Friday, July 11, 1958 to Monday, July 21, 1958
Swami inaugurated the Tyagabrahma festival at Tirupati on the 11th of July 1958. In the Discourse that followed, He condemned the fall of music from its pristine pinnacle due to the influence of cinema. He commended the efforts of the festival committee in popularising classical singer saints, and their efforts to instill in people the true spirit of Bhakti. He extolled Tygaraja’s devotion and the need for the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam to support every such endeavour that nurtures the ideals of Bhakti. He said:
“Tyagaraja is in a class by himself, not because he sang in Telugu but because his songs are marked by the rare excellences of sincerity of devotion, poetical beauty, and musical melody. The tune suited to the emotional tempo of the idea elucidated in the song; the marking of time quite appropriate to the movement of the meaning; the words, which automatically dictate the marking of time and guide the musician along the notes and the entire structure of the song, helping the arousal of the yogic urge in the singer — such spontaneous mastery of the science and art of both music and spiritual exercise is seldom found in the history of any language or country. He sang unaware, out of the fullness of his realisation, so the songs have that strange communicative force imparting bliss (Ananda) to the singer as well as the listener.
Devaki gave birth to Krishna, but the child was brought up by Yasoda in Brindavana. Yasoda had all the delight that the child could give. So too, the Tamil devotees of music have adopted Tyagaraja and have practiced his songs more than the Telugu speaking people. They are the Yashoda of Tyagaraja. The Tamils specialise in tune and beat, and they sing with scrupulous adherence to these. However, since they do not grasp the full meaning of the text, distortions painful to the Telugu ear often occur. More and more Telugu devotees have to learn to sing Tyagaraja musical compositions so that the nuances of the Telugu language in the songs may not be missed. After all, the tune, beat, and notations are to help in the more easy assimilation of the message contained in the song and in the transmission to the singer and the listener of the live emotion out of which the song arose in the first instance. This can happen only if the meaning is clear.
Music as a vehicle of peace is universally popular; men, women, and children of all lands are amenable to its subtle influence. Even animals and plants are susceptible to music. The Lord has said: “Where My devotees sing, there I seat Myself (Madbhakta Yathra Gayante, Tatra Tishthaami, Narada)” So the songs of Tyagaraja sung well and with full realisation of the context and meaning are excellent media for the spread of devotion. That is why I came today, to encourage and bless this committee, which is celebrating Tyagaraja Festival. Three things combined to bring Me here: their yearning, faith, and conjunction of convenience!
The Tirumalai Tirupati Devasthanam must foster the nurseries of devotion wherever they are found. For it is through devotion that pilgrims flock to the Hill and pray before Venkateshwara. If the springs of devotion dry up, with what are the minds of men to be watered? That is the reservoir for all the temples of this land. So, the Devasthanam can well come to the rescue of this committee. It is doing the work of the Devasthanam, by promoting the musical compositions of Tyagaraja that develops the spirit of devotion. Tyagaraja was Valmiki himself come to the south of India to sing the glory of Rama and spread the Rama Taraka mantra. He had always the welfare of the individual as well as the world in view. He had the experience of the constant presence of the Lord, so that Rama had to give him audience and come to his help a number of times. His devotion made him ever at peace and joyful.
Prayer and contrition are the two disciplines by which the mind can be cleansed of egoism and hatred; Tyagaraja is a fine example of how this can be done. He was ever engaged in the process of examining his words and deeds and evaluating them on the touchstone of devotion. As the bee in search of honey wanders in search of the flowers, as the creeper clings fast and fondly to the tree lest it fall, as the rill runs to the river and the river rushes to the sea, so Tyagaraja pined for Rama. His songs are pure fragrant blossoms of devotion and, therefore, are immortal. Everyone seeks rest, but the dust of sense craving accumulates on the mind, producing rust and threatening to “burst” it; so one has to test it, off and on, keep it in perfect trim. To remove that rust, the music of Tyagaraja’s musical compositions will be useful. Lay aside your cynicism for a while and listen to the captivating tunes and imbibe the sense. The science of spiritual culture and of the control of the mind has been developed and practiced in this country for thousands of years, and that is why Indian civilisation has stood the shock of ages and the fury of typhoons that swept whole peoples off their feet. India is still green and fresh, on the threshold of a new era, under the leadership of her own ancient ideals.
The taste for good music has also gone nowadays, with the coming of catchy lilts and crooning from the cinemas, and the craze has spread for imitating them even in Bhajans! Sing the compositions of Tyagaraja in the classical tunes, and I am sure they will have great appeal. They are not mere songs (Patalu), they are bundles (Mutalu) of precious stones; they take you along the road (Batalu) to God. If Tyagaraja gets neglected, this Holy Hill will lose height, for the Hill stands so high because it rests on the pedestal of devotion. Neglect of Tyagaraja can happen only when the people of this land become desperately worldly, deaf to the whisper of the God within.”
That very night, Swami drove to Tirumala, and stayed in the Ruia building. On the 12th morning Swami visited the Papanasam Falls. Swami graced the Sanctum Sanctorum of Sri Venkateshwara at Tirumala at around 3:30 pm. He left for Madras on the same evening. At Madras on the 16th, Baba released the book ‘Prema Vahini’ in the Shanti Kutir premises.
Swami reached Bangalore on the 18th and left for Mysore. Enroute He halted at Mandya for about an hour and gave Darshan to all those gathered there. Gurupoornima (20th July 1958) was celebrated in the Divine Presence at Sathya Sai Mandir, Mysore. Swami commanded Sri N.Kasturi to unveil an oil painting of Shirdi Sai in the prayer hall of the Mandir that evening. After Uyyalotsavam Swami granted Darshan to a large gathering. Swami returned to Bangalore on the 21st and stayed there for about a fortnight.