Sant Tyagaraja - the symbol of Bhakti
Sant Tyagaraja, one of the greatest devotional music composers, was born on May 4th, 1767. He was a key figure in the development of the Indian classical music tradition.
Music was a tool for Tygaraja to connect with the divine; it was a vehicle through which he engaged with God.
His works are predominantly religious (bhakti) and intellectual in nature. Sant Tyagaraja was a fervent devotee of Lord Rama, and he appears in his songs as someone who is either appealing to the diety or imparting a message to the audience. Tyagaraja was a devout follower of Lord Rama, but he is also credited with writing krithis in favour of Krishna, Shiva, Shakti, Ganesha, Muruga, Saraswati, and Hanuman.
Sant Tyagaraja's life is filled with instances when he was approached for royal services but flatly refused. Tyagaraja's greatness was brought to the attention of the King of Thanjavur, who invited him to join the court. The invitation featured various gifts, but Tyagaraja was eager for service in Lord Rama's court, not a king's court, and he promptly denied the offer. On this occasion, it is stated that He authored the krithi Nidhi Chala Sukhama, which translates as "Does riches bring happiness?”
Sant Tyagaraja also paid a visit to the famous Sri Rangam temple, where he is supposed to have arrived during a 'Brahmotsava'. As a stranger in the area, he was unable to approach the horse-vehicle. However, the carriers were unable to proceed. It was quickly discovered that this abrupt halt in the holy procession had occurred because saint Thayaraja was unable to approach and receive darsan. The procession resumed only after the saint received darsan from the Lord. This incident is referenced in one of his songs, "Vinarada na manavi" (Will you not listen to my appeal?). Later, the saint was escorted to the main shrine, where he worshipped the Lord alone in the sanctum – and after this exhilarating experience, he dedicated the work "O Ranga sayee" to Him.