Saturday, May 23, 2009
Saint Thyagaraja was instrumental in the composition of devotional songs. Most of his songs were dedicated to the Hindu God Rama. Out of his works, there are five compositions, which are more popularly referred to as the "five gems" or the Pancharatna Krithis.
He was born in Thiruvarur, a small town in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu, on May 4, 1767 as the son of Kakarla Ramabrahmam and Seethamma. He derived his name Tyagaraja after the presiding deity Tyagaraja of the Thiruvarur temple.
There are quite a number of ragas in which he has composed just one kriti. It is a revelation to note the daintiness and delicacy on one side, sublime splendor on the other, the simplicity at one end and ornamentation of the use of words at the other; each of his works is a perfume without a name but a fragrance ever perfume fragrance felt, godliness and eternity gazing at itself in a mirror where the soul is united with the supreme.
The dexterity in the use and combination of melody with rhythm and the adroitness in the fusion of bhakthi and bhava is a form of genius, a sensible image of the infinite.
Music is the best means to reach God and finally attain Moksha. His songs, so beautifully crafted and sung was primarily for spiritual reasons. It is such songs which binds one with the divine.
It is not easy to compose songs that will stay on for generations. Sri Thyagaraja’s greatness lies in composing songs in all these ragas and making them immortal. He gives the special sancAram of a raga in the opening lines of many of the songs.