Kainkaryam and ThyAga Brahmam
Before getting started with this post, I humbly bow before to the greatness of the AzhwArs and in particular to Thiru KulaSEkharAzhwAR , the composer of Mukunda Maalaa ,a nectarine ocean of words and to the mystic saint/peerless raama bhaktha/VAkh-GEyakarA, NaadhaGuru ThyAgaBrahmam of ThiruvaiYaru whose fragrant compositions capable of dissipating all the ill-effects of Kali.
For centuries, Sri TyAgayyAs compositions have been tutored, practised, tasted , enjoyed and respected by different kinds of people ranging from an average carnatic music rasika ,a serious enthusiast to the really blessed ONE that is dear to the Lord. Such a dear person WILL definitely not consider his compostions as mere works that are technical mAster-peices of rAga,bhAva,thAlA that induce aural and metal pleasure but as immortal works capable of lifting up the materially intoxicated mind to Vaikuntha, abode of SriRAmachandra and hence such a person WILL not fail to worship such a great soul and his compostions. With that note , I shall try to express what my little mind was able to understand the reason behind how TyAgaYYA's krithis have become so powerful not very different from the powerful vibrations of the VEdAs or the sound from the panchajanya(the divine conch) of Sriman NArayanA
By performing selfless kainkaryam (service) to the Lord , one can easily obtain his blessings to direct oneself on the track to incessant bhakthi(like that of a continuous flow of oil) and finally mukthi.
What is this Kainkaryam and how to do it ? A short verse from Thiru KulaSekharAzhwAr's Mukunda Maalaa will succinctly answer the question and give us a clue to find the reason behind the greatness of the 'King of Renuniciation' (No prize for guessing:)
A reproduction is given below
JihvE Keerthaya KEshavam , MurAripum ChEtho Bhaja ShrIdharam
paaNi dvandva samarcchaya sthOthra AchythA kathA shrOthra dvayA twam Shrunu
Krishnam LokAya LOchana dvaya Hare: Gaccha Anghri Yugma Aalayam
Jighra GhrAna Mukunda pAda thulaseem moordham nAma AdhOkshajam
The Azhwar very clearly and beautifully expounds how to do kainkaryam/service. A bit of preface before decoding the sanskrit verses.
Simply put, the Aacharyas and the AazhWArs recommend incessant bhakth where the mind only thinks about Lord Hari. If we can't even think about him for a few minutes, how can we think about him incessantly? What is needed is the control of the IndriyAs(sense organs)?
The AazhwAr says,
"O tongue, ONLY sing in praise of KeshaVa" (jihve Keethaya KEshavam)
Many of the other aazhwars have also emphasized this. Tongue is an important organ to control.
Tyagayya would say , "O tongue ,instead of getting bad odor by gibberish talks, why dont you smell in fragrance by chanting the names of the sri-pathi"
He is the one who has chanted the tAraka NAmA several million times , the fragrance of which is still perceivable through his krithis.
"Oh mind, praise the Lord who killed Mura " says the AazhwAn next.
Of all the organs , mind is the most difficult to control. Even the greatest of the archers, Arjuna failed helplessly when it came to focusing his mind. There is simple no use in singing the great names of lord with/without BhAvA when the mind can't think about him.
TyAgayya is the one who questioned
"What more do you want, O Mind !
Why are you not happy? When the Lord of the Universe has rested in your heart?
what more do you want, O Mind?"
Next comes the hands
The aazhvAr says, Oh hands, serve the Lord Sridhara,
The aazhvArs are those that considered performing archanam and holding garlands of flowers for the God as Bhaagyam (blessing). By holding the garland, one is subjecting it to some physical torture which is perhaps equivalent and perhaps easier to doing some tapas immersed in coldest of waters.
What kainkarya did tyAgayya do with his hands? Thyagayya pleased the naadhapriyan,SitaRama by elegantly plucking the string of tampura immersing himself and his hero in infinite bliss of naadha. If someone has plucked the strings of veena /tanpura continuously for hours , he would know how it hurts to do so. Thus, it is highly recommended to use tanpura if possible instead of using a modern equipment like a shruthi box:)
Aduthu sevigazh....it's time for the ears to do kainkaryam
Of ears , hear the stories extolling Achyutha says the aazhvAr
Ears are those sense organs that dont have lids to close unlike mouth and eyes. Hence ,it is easy for us to hear anything. Thus , one needs to be even more cautious when it comes to hearing . One should always pray god according to the following vedic shAnthi PAtA
"Bhadram karNEbhi: shruNuyAma
i. e ,May the Gods let only good tidings fall on our
Sri Thyagabrahmam is the master of NAadoPaasana( the practise of NaadA).. What is this naadA? NaadA is nothing but the divine sound , the same sound emanating from the panchajanya(conch) and the vibrations of SAma Veda. Lord krishna declares
"Out of the vedAs, I am SAmA"
That is the reason why even the people that don't even have the slightest bit of bhakthi like the raagas of carnatic music since they are born out of NaadA.
Having looked at the ears, the azhwan heads for the eyes and expounds how they can do kainkaryam
Oh eyes , see always lord Krishna
There is an adage that goes like SarVendriyAAnAAm nayanam pradhAnam. (of all the senses, the eyes are the primary). Similarly , the Rig Veda says
"tad VishNO: paramam padam sadA pasyanti
i.e suras ( sages ) always see (saDa pasyanti) the highest feet of Lord Vishnu
Thus,it becomes really critical to control our eyes. The eyes should always see the syaamakrishnan.. The eyes should see the kaalinga nardhanana dancing on top of the poison emanating KAliyan. Would such an eyes like to see anything else? No wonder the mystic poet Ooothukaaadu Venkata kavi composed so many wonderful krithis on the kaalinga narthanan in oothukaadu.(www.oothukaadu.org)
One could imagine how tyagayya would have enjoyed the darshan of Sita raama standing so majestically dressed in golden-hued dresses and holding the kothandA while the mightiest of VanarA' , the vaayuputraa and hanuman kneeling below so humbly with such reverence and devotion. He thus ecstatically sings in awe after enjoying the beauty of sitA ramA "Kana Kana RuchirA , Kanaka Vasana Ninnu" (It gives me immense pleasure to see you again and again, the lord with the golden-hued dress)
After the eyes, the feets have to be controlled because out feets will take us to whatever plave the mind says after seeing with the help of eyes. Hence, it is highly important to synchronize all the organs to do the prescribed kainkaryams with bhakthi.
The azhWAr says
"Oh feet, Go to the temples of Hari,"
If at all we are having the cherishable naama sankeerthanams of the great haridAsAs, it us only because our forefathers have WALKED to every nook and corner of the country to collect the kirtanans and abhangs of various haridAsA's. One such person is MaruthAnallur Sathguruswamigal. If not for him , there would be no naama sankeerthanam today in the south. Just like him, there are numerous other great souls who have walked to many divya kshethra and have composed amazing krithis on the temple deities. Muthuswamy dikshithar has toured a great lot on has composed krithis full of tathvam on almost all the temple deities he visited.
Sri tyagayya is perhaps the least travelled. he always believed that , " why do you want to travel from one place to another when the lord of vaikuntham is right here in your madapam as sitA rAma?" but later he was also cajoled by his disciples to visit some of the temples. If not for it, we would't have krithis like "Thera Theeyaga radha".
Finally , the azhWAr turns his attention towards nose
Oh nose , smell the Thulasi
Thulasi, by nature, very gentle when adorning the honey-sweet feet of the Lord will produce a fragrance that would take one directly to VAikuntha. Thulasi is said to be "SaDA KEshava PriyA" . She always thinks about the Lord.
Saint Tyagaaya had such a great reverence for Thulasi devi and he has compose five krithis on Thulasi Devi that include
(1) Devi ! Sri ThuLasammA ---MaayAmALa GouLai
(2)ThuLasi Bilva MallikAdhi-----KedAra GouLai
(3)Sri ThuLasammA ! MaayinDa nelakOnavamma--Deva GhAndhAri
(4)Amma ! Raavamma, ThuLasamma nanu Paalimpu--KalyANi
(5)ThuLasi Jagajjanani! dhurithApahAriNI !--sAvEri
In Thulasi Jagajjanni, he praises godess thulasi as destroyer of sins.
In thulasi bilva, he begs the lord to accepts his worship thru thulasi, bilwa, jasmine, jAji and Lotus.
In Amma ! Raavamma, he kindly addresses thulasi as thulasamma and kindly request her to come to his house with the company of her Lord.
What can one say about such a peerless raamapriyan and naadOpaasanapriyan? Rightly , no simple words can describe his greatness. One has to be blessed in at least one of the births to compose kriths in praise of him and his hero.
Before , I introduce to you about another great person who maintains another website as a kainkaryam let me direct you to a couple of music links
Check out Thulsi Bilwa as rendered by the great flautist Mali
Also, check out Thulasi Vilwa by Jesudas
Here , you can find budding Abhishek raghurAm rendering Sri Thulasamma
I am pleased to introduce Sri TyagarAja DAsan who has been doing a great kainkaryam of translating the krithis of Tyagayya almost on a daily basis. Blessed he is , indeed. I , hereby request the readers of this blog to kindly check his blog and encourage him and also get benefited.
Finally , before wrapping up this post, I would like to stress the importance of prapatti, which is a key vaishavaite pracitse and belief that by totally surrendering to the Lotus feet of SriMan NarAyana , one can steadily progress ones journey towards vaikuntha by following the ways to get that kind of a bhakthi as shown by the great alwArs and other great saints like ThyAgaBrahmam instead of wasting time on futile matters.
Here is the link to ThyagarAja Dasan' blog. Also , i have put up a link to his blog in my blogroll for your convenience.
Credits : Thanks to the Kainkaryam series posted in SriRangaSri yahoo groups maintained by Sri SatagOpan
Nee padhamuley GathiyaNi Nammithi, Sri RaamachandrA
Sriman NarayamA , nin nigarilA kamala pAdhangalukku naan Shaarnam
Om Namo KAalinganardhanaaya Krishnaaya parabrahmaney nama: