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Muthuswamy Dikshithar

PLACE OF BIRTH - Thiruvaiyaru
PERIOD - 1775, Mar 24   -   1835, Oct 21
MUDRA - Guruguha
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Dikshithar is said to have composed almost 450 to 500 compositions, most of which are performed till this day at music concerts. Dikshitar travelled to many holy shrines throughout his life, and composed krithis on the deities and temples he visited. Each of his compositions is unique and brilliantly crafted. The compositions are known for the depth and soulfulness of the melody — his visions of some of the Ragas are still the final word on their structure. His songs also expound the history of the temple, and its background, thus preserving many customs followed in these old shrines. Another noticeable feature in his compositions are the proficient rhyming of lines in the lyrics. Muthuswami Dikshithar also undertook the project of composing in all the 72 Melakartha Ragas. He was the pioneer in composing Samashti Charanam Krithis, songs in which the main stanza or pallavi is followed by only one stanza, unlike the conventional two, Dikshitar was a master of not only Ragas but Talas as well and is the only composer to have kritis in all the seven basic Talas of the Carnatic scheme. Dikshitar was fond of composing groups of songs on the same unifying theme. Some of his popular Group Kritis include : Kamalamba Navavarana Kritis Nilotpalamba Kritis Navagraha Kritis Pancha Bhootha Kshetra Kritis Tiruvarur Pancha Linga Kritis Abhayamba Vibhakti Kritis The Rainmaker - Raga Amrutavarshini While visiting Ettayapuram, a small village in Tamil Nadu, the great composer was anguished to see the arid land and people facing severe drought. Moved by their plight, Dikshitar looked up to the sky and burst forth in praise of the goddess in Raga Amrutavarshini. He prayed to Goddess to bring rain and alleviate the plight of the people. When he sang the lines ‘Salilam Varshaya Varshaya’ (let the rain pour down), the sky opened and torrential rain poured forth to nearly flood the drought-hit village. The Navagraha Krithis According to legend, Diskhitar was desitned to make more miracles through his music. Tambiappan, a disciple of Muttuswami Dikshitar was suffering from a stomach ailment and for long no medicines were able to cure him.Dikshitar inspecting his horoscope inferred that the planet Jupiter was in an unfavorable position and his ailment could be cured only by propitiating the planet god Brihaspate. As laymen would find these rituals complex he created the composition “Brihaspate” in the Raga Athana propitiating the planet, and asked his disciple to sing it for a week. As ordained, his ailment was cured. This incident provided the impetus for Dikshitar to compose kritis on all the Navagrahas (All 9 planets). The Swansong In the year 1835, the month of Aswija, on the Chaturdashi Deepavali Day (21st October 1835), Dikshitar felt his end was nearing. After yogic practices, he performed the Navavarna offering to the Goddess. After the rites, Dikshithar moved on to the hall and asked his disciples to sing kritis on Devi. They began singing “Meenakshi Me Mudam Dehi” in Raga Gamakakriya. While they were singing the Sahitya of the Anupallavi “Meena Lochani Pasha Mochani”, the great composer breathed his last.