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Thursday, November 15, 2012




We are going to talk about the greatest musical legend on earth. He was not a composer, singer in any ordinary sense or even in extra ordinary sense. He was divine incarnation and a Saint who happen to choose music as a medium. I am not trying to deify or idolize any ordinary mortal but trying to make ordinary mortals understand his uniqueness and how he made it known to human race that music is not merely a medium to express various emotions, to exhibit musical skills, to explain subjects through lyrical splendour , to entertain the mind with marvellous music etc all of which many great composers and musicians have done all over the world but what he  has done uniquely is to enmesh human soul with the vibrations of universal divine soul especially in different moods of human soul from the silly, sentimental, short tempered, selfish seeking to the sublime.
He has at once grasped and given various vibrations of the divine soul in a very systematized but simple and spiritual manner so that anyone can follow the musical vibrations irrespective of the his knowledge of the language or lyrics [the knowledge of the lyrics will of course make one savour the nectar in its entirety], knowledge of the musical system with its musically most evolved system of Ragas [modes] and intricate Tala [rhythmic patterns]. This is possible because his compositions are imbued with divine spiritual vibrations of which we are all part.
What is the justification of including him in a chapter on Andra rather than in Tamilnadu where he was born and where he lived and also attained Siddhi [left his mortal body] because the bulwark of a great culture, the Vijayanagara Empire fell at the end of the 16th Century. The invasion from the North brought in its wake a great exodus of population towards further down south. Quite a few Hindu families had to flee to southern areas which were still peaceful. Many found shelter under the benign rule of the Nayakas and the Maratha Kings of Tamilnadu. Particularly, a number of Telugu families went to South and formed nuclei of art and culture and Thyagaraja’s ancestors belonged to one such stock, as he describes himself as descending from a family of immigrant Vaidiga Brahmins of the Muriginadu sect belonging to Kakarla family (Kakarla is a village in the Kurnool District of Andhra). They moved to Tamil Nadu Country during the Vijayanagar period in early 1600’s.
He manifests the experiences of a divinely inspired individual soul and its musings with the universal divine soul. So as an individual soul nesting in a physical frame he experiences different emotions; goes through many  difficulties; forced to react to inferior aesthetic sensitivities even among students he has scrupulously groomed; forced to cause unpleasantness to his blood relatives because they are more keen on making material advancement using his talent which is against his saintly principles; he incurs the displeasure of the society because of his unwillingness to toe certain rituals devoid of intrinsic values etc. There are not only anecdotes to each and every one of the few aspects of life that I have mentioned above but there are even kritis [songs] composed by him imploring answers through divine intervention.
His bhakthi was with such total intensity and intense totality that he was more communicative with Lord Rama whom he just not worshiped as a God incarnate and manifestation of the universal divine soul but considered as his friend, philosopher and guide that he expresses all his sentiments that of joy, sorrow, desolation, anger, helplessness, disgust, he even complains about the society and its people for their misplaced values etc to Lord Rama. Thank God he chose music as his medium that we are blessed with such exalted music because it has emanated from a soul manifested with divinity and communicating only with Universal Divine vibrations through music.
So, the anecdotes about all the instances good, bad, ugly must be studied only in the background of these basic frameworks of who Saint Tyagaraja is and what he valued rather than critically analysing them based on any common, mundane , normal academic evaluation and conclude that he was very susceptible person prone to anger, parading false modesty etc .On the contrary even what some biographers have indicated as his anger towards his own students I would like them to see it as his reasonable feeling of disgust towards his own students whom he so scrupulously groomed pandering to or falling prey to inferior aesthetic sensitivity.
Besides I would like everyone to remember that even the greatest of saints and the divine incarnations when they take on human frame or form are obviously subject to the gullibility and the fallibilities that happen as a result of human physical and emotional limitations. But normally, on a matrix of evaluation since the quantum of their positive contributions  are  so high and their impact is so intense and complete that everyone becomes oblivious to their small weaknesses and insignificant and slight negative aspects.
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder all virtues and vices are in the mind of the evaluator and the tools and standards of evaluation. Evaluations themselves are very subjective on one hand [based on the evaluator’s perceptive abilities] and on the other hand they are also influenced by the context or environment or situation when the evaluation takes based on certain existing traditions, trends and taboos of that place and time. Besides it is too haughty to presume that human reason or logic or conforming to socio morals alone as the ultimate adjudicator or judge of everything because there are many things which are [of which many nice and wonderful things] far beyond the ken of human logic, perception etc and all behaviours need not be approved by social sanction and all works need not necessarily have to have the stamp of scientific methodology.
Creativity and creative geniuses, spiritually enlightenment and the spiritually enlightened souls, scientific discoveries and scientific discoverers, all these people, normally as a rule because their activities are  inspired, their souls getting tuned in with the  universal souls, are  hyper sensitive and highly sensible , and hence  never bother about fitting into or following any existing or established criteria and that’s why they are able to create something new, discover something new and in this process anything that creates a friction or hampers the function of their creativity or discovery will be an irritant testing the human physical and emotional limitations of the creator or discoverer. The reaction from the great creators and discoverers are not signs of intolerance or of revenge but they are activities to smoothen the path of their sensible sensitivity.
Ordinary mortals can never understand certain extraordinary behaviours with their limited tools of perceptions and narrow socio religio morals. At best they can go on debating and discussing about certain activities.
Both types of biographers, on one extreme of the spectrum those who venerate, idealize, idolize, deify and on the other extreme of the spectrum the criticism hungry ruthless reviewers  who are looking for faults, searching for scandals, erecting edifices of highest moral standards reserved exclusively for those whom they have decided to evaluate in terms of these standards , in brief, the unloving critics and uncritical lovers fail to see the intrinsic value, wisdom and worthiness of the souls that they are trying to get enlightened by  or want to evaluate or  emulate or exterminate through derogation or damage.
That’s why while writing or reading about biographies of great souls even the details of their date of birth, place of birth and time of disappearance of their mortal frame and the interim period of their personal life are of relatively lesser significance than their intrinsic contribution of wisdom and worthiness. For, they are not creatures confined by chronology or curtailed by circumstances, but free and flamboyant spirits who live forever through their works and words of wisdom which is what is of importance to us rather than the chronological aspects and small fallibilities in their personal life.
So Saint Tyagaraja too in that sense must be studied for his extraordinary contribution to music and bhakthi which he manifested through his music all of which he did against all odds and we need not bother about how he looked like? How many wives he married? What he ate? How he treated his students? Why he reacted in a particular way at a specific situation towards some of his students? Etc
I am making this preamble because there have been some write ups to that effect in some books, blogs and web sites.
Any art form reaches its pinnacle when from tradition there is a transition leading to transformation. When this happens there are lot of criticisms some valid and some wild. In any case the transition itself is not that easy. However, most original and creative artists have somehow managed to evolve out of the tradition and managed to carry on with the transitions gradually leading to transformation but in the case of  Saint Tygaraja as he was operating with a divine soul , he enriched and enhanced the existing traditions carrying out the ultimate refinement thereby not creating any uneasiness or friction with the lovers of tradition  and instead of the usual route of transition and transformation he at once transported the whole of humanity into higher realms of ecstatic revelations of  divinity inherent in  musical vibrations or conversely he made every one realize that musical vibration was the best method to grasp divinity  and transformed music from that of mere source of entertainment to a tool for devotion leading to permeating with the divine in a method involving very pleasant and natural vibrations and frequencies.
In other words he brought out the hitherto hidden aspect, nature and purpose of music that of a medium to acquire the wisdom of perceiving Brahman [The Divine Universal Soul] the intelligence to analyze and experience Divinity; the diligence to seek Divinity; and the patience to wait for enlightenment.  He described his Rama [Divine Incarnation] as an embodiment of Nada.  No other composer has in such simple and appealing ways taught music as art, science, philosophy and ultimately, as a means to spiritual enlightenment.
All his compositions are eternal melodies imbued with the imprints of a divine soul in structure, sound and substance in the form of lyrics. He wrote on a wide range of subjects, of course, all relevant to spiritual enhancement with the majority of the songs are in praise of Rama and a few on other deities, there are numerous songs on ethics and morals, worldly wisdom, mental control etc But other than these there is one subject wherein he imprints his uniqueness, let see what it is.
Uniqueness in the case of Saint Tyagaraja is what you may call as a contradiction in spiritual enlightenment. Usually if we scan through the annals of human history great artists get too attached to the medium of their art to the negligence of everything else and seekers of enlightenment brush aside the medium of enlightenment once enlightenment is reached, for, they feel the relative irrelevance of the medium once the goal for which the medium was adopted is attained. But, in the case of Saint Tyagaraja he elevated the status of medium [here music] as the very goal and thus blunted the difference between the medium and goal. For Saint Tygaraja music or Nadha was God personified, for him music was very sacred and has to be approached with utmost sanctity and reverence. Here, it is imperative to mention the many kritis that he devoted to extolling Nadha and explained the proper way to handle it with reverence etc these are phenomenal and no other composer has ever talked about the grammar of rendering music. This shows his involvement and intimacy with music. He was primarily in love with music and then through that with Rama [Divine Incarnation].
Saint Thyagaraja had a unique combination of the bhakti of Prahlada, the music of Narada and the vakpatutva of Valmiki. Passionate in his music, profound in his knowledge of it, pure in his devotion he petrified everyone with his music. In fact the best way to approach his biography, rather the only way available at our disposal is through the study of his compositions wherein most of the events, instances of importance to his life are depicted in the lyrics and therefore that would be more authentic rather than the narrations passed on by people who may have lived around him in terms of geographical proximity but may have been far removed from understanding such a divine soul. So such accounts may not be very reliable.
In 1827, at the age 60, he celebrated Sastiaptha Purthi. In 1839 during the month of April, he visited Tirupati, but when he went to the temple, it was closed. In sadness, he sang "Teratiyagaraadaa" and the temple officials gathered round in admiration when they saw the door opening by itself and the screen falling aside. He sang "VenkaTEsha ninu sEvimpa" in his happiness at seeing the Lord.

While returning to Thiruvaiyaru, he visited Chennai-Kovur, where he composed Kovur Pancharatna during his stay with Kovur Sundara Mudaliar. Later he composed Thiruvetriyur Pancharatna while he was staying with Veena Kuppier. At the invitation of his disciple LaalguDi Raamayya, he composed the Laalgudi Pancharatna. He also composed the Shreeranga Pancharatna in praise of Ranganaata of Shreerangam and 5 kritis in praise of Sage Naarada.

On completion of this spiritual tour he reached Thiruvaiyaru at the end of October, 1839. In 1841, Gopalakrishna Bharathi visited Thyagaraja at his residence in Thiruvaiyaru. The Ghana Pancharatina Kriti, 'Endaro mahanubhavulu..' was composed when Chatkalam Govindamaarar visited him in 1843.

It was said that Lord Rama appeared before him on 27-12-1846 in his dream and offered him Motsa after 10 days. Next day he revealed this to his disciples and relatives during 'Egadesi Bhajanai'. Accordingly everyone believed that 6-1-1847 would be the day when he was expected  to attain Mukthi. The Saint took to Sanyasa on 5-1-1847 when he felt the premonition of his approaching end to his mortal life and called himself Nadha Premmananther. He attained Siddhi on the Pushya Bahula Panchami day in the year Parabhava 1847 A.D. (6-1-1847). His mortal remains were interred at a spot on the left bank of the river Cauvery at Thiruvaiyaru with the honor and religious rites due to a Sanyasi.
For example through his songs  he makes  known the metamorphosis of a spiritual soul in its journey in which it meanders from an intensely focused love bordering on almost a fanatical bond with Rama claiming that Rama alone is superior to everything even the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva through these  kritis he wants to establish Rama’s distinct  superiority  “eka maata oka bhanamu oka pathni vrathude” (Harikamboji); “Vaadera daivamu manasa” (Pantuvarali) and “Sarmegani anya marga vicharameti ke Oh manasa” (Pantuvarali) etc., he asserts that Rama is the embodiment of virtures and that the Trimurthis worshipped him. However, at a very later stage of his life that he composed songs like “Paramathmudu velige” (Vagadeeshwari) in which he stresses the immanence and universality of God in everything, the animate and the inanimate, by whatever name we may choose to call Him. To stress this, he explains these further in the charana of the kriti. This kriti is well worth reading several times and understanding fully. [Biography Of Sri Thyagaraja Swami (1767 - 1847 AD)part IV]

Though many literary scholars, philosophers, scientists, musicians, mystics, poets etc all over the world have expressed the importance of music as a medium of religious worship and one of the pleasantest medium of spiritual seeking none rendered this fact itself in music and also lay out the grammar as to how this can be carried out as Saint Ttyagaraja has done.

In his Kritis Ni Bhakti Bhagyasudha ( raga ; Jayamanohari : tala ; Rupaka ) he sings :"The rituals elaborated in the Vedic scriptures result in rebirth and the attendant misery. O Master of Tyagaraja, you are the embodiment of the musical sound. You are immeasurable" (S Krishna Murthy, T N Padmanabhan : Tyagaraja Vachanamrita ).

As Vasan mentions in www. in  the chapter titled Biography Of Sri Thyagaraja Swami (1767-1847 AD)II

“One important group of songs is those based on his study of the Sangita Sastras and his practice of Nadopasana. Some composers have made passing reference to the occult and mystic aspect of nada, sangita, and swara, but it is only the Sadguru Thyagaraja Swami, who has left nearly 25 songs on the origin (divine) structure and purpose of music and how the knowledge of Sangita could by itself offer liberation from bondage of the cycle of birth and death. As Mr. T. S. Parthasarathi says, arranging these kritis in the order of their subject matter, one can create a text book on the subject of Nada upasana, Sangita upasana, and attaining moksha in this life itself. A discussion of these kritis is matter enough for a separate paper, and so I shall content myself with briefly mentioning some of the songs and their appropriateness. Such a list would include songs such as: Nadopasana, Mokshamau Galada, Seethavara, Sangita Sastra Gnanamu, Sobhillu Sapthaswara, Nada Thanumanism and Swara Raga Sudharasa. The importance of these and other songs and how Sri Thyagaraja Swami used his compositions to energize our inner spiritual forces and attain moksha in this life are discussed in the article “Nadopasana for Salvation.”
As his soul was submerged in music both as the medium and goal, however one approaches the kritis of Saint  Tyagaraja either technically or devotionally or for mere musical entertainment one is either consciously or sub consciously or unconsciously led  to feel the spiritual vibrations because all his compositions are the result and manifestations of spiritual experience of a divinely inspired soul  engaged  in spiritual journey . There is a superb and sublime simplicity about many of his kritis. Wherein the raga [mode], tala[ rhythm] and lyrics gel seamlessly.

Again I would like to quote a full page  from Vasan’s Biography Of Sri Thyagaraja Swami (1767-1847 AD)II in

“The centre of Thyagaraja’s existence and the summit of his aspirations was to experience in every breath the bliss of Rama bhakti and thereby gain a vision of his Ishta Devata. In many of his songs, this longing finds eloquent expression. The dimensions of his music include not only sangita sastra, but also contain a core of spirituality. It is because of this great quality that his compositions, like the Atman, endure. The consummation of spirituality in his songs is really the Voice of the Eternal.
Through the apertures of his songs, the depth of his bhakti is revealed. The inspirational potentialities of his kirtanas to lead a sincere votary in the bhakti marga are infinite, because every song breathes the fragrance of one aspect or other of the nava vidha bhakti. It is only a devotional approach to Sri Thyagaraja that can unlock the treasures of his spirituality.
Sri Thyagaraja’s life was a confluence and symphony of three streams – spirituality, saintliness and sangita and the harmony of these find spontaneous self-expression in every syllable of his sahityas. The divine words come vibrating from his soul. To describe them as kirtanas would be superficial for his utterances are authentic revelations of what he directly experienced. They comprehend the one and only purpose of music, that is, moksha sadhana. The value of his music is instrumental, a means, but the goal is intrinsic, to lay one’s soul at the feet of Sri Rama.
The greatness of Sri Thyagaraja is the way he linked the human to the divine. What is the saint’s message to humanity? Aspiration is human. Grace is divine. Only through God’s grace can one realise his aspiration, bhakti in the case of a saint. The ascent of human aspiration has to be facilitated by the descent of divine grace. The echoes of this Truth reverberate in many of his songs. The saint has emphasised that man in samsara is like one who has lost one’s identity, lost track of his goal of existence and is in a trance. Through his kirtanas, Sri Thyagaraja has taken on himself to guide, admonish and appeal to erring humanity. His songs give a thrust to open man’s inward eye.
Sri Thyagaraja with his rich gift of felicitous expression in his sahityas, takes us to the very empyrean of poetry. His is the greatest single achievement in music – the most perfect pieces of musical compositions existing in the world. The astonishing vigour and reach of his music touch our hearts and address strongly our admiration Sahityas fall from his lips full of wisdom and devotional fervor. The most moving songs owe their composition to particular incidents and the state of his mind. The process of his creations are far beyond our comprehension. But the product is before us, each a jeweled beauty. While all his kirtanas are soulful, Sri Thyagaraja has outclassed himself in his Pancharatnas where he is at his greatest and perhaps touched the pinnacle of Carnatic music.
The fusion of lyrics and melody, the fusion of bhakti and sangita form the very essence of his songs. The melody and sahityas are outwardly distinct, the depth of spirituality is embedded in them. One can well discern from the effusion of his songs that his was not tame bhakti but heroic bhakti. A consideration of the diction in the Pancharatnas and other songs shows that Sri Thyagaraja was not after tricks of rhetoric or a fondness for word play.
In all his compositions, Sri Thyagaraja’s style shows a greatness of manner which marks him as a vaggeyakara par excellence. The outward form and inner meaning is so well meshed that the kirtanas remain unexcelled. At Sri Thyagaraja’s hand each song, each raga gains individuality and in every one of them is reflected the working of a bhakta’s yearning in his soul.
While hearing a Thyagaraja song we are introduced to a world of divinity and each syllable, the pulse of bhakti beats strongly. The sublime relations between the human and the divine, which lie beyond our comprehension find an eternal place in his kirtanas. We recognise in Sri Thyagaraja a master spirit combining in himself the bhakti of Prahlada, the music of Narada and the vakpatutva of Valmiki. Sentiments are passionate, his reflections on music and life profound. His works therefore stand apart in the history of vaggeyakaras.
His Contributions to Raga Lakshana and Musicology Thyagaraja Swami had made significant contributions to raga lakshana, raga lakshya, and raga swaroopa, or in general, to the development of musicology. A support for this claim is provided to us by Sri A. Vasudeva Sastry of the Saraswathi Mahal Library, in a book titled “Ragas”. The Ragas study examines the manuscripts of Sahaji, who died in 1710, about sixty years before Swami was born. After analyzing the work of Sahaji and all the materials available on raga lakshanas, Sri Vasudeva Sastri concludes that thirty of the 72 melakarta ragas were given a raga swarupa and acquired their ranking solely from Saint Thyagaraja Swami giving them these qualities. Quoting from Madikeswara Samhita, a work on srutis of which only extracts are now available, Sastry points out that 12 swara moorchanas were in existence and Swami used it to give Karaharapriya great charm in his composition, Rama Nee Samana mevaru. Quoting the sangatis of this composition in great detail, Sri Vasudeva Sastry points out that the “closed curve” melodic effect which can be got by the vadi-samvadi usage.
As it is believed, Swami created many new ragas. Many scholars however believe that he activated or unearthed many ragas which has been labeled and were lying dormant because their lakshanas or characteristics were not defined in clear terms. However, the fact that only one composition exists in a certain ragas and these compositions have been composed in these ragas only Sri Thyagaraja Swami lends credence to the claim that ragas like Pratapa Varali, Nabhomani, Jaya Narayani and many others, were Swami’s creations. Similarly, sangatis or usages that enrich the musical context of a kriti, are mostly found in Swami’s compositions. Although some scholars point out that sangatis are as old as music itself and were known under the name prayaogas. However, since they became widely used only through the kritis of Swami, it will not be wrong to assume that sangatis were Swami’s innovations. He used sangatis to bring out the raga bhava or their fundamental characteristics”

Though there are only 729 kritis of Saint Tyagaraja available now there are many sources where it is said that he composed some  24, 000 kritis aligning with the number of slokas in Valmiki’s Ramayana. There is possibility that this could be true why because as Vasan says,
“Saint Thyagaraja also created two musical plays, commonly called operas. However, I call them music plays as neither Geya Nataka nor opera seems correct and appropriate. Prahlada Bhakthi Vijaya, a play without Hiranya Kasipu or Narasimha, has some 48 songs and over 120 padyams. It has in addition, invocative, descriptive and introductory gadyas, choornikas, and other forms of prose passages of great merit. Nowka Charitha, the other play is equally fascinating and once again a creation without any basis derived from Bhagavatham. This play has 21 songs and many padyas and gadya passages. Swami’s poetic genius is brought out vividly in these plays and the language he has used in some of the lengthy passages highlight this opinion.
Magnum Opus, Some scholars believe we have inherited only the less important natakas of the Swami and that the magnum opus is missing or are available only in fragments, awaiting some scholar to put the pieces together. In support of this view, they mention that in 1876, a printing license was issued to a Loka Narayana Sastrulu of Wallajahpet, to print “Seetha Rama Vijayam” by one Thyagaraja Brahmam of Tiruvayaru. They cite the kriti Eppaniko in Asaveri, where the saint refers to his desire to write the Ramayana in song and ask whether after such a statement, he would have failed to carry out what he considered his mission. One scholar in urging researchers to look for and put together the songs to make the sampoorna Ramayana drama suggests, that Ma Janaki was sung in the drama by Janaka; Rara Seetha Ramani Manohara by Soorpanaka; Sri Rama Padama by Gauthama and so on. Of course, there is nothing more than belief to justify this view. Prof. Sambamurthi, who made great efforts to locate the press in Choolai, Madras, mentioned in the printing license gave it up in despair. He however, suggested that Ma Janaki in Khamboji and Vanaja Nayana in Kedara Gowla were songs from Seetharama Vijayam, the songs representing “Sambandhi Kelikka” or benign taunting of the sambandhis by groups belonging to both sides.”
True to his name THYAGA-RAJA meaning the ‘King of Renunciation’, he renounced all worldly honours, gifts etc. He   declined the offer of the king with all the riches to be part of the royal court and rendered the wonderful kriti ‘Nidhi sala sukama’  but  this is said to have irked his brother so much that  threw the idol that Saint Tyagaraja was worshiping into River Kaveri but ultimately Lord Rama himself helped him get it back.
The same Saint Tyagaraja however accepted a gift once out of sheer reverence for his Guru from his Guru. The teacher was so stunned by Tyagaraja’s remarkable talent that he openly praised his disciple as being far better than him, a praise few teachers would be prepared to give. Not only that, Sonti Venkataramaniah presented Tyagaraja with a gold medal that he had once received as an award at a royal court. Tyagaraja was averse to receiving such tokens but made a one-time exception for the sake of his Guru. Later, Tyagaraja presented the medal and the chain at the wedding of his teacher’s daughter; thus he managed to dispense with what was perhaps the only worldly reward he had ever received.

His superior musical skills and techniques that are taken for granted because he has in-built those subtleties, defining and distinct features of ragas so well in the kritis  for example there are many in number but I would like to quote again from Biography Of Sri Thyagaraja Swami (1767 - 1847 AD) III

“Mrs. Vidya, in an excellent paper presented to the centenary session of the Madras Music Academy (Swami’s death centenary), has used a number of examples to illustrate how Swami used sangatis to highlight the use of right srutis. He used these also in kritis intended for children so that they can learn the sruti values early and by understanding the proper imitation of the instrument or voice teaching them. Let me point out one example provided by Mrs. Vidya. In the kriti, Mariadagadura (Sankarabharanam), she points to the numerous sangatis used in the pallavi and shows how the tri-sruti gandhara of Sankarabharanam is deftly handled by Swami. Both Sankarabharana and Kalyani have the same gandharas in their structure but Kalyani use the Chatursruthi and the note clings to the Madhyama. She also points out how the sahitya splits perfectly into the right tisra syllables and how the visesha prayoga, Sa Da, Pa in the sangatis just preceding the complete avaroha brings out the bhava.
Mrs. Vidya also says that by using a deerga daivata, Swami has skillfully managed to bring out the raga bhava of Kambhjoji in Evari Mata, although he uses only the swaras common to Sankarabharanam and Khamboji. The commencement of the charana of this song also brings out the value of Khamboji’s deerga daivata prayogam.
Often, when using a new raga, Swami employs the arohana and avarohana in the opening phrase itself. For example in Binna Shadjam, raga derived from the ninth mela, Dhenuka, the opening words Sari Varilona, fit in with Sa Ri Ga Ri Pa Ma Pa Da Sa Da Pa Ma Ri Ga Ri Sa. The opening phrase in Evaraina lera peddalu (Raga: Siddha Sena), the notes are Sa Ga Ri Ga Ma. Take Bahudari, is there a more appropriate characteristic phrase than Pa Da Ni Pa Ma Ga? When employing vivadi swaras, Swamiji makes sure that the vivadis occur in the opening phrase itself, e.g. Paramatmudu in Vagadheeswari; Evare Ramayya in Gangeya Bhushani. Even for an ancient and well known raga like Bhairavi, he uses common swaras to great effect. For example, in the short rupaka tala kriti, Upacharama Jese Varu, he opens with Ri Ma Ga without the slightest trace of Karaharapriya. The chatsruthi rishabha of Karaharapriya is aligned to the Madhyama, a fact so well demonstrated. Karaharapriya and Hari Kambhoji are Swami’s gifts to Carnatic music. The Tana Sampradaya Kirtanas and indeed even the simple rhythmic ones teach the ease with which all or most of Swami’s songs fall into the sarva laghu ,in addition to demonstrating the scope of the raga alapana, swara singing paddathi and neraval. Koluvayyunnade in Bhairavi and Kori Sevimparare in Karaharapriya are examples.
Other examples of where Swami had used sangatis to bring out the raga bhava ‘include: Najeevadhara, Chetulara Srungaramu, Thappi Brathiki Brova Tharama; in these compositions, the sangatis are in the passage containing the message of the kriti. In the Pratapa Varali song, Vinanasa Koniyannanu, the phrase Da Pa Sa is used for Aa Aa in words to emphasize that Swami wants to not only have sweet words, but to also as he says “Madhuramaina Palukulu,” the sweet words that Vathathmaju (Anjayaney) and Bharatha heard.”
I would love to portray his life and spiritual journey of the soul of Saint Tyagaraja through the available 729 kritis of his but I would rather end it here and listen to his songs rendered by great stalwarts so that I please my soul.


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