There are so many great ones! My salutations to them all ! To all those who experience the eternal bliss of seeing Him whose complexion is like the moon in the lotus of their hearts, salutations! To all the best amongst the blessed, whose hearts have become beautiful by being immersed in the singing of Sama Veda, salutations!
Humility : ‘the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance’. So says the dictionary.
I admit, I really struggled with this concept in my youth. ‘Why is it considered good?’ I would wonder. When we think less of others, it is belittling them – a decidedly negative thing. Why does it become noble just because it is applied to oneself? My argument was that humility presupposes the existence of a superior quality. A person with no good qualities cannot be called humble. Then, if a person is unaware or downplaying this superior quality, they have either insufficient self-appraisal and self-valuation skills or they are pretending. Ergo, there is nothing admirable in humility!
It is only with maturity that I understood that humility is the only possible result of a true and rational appraisal of one’s qualities, of gaining perspective of one’s true place in the time and space continuum of the universe.
As an example, I can confidently say that I draw well; if you took a random sample, I might well fall within the top 10% for drawing skills. Humility is not being unaware of this quality or about pretending to be less than one is. It is in understanding that the distribution of skills is a bell curve; the top 0.1% is so sparsely populated that to get from being in the 90th percentile to the 99.9th percentile is improving my skills not by 9.9% but by an unquantifiable large ratio. It is also understanding that my skills as they stand are the result of influence from many artists before me, from cave painters to modern masters. It is to be grateful to the genes passed on to me. It is to be grateful to my mother and my teachers who encouraged me. It is to do with so many factors outside myself that humble is the only way to be! In fact I feel rather embarrassed even mentioning my drawing skills but I do want to illustrate my change of mind about the concept of humility so I will leave it in.
And so I come to my song choice of today which clearly demonstrates the humility of the great saint-poet-composer Tyagaraja, who is, I can say without hesitation, one of the most important figures in the musical history of India. Last week I listened to the music from the 167th Tyagaraja Aradhana and today I commemorate this event with this post.
‘There are so many great ones!’ he says in this song. ‘My salutations to all of them!’. Who all does he acknowledge? It is not a random salutation to all the greats in all spheres of life. Instead, it is a salutation to the those worthy of his salutation in his own sphere of greatness. By choosing to salute those who have excelled in his own strengths of music, devotion, spirituality and esoteric knowledge, it is clear to me that he was well aware of his own qualities.
For music, he salutes Narada, Tumburu, to those immersed in the singing of Sama Veda, to those who sing in praise of the Lord with raga and laya, those who do nama-sankirtana, and those who understand the happiness of listening to music with bhava-raga-laya.
For devotion and spirituality, he salutes those who see the Lord in meditation, those who keep Him in their hearts, those who surrender to Him, those who view the world with love and compassion and those who have become true servants of the Lord.
For esoteric knowledge he salutes the great sages and those who have understood the core knowledge of our great scriptures.
As to the composition, it is just a magnificent piece of music which one never tires of, however many times one hears it. Set to raga Sri, the sounds are dignified, contemplative, quiet. To know more about the raga, click here.
It is difficult to choose a rendition for you today. I have listened to so many renditions- voices old and young, male and female, brisk and meditative, stentorian and gently graceful, stylistic and straight-forward. To my ears today, what feels most ‘humble’ – my theme of the day – is T.M.Krishna’s simple rendition of this timeless kriti. Hope you enjoy it too!
You can download all the pancharatna kritis sung by TMK from this site.
For an instrumental version, I could not walk past this rare live video of the great Veena maestro from yesteryears, Chitti Babu. Is it not hypnotic? They say that Veena is the instrument best suited to display the beauty of Carnatic Music. What do you think?
For a more in-depth look at this kriti, listen to this interesting lecdem . The sound quality is unfortunately not so good but the content is excellent.
Footnote (Lyrics and Translation) :
Composer : Tyagaraja
Raga : Sri
Language : Telugu
As I am not a Telugu speaker. I am indebted to multiple web sources for meaning of words. I have reworded the translations I found for language and readability. For notation, click here.
Transliteration in Devanagari
ऎन्दरो महानुभावुलु अन्दरिकि वन्दनमुलु
चन्दुरु वर्णुनि अन्द चन्दमुनु हृदया-
अरविन्दमुन जूचि ब्रह्मानन्दमनुभविन्चु वार-
साम गान लोल मनसिज लावण्य धन्य मूर्धन्युल-
मानस वनचर वर सञ्चारमु निलिपि मूर्ति बागुग पॊगडने वार-
सरगुन पादमुलकु स्वान्तमनु सरोजमुनु समर्पणमु सेयु वार-
पतित पावनुडने परात्परुनि गुरिञ्चि परमार्थमगु निज मार्ग-
मुतोनुपाडुचुनु सल्लापमुतो स्वर लयादि रागमुलु (alt:रागमुलनु ) तॆलियु वार-
हरि गुण मणिमय सरमुलु गळमुन शोभिल्लु भक्त कोटुलिललो
तॆलिवितो चॆलिमितो करुण गल्गि जगमॆल्लनु सुधा दृष्टिचे ब्रोचु वार-
हॊयलु मीर नडलु गल्गु सरसुनि सदा कनुल जूचुचुनु पुलक शरीरुलै
आनन्द पयोधि निमग्नुलै मुदम्बुननु यशमु गल वार-
परम भागवत मौनि वर शशि विभाकर सनक सनन्दना
दिगीश सुर किम्पुरुष कनक कशिपु सुत नारद तुम्बुरु
पवन सूनु बाल चन्द्र धर शुक सरोज भव भूसुर वरुलु
परम पावनुलु घनुलु शाश्वतुलु कमल भव सुखमु सदानुभवुलु गाक
नी मेनु नाम वैभवम्बुलनु नी पराक्रम धैर्यमुल
शान्त मानसमु नीवुलनु वचन सत्यमुनु रघुवर नीयॆड
सद्भक्तियु जनिञ्चकनु दुर्मतमुलनु कल्ल जेसिनट्टि नी
मदि नेरिङ्गि सन्तसम्बुननु गुण भजनानन्द कीर्तनमु सेयु वार-
भागवत रामायण गीतादि श्रुति शास्त्र पुराणपु
मर्ममुल शिवादि षण्मतमुल गूढमुलन मुप्पदि
मुक्कोटि सुरान्तरङ्गमुल भावम्बुल नॆरिंगि भाव राग लयादि सौख्य
-मुचे चिरायुवुल् गलिगि निरवधि सुखात्मुलै
प्रेम मुप्पिरिकॊनु वेळ नाममु दलचे वारु
राम भक्तुडैन त्यागराजनुतुनि निज दासुलैन वार
endarO mahAnubhAvulu andariki vandanamulu
chanduru varNuni anda chandamunu hrdayA-
aravindamuna jUchi brahmAnandam anubhavinchu vAr-
sAma gAna lOla manasija lAvaNya dhanya mUrdhanyul-
mAnasa vanachara vara sanchAramu nilipi mUrti bAguga pogaDanE vAr-
saraguna pAdamulaku svAntamanu sarOjamunu samarpaNamu sEyu vAr-
patita pAvanuDanE parAtparuni gurinchi paramArthamagu nija
mArgamutOnupADuchunu sallApamutO svara layAdi rAgamulu (alt:rAgamulanu) teliyu vAr-
hari guNa maNimaya saramulu gaLamuna shObhillu bhakta kOTulilalO
telivitO chelimitO karuNa galgi jagamellanu sudhA dRshTichE brOchu vAr-
hoyalu mIra naDalu galgu sarasuni sadA kanula jUchuchunu pulaka sharIrulai
Ananda payOdhi nimagnulai mudambunanu yashamu gala vAr-
parama bhAgavata mauni vara shashi vibhAkara sanaka sanandanA
digIsha sura kimpurusha kanaka kashipu suta nArada tumburu
pavana sUnu bAla chandra dhara shuka sarOja bhava bhUsura varulu
parama pAvanulu ghanulu shAshvatulu kamala bhava sukhamu sadAnubhavulu gAka
nI mEnu nAma vaibhavambulanu nI parAkrama dhairyamula shAnta mAnasamu nIvulanu vachana satyamunu raghuvara nIyeDa
sadbhaktiyu janinchakanu durmatamulanu kalla jEsinaTTi nI madineringi santatambunanu guNa bhajanAnanda kIrtanamu sEyu vAr-
bhAgavata rAmAyaNa gItAdi shruti shAstra purAnamu marmamula shivAdi shanmatamula gUDhamulan muppadi mukkOTi surAntarangamula bhAvambula nerigi bhava rAga layAdi saukhya
muchE chirAyuvul galigi niravadhi sukhAtmulai tyAgarAjAptulai na vAr-
prEma muppiri konu vELa nAmamu dalachEvAru
rAma bhaktuDaina tyAgarAjanutuni nija dAsulaina vAr-
There are so many great ones! My salutations to them all !
To all those who experience the eternal bliss of seeing Him whose complexion is like the moon in the lotus of their hearts (salutations..)
To all the best amongst the blessed, whose hearts have become beautiful by being immersed in the singing of Sama Veda (salutation..)
To all those who clearly see the form of the Lord by stopping the monkey like wanderings of the mind (salutations…)
To all those who immediately surrender the lotus of their hearts at the feet of the Lord (salutations…)
To all those who, cognizant of the true path which leads to the ultimate knowledge, joyously sing about the supreme Lord who sanctifies the wretched, in ragas which arise from the seven notes and rhythm (salutations..)
To all those countless devotees whose necks are adorned with the precious garland of divine qualities, who protect the world with their sweet glances filled with understanding, love and compassion (salutations..)
To all those who are famous for remaining joyfully immersed in the ocean of bliss and ecstacy by always seeing with their (mind’s) eyes the beautiful Lord with his charming gait (salutations…)
To all the great sages who are devotees of the Lord, to the Moon, the Sun, sage Sanaka, sage Sanandana, the Lords of the four quarters, the celestials, the kimpurusha, to Hiranyakashipu’s son Prahlada, to Narada, the celestial musician Tumburu, to Hanuman, to Lord Shiva, sage Suka, Lord Brahma, the Brahmanas, the great holy ones, the eminent ones, the eternal ones, to all those who have experienced bliss (salutations..)
To all those who, knowing your disaproval of wrong paths, in order to generate true devotion towards you, always sing joyful chants in your praise, about the glory of your body, your name, your valour, your courage, your fortitude, your serenity of mind and the truth of the words uttered by you (salutations..)
To all those benefactors of Tyagaraja who understand the core of (the hidden meaning of) Bhagavatam, Ramayanam, Gita, the Vedas, the Shastras, the ancient lores, the six schools of religious worship like Shaivism, the mindset of thirty three crores of celestials, the happiness of (implied:music) with emotion, melody and rhythm, and have attained a long life of uninterrupted joy (salutations..)
To all those who meditate on the name of the Lord at the time when love multiplies and have become true servants of the Lord praised by this Tygaraja, a true devotee of Lord Rama (salutations…)