Religious Leaders

Abirami Pattar

Abirami Pattar(Subramaniya Iyer ) was a semi-legendary Hindu saint from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He is famed as the author of a collection of hymns called Abhirami Anthadhi which is widely regarded as one of the foremost works of modern Tamil literature.He was born to one Amirthalinga Iyer in the village of Thirukadaiyur. Tirukkadaiyur has one of elegant Brahmin quarters near the temple called as agraharams established by the Maratha ruler Serfoji I, a great admirer of Brahmin poets and bards, in the early part of the 18th century. The village was famous for its Lord Shiva temple named as Amritaghateswarar-Abirami Temple,Thirukkadaiyur. Right from his childhood, Subramaniya Iyer was drawn to the temple and the Goddess.

Kulasekara Alwar

Kulashekhara Varman (Tamil:குலசேகர வர்மன்)also known as Kulashekhara Alvar(Tamil:குலசேகர ஆழ்வார்) was one of the Alwars According to traditional scriptures, Kuleshekara alwar incarnated on this earth in the 27th year after the beginning of the Kali Era (3102 BC) which puts the seer at 3075 BC.Kulasekhara is one of the twelve Tamil azhwar saints of South India, who are known for their affiliation to Vaishnava tradition of Hinduism. The verses of azhwars are compiled as Nalayira Divya Prabandham and the 108 temples revered are classified as Divya desam. He is considered the seventh in the line of the twelve azhwars. He authored Sanskrit lyric Mukundamala and Perumal Tirumozhi, which is compiled as a part of Nalayira Divya Prabandham. He is sometimes identified as Kulasekhara, the author of the Sanskrit works such as Tapatisamvaranam, Subhadradhananjaya and Vichchinnabhiseka.The verses of Kulasekhara and other azhwars are recited as a part of daily prayers and during festive occasions in most Vishnu temples in South India.

Thondaradi podi azhvar

Thondaradippodi Alvar was born in a small village by name Thirumandangudi Chola region in Prabhava year, Margazhi month, Krishna chaturthi, Tuesday in Kettai (Jyestha) Nakshatram (star). His father ‘Veda Visaradhar’ belonged to "Kudumi Sozhiyap Brahmanar" community also called as "Vipra" people, whose routine work is to praise about Sri Vishnu. On the 12th day after his birth, he was named as "Vipra Narayanar". From an early age, bhakti towards Sri Vishnu was taught to him. He grew up with a well rounded personality. It is said that in spite of being good and beautiful and dedicated to Sri Vishnu bhakti, he had no conceit and treated all the aged persons and persons who are younger to him in the same way and gave proper respect to them.As per Hindu legend, he was under the influence of a prostitute, whose mother stole all the money of Vipra Narayanan. When he was need of money, Vishnu came in his rescue and showered gold in him.He became a staunch devotee of Ranganatha of Sriranganathaswamy temple. He constructed a big Nandhavanam (flower park) in Srirangam, where various beautiful and fragrance flower plants are grown. He worshipped all the bhaktas of Sri Vishnu and put the podi (Small tiny dust particles), which is found under the feet of them in his head and sang songs in praise of Sri Ranganathar. From then, he was called as "Thondaradipodi Alwar".His works are the Tiruppalli Ezuchi having ten verses and Tirumaalai having forty verses, both of which are counted among the 4000 stanzas in the Nalayira Divya Prabandam. The works of Thondaradipodi and other azhwars contributed to the philosophical and theological ideas of Vaishnavism. Along with the three Saiva nayanmars, they influenced the ruling Pallava kings of the South Indian region, resulting in changing the religious geography from Buddhism and Jainism to the two sects of Hinduism.

Sadhguru Swamigal

At Tiruvisanallur there lived a Telugu Brahmin named Sri Sesha Sastrigal, wellversed in Sastras. His wife Abhirami gave birth to a radiant male child at 1777 A.D. amidst many auspicious portents. The boy was named VENKATARAMAN but till his 5th year did not speak a single word. In his dreams one night, Sesha Sastri had darsan of SRI AYYAVAL and expressed him the agony regarding the child. Sri Ayyaval directed that Aksharabhyaasam be done on the coming Wednesday or Thursday. Accordingly the function was conducted and the first word uttered by the boy was RAAMA to the joy of the parents and others.Within a very short time, Venkataraman become proficient in the Sastras, but repeatedly telling everyone that Raama Naama Sankeertanam was the easiest way to salvation did so himself. He initiate several people into Raama naama Japa even as a Brahmachari. The boy who was considered an Avatara Purusha married Alarmelumanga at the age of 13. After some time his father passed away and when Venkataraman was 22 both his wife and newborn male child died. Thus he was free from all his attachments. He went on yatra to various plaes and wherever he went he was followed by a big gathering of people who called him Sri Sadguru Swaamigal.In answer to the request of Sri Pattam Venkatarama Iyer Sri Sadguru Swaamigal decided to settle at Marudanallur. Following this Sri Radhakrishnaswami Mutt was built and Sri Sadguru Swaamigal was 25 when he arrived at Marudanallur with his mother, for next 14 years he propagated by practice the UNCHAVRITHTHI DHARMAM. He was also the forerunner for the method of congregational Naama Sankeertanam.When he was 39 his mother passed away. Sri Sadguru Swamigal installed as his successor to the Mutt Sri Kothandaraman, 3rd Son of Sri Pattam Venkararama Iyer, and in the year 1817 A.D. merged with the Almighty.

SridharaVenkatesa Ayyaval

Ayyaval was the son of one Sridhara Lingarayar, a Brahmin who settled in Thiruvisanallur, during the reign of Shahuji I.On Ayyaval's arrival in Thanjavur, he was offered all assistance and respect by Shahuji, the then ruler of the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom. Shortly afterwards, he restored a Brahmin dead of snakebite to life and thus acquired a reputation as a miracle-worker. He was attracted to the Mahalingeswarar shrine at Thiruvidaimarudur and set up his house at the neighbouring village of Thiruvisainallur.Various events are associated with the life of Sridhara Ayyaval. Chastised for feeding a hungry Dalit by orthodox Brahmins who insisted that Ayyaval should bath in holy Ganges and thus purify himself, Ayyaval prayed to Shiva and recited the Gangashtakam sloka appealing to the goddess Ganges. According to the traditions of the Sri Sridhara Ayyaval Mutt, when Ayyaval had finished reciting the Gangashtakam, water from the holy Ganges river flowed out of the well in his house.Ayyaval outlived his wife and most of his contemporaries. He is believed to have died in 1720 at the age of 85. According to most accounts, he disappeared mysteriously while on a visit to the Mahalingeswarar Temple. Ayyaval's followers believe that on entering the temple, Ayyaval's soul entered the idol of the presiding deity, Mahalingeswarar, and became one with him.Sridhara Ayyaval was a contemporary of Sri Bodhendra Saraswathi and Sadasiva Brahmendra. Sadashiva Brahmendra's song Tunga Tarange Gange was written on Ayyaval who brought the Ganges.He also holds an important status in Dakshina Sampradaya Namasankirthanam and is a member of the "trinity". Several songs have been written and composed on him and are always sung in any proper Namasankirthanam. The krithis are almost always followed by the namavali "Gangadhara Gangadhara", referring to Ayyaval as the bearer and bringer of the Ganges. 

Thyagarajar

Thyāgarājar was born in 1767 in Tiruvarur, Tiruvarur district, Tamil Nadu, to Kakarla Ramabrahma and Sitamma in a Telugu Brahmin family. His family belong to the smarta tradition and Bhardvajasa gotra. He was named Thyagabrahmam/Thyagaraja after Tyagaraja, the presiding deity of the temple at Tiruvarur.Thyāgarāja began his musical training under Sonti Venkata Ramanayya, a music scholar, at an early age. He regarded music as a way to experience God's love. His objective while practicing music was purely devotional, as opposed to focusing on the technicalities of classical music. He also showed a flair for composing music and, in his teens, composed his first song, "Namo Namo Raghavayya", in the Desika Todi ragam and inscribed it on the walls of the house.Angered at Tyagaraja's rejection of the royal offer, his brother threw the statues of Rama Tyagaraja used in his prayers into the nearby Kaveri river. Thyagaraja, unable to bear the separation with his Lord, went on pilgrimages to all the major temples in South India and composed many songs in praise of the deities of those templesOut of 24,000 songs said to have been composed and about 700 songs remain now.[5] In addition to nearly 700 compositions (kritis), Thyagaraja composed two musical plays in Telugu, the Prahalada Bhakti Vijayam and the Nauka Charitam. Prahlada Bhakti Vijayam is in five acts with 45 kritis set in 28 ragas and 138 verses, in different metres in Telugu. Nauka Charitam is a shorter play in one act with 21 kritis set in 13 ragas and 43 verses. The latter is the most popular of Thyagaraja's operas, and is a creation of the composer's own imagination and has no basis in the Bhagavata Purana.

Syama Sastri

Syama Sastri was born into a scholarly Tamil Brahmin family in Tiruvarur (Tanjavur district of Tamil Nadu). His father Viswanatham was the hereditary priest responsible for the care and worship of the image of the goddess, Bangaru Kamakshi, whose temple is in Thanjavur. Syama Sastri's father was 25 at the time of his birth and his mother, Vengalakshmi, 20 years old. A family tradition holds that she had received a prophecy of his birth from a devout neighbor. The infant was named Venkatasubrahmanya, but came to be affectionately known as Shyama Krishna.He composed in Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit, mostly on goddess Kāmākṣhī.He composed kr̥ti(s), varṇa(s) and svarajati(s) with the ankita or mudra (signature) Śyāma Kr̥ṣṇa. He was probably the first to compose in a new form of the svarajati musical genre. Prior to this, the svarajati was primarily a dance form, and was close in structure to the dance Varṇaṃ (padavarṇaṃ).His set of three famous svarajati(s) are intended to be sung in concert rather than danced, and are sometimes referred to as "Ratnatrayam" (Three jewels). They are in ragas Bhairavi, Yadukula kambhoji and Todi, and are called Kāmākṣhī Anudinamu, Kāmākṣhī Padayugamē, and Rāvē himagiri kumāri, respectively. The former two are set to Miśra Cāpu Tāḷa, while the third is set to Ādi Tāḷa.He was renowned for his ability to compose in the most complex of Tāḷa(s). He was as adept in composing in rare ragas as he was in composing with the popular ones. He was widely revered for his voice and singing ability during his time.

Muthuswami Dikshitar

Muthuswami Dikshitar ,(March 24, 1775 – October 21, 1835) is a South Indian poet and composer and is one of the Musical Trinity of Carnatic music. His compositions, of which around 500 are commonly known, are noted for their contemplative nature and for capturing the essence of the raga forms through the vainika (veena) style that emphasises gamakas. They are typically in a slower speed (chowka kala). He is also known by his signature name of Guruguha.His compositions are widely sung and played in classical concerts of Carnatic music.The musical trinity consists of Dikshitar, Tyagaraja (1767–1847), and Syama Sastri (1762–1827) although, unlike the Telugu compositions of the others, his compositions are predominantly in Sanskrit. He also had composed some of his Kritis in Manipravalam.Muthuswami Dikshitar was born in Tiruvarur (of Thiruvarur district in what is now the state of Tamil Nadu) to a Tamil Iyer Brahmin couple Ramaswami Dikshitar(discoverer of Raaga Hamsadhwani) and Subbamma, as the eldest son. According to the account of Subbarama Dikshitar, Muttuswami Dikshitar was born in the manmatha year, in the month of TamilPanguni under the asterism Krittikaa. He was named after the temple deity, Muttukumaraswamy; legend has it that he was born after his parents prayed for a child in the Vaitheeswaran Temple. He had two younger brothers Baluswami, Chinnaswami and a sister Balambal.In keeping with the Brahminic educational tradition, Muthuswami learnt the Sanskrit language, Vedas, and other important religious texts. He obtained his preliminary musical education from his father.While he was still in his teens, his father sent him on a pilgrimage with a wandering monk named Chidambaranatha Yogi to gain musical and philosophical knowledge. Over the course of this pilgrimage, he visited many places in North India and acquired a broad outlook that is reflected in many of his compositions. During their stay in Kashi (Varanasi), his guru Chidambaranatha Yogi, presented Dikshitar with a unique Veena and died shortly thereafter. The samādhi of Chidambaranatha Yogi can still be seen in Sri Chakra Lingeshwar temple at the Hanuman Ghat area in Varanasi.

GopalaKrishna Bhaagavathar

On 14/10/1892 Friday, krishna Paksha Navami, Aslesha star, was born a male child, after three females, to the pious Sri Sundaresayya and Meenakshi Ammal. The place was the village of VALLAVARI in Arantangi Taluq of Tanjore Dist. (Tamil Nadu – India). The child was named as VENKATA GOPALAKRISHNAN.When the child was three years old Sundararesayya moved to the village Swaranakkadu in Pattukottai taluq. When the boy was five his father passed away and he was brought by his brother-in-law Venkata krishnayya. tIll his 15th year he learnt Telugu, Sanskrit and music from his brother-in-law and also received initiation in Mantras. At this time he married his uncle’s daughter Mangalanaayaki. At the age of 23 he got one son (Sri Mani) and another at his 28th age (Sri Sanjeevi).Inspried by the wonderful lives of Sri Bodhendra Samigal, Sri Sridhara Ayyaval, Sri Sadguru Swamigal and other great saints he yearned to lead a life like theirs, always singing the names and glory of god.In the year 1920 the family moved to Mannagudi, from 1924 to 1926 for two years he learnt Harikatha and Bharatha Natyam from Uthukadu Venkatarama Bhagavatar who advised him to use music only for promoting Namapracharam. In 1926 Venkatakrishnayya passed away. The two sons were studying at Pudukottai under their grandfather’s care. In the year 1922 his wife and in 1928 his mother left this world.In August 1932, Sri Bhagavatar became a resident of Pudukottai. When he was 42 years old Bhagavatar went to Govindapuram and had darsan at the Samadhi of Sri Bodendra Swamigal and received Akshaya Patram. From then onwards unchavritti and namasankeerthanam becomes a part of his daily life. In 1947 on Vijayadasami day he started on pilgrimage to Kanchi, Pandarpur and Mantralayam. This trip gave him the confidence that he can visit even far away places without any hindrance to his daily routine. Thus his namaprachara sancharas increased.In 1952, his 60th birthday was celebrated at Pudukottai. In 1953 August he started on a six month trip around the country touching Banglore, Pune, Bombay, Delhi, Rishikesh, Calcutta, jagannath, Hyderabad etc, and his yatra made him well known everywhere. Except for about 15 days stay at Pudukkottai during Narasima Jayanthi Utsavam almost throughout the year he was on sankirtana tour establishing a big Namasamrajya of great love and devotion. From 1963 onwards his visit to the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad became almost an annual feature.Sadguru Sri Gopalakrishna Bhagavatar who had been on Namaprachara tour continiously from 1947 spent his last days at Pudukottai and shed his mortal coil on 30/4/1971. Sri Bhagavatha swami very much lives in the hears of the many sincere devotees and in the form of his sons who are devoutly following the traditions established by him. The annual Narasimha Jayanti Utsavam is proof of the presence of the guiding hand of the Sadguru.

Anantharama Dikshitar

Sengalipuram Anantarama Dikshitar (2 August 1903 – 30 October 1969) was a Śrauti scholar and also was a great exponent of the art of upanyasas (discourses) on various subjects in Hinduism. Born in the Thanjavur district as the first son to Sri Subramanya Dikshithar, boy Anantharaman was initiated into the learning of the Vedas under his father Subramanya Dikshithar who was also known as chinna Muthannaval brother of Sengalipuram Vaidhyanatha Dikshithar or Periya Muthannaval. Paruthiyur Krishna Sastri was the first guru for Anantharama Dikshithar. He first had his Aksharabyasam from Krishna Sastri at Muthannavals’s Gurukulam. Then he further studied other Shastras and Vedangas from eminent scholars of repute including Kadalangudi Natesa Sastrigal who also was his father in law.On the divine wishes and direction of Sri Guruvayurappan, the presiding deity, He has performed many Srimadh Bhagavatha Saptaahams at Guruvayur. The Sringeri Sankaracharya Sri Abhinava Vidya Teertha Swamigal too eagerly participated in the Navaaham conducted at Tiruprayar Sri Rama Temple at Kerala, as this was performed as ordered by the presiding deity, Sri Rama Himself. In fact, every one was thrilled to know the personal involvement of the Lord in the Navaaham. His discourse attracted tens of thousands of apt listeners, which was unusual till then.The available portions of the recordings of His discourses rendered in public were brought out in cassettes as per the gracious directions of Sri Kanchi Paramacharya. Now, the contents of the tapes have been processed using software and the result is a far improved audio quality. The improved contents are brought now in both the forms of Compact Discs and also of cassettes. The proceeds are to be used for Sri Adhishtaanam of Sri Deekshithar who attained Sidhi on 30-10-1969 (in the month of Thula, Krishna Sashti tithi) after taking Sanyasa on 21-10-1969,within 10 days. Daily poojas are performed at Sri Adhishtaanam at Chinnathirupathi, Salem Town. His divine presence is still felt there where He answers the prayers of devotees.

Krishna Premmi

Sri Sri Krishna Premi Swamigal was born on a Gokulaasthami (Sri Krishna's Birthday)day in a village called Saengannur in Tanjore district near Kumbhakonam (South India). Right from his very early childhood he was absorbed in divine thoughts and lived a very simple life. He was benefited by the study of Sri Vaishnava and Sri Shaiva. His life of austerity made him learn all about the epics and Bhagawat Gita. He spent his life in Dhyana right from the age of 12 years. The devotees used to call Swamiji as "SRI SRI ANNA"He has established Schools of ‘thought of bhakti’ by training students in the discourse of Ramayana, Bhaagawatha and Bhagawat Gita for the same he instituted various centres in different parts of India and elsewhere. He has a good line of disciples who entertain people in Bhakti Maarga through lectures, Bhajans, etc.He has reconstructed dilapidated temples, which were once propitiated by the Great Saints and arranged for daily Poojas and Aaradhanas. For this, he established a Sabha to administer the work. His services and contributions in the Bhakti Marga are indeed laudable in this Kaliyuga to redeem the people of their miseries.Sri Sri Anna is the founder president of Akila Bhaaratha Saadhu Sangam. The Akhila Bhaarata Saadhu Sangam is constituted for propagating Sri Krishna Bhakthi by conducting Saptaahams of Srimad Bhaagavatham in various parts of India and has established its centre in various towns, cities, etc. He has to his credit the honour of having occupied the Gyana Peedam (Also called Vyasa Peedam) for Hundreds of Bhagawatha Sapthaham all over the country. He conducts a number of benefit programs for the upliftment and maintenance of several temples.Sri Sri Anna maintains several Ashrams in important places like Mathura- Brindavan, Pandharpur, Paranur, etc. and a Gosala near Madurai for the upkeeping and maintaining old cows that were otherwise sent for slaughtering.Sri Sri Anna authored a number of Bhajans and more than Hundred books in Tamil and Sanskrit the latest being Veda Vigyanam. This book deals extensively with vedic periods as well as the four Vedas and Hindu Rituals. He has concluded the book by elucidating the moral standard to be followed by the humanity. He has published various books on Bhagawatham, Ramayanam and also numerous AudioCassettes on pravachan and bhajans.Sri Sri Anna is publishing a monthly magazine called Bhaagawata Dharmam, which has a wide circulation.Sri Sri Anna's discourses have been recorded and published in both audio and video tapes. His discourse on Ramayana, Mahabharata, Srimad Bhagawatham, Bhagwat Gita, 108 Divya Kshetras of Mahavishnu, Panduranga Charitra, etc. are like "Karnaamrutham" to every listener.

 

 

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