Book on Tyagaraja compositionsset for release again

One of the greatest characteristics of classical music is its enchanting quality and inner, greater meaning exemplifying eternal values.

In spite of renewed interest in Carnatic music, not fully understanding the significance of its cherished values continues to be a stumbling block for many people, particularly the uninitiated, from experiencing its supreme bliss.

Sri Gautami Vidyapeetham was founded in Rajahmundry for propagating traditional knowledge and as part of it the Andhra Gana Kala Parishat was formed. In turn, the Parishat formed a committee in 1946 to bring out books on music.

It decided to bring out a volume comprising the text of kirtanas of the great saint-composer Tyagaraja with meaning and commentary in Telugu. A subcommittee comprising famous violinist Dwaram Venkata Swamy, T. V. Subba Rao and Vissa Appa Rao formed for the purpose chose Kalluri Veerabhadra Sastry of Prakkilanka in West Godavari district for the monumental work.

He had begun his task in September 1946 and the book “Tyagaraja Kirtanalu- Savyakhyanam” was published in 1948.

The noble objective of the book, as explained by the volume’s editor Vissa Appa Rao, is to first enlighten the singer to transmit the ‘rasa’ to the listener and also to convey the message of devotion and altruistic love of mankind of the saint-composer.

Posterity would have been deprived of this lucid elaboration of 633 kirtanas besides ‘utsava sampradaya kiranas’ but for the possession of one copy of the rare book by President of the Centre for Policy Studies A. Prasanna Kumar.

The inestimable value of the book can be understood from the benediction to it by Kanchi Paramacharya Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati and by former President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

In his blessings, the Paramacharya mentions the higher philosophic yearning of Tyagaraja as well as musings on the worldly affairs with music as vehicle for salvation.

In his foreword, Dr. Radhakrishnan describes Tyagaraja as a ‘rishi’ and his renditions not only are uplifting by their musical quality but also spiritual values manifesting the ultimate truth. Tyagaraja is a musical architect who sculpted kirtanas in pure Telugu, the former President says.

On a request by Prof. Prasanna Kumar, Visakha Rasajna Vedika founder-president G. Raghu Rama Rao has decided to publish it afresh.

It’s a rare book and not many even in music circles are aware of it since it has not been in circulation, Dr. Rao says. The greatness of the commentary by Kalluri Veerabhadra Sastry with his knowledge of epics, Úpanishads and the Gita should not be lost, says Prof. Prasanna Kumar.

“I am one with Prof. Prasanna Kumar’s view that classical singers, music lovers and researchers should derive benefit from its publication again,” Dr. Raghu Rama Rao says. The book is reverentially dedicated to Kalluri Veerabhadra Sastry, not priced and the original publisher’s name retained.

The effort to restore the book giving a new lease of life to the rare volume will begin with its release on October 29 in Visakhapatnam.

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