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Tribute to the saint composer


THE 157TH aradhana of saint composer Sri Tyagaraja will be held from January 8 to 13, at the saint's samadhi on the banks of Cauvery at Tiruvaiyaru in Thanjavur district. Hundreds of musicians participate in this unique festival held every year to pay homage to the saint. Organised by Sri Thyaga Brahma Mahotsava Sabha headed by G. Rangaswamy Moopanar, this year's festival will be inaugurated on January 8 by B. K. Krishnaraj Vanavarayar, industrialist and chairman, Coimbatore branch of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. The festival will feature music concerts by eminent as well as the budding artistes till January 13. Born at Tiruvarur in 1767, Sri Tyagarja, settled down at Tiruvaiyaru near Thanjavur. He attained samadhi on Pushya Bagula Panchami day in 1847 and that day is celebrated as Tyagaraja aradhana every year.

This year, Pushya Bagula Panchami falls on January 12. To pay tribute to the great musician on this day, hundreds of musicians will participate and render pancharatna kritis. Composer of countless kritis in rare ragas, Tyagaraja, a Rama Bhaktha, made his devotion to Lord Rama the theme for all his kritis. Ramabhakthi and Nadopasana were the two cardinal features of his compositions. Another important contribution of Tyagaraja to music lies in his improvisation of sangathis. It is the richness of raga bhava that gives him a place amongst the greatest of composers of art music like Purandaradasa. He embodied ethical and philosophical truths in the songs. In Tyagaraja, we have a devoted Rama bhakta, an inspired composer of bhajans and classical music, a person who had learnt puranas, a philosopher and a moralist.

It is believed that Tyagaraja is an incarnation of sage Valmiki, composer of the great epic `Ramayana'.



Sri Tyagaraja's Samadhi ... a divine landmark.

Written in Telugu, self-surrender to the Lord is the quintessence of his compositions which are divine in essence.

"Nidhi Chala Sukama" asked Tygaraja in one of his kritis explaining that it is not wealth that would give him comfort but the lotus feet of Lord Rama. He refused to sing in praise of mortals like kings. It is said that moved by his intense bhakthi and soul-stirring kritis, Lord Rama gave him darshan at his house at Tiruvaiyaru with Lakshmana, Goddess Sita and Hanuman.

Elaborate arrangements have been made by the sabha for the festival. Special buses are operated by the state transport corporation to take devotees from Thanjavur to Tiruvaiyaru. The sabha is planning a memorial for Tyagaraja near the samadhi.

As part of the project a marriage hall has been completed. Construction of music library and dhyana mandapam are some of the plans that come under the project. Donations may be sent to the Thyagabrahma Mahotsava Sabha, Tiruviayaru.

G. SRINIVASAN

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