Carnatic Music

The Carnatic Music Trinity: Muthuswamy Dikshitar

LEGO Muthuswamy Dikshitar by TheLegoCreator

Muthuswamy Dikshitar (1775 – 1835) was born to Ramaswamy Dikshitar at Thiruvarur. His father taught him poetry, music, Vedas and astrology. He had two younger brothers, Chinnaswamy and Balaswamy Dikshitar and a sister, Balamba. They moved to Manali, near what is now Chennai at the behest of Venkatakrishna Mudaliar. The Dikshtar brothers accompanied Mudaliar to Fort St. George nearby, where they were exposed to western orchestral music and the Violin. An ascetic named Chidambaranatha Yogi took them to Benares and taught them music, philosophy and Yoga. They were also exposed to Hindustani music. Upon the death of Chidambaranatha Yogi, Muthuswamy returned South, to Tiruttani, near Tirupati. Once, when Muthuswamy was meditating at the Tiruttani Muruga temple, Lord Muruga came, and placed a sugar candy in his mouth, and commanded him to sing. This marked the beginning of his career in music. Soon, he adopted the Mudra (signature), Guruguha, another name of Lord Muruga. His first composition is, Sri nathadi Guruguho in the Raga (scale) Mayamalavagowla. He then went on a pilgrimage, visiting and composing at the temples of, Kanchi, Thiruvannamalai, Srirangam, and Tirupati, He then returned to Thiruvarur. He attained mastery over the Veena and he experimented a lot with the Violin. One of his disciples, Vadivelu of the Thanjavur quartet and his brother, Balaswamy Dikshitar pioneered the use of the Violin in Carnatic Music, now an integral part of Carnatic concerts. After returning to Thiruvarur he composed on every deity in the Temple complex, Kamalamba is a deity of high tantric significance in the temple complex. This is where he composed the famous Kamalamba Navavarna Kritis, filled with beautiful lyrics on Kamalamba. These Navavarnams are sung as the highlight of Guruguha Jayanti. He also composed some Noteswarams, a combitation of western and Carnatic music. Dikshitar died at Ettayyapuram and a Samadhi was erected in his honor, it attracts musicians and admirers of his art. His disciples included a number of famous musicians like the Thanjavur quartet brothers, Ponnayya Pillai, Vadivelu, Chinnayya and Sivanandam, the Venna player Venkatarama Ayyar of Avudayarkoil, the son of Shyama Sastri, Subbaraya Sastri among others.

Navavarna Kritis
Composition Raga (scale)
Kamalamba SamrakshatuAnanda Bhairavi
Kamalambaam Bhajare Kalyani
Sri Kamalambikaya Katakshitoham Shankarabaranam
Kamalambikayai Kambhoji
Sri Kamalambikayah Param Bhairavi
Kamalambikayastava Punnagavarali
Sri Kamalambikayam Sahana
Sri Kamalambike Ghanta
Sri Kamalamba Jayati Ahiri
Sri Kamalambike Sri

By DhyanKatha

Hi, I’m a 12-year-old homeschooler. I’m interested in Carnatic classical music. I’m fascinated by Indian epics and other untold stories.

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