GS 93: SRI RAMABHADRA! JAYA! JAYA!
(Meaning): Hail to Thee O RamabhadrA! Hail to Thee!
(Comments): He makes every one blessed by darsanam of His sarvanga sowndharyam. His subhAsrayam confers limitlessauspiciousness to those, whose eyes are blessed to have His sevA bhaagyam at his divya desams.
Saint ThyagaraajA experienced this bliss and celebrated it through his raptourous outpourings, which took the form of bhakthi-laden krithis.>>From early morning till ardha Jaamam, this Rama BhakthA was immersed in the ocean of bliss of the enjoyment of the Lord’s Thirumeni.
I will refer to some of the krithis, where Saint ThyagarAjA enjoyed the beauty of Ramabhadran. In his KolAhala Raga Krithi (Madhi lonaYochana bhuttu ledhA ? maharAja RajeswarA!), he comes straight out and reveals to Sriman NarayanA that he has always regarded His RamAvathAram as the best of His ten avathArAs (padhi vesamulalO Rama vesamubahu bhAgunuchu goru nannu bhrova).
In his long and beautiful Bilahari Raga Krithi, DorakunA, he describes the beauty of Ramabhadran that he was blessed to see seated on a swingwith His PrANa Nayaki, SitA devi. He describes the sight with ecstasy:” –a darsanA of the Lord as the repository of all beauty (Maragatha MaNi sannibha dehambhuna) with His emerald-like body clad in shining golden garments, with the colour of His foot-nails outshining the rays of the moon, with brilliant anklets, with dazzling diamond rings on His fingers, with pearl-garlands on His chest, with face radiant with glowing ear-ornaments and charming smile, curly forelocks, glossy cheeks, and with lovely tilakA on the forehead, a DarsanA as that of Sri RamabhadrA seated on the goldenswing with SitA, the fulfiller of devotees’ desires —“.
Overcome by the experience of Sri RamabhadrA’s rupa MahimA,the Saint uses the raga GuntakriyA and cries out: “Is it possible even for BrahmA, Indra and others to describe your beauty (Inthanuchu varNimpa taramA ? BrahmendrAdhulakaina ?). O father of Manmatha! Is it possible to describe the beauty of Your benign look, your charming face that surpasses the moon in splendour, —Your hand that blesseth and your natural GuNAs ? O KalyANaRamachandra! even the Gods and the VedAs and the SaastrAs can not have any conception of the glory of Your prowess.”
In the krithi Muddhu Momu set in the MeLa raagam, SuryakAntham, the saint describes the blessed state of the devotees who are enchanted by the athi lAvaNyam of the Lord. The saint himself was overcome by the beauty of each limb of Ramabhadra and he is at a loss to focus on the beauty of one limb over the other. He expresses his confusion this way in the Suddha Desi Raaga Krithi, Yenthu kogalinthurA?.He expresses his dismay with the statement: ” Which portion of Your body am I to embrace and how much am I to describe ? O beautiful RamAwhom SitA Devi has treasured in her heart! Your speech alone isspeech! Your smile alone is smile!Your brilliance alone is brilliance!(Needhu palukE palukurA! needhu kulukE kulukurA!needhu taLukE taLukurA!).
In the krithi set in Rudra PriyA raagam (LaavaNya RaamA!), he states unabashedly: ” O Charming RamA! Bless me with Your benign looks.Your mental disposition, Your charms and Your methods are unique. Why should one seek protection from Taamasic Gods ? “.
In his Kannada GowLA krithi, Saint ThyagarAjA, ” Sokasu jooDa taramA ? Nee “,he asks RamA Himself the question: ” Is it possible to see such a beautyas Your face shining with glossy cheeks, — Your lips which resemblea ripe bimbA fruit, Your chest adorned with garlands of VakuLAflowers, Your smiles, Your forelocks and the brilliance of Your Eyes ? “. What can Sri RamabhadrA say ? He blessed His parama Bhaktha to have continued darsana janitha aanandham.
In his DevaghAndhAri raga krithi, the saint stated that it is impossiblefor him to forget the bewitching beauty of Ramabhadra (MaravakarA nava manmatha Rupuni) and concluded his krithi with the declaration that He will worship Ramabhadra with the lotus of his heart all his life (ajanmamu hrudh raajeevamuthO pujinthura Thyagarajanuthuni manasA).
Finally in the famous MayAmALava GowLA krithi,”Meru SamAna dheera,RaghuveerA! juthAmu raaraa maha meru –“, this great Rama BhakthA reconciles the tatvam of Raghuveeran with that of the Ramabhadran. One is the awe inspiring heroic tatvam embodied by Raghuveeran; the other is the sowmyA (auspicious, benovolent) tatvam represented by Ramabhadran. His prayer to the Lord of SitA Devi is most moving:
“O RamabhadrA, firm like the Majestic Meru mountain! Pray come to me so that I may feast my eyes with the captivating beauty of Your form, Your graceful gait, Your shining blue body, the lovely curls on Your forehead, the attractive shape of Your TilakA,Your blooming cheeks, the brilliance of Your face, the goldenjewels that adorn Your neck.”
The other intrepretation for the 93rd salutation as RamabhadrA isrooted in the Vedic texts. The Bhadra aspect will take us to BhadrAchalam and another Rama BhakthA, who built the temple for Him on the banks of the river, where Rama and Sita sported during their sojourn in the forest. That Vedic intrepretation is associated with the famous Rg Veda manthram:
bhadram karNebhi: sruNyAma devA bhadram pasyEmAkshabhiryajathrA: |
sthirair angais tushtuvAmssas tanubhir vy asema devahitasm yadhAyu: ||
—–Rg Vedam Canto: 1.90.8
(Meaning): O Learned people! May we with our ears listen to what is beneficial. O persons, worthy of sacred deeds, May we see with our eyes that is beneficial. May we, engaged in Your praises, enjoy with firm limbs and sound bodies, a full term of life dedicated to the supreme being. ”
That Bhadram hinted by this Rk of Vedam is “Ramabhadram” that SaintThyagaraja, BhadrAchala Ramadas, Talapaakam Anamacharya, AcharyAs and AzhwArs celebrated all their lives on this earth.
GS 94: NamasthE punasthE nama:
(Meaning): O Lord Ramabhadra of such auspicious, limitless KalyANa guNAs! O Sarveswara! I salute Your lotus feet again and again and prostrate before You.
Sri RamachandrEthi dayAparEthi
bhaktha priyEthi bhava bandhana mochanEthi |
naathEthi naaga sayanEthi sadhA sthuvantham
maam paahi bheetham anisam krupaNam krupALO ||
—-Sri Rama KarNAmrutham 3. 114
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan
To be continued…