Balamu Kulamu

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balamu kulumu Ela rAma
bhakti kAraNamu
velayu sakala 1siddhulella
veNTa vaccu kAni mEnu (balamu)
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Of what avail bodily strength or lineage? All the splendid super-natural powers would ensue only as a consequence of devotion to Lord Rama.

Charanams Combined

1. 2nITa kAki mInu munuga
niratamudaya snAnamA
tETa kanulu koGga 3kUrca
dEva dEva dhyAnamA (balamu)

2. patramulanu mEyu mEka
balamaina 4upAsamA
5citra pakSulegaya sUrya
candrulaku sAmyamA (balamu)

3. guhala vESa kOTuluNTE
guNamu kalgu maunulA
gahanamunanu kOtuluNTE
ghanamau 6vana vAsamA (balamu)

4. 7jaGgamulu palukakuNTE
saGgatigA maunulA
aGgamu muyyani 8bAlulu
apuDu 9digambarulA (balamu)

5. valacu tyAgarAja varadu
vara bhaktulu sEyu bhakti
celagu sakala janulakella
cellina kAsaunugA (balamu)
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1. If a crow or fish takes a dip in water, would it ever amount to morning ablusion? O Lord of celestials! If a stork focuses its clear eyes (on the lookout for catch) would it amount to meditation?

2. Is leaf-grazing goat observing severe fasting? If peacocks fly, can they reach the Sun and Moon?

3. If there are ochre garb wearers in the caves, are they (necessarily) virtuous ascetics? If there are monkeys in the forests, would it amount to real dwelling in the forest (in pursuit of austerities according to Asrama Dharma)?

4. If Jangamas remain silent, are they sages - who observe silence - in the proper sense? In that case would naked children become naked mendicants (of Jaina sect)?

5. Devotion, as practiced lovingly by the blessed devotees, towards Lord Rama – bestower of boons to this Thyagaraja - is indeed the shining means - currency (for redemption) for all people.


  • 7jaGgamulu - jaGgamamulu : jaGgamulu - is appropriate.
  • 8bAlulu – bAluru


  • 1siddhulu – eight-fold Siddhi - aNiman – laghiman – prApti – prAkAmya – mahiman – IzitA – vazitA – kAmAvazAyitA : become minute as atom – extreme lightness – reach anything (moon with the tip of finger) – irresistible will – illimitable bulk – supreme dominion – subjugating by magic – suppressing all desires : Source – Monier’s Sanskrit Dictionary.
  • 4upAsamu - In Yogic practices, fasting and survival on leaves alone is one of the stages. In Srimad-Bhagavatam – Book 4 – Chapter 9 – the prescription to Dhruva by sage Narada is to –
eat a fruit at the end of each three nights during first month;

eat grass or leaves every sixth day during the second month; take water only every ninth day during the third month; inhale air only every twelfth day during the fourth month;

control breath fully during the fifth month;
  • 6vana vAsamA – refers to the third stage of life - vAnAprasthAzrama – to know more please visit – [Vanaprasthasrama]


  • 2nITa kAki - Translation has been made on the same line as given in all the books; however, ‘nIru kAki’ (Tamizh 'nIr kAkkai) (cormorant) whose food is fish dives into water to get its prey. ‘nIru kAki’ and ‘mInu’ belong to the same category having habitat in and around water; ‘kAki’ (crow) and 'mInu’ (fish) are not in the same category. Further, the word ‘munuga’ itself means ‘taking a dip in water’. Therefore, a doubt arises whether the Sri Thyagaraja means ‘nIru kAki’ by ‘nITa kAki’ – but in such case it should be ‘nITi kAki’.
    • nIru kAki - Phalacrocorax carbo -Great Cormorant; Phalacrocorax fuscicollis- Indian Cormorant and Phalacrocorax niger - Little Cormorant. [Cormorant]
  • 3kUrcu - Upper part of the nose between eyebrows where yogic concentration is made.
  • 5citrapakSulu – In some books, this word has been translated as ‘fire-fly’; in other books, this has been taken to mean ‘birds’ in general. The word for ‘fire-fly’ or ‘glow-worm’ is ‘miNuguru purugu’ or jyOtiriGgaNamu (Telugu) and ‘prabhA kITa’ or ‘jyOtiriGga’ or jyOtirgana’ (Sanskrit).
    • The peacock in telugu is ‘citra pakSamu’ (citra pattraka - in Sanskrit). In view of the following word ‘egaya’ - meaning ‘fly’ - indicates the reach of flight and not the fluorescence as applicable to fire-flies. It is a fact that peacock cannot fly too high or too far. Accordingly, ‘citra pakSulu’ has been translated as ‘peacock’. However, if Sri Thyagaraja intended 'fire-fly', then it would be translated as 'if fire-flies fly around, could they (their glow) equal the Sun and Moon?'
  • 7jaGgamulu - In some books, this is given as ‘beggars in the garb of Saivite Devotees’. According to the website – [Jangama1] a Jangama is ‘a priest belonging to Lingayat community; a wandering ascetic’. They are stated to involve in petty thefts for livelihood. To know more about them, please visit the site. According to the website - [Jangama2]- Jangama is ‘a term used by Vira Saivites, originally to name their mendicant, renunciates who walked as homeless sadhus, uplifting others. Now an order of Vira Saivite teachers’.
  • 9digambara – it is also one of the names of Supreme Lord – direction-clad – quarters as garment. In the bikSATana avatAra, Lord Siva comes as digambara - For a brief on the story please visit the web site- [Bikshatana]
    • However, as the word is used in plural form, Sri Thyagaraja seems to mean digambara of jaina sect - [Digambara]