Prime disciple of Dr. Sripada Pinakapani, Nedunuri Krishnamurthy speaks about his guru.
The foremost disciple who spent the best part of his learning under Dr. Pani, Sangeetha Kalanidhi Nedunuri Krishnamurthy in all reverence refers to his guru as a ‘sangeetha paramacharya’, a ‘taponidhi’, a ‘gyana brahma’, and a ‘jeevan mukta who is waiting for moksha (liberation from human bondage).’
“If Thyagaraja aimed at purifying the society and human life with ‘shastriya sangeetam’, my guru, Pinakapani’s single-point agenda was to leave a vast treasure of music knowledge to posterity, lest it get lost with just one generation,” says Nedunuri in a voice suffused with deep regard for his guru.
Ask this melodious colossus of music in our region about his first learning experience and he narrates with a chuckle, “There was no fixed time for music. At least not a decent hour by worldly terms! He would get into a mood to teach at midnight and the class would go on till 3.00 am when we would both hear the Secunderabad-Dornakal express hoot and be jolted out of our music world and then decide to go to bed! He could speak on every topic under the sun: from cricket to tennis to medicine to music and poetry. I would follow him like a lamb taking in all that was being conveyed to me, despite feeling terribly sleepy at times. He would talk about the great vidwans of music in the south (Tamil Nadu) in glowing terms and the tremendous knowledge that flowed from him to me is just my divine blessing. Every single aspect of music was at his fingertips and don’t ask me how, because to most, he was a doctor by profession and a musician by passion. His wife was a good singer herself and together we shared a musical rapport. It was a life with sathguru who gave and gave, expecting nothing in return.”
Classical music is a scientific, mathematical, traditional, intellectual, emotional, devotional and finally a divine art form. Thyagaraja was an embodiment of all these qualities. “And so was my guru Sripada Pinakapani. He bestowed on Andhra Pradesh what we call ‘uttama sampradaya sangeetham’ (highly evolved tradition of music). His analysis of music was phenomenal. He could sing, teach, analyse and create. And in doing so, he established a style called ‘Pani’s baani’ where the raga swept like a mighty ocean. Once he asked me if I gained anything through his teaching. I told him that I owe my Sangeetha Kalanidhi title to him,” Nedunuri reminiscences with affection.
Fame as a musician par excellence blessed this sishya who is a professional, while the guru remained a musicologist and not a ‘professional musician’ though he was honoured with a ‘Sangeetha Kalanidhi’ at the Mecca of music. “Another of this pure order may not be born. He is just one of his kind,” salutes Nedunuri.