That Minuscule Moment

Bombay Jayashri

At Talacauvery, in the thick forests, a small spring beckons devotees and tourists to soothe their senses and tired feet with the
cool water. It was with deep wonderment that I experienced this spot in the Brahmagiri Hills, which births this magnificent
river. The River, in India, is not just a flowing water body, but a Goddess, a symbol of beauty, purity and fertility, a nourisher of
life, culture and civilisation.
The Cauvery originates, as a very small pond, in the steep hills of Coorg, in Karnataka, in the Western Ghats and then flows
through the sands of Thalakkadu, taking a southerly direction, through the forests of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu districts of
Erode, Karur, Tiruchi and Thanjavur districts and finally the coastal delta where she joins the sea, the Bay of Bengal.
Further sanctifying the lands, flowing through Grand Anaicut built by Karikala Chola, Panchanadeeswara temple of
Tiruvaiyaru (home of Saint Tyagaraja ), Swamimalai — one of the six abodes of Lord Muruga and the seat of Panchaloka — the
Mahamaham tank of Kumbakonam, Panthanallur, Thiruveesanallur before touching the Pushkaram, Tula Ghat at
Mayiladuthrai. It was at Hogenakkal, two decades ago, that I first saw the Cauvery. Seated in a bamboo coracle, I could feel her one, how minuscule he is, in the creative cosmos of green and blue.
Visualising Tyagaraja
It is an experience to sit by the river, and feel the solitude, at Tiruvaiyaru, by the Samadhi of Sri Tyagaraja. And to visualise how
he had walked the streets, that led to the river.
And to think of how the water had stirred in him, an unquenchable thirst — to seek the swaras that would take him to his “Sita

Three of the five Sriranga kshetra kritis mention the Cauvery. ‘Karuna joodavayya’ (Saranga) celebrates Cauvery Ranga in the
pallavi, ‘Vinaraada naa manavi’ (Devagandhari) in the anupallavi and ‘Raaju vedala’ (Thodi) in its charanam. In ‘Ennaado
rakshinchithe’ (Sourashtra), Tyagaraja asks Lord Rama why He cannot be more like the Cauvery, who senses that her children,
starved of water, are looking up to her for succour. He wails ‘Oh! Rama, if only you had such sensitivity would I be in such a
wretched state?’
That water (jala) is one of the mightiest of the five Elements, personified in the Jambukeswara-Akhilandeswari temple in
Tiruvanaikoil very close to the Srirangam temple. Its now time to turn that question to ourselves. The source that has to be
preserved and worshipped is crying out to us. The bounty is being reduced, because of our short-sightedness, to a dry bed
covered with waste.
It is a reflection of our valueless pursuit. How and How soon can we close our eyes, to fill ourselves with the beauty that has
lived over centuries, breathing life into everything she touched, taking in all that she encountered?
The beauty that harnessed rich harvests of green? The beauty that sparked the imagination of poets and artisans? The beauty
of the moon shimmering on the waters? The sound of the paddle pushing the waters? The scent of nature in the waters? The
beauty that we are on the verge of losing?

Printable version | Sep 8, 2017 9:33:43 AM |
© The Hindu