Ritual Tyagaraja aradhana in Bengaluru this year

Ritual Tyagaraja aradhana in Bengaluru this year

Vedic aradhana of saint-composer, performed at his birthplace in Tamil Nadu for 172 years, is changed for the first time ever

The Tyagaraja Aradhana is the annual celebration of the life of Tyagaraja, one of the trinity of great composers in the Carnatic music tradition.

The festival comprises two components, one that reveres him as a saint through Vedic rituals and the other that celebrates his music with a series of concerts.

While the music element has been celebrated around the world, the Vedic rituals have always taken place in Thiruvaiyaru, the birthplace of the saint.

For the first time in 173 years, the rituals are moving out and coming to Bengaluru.

Metrolife spoke to Radhakrishna G Sheshappa, managing trustee of Sadguru Sri Thyagabrahma Aradhana Kainkarya Trust, which conducts the event.

How has the tribute to Tyagaraja changed over the years?

Successive members of the Tyagaraja Shishya Parampara had been performing the Vedic Aradhana since 1847. Members changing, coupled with the passing away of established members, has seen the celebration go through changes. The last of the trustees, Chellam Iyer, a centenarian, also passed away recently. He was a school teacher, a bachelor who dedicated his entire life for the preservation and propagation of the traditional Tyagaraja aradhana. Things have changed since then, in terms of dedicated manpower and devotees coming for the Vedic aradhana. There is a marked decline in this respect. Of all the music aradhana, the one conducted in Thiruvaiyaru by the Thyagabrahma Mahotsava Sabha is the most popular and it is celebrated in a grand manner. It is telecast live on Doordarshan.

Why did you shift the celebrations to Bengaluru?

The trust has its administrative headquarters in the city. So when logistical issues and infrastructural problems arose at Thiruvaiyaru, Bengaluru seemed like the natural option. The Vedic aradhana will be conducted at the Sringeri Shankara Matha, Shankarapuram, this year. It is a sacred and venerated venue in the city.

What is the significance of this event?

It is held around the time of the demise of the saint. He was and continues to be a source of inspiration to musicians and devotees. It is important to remember and celebrate his contribution to multiple aspects of culture.

How are you going to remember him? Is it going to be different from what is done in Thiruvaiyaru?

No, it is not going to be any different from what we have been doing in Thiruvaiyaru for decades.

The Vedic Aradhana starts from January 11 and goes on till January 15 at the Sringeri Shankara Matha, Shankarapuram. Mass rendering of Tyagaraja’s Pancharatna Kritis is on January 14 at 10.30. Well-known musicians are participating in it. 


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