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Articles on Carnatic Music
Reciting Rama Nama
What will happen if you start uttering a word repeatedly even without knowing
* Whether it is a mere sound or some thing else
Generally it is believed, why believed, to a good extent proved also, that all sounds "produce vibrations" around that subject utterer [one who speaks that word]. These vibrations create to human beings a positive or negative benefit depending on the word, the nature of it, and the good and bad intention of the person behind that word.
In such a situation, when that word is the name of our pet lord, and the intention of the person behind that uttering is simple and pure devotion to that lord, will it not produce immense benefits for him, around him, and confer benefits through him to the entire mankind?
That "maraa" by vaalmeeki gave him the eternal fame linked with the epic raamaayaNam. That "raamaa" by saint thyaagaraaja gave him the very "su- darsanam" of the lord raamaa.
But has this continuous uttering of raamaa gave him the "sukham" - the enjoyment, the happiness, or welfare to him? Perhaps the answer will be a big "NO" for he himself asks "sukhi evarO, raama naama - sukhi evarO". Since he raised this question in the form of a krithi, the question itself makes clear he is the not sukhi. Then who else was it?
Further question arises, if he is not the enjoyer - sukhi - why then he continued that repeated uttering - japam. Dear bhakthaas, if, he has not continued that, perhaps we, you and I, need not worry about this person, discuss his "point" of "who is the sukhi?", sing his krithi with deep devotion on that raamaa, shed tears singing his krithi or hearing his krithi. That is the benefit he got, the name and fame even after his physical removal from this world.
Now the full krithi. raagam: kaanadaa
Composer: Sri thyaagaraajaa
meaning: who is the raamaa naama enjoyer?
meaning: Who is the raamaa naama enjoyer? Who is that person having the good face [as a result of uttering the raama naama]? Like the pupil of the eye that liberating naama, which is the entire essence of all - that liberating raamaa naama, the enjoyer who is it?
meaning: that naamaa eulogised by thyaagaraaja, which is truth and nothing but truth in the entire world, guiding all people, without creating any difference or distinction between different gods, the eternal, with good quality singing made permanent, the enjoyer of that naamaa, who is he?
The question in the krithi is some thing fantastic - who is the happy person enjoying the raamaa naamaam. Not only that sukhi but the sumukhi - one who has a good face? Dear bhakthaas, now perhaps you will be clear that he is not the sukhi - the enjoyer. But he has not answered this question he himself raised, just left it unanswered. Does it mean that he is not aware of the answer? One thing he made clear in this krithi- he is not the enjoyer but he continued to do that raamaa naama japa, for he said, realised that it is thaaraka naamam- life saving naamam. Is this not the real karma yOgam - just doing the duty - my duty is to do japam - not enjoy the fruits of the japam - but really not aspiring for the fruits of that action of doing the japam.
karmaNi Eva aDhikaarasthE maa phalEshu kadhaachana|
Sivan - Yes, dear, what is that you want to hear from me?
Paarvathi - This is what it is - paNdithai: nithyam vishNo: naama sahasrakam kEna upaayEna laghunaa patyathE?
Meaning - These learned persons, with what easy means, daily can read the 1000 naamaas of sri vishNu?
Now the slOkam: [dear bhakthaas, you all know this slokam is part of the phala sruthi slOkams in sri vishNu sahasra naamam]
kEna upaayEna laghunaa vishNOr naama sahasrakam|
Sivan - vara aananE! Meaning - hey charming faced lady,
meaning: I enjoy telling sri raama raama raama, and thereby delighted to repeat that raama naamam. For that is equivalent to telling 1000 naamaas of sri vishNu.
Now the slOkam- "sri raama raama raamEthi ramE raamE manOramE sahasra naama thath thulyam raama naama vara aananE"
Is it that the "raama naama sukhi" is no body else other than sivan? This doubt comes because thyaagaraaja asked the question sukhi evarO? and completed the krithi without answering the question.
Scene 2: The very first sargam [chapter] of the first of the seven kaaNdam - divisions - baala kaaNdam of sreemadh vaalmeeki raamaayaNam starts with
thapa: svaadhyaaya nirathaam thapasvee vaagvidhaam varam | naaradham paripaprachchha vaalmeeki: muni pungavam || 1-1-1
Meaning: the sage-poet Vaalmeeki, inquisitively inquired the divine sage
naaradha, who is
Ethath ichchhaami aham srOthum param koutoohalam hi mE |
Meaning: oh! Great Sage [to naaradha], all this I wish to listen from you, for you are a mastermind to know such kind of a man, for immense is my inquisitiveness, indeed.
When this question is asked by sri vaalmeeki to sage naaradha, naaradha maharshi immediately starts pouring out the sankshEpa raamaayaNam. From slokam 8 to 97 of first sargam is an abridged version of raamaayaNam. The doubt now comes to mind - is naaradha, the raama naama sukhi referred by thyaagaraaja, for unless he has enjoyed that taste, he can not just start and pour out at one go that "raama amirtham".
Scene 3: Sreemadh raamayaNam Baala kaaNdam sargam 2 [chapter 2]
maa nishaadha pratistaam thvam aagama: saasvathee: samaa: |
meaning: Oh! No! Hunter, you will get an ever-lasting reputation for ages to come, by which deed of yours, you killed one male bird of the couple, when it is in its lustful passion.
aajagaama thatha: brahmO lOka karthaa svayam prabhu: |
meaning: Then lord brahma, the creator and lord of worlds, that great resplendent four-faced deity, arrived on his own, to see that eminent saint vaalmeeki. [1-2-23]
Comment: The presiding deities like brahma usually do not arrive on their own, but present themselves after long and great effort on penance. Otherwise he visits the scene when demon devotees do a big hue and cry as is general. But here brahma, the creator of worlds, one of the three trinities arrives in front of vaalmeeki on his own.
slOka evaasthvayaam badhDhO na athra kaaryaa vichaaraNaa ||
meaning: oh! brahma rishi, the above verse [sarasvathee] is composed by you at my wish alone, and there is no need to think otherwise.
raamasya charitham krthsnam kuru thvam rishi saththama |
meaning: oh! The best sage, you shall render raama's legend in its entirety, of raama, who in the world is a virtuous, godly and sagacious person.
vriththam kathaya dheerasya yathaa thE naaradhaath srutham |
meaning: Tell the legend unknown or known of that valiant, ingenious raama, as you heard from naaradha,.
raamasya saha soumithrE raakshasaanaam cha sarvasa: |
meaning: raama's legend along with lakshmana, and of those demons also in its entirety, with that of vaidhEhi, that legend which is either revealed or un-revealed so far.
Point: That sage vaalmeeki uttered a slOkam on seeing the male bird fell by a hunter and after that brahma "on his own" appears in front of that sage and says "on my behest only you composed that slOkam. Now pour out that story of raama", he also complies with that.
Later a slokam is composed to highlight the contribution of vaalmeeki and also to pay respects to him at the beginning of reading raamaayaNam as the guru vandhanam -
koojantham raama raamEthi madhuram madhura aksharam
meaning: My prostration to the nightingale vaalmeeki who cuckoos 'raamaa, raamaa' the sweet honey letters [aksharam] among the sweet, in the form of branches of poetry [srimadh raamaayanam].
ya piban saththam raama charitha amrutha saagaram|
meaning: To that faultless muni praachEthas [vaalmeeki- son of prachEthas], I always prostrate, who did not get satisfied even after drinking from the nectarian ocean called raama charitham.
Point: one thing is clear here - perhaps the raama charitham is not that sweet and giving the sukham like that of the raama naamam. That is why he is still a non-satisfied person- athruptha: and cuckoos the naamaa "raama raama".
This leads to the doubt, is sri vaalmeeki the raama naama sukhi said by thyaagaraaja? - for other wise how that brahma will come in front and say now you start telling that raamaa's story.
Scene 4: Now let us see the maaruthi anjali slOkam
meaning: where all raama's naama is being sung [or told or spoken], there maaruthi [the enemy of raakshasaas] [or] who annihilated raakshaasaas, stands bowing to raamaa with folded hands in anjali mudhra, eyes completely filled with tears.
Point: This leads to the doubt and question that, is he not the raama naama sukhi. But if he is the sukhi, why he has to wander where all raghunaathaa's name is uttered? yathra yathra raghunaatha keerthanam thathra thathra maaruthi. Further why he denied himself the mOksham when offered by the very raama, so that he can stay always with that raamaa in front, whom he now enjoys by going places.
Scene 5: Now let us see another krithi by another very staunch raama bhaktha. "O raamaa nee naamam entha ruchi raa, Emi ruchi raa raamaa - O raamaa" says bhadhraachala raama dhaasa [BRD] in his krithi in the raaga poorvi kalyaani.
Point: Since by time period BRD is senior to saint thyaagaraajaa, perhaps ST had in his mind BRD to state "sukhi evarO raama naama sukhi evarO?".
But as history goes, BRD suffered so much at the hands of the muslim ruler of that place where BRD served as the official, whereas that muslim ruler had the dharsana sowbhaagyam of two youths coming and paying BRD's dues to the ruler. These two are raama and lakshmaNa. This also gives rise to a doubt that may be BRD may or may not be the raama naama sukhi addressed by ST.
By considering the above 5 scenes it has become very difficult who is the raama naama sukhi? Also where to look for the answer? Now see another krithi of same thyaagaraaja
raagam: suruti 28 harikaambhOji janyam
geethaa arthamu - the meaning of sri bhagavath geetha
meaning: hey mind, please see the meaning of bhagavath geetha, the pleasure [or is it happiness?] out of music. [it is understood here that 'hey mind without enjoying these why you are jumping places?'].
meaning: The son of wind god [that vaayu puthran hanumaan] knows very well, who has the lotus feet of seethaa's husband, the great raamaa in his mind always.
meaning: That hanumaan is the enjoyer the raama naama sukhi -who
* has the boon of having monkey face,
See how nicely the question put in one krithi is answered in another krithi. Dear bhakthaas, Now enjoy the raama naama sukham by singing both krithis one after the other.
M.G. Vasudevan is a civil engineer in active service as well as a devoted rasika. He has also written many articles on Krishna, and more recently on Raama, in addition to Tyagaraja kritis linked to incidents in the Ramayana, all of which are available at the Bhakthi list and the Oppiliappan Yahoo group.
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