In one of my recent posts I have written a bit about the raagaa Vakulabharanam. One of a few important works in the raaga is Tyagaraja’s composition, ” Yae Ramuni nammitinoa ?” in Misrachapu talam (seven beat cycle).
This song expresses Tyagaraja’s anguish that the alacrity shown by his Lord Sri Rama in going to the rescue of his spouse when she was hurt by a crow, or when he allowed safe sanctuary to Vibhheshana the brother of his arch rival Ravana or in punishing the tormentors of his other devotees was not being extended to him.
He expresses a doubt as to whether the Rama he believed in was the same magnanimous Rama. He also wonders whether the flowers he worshipped the Lord with were indeed to the Lord’s liking.
I listened to this song rendered last Satur day by Ms. Pantula Rama, on the SVB chsnnel of the TTD by chance after I wrote my recent post about crows.
On a general note, one of my pet grouses is that erudite scholars get carried away by their talent in the mechanics of the Raaga and Taala and relegate the feeling behind the lyric or about how the flow of the notation follows the Bhava ( emotion) and the reason why the specific raaga was chosen to delieneate the feeling behind the lyric.
I give hereunder my attempt at translation into English, of the stanzas in the Tyagaraja’s lyric referring to the Kakasura episode (which finds place in the Sundara Kandam of Valmiki Ramayana as recounted by Sitamma to Hanuman )
Is He not the Raama whom I have believed in,
whom I have worshipped and with which sort of flowers ?
Is He the same Rama, who day in and day out
vanquishes and subdues the enemies of His true devotees.
Is He indeed that angry relentless guy, The Lord of Saketa City, who instead of glossing over the mischief of the Crow-demon who hurt and stressed Sita, (while she patiently was tending to her dozing husband when they were alone in exile in the forest ), and devoid of any mercy, threw an arrow at the hapless creature and made it blind in one eye.
(The word ‘sokorchi’ in the lyric means bearing the pain caused by the demon-crow. Soku in Old Telugu means a devil or demon or spirit. Orchi means, bearing stoically.
Sairinchukoka means ‘without glossing over the misdemeanour.
Waaramu means continuously.We may also take it to men week in and week out
Madam-anachu means curb the arrogance of,
Joakotta means soothingly pat someone or sing a lullaby also, to send someone to comfortable sleep.
Cheekaku chaeyu means trouble or vex.
Madini daya baasi means, ‘without any compassion.)
Yae Raamuni nammitino, naen-
yae poola pooja chaesitino ?
warulaku ripulaina waari
madam-anachu Sri Raamudu gaado?
madini daya baasi,
Here is an URL which leads to a painting in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which depicts the Kakasura demon’s story from the Ramayana.