IMMORTAL SAINTS 2 - GOPALAKRISHNA BHARATHI Aug 23, 2013 6:18:04 GMT 5.5
Post by jksivan on Aug 23, 2013 6:18:04 GMT 5.5
I am very pleased to share with you some very interesting information I collected through various sources I came across about the great divine soul and poet Sri Gopalakrishna Bharathi which I am sure you will enjoy reading.
Have you come across the name of Gopala Krishna Bharathi ? Have you enjoyed any one of the following time honoured songs sung by many vidwans for many decades in sabhas, through radio /tv channels, then you will be interested to know more about the composer of these songs, Sri Gopala Krishna Bharathi
1 Aadum Chidambaramo - Behag
2 Ayye Methakadinam - Raga Malika
3 Enneramum - Devagandhari
4 Kanaka Sabhai - Suruti
5 Pitham Theliya - Senjuruti
6 Sabapathiku Veru Deivam - Abhogi
7 Sivaloka Naathanai - Mayamalava Gowla
8 Varugalamo - Maanji
9 Vazhi Maraitirukkuthe - Natta Kuriniji
10 Yeppo Varuvaro – Jhonpuri
About 200 years ago Gopalakrishna Bharathi (1810-1896) was born in a Brahmin family in Narimanam, a village near Nagapattinam in Tamilnadu. His father’s name was Ramaswami Bharati. Music was one of the ancestral properties that he inherited. Gopalakrishna Bharati lived in Mudikondan village, near Nannilam for a brief period. He also served at the Sri Saraswathi Temple at Koothanur village. Later, when he moved to Ananda thandava puram, near Mayavaram. Annoo Iyer, a local good samaritan supported him and his stay in the village for a long period. He trained in music under the veteran Ghanam Kishna Iyer and learnt Hindustani music from another exponent, Ramdas. Formal study of Hindu philosophical and religious lore and interactions with composers like Anantabharati Iyengar, enriched his flair for composing and singing. Deeply spiritual, Bharati led life with yogic discipline. His compositions, only in Tamil, reflected these aspects amply.
Shri Govindasivam an exponent in adhwaitha sastra and yoga sutra lived in Mayavaram. Gopalakrishna Bharati regarded Shri Govindasivam as his Gnana Guru and learnt Vedanta and several yoga sastras. Hailing from family of music exponents Bharati showed inclination towards music event at a very young age. He had commendable ability to grasp and reproduce complex musical feats. In those days thanks to the boom in Carnatic Music several musicians lived in the villages.
Tamil kritis that could be used by Harikatha and Sivakatha exponents did not exist in olden days. Although early Tamil kritis were based on puranas like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Thirivilayadal etc. A set of kritis describing a Purana in detail did not exist. Sri Gopalakrishna Bharati a great Sangeetha Sahithyamani removed this blip. GKB’s kirtanas and varna mettus are unique. His pallavi eduppus were special. He was a master in blending charanams with the pallavi. His kirtanas are embellished with gamakas and laya vinyasa in a rich yet unobtrusive manner. His kirtanas were simple and captivating. His lyrics are soaked in Bhakthi rasa and describe several philosophical values. He empathized more on musical grace than verbal virtuosity.
Gopalakrishna Bharati will be remembered forever due to his Magnum Opus opera “Nandanar Charitram”. Tamil scholar, Tamil Thaththaa U.Ve.Swaminatha Iyer, couldn't have been more right when he described Nandanar Charitram as “a gift to Carnatic music and a perfect specimen of a Tamil opera." It is said, Gopala Krishna Bharathi got the inspiration to compose “Nandanar Charitram” after seeing the sculpture of Nandan with Shovel and Crowbar at the Chidambaram Temple. The stimulation to compose this musical opera came from one Kandappa Chettiar, a shipping merchant of Nagapattinam who encouraged and motivated him to compose the Charithram.
The appeal of Bharathi's songs cuts across all boundaries of territory, erudition and even age. Nandan Caritiram proved very popular and he published it in his lifetime. The highly regarded Thanjavur Krishna Bhagavatar, who developed the art of Katha Kalatshepam by introducing elements from Marathi performance practice and elements of dance, made it one of his masterpieces. Many adaptations appeared, including stage plays and three film versions. The album of the film version starring the singer M. M. Dandapani Desikar as Nandanar (with music direction by Papanasam Sivan) remains popular. Individual songs of Gopalakrishna Bharati became popular with Carnatic musicians. Later, Bharata Natyam dancers, including T. Balasaraswati,
took up select pieces for interpretation as abhinayam of them by mentioning "Ariya Pulaiyar Moovar" in this kriti. The highly emotional Tamil opera Nandanar Charitram of GKB, when it was launched, in the mid-nineteenth century tugged at the heartstrings of the entire Tamil diaspora and even spread further to draw the attention of the French collector of Karaikal, Mr. Seesay. Familiar with the language and music of the locals, Mr Seesay expressed his appreciation of this masterpiece of an opera by undertaking its publication. The first edition came out on November 11, 1861, and the second barely nine months later, in August 1862.
MEETING WITH SAINT THYAGARAJA SWAMIGAL
Once, Bharati visited the legendary Tyagaraja Swamigal at Thituvaiyaru . The bard, on coming to know that the visitor to his house was from Mayuram, asked, “Do you know Gopalakrishna Bharathi?" The affirmative answer led to a lengthy conversation. Bharathi then listened to his disciples sing a kriti of Thyagaraja "Manasu Nilpa" in the Ragam Abhogi. Then he went to bathe in the river Kaveri, and composed the famous kriti "Sabhapatikku Veru Deivam Samanamaguma" on the spot in Thamizh in the same ragam on Lord Nataraja of Chidambaram. When he came back to Thyagaraja’s house, Thyagaraja asked GKB if he has composed any kriti in Abhogi. GKB said he did so after hearing Thyagaraja’s kriti and sang it for him. Thyagaraja was happy and showered praise on GKB.
Inspired by Tyagaraja's Pancharatna kritis, GKB composed a set of five kritis in the Ghana ragas — Nattai, Gowlai, Arabhi, Varali and Sri Ragas. GKB composed several songs and other operas to his credit. Many of them are popular on the music and dance platforms. Few of his famous pieces are given below to get a glimpse of his innumerable hit songs : The compositions show his mastery over literary and musical forms. Such is the variety displayed in them —
Darus (situational songs),
He used “Gopalakrishnan” and “Balakrishnan” as his Mudra in his songs. GKB also composed many famous works like ‘Katakaletshepam’, Iyarpagai Nayanar Charitram, Tiruneelakanda Nayanar Charitram and Karaikal Ammayar Charitram. Many of his students including the famous Vedanayagam Pillai who was the District Munsif at Mayuram were taught a number of his songs by Gopalakrishna himself.
Gopalakrishna Bharati died in 1896 (or they say in 1881). Even during his lifetime, he had witnessed the popularity of his songs. Thanjavur Krishna Bhagavatar, father of modern kalakshepam, mentioned Nandanar Charitram as one of his favourite subjects. Chidambaram Srirangachariar, father of Embar Vijayaraghavachariar related with great relish the tale and theatre personality S.G.Kittappa immortalised the character on stage. The tinsel world came out with two movies on the theme and recording companies cut discs of the songs that sold like hot cakes. A group of inspired people led by Chennai-based 'Deccan' N. K. Murthy and N. Venkatraman, a retired schoolteacher from Mayiladuthurai (Tamil Nadu) has been organising a annual music festival in memory of this great Thamizh composer for about 18 years now. The festival which was being conducted at Anandathandavapuram where Bharati lived most of his life, is celebrated now at Mayiladuthurai.