Sir, This is with reference to the article `Illustrious disciple of saint-poet' by Suganthy Krishnamachary (dated March 18).
How Venkataramana Bhagavathar of Ayyampettai became the disciple of Tyagaraja is an interesting story.
One day, the saint was doing archana to Lord Rama from a basketful of flowers singing the kriti, "Tulasi Dalamulache Santhoshamuga Pujinthu" in Mayamalavagowla.
To his surprise, he found the flowers picked from the basket turning into the ones mentioned in the kriti.
His disciple Thanjavur Rama Rao too noticed the wonder when the archana was going on.
On enquiry, the saint learnt that it was the Ayyampettai boy who had brought the flowers that day.
From that day began Venkataramana's sangita adhyayanam at his guru's feet.
Among the six important disciples of Tyagaraja, Venkataramana Bhagavathar has a unique place, not because of his being a great bhaktha or vaggeyakara, but because he gives reliable details about the life of his guru.
Every syllable of the spontaneous outpourings of his musical compositions was recorded by him on palm leaves. According to Prof. Sambamurthy he was a Boswell to Tyagaraja.
When the boy's mind was set on music he set out to Tiruvaiyaru to see his manaseega guru. For two years, his modesty would not embolden him to ask for instruction in music.
He would stand in a corner of the room or stand on the pyol listening to the guru's teaching and run errands whenever required.
For Venkataramana, serving his guru was everything in life. Later when the marriage of his guru's daughter was celebrated, he came with a beautiful portrait of Rama.
To be in time for its presentation he swam across the Cauvery holding the portrait in one hand and using the other for swimming.
V. Sundaram, Cuddalore.
Send this article to Friends by
Chennai and Tamil Nadu