Answers embedded in questions

Has anyone ever gained anything by worshipping you? Has anybody attained equanimity of mind by reciting your names and recollecting your wondrous deeds"? asks Saint Thyagaraja in his composition 'Sukhi Evaro' in the Ragam Kanada. This master of words wields his power of rhetoric to telling effect here to drive home the message that the only medicine for all the ills of humankind is the feet of the Lord. The world beckons man with all its myriad sense pleasures.

In the pursuit of these sensory attractions, man forgets and also deliberately ignores the path of values and ethics. The sense of duty, righteousness, truth, compassion- all fall by the wayside, as a man runs in the rat race of life. Saint Thyagaraja cautions against this approach to life.

Pragmatic enough to proclaim, albeit elsewhere that not everyone can be expected to born with the altruistic mindset and total devotion, he advocates a sensible and well-grounded path of commitment to one's duty, truth and using one's innate abilities for not only personal growth and enrichment but for the welfare of other people also.

In this song, Saint Thyagaraja touches upon another vital point - the tendency to differentiate between various Gods and Goddesses. Especially in the Indian context, with its multiplicity of divinities, it is quite but natural that each person has his or her own favourite diety. And rightfully so too. But what is to be noted here is that all names and forms denote the one underlying power that controls this universe.

This is also the Vedantic dictum that there is only one supreme, nameless, formless, attribute-less power that has neither beginning nor end. Not surprisingly, Saint Thyagaraja, the erudite scholar speaks of this in the song. When this awareness of universal oneness melds with devotion and truth, a sense of inner peace and balance reflected in one's approach to life becomes apparent.

Seen in this light, the seemingly incongruous questions of Saint Thyagaraja reveal the self-evident answers too.


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