singular, it refers to the "mahavakyam" or "great statement" "tat tvam asi", or "Thou art that", which is the device by which the unity of all beings with the Brahman is arrived. In the plural, "sarva tatva" or all truths, there are 36 basic principles in Saivism or the school devoted to Shiva, from which they compose a theory of matter and the universe, and Godhead.

In the verses, a few other triplets which will work for the "Vaibhavam-bhavam-vam" elision, such as Glory, Glo(w), Lo; Bepraised, Praised, Raised and Renown, (K)nown, Own. Bhavam and Vam are a bit sketchy in this context and open to extrapolation, when compared to the rest of the pallavi. Own, as in all-pervasive and the cause of eternal existence and Lo! signifiying existence arising from nothingness by Shiva's will, will both sort of approximate to what vam stands for here and we can explain them away. Well, one isn't a real poet unless one can show that a microcosm exists in one's merest verse- particularly if one didn't actually put the microcosm there at the time of writing!

Extra Comments:
To better appreciate the English verses and the yatis, here is one plain translation that I found on the web (courtesy of Note that I am not criticizing this site in anyway; in fact I am making no comments either way. Their focus and the focus of this site, are vastly different. I would think this is from TKG's book, but I have not checked. Also note that, in general, I go out of the way to stay close to the original, but for my practice of preferring personifications to names of beings and the import to names of concepts, to more readily convey the meaning to a new reader unfamiliar with the subculture of Carnatic music's domain. So, I write Wealth for Lakshmi and so on in the verses and catch these up in the comments.

I always think of the yogic glory of tyagaraja who is the representation of SAdashiva.
The yogic glory of Tyagaraja.
The yogic glory of the Lord of the mountain ie Kailasha.
The glory of the path of rAja yoga. The glory of yoga.
The glory
The one named bhava or the one that helps cross the ocean of samsara
The beeja of Amrta

The feet praised by the king of serpents.
The one who establishes himself in the stages of nada, bindu and kala.
The feet known to the king of yogis.The feet that are capable of bestowing enjoyment and liberation instantly.
The one who created the myriad names and forms of this universe by his yogic prowess.
The form of differentiated time represented by yugas, changes in time and measures like years, months, day, and ghatikas.

The father of guruguha.The form of sacchidAnanda and the Lord of Bhairavi.
The one who is the embodiment of all the 36 tatvas beginning with shiva and shakti.
The auspicious. The one who shines forth.The one who shines forth as the true form.
The one who shines forth as the meaning of the tatvam [ in the tatvamasi traipada]
The one who shines forth as all the tatvas.
The one who shines forth as all the tatvas beginning with Shiva and Shakti.



  1. What a composition is this. I have no words to explain. Tomorrow is maha shivarathri and is the right occasion to think of the lord of simplicity, perhaps the simplest god among all gods, who just wants water and bilva patra to worship and more than anything just bhakthi and nothing else. I learnt nothing other than simplicity is the best way of life from this composition including unassuming charcter.

  2. For some reason the following comment wouldn't appear even after it's published, but it raises a useful question, and is worth the cut-and-paste job below:

    2019, Mar 7 at 8:41 AM:
    Unknown has left a new comment on your post "Tyagararaja Yoga Vaibhavam":

    But for your kind information a small correction in the title of the structure. the charanam doesn't have the term samashti n the lyrics part. it is only the charanam. (Reference Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini by Subbarama Dikshitar (grand son and adopted son of Baluswamy dikshitar brother of Muthuswamy Dikshitar and descendant of Muthuswamy Dikshitar school of music)in Telugu print in 1904.

    the kirthana which has the structure of pallavi and anupallavi, that anuppallavi part alone known as samashticharanam mentioned in south Indian Music Books by Professor P. Smbamurthy the Poineer who started Music Education in university.

    1. Thanks for your kind words about the verse translation and commentary. Regarding Samashti Charanam, would it help to know that my source was PS' book? Didn't have TKG or RRI books when I wrote the song. TKG, PS and RRI are the sources I use almost always.

      Fwiw, I will add two well known things, viz. the Dikshithar school purists have their own taxonomy for so many things, and rigor and consistency that you might expect in other disciplines, had not yet entered Carnatic music printing a hundred years ago. Carnatic music printing has always lagged the concert repertoire by a much greater distance than other formal schools of music.