Sri Tyagaraja- Part 21, Where to find God (Post No.8072)

WRITTEN BY R. NANJAPPA                        

Post No. 8072

Date uploaded in London – – – 30 May 2020   

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Sri Tyagaraja- Part 21, Where to find God

God in the high heaven!

There is lot of interesting debate in religious circles about the abode of God! People instinctively look up sky-wards when they talk or even think of God- this is a universal trend! “Our Father, Who art in Heaven”, starts the Lord’s Prayer taught by Christ. “God is in his heaven and all is right with the world”, declares Browning with all his optimistic conviction. Our own celebrated celluloid poet Sahir Ludhianvi will not agree fully, though- he says ” Aasman pe hai Khuda” but these days He does not look too much at us- “aajkal wo istaraf dekhta hai kum”! The one above- ‘uperwalla’ is a popular epithet used by common folk all over India!

Popular Indian religious cults have their own ideas. While their conception of heaven -Swarga- is different from the Christian conception, they talk of distinct abodes of the different Devas and even of the Trinity- Kailasa for Shiva, Vaikunta for Vishnu, and Brahmaloka for Brahma. Staunch devotees of Krishna  like ISKCON conceive of a “Goloka”. But ultimately, all these notions are understood to be rather immature, if not childish. None of these ‘worlds’ is permanent. Sri Bhagavan declares in the Gita:

Aabrahma bhuvanaallokaa:


Maamupetya tu Kaunteya

Punar janma na vidhyate.           8.16

O Arjuna! All the worlds including the realm of Brahma are subject to return ( ie endless cycles of appearance and dissolution) But, O son of Kunti, after attaining Me, there is no rebirth.

God- not limited by anything: Gita

It is clear that God is not confined or limited or identified with any one place. He is Antaryami, there is no place where God is not. Everything in the universe is pervaded by God, though He is not limited by or confined to anything. Isavasyam idam sarvam- declares the Upanishad. Vasudevasarvamiti- declares the Gita. The position is clearly explained in the Gita.

Maya tatamidam sarvam

Jagadavyakta murtinaa

Matstani sarva bhutani

Na chaham teshvavasthita:           .9.4

Though I am Unmanifested, the whole world is pervaded by Me. All beings exist in Me, but I am not confined to any of them.( ie He is not contained in them as in a receptacle.)

Ahamatma Gudakesha


Aham adischa madhyam cha

Bhutanam anta eva cha.                10.20

O Gudakesa! I am the Self existent in the heart of all beings. I am the beginning, the middle and end of all beings.

Tambura used by saint Thyagaraja

Bhumirapo analo vaayu:

Kham mano buddhireva cha

Ahankara itiyam me 

Bhinna prakrutir ashtadha               7.4

Earth, water, fire, air, Akasha, mind, intellect and ego- thus is my prakriti divided eight fold.


Prakritim viddhi me paraam

Jeevabhutam mahabaho

Yayedam dhaaryate jagat                  7.5

This is the lower prakriti. But O mighty armed, know that My higher prakriti is different from it- it is the principle of selfconsciousness by which this universe is sustained.

Matta: parataram nanyat

Kinchidasti dhananjaya

Mayi sarvamidam protam

Sutre manigana iva                          7.7

O Dhananjaya! Beyond Me, there is nothing. All this is strung in Me, as a row of jewels on a thread. ( It can even be said that the ‘mani’ meant here is also of the same substance as the thread, as there can in fact be nothing that has not come from God- the Only One Truth.)

Finally, Bhagavan declares:

Ishvara:sarva bhutanaam

Hrud deshe Arjuna tishtati          18.61

Arjuna! The Lord dwells in the hearts of all beings!

Sacred World

It is necessary to reflect on these ideas deeply. The universe is indeed a reflection or emanation from Brahman or God, but nothing manifested can fully reflect Him, contain Him or exhaust Him! Those Western crooks and their Indian followers who equate our religion with a simple pantheism should understand this clearly. The world has emanated from God but has not limited, confined or exhausted Him. The whole universe cannot equal God!

However, human nature seeks to invest certain places or things with especial sacredness. This is seen  even among people who claim not to believe in images, idols, etc. A cross, a crescent, a church building or tower, a mosque, even the colour green assume importance and excites passion, hatred, strife and violence. Equally, every religion holds some places to be distinctly sacred. Jerusalem is the seat of the faith as well as  conflict among the three Abrahamic religions! They have  other sacred places and objects. 

Hindus are extraordinary in this respect. Right from a piece of stone or a tree or shrub in a remote village, perhaps every inch of the land from Kanyakumari to the Himalayas is covered by sacredness. Every animal, bird, flower, tree, plant etc is considered sacred by somebody somewhere! This can at times result in absurd or amusing situations. For instance, people may feed snakes with milk on certain days, while a starving neighbour or hungry child may go unnoticed!  Cow is considered sacred, but is allowed to roam the streets and feed on refuse. The peacock is associated with many Deities, and is even declared the national bird but is freely captured and butchered!

People associate holiness with certain places. And may be, such mass feeling itself may generate certain occult power or phenomena! The cow gives milk, but we have to get it from the udder, not the horn or tail. Likewise, may be somethings are innately sacred, though nothing can fully reflect or exhaust the greatness of God!

God: Within and Everywhere!

The great jnanis always teach us that we have to seek God within us- in our Self or consciousness. Tirumular, the Tamil mystic puts it succinctly:

O idiots, who search for God in the high heavens! Is the sweetness of honey black or red? Just as the sweetness is invisibly integrated in honey, God is  also inherent in  the human body.

தேனுக்குள் இன்பம் கருப்போ சிவப்போ
வானுக்குள் ஈசனைத் தேடும் மதியிலீர்
தேனுக்குள் இன்பம் செறிந்திருந்தார்போல்
ஊனுக்குள் ஈசன் ஒளிந்திருந்தானே. 

Saint Appar says: What is the point in taking ceremonial bath in Cauvery or Ganges or in the foaming ocean in the south? What is gained by one who does not realise that God pervades everywhere?.

கங்கை ஆடிலென் காவிரி யாடிலென்
கொங்கு தண் குமரித்துறை யாடிலென்
ஓங்குமாகடல் ஓத நீராடிலென்
எங்கும் ஈசன் எனாதவர்க் கில்லையே

Sri Tyagaraja gives varied expression to all these ideas, fully reflecting the position of the Gita.

Mauni hrud gehe       (Nee daya ravale )

(God ) resides in the heart of Munis.

Veesa suhruday nivesa      (Dasarathe)

The one who resides in the pure heart of the Jnanis (Kavi)

Nata manava manasa satsadane   (Sri Jnanaka tanaye)

He resides in the heart of those who take refuge in Him.

Sakala bhutamulayandu neevai    (Dudukugala)

You are present in everything.

Sarvantaryami neevane samrajyamu

You are pervading everything- this is your empire!

Charachara roopa      (Marugelara)

Everything in this universe is your form!

Characharamula vasiyinche    (paraku neekela)

You pervade every moving and non-moving thing in this universe.

Muni hrudaya kara    (Inta tamasa)

The one residing in the heart of Munis.

Onkara sadana        (Mundu venuga)

Having Onkara (Pranava) as his residence

Nigama agama chara      (Kula birudu)

Moving among the Veda, sastras

Agamanta chara

Bhagavatantaranga chara

Vedanta vedhya                   (Rama samayamu)

Moving among the Vedas

Residing in the hearts of devotees

The one to be known through Vedanta

Samadi Vedasaara

Sujana hrud panjara keera       (Rama ninne)

The essence of Sama and other Vedas

The parrot captured in the cage that is the heart of pure devotees.

Stavara jangama roopa         (Raghuveera)

Having the moving and non-moving things as his form.

Undedi Ramudu okadu

Ooraka chedi pogu manasa 

Rama fills the whole world as the sarvavyapi, o mind!

Don’t go astray (entertaining other ideas)

Chanda martanda madhya

mandalamu nanu chelangusu       (Undedi)

He shines at the centre of the surya mandala with its resplendent brightness

(This recalls to mind the Vedic  words : Dhyeyas sada savirtumandala madhyavarti Narayana sarasijasana sannivishta:)

Dharalo neevai                (Enduku nirdaya)

The whole world is of your essence

Bhuvanamella neevai        (Brovabharama)

You are pervading the whole bhuvanas

Anda kotla kukshini unchuko leda

Have you not confined the extended universe within your stomach?

Akhilandakoti brahmanda nathudu

Andarangamula nela koniyundaka

(ika kavala)

The Lord of this extensive universe is stationed in your heart!

Bhakta samaja   (Raghupate)

Living amidst devotees

(Recall Christ’s words- where two or three people gather in my name, I am present there- Matthew: 18.20)

Valachi namminavani valalona daguludu   (Nadadi)

The one who is captured in the net of devotion of those who rely on Him exclusively.

(Saint Manikkavachaka has these exact words: See, He falls into the net of devotion of his bhaktas!)

Nee japamulavela nee jagamulu neevai rajillu naya

(inta kannananda)

When I am engaged in your japa, the whole world appears to be your form!

Here, Tyagaraja reveals the real secret of finding God: it depends on our ripeness or fitness, our sincerity and seriousness. Where is He not? We have to grow fit into that realisation! As our scriptures say:

Drishtim jnanamyim krutva, pasyeth brhamamayam jagat! 

ie if we grow in true Wisdom, we perceive the very world to be of the essence or form of God!

Yo mam pasyati sarvatra sarvam mayi pasyati
Tasyaaham na pranasyami sa cha me na pranasyati
                                         Gita 6.30

He who sees Me in all things and sees all things in Me- he never becomes separated from Me, nor do I become separated from him ( that is, such a one never loses My consciousness)

Sarvabhutastitam  yo Mam 

Sa yogi mayi vartate            6.31

He who being established in the consciousness of unity worships Me, who am dwelling in all beings- that yogi abides in Me, whatever be the mode of his life

Paramatma Everywhere!       

This is the great thought which Sri Tyagaraja leaves with us in a beautiful kriti.

Paramatmudu velige muchchata

baaga telusukore

Hariyata harudata suralata narulata

Akhilanda kotulata andarilo

Gagananila tejo jala bhu maya magu

mruga khaga naga taru kotulalo

Sagunamulalo vigunamulalo satatamu

sadhu Tyagarajadi yasritulalo….paramatmudu.

Understand  well the beauty of how Paramatma registers his presence in everything!

He is at times called Hari, Hara, Deva, Man. He is taken to be the Universe, too.

He manifests Himself in the sky, air, fire, water, earth, in animals, birds,mountains, trees, etc. His manifestation is also perceived in living and non-living things! He also manifests in those noble souls who like Tyagaraja have taken refuge with the Lord!

Realise thus the beauty of the Lord’s manifestation!

This is a gem among the kritis of Tyagaraja. A deep Saguna upasaka, how well has he captured the universal spirit! Prof. P. Sambamoorthi has said that this was the kriti Tyagaraja Swami wrote on the last day of his earthly life! What a grand finale to a life of dedicated devotion! This is the very essence of chapters 10 and 11 of the Gita! We feel really blessed to go through this fine kriti. Our repeated salutes to Sri Tyagaraja!

May his spirit triumph! Victory to  Sadguru Tyagaraja!

To be continued…………………………

tag – Sri Tyagaraja-21

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