An interesting feature of Tyagaraja's devotion to Sree Rama is that Tyagaraja wanted to be a part of His"inner circle" (Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman, Narada, et al.) more than anything else in the world, and he wants Sree Rama to proclaim this; in one kruti, Tyagaraja asks Rama to tell his "inner circle" - "veeDunun manavADE yani cepparAdaTave" - that this Tyagaraja is also one of ours. In another, he proclaims that Sita is the mother, Rama is the father, and all the close devotees are brothers and close relatives to him.
The three krutis presented this week express this basic desire in three slightly different expressions.
I) rAgam haMsanAdam
baMTu reeti kolu viya vayya rAma .. baMTu reeti
tuMTa viMTi vAni modalaina madAdula baTTi nEla goola jEyu nija .. baMTu reeti
rOmAMcamanE ghana kaMCukamu,
rAma bhaktuDanE mudra biLLayoo
rAmanAmamanE vara khaDgameevi, rAjillunayya tyAgarAjunikE .. baMTu reeti
Summary: Please employ me as your soldier/servant (1), Oh Rama!
In that role, which can vanquish and decimate such enemies as kAma (desire) and mada (pride),
please employ ..
Also grant me "thrill"(2) as the grand vest, the title "devotee of Rama" as the official
badge (3) and the official sword of your name, these will shine on me as your servant, please
Notes: (1) baMTu can be either a foot-soldier or a personal servant.
(2) rOmAMcamu = literally means hair-raising; could be due to a thrill, either pleasant or scary. Tyagaraja imagines this pleasant 'hair-rising' from being Rama's devotee as the official vest .. implying that the thrill is so strong that it covers entire upper body like a vest.
(3) Important and close servants of dignitaries used to wear a carved or embossed badge, proclaiming their official position.
This is a popular kruti in a lesser known raagam. This is usually sung in a medium to fast pace, as an interlude piece between two heavy items. There is a certain anticipation and excitement, like a job applicant waiting to see if he got the job or not:-)
The tamil script has the same symbol for "pa" and "ba" and another same symbol for "Ta" and "Da". Consequently, many Tamil singers who don't know Telugu start off this kruti with "paMDu reeti koluvu", meaning "employ me as a fruit!":-)
II) rAgam bhairavi
upacAramu cEsE vArunnArani maruvakurA .. upacAramu
kRpa kAvale nani nEnee keertini balkucunuMDaga .. upacAramu
vAkiTanE padilamugA vAtAtmaju DunnADani
Sreekarulagu nee tammulu cEri yunnArani
EkAMtamunanu jAnaki ErpaDi yunnadani
SreekAMtA, parulElani Sree tyAgarAja vinuta .. upacAramu
Summary: Oh Rama, do not forget that there are folks who want to serve you ..
Desiring your grace, I continue singing your fame, do not forget ..
Just because the son of Wind (Hanuman) is guarding your door carefully,
and because your triumphant brothers are waiting around you,
and because Janaki herself serves you in privacy,
Oh husband of Sri, You may tend to think 'why bother with anyone else',
The-one-praised-by-Tyagaraja, do not forget ..
Notes: The essence is the same as previous kruti - Tyagaraja wants the job of personal attandant to Rama, but the tone and sense are so different! Tyagaraja starts out by gently reminding Rama that there are other people (who are not part of Rama's inner circle) who also desperately want to serve the Lord. In the 2nd staza, he declares his own eligibility for the post - he had been singing Rama's glory all this while, desiring Rama's grace; implying Rama should give him special consideration and take him. Then he cautions Rama - "just because you have all these able servants, alongwith your wonderful wife Sita, are waiting on you, please don't think you don't need anyone else!" This kruti evokes sweet sense of karuNa rasa - there's a hint of pathos. I fondly remember a soulful rendition of this kruti by Yesudas on one of his Tarangini cassettes.
III) rAgam kharahara priya
pakkala nilabaDi kolicE muccaTa bAgA telpa rAdA
cukkala rAyani gEru mOmu gala sudati seetamma soumitri rAmuni kiru .. pakkala
tanuvucE vaMdana monariMcu cunnArA
canuvuna nAma keertana sEyucunnArA
manasuna dalaci maimaraci yunnArA
nenaruMci tyAgarAjunitO hari hari neekiru .. pakkala
Summary : Standing beside you how they worshipped you, won't you tell me,
That gracious lady Sita, with her face rivalling the moon, and your brother Lakshmana,
standing on either side of you, Oh Rama ..how they ..
Are they saluting you with the whole body (1) ?
With intimacy, are they singing your glorious name?
Or are they meditate on you in their minds, forgetting themselves?
Be kind and tell Tyagaraja, O Hari, on either side of you .. how they ..
(1) tanuvucE vaMdanam = sAshTAMga praNAmamu = prostrating full-length in front of the deity.
This is a very popular kruti sung as the main piece in a concert with great elaboration. This raagam as well as the kruti project the fervor of deep devotion (bhakti), especially the soaring notes on the line "manasuna dalaci maimaraci yunnArA". The elaborations on the line "tanuvucE" or on "manasuna dalaci" are typically very emotive. Bhanumati sang a brief yet beautiful version in a Telugu film long time ago. Balamurali's version in "Music Today" release is very good. Some vocalists pronounce the first word as "prakkala" - which is also correct, but the book I have gave this version.
There's another interpretation to the last stanza - The questions in each line are replaced by exclamations. In this sense, Tyagaraja is telling Rama - "look, I am prostrating in front of you, I am singing your name, I am meditating on you .. is this how they worshipped also? Please tell me".