GLORY OF  NARADA — SADGURU SRI TYAGARAJA-3 (Post No. WRITTEN BY R. NANJAPPA                          

Post No.7963   Date uploaded in London – – – 12 May 2020    Contact – Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge; this is a non- commercial blog. Thanks for your great pictures.    

 SADGURU SRI TYAGARAJA-3                                       
R. Nanjappa

          The Glory of Narada

Since we are talking about ‘sadguru’, it is necessary to have a clear idea about what we mean by ‘guru’. In popular usage this term is applied to many – right from a school teacher to one who teaches a vidya like music, or imparts a mantra, gives diksha in a tradition, etc. A religious guru is one who ‘initiates’ a person in a particular path or parampara. Different traditions trace their origin from different sources. Smartas speak of :
 Sadashiva samarambham Sankarachrya madhyamam  Asmad acharya paryantam vande guru paramparam. They also speak of Dakshinamurti as AdiGuru. Smartas recite this Slokam  also:

Dakshinamurti  teaches in silence- gurostu maunam vyakyanam. Krishna is the speaking guru-who taught us the Gita. Arjuna calls Krishna ” Gurur Gariyan”- the great guru in the Gita. In our religious lore there are many interesting debates about guru- whether he should be in a human form, whether there should be a living guru, etc. In the Upanishad, we have an instance where a student claims that he was taught ‘by others than men’. In the Bhagavatam we have the story of Dattatreya who had 24 gurus, including python and vulture.

In spiritual life, the role of the guru is not simply to instruct  or impart a vidya or technique. It is not just to inform, but to transform. This does not come about by any amount of instruction but by the transmission of an energy which sparks off the divine element in the disciple and launches him on the sadhana or genuine spiritual quest. This can be done only if the guru himself has that energy. The guru should know the Truth by experience to be able to make the disciple understand. That is why in the Gita Bhagavan says:

Tadviddhipranipatenapariprasnena sevaya
Upadekshyantitejnanamjnanina:tatvadasina:  4.34

Know that, by prostrating yourself, by questions and by service; the wise , those who have realised the Truth will teach you.

So here Bhagavan lays down the qualification for the true guru: he must have realised the Truth, ie Brahman. Mere theoretical knowledge, or expertise in mantra/tantra does not make one a spiritual guru. (Shirdi Sai Baba has explained this sloka in a unique manner. Please see Sai Sat Charita by Hemadpant.)   Most Hindus are born in some tradition  and they have a paramparic guru in religious matters. We see this subject mentioned in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna often. But this tradition has largely disappeared in modern conditions. But even such paramparic Gurus do not qualify as spiritual gurs in all cases.  

Anna Subrahmanya Iyer says in his translation of Sundara Kandam that those who have no guru may take Hanuman as the guru. He is “Jnaninam agraganyam”- the first among Jnanis, besides being the greatest bhakta! It is agreed by all authorities that Guru is indispensable for spiritual life.He alone is the true guru who has realised the Truth. This is beautifully explained by Samartha Ramadas in his ” Dasa Bodham”. The gist of it is: “The external world ie  the things apprehended by the senses and mind become the object of mental perception. But Atma is the real knower, is the object of true knowledge and finally It alone remains As It Is. This is the state of one who has realised the Truth. Only this much can be indicated in words. This is something which can only be experienced, and not explained in words. The experienced guru imparts this understanding to the fit disciple. It is the  guru’s experience which is reflected in the disciple’s heart.This cannot be gained in any other manner.”

              From: Swaminatha Atreyan: Sri Samartha Ramadas Chartam                                                                                    (Tamil)  p.329-330.                                                 

Tyagaraja  belongs to Telugu Smarta tradition. His father was a learned and devout man, given to panchayatana puja. He had taken formal upadesa in Rama Taraka Mantra  and acquired expertise in expounding Ramayana. Tyagaraja grew up in this atmosphere and had imbibed a lot of religious lore through shruti ( as happened in the case of Sri Ramakrishna), besides breathing the very spiritual atmosphere that prevailed. He was also taught by his father both Sanskrit and Telugu. Later, he joined Raja Veda Pathasala for formal religious studies. He also learned music formally  from a well-known teacher and was initiated in Rama Shadakshari Mantra by an intinerant Sadhu. He acquired some rare music manuscripts kept by his maternal grandfather, one of them being authored by Narada. He could not understand it , but fortunately met the Sadhu again, who initiated him in Narada mantra. As a result of the intense japa, he had a vision of Narada and got further guidance and enlightenment from him. It is necessary to know these details to understand how essential it is to have a proper guru even for worldly knowledge, and how the extraordinary achievements of Tyagaraja are due to the blessings of a Divine guru like Narada. Tyagaraja himself sings:  NARADAGURUSAMI  (Durbar)

NaradaGurusamiikanaina nannu
Aadarimpavemiea karavemi.

Saregusangitayoga naigama
Paarangatudainaparama pavana

Itihasapuranagama charitamu
levarivalla kalige
Patinidanamiyyabuddhi Satyabhamaku
etula kalige

Dyutijitacharadabhraninuvina muni
yatulakevaru salige
KsitiniTyaarajavinuta nammiti
chintadirchiPrahladunibrochina….Narada gurusami..

OSriNaradaguruswami(whoimparts wisdom)
Canyounotblessmeatleast now?
Whyistheresuchscarcityofyour blessings?

OSacredMurti!WhohasmasteredSangita, Yogasastra, Veda-Vedanga etc

1. Who else other than you could have shed light on Itihasa, Purana, Veda, the Holy histories, and spread theirglory ?
2. Who else could have granted Satyabhama such fitness of mind as to give up her own husband in dana?
3. O  one with an effulgent body shining like the clear  clouds in the  sharad ritu!

Who other than you is the refuge for Munis and yatis? 4. In this world I rely entirely on you. O Narada Guruswami! You saved Prahlada and destroyed his worries! Here, Tyagaraja qualifies Narada on three counts: he is the master of Sangitahe is the master of Yogahe is the master of Nigama ie Veda-Vedanta We do not come across any other figure in our tradition combining all these three! So, we can hold Narada as the initiator of a new spiritual tradition!   When we study the sahitya of Sri Tyagaraja, we realise with wonder that his work is full of all that he has stated here: it draws fully on Itihasa-Purana, is soaked in the spirit of Veda-Vedanta and advocates Yoga ( at least Bhakti-Jnana and Nada yoga!) He has topped his list with the mention of Prahlada. And he himself wrote a full musical drama on the subject: Prahlada Bhakti Vijayam! Prahlada was fortunate to listen to the spiritual instruction of Narada even before he was born, though he was born in an asura family. And in our tradition, he is mentioned first at the head of all bhaktas: Prahlada Narada Parashara Pundalika Vyasambarisha Sukha Saunaka Bhishma dalpyan Rukmangadarjuna Vasishtha Vibhishanadin Punyaniman parama Bhagavatan smarami.   Tyagaraja Swami is fully aware of the importance of the subject. So, he sings again a kriti on Narada  in this Vijayam.  

Narada muni vedalina suguna- adisayamu vinare   Saareku Srihari pada saramula dhyaninchuchu Narayana namamulanu bharayana monarinchuchu   Bheda bheda rahitamagu Vedanta rasa bharituda Ahladamu meeraga  Prahladunaku subhamu delupanu….Narada muni…   Oh! listen to the wonder of how Narada Muni came visiting! Listen to the wonder of how he comes, thinking incessantly of Srihari, and singing always the praises of Narayana! Narada, who is always immersed  in the Vedanta rasa, which transcends all differences and non-differences ( ie is Jnana), who is full of joy, comes to tell auspicious words to Prahlada!   Tyagaraja  has added a ‘phalasruti’ to this part. He states there:   Sri Ramabrahma tanaya Tyagarajena nirmitam Prahlada bhakti vijaya prabhandam bhukti muktidam Ye gayanti sada bhktyaye srunvanti cha sraddhaya Ye patanti sada preetya teshaam sarvaga nasanam.   This prabhanda, Prahlada Bhakti Vijayam, written by Tyagaraja son of Ramabrahmam, can confer both happiness in this world, and Liberation hereafter.

Those who sing this with devotion,listen to it with sraddha, and read it eagerly- all their sins will be destroyed.   Sri Tyagaraja thus reveals his devotion to Narada, who is his guru. He portrays Narada as both a Jnani and Bhakta- his thinking of Hari and singing of Narayana indicates his status as a bhakta-bhagavata; his mastering the Vedanta rasa indicates the heights of jnana he has attained. Can there be a better guru? And can there be doubt that Tyagaraja who himself combines Jnana, bhakti and Yoga is a Sadguru? Is he not Narada reincarnated? Let us fall at his feet.                                                      ***