People do not have the knowledge, O Rama, of the path of devotion. They wander all over the world babbling but they do not have the knowledge of devotion. They get up early, take a dip in the water, smear themselves with sacred ash, count their prayer beads with their fingers, outwardly very praiseworthy! Inwardly they are dedicated to making money. But..they do not have the knowledge of the path of devotion.
It is Deepavali day and we are at the temple. My son’s statement is not a surprise; I am aware of his thoughts. Yet..
‘It makes me so sad’ I say.
Generally speaking, my tendency is to say ‘each to his own’. I feel very unqualified to judge people for the choices they make. Who is to know what is right? Yet in this case, it feels different. I see this as a my failure. As a mother, I should have made a better effort to teach him of a belief system which has given me much succour over my lifetime. I say as much to him.
‘Are you so sure of being right then? What if you are wrong?’ he asks.
I acknowledge that it is not really possible to prove the existence of God. At some stage, one has to take a leap of faith. Yet there is this feeling… I think it is like music appreciation. There is all this wonderful music, soul touching music, our world of Carnatic Music. Thousands pass by its path, unaware, untouched. Even amongst those who listen with great interest, only rarely does the music ‘speak’ in such a way that one’s soul merges with the music. The transmission may be there, but if one doesn’t have a receiver, one hears nothing! For music and for devotion, one needs a receiver within oneself, or so I think.
‘teliyalEru rama bhakti mArgamunu’ I tell myself as the title of the song comes to mind. I search for a translation to see that Tyagaraja speaks of something a bit different – not about the lack of faith, but about putting on a grand but false show of faith. Tyagaraja seems saddened. ‘They can never know, O Rama, the true path of Bhakti’ he says. ‘They get up early, take a dip in water, smear themselves with ash, count their prayers on their fingers, but all a grand show for appearances’ says he. It seems far worse than a honestly stated atheism, doesn’t it? For full lyrics and translation, see footnote. The song is set to raga Dhenuka; to know more about this raga, click here.
I have been in the mood of yesteryear greats as last week’s post demonstrates. I have listened to many renditions these past few days but keep going back to the one by Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer which I present below. Sound quality is not very good but the music is exceptional.
Alternate Link : Click here and download song 3 (need free membership of Sangeethapriya.org)
For an instrumental version, here is a elaborated rendition of this song. I found it very interesting as elaborations of this raga are rare. Again sound quality is below par but definitely worthy of your attention.
Alternate Link : Click here and download song 2 (need free membership of Sangeethapriya.org)
Footnote (Lyrics) :
I do not speak Telugu. I am indebted to various internet resources for the lyrics and translation below.
Transliteration in Devanagri
तॆलिय लेरु राम भक्ति मार्गमुनु
कलुवरिञ्चेरे कानि (alternate: कलुवरिञ्चुत ?)
वेग लेचि नीट मुनिगि भूति पूसि
वेळ्ळनॆञ्चि वॆलिकि श्लाघनीयुलै
बाग पैकमार्जन लोलुलै
रे कानि त्यागराज विनुत
Transliteration in English
(note: k and g seemed to be used interchangeably in most sites I referenced)
teliya lEru rAma bhakti mArgamunu
kaluvarinchErE kAni (alt:kaluvarinchuta)
vEga lEchi nITa munigi bhUti pUsi
vELLanenchi veliki shlAghanIyulai
bAga paikamArjana lOlulai
rE kAni tyAgarAja vinuta
People do not have the knowledge, O Rama, of the path of devotion.
People wander all over the earth babbling, but (they do not have the knowledge….)
People get up early, take a dip in the water, smear sacred ash, count the prayer beads (implied) with their fingers, outwardly being praiseworthy. Inwardly (implied) they are dedicated to earning money. But, O Lord praised by Tyagaraja, (they do not have the knowledge of the path of devotion).