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He wins people's hearts with secular and interesting discourses

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Mr. Kalyanaraman feels schools should revive the moral lesson session in their curricular activities.

The intent interest among the masses, particularly the middle-aged groups, to listen to religious discourses has been on the increase, partly due to stress and tension they experience in the current-day lifestyle. The audience have been expecting a quality discourse, with a mix of moral values, literary content and also intermittent humour. Sensing the pulse of the audience, Tiruchi K. Kalyanaraman, who has carved a niche for himself in the field of discourse delivery, has chalked out a style of his own, taking clues from several exponents' discourses and lectures he had attended right from his boyhood days. In an interview with M. Balaganessin, Mr. Kalyanaraman narrated the experience he had gained in the past more than two-and-a-half decades.

Even as a student of the Srirangam Boys High School, he influenced his classmates with his in-depth knowledge in the great epics `Mahabharatham' and the `Raamayanam'.

His father, T.V. Kailasam, who had been involved in temple renovation works, used to take him to several discourses.

His mother, Ananthalakshmi, was good at music.

"These are the two essential components of a quality discourse. Music is basically divine. Often a good musician is an ardent devotee," he explains signifying the importance of music for right rhythm and pitch of verses, which enlighten the audience with a greater impact.

Although he graduated from the National College in the city, he was more inclined to take up guest lectures. "In the initial years, it was only a literary lecture, with more verses and interpretation and serious all through."

Finding that it could have only less impact on the audience, he evolved his own style of taking right clues from eminent discourse exponents he chanced to listen to during his boyhood.

"Sengalipuram Anantharama Dikshitar, Pulavar Keeran had their own established style. It was Thoopil Lakshmi Narasimhan who inspired me much," he acknowledges.

Later on, he shifted from "most serious" sessions to what he has been adopting today - a lively and informative, heartening and spiritual, secular and interesting lectures.

New style

To evolve the new style, he adopted a special technique. "To explain a simple theory or moral value, there are hundreds of hymns or verses sung by seers, saints and eminent authors. The audience feels more elated when all these songs or hymns are explained to them," he says.

For instance, the duty of a ruler as described in the Raamayanam has to be referred to the consistent values contained in `Tirukkural' or the philosophy elucidated by Sri Vallalar or Pattinathar. A relative comparison with various texts and epics is bound to leave an indelible impression in the minds and hearts of the listeners.

Mr. Kalyanaraman feels schools should revive the moral lesson session in their curricular activities. In contrast to the past, even middle-aged people came to attend the discourses, indicating the solace they gained through the sessions.

"This is partly because of the present-day nuclear family system, where many lack moral courage and mental determination," he says. There is nothing, which ancient epics have not dealt with.

Avvaiyar and Pascal's Law

"Avvaiyar has enunciated a principle, long before the Pascal's Law came to be known. Ancient scholars were fully aware of the composition of hydrogen and oxygen to form water."

Humour also forms an important ingredient in a discourse, to keep the audience in rapt attention. "There is nothing wrong even if the humour refers to latest political, social or economic outlook," he says.

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