250th Birthday of Saint Thyagaraja

Saint Thyagaraja was born on 4th May, 1767, as per the Gregorian calendar. This year we are celebrating His 250th Birthday.

In the Indian calendar, this day was on the 25th day of Mesha month , 1689 Saka, corresponding to 1767 CE in Gregorian calendar. This day is also the 6th day of the bright half of the lunar month Vaishakha, of year Sarvajit in the cycle of 60 years.

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Sri Thyagaraja’s birth horoscope extracted from palm leaf manuscript of his life written by Thanjavur Sri Sadasiva Rao and Sri Venkata Suri

Kakarla Thyagabrahmam, populary known as Thyagaraja is one of the foremost devotees of Lord Rama. He is among the great composers who gave shape to Carnatic Music, the classical musical tradition of Southern India. Though born at Thiruvarur, in Tamil Nadu, in 1767, this poet saint composed thousands of soulful songs on Lord Rama in Telugu and no concert in Carnatic Music is complete today, without a few of his compositions. His compositions still continue to mesmerize us in an ocean of devotion, bhakti.

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The original idols of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana to which Sri Thyagaraja prayed

Saint Ramakrishnananda Swami was Sri Thyagaraja’s Guru, who initiated Sri Thyagaraja into the Rama Shadakshari Mantra.  He also gave him the Naradopasti Mantra, reciting which made  Narada Muni manifest before Saint Thyagaraja in the form of Thyagaraja’s Guru Ramakrishnananda Swami. Rishi Narada in the form of his Guru, took him into the temple of Panchanadiswara in Tiruvayaru and blessed him with the musical treatise ‘Swararnava’, which made Thyagaraja a great Master of Carnatic music.

Saint Thyagaraja lived and composed his music on the banks of the river Kaveri at Thiruvaiyaru meaning, “A city of Five Rivers”,  Thiru meaning Good, Holy, Vai, five and  Aru, rivers,  near Thanjavur.

Saint Thyagaraja lived and composed music on the banks of the river Kaveri at Thiruvaiyaru meaning, “A city of Five Rivers”, near Tanjavur. A Samadhi, memorial was erected on the banks of the Kaveri, where his mortal remains were interred, after he left his mortal coil on 6th January, 1847.  This was on the 5th day in the dark half of the lunar month of Pushya. He lived for nearly 80 years, i.e 79 years. 8 months and 15 days to be precise.

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Saint Thyagaraja

An annual festival, Thyagaraja Aradhana is held at Thiruvaiyaru every year on his anniversary on Pushya Bahula Panchami day, i.e. 5th day of the dark fortnight in the month Pushya, in January, to commemorate his significant contributions to music and devotion to divinity, Rama. Carnatic musicians from all over the world descend and pay homage to the saint.

In the form of a music festival of Thyagaraja’s songs, this festival has now become a global phenomenon with Indian diaspora who are followers of Carnatic music conducting such events worldwide, wherever they live, in order to keep memories of both, Thyagaraja and his compositions alive.

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