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Updated: February 27, 2014 16:35 IST

Golden jubilee of Tirtha Aradhana

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Interesting programmes are lined up for March 6, 7 and 8.

In 1964, the Thirupoonthuruthy Aradhana Committee was formed in Chennai by Sanskrit scholar and musicologist, Dr. V. Raghavan, to propagate the contribution of the saint-composer Narayana Tirtha to bhajana sampradaya and namasankeertana traditions, and observe his aradhana day on Masi Sukla Paksha Astami Day.

To commemorate the golden jubilee year of its formation, the Aradhana Committee in association with Sri Narayana Tirtha Swamigal Trust has put together a series of interesting programmes on March 6, 7 and 8.

On March 6, the celebrations will be inaugurated by N. Kamakoti, CEO & MD, City Union Bank, Kumbakonam. T.M. Krishna will render the inaugural Tarangam concert, followed by namasankeertanam by Udayalur Kalyanarama Bhagavathar and party.

A novel feature introduced this year is the ‘Round Table’ discussions. Six doctors, including Dr.A.V. Srinivasan and Dr.Anita Parthasarathy from Chennai, will participate and talk on “Health and Spirituality”. The second Round Table will be a Scholars’ Meet and will deal with a comparative study of Narayana Tirtha with Jayadeva, Leela Sukha, Thyagaraja, Alwars and Bhagavatha Mela. The third Round Table will be on “Upanishads and Narayana Tirtha” in which scholars from Andhra Pradesh will participate. Artists taking part in Tarangam concerts include Dr.M. Chandrasekaran and Bharati, A.K.C. Natarajan , Mambalam Sisters, Akkarai Subbulaksmi and Ghorakavi G. Sampathkumar from Andhra Pradesh.

Leela Samson, chairperson, Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, will confer the title ‘Narayana Tirtha Seva Niratha’ on Thanjavur Mythili Kannan, Thanjavur M. Lakshmanan and Kalyanapuram M. Ganesan for their contribution to Tarangam music. A dance drama on ‘Sri Narayana Tirtha’s Krishna Anubhava’ will be presented by Leela Samson and her troupe on the concluding day.

Sri Narayana Tirtha was born in Kasa near Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, in 1675, and was named Govinda Sastry. A precocious child, he mastered the Vedas and Vedangaas at an early age, and acquired high proficiency in sangeetha and natya sastras. A divine call led him to Kasi, where he met his Guru Ramananda Tirtha, who ordained him Narayana Tirtha.

On his way back, he contracted an incurable stomach ache. He was led by a varaha or boar to a temple of Lord Srinivasa in Bhoopatirajapuram near Thanjavur. He was relieved of his stomach ache there. In the presence of the deity, he composed Sri Krishna Leela Tarangini, describing the episodes of the tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatham from the birth of Sri Krishna till his wedding to Rukmini, in beautiful Sanskrit, in the form of a dance drama.

Toward the evening of his life, he reached Thirupoonthuruthy, where he experienced great peace of mind and settled under a sprawling mango tree to meditate. On a Masi Sukla Paksha Ashtami day, Narayana Tirtha decided to take Jeeva Samadhi. His Brindavanam has come to be considered as a holy place of worship. Thousands of devotees and pilgrims visit this shrine and pay homage to the great Saint.

Over two centuries, on Masi Sukla Paksha Astami Day, the saint composer’s aradhana has been observed with great devotion. In 1964, musicologist Dr V. Raghavan formed an Aradhana Committee in Chennai. Later, in 1984, Thirupoonthuruthy Sri Narayana Tirtha Swamigal Trust was formed.

Year after year, programmes are arranged by Thirupoonthuruthy V.Venkatesan, the managing trustee of Thirupoonthuruthy Narayana Tirtha Swamigal Trust. During the aradhana, the sleepy village of Thirupoonthuruthy springs to life and gets transformed into a bhakti-charged congregation of devotees, rasikas and visitors.

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