Sri Kamakoti Pradeepam

Malar: 21


Raudra Varsham – Aypasi, Kartikai

October, November 1980

Idazh: 9, 10


Sadguru Shri Thyagaraja Swamigal who Had a Vision of all Deities

Our Bharatam has given birth to several saints who have sung the glory of god. Though they are not physically present amongst us today, their musical compositions still reverberate amongst us. The wise say that Shri Thyagaraja was an incarnation of Shri Valmiki.

Having had a vision of Shri Rama and being immersed in His auspicious qualities and the beauty of His physical form, Shri Thyagaraja sang several thousands of keertanams. We do not know how many keertanams were composed by him; only 700 of these are extant. Swamigal has sung many keertanams – sweet in diction and profound in meaning – in his mother tongue, the mellifluous Telugu. Though Shri Ramachandra is his personal deity, Swamigal has also sung the praises of all other deities with deep devotion.   

He has sung many songs on Vighneswara, the foremost among gods. Among these we shall discuss two compositions— “Giriraja Suta”, in Raga Vangala and “Sri Ganapati Neeyum” in Raga Saurashtra. The crux of the first song is: “O son of Parvati! The Compassionate one! Lord whose holy feet are worshipped by Indra and the devas. Elephant-faced God! Protect me. Lord of the Ganas, the Highest one, bestower of all that is auspicious, one who wears the snake as an ornament, one who removes obstacles, one who adores Shiva. Shower your blessings upon me.”

He further extols the greatness of Shri Ganesha in the composition “Shri Ganapati Neeyum” set in Raga Saurashtra. In this song he says, “Devotees offer you jackfruit, coconut, jamun and other such fruits. Having partaken of these, you fasten your anklets, beat time on the ground and dance. I, Thyagarja, who bears the lotus feet of Hari in my heart, sing your praises.”

The wise say that Brahma creates, Vishnu sustains and Shiva destroys. In keeping with this statement, Swamigal has sung several compositions on Lord Shiva, the Lord of Lords. Among these, the Atana raga composition, “Ilavo pranatharthi” and the Pantuvarali composition “Shiva shiva yena raadha” are popular among musicians.

Shri Swamigal sings plaintively to the Lord Panchanadeeshvara of Thiruvaiyyaru thus: “The Lord of the five rivers! You do not heed the pleas of one who pines for you day and night. Who gave you the appellation of “Shankara” (bestower of auspiciousness) and “pranatharthihara” (one who alleviates the misery of his devotees)?

He enunciates the highest truth in his composition “Shiva shiva yena raadha” thus: “We should annihilate the illusion of desires of the world. We should not be attached to material goods. We must respect righteous people as veritable gods and should sing the names of Shiva.”

Further, Shri Swamigal has composed many songs on Parashakti, the sovereign goddess of the Universe. “Shri Vinayakuni” in Madhyamavati and “Dharini telusukonti” in Suddhasaveri enrapture the hearts of the listeners. In the composition “Shri Vinayakuni,” Shri Swamigal expresses this wish: “Parashakti! Kamakshi! You descended on earth on Brahma’s request. While you are always involved in redeeming the misguided, the virtuous wilt away awaiting your benevolence. It is your grace that has bestowed upon me the power of poetic creation. Protect me, your son.”

In the Suddhasaveri composition, Shri Swamigal sings soulfully: “Brahma, Indra, Tumburu and Narada attain to a state of bliss worshipping you who are well-adorned. By your grace the karma of the sages are washed away, and they attain liberation. I now know the purpose of being granted a vision of your beauteous form on a Friday. I have learnt from the wise that lifelong meditation on your form alone is the path to liberation.” It is believed that Shri Swamigal composed this song, when he saw, on entering his house, his wife conversing with Goddess Tripurasundari.

Swamigal has also sung on Shri Kandan or Shri Shanmugan, the compassionate one. The Todi raga song “Neevanti deivamunu” is a sterling composition, in which he says: “Arumuga, you replaced Brahma when you found his understanding inadequate.  O beautiful one! You vanquished the invincible Surapadman, and, you reach out to your devotees. You are the incomparable One.”

Further, in the Supradeepa raga composition, “Vaasivaahana,” he extols Lord Muruga thus: “O beautiful One, who rides the peacock! You scorched the Asuras like weeds. In valour, stature and lineage you are supreme. Be benevolent towards us.”

He has also sung songs urging us to be devoted to sages like Narada. Among them the darbhar composition “Narada Guruswamy” praises Narada. “O Sage Narada! The beacon light to ascetics and devotees. You should protect me too.”

He sung the greatness of his native village, the holy Thiruvaiyaru in the Mukhari raga composition “Muripemmu Kalikai”. Characters other than Rama who have lent greatness to the Ramayana kavya have also been eulogized by him. He has also honoured Garudazhvar the mount of lord Vishnu. The power of the nine planets can be known from the composition “Grahaphalame” in the raga Revagupti.

Finally, Lord Anjaneya has been extolled in the Vasanthavarali composition “Pahi Ramaduta” and in the Surutti composition “Gitarthamu”.  In the song “Pahi Ramaduta” Swamigal says: “O Anjaneya! You who succeed in all that you undertake to do! Matchless devotee of Rama. You who have a splendorous form and the grace to grant boons! Do protect me.”

Thus, Shri Swamigal, through his composition, has sung the greatness of all the deities worshipped by devotees. On the day dedicated to his memory, may we remember the greatness of Shri Thyagaraja Swamigal, who had a vision of all gods.

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