Published January 30th, 2015 by

When: 5th February, 2015

Time: 6.30 pm

Venue: Nayana Auditorium, Kannada Bhavan, J C Road, Bengaluru


Published January 5th, 2015 by

Thyagaraja was born on the 4th May, 1767, at Tiruvarur in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. He was a prolific composer and highly influential in the development of the classical music tradition. Thyagaraja composed thousands of devotional compositions, most in praise of Lord Rama, many of which remain popular today. Thyagaraja began his musical training under Sonti Venkata Ramanayya, a music scholar, at an early age. He regarded music as a way to experience God’s love. The musical instinct in him was so strong that before the age of 13 he not merely gained an adequate mastery over vocal music but also composed his maiden song ‘namo namo raghavaya’ (Sanskrit) in desika thodi. He soon had a vision of sage Narada who is stated to have given him a treatise called the ‘svararnavam’.  Out of 24,000 songs said to have been composed by him, about 700 songs remain now. In addition to nearly 700 compositions (kritis), Tyagaraja composed two musical plays in Telugu, the Prahalada Bhakti Vijayam and the Nauka Charitam. A scrutiny of this work enabled Thyagaraja to clear all his doubts and by way of thanksgiving, he composed four kritis on Narada and a verse on Ramakrishnananda which he later included in his ‘Nauka Charitram’. When he completed a crore of Rama nama, Thyagaraja had a momentary vision of his ishta devata and sang its glory in the kriti ‘ela ni daya radu?’ in atana.  He is stated to have completed 96 crores of Rama Nama over some years. The Walajahpet manuscript of Tyagaraja’s life records that he first sang ‘janaki ramana’ (suddha simantini) and then ‘doruluna ituvanti’. He sang a detailed ‘neraval’ at the phrase ‘kamita phaladayaki’ in the charanam with variegated patterns of endless beauty. His formidable contemporaries included Pachimiriam Adippaiya and Pallavi Gopala lyer including Syama Shastri and Muthuswami Dikshitar who stood in a class of their own.  To those of Thyagaraja’s contemporaries who might have regarded his talent as mainly lyrical and devotional, the majestic sweep of the epic style displayed in the ‘Pancharatna Krithis’ must have come as a blinding revelation. He used music as an appropriate vehicle for the journey towards salvation.

His compositions fall into three broad class: one set represented by songs like Sangethagnanamu, Bhakti vina, Sogasuga Mridanga Talamu, Nadopasana, Nada Loludai, Anand Sagara, Sitavarasangita, Svararaga Sudha, Ragasudha Rasa, Vara Raga Laya, Sobhillu Saptaswara and others related to his views on the correct place of music in life, it main purpose, its yogic character, its link with devotion and the high seriousness with which it should be approached. A second series of compositions deals with the characteristics of a true devotee and one who lives correctly. It is significant that Thyagaraja was not concerned with happiness as ordinarily understood but more with the disciplines and procedures necessary for correct living. He perhaps felt, as has been observed by writers that happiness cannot be pursued, but that it is a byproduct of correct living. The following composition may be cited as instances in the third group: Emi Jesithenami, Ide Bhagyamu, Bhakuni Charitramu, Atade Dhanyadu ra, Manasu Nipa saktim Lekapote, Samayamu Delisi, Balamu Kulamu, Kalala Nerchina. The main theme of these songs is a scorn of the pursuit of earthly glory, possessions and wealth, and praise of steadfast devotion to God.

Sri Thyagaraja attained mukti in the year 1847. On the banks of the river is the samadhi of the saint composer and it is here that the greatest music festival in the country takes place annually. The Thyagaraja Aradhana is a week-long festival of music where various Carnatic musicians from all over the world converge at his resting place. On the Pushya Bahula Panchami thousands of people and hundreds of Carnatic musicians sing the five Pancharatna Kritis in unison, with the accompaniment of a large bank of accompanists on veena, violin, flute, nadaswaram, mridangam and ghatam.

A crater on the planet Mercury is named Thyagaraja.

The 168th aradhana festival commences on 06.01.2015 and concludes 10.01.2015, the rendering of Pancharatna krithis falling on 10th January 2015.