Relevance of Thyagaraja For the Modern Times – PART2(Quality of Purpose & Strength of Character)

Having talked about the importance of defining one’s purpose in life(as eloborated in part1),I will now select a few compositions wherein the saint point out the importance of  quality and nature of the purpose that one should fix in life. In these compositions,he also dwells at length on quality of efforts and the strength of character needed to achieve our goals.  




In the well known kriti ‘Nidhi chaala sukhama’ –,the importance of having a higher purpose which will pay dividend in the long term rather than a purpose which gives pleasure in the short term ,but pain in the long term. This message is beautifully brought out with a combination of melodius music and excellent poetry. He puts a series of rhetorical questions,the answers to which are obvious. He asks which is superior – ‘Nidhi’ or ‘Sannidhi’ of Rama.’Nidhi’ is material wealth and ‘sannidhi’ is proximity (to God). The answer is at once obvious. Like wise – which is to be preferred – ‘Dadhi’ or ‘Daasaradhi’? (Dadhi is Milk and Daasaradhi is Rama). Again which is to be desired – Ganga snaanamu or koopa snaanamu(A bath in Ganges or a bath in a well). Continuing on the same lines the saint asks which is better – flattery of men or the praise of the Lord?




In the kriti ‘Chakkani raja margamu’— the need to identify the right path to success is indicated. He says the royal road(‘Raja margamu’) to success should be preferred over bylanes(‘Sandula’). The royal path ,here,should be interpreted as the direct path which is already well tried and proven by the great. This interpretation is given here because of the reference made in the kriti to Lord Siva’s chanting of ‘Rama Naama’. The importance of Bhakti for attaining bliss is emphasized in this kriti.

Clearly,the message is that whether it is in the spritual domain or material pursuit, we ought to follow a direct path especially if a well proven path is available, instead of taking shortcuts.




Again in the kriti ‘Nalina lochana’—, the importance of following the right means suited to the magnitude of task in hand is emphasized. He asks a rhetorical question ‘Ganga loni vodanu nammi bhavasagaramu daatavachuna?’.(Can one cross the sea of samsara using a small boat used to cross Ganges?). The nature and magnitude of the task should dictate the means adopted.

In another kriti,he says ‘Maati maatiki Nuneroti Eddulu tirugu dhatura’—(Do not go round and round like a bull circling in an oil mill–). Clearly,the advice to  us is not to follow the beaten track but try and do  something different if an old method is not leading you anywhere.




In another interesting kriti ‘Meevalla gunadoasha memi’,Thiagaraja says that we should take the entire blame for our present lot. “Naa manasu naa prema nannalaya jesina”— (It is my mind and its pursuit of small pleasures that led me to trouble). The basic message is that we should own up responsibility for our actions and therefore its fruits,instead of blaming irrelevant issues.


In a similar kriti ‘Ninnadanela’—,he says why should we blame anybody else for one’s lot. He gives a series of  metaphors to drive home the point.

-‘Chittamunaku tagina sidhiyu galgunu(success is proportional to the state of mind)

– vithamunaku daginattu veduka naduchunu’(Entertainment will be in proportion to the money spent)

– ‘Karmamunaku thagina kaaryamu'(Actions will decide the results)

-‘Dharmamunaku thaginattu daivamu brochunu'(Divine protects as per the acts of Dharma performed)

The most emphatic message for us that comes through the above two kritis is that we should own up responsibility for all our actions and results. 


In the following 2 kritis the saint draws our attention(‘O Manasa!’ is how he addresses our vacillating mind) to the strength of character and diplomacy required to achieve our goals in life. This is done taking Srirama himself as the example.

In the kriti ‘Okamata oka banamu’ ,Thyagaraja talks about the virtues of the Lord in terms of steadfast and focussed mind. The importance of non-vacillating mind is emphasized by taking Lord himself as the example:


 -Srirama stands by the word he utters(‘oka mata)

-he uses just one arrow which does not fail in reaching its destination(‘oka banamu’)

-Dedicated to one wife and single minded in focus(‘oka patnivratudu—-oka chittamu galavade’)




In another kriti ‘Sarasa saama  daana bheda danda chatura’–,he draws extensively from the epic Ramaayana to illustrate the execellent qualities of diplomacy exhibited by Rama. The qualities needed to win over an enemy is beautifully described here. The first weapon to deal with an enemy should always be reconcilliatory approach(‘Saama’). If it fails then we should resort to ‘Daana'(that is try to win over with appropriate inducements). In case this approach also does not yield results then take the path of creating differences in the enemy camp(which is known as ‘bheda’). If all the above efforts fail then destroy or punish the enemy(‘Danda’).

The diplomatic appraches mentioned above may also be applicable to our business challenges or for facing any other adverse situation in our lives.

Apart from the powerful message,it is also interesting to note that the saint condenses and captures the story and glory of Ramayana in just eight lines beautifully. It goes as follows:

-You (Rama) gave him advice as a well wisher to return Sita (‘Saama’ meaning being  nice to somebody for his own good and to achieve your goal)

-You offered to give away Ayodhya in return for Sita(‘Daana’ meaning inducements to win over your objective)

-You crowned his brother Vibhishana as the king of Lanka(‘Bheda’-creating differences within enemy)

-Ultimately you killed when all else did not work(‘Danda’-punishing to when all other forms of diplomacy failed) 


Published on October 26, 2008 at 5:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: