The 338th Jayanthi of Sri Narayana Tirtha Swamigal was celebrated through music and dance

The 338th Jayanthi of Sri Narayana Tirtha Swamigal was celebrated at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s (BVB) Venkata Auditorium. It was a joint venture between BVB and the Thirupoonthuruthy Sri Narayana Tirtha Swamigal Trust. The event opened with the Veda parayanam by Nagaraja Ganapadigal. The kuthuvilakku was lit by Dr. Vidya Ram Pradeep.

Welcoming the gathering, N. V. Subramaniam, retired AGM of Indian Railways and trustee, said that Thirupoonthuruthy Venkatesan had put his heart and soul in spreading and establishing the name of the Swamigal throughout Tamil Nadu and in various parts of the country. He also said, “Art without patrons was unthinkable,” and recalled the support given by BVB and the individual contributions of the chief guest, L. Sabaretnam, chairman of BVB’s Chennai Kendra.

Sabaretnam, who inaugurated the Jayanthi, said that his participation in a function of this stature was a unique honour and promised all possible help to the Trust in its attempt to propagate the saintly compositions of Sri Narayana Tirtha.

Message of dharma

V. Vaidyanathan, treasurer, BVB, presided. In his speech, he spoke about the virtues of Sanathana Dharma and stated that Swamigal’s compositions sought to spread the message of this Dharma. He also talked about the stomach ailment the Swamigal suffered from, and how his deliverance brought him relief. A. Ramji, retired GM, Indian Railways, proposed the vote of thanks.

Mambalam Sisters, R Vijayalakshmi and R Chitra’ s main item was a piece in Saveri (‘Balagopala Krishna’). Adept at planning their concert, they rendered songs selected from Tirtha’s Sri Krishna Leela Tarangini. The alluring melody, ‘Madhava Maamava’ (Nilambari) and also included a rare song in Malavi (‘Matsya Koorma Varaha’). The duo was accompanied by Dr. Hemalatha (violin), Melakaveri Balaji (mridangam) and K.S. Rangachari (ganjira).

When Leela Samson, chairperson, Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, appeared on stage, she was greeted with a thunderous applause. Her Bharatanatyam performance had a varnam (Ragamalika) that had grace, purity, tenderness and some aesthetic sculpturesque poses. The other artists on stage were K. Gayathri (vocal), Aditya Narayan (nattuvangam, as impeccable as ever), Kandadevi Vijayaraghavan (violin) - who gave delightful short alapanas for chosen ragas, Hari Babu (mridangam) - who was an admirable laya foil and J. B. Sruthi Sagar (flute), whose playing was smooth and deep.

Professor C. V. Chandrasekar, the guest of honour, felicitated Leela Samson. He stated that the recital of this seasoned artist perhaps reflected her free mind. He appealed to her to continue to enthral rasikas with her performances.