SRI TYAGARAJA-7,Genius & Divine Inspiration(Post No.7986)

WRITTEN BY R. NANJAPPA                        

Post No.7986

Date uploaded in London – – – 16 May 2020   

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Talent, Genius, Inspiration

We encounter  the phenomenon of genius in any field. It is easily recognised, though difficult to explain. But we know it is more than mere talent, or intelligence, even extraordinary levels of it.

We encounter them commonly in fields such as  arts, sports, medicine, literature, music.

We have an allied phenomenon- intuition. This too is difficult to define, but most of us have had moments of sudden inspiration, which leads to an intuitive insight. It is generally seen that talented professionals, who are dedicated and committed, develop intuition over the years. We have encountered doctors or lawyers who look at a case and just “know” what the matter is. Even great scientific discoveries have been due to such intuition, though most scientists would not talk about it openly.

Einstein: Intelligence and Intuition

 Einstein, than whom we have seen no greater scientist in recorded history, warned us about overestimating the role of intelligence:

We have been endowed with just enough intelligence to be able to see clearly just how inadequate that intelligence is when we are confronted with what exists. If this humility could be imparted to everybody, the world of human endeavours would become more appealing. …

We should take care not to make intellect our God; it has of course powerful muscles, but no personality.

Contrast this attitude with the inordinate pride shown by an ordinary scientist, or even a student of science today! That is the case with all empty vessels.  Einstein also tells us about intuition:

All great achievements of science must start from intuitive knowledge, namely, in axioms, from which deductions are then made…..Intuition is the necessary condition for the discovery of such axioms.

 I believe in intuitions and inspirations…. I sometimes FEEL that I am right. I do not Know that I am.

Invention is not the product of logical thought, even though the final product is tied to a logical structure.


From: The New Quotable  Einstein, edited by Alice Calaprice, Princeton University Press, 2005.


Case of Mark Twain
  

It is seen in the case of great writers,especially. Mark Twain described life on the Mississippi in extraordinary ways. People wondered how he could do it. He had trained on the boats plying on the Mississippi, eventually working as the Pilot, acquiring “extraordinary abilities required to safely negotiate the hazards and eccentric characteristics of the river…… where what starts as a process of systematic empirical observation, of learning the ‘points’ on the river, rapidly becomes a herculean feat of honing one’s memory, judgement, decision and courage, until an unconscious and almost mystical power is attained”.

As Twain himself says:

“I can’t tell you. It is an instinct.By and by you will just naturally know one from the other [wind reef as opposed to a bluff reef], but you  never will  be able to explain why or how you know them apart.”

From: Mark Twain, ‘Life on the Mississippi’ , Introduction by Petr Barta, Wordsworth Classics, 2012.


An unconscious and almost mystical power”- that is it. Most people fight shy of using the term ‘mystical’, as if  it involves some magic or irrational belief. They have never gone beyond the lower reaches of vain intellect.


 MysticPoets


When it comes to poetry, we do  encounter talent or genius but this is mostly based on linguistic felicity, imagination, powers of communication. But we also come across some who use plain words but make us transcend mind. A poet who writes:


No man is an island.
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know 
for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.      (John Donne)



Or who writes this:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.       (William Blake)

Such a poet is not using mere word power, or mind power, but is revealing soul power. To most poets, such visions come as a flash, or in some moments or periods of revelation, but may not be sustained, or permanent. It is only a poet or artist who is divinely inspired who continues to enjoy such vision for long periods. But the great saints live in a state of higher consciousness, transcending the limitations of the human mind, however talented, and their words have extraordinary power.

Inspired poetry

Once a correspondent had  an interesting exchange with Sri Aurobindo.Sri Aurobindo held that the power or Force of Yoga creates new faculties or talents. But the correspondent  cited the case of Dilip (Kumar Roy) and felt that this could happen “because the things were in him” and he could as well have cultivated them “assiduously,sincerely,earnestly” even outside the influence of Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo wrote to him: 

Will you  explain to me how Dilip who could not write a single good poem and had no power over rhythm and metre before he came here, suddenly, not after long “assiduous” efforts bloomed into a poet,rhythmist and metrist after he came here? Why was Tagore dumbfounded by the “lame man throwing away his crutches and running” freely……Why was it that I who never understood or cared for painting, suddenly in a single hour by the opening of vision got the eye to see and the mind of understanding about colour, line and design?…….. here a faculty that did not exist appears quickly and spontaneously or impotence changes into highest potency or an obstructed talent changes with equal rapidity into fluent and facile sovereignty.

From: Nirodbaran: Corresponence with Sri Aurobindo.

Divine Inspiration


Sri Aurobindo is talking of the Yoga Force. But there is a even higher force: that of direct Divine inspiration or blessings from a genuine Saint or Sage. This is what is recorded in the cases of Valmiki,Jnanasambandha, Arunagirinatha. That is why their poetry has extraordinary power to save, to confer blessings and consolation, etc. And they were aware of that power and even expressed it. Valmiki says that his story will endure as long as the mountains last. Jnanasambandha asserts that his words (hymns) will save the reciters and erase their past karma. Arunagirinatha proclaims that he knows that his Tiruppugazh is like a fire to the enemies of devotees. ( “Sirippavar tamakkum pazhippavar tamakkum Tiruppugazh nerupp enru arivom yaam”, ” the enemies of those  who recite Tiruppugazh will be destroyed”- Vel Vaguppu,etc.)

(Care: In such cases, the ‘enemies’ are to be understood as our own lower nature, dominated by the ego, the 6 bad qualities like kama, krodha; the samsara itself, etc, and not referring to any personal enemies!)
 

Sri Aurobindo is talking of the Yoga Force. But there is a even higher force: that of direct Divine inspiration or blessings from a genuine Saint or Sage. This is what is recorded in the cases of  Valmiki,Jnanasambandha, Arunagirinatha. That is why their poetry has extraordinary power to save, to confer blessings and consolation, etc. And they were aware of that power and even expressed it. Valmiki says his story will endure as long as the mountains last. Jnanasambandha asserts that his words (hymns) will save the reciters and erase their past karma. Arunagirinatha proclaims that he knows that his Tiruppugazh is like a fire to the enemies of devotees. ( “Sirippavar tamakkum pazhippavar tamakkum Tiruppugazh nerupp enru arivom yaam”, ” the enemies of those  who recite Tiruppugazh will be destroyed”- Vel Vaguppu,etc.)

(Care: In such cases, the ‘enemies’ are to be understood as our own lower nature, dominated by the ego, the 6 bad qualities like kama, krodha; the samsara itself, etc, and not referring to any personal enemies!) 

Tyagaraja & Direct Divine Inspiration


Sri Tyagaraja comes in this tradition. His real genius is not in his music, is not in the literary excellence of his language and lyrics, but in their capacity to make the reader or singer or listener understand and aspire to a higher consciousness, to make them feel blessed and  aspire for God-realisation. He was not a concert artiste, and he did not sing to please man- be he commoner or king. He sang to please God, and to express his own state of God-experience  in which he constantly dwelt. His music is great as art, but is greater as the vehicle  of expression of God-experience. For him music is the very body of God: nada tanum anisham, Sankaram; Sadhashiva maya magu Nada Onkaraswara, etc. 
 

Sri Tyagaraja was aware that his poetry was not due to his intelligence but a gift from God.

Manasa, mana samartyamemi, ‘O my mind, tell me what is our intelligence, what does it amount to’, asks Tyagaraja. And he acknowledges openly:

Bhukti mukti galgu nani kirtanamula bodhinchina…..( Dasarati, ni runamu- Todi)

It was Rama who taught him the excellent kirtanas, which confer both the happiness in this world and also liberation.That is the power and greatness of Tyagaraja Kirtanas, unmatched by any others. We have seen earlier how Tyagaraja gives the phalasruti for his Prahlada Bhakti Vijaya kirtanas. In a similar manner, he sings the phalasruti for his Nauka Charita kirtanas.

Tyagaraja krutaam punyam

Katham saadhu manoharaam

Ye srunvanti nara loke

Tesham Krishna: praseedati.

Lord Krishna will bless those who in this world listen to this sacred story which is written by Tyagaraja and which is dear to ( gladdens ) the heart of good souls. 

This is the power and grace of poetry blessed by Divine inspiration, and not arising due to mere human intelligence or genius. This is like a perennial river in which we all can bathe and be blessed! It is a balm to troubled minds.

tag- Tyagaraja -7

To be continued …………………………………

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