The annual much looked-forward to Tiruvaiyaru Tyagaraja Aradhana, begins on January 16.
Tiruvaiyaru, near Thanjavur, is getting ready for the annual aradhana of saint composer Sri Tyagaraja. Tyagaraja Aradhana includes rare music concerts and is perhaps only one of its kind in the entire world. Carnatic musicians, budding and old, from all over the country descend and pay homage to the saint. The aradhana is observed on Pushya Bagula Panchami day when the saint attained samadhi. The venue of the festival is the samadhi of Tyagaraja on the banks of River Cauvery. This year's aradhana will be inaugurated on January 16 and will go on up to 21. Music concerts have been organised for all the days. On January 19, Pushya Bagula Panchami day, musicians will sit on either side of the samadhi and render the saint's Pancharatna kritis in chorus as a mark of homage. One among the Music Trinity, (the other two being Shyama Sastrigal and Muthuswamy Dikshithar), Sri Tyagaraja was born at Tiruvarur in 1767 to Sri Ramabra hmam, a Telugu brahmin, who was an exponent of Ramayana. Later the saint's family moved to Thiruvaiyaru. He lived at a house on Thirumanjana Veedhi till he attained samadhi in 1847.
Influence of The Ramayana
The saint had his learning from Guru Venkatramana and completed the study of Sanskrit and Telugu. He mastered the Valmiki Ramayana. Tyagaraja was initiated into Ramasadakshari Mantra by a saint called Ramakrish nananda, and was constantly chanting it. He chanted Rama Nama 96 crore times, after which it is said Lord Rama, along with Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman, gave darshan. The saint was never tempted by wealth, pomp and power. The lotus feet of Lord Rama alo ne gave him comfort and peace not the wealth given by kings. He refused to sing their praise. Tyagaraja is said to be the incarnation of Valmiki. He attained samadhi on Pushya Bagula Panchami day in 1847. His mortal remains were interred at a spot on th e left bank of the Cauvery.
How it began
The annual aradhana was performed by his grandson (his daughter's son) till his death. Later his disciples Ramu Iyengar and Umayalpuram brothers, Panchu Bhagavathar and Sundara Bhagavathar, conducted the aradhana. In 1907 Umayalpuram brothers introduced music concerts in the aradhana. In 1925, a devotee of Tyagaraja, Bangalore Nagaratnamma constructed a temple over the samadh i. Nagarathnammal died in 1952 and her samadhi was built in front of the saint's samadhi. Sri Tyagabrahma Mahotsava Sabha for which G. Rangaswamy Moopanar is president now, was registered in 1941, and has been conducting aradhana since then. The sabha h as taken up construction of a memorial at the samadhi and conversion of the saint's house on Thirumanjana Veedhi also into a memorial.