Tyagaraja Swami composed a set of songs to sing collectively or as a chorus, as an expression of bhakthi and bhajana tradition. These came to be known as Divya Nama Sankeerthanas. Many of these songs have the theme as Ramayana , but there are also songs on human conduct. There are around 118 krithis which are set to simple tunes. We find that the tune repeats in every charanam after the Pallavi. So, it can be inferred that every song has a Pallavi followed by several Charanams. This style of composing is generally referred to as Lambaka Style. The simple rhythmic tunes make them ideal for group rendition.
These krithis basically deal with Nama Mahatmya. The names of the Lord are each marked with the fame and quality of the Lord. Lord who has infinite excellence or qualities also has infinite names. Thus we have Sahasra Nama, Ashtothara Satha Nama etc. When one keeps on uttering the name of a person or a thing, his/her mind dwells on that particular character and develops a gentle love and a gradual absorption in it. So these divine names serve as nails that fasten the personality of the Lord in our mind and heart.
In Rama Rahasyopanishad, Rama says that one can escape all sins by repeating HIS name, 96 crores of times. Tyagaraja started this japa in the prime of his youth, his 20th year, on the great Tapas of reciting Rama Nama and it took him 21 years and 15 days to finish this japa, and at the end of this Sadhana, he had the darshan of Lord Rama and he sang his first song Ela ni daya Radu in Raga Atana. Towards the close of this Rama Rahasyopanishad, significance of the syllabic constituents of the name Rama is explained.
Rama is the essence of Narayana Ashtakshari and Siva Panchakshari. OM NAMO NARAYANAYA and OM NAMA SHIVAYA. The second syllables of each manthra is taken to give the name RAMA. It is a Taraka Manthra that helps one to cross the Samsara Sagara. It is called as Jayakara Nama-that brings all success, as we see in the Dasavathara Divyanama Keerthanam .
Lastly, These Namamahatmyam or Nama Sankeerthana singing is just not a mechanical process. A real practice of singing these divine krithis warrants self control, purity of mind, words and thoughts ( manasa, vacha, karmana as it is commonly said), devotion, concentration, and a mental state of absolute surrender.
Let us learn a simple Divyanama Keerthanam Abhimanamule composed in a Rare Raga – Andhali set to Misrachappu Talam Now. 🙂
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This is just a home recording. Please excuse the recording quality .
Students of Shanmukhapriya School of Music performing this Song during Navarathri 2018
Happy Learning !!! 🙂