Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thyagaraja Kriti - Appa Rama Bhakti - Raga Pantuvarali

Transliteration as per Modified Harvard-Kyoto (HK) Convention
(including Telugu letters – Short e, Short o) -

a A i I u U
e E ai o O au M (H or :)

(e – short E – Long o – short O – Long)

k kh g gh n/G
c ch j jh n/J (jn – as in jnAna)
T Th D Dh N
t th d dh n
p ph b bh m
y r l L v
S sh s h

appa rAma-pantuvarAli

In the kRti ‘appa rAma bhakti’ – rAga pantuvarALi (tALa rUpakaM) – SrI tyAgarAja extols the potency of rAma bhakti.

appa rAma bhakti(y)entO gopparA mA(yappa)

trippaTalanu tIrci kaNTi reppa valenu 1kAcu(n)A mA(yappa)

caraNam 1
lakshmi dEvi valacunA lakshmaNuNDu kolucunA
sUkshma buddhi gala bharatuDu jUci jUci solasunA mA(yappa)

caraNam 2
2Sabari(y)engil(i)ccunA 3candra dharuDu meccunA
4abala svayamprabhaku daivam(a)cala padavin(i)ccunA mA(yappa)

caraNam 3
5kapi vAridhi dATunA 6kaliki rOTa kaTTunA
aparAdhi tyAgarAjuk(A)nandamu heccunA mA(yappa)


  • Devotion to our father rAma is indeed very best!
  • That devotion to our father rAma, which, putting an end to the roaming of mind, protects (so involuntarily) like eye-lids, is indeed very best.

  • Had it not been so -
    • would lakshmI dEvi so fervently love Him?
    • would lakshmaNa serve Him with such dedication?
    • would bharata, having such a sharp intellect, feel ecstatic beholding Him again and again?

    • would Sabari offer (already) tasted fruits (unfit for offering)?
    • would Lord Siva glorify Him?
    • would the Lord bestow eternal state to the maid svayamprabha?

    • can a monkey leap across the mighty ocean?
    • can a woman tie the Lord to mortar? and
    • can bliss heighten to this defaulter tyAgarAja?

  • Devotion to our father rAma is indeed very best!

Word-by-word Meaning

appa rAma bhakti-entO gopparA mA-(appa)

Devotion (bhakti) to our (mA) father (appa) (mAyappa) rAma is indeed very (entO) (bhaktiyentO) best (gopparA)!

trippaTalanu tIrci kaNTi reppa valenu kAcu-A mA-(appa)

That (A) devotion to our (mA) father rAma, which, putting an end (tIrci) to the roaming of mind (trippaTalanu), protects (kAcu) (kAcunA) (so involuntarily) like (valenu) eye-lids (kaNTi reppa), is indeed very best.

caraNam 1
lakshmi dEvi valacunA lakshmaNuNDu kolucunA
sUkshma buddhi gala bharatuDu jUci jUci solasunA mA-(appa)

Devotion to our (mA) father rAma is indeed very best. Had it not been so -
would lakshmI dEvi so fervently love (valacunA) Him?
would lakshmaNa (lakshmaNuNDu) serve (kolucunA) Him with such dedication?
would bharata (bharatuDu), having (gala) such a sharp (sUkshma) intellect (buddhi), feel ecstatic (solasunA) beholding Him again and again (jUci jUci)?

caraNam 2
Sabari-engili-iccunA candra dharuDu meccunA
abala svayamprabhaku daivamu-acala padavini-iccunA mA-(appa)

Devotion to our (mA) father rAma is indeed very best. Had it not been so -
would Sabari offer (iccunA) (already) tasted (engili) (SabariyengiliccunA) fruits (unfit for offering)?
would Lord Siva - wearer (dharuDu) of (crescent) moon (candra) - glorify (meccunA) Him?
would the Lord (daivamu) bestow (iccunA) eternal (acala) (literally steady) (daivamacala) state (padavini) (padaviniccunA) to the maid (abala) svayamprabha (svayamprabhaku)?

caraNam 3
kapi vAridhi dATunA kaliki rOTa kaTTunA
aparAdhi tyAgarAjuku-Anandamu heccunA mA-(appa)

Devotion to our (mA) father rAma is indeed very best. Had it not been so -
Can a monkey (kapi) leap across (dATunA) the mighty ocean (vAridhi)?
Can a woman (kaliki) tie (kaTTunA) the Lord to mortar (rOTa)?
Can bliss (Anandamu) heighten (heccunA) to this defaulter (aparAdhi) tyAgarAja (tyAgarAjuku) (tyAgarAjukAnandamu)?

Notes –
Variations -
rAga - pantuvarALi - kAmavardhini.

1 – kAcunA – this is how it is given in all the books. There is some doubt about this word. In my opinion, this should be ‘kAcu’ or ‘kAcE’ and not ‘kAcunA’. However, ‘n’ has been taken as sandhi and translated accordingly.

2 – SabariyengiliccunA – SabariyengiliniccunA.

References -
2 – Sabari engili iccunA - ‘engili’ means ‘leftover of eatables’ – As per vAlmIki rAmAyaNa, AraNya kANDa, Chapter 74 (rAma meeting Sabari), there is no mention of Sabari offering bitten and tasted fruits. The following verses are relevant -

pAdyam-AcamanIyaM ca sarvaM prAdAt yathA-vidhi 7

..and offered (to the honoured guests) with due ceremony water to bathe their feet and rinse their mouth with and every (other) form of hospitality, ...

Sabari said -
mayA tu saMcitaM vanyaM vividhaM purusha-rshabha 17
tavArthE purusha-vyAghra pampAyAs-tIra-sambhavaM 18

“O Jewel among men! Produce of the forest of every description growing on the brink of pampA has therefore been gathered by me for you, O tiger among men!”

(Traditional version of Sabari offering tasted fruits.)

3 - candra dharuDu meccunA - The reference to Lord Siva is from phala ruti of vishNu sahasra nAma, where dEvi pArvathi asks Lord Siva the means for hearing the thousand(s of) names of vishNu recited by the learned every day. Lord Siva replies that simple repetition of the name of ‘rAma’ would be equal to reciting vishNu sahasra nAma.

4 - abala svayamprabhA - The story of svayaMprabhA comes in the kishkindA kANDa of rAmAyaNa. During their search of sIta, AnjanEya and others reach a divine cave, where they find a wonderful city guarded by an aged ascetic woman by name svayamprabhA. She is daughter of merusAvarNi and has been granted boons by Gods. However, vAlmIki rAmAyaNa doesn’t seem to contain any further reference about her emancipation in the hands of SrI rAma. This is found in adhyAtma rAmAyaNa – kishkindA kANDa – 6th Chapter.

5 - kapi vAridhi dATunA – Before leaping over the ocean AnjanEya utters these words to the monkeys –

"As an arrow loosed by SrI rAma would fly with the speed of wind, I too would likewise course to lanka guarded by rAvaNa. If I don’t find sItA in lanka, I shall certainly proceed with the same speed to heaven. If I don’t find sItA in heaven even after exerting myself, I shall bring rAvaNa, in chains. At all events I shall return successful with sItA" (SrImad vAlmIki rAmAyaNa, sundara kANDa, Chapter 1, verses 38 – 42).

However, in spite of his best efforts he could not locate sItA – even though aSOka vana, where sItA was kept as captive, was just in his sight. He becomes despondent and even contemplates of becoming an ascetic (ibid Chapter 13, verse 54). Then, drawing up courage, prays to rAma, lakshmaNa and sItA and other Gods before venturing into aSOka vana (ibid, verse 59). And, there, he finds sItA.

It is indeed strange that the grace of the very person who sent AnjanEya on this mission (SrI rAma) and the person searched (sItA) should be sought. SrI tyAgarAja enjoys this contradiction in the kRti 'rAma rAma nIvAramu gAmA’ – rAga Ananda bhairavi wherein he states - 'marugu jEsukonunaTTi mahima rArA’ – ‘O Lord who seems as if His Might is screened’. SrI tyAgarAja worshipped SrI rAma as para brahman.

The great hari kathA exponent Brahma Sri TS Balakrishna Sastrigal explains (in his discourse on ‘Tyagaraja Ramayana’) the feat of AnjanEya leaping across the ocean as the effect of devotion of AnjanEya. But when the bhakta develops ego and thus boastfulness, the job undertaken does not fructify. The boastful AnjanEya at the beginning of the journey, realises his limits and hence prayer to SrI rAma and mother sItA for their grace – for searching sItA herself.

6 - kaliki rOTa kaTTunA - The episode in kRshNAvatAra where yaSOdA ties SrI kRshNa – as a child – to a mortar is mentioned here. The following verses in SrImad bhAgavataM, Book 10, Chapter 9 are relevant –

sva-mAtuH svinnagAtrAyA visrasta-kabara-srajaH
dRshTvA pariSramaM kRshNaH kRpayA AsIt sva-bandhanE
nAyaM sukhApO bhagavAn dEhinAM gOpikA-sutaH
jnAninAM cAtma-bhUtAnAM yathA bhaktimatAm-iha (18,21)

“Perceiving the over-exertion of His mother, whose body was bathed in perspiration, the wreaths tied around his braid fallen down, SrI kRshNa allowed himself to be bound by Himself out of (sheer) compassion.
Lord kRshNa is not so easily accessible in this world to those identified with their body or even to men of wisdom who have become one with Him; but only to those possessed of devotion to Him.”

Please also refer to kRti of Papanasam Sivan – ‘enna tavam saidanai yaSOdA’ wherein he wonders at the fortune of a milk-maid who could tie the Supreme Lord to a mortar.


ऎ,कॆ,चॆ.. - e,ke,ce..(short);
ए,के,चे.. - E,kE,cE..(long);
ऐ,कै,चै.. - ai,kai,cai..;
ऒ,कॊ,चॊ.. - o,ko,co..(short);
ओ,को,चो.. - O,kO,cO..(long);
औ,कौ,चौ.. -au,kau,cau..;

प. अप्प राम भक्ति(यॆ)न्तो गॊप्परा मा(यप्प)

अ. त्रिप्पटलनु तीर्चि कण्टि रॆप्प वलॆनु काचु(ना) मा(यप्प)

च1. लक्ष्मि देवि वलचुना लक्ष्मणुण्डु कॊलुचुना
सूक्ष्म बुद्धि गल भरतुडु जूचि जूचि सॊलसुना मा(यप्प)

च2. शबरि(यॆं)गि(लि)च्चुना चन्द्र धरुडु मॆच्चुना
अबल स्वयम्प्रभकु दैव(म)चल पदवि(नि)च्चुना मा(यप्प)

च3. कपि वारिधि दाटुना कलिकि रोट कट्टुना
अपराधि त्यागराजु(का)नन्दमु हॆच्चुना मा(यप्प)


க,ச,ட,த,ப - 2-ख छ ठ थ फ; 3-ग ड द ब; 4-घ झ ढ ध भ
(ச3 - ஜ)
ஸ1 श - शिव - சிவன்
ரு2 ऋ - कृप - கிருபை

ப. அப்ப ராம ப4க்தி(யெ)ந்தோ கொ3ப்பரா மா(யப்ப)

அ. த்ரிப்படலனு தீர்சி கண்டி ரெப்ப வலெனு காசு(னா) மா(யப்ப)

ச1. லக்ஷ்மி தே3வி வலசுனா லக்ஷ்மணுண்டு3 கொலுசுனா
ஸூக்ஷ்ம பு3த்3தி4 க3ல ப4ரதுடு3 ஜூசி ஜூசி ஸொலஸுனா மா(யப்ப)

ச2. ஸ1ப3ரி(யெ)ங்கி3(லி)ச்சுனா சந்த்3ர த4ருடு3 மெச்சுனா
அப3ல ஸ்வயம்ப்ரப4கு தை3வ(ம)சல பத3வி(னி)ச்சுனா மா(யப்ப)

ச3. கபி வாரிதி4 தா3டுனா கலிகி ரோட கட்டுனா
அபராதி4 த்யாக3ராஜு(கா)னந்த3மு ஹெச்சுனா மா(யப்ப)

எமதப்பன் இராமனின் பக்தி எவ்வளவோ உயர்ந்ததடா!

(மனத்தின்) திரிதல்களைத் தீர்த்து, கண்ணிமைபோல் காக்கும் அந்த
எமதப்பன் இராமனின் பத்தி எவ்வளவோ உயர்ந்ததடா!

1. இலக்குமி தேவி மருவுவாளா? இலக்குவன் சேவைபுரிவானா?
நுண்ணறிவுடை பரதன், கண்டு கண்டு மயங்குவானா?
எமதப்பன் இராமனின் பக்தி எவ்வளவோ உயர்ந்ததடா!

2. சபரி எச்சில் கொடுப்பாளா? பிறையணிவோன் மெச்சுவானா?
அபலை சுயம்பிரபையினுக்கு, தெய்வம் நிலையான பதவியளிக்குமா?
எமதப்பன் இராமனின் பக்தி எவ்வளவோ உயர்ந்ததடா!

3. குரங்கு கடலினைத் தாண்டுமா? பெண்ணொருத்தி உரலில் கட்டுவாளா?
குற்றவாளி தியாகராசனுக்கு, ஆனந்தமும் பெருகுமா?
எமதப்பன் இராமனின் பக்தி எவ்வளவோ உயர்ந்ததடா!

பிறையணிவோன் - சிவன்
சுயம்பிரபை - இராமன் முத்தியளித்த ஒரு பெண்
பெண்ணொருத்தி உரலில் கட்டுவாளா - யசோதை கண்ணணைக் கட்டியது


ప. అప్ప రామ భక్తియెంతో గొప్పరా మా(యప్ప)

అ. త్రిప్పటలను తీర్చి కంటి రెప్ప వలెను కాచునా మా(యప్ప)

చ1. లక్ష్మి దేవి వలచునా లక్ష్మణుండు కొలుచునా
సూక్ష్మ బుద్ధి గల భరతుడు జూచి జూచి సొలసునా మా(యప్ప)

చ2. శబరియెంగిలిచ్చునా చంద్ర ధరుడు మెచ్చునా
అబల స్వయంప్రభకు దైవమచల పదవినిచ్చునా మా(యప్ప)

చ3. కపి వారిధి దాటునా కలికి రోట కట్టునా
అపరాధి త్యాగరాజుకానందము హెచ్చునా మా(యప్ప)


ಪ. ಅಪ್ಪ ರಾಮ ಭಕ್ತಿಯೆಂತೋ ಗೊಪ್ಪರಾ ಮಾ(ಯಪ್ಪ)

ಅ. ತ್ರಿಪ್ಪಟಲನು ತೀರ್ಚಿ ಕಂಟಿ ರೆಪ್ಪ ವಲೆನು ಕಾಚುನಾ ಮಾ(ಯಪ್ಪ)

ಚ1. ಲಕ್ಷ್ಮಿ ದೇವಿ ವಲಚುನಾ ಲಕ್ಷ್ಮಣುಂಡು ಕೊಲುಚುನಾ
ಸೂಕ್ಷ್ಮ ಬುದ್ಧಿ ಗಲ ಭರತುಡು ಜೂಚಿ ಜೂಚಿ ಸೊಲಸುನಾ ಮಾ(ಯಪ್ಪ)

ಚ2. ಶಬರಿಯೆಂಗಿಲಿಚ್ಚುನಾ ಚಂದ್ರ ಧರುಡು ಮೆಚ್ಚುನಾ
ಅಬಲ ಸ್ವಯಂಪ್ರಭಕು ದೈವಮಚಲ ಪದವಿನಿಚ್ಚುನಾ ಮಾ(ಯಪ್ಪ)

ಚ3. ಕಪಿ ವಾರಿಧಿ ದಾಟುನಾ ಕಲಿಕಿ ರೋಟ ಕಟ್ಟುನಾ
ಅಪರಾಧಿ ತ್ಯಾಗರಾಜುಕಾನಂದಮು ಹೆಚ್ಚುನಾ ಮಾ(ಯಪ್ಪ)


പ. അപ്പ രാമ ഭക്തിയെന്തോ ഗൊപ്പരാ മാ(യപ്പ)

അ. ത്രിപ്പടലനു തീര്ചി കണ്ടി രെപ്പ വലെനു കാചുനാ മാ(യപ്പ)

ച1. ലക്ഷ്മി ദേവി വലചുനാ ലക്ഷ്മണുണ്ഡു കൊലുചുനാ
സൂക്ഷ്മ ബുദ്ധി ഗല ഭരതുഡു ജൂചി ജൂചി സൊലസുനാ മാ(യപ്പ)

ച2. ശബരിയെങ്ഗിലിച്ചുനാ ചന്ദ്ര ധരുഡു മെച്ചുനാ
അബല സ്വയമ്പ്രഭകു ദൈവമചല പദവിനിച്ചുനാ മാ(യപ്പ)

ച3. കപി വാരിധി ദാടുനാ കലികി രോട കട്ടുനാ
അപരാധി ത്യാഗരാജുകാനന്ദമു ഹെച്ചുനാ മാ(യപ്പ)

Updated on 06 Apr 2010


shyam said...

thanks a lot

sincere regards
shyam bhat

Govindaswamy said...

Dear followers of this blog

I am posting below the email exchange I had with Sri Govindan.

Dear Sri Govindan
Anupallavi- C- You have given two possible alternatives for this word. I can think of a third one, viz, kAcurA. If so, it amounts to Thyagaraja asserting the powers of rAma bhakti in protecting the devotees.
Thyagaraja poses nine rhetoric questions in this song. The obvious single answer to these questions is, it would not have been possible without rAma bhakti. Though this not explicitly stated by him it is implicit in anupallavi.
The clauses, ‘Had it not been so’ in English and ‘அன்றேல்’ precede the meanings of these questions given by you. I am afraid that some people may not grasp the full significance of these crisp clauses. You may consider expanding these.

Dear Sri Govindaswamy,
I have changed the Tamil version அன்றேல் as இல்லையென்றால். I hope this will clear any doubts.
As regards your suggestion about ‘kAcu’ – I am of the opinion ‘kAcunA’ is not a question, but an assertion. However, the sandhi seems to be problem. The alternative suggested by you ‘kAcurA’ does not change the general meaning as I have given. Further ‘kAcurA’ is not found in any book. Therefore, I am unable to change the word. However, we both agree that it is an assertion. Therefore, I would like to leave it as it is.
With regards,
V Govindan

Dear Sri Govindan
‘kAcunA’ is obviously a question. Your splitting this as kAcu+A+mA Omitting ‘na’ is a little bit roundabout. I suggest ‘kAcurA’ +mA instead of ‘kAcunA’ +mA. This will will carry the meaning that Ramabhakthi will definitely protect devotees. I also notice that kAcurA +mA rhymes nicely with gopparA + mA of pallavi.


P.S I am unable to post my comments in the blog.

While I respect your views, I am not very convinced of the word ‘kAcurA’. In any case, you may post views in the blog. I will respond to them, so that viewers may make their choice.
I do not understand why you are not able to post your views in the blog. I have not restricted comments.
With regards,
V Govindan

Unknown said...

Dear Govindan garu,

adiyEn dAsan. kOti pranams to the service you did by putting all the thyagaraja krithis with meanings, references to other sacred texts out for the world.

I have minor input regarding one word in anupallavi ending

kacunA means "will it protect ?" - a question
kacurA means "it will protect !" - a statement

In the pallavi and anupallavi there are no questions... just statements on the greatness of bhakti on rAma and what it can do for one. The "rA" in the endings of the words goppa(rA) and kAcu(rA) are used when you are making a statement to someone/group.

The questions as "anecdotal proof" of rAma's bhakthi are only in the charanas.

One meaning of "trippatalu" is "troubles" which became "tippalu" in colloquial telugu... The anupallavi means - the bhakti on rAma will solve (tIrchi or dIrchi) your troubles (trippaTalanu) and it will protect (kAcurA) like (valenu) an eyelid (kanTi reppa) protects [the eye].

Again, dhanyosmi... thanks from the bottom of my heart and mind for your "enaleni sEva" of putting this compilation of krithis with meanings. This website is my 1st "goto" for anything on thyagaraja krithis.

Sincerely and respectfully,
Prasad Mantraratnam