Dedicated to the Saint Poet
Illustrious artistes have performed at the samajam.
WHEN ONE hears Ariyakudi singing "Vedalanu Kodandapani" (Todi) or KVN singing "Tolinenu" (Koviladhwani), one is caught up in the music, and the world around one ceases to exist. How much more would one's enjoyment of these Tyagaraja kritis be, if one knew the meaning of the kritis. The Sri Sadguru Sangeetha Samajam, Purasawalkam, which stands on the threshold of its 50th year as a registered samajam, was started with the two-fold aim of popularising rare Tyagaraja kritis and also helping Tamil rasikas understand their meaning. Although the samajam was registered only 50 years ago, it came into existence much earlier.
The samajam was started by a group of musicologists and Tyagaraja devotees living in the area. Notable among them were Prof. P. Sambamurthy who lived in the nearby Diwan Rama Iyengar Road, Dr. R. Krishnaswamy, popularly known as RK, violin vidwan T. R. Ratnavelu and M. V. Doraiswamy Iyengar.
Since its inception, the samajam has conducted Tyagaraja aradhanai in the Purasawalkam area. In the early years, the aradhanai took place in the Annadhana Samajam building on the Purasawalkam High Road opposite the textile showroom Madha Sha. Later, the venue shifted to the Sri Rama Temple in Purasawalkam, which was closed to the public some years ago. Much later, the Aradhana was conducted at the residence of Dr. R. K. in Vellala Street. A friendly neighbour allowed RK the use of his house too. But since 1955, aradhana celebrations have been held in the Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Vellala Street.
A notable feature of the samajam's observance of Tyagaraja aradhana is the akhandam it organises every year. Usually 380 to 390 kritis are sung during the akhandam, says Dr. Vimala Rajappa, an office-bearer of the samajam (Ph: 2663 1556). The akhandan this year will take place on February 12. The samajam has published more than a dozen books on Tyagaraja Swamy's kritis. His Srirangam, Lalgudi, Kovur, Tiruvottriyur and Tiruvaiyar kshetra kritis have been published in separate volumes. In each of these kshetras a marble slab, inscribed with a kriti pertaining to that kshetra, has been installed. Dr. RK published a book in Tamil in 1967, `Sri Tyagaraja Swamy Kritanaigal', which has 675 compositions of Tyagaraja Swamy Edited by T. S. Parthasarathy, the book also has an index to help in the proper pronunciation of the Telugu words. Mr. Krishnamurthy and Dr. Vimala Rajappa, present office-bearers, are so energetic as to be the envy of 20-year olds. Dr. Vimala Rajappa, retired professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology from the Madras Medical College, says, "To him I owe everything." The samajam has not only managed to keep its head above water, but has also managed to publish so many books without much publicity.
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