Muthuswamy Dikshitar (AD 1776 - 1835)

Muthuswamy Dikshitar was the youngest of the Musical Trinity. The Dikshitar family have made enormous contribution to Carnatic music for about a century and a half (from mid 18th century to early 20th century). But without doubt, Muthuswamy Dikshitar was the greatest member of the family. He learnt music from his father Ramaswamy Dikshitar, himself a scholar in Sanskrit and Telugu as well as a composer and Vainika of the Venkatamakhi school. At the age of 15, Muthuswamy Diskshitar accompanied Chidambaranatha Yogi to Benares and returned after 5 years. During his stay in the north, he learnt Hindustani music and his style is often compared to the northern Dhrupad style. The northern influence is reflected in his Kriti "Jambupate" in Yamunakalyan is reflected in his Kriti "Jambupate" in Yamunakalyan and Soundara Rajam" in Brindavana Sringara.

Dikshitar was a prolific composer in Sanskrit and is the author of more than 590 compositions. His guiding Deity was God Subrahmanya. This can be seen from his Mudra "Guru Guha". He was also a staunch devotee of Ambal. Many of his compositions are on Ambal, and the deity Thyagaraja Swami in Thiruvarur where he was born. Like his father he could also play on the Veena.

Dikshitar visited many shrines and was in the habit of composing Kritis on the presiding deities in the shrine. His Kritis therefore bring out the Sthalapurana of the shrine. He is known for his kritis on Ambal (Kamalambal, Avayambal, Nilodbalambal, Balambal and Meenakshi). This can be seen from the Navavarnam Kirtanams. The kritis on the Shodasa (16) Ganapatis in the kshetras of Anandeshwar, Siddeswar Achalaeswar, Hatakeshwar and Valmikeshwar and his kritis on the Panchalingas (Prithivi, Appu, Teyu, Vayu and Akasa) at Kanchipuram. Tiruvanaikkaval, Tiruvannamalai, Kalahasti and Ghidambaram are famous.

He is also known to have popularised the Samashti charanam construction in Kritis, He has also authored the Kirtanam "Sri Radhati Guruguha Jayati" in Mayamalavagaula which consists of only Charanams! . Other well known pieces include the Chaturdasa (14) Raga Malika (Sri Viswanatham Bhajeham), Manipravala Kirtanams and the Nava Graha Kirtanams in Saurashtram, Asaveri, Surati, Natakuranji, Athana, Paraju, Yadukula-kambhoji, Ramamanohari and Shanmukhapriya.

He trained many students. His own brothers Chinnaswami and Balaswami who sang in duet popularised his compositions. His main disciples were -

Thirukkadayur Bharati, Avudayarkoil Veena Venkataramaiah, Therur Subramanaya lyer, Koranadu Ramaswamy, Vilvavanam Aiyaswamy, Suddhamaddhalam Thambiappan, Vadivelu (Violin), Ponnaiah, Sivanandam brothers and Thiruvarur Kamalam.

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