[Advaita-l] NindA-stuti (Praise thro. criticism) refd. to in Sundaryalahari Digest (DPDS-15)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 3 13:15:15 CDT 2003

Namaste all.
In DPDS-15 of Soundaryalahari Digest, there was a mention about
‘nindA stuti’ , that is, a poem of praise through an apparent
criticism. There are several examples in the literature but
adi_shakthi16m produces an excellent example from the Telugu
compositions of Sri Thyagaraja of the famous music Trinity of
South India of  the early nineteenth century. I reproduce below
the two posts of ‘adi_shakthi16m’ in this connection.

Who has achieved happiness by asking anything of you O

O sun to the dark cloud like innumerable incurable sins! Supreme

Monarch! Lotus eyed! Home to good attributes! Who has attained 
happiness by asking anything of you O primordial Rama?

Sita took refuge in you thinking she was blessed with a good
life and 
immediately had to leave for the forest! O slayer of Rakshasas, 
Surpanakha on falling in love with you lost her nose! Who has 
attained happiness by asking anything of you O primordial Rama?

Narada approached you asking for enlightenment and was
transformed into a woman! Durvasa eagerly expected food and lost
appetite! Who has achieved happiness by asking anything of you O

primordial Rama?

Devaki prayed for the joys of raising you as son, but Yashoda 
experienced it instead! The chaste Gopis craving for union with
had to abandon their own husbands! Who has experienced happiness
asking anything of you O primordial Rama?

Who knows if compassion will ever surge in you and whether you
protect or not? Your secret is now out! O resident of Ayodhya!
of Tyagaraja's worship! What illusion is this? Who has
happiness by asking anything of you O primordial Rama?


This is a classic example of nindA stuti, where the Lord is
praised but overtly reproached. In the pallavi, the saint has 
questioned Rama's capability to do any good to his devotees. In
very next lines in the anupallavi, he reverses his stance and
the Lord as one who destroys sins and is home to all the good 
attributes. In the charanam he cites examples of the Lord's 
(ostensibly) strange behaviour towards his devotees.

1. Sita, his wife, went to the forest twice. The first time with

Rama, where she was abducted by Ravana. This was the catalyst
vanquishing the great evil King and countless demons. In the
instance she was banished in an advanced stage of pregnancy.
This was 
the catalyst for Valmiki who composed the Ramayana and also
taught it 
to Rama's sons. 

2. Surpanakha was inflamed with passion for Rama and had her
lopped off. This was the catalyst for Ravana's destruction.

3. Narada approached the Lord with a request to be made immune
Maya. The story goes that Narada boasted to Brahma and others
since he was such an ardent devotee of Vishnu, he was immune to
Having said this he left and was floating about when he saw a
lake on Earth. He came down and bathed in it and was immediately

transformed into a young maiden called Sudati who had no memory
having been Narada. As she wandered in the forest, King Nikunda
Peethikapuri (modern Pitthapuram in AP) saw her and fell in love
her. Narada (or rather Sudati) reciprocated and they were
Sudati bore Nikunda sixty children, after whom the sixty years
of the 
Hindu calendar (Prabhava, Vibhava etc are named). One day,
the neighbouring king waged war on Peethikapuri and killed
and his sixty sons. Queen Sudati ran to the battlefield and wept
days. Then one day, she was overcome with hunger and looked
about for 
food. The only edible item there was a fruit that hung high on a

tree. To reach it, Sudati used the skeletons of her sons to make
ladder. Lord Vishnu, now taking pity on her appeared and asked
her to 
take a dip in a second lake nearby for her children's sake. She
so and was transformed back into Narada, but with a set of
bangles on 
his left hand. These bangles served to bring to his memory the 
happenings of the past years and helped him realise that he had 
become a victim of Maya. The two lakes Narada Gundam and Mukti
are at Sarpavaram near Pithapuram. There is also a temple to
Bhavanarayanaswamy here. Narada is said to have undertaken
here and was then blessed with enlightenment and was freed of
bangles.This was the catalyst to his becoming a renunciate. 

4. Durvasa was sent by Duryodhana to the forest to meet the
The brothers and their wife Draupadi were living off the bounty
the Akshaya Patra, a vessel gifted by Surya to them which would 
continuously have food in it till Draupadi had her meal
Duryodhana sent Durvasa to them, timing his arrival in the
forest so 
that the food would have been exhausted. When Draupadi saw
she was in panic for the sage's curses were well known. She
him to proceed to the river for his bath while she prepared the
Krishna in answer to her prayers arrived there and asked her to
the magic vessel. He picked up a tiny morsel that was sticking
to it 
and swallowed it. At once the appetites of all living beings
quenched. Durvasa, his hunger gone could not face Draupadi and
hurriedly. This was the catalyst to Draupadi and the Pandavas 
receiving the blessings of the Sage.

5. Devaki, who had begged to have the Lord as her son, was not 
allowed to witness his pranks at Gokula. This was the catalyst
the death of Kamsa.

6. The Gopis, all chaste women, were so enamoured of the Lord,
they forgot their own husbands. This was the catalyst for their 

The saint therefore points out the greatness of the Lord while
sarcasticabout His achievements.

this song was composed by saint Tyagaraja, a great devotee of

The original composition of Shri Thyagaraja is also reproduced
below with the translation.


the song is the following in Telugu!! 

aDigi sukhamu 
Raga: madhyamAvati

Tala: misra cApu

aDigi sukhamulEvvaranubhavincirirA? AdimUlamA rAma!

saDalani pApatimirakOTisUrya! sArvabhauma ! sArasAksha ! sadguNa

C1: Ashrayinci varamaDigina sIta, aDavi bOnAyE !
AsharaharaNa rakkasiyishTamaDuga, apuDE mUkku pOyE ! O rAma!
C2: vAsiga nAradamauni varamaDuga, vanitarUpuDAyE
Ashinci durvAsu laDannamaDuga, apuDE mandamAyE; O rAma ! ninnu
C3: sutuni vEDuga jUDa dEvaki yaDuga, yaShOda sUDanAyE!
satulElla ratibhikshamaDuga vArivAri patula vIDanAyE ! O rAma !
C4: nIke dayabuTTi brOtuvo ? brOvavO ? nIgu TTu bayalAyE !
sAkEta dhAma ! srI tyAgarAjanuta ! svAmi ! eti mAyA ? O rama !

Word by word meaning

Evvaru - Who
anubhavinciri - Has experienced
sukhamu - Happiness?
aDigi - (by ) Asking anything
ninnu - (of) You
AdimUlamA - O primordial

sUrya - Sun 
saDalani - (to) irremovable
pApatimirakOTi - darkness that comes from millions of sins
sArvabhauma - Supreme monarch
sArasAksha - Lotus eyed one
sadguNa - Possessor of good attributes

sita - Sita
Ashrayinci - who took refuge in you
aDigina - and asked for 
varamu - a good life
aDavi (ki) bOnAyE - had to go to the forest
AsharaharNa - O slayer of Rakshasas
rakkasi - (when) the Rakshasi (Surpanakha)
aDuga - expressed
iShTamu - her liking (for you)
apuDe - immediately
mUkku pOyE - lost her nose

nArada mauni - Sage Narada
varamaDuga - asked for 
vAsiga - understanding (your creation)
vanita rupuDAyE - transformed into a woman
durvAsulu - Durvasa
Asinci - eagerly 
annamaDuga - asked for rice
appuDE - immediately
mandamAyE - became stupefied 

dEvaki - Devaki
aDuga - asked for
sutuni vEDuga jUTa - the joys of bringing up children
yashOda - Yashoda
sUDanAyE - was given them by you
sadulella - The chaste Gopis
rati bhikshamu aDuga - begged for your passion
viDanAye - (they) had to leave
vAri vAri - their respective
patula - husbands

ETi mAya - What illusion
sAkEtadhAma - O resident of Ayodhya
daya puTTi - when compassion is born
nIkE - to you
brOtuvO brOvavO - will you protect or maybe not
tyAgarAjanuta svAmi - O Lord of Tyagaraja's worship
nI - your
kuTTu - secret
bayalAyE - is out

The total meaning has already been given above. 

praNAms to adi_shakthi16 for allowing me to post it here
And praNAms to all advaitins and Devotees of Mother Goddess.

Prof. V. Krishnamurthy
My website on Science and Spirituality is http://www.geocities.com/profvk/
You can  access my book on Gems from the Ocean of Hindu Thought Vision and Practice,  and my father R. Visvanatha Sastri's manuscripts from the site.

Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! SiteBuilder - Free, easy-to-use web site design software

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list