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Friday, July 11, 2014

The Efficacy of Prayer

Vid. K. J. Yesudas, 1992 Ramanavami, Parvathi

Reflections by Shri R. Sachi

We gladly share another favourite concert from the Parvathi Ramanavami archives, of Vid. K. J. Yesudas, held in 1992. The concert is remarkable for three reasons, viz., the voice quality of the celebrated singer, the wide repertoire of songs in so many ragas, and the the manifest affection showered by Sri K. Srikantiah in his speech.

When a prominent rasika, Justice VR Krishna Iyer, stated once that in the west, the government would have insured an incomparable voice like that of Yesudas, the vidwan is known to have responded that God Himself had insured his voice and that was enough. Vid. Yesudas makes his oft-heard comment in this concert also that all religions lead to the same God and we should not quarrel but only offer our sincere prayer. This prayerful mood is present throughout this concert.

One could well ask: why should one pray, and to whom, and what is the return on investment? Man after all does not find God until his prayers are answered. So why pray to this unknown entity? To this question, many songs in this concert offer answers, from famous saint composers. The song of Saint Thyagaraja “Teliyaleru Rama” has been discussed before in this blog ( Chitti Babu 1975 ). There the saint bemoans the worldly ways of the ritualists who are not on the true path of bhakti. Now let us see the import of the verse sung by Vid. Yesudas here from Narayaneeyam :

yOgindrAnAm thvadangEshvadhikasumadhuram mukthi bhAjam nivAsO
bhakthAnam kAmavarshadyutharukisalayam nAtha thE pAdamulam
nithyam chithasthithammE PavanapurapathE KrishnA kArunya sindhO
hruthvA nishshEshathApAn pradishathu paramAnanda sandOha lakshmim

The saint poet Bhattattiri prays to Guruvayoorappa that as the Lord’s feet have an incomparable attraction to the yogis, and become the abode of those who have attained Moksha. It is also like the wish fulfilling tree of Heaven, and grants all the wishes of the devotees. The poet pleads that the Lord’s feet should be always established in his mind, for that would dispel all his suffering and grant the greatest wealth of all, liberation.

So it seems rather certain that the devotee has to first find the prayer in his heart, and that will lead him to the Lord. It is not the other way round. Bhagavan Krishna states as much in the Bhagavadgita (9.12):

ananyAs cintayantO mAm
ye janAh paryupAsate
tesAm nityAbhiyuktAnAm
yOga-kSEmam vahAmyaham

Translation: The Lord states, “considering those who have only me in their thoughts, and have single-pointed and constant devotion to me, I shall take care of their well-being and address all their wants.”

What is noteworthy is that the true devotee who prays does not make a plea to God with a list of wants and needs. He simply has constant and unwavering devotion. God’s grace, and bliss, descend on such a true devotee.

So, come, Rasikas, let us sit and enjoy this wonderful concert!

Concert Details

K.J.Yesudas ------- Vocal
T.G.Tyagarajan ------ Violin
T.A.S.Mani -----Mridangam
M.A.Krishnamurthy ---- Ghatam
Ramanavami festival at Parvathi on 15-4-92.

Song List

01 Varnam-Sarasangi- Patnam Subramania Iyer? *** 02 Vatapi- Hamsadhvani- Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 03 Guruvina gulaama- Hamsanandi- Purandaradasa *** 04 Lavanya Rama –Poornashadja- Thyagaraja *** 05 Raghuvamsasudha-Kadanakutuhala- Patnam Subramania Iyer *** 06 Ksheerasagara-Devagandhari- Thyagaraja *** 07 Teliyaledu Rama-Dhenuka--swara ***08 RTP in Gamanasrama Raga *** 09 Tani *** 10 KS and Yesudas speech *** 11 SreeRamam-Narayanagowla- Thyagaraja *** 12 Rama Janaki jaane-Yaman kalyani- Yusufali Kacheri*** 13 En nenjil pallikondavan- Kalyani- Salem Eshwar *** 14 Mangala darshana-Anandabhairavi- Dakshinamurthy *** 15 Swami sangeeta-Abheri-Allepey Ranganath *** 16 Krishna nee begane-Yamankalyani- Vyasaraya *** 17 Gopalaka pahimam-Revagupti- Swati Tirunal *** 18 Yogeendranam-Narayaneeyam ***