The bard as a hero – TYAGARAJA 250

Though Tyagaraja refused the invitations of powerful men like Serfoji and Swati Tirunal, he visited the humble devadasi Nagaratnammal, who was so full of devotion. The dancer spent the rest of her life building a memorial to the saint, and consolidating the yearly festival honouring him.

The cocoons of the folk experience of south India, spun by the daily lives of family members together, women at home, birth-community-determined work, soul-felt religious devotion, the heart-hurts and experiences of exhilaration, all of these Tyagaraja with his music wound round and round the spiritual core—which finally flies free, a bright butterfly of the sky in mulberry tree Tanjavur. Gathering the best, the most soulful and songful of the cocoons, and weaving with that thread a silken music, he loomed the garment of dharma. And unlike heirlooms locked in silent almirahs, never-shown museum pieces which if used would become worn out, the whole cloth of his songs is a magic fabric never threadbare. The flower-patterned songs he wove are changeless offerings—their bright butterflies still flit year after year.

“As a rooster wakes villagers in the morning, Tyaga led souls into a new day’s dawn. He initiated a generation into bhakti’s mystery and that potentiality is still there in every song, to help all realise a living way of reaching the highest—rarely is such a hero found in this world,” Rama Rao said… read more