“Nadaloludai Brahmaananda mandave, manasa”
Tyagaraja in his compositions that takes the theme of Nada Yoga has covered every aspect of music – musical criticism, elucidation of musical concepts, the best way to practice music, music as a help to spiritual effort and above all, music itself as a Yoga and a Siddhi, a path and realisation.
According to Tyagaraja, Krithis should have the following qualities as per his composition “Sogasugaa mrindanga Talamu”.
Krithis should expound the true words of the Upanishads, which are marked by correct placements of swaras and rhythmic turns and pauses, which reflects true devotion and vairagya, which are dripping inside and outside like draaksha rasa-and are rich in nine rasas.
In another well known composition “Kaddanuvariki in Todi Raga”, a student of music/musician can a take a direct advice from the Great Guru and Composer himself. He says
“Cast off your sleep, get up very early in the morning and practise; culture your voice well in the still early hours of the morning.(We may add – do not sleep till 9 a.m and allow your voice to sink to half a kattai or quarter kattai).Take a beautiful Tambura for Sruthi. Let your mind be pure, intone the swaras correctly and well, and stick to the sampradaya”.
A well-trained voice, perfect sruthi, spotless personal character(very important for a Nadopasaka), swara suddhi and faithfulness to tradition-what else need to be said to emphasise the fundametnals of our musical art?
It may be noted that Tyagaraja’s Compositions lays emphasis on the Bhava, Dikshithar takes Raga as the pivot and Syama Sastri revels in Tala aspect. Thus it is the Trinity themselves introduced the three different styles- the fundamental aspects of Carnatic Music – Bhava-Raga-Tala – (Bha Ra Ta)
Tyagaraja conceives and believes that Nada itself has personified as Lord Rama. Tyagaraja’s songs have some reference when he says that he would worship the Beauties of Sapta Swaras and that each Raga has incarnated as a beautiful damsel and is dancing with tinkling bells.
There is a story in the Brihad-dharma Purana, Adbhuta Ramayana and Linga Purana that the Lord showed Narada a huge congregation of beautiful divine damsels lying maimed and mutilated and when Narada asked about their identity, he was told that they were the personified forms, the Adhidevathas of the Ragas that Narada had mutilated by his singing. (Reference-Madras Music Academy Journal Vol.IX.)
In the well known Dhanyasi song “Sangeetha Jnanamu Bhakthivinaa”, Tyagaraja says that mere knowledge of music without Bhakthi does not lead one to the right path. He further adds that music without devotion would lead one astray, that music is something high that great sages and saints have practised and that its real efficacy is known only to a person knowing the right and wrong and the worthlessness of worldly things, and one who has subdued his defects and the six inner enemies like Kama,Krodha, Moha, Lobha, Mada and Maatsarya (passion, anger,avarice,delusion, elation and intolerance).
Of all the arts, music has the greatest power to take us away effectively,easily,immediately and fully from the mundane plane and keep our spirit completely absorbed in the Supreme Soul that dwells in our inner self. Our ancients realised this truth and let us follow them with all our mind and heart !!