The sheer range of ragas and talas of these ‘simple’ divyanama compositions [of Tyagaraja] with their repetitive structure must have taught the people around the great composer the essence of Carnatic music.
The kritis of Tyagaraja and others, on the contrary, are conceived generally as musical compositions; and their poetry, however impressive, is mainly a verbal scaffold for raising a musical structure. Musical thought, rather than poetic thought, seems to determine their structure pattern.
The lyrics of Tyagaraja are often in the form of a “dialogue”, where he converses with God and solicits divine response. Some of them are also in the form of “exercise” in self-introspection, “discourses” on God’s glories , and “philosophical expositions” highlighting the impermanence of human existence and of worldly possessions.