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Sri Tyagaraja

3:26 PM Posted by Vijayasri

Sri Tyagaraja
(1767 - 1847 AD)

A discussion on Carnatic music, perhaps, can never be complete without the mention of Tyagaraja, who along with his contemporaries Muthuswami Dikshitar and Syama Sastri comprise the trinity of Carnatic music composers.

Tyagaraja is considered the most legendary Carnatic music composer of all time, who played a very significant role in the development of this music genre.
Sri Tyagaraja, the most celebrated Carnatic Music saint was a great devotee of Lord Sri Rama. Tyagaraja lived to the full extent that God realization is best achieved through Nadopasana (music with devotion). His songs are filled with an intimate devotion to Rama, all through revealing his deep understanding of the tenets of the Vedas and Upanishads.

Sri Tyagaraja was born in Tiruvaiyaru, near Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu on May 4, 1767. His parents were Smarta Telugu Brahmins, who had moved to Tamil Country during the Vijayanagar period (early 1600's). Tyagaraja's father Rama Brahmam taught him to worship Rama daily and initiated him in Rama taraka mantra.

When Tyagaraja was merely 13 years old, he composed Namo Namo Raghavaya Anisham in raga Desikathodi and surprised everybody. Sri Tyagaraja continued to recite the Rama Nama every day and had many darsans of Sri Rama, which inspired him to write songs on his beloved Lord, Sri Rama.

Whenever there's a programme in honor of Tyagaraja in present times, five of his compositions called the 'five gems' or Pancharatna Krithis are always sung. Tyagaraja received his musical training from Sonti Venkataramanayya, who was himself a distinguished musician from a very early age. The most unique feature about Tyagaraja was that he saw music as a means to experience the love of god. As such, his sole objective while performing music was purely devotional.

At 18 years of age, Tyagaraja married Parvati, who died when he was only 23. He then married Kamalamba (sister of Parvati). They had a daughter named Sitamahalakshmi, through whom he had a grandson, who died progeniless. Thus we do not have any descendant of Saint Tyagaraja. But, his tradition is kept alive by his musical disciples and their followers.

In this video, Vishaka Hari beautifully narrates about Tyagarja's composition when he was very young at the age of 13.


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