SRI TYAGARAJA-32, Dealing with the World (Post No.8149)

WRITTEN BY R. NANJAPPA                        

Post No. 8149

Date uploaded in London – – – 11 June 2020   

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SRI TYAGARAJA-32,    Dealing with the World

World experienced in different ways

 As   Sadguru, Tyagaraja is not interested in theories or merely cursing  the darkness. He lights a candle and shows the way.

People experience the world in varied ways. This is because each one comes with his unique load of karma, and set of vasanas acquired through many births.  The world offers each one appropriate experiences- usually as a mixture of pain and pleasure, success and failure, fulfilment and frustration,etc. No matter whether one is rich or poor, educated or uneducated, urban or rural, in a primitive or highly advanced society, these are the ways life is experienced by every one.

Transience of the world

 Behind this , and common to all, there is only one fact- the fact of birth and death. What we call life is like a river between these two banks. It is said that we do  not step into the same river twice- for water keeps flowing out, and it is not into the same water that we step into every time! Life too is like that- each day looks like another , but one  after another the seconds, minutes, hours, days roll away, snatching away our life in tiny installments. We are not even aware. Sankara sang:

Dinaya minyau sayam prata:
Sisira vasantau punaraayata:
Kala: kreedati gachchat aayu:
Day and night, evening and morning, winter and spring keep coming. Time thus plays with us. Life is vanishing.
Dana jana yauvan- 

Harti nimeshaat kaalas sarvam.
Wealth, retinue, youth- Time snatches away everything as if in a trice.

It does not take a philosopher like Sankara to point out these basic facts. Sometimes, even our celluloid poets hit on this truth, and bring it out in their own effective and popular way:

Subah aati hai, sham jaati hai
Subah aati hai, sham jaati hai, yuhin
Waqt chaltahi rehtahai rukhta nahin
Ek phal mein ye aage nikal jaata hai
Aadmi theek se dekh paate nahin
Aur parde pe manzar badal jaate hain
Ek baar chale jaate hain jo din-raat,subah-sham
Woh phir nahi aate, woh phir nahi aate

Zindagi ke safar mein guzar jaata hai jo makam
Woh phir nahi aate, woh phir nahin aate.
  ( Anand Bakshi)

Morning comes, evening fades away

Morning comes, evening fades away
Time keeps moving, doesn’t ever stop
In a second time moves forward
Man is not able to perceive things correctly
This veil- it changes one’s vision
The day-night, the morning-evening
      that once goes away
It never comes back, it never comes back. 

Life is a journey. On it, whatever destination is once passed by- it never comes back, it never comes back.

Let us not dismiss this as a mere film song, but ponder on the facts stated- and enjoy the way it has been conveyed in superb poetry. Life passes by in seconds, we are not even aware. Generally,we never stop to introspect unless we face a problem or reverse; even then we do not examine the quality of our life(style), but blame other things and only seek  relief,remedies and instant solutions. Often we find that we get into problems with the best of intentions and decisions, as Louise Hay pointed out. Children get out of control; even the CEO is not able to force his way; health fails; investments lose value. We do not realise these are universal- happened to everyone, everywhere, at all times- for this is the nature of the world. The old Latin saying had it: Sic transit gloria mundi: thus passes away the glory of the world. Thomas Gray wrote in his elegy: “Paths of glory lead but to the grave”. These are not words of useless people in sour-grape situations, but reflections of thoughtful people in very sober, enlightened moments. Which empire has lasted for ever? Which dynasty has lasted really long and stuck to its old roots? Rama was the very embodiment of Dharma, but descendants of his dynasty are supposed to have fought on the side of Kauravas in the Mahabharata war! Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor was imprisoned at Mandalay and bemoaned:

Umr-e daraaz se maang ke laye char din

Do arzoo mein gaye, do intezar mein

Hai kitna badnasib Zafar dafn ke liye

Do gaz zamin bhi na mili koo-e-yaar mein.

I had requested for a long life of four days.

Two passed by in pining, two in waiting.

How unlucky is Zafar! for burial

Even two yards of land were not to be had

In the land of his beloved.

Thus ended the great Mughal empire. Vijaynagar and Mahratta rules, glorious for a time, also faded away .  Time plays with and snatches away everything. So, Sankara said: Ma kuru dana jana yauvana karvam: don’t get puffed up about wealth, retinue, youth.

Two weapons: Viveka & Vairagya

All this is not to make us depressed, but realistic. Nothing is permanent here. Everything is like a shadow or puppet show or dream. It is the job of the Sages and Saints to remind us of this fact at all times.

Sri Ramakrishna used to talk of smearing the hands with oil before cutting the jack fruit. Likewise, to deal with the world, we have to adopt two essentials: viveka and vairagya- discrimination and detachment. The first is to realise the distinction between the permanent and the impermanent, the real and the unreal; the second is to stop getting attached to the impermanent.

World is Real!

Care: True  Vedantins hold the world to be ‘unreal’ only in the very technical sense that it is not permanent. They do not mean that it does not exist. Unfortunately the word maya has been used indiscriminately, senselessly and translated atrociously as illusion. This has resulted in many people treating the world as if it did not exist and matter, leading to an all-round deterioration in the quality of life and society. 

Just imagine what would happen if all honest people shunned trade and commerce or even politics, thinking that there is lot of dishonesty and corruption there. Then, they will all become the exclusive preserve of totally dishonest people- as politics has already become. On the other hand, is there any field in the modern day which is totally free of dishonesty and corruption- be it judiciary, medical profession, education, police, even religious institutions and temple administration? 

Likewise, if good people think the world is illusion and behave as  if it is evil or did not matter, the whole society would suffer. This is how India fell,from the days of Buddha, treating the world as maya! This is not the meaning of viveka and vairagya. It is to exercise an element of caution in dealing with things of the world, not to deny them.

Tyagaraja’s position

Sri Tyagaraja advocates viveka and vairagya. There is something in life we cannot fathom, cannot control. We have to accept and reconcile.

Raanidi raadu surasurulakaina
Ponidhi podu bhusurulakaina

Devendruniki sudehamu purva

Devulla kamruta mabhaavame gaani
Aa vanachara baadhalaa munulake gaani…Sri Rama

O Rama!

Even for the Devas and Asuras, what is not to come will never come. Even for the Brahmins, what is not to go will not go.
Devendra will never get back his (old) good body. The Asuras will never get back the Amruta (which they once missed).

The Rishis/Munis living in the forests will never be free of the troubles from the Rakshasas.

This should make us ponder. Things did change as the puranas describe, but the old position was not totally restored.. Rama came and cleared the Dandaka forest of the menace of the rakshasas, but the rakshasas were not totally annihilated.  Those doing tapas or penance in its modern variants still face obstruction! Certain features of the world are just part of the world- the way it is. No wonder it is called ‘misra lokam’- the mixed place.

Prapanchamuna gala sukhamu
manchuvale nanuchu mati 
nenchitini            (Nadupai)

I thought that all the pleasures of the world are like the dew(will clear away soon, ie not permanent)

The transience of wealth, youth, the body- this is the most basic theme in all serious Hindu religious instruction .Tyagaraja deals with it in an exclusive kriti.
Enduko baaga teliyadu
Andagaada Sri Rama eetanu-

vasthiramani ee kali maanavula…enduko

Sri Rama! How is it that these people of the Kali Age do not know for certain that this body is not permanent?

Gattiga raallanu gattina gruhamula
mattu mitamu lenatti parijanulu
chuttukonta  nija chuttaala korula
pattula katidulaku

Bettaleka tama potta saaku
konnatti dehamula rattu sanchulanu
gattina danamula pettela todanu
betti poyye mattu kanungoni      enduko

They build strong houses with stone and keep countless servants  and are surrounded by a large number of relatives and guests; (but) they do not like to feed them all well, but only fill their bellies well; they fill double bags with money  and fill them in boxes. But they leave all this here when they die. Our people see all this but still they do not realise that the body is transient. Alas!

Kallalaadi kadupu pallamu nimputa

Kallalaadi kadupu pallamu nimputa
kellavaari dhanamella jerchukoni
pallavadharula nella gani sunaka
pillalavale dirigi
Olla rogamulu lollaga dagala
tolli paikamulu mella jaara janu-
lella doora baramella baara bhuvi
mallu butti phamella ganungoni ……Enduko

Just to fill the pit that is their belly, they resort to lies and take away others’  money; they follow behind young women, like dogs; they are troubled by many an illness and the accumulated money disappears slowly; people speak ill of them; possibility of better worlds hereafter fully gone, they die and are reborn again. Our people know all this, but still they do not realise that the body is not permanent. Alas!

Vanchakula anusarinchina yalamata
inchukaina sairinchaleka tama
sanchita karmamulanchu delisi
verenchuvaarala joochi
Manchuvale pratipalinchu sampata
lanchu gorakanu manchi Tyagaraju
anchitamuga bhujinchinutinchu
prapanchanaduni bhajinchuda manuchu….enduko

People associate themselves with cheats, bring troubles upon themselves and are unable to bear them; why do they not realise that it is all due to their accumulated old karma- as wise people do?

Why (still) they do not learn to worship the Lord of the Universe, whom Tyagaraja adores, giving up desires for material possessions, treating them like dew, which is impermanent?

Once we realise that the world is transient, (Viveka) our scale of values will change. We will focus on the real/permanent aspects (vairagya).

With viveka and vairagya, devotion to God is the way to cross the ocean of samsara. This is the firm message of Tyagaraja, the Sadguru.. He does not hide behind fancy theories or subtleties of philosophy. Leave them to the idlers.

To be continued………………………….

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