Relevance Of Thyagaraja for the modern times – Part 3(Rejection of Superstitions,Rituals & Hypocricy

In this part I have chosen those compositions of the saint wherein the superstitions,rituals and outward superficial conduct with pretentions of spiritual pursuit etc were condemned in no uncertain terms. These Compositions are still relevant because even in 21st century we do find quite a lot of people in our midst who are highly superstitious, shallow,highly ritualistic and even hypocritical in some sense. And what is worse is that all this is being carried out in the name of pursuing religion and spirituality. In fact they would even classify people who do not believe in such practices but otherwise spiritual as atheists. This is, indeed, a dangerous tendency. Although the saint was born 2 centuries ago when conducting such rituals were the order of the day,it is quite heartening to find that he had expressed his anguish against such practitioners. 




In a series of kritis he lashes out at shallowness of people taking shelter under superstitions and do not perform actions. In the kriti ‘Grahabalamemi—- , he redicules the believers of astrology saying that the strength of ‘Grahamu’(planets)is nothing compared to the real strength which is ‘Anugraha’(blessing)of the Lord Srirama. Worshipping the Lord can destroy all sins and the ill-effcts of the planets. The saint asks

-When one has the ‘Anugraha'(Blessings) of the Lord what effect can ‘Grahas'(planets) have?

-Like wise for someone who is worshpping ‘Vigraha'(form of Rama),what harm can the ‘Navagrahas'(nine planets)cause?

-Worshipping the Lord can destroy(‘Nigraha’) the evils of ‘Grahas'(planets).




Thus the saint virtually demolishes age-old superstitions in his own inimitable poetic style.  

In another powerful kriti’Balamu kulamu—,the saint hits out at all hypocrites who take pride in being born in high caste. He says devotion to the Lord alone will ensure attainment of all spiritual and material wealth – not the fact of one’s birth in an upper caste. He elaborates the point further by taking examples from the animal kingdom:

-Crows & fish always keep diving into water but it does not qualify for a sacred bath(‘udaya snanama’ ?)

-Likewise,one is not considered to be meditating by the fact of keeping the eyes shut just as cranes do.

-Goats feeding on leaves does not qualify for ‘Upavasa'(holy fast)

-Monkeys wandering in forests can not be considered to be doing ‘vanavas'(life of a hermit)

-can people living in caves in the garb of an ascetic claim to be meritorious ‘rishis'(sages)? 

The kriti is filled with examples from the animal world and hypocritical human beings to drive home the message that mere symbols do not constitute the substance and in fact practicing symbolism without true devotion is nothing short of hypocrisy.




In another kriti ‘Yajnadulu sukhamanu—, the saint lambasts the practices of yajnas wherein animal sacrifices are made. He says the ignorance of people who perform such yajnas is unmatched! He laments‘samulu ajnaanulu galara?,meaning, can anybody match such ignorance? Such people are ignorant and demonical in their mentality(‘asura chithulu–). He attributes this tendency to the influence of qualities acquired from innumerable past births wherein sensual enjoyments were given priority. He poetically  describes this tendency as ‘Visha sama vishayakrishtulu’. Being under the influence of sense objects(Vishayakrishtulu)is equivalent to consuming poison(Visha sama).   


The powerful messages through the kritis mentioned above should go a long way in reforming the so called modern generation towards more relevant religious / spiritual practices. 

Published on October 26, 2008 at 5:51 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The saint asks
    -When one has the ‘Anugraha’(Blessings) of the Lord what effect can ‘Grahas’(planets) have?
    -Like wise for someone who is worshpping ‘Vigraha’(form of Rama),what harm can the ’Navagrahas’(nine planets)cause?
    -Worshipping the Lord can destroy(’Nigraha’) the evils of ‘Grahas’(planets).

    Respected devotee,

    with good wishes, I write to u. I was browsing about Hanuman and bumped into ur page. Aamzing, I am glad to bump into ur article. I wish to inform u that I have the vigraha of Lord Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Hanuman given by Saint Sri Thyagaraja to my great grand father. It has come to me by God’s virtue. My great grand father was Saint’s first desciple Mr. Sundara Bhagavathar. The Vigraham is with our family from two centuries. I value the vigraham’s more after reading ur article. I will write more after hearing from u. my email id is will send the picture after hearing from u.

    with best wishes and regards.


  2. Respected Sir, could you please post an article on the similarities that can be drawn between St Thyagaraja’s works and other religions ( further elaborating on the reference of the Ten Commandments that you mentioned in another one of your articles).
    Would be really obliged if you could provide more insight into this line of thought!

    • will definitely try

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