Today is 6th January. The day when Tyagaraja passed away. Or should I say the day he became contemporary with all music lovers of all times ?
Tyagaraja was named on the presiding diety of Tiruvarooru on the banks of river Kaveri, where he was born. Most of his life was spent at Tiruvaiyyaru, another town on the banks the same river upstream.
Tyagaraja is probably the most prolific of all the composers Karnataka Sangeeta has seen. I think he has been the greatest influence on the composers who came after him. About 700 of his compositions are available. He has composed songs that can be easily sung by novice singers, as well as such compositions that can be a challenge even to experienced performers.
Tyagaraja is my musical hero. He took the challenge of composing in rAgas unknown before him. He was not afraid to tread untrodden territories in music. What else can I call him other than a hero? A dheera?
At the mention of this word dheera ( = heroic person in Samskrta, and many othe Indian languages) I am reminded of a grand composition of Tyagraja in mAyAmALava gouLa – mEru samAna dhIra. As the majority of Tyagaraja’s compositions, this kriti also addresses lord Rama.
For those interested, here is the sAhitya of this composition.
mEru samAna dhIra varada raghu
vIra jUtAmu rArA mahA || mEru samAna dheera||
sAra sAra vaiyArapu naDalanu
nIrada kAnti nI ThIvini ||mEru samAna dheera||
alakala muddunu tilakapu tIrunu
taLupu chekkiLachE danaru nemmOmunu
gaLamuna shObhillu vanaja bhUShaNamulanu
daLita durmAnava tyAgarAjanuta || mEru samAna dheera||
You can listen to a befettingly grand rendition by none other than Dr.Balamuralikrishna in the following link:
If you are an instrumentophile ( Don’t ask me if such a word exists🙂, listen to another equally great rendition on the violion by Mysore Nagaraj and Dr Mysore Manjunath.
I would like to end this post with a translation of this composition in Kannada:
ಮೇರು ಸಮಾನ ಧೀರ ಕೊಡುಗೈ ರಘು
ವೀರನ ನೋಡುವ ಬಾರಾ! ಮಹಾ || ಮೇರು ಸಮಾನ ಧೀರ ||
ತಿರುಳಿನ ಸಾರವೇ ವೈಯಾರದ ನಡೆಯಲಿ
ಮುಗಿಲ ಕಾಂತಿಯಾಂತು ಠೀವಿಲಿ ಬರುವ ||ಮೇರು ಸಮಾನ ಧೀರ||
ಕಲಕಲ ಮುಂಗುರುಳು ಸೊಗಸಿನ ತಿಲಕವು
ಹೊಳೆಯುವ ಗಲ್ಲವು ಮುದ್ದಿನ ಮೊಗವು! ಕೊ-
ರಳಲಿ ಮೆರುಗುವ ಬಂಗಾರದೊಡವೆಗಳು
ತುಳಿವ ಕೇಡಿಗರನು! ತ್ಯಾಗರಾಜ ಮಣಿದ ಆ ||ಮೇರು ಸಮಾನ ಧೀರ||
If you have come so far, then I suspect you might like to read the following post on Sampada – a kannada portal.
Once again, I salute Tyagaraja, my musical hero!