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The saint's life

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Though what is available as the life history of Thyagaraja is not comprehensive , his disciple Sourashtra Venkataramana Bhagavatar opened up our vision about Thyagaraja and a bit of his ancestry, for three generations. We learn that Thyagaraja's father Giriraja Brahmam was a great scholar in Sanskrit and Telugu. He was equally well versed in music and wrote devotional compositions of high philosophic content. Unfortunately all his works, except Maya Nee Vanchana in Kambhoji, were lost. However, his Yakshaganams and padams on kings Sahaji and Sarabhoji are said be available in Tanjavur Saraswathi Mahal (Library). It was also said that Giriraja Brahmam's father Panchanada Brahmam was great scholar in Vedas and Sastras.

The mystic element of Thyagaraja's life like how he brought a dying man to life and how the Panchayatam, a set of idols of Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Anjaneya, considered lost, were found in the river Kaveri, and the presence of Anjaneya in his pujas were all creative ideas presented in a film made on the vaggeyakara by Chittoor V. Nagaiah. There were plays too on Thyagaraja like the one written by scholar Chandarala Rama Mohana Rao of Rajahmundry noted Carnatic vocalist M.S. Balasubrahmanya Sarma acting as Thyagaraja.

A sage, Ramakrishnananda Swamy, is said to have taught Thyagaraja ‘Srirama Shadakshari Mantram' and later ‘Narada Mantram' too, chanting which Thyagaraja was able to approach Narada who gave him a fund of musical knowledge, opening new vistas. Thyagaraja divided his time between ‘Srirama Puja' and writing kirtanas. It is said that Lord Sri Rama finally blessed his devotee by appearing in person before him, as referred to in the kirtana Paramatmudu Velige (Vagadeeswari ragam). Thyagaraja lived a principled life of a devotee, circumvented many problems and never lost faith in Rama or his faith in raga, swara and sahitya.


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