This selection as presented almost seems inflammatory. In fact, you have to rewind a little as PB suggests in his writing. The speech does not seem to focus on Javalis at all. That part lasts only a couple of minutes.
At 14:50 he begins to speak about the compositional form: the Javali. This is how he goes (I add my criticism as I go):
1. Many many scholars, he says, have given many many “reasons” for the Javali. This appears to mean many many definitions
. He gives a translation of one particular definition in Kannada. But he gives no other definitions in spite of referring to the many that exist and claims that they cannot all be true. Apparently the word exists in many other languages including Arabic and he seems to imply that all their definitions contradict each other. Did he settle on the Kannada definition as “a lewd song?” Unclear. I was not impressed with his approach.
2. He says that “for him” the Javali form came into being before a name was appended to it. If you think about it, most things are named after they come into existence. Again he does not define the nature of the form, nor does he substantiate his statement with any dates.
3. Then he makes his potentially offensive statement prefacing it with a request to the pious in the audience not to be offended. Without having defined the Javali as a form, and without giving any dates, he declares that three kritis of Thyagaraja’s are Javalis. My impression of his speech is that he is not scholarly, he does not seek to convince, it is just a gratuitous statement without elucidation or any effort by him to convince them. But no one even asks a question about this part of his speech.
4. This is the most important part. He declares three songs of Thyagaraja as being Javalis and the only thing he says by way of explanation is that these songs have the prosody
of a Javali. Now he does not tell you what he thinks the prosody of a Javali is, and how the prosody of these songs corresponds to that of a regular Javali.
Plus, let’s note that he only says “prosody,” a word which does not refer to form or content, only to features like metre, syllable counts, rhyme..
On the other hand, it’s possible he does not know what the word means and by “prosody,” he actually means the type of lyrics or even the type of sentiment in the songs. That does seem to be true as he launches into a cynical, description of the typical javali, almost ridiculing it and likens it to the three songs of Sri T that he had mentioned earlier, especially Chinnanaade Na. So if he actually meant the lyrical content, we should take it more seriously.
Yes, Thyagaraja‘s language does sound very simple, and pedestrian, quite like a javali. But certainly in all his works it seems clear to me that his intention is to talk directly to Sri Rama without being clever, without attempting to show skill in matters irrelevant to his Bhakti such as literary merit (though I agree that he does follow rules of prosody which may have come naturally to him).
All that said, one has to examine an individual work in the context of the wider body of work. Did T regularly sing of the mundane or was it his main goal to bring Rama close to him? Did he talk of a wish for money or fame or the love of his wife or the state of his finances? So if you examine it in context it seems gratuitous to say that it speaks of lust. As evidenced by all his other work, T was single-minded in his devotion.
Regarding the details: he says that javalis say, “ You did this to me and I did that to you when we were kids,” and that Chinnanade Na says the same thing. The words are similar, may be. But what is T’s record? Surely not one of lust! His record is one of Bhakti. As a child you held my hand is what he says (according to Sri VG’s translation ).You held my hand and guided me all along, so will you abandon me now or rule my mind? I see this as total surrender to God’s Grace. If an ordinary person wrote it, It would be e open to interpretation, but we have T’s body of work that attest to his extraordinarily pure mind, a mind focused on devotion. Such a mind does not readily descend into lust amidst years of elevation and focus.
It really depends on the content and quality of one’s own mind, whether you would choose a lower or higher interpretation (of T). But to me this man’s interpretation holds no water.
It’s a pity that no one challenged this gentleman On the spot.