Monthly Archives: March 2016

The Indelible Impact of Thyagaraja on Carnatic Music

The following post was composed by Ashok Madhav garu, vaggeyakara.


Readers may be familiar with our Personalities article on the mighty composer, Thyagaraja.  This post supplements the biography, but focuses primarily on Thyagayya’s long term impact on the Carnatic tradition, and the music itself.

Brief History of Thyagaraja Swami

Thyagaraja Swami, is one of the Trinity of Carnatic Music and others being Syama Sastri and Muthuswami Dikshitar.   He was born in 1767 in Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu and lived his entire life in Tiruvaiyaru, also in Tamil Nadu.  His parents were Telugus named Sitamma and Ramudu as has been recorded in one of his songs, “Sitamma mayamma Sri Ramudu Madu tandri “. He belongs to the Kakarla vamsa.   He briefly learnt music from Sonti Venkataramanaiah. He was a prolific composer and his compositions are mostly in Telugu and some in Sanskrit. He was a great devotee of Lord Rama and many of his compositions are on Lord Rama. While in Tiruvaiyaru, he visited several temples in Kancheepuram, Tirupati, Srirangam, Kovvuru (near Chennai) , Lalgudi and Tiruvottiyur and composed kritis in praise the presiding deities of those Temples.

All his compositions were full of bhakti and bhavam and so they become popular and naturally his fame spread all around. The Maharaja of Thanjavur wanted him to be the Royal court musician. Thyagaraja declined the offer by singing a kriti   “Nidhi chala sukhama”. Thyagraja swami is supposed to have composed several hundreds of compositions, but only about 700 of them are available now. He developed several new ragams and his compositions are the only ones set in those rare ragams. One outstanding feature of Thyagaraja swami’s compositions is inherent scope for developing sangathis (i.e.: ‘Dorakuna itu vanti’ (Bilahari) and ‘Darini telusukonti’ (Shuddha saveri).) Sangathi is a variation in the line of a melody. Specifically, this occurs when a composer intends for the Pallavi to be sung differently at different points in the kriti.

Music scholars eulogise Thyagaraja swami’s compositions for their musical and technical greatness. He made two musical dramas namely “Prahlada bhakti vijayamu” and “Naukacharitramu”. He has left a rich legacy for Carnatic music. He passed away on Pushya bahula panchami in January 1847.

Thyagaraja being the most notable musician and composer in Carnatic music, has left behind a big retinue of admirers and disciples, who were influenced by his music.

Many of Thyagaraja’s disciples and their disciples have eulogized his creative musical genius. He has been hailed as a pioneer and a model composer for others to follow. The article is not exhaustive and gives examples from available sources.

Walajapet Venkataramana Bhagavatar, one of the prominent disciples of Thyagaraja  has composed the following shlokams and compositions praising his guru.

  • Sri Guru Stotra-ashtakam in Sanskrit
  • Sri Guru Mangalashtakam in Telugu
  • Adi Guru Stotra panchangam in Telugu
  • A Manipravalam poety -in Sanskrit, Telugu and Sourashtra
  • Gurucharanam bhajare-Shankarabharanam
  • Guruvaru mahimala-Anandabhairavi

Manambu Chavadi Venkatasubbayya, a disciple and cousin of Thyagaraja  wrote this kriti-Swamiki sariyerana vacchu in Devagandhari

Tummu Narasimha Dasa, a contemporary of Thyagaraja  from Bhadrachalam was captivated by Thyagaraja ‘s bhakti oriented music. He came all the way to meet Thyagaraja  in Tiruvaiyaru. He composed sisa padyams and a few keerthanas. Two of his keerthanas, Bhajana chese vidamu -in Sourashtra ragam and Rama namamrutame neeku in Madhyamavati can be mentioned.

When Thyagaraja  visited Walajapet to meet his disciple, Venkataramana Bhagavatar, Mysore Sadashiva Rao, who happened to be there composed a krithi in Todi-“Thyagaraja  Swami vedalina”, extempore to commemorate Thyagaraja’s visit.

Veena Kuppaiyer, already an established vidvan came to Thyagaraja  to learn some krithis and later composed a krithi- Thyagaraja  guru in Kharaharapriya. His son, Tiruvottiyur Thyagayya was also responsible for another Kharaharapriya krithi-Thyagaraja swami guruniki, in praise of the great composer.

Many other composers have been enamoured of Thyagaraja ‘s greatness and made krithis.  A few of them have been listed below.

Satguru Swamiki -Ritigoula by Ramnad (Poochi) Srinivasa Iyengar

Ini namakkoru-Bilahari – Koteeswara Iyer

Sri Thyagaraja  Ashtottara Shata namavaliBangalore Nagarathnamma

Srimadadi Thyagaraja  guruvaram-Kalyani- Mysore Vasudevachar and his ragamalika

Thyagaraja guruvani– Hindolam-Muthiah Bhagavatar

Ehi Sarguro-Khamas by Mayuram Vishwanatha Sastri

Nadabrahmam- in raga Nadabrahma & Sri Sachidananda kandam-Vachaspathi by Meechu Krishna Iyer

Sri Thyagaraja  Swami mahimanu -Vachaspati (Manipravala krithi in Telugu and Tamil) by P.Sambhamurthy. Another composition by P.Sambhamurthy is…

Ramachandra nannu in Haridasapriya.

Thyagaraja m gurum-Kedaram-M.D. Ramanathan

Papanasam Sivan‘s krithi in Begada is in praise of Thyagaraja  and his krithi in Kedaragowla covers important aspects of the Sangeetha Trimurthis

Maanavalkula bhushana-Hindola by G.N.Balasubramanian

Anandam tandaan-Madhyamavathi-V.V.Sadagopan

Thyagaraja  gurum-Aarabhi by Mulugu Sivananda Sastri

Thyagaraja  gurunatha-Purvikalyani-N.S.Ramachandran

Bhajeham Sri Thyagaraja m – Purvikalyani by Nagpur Subba Rao

Sri Rama chaitanname-Saveri-Shuddananda Bharathi

Balamurali Krishnas krithi Thyagaraja  gurum in Thodi

D.Pattammal has composed – a Navaraga malika with the beginning words-Tyagabrahmam Kathamrutam

Thyagaraja  guruvai-Bhushavali and Nadagana Thyagaraja m-Athana -two krithis by Padmavathi Ammal

Thyagaraja m bharaje chitta-Karpurabharani- PK.Rajagopala Iyer

Ambujam Krishna – Satguru Neeve in Amrutavarshini

K.M.Soundaryavalli has composed close to 30 kritis on Thyagaraja -all in Telugu

Two examples of her kritis are mentioned. Ganasudha rasa panamu-Bhairavi and Dinakara kulambudhi– Hamsadhvani

Thyagaraja  satguru-Bilahari-Andavan Picchu

Ramane ninaivai-Keeravani- Ananda dasa

Varaguna Sangita-Ragamalika- and Navaratna stotram (Sri Rama nama japa) by Tiruvalangadu Mahalinga Sastri

S.Mukund’s two krithis are-Thyagaraja  nadabrahma-Nama Narayani and

Nadabrahma swarupaya-Bhupali

Two krithis by the author of this article –Thyagaraja  Swaminam -Raghupriya and

Sangeeta guruniki mrokkeda– Bilahari are cited.

The author of this post, Ashok Madhav garu, is an accomplished Carnatic composer who has composed in all 72 Melakarta ragas. We thank him for his kind permission to print this piece.

Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the Author, and should not be considered a reflection of the views of the Andhra Cultural Portal. The Author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content, herein.

Saamethalu (Telugu Proverbs) 5


Oorkey raaru mahaanubhaavulu

Great souls do not come without reason

Parigeththi paalu taagay kantey nilabadi neellu thaagadam maylu

It is better to stand and drink water than run while drinking milk

Pandhikemi telusu panneeti viluva?

What does a pig know of perfume

Pelli antae nooraella panta

Marriage is 100 years harvest

Pilli ki bichcham veyadu

So miserly he won’t even feed his cat

Pindi koddhi rotte

Make only as many rotis as you have flour

[Live within your means]

Pitta konchem kootha ghanam

Small bird but chirps sweetly [small child, but big brains]

Potti vaaniki puttedu buddhulu

Short person, but tall talents

Pundu meeda kaaram challinatlu

Rubbing salt [or chili in this case] on wounds

Puvvu puttagaane parimalinchunu

As soon as the flower is born it’s aroma spreads. [a prodigy shows talent at a young age]




Crafts: Budithi


Budithi brassware is one of the unique metalworks coming out of the Coastal Andhra region (Kosta) of Andhra Pradesh.

The sheen and quality of this craft is apparent at first glance. Used for a variety of purposes, it is a must have for any AP household, and the feature this week in our continuing review of the Handicrafts of Andhra.



This native craft of Kosta originates in a small village called Budithi in Central Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh. The municipality is located 40 km outside the district’s eponymous city.

The history of brass and bronze casting and metal working is an ancient one, particularly in the old Andhra desa. Its use may date back to the era of swords and shields, but its application extended to even gun metal in recent centuries past.

It received a GI (Geographical Indicator) tag, per the related Act in 1999, and is therefore a unique and much prized craft in the international market of decorative metal ware. [5]


Budithi is known by the beautiful figures are created out of metal alloys. They are crafted in both traditional and modern styles.

These alloys are typically made of brass and feature a variety of geometric and floral patterns. They are simple yet striking. They are used for a variety of purposes from decorative art to flower pots to even prized cooking utensils.

Pots and jugs in particular are famous for their elegantly lean necks. The mouth of jars are also distinctive, and bell metal has also been used to make polished mirrors.

Black and gold rings are the unique features of the product. Locally available, non-toxic black powder is the base for the effect. This produces a beautiful look and finish in the process.


Budithi Handicrafts Designs

While the traditional process for bronze-casting and brassware manufacturing is fairly standard, what sets Budithi apart is the craftsmanship and specific regional touch. Most notably, locally available natural resources are used to produce a tell-tale black coating.

The beauty of this is unlike modern industrial chemical-based manufacture, the special black powder used for the coating is non-toxic. This is another Unique Selling Point of the product.



Budithi is Kosta’s counterpart to Telangana’s Pembarthi. As a traditional metal craft, it has a standing reputation for splendid brassware. Items such as jars, mirrors, bells, and even utensils have made it an art with wide applicability.

Ostensibly, arts and crafts will have to adapt to the present time and shifting tastes. More modern fashions necessitate the marketing know-how to adapt and properly influence artisans to the meet consumer demand. But with the right business mind and patron, or a community-based effort, Budithi can again make its name in the international marketplace.


Irregular power supply  in recent years and difficulty in getting products to market at present have put workers dedicated to this craft in dire straits. They themselves have complained of lack of government support and of distribution channel difficulties.

A familiar tale by now, the younger generation sees no prosperous future in this industry and is sadly leaving the village, along with generations of tradition. Once 400 families maintained this handicraft, but now that number is down to an estimated 30 families. [9] So start today, and give patronage to these great artisans of your home state.



Telugu Poetry: కోటప్ప కొండ త్రికూటేశ్వర

The following Poem was composed by budding Twitter Kavi,  K.Chandrasekhar.


With the approach of Maha Siva Ratri, an original Telugu Poem of the bhakti geya type by  Kondubhotla, Chandrasekhara garu.

గుంటూరు జిల్లా, నరసరావు పేట దగ్గర కోటప్ప కొండ పైన వెలసిన శ్రీ త్రికూటేశ్వర స్వామివారికి మహా శివరాత్రి సందర్భంగా, భక్తితో

కోటప్ప కొండ త్రికూటేశ్వర

కోటి వ్రేల్పుల రేడు
  కోటయ్య యని మ్రొక్క
 చేదుకొను హరుడు
 ఏమన్న ప్రభలు నవి ఎంత జాతరలు
 త్రికూట రాయుడికి కోటి దండాలు
 వేయి సంబారాలు వేవేల పూజలు
 కోటి ప్రభలా వేల్పు మేలు సల్పు
 శివుడె దిక్కని మ్రొక్క నొక్క గొల్ల వారింట
 వరపుత్రి వెలసె ఆనందవల్లి యను పేరిట
 బాల మనమున యెపుడు బాలేందుడే యగుట
 ముక్కంటికే తన్ను తాను అర్పితమంట
  ఆది జంగమ దాహమ్ము దీర్పంగ
 చెలమ నీరే ఆమె కడవ నింపంగ
 శంభు తలపై గంగ విస్తుబోవంగ
 భక్తి భావనకి యా ముక్కంటి లొంగంగ
 కొండ చేరెడు వేళ కాళ్ళు నొవ్వగరాగ
 కడవ నీరొక తాన తాను పండె వేరొక తాన
 పాపమా కాకమా కడవపై వ్రాలంగ
 కుండ దొణికెను నీరు మ్రొక్కవోవంగ
 కుపిత ఆనంది గొల్లలింటి చాన
 కొండ వ్రాలకు నీవు మరల రాకను  యెడల
 నాటి కాలము దాటి నేటికబ్బురమెంత
 కోటప్ప కొండపై కాకి వాలదు వింత
 గొల్ దెచ్చెను పాలు
 నెలలు నిండిన చూలు
 కొండ దిగవలె శూలి
 తా తిరిగి జూడదు మరలి
 అయ్య వేసిన అడుగు
 ఘన ఓంకార నాదమ్ము
 భీత* హరిణయి గైత
 తల ద్రిప్ప బొమ్మయె వింత
 అచటె ఆగెను భవుడు
 రాతి బొమ్మయి నిలుడు
 భక్త సులభుండతడు
 పరమేష్ఠి యతడు
 అడగకిచ్చును వరము
 అడుగుటెవ్వని తరము
 ఇహము నుండీ పరము
 శివుడె మోక్ష మార్గమ్ము
 సత్యమనగా శివుడు
 శివమన్నదే వాడు
 సుందరమ్మగు హరుడు
 త్రికూటాద్రి విభుడు
 ఫ్రణవ నాదమె వాడు
 ఆది గురువని చూడు
 సృష్ఠి స్ఠితియును లయుడు
 త్రికూటాద్రి విభుడు