This is the fourth title in the series of Golden Treasury series of compositions of great Composers. Our earlier books on Tyagaraja and Swati Tirunal and Muthuswami Dikshitar was well received and this had led to my editing this volume on Ghanaraga Pancharatna kritis of Saint Tyagaraja. We have kept in mind the importance of the compositions, looking into the variety of ragas, literary importance of the composition, popularity of the composition, simplicity and complexity of the kriti etc.
An extensive introduction on Tyagaraja Pancharatna kritis has been included giving the importance of group kritis and his contribution to Karnatic Music. We hope this introduction will make the reader to understand Saint Tyagaraja his compositions better. We are thankful to Sri. M.Easwaran, Editor, for his continued support in the editing of the manuscript and Smt. M.Girija, Proprietor, CBH Publications, for undertaking the publication of this series.
Lastly we place these series before the learners and lovers of music and ask for their critical comments about this venture and expect their wholehearted support in making this series a success.
The name of Tyagaraja is associated with Karnatic Music just like life in human beings. Whenever one thinks of Karnatic Music, the name of Saint Tyagaraja rushes to one’s mind immediately. Being an ardent devotee, a yogi and above all a sacrificer, he is considered as the Tansen of Karnatic Music. He is considered as the incarnation of Valmiki, Vyasa and Narada. His kritis comprise a Triveni of sangita sahitya and vedanta.
An ardent Nadopasaka, devout Bhakta, Supreme sangita Acharya, Saint Tyagaraja led a life of piety and simplicity for nearly 80 years . He was born on 4th of May in the year 1767 at Tiruvarur a village near Tanjavur, in Tamil Nadu. He was the second son of Ramabrahmam and Seetamma. He was born on the 27th day in Chitra masa, Sukla Paksha and Sapthami thithi, Somavara, (Monday) an auspicious day. His grand father Girirajakavi was a famous poetin Telugu. Reference to this parentage can be found in the kriti Sitamma mayamma in raga Vasantha and Girirajasutha in raga Bangala. He was named Tyagaraja after the presiding deity of Siva temple at Tanjore. The name suits him highly as he lived like a yogi and was the king of sacrifices. His father being a Harikatha performer and singer, Tyagaraja was initiated into the path of music by his parents even from early childhood. He had his initial training in music under the able tutelage of his parent and later under the instruction of Sonti Venkataramanayya. Having mastered Sanskrit, Telugu and Music, Saint Tyagaraja started composing at an early t` age. It is believed that he composed a Sanskrit song ‘Namo namo raghavaya’ in Suddha Todi at the early age of l3.He adopted Bhakti Marga even from childhood and practiced strict discipline, and devotion. He was a man of austerity, purity and unostentatious habits of life. He was prepared to shed worldly pleasures and comforts and strongly believed that Rama Bhakti is the most supreme devotion. He was of strong belief that Moksha can be attained only by adopting the path of Sangeetha and Bhakti. Having adopted Bhakti Marga, Tyagaraja had the darsan of Sage Narada who initiated him into the path of Bhakti and Sangeetha. Narada presented two rare treatises. namely Svararnavam and Naradeeyam to him. References to this incident are evident from the kritis like Swararagasudha in Sankarabharanarn and Varanarada in Vijayasri.
Being an ardent devotee of Lord Sri Rama, Saint Tyagaraja adopted Srirama as his ishtadevada (favourite deity) and composed more kritis in praise of Lord Srirama. On the advise of Kanchi Brahmendra, he recited ‘Rama naama’ for ,96 years. After completion he had the darsan of Lord Srirama. He refers to this incident in the famous kriti, ‘Yela nee dayaradu’ in Atana, ‘Kanugonu’ in Nayaki, ‘Bhavanutha’ in Mohana and ‘Kanukontini’ in Bilahari.
Tyagaraja considered Lord Srirama as Parabrahma, i.e., one god, that too the first God and source of everything. He described Rama as Supreme being. From the training obtained from his grandfather, and from the treatises given by Narada, Saint Tyagaraja mastered the intricacies of the theory and practice of Karnatic music. He learned about 22 srutis, svaras with their various permutations and combinations. Alongwith studying Saint Tyagaraja also started composing mainly in Telugu and rarely in Sanskrit. He is believed to have composed 24000 compositions representing the 24000 slokas in Ramayana. His repertoire included kritis, namavalis, utsavasampradaya keertanas, geyanatakas etc.
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