Importance of Bhakti- SRI TYAGARAJA-15 (Post No.8034)

WRITTEN BY R. NANJAPPA                        

Post No. 8034

Date uploaded in London – – – 24 May 2020   

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Importance of Bhakti- SRI TYAGARAJA-15

We have already seen that the ultimate or supreme teaching of the Gita is  unqualified surrender or ananya bhakti to Bhagavan. Pandits and philosophers make much of the distinction between the different paths but the Gita makes no such distinction. Bhagavan is there at the end of every path. But whereas other paths depend on other (external) means or aids, Bhakti depends on Bhagavan alone at every stage. This is the real significance of the way of devotion. Prahlada says in the Bhagavata:

Manye dhanaabhi jana rupa tapa: shrutauja-
   steja: prabhava bala paurusha buddhi yogaa:
Naaradhanaya hi bhavanti parasya pumso
   bhaktyaa tutosha Bhagavan gaja yuthapaya.
                                                       7-9-9

I think that wealth, good lineage,one’s rupam, tapas, learning, atma tejas, other kinds of excellence, strength, yoga- none of these has the capacity to make Bhagavan happy. But Bhagavan became happy with Gajendra only on account of his bhakti.


Even a jnani has to recognise Bhagavan.


Teshaam jnani nityayukta ekabhaktir visishyate

Priyohi janninoatyartham aham sa cha mama priya:
                                               Gita.7.17 

Among those, that jnani who is ever united with me with undiluted devotion- that bhakta exels. Because I am dear to the jnani who knows Me as I am; he is also dear to me.

(Note how Bhagavan qualifies Jnani here: as one devoted to Him!)


The yogi also has to think of Bhagavan.

Ananya chetaa: satatam yo maam

smarati nityasa:
Tasyaaham sulabha: Partha
nitya yuktasya yogina:             Gita 8.14

I am easily attainable by that steadfast yogi who ever remembers Me constantly and daily, with singlemindedness, O Partha

Mana: samyamya macchitto

Yukta aasita Mat para.              6.14


Mind ever controlled, and always thinking of  Me, let him sit in yoga, having Me as his supreme goal.

Earlier Bhagavan said the same words in respect of the Stitaprajna:

Taani sarvani samyamya

Yukta aasita Mat para               2.61

The steadfast, having controlled them all, sits focussed on Me as the Supreme.


Thus, whatever path is followed, it is Bhagavan who is reached at the end. Why then follow all the tortuous paths? Why not be a devotee straight away? 

This is what Sri Tyagaraja advocates.

Bhakti- the straight path


Bhakti rahita sastra vidhati dura    …..(Mamava Satatam)


He cannot be reached by those who have mastered the Sastras without Bhakti.

Valachi Bhakti margamu tonu   ……(Chalamelara)
With fondness, I am following the way of Bhakti.

Chitta mandu ninnunchi premato

jindunchu sad bhaktulanu
uttamottama       ……………(Raghunandana Rajamohana)



Those real bhaktas who always focus their minds on you and keep thinking of you with love- they are the best.


Yogamu neepai anuraagamu  …..(Ra ra Sita)


To be devoted to you- this is all my yoga.


Bhagavadagresarulaku Narada, Prahlada

Parashara, Ramadasulu
Baaguka Sri Raghuramuni padamula
Bhakti jesina reeti Tyagarajuniki ipudu

Kaligi yunte gada                  …….(Kaligiyunte gada)

To be able to worship you as the best of the Bhagavatas – Narada, Prahlada, Parashara, (Bhadrachala) Ramadas did- well,  Tyagaraja  can only get this state if he had done meritorious karma in previous births.

Sri Saketa Ramuni bhaktiyane

Chakkani raja margamulu

Devotion to Rama is the royal path.

Anuragamuleni manasuna

Sujnanamu raadu

Without deep bhakti, true wisdom will not arise.

Real devotees do not seek anything other than Bhakti.
Varalandu kommani  nayandu
Vanchana seyuda nyayama
Na manasunu bhaktine gori yuntaka

When my heart is yearning for your bhakti alone, is it proper for you to try to deceive me by asking me to seek  ( other ) boons from you?

Nee sadbhakti sagita sastra vihinulaku

Mokshamu galata bhuvilo?

Is liberation possible for those who lack true bhakti with knowledge of music?

Nee bhakti bhagya sudha-

nidhi needede janmamu
bhubharamu gani 

Those who have taken human birth but do not swim in the nectarine ocean of your devotion- they are just a burden on the earth!

Padavi nee sadbhaktiyu galgute


To be  having true bhakti to you- this is the greatest position one can get.

Chadivi Veda sastropanishattula

satta deliya lenidi padava

In spite of vast learning, not knowing the essence of Veda, Sastra, Upanishad- is this a position?

Tyagaraja is quite subtle here. He means that the essence of Veda, Sastra and Upanishad is devotion to Bhagavan. Compare:

Veda sastrani vijnanam
ye tat sarvam Janardanaat.    …Vishnu Sahasranamam.

Vedas, sastras like Itihasa Puranas, and the  spiritual knowledge based on experience- all these originated from Janardana.

Etulaina bhakti vacchutake

yatnamu seyave

By any kind of effort, strive to acquire devotion. ( He says further that  it is because the world is surrounded by maya, the body is like a bubble on the surface of water, and devotion to Bhagavan is the medicine for the disease of samsara.)


This reminds us of the celebrated sloka in the Gita:

Tameva saranam gachcha

Sarva bhaavena Bharata

Tat prasaadaat paraam shantim

Stanam prapsyasi shasvatam.          18.62

Take refuge in Him with all your heart, O Bharata! By his grace you shall attain supreme peace and the eternal abode.

Yo Maam evam asammoodho

Jaanaati purushottamam

Sa sarvavid bhajati Maam

Sarva bhaavena Bharata                 15.19

He who, free from delusion, thus knows Me, the Highest Spirit, he knowing all worships Me with all his heart, O Bharata!

Note: ‘Sarva bhavena’ can be rendered also as ‘By all means’, what Tyagaraja says ‘etulaina’.

Bhakti is its own reward

Bhakti biccha meeyave
bhavuga magu satvika…
Mukti kakhila saktiki tri

murtula kati melmi Rama

O Rama! Please grant me satvika bhakti, which confers auspiciousness.

That is even greater than Liberation, all the saktis and even the Trimurtis.

Idho bhagyamu gaaka

yemi yunnadira Rama

Sada nee pada pankajamulanu

sammata muga sevinchuvaari 

O Rama! For those who always worship your lotus feet willingly, this is the greatest pleasure, and nothing else.



Sundara Dasaratha nandana hrudayaara

Vindamuna ninnunchi tane brahma-


nanda manubhavinchi adiyugaka
Indudharu moda landarini sura
brunda bhusura brundamula ta-
nendu kani  yaananda muna nee-
yandu bhavane jendu chundu vari ki… idho

O the handsome one! Dasaratha’s son! For those who keep you always in their hearts and derive brahmananda, and wherever they see Lord Shiva wearing the moon,  all the devas, noble Brahmins, treat them all as Yourself- for such people, what other pleasure is needed?

Valachi namminavaani valalona daguludu
ila bhakti sagara meeda jetunani
talaposi balkitive

You told me that you will fall in the net of true devotees who depend on you, that you will make me swim in the ocean of bhakti- you told me this after much deliberation!

Fall in the net of true devotees: as Manickavachaka says: பக்தி வலையில் படுவோன் காண்க

Nee namamu che namati nirmala mainati
(jnana mosagarada)

Through your nama samkirtana, my mind has become pure.

Apparama bhakti yento goppara maa-

trippatalanu nilpi kanti
reppavalenu gaachuna

O my Father! Rama bhakti is so great! It will stop the thought waves of the mind and protect us like the eyelids protect the eyes!

Tyagaraja then enumerates the deeds of others done due to Rama bhakti-

Lakshmidevi valachuna

Lakshmanundu goluchuna

Sukshma bhddhi gala Bharatudu

Joochi joochi solasuna maa

Shabari yengi lichuna

Chandra dharudu mechchuna 

Abhala Swamprabhaku  daiva

machala padavi  nichchuna maa

Kapi vaari dhaatuna

Kaliki rota gattunaa

Aparadhi Tyagraju

Kaanandamu  hechchunaa maa

Appa Ramabhakti….


Unless the name is great

Will Lakshi undertake penance to attain Bhagavan?

Will Lakshmana serve so faithfully?
Will Bharata, endowed with sharp intelligence, get infatuated ?
Will Sabhari dare to offer the remnant of what she had tasted?
Will Lord Shiva celebrate?
Will God grant the fixed position to Swayamprabha?
Can monkeys cross the ocean?
Could Yashoda have tied (Krishna)?

That this Tyagaraja , a big sinner, got so much bliss is itself evidence of the greatness of  Ramabhakti!

Tyagaraja Kritis for Parayana!

Tyagaraja kritis are full of such gems throughout. Unfortunately, in the ‘katcheri’ culture, not many are sung, and no song is rendered in full ( except the nominal Pancharatnas). But we can  study the kirtanas with profit, as sahitya. In fact, we can do parayana: like the Bhagavata, it is full of the stories of devotees and the leelas of Bhagavan. Tyagaraja Swami himself has said they confer bhukti and mukti!

Vande Guruvaram Sri Tyagarajam!

Vande Sadgurum Sri Tyaga Brahmam!

To be continued ………………………….

tags — SRI TYAGARAJA-15, bhakti

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