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Looking at the evolution of languages in India, we see that though Sanskrit was among the earliest languages used in the Indian sub-continent, Prākṛt gained popularity even during the times of the great playwrights such as Bhāsa and Kālidāsa which in due course gave rise to many regional languages. It is however interesting to note that Sanskrit continued to be the preferred language for many philosophers as well as vāggeyakāras to compose their works. Though Tyāgarāja svāmi chose Telugu as the primary language for his compositions, he seems to have not escaped the attraction of Sanskrit which is amply seen in his compositions.
Use of Sanskritised Telugu
Most of the compositions of Tyāgarāja svāmi are in Telugu. However, if we look at some of these in detail, we find that a significant portion of the lyrics in these would be Sanskrit with some colophons/ concluding/ starting lines in Telugu. This is what has been indicated here by the term ‘Sanskritised Telugu’. Below are some popular examples of these:

  1. In the Aṭhāṇā kṛti Elā nī dayarādu, except for the line ‘Elā nī dayarādu parāku jese elā samayamu gādu’ and the terms ‘Rā Rā’, everything is Sanskrit!
  2. In the kṛti Amma Dharmasamvardhini again in Aṭhāṇā, except for the pallavi and anupallavi, the three charanas are all in chaste Sanskrit.

Use of innovative epithets
The Sanskrit proficiency of Tyāgarāja svāmi is seen in the different innovative epithets he uses in his compositions. He uses the term ‘Sāmaja’ extensively for the elephant. However, we don’t find many references to the term ‘Sāmaja’ used for the elephant in Vedic or classical Sanskrit literature. Thus, in a way, this could be termed an innovation of Tyāgarāja svāmi. Literally ‘born of Sāma’, the term connects the elephant with the Sāmaveda. Referring to Kumbhakarṇa, he calls him ‘Ghaṭakarṇa’ replacing ‘Kumbha’ by its synonym ‘Ghaṭa’ in the Huseni kṛti Raghuvīra Raṇadhīra. In the same kṛti, he uses two ways to describe Indra – one as Balārāti i.e. arāti or enemy of demon Bala (or Vala) and Nagāri i.e. enemy of mountains. Ṛg veda describes how Indra cut the wings of the mountains which where once flying and made them immobile. This led to him becoming their enemy and they fear at his name! He also uses other lesserknown epithets of Indra namely Saṅkrandana in anupallavi of the kṛti Niravadhi sukhadā in Ravichandrikā (Nata Saṅkrandana).

He uses a number of terms to indicate Rāma as the scion of ‘Sūrya vamśa’:
• In the Jaganmohini kṛti ‘Māmava Satatam’, he says ‘Śrīmad Inānvaya Sāgara chandra’ i.e.
the moon (Chandra) in the ocean (sāgara) of the dynasty (anvaya) of the sun (Ina)
• In the Bṛndāvana Sāraṅga kṛti, he says ‘Kamalāptakula kalaśabdhi chandra’ i.e. moon (Chandra) of the ocean (abdhi) of the dynasty (kulakalaśa) of the friend of the lotus i.e. the Sun (kamala – āpta)
• In the Nāṭa pañcharatnam, he says ‘Gaganādhipa satkulaja’ i.e. born (ja) of the noble dynasty (satkula) of the lord of the skies i.e. the Sun (gagana + adhipa)
Tyāgarāja svāmi also employs the same word many times in the composition but having different meanings in each usage.
• In one of the charanas of the kṛti ‘Ninnuvinā’ in Todi as well as ‘Elarā kṛṣṇa’ in Kāmbhoji, he refers to Rāma as the connoisseur of Rāgas and also free from attachment (also called Rāga in Sanskrit) – Rāga rasika Rāga rahita
• Similarly, in the charana of the Madhyamāvati kṛti Deva śri tapastīrtha, he says Nāga pūjita nāga danuja hara i.e. one who is worshipped by the snakes and one who killed the elephant-demon (gajāsura)?
• In the charana of the kṛti Niravadhi sukhadā in Ravichandrikā, he says ‘Bhīma parākrama Bhīma karārchita’ i.e. one who is tremendous in his valour while at the same time being worshipped by Bhīma (one of the five Pāṇdavas)
• He plays with the word ‘Graha’ in the kṛti ‘Grahabalamemi’ in Revagupti using it as Graha (planet), anuGraha (blessing), viGraha (idol), āGraha (desire) and niGraha (destruction)!

Graha bala memī Śri Rāmā-
Anugraha bálame balamu
Graha bala memi tejo maya vi-
Grahamu dhyaniche vāriki nava (graha)
Graha pīdalu pañcha pāpamulanā-
Grahamu gala kāmādi ripula ni-
Grahamu jeyu harina bhajiñche

Concluding thoughts
In conclusion, we can infer that though Telugu was the preferred choice of Tyāgarāja svāmi owing to probably its simplicity and suitability to music, Sanskrit had a great influence on him and it remained a language close to his heart which he chose very prudently to extol the qualities and virtues of the Lord while at the same time expound profound philosophical truths.

Subramanian Chidambaran



Thyagaraja Aradhana today is a global phenomenon wherever you have a settlement of the South Indian community. It has been long since it crossed the Indian shores and is spreading far and wide across the globe. However, there was a time when it was restricted only to certain regions of Tamil Nadu, primarily conducted by the direct shishya parampara of Thyagarajasvami. From then on, the Aradhana has grown leaps and bounds due to the untiring efforts and devotion of many personalities like Bangalore Nagarathnammal, Peria and Chinna Katchis, Musiri Subramania Iyer, the Bhishmacharya of Carnatic music – Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and many others. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer was also one of the major forces that helped Carnatic music spread in Kerala especially during his tenure as the Principal of the Swati Thirunal College of Music. He was also the guiding spirit of our Saint Thyagaraja Aradhana Trust and has performed in this venue for 12 continuous years. He also helped in creating an atmosphere like the one held in Tiuruvaiyaru with a similar pattern and following the same tradition. This year marks the 40th year or “Aruna Mahotsava” of our Aradhana celebrations. At this juncture, as we look back, we respectfully remember the great contributions of Dr. A. Ramanathan, M. D. Rajamani, Dr. C. R. Parasuram, mridangam vidwan Pudukode Krishna Iyer, R. V. Venkateswaran, Adv. S. K. Subramaniam, Smt. C. R. Varalakshmi and others who are no more with us today in flesh & blood but are definitely present in spirit. One other key personality who left us recently and who was actively involved in the formation as well as the activities of our Trust right from its inception was our dear Vidwan Sri. G. S. Sreekrishnan, the great flautist who mesmerized audiences all over the country with his „Venu nada‟.
This year, as we celebrate the 253rd Jayanti and 173rd Aradhana of Saint Thyagaraja, it is important that we contemplate on the music of this great Nadopasaka.
Today, we speak of revolution and reformation in the Carnatic music world. But Thyagarajasvami along with his contemporaries was the biggest revolutionary and reformist of all times. We still are incapable to even understand his revolution and the reformations he made. He never made any great noise about it and that‟s why we probably don‟t see it that way.
Take for example, the number of small, elegant ragas introduced by him. Be it hamsanadam, jayantashri, garudadhvani, supradeepam, etc. There are more than 80 such ragas called „vinta‟ ragas i.e. ragas for which we don‟t find much evidence before Thyagarajasvami. In these kritis, we find the delineation of the raga perfectly done which if rendered in svaras or akāram would give the clear raga murchanas or phrases for the raga. Many of these ragas are also being used by modern day musicians in their creations be it film music or fusion music. That proves the universality of these ragas.

The number of kritis he composed on a particular raga indicates the expanse that the raga provides for creativity and innovation. That‟s why we find so many kritis in main ragas like Karaharapriya, Harikambodhi, Kalyani, Todi etc. His handling of ten kritis in the same raga would be different. In the same Todi, a Emije Seete starts in the lilting Dhaivata, Arakimpave in lower Shadja, Koluvamaragada in upper Shadja and so on. Thus learning these kritis in a raga would give a music student enough scope to now elaborate the raga in the manodharma. Thanks to his kritis, that we have the raga svarupa for many ragas handed down to us crystallized in the form of kritis.
Over the past 39 years, our Thyagaraja Aradhana trust provides a platform for music students and all devotees to pay homage to this great Saint Thyagaraja by giving them a chance to render a Thyagaraja Kriti and about 500 devotees take part in this five days festival. Needless to mention, we arrange 20-25 concerts by young and upcoming artists along with some senior and well known musicians during the five days celebrations.
We cordially invite you all to enjoy the feast of Carnatic music from 12.02.2020 to 16.02.2020.
We take this opportunity to request all music promoters, music lovers and members of the public to donate liberally and also help us in all ways to make this 173rd Thyagaraja Aradhana Festival a tremendous success.


Managing Trustee


Thyagaraja Aradhana  is known to every person associated  with South Indian Classical Music and hence needs no special introduction. It is probably one of the biggest musical congregations globally , when musicians from across the globe gather at different locations at different points of time to pay homage to this great bard of Indian Music – Saint Thyagaraja.  No other vaggeyakara is as celebrated  and venerated as Thyagaraja Swami.  In Bharathiya tradition, we don’t refer to the birth and death anniversaries of great personalties so.  These are referred to as ‘Jayanthi’ and ‘Aradhana’ respectively.  As we celebrate this year, the 252nd Jayanthi and 172nd Aradhana of Saint Thyagaraja,  it is important that we contemplate a bit on his life and contributions as well.

The life of great men is always a source of immense inspiration and motivation to lead and live completely. Music ,like other art forms such as dance , painting etc.can be called a ‘siddhi’ i.e. a special skill or capability.  Demonstrating a ‘siddhi’ creates awe and amazement among the common men which is generally used for earning a livelihood.  However, it is from the lives of great personalities like Thyagaraja Swami,  that we understand how to use this siddhi to attain God,  to earn His grace and not merely making money out of it. That is why he says “ Sangita jnanamu bhakthi vina sanmargamu galade O manasa” i.e. without devotion, the knowledge of music will not lead to the righteous path.  Thyagaraja Swami lived that kind of a life – each of his song is a flower  offered at the feet  of his Lord.

In many of his krithis, we find him scorning himself for the different vices he has. A thought might come to our minds – how can such a Mahatma have these vices?  Thyagaraja Swami is not necessarily speaking about himself.  Instead he is putting himself in the shoes of different people in the world and pleading to Lord Rama to remove the sins and protect him. This makes it suitable for different people   having these vices to sing these songs and gain the grace of the Lord. Where else would you see such levels of compassion?

Today we sing the songs of Thyagaraja and earn great name and fame for ourselves. But when we look at the life of the great Nadopasaka,  he  lived on Unchavrithi  i.e. begging alms every day from the neighbourhood. That is the way prescribed by the Shastras for a Brahmin and Thyagaraja Swami lived that way. Given his immense capabilities, he could have amassed wealth which he never thought of. However ,historical accounts prove that he abhorred  wealth from unrighteous means, he despised singing in courts of kings and wealthy zaminders, he never desired for fame or name. We need to bear in mind that we are talking about a person who lived just 200-250 years ago in the very same land that we live in! We can still walk on the sands  he walked; we can go and visit the house he lived in Thiruvaiyyaru, Tamil Nadu.

Over the past 38 years,  our Thyagaraja Aradhana Trust  provides  a platform for music students and all devotees to pay homage to this  great Saint Thyagaraja by giving them a chance to render a Thyagaraja Krithi and about 500 devotees take part in this five days festival. Needless to mention ,  we arrange 20-25 concerts by young and upcoming artists along with some senior and well known musicians during the five days celebrations.

We cordially invite you all to enjoy the feast of Carnatic Music from 20.02.2019  to 24.02.2019

We take this opportunity to request all music promoters , music lovers and members of the public to donate liberally and also to help us in all ways to make this 172nd Thyagaraja Aradhana Festival a tremendous success.


The 33rd Thyagaraja Aradhana Music Festival of Calicut is all set to begin tomorrow at 9.30 am at Padmashree Kalyana Mandapam .The music festival is being inaugurated by Senior Mridangam Vidwan Sri.TrivandrumV.Surendran of Thiruvananthapuram Akashwani.Let us all come together and make this year’s music festival a grand success