#18 (Thyagaraja) Not For Wealth Poem by Rajaram Ramachandran

#18 (Thyagaraja) Not For Wealth

Rating: 3.1

The year eighteen-not-two saw
Saint Thyagaraja with all awe,
As he had reached the peak
By then in the uphill task.

Sarabhoji, King of Tanjore,
Had his own wish to hear,
In the palace, the Saint singing
On the glory of the King.

His minister then went
To invite the Saint,
And said, “Oh Thyagaraja
I come from Maharaja.”

“He’s giving you a land,
Ten acres, besides gold,
If you come and sing
On the glory of the King.”

Under a rude shock,
He was taken aback
On hearing this word,
His face became red.

He said, “How can I sing
For an earthly king,
With my mouth that sings
For the King of Kings.”

Then he sang a song
“What’s right or wrong?
Lord Rama or any treasure?
Which one gives more pleasure? ”

(He sang in Raga Kalyani
Nidhi Sala Sugama Ramuni
Sannadhi Seva Sugama
Nijamuga Palgu Manasa)

“Will the wealth give pleasure?
Or the service to Rama, a pleasure?
Oh mind, tell me the fact,
Which one you’ll select? ”

“Curd, butter, milk, the three,
Are they really tasty?
Or to sing earnestly
For the Lord is tasty7”

“A bath in the holy Ganges River
Will it give more pleasure?
Or a bath in a dirty well water
Will give that much pleasure? ”

“Out of ego, praise a man.
Will it bring any pleasure?
Or sing for the Lord more.
Will it give one pleasure? ”

His refusal to sing
For the Royal King
Did incite the ruler
Who issued an order.

“Bring Thyagaraja here.
This is my order.”
Soldiers hurriedly went
To bring the Saint.

The King then had an attack
Of severe pain in his stomach.
Unbearable when it became
To the Saint’s place he came.

The pain spared the King
When the Saint sang
An appeal to the Lord.
The King was thus saved.

Samanyan Lakshminarayanan 08 August 2009

wisdom flows in this poem...many have become richer with the musical this great man has left behind...bringing god into art i think was a rarity of india...thanks for this share sir

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Sandra Fowler 08 August 2009

What a fascinating story. Thyagaraja's noble character is well defined here. And his lack of interest in earthly fame or material wealth. Also, his compassionate soul. Excellent write, Rajaram. Fond regards, Sandra

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Rajaram Ramachandran

Rajaram Ramachandran

Chennai born, now at Juhu, Mumbai, India
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