“You all have done ‘punyam.' That is why you are all learning music at Tiruvaiyaru,” said musician Ilayaraja to the students of the Government Music College at Tiruvaiyaru on Friday.

In a tete-a-tete with the students, the maestro said that it was like “kshetradanam” for musicians like him to come to Tiruvaiyaru. “If that is so, how privileged are the students who live in Tiruvaiyaru and learn music! At a time when students are opting for computer science, medicine and engineering, you students have chosen music, which is one of the best and peaceful courses. You can realise God as you progress in music; nothing in between.”

“Thyagaraja was not a professional musician. He did not sing for situations. He was music himself. That was why he asked the king, ‘Nidhi sala sugama?' and explained to him that Lord Rama's ‘sannidhi' is the sugam (comfort) for him.”

Asked by the students to tell them about his guru, Ilayaraja said, “Guruvarul is natural like a wind, and everyone requires Guruvarul”.

Elaborating on music, he said that Carnatic music alone was not music. There was western music, jazz etc. Music is like the sky — without limitations.

To another question why his songs on mother (Thai) are more sweet and melodious, and if there was any specific reason, Ilayaraja said: “I consider all women as mother. I compose poems for any female considering her as mother.”

He was presented with a bust of German composer Bach. Ilayaraja had a lot to say about Bach to the students. Bach used to walk miles together to listen to good music. Ilayaraja gave the bust of Bach to the college as he thought it would be fit for young students to see and know about Bach.

Mridhanga vidwan T.V. Gopalakrishnan accompanied Ilayaraja during his visit to the college. Umamaheswari, principal of the college, welcomed Ilayaraja with a song, “Arivalayathukku Varuga”, along with her students.