Published on 20 April, 2018


In this Kaliyuga, Vedas have prescribed three most essential requisites to develop devotion. They are Satsangam, Saranagati and Namasankeerthanam. Satsangam is the quality of righteous devotees to mingle rapturously, rather elatedly, with similar -minded people. 

In fact, out of the four Yugas in order, it is firmly believed by the vedic erudite school of thought that Kaliyuga is the best yuga for practising boundless devotion. Devotion, done with utmost selfless passion can strike the divine chords of all deities and move them to shower blessings to the salvation- seekers. Then, Saranagati is the final stage of absolute unconditional surrender to the Almighty Lord or to reach the ultimate destination. Salvation! 

Prahlada and Markandeya are classic examples of selfless devotion. Ultimately, we come to the conclusion that Bhakti or devotion to the Almighty God demands ChithaSudhi or purity of mind, a sine qua non for spiritual uplift. 

As the devotee progressively moves ahead, he finds that besides Satsangam and Saranagati, there is another potential sphere of devotion by name Namasankeertanam which can stir any mind to dance in spiritual inebriation. We have heard that Sant Tukaram, Namdeo and Janabhai who, with their intense devotion and unconditional dedication, have experienced the manifestation of God's presence in every object they behold. 

They relinquished all material pleasures in the world and knew only devotion and dedication for the pursuit of spiritual activities. Devotion is, therefore, the only option for spiritual uplift and attainment of salvation. The very purpose of human birth and the very purpose of life is to achieve this objectof fulfilment or accomplishment of life. Then only, the very purpose of mission on earth will be complete. Only a peaceful, contented and dedicated person with no expectation of fruit of his action in return, can be successful in spiritual life. 8

Of all spiritual methods, therefore, Namasankeertanam, the art of singing and praising the Lord's grace and resplendence, in group, is emerging as the most powerful and important way to propitiate the deities and therefore, bhajan is gaining remarkable momentum in this Kali yuga! Now it has become an integral part of our culture and is practised so vigorously in all temples, social circles and spiritual centres. 

In this pursuit of Namasankeertanam, many vocalists and classical songsters emerged and thus the culture of group- singing in praise of the Lord has become an integral part of our social life. This particular genre or art has generated more enthusiasm among the people of all ages. In our daily life, every material activity or experience, whatever it be, one easily loses interest in everything after a particular stage and everything becomes humdrum, when the initial enthusiasm slowly withers away. 

But, the only activity which every normal individual would never get tired of, but aspires for incessant involvement, is DEVOTION, which he cherishes with unremitting passion and dedication, while treading the path of God- realisation. Devotion and dedication are, therefore, the true blessings of God and not anybody's choice. 

In these series of Feature Articles, I wish to analyse comprehensively, the spiritual services being rendered by the several Bhajan Samrats of Mumbai. There are hundreds of Bhajan groups here, functioning in their areas and presenting their soulful performances in various languages in their respective areas with elan and éclair and the devotees listening and singing in tune with the singers rhythmically. 

Here, my humble attempt is to pick up some of our familiar Tamil Bhajan Samrats from various parts of Mumbai, who have specialised in this genre with rich classical background and are presenting their sterling performances not only in India, but also abroad. Now let us peep into their challenging music journey and much celebrated performances one by one.


A gifted singer with a brilliant record :

"Every soul is potentially divine" said Swami Vivekananda. Every creation of God echoes His ingenuity and dexterity. Sometimes, every soul, as we observe, is a repository of many talents or an amalgam of many faculties by virtue of his previous karma. Like the cosmic principle of cause and effect or Karyam or Karanam, the special quality or trait in a person is inherently related to his Poorvajanma Karma. It doesn't simply descend upon any individual all of a sudden. We call it generally by the nomenclature" GENES"! Many of our traits are those carried forward from the previous generation.

Shri V G Parameswaran alias Muthumaniis considered as one of the most popular and well established Sampradaya Bhajan Singers in Mumbai for the past several years. He conducts the Bhajan programs with his usualtrained group of singers very methodically. Goddess Saraswati has gifted him with a melodious voice!

Shri Muthumani, as he is popularly known, is also a dedicated Bhajan singer with a good reputation in this genre. I had chanced to attend theNamasankeerthan by Shri MuthumaniBhagavatharand his group during theannual Ayyappa Pooja celebrations arranged by SRI SHIVA GURU SASTHA SAMAJ(Regd) Garodia Nagar, at the Garodia Nagar Lion's Community Hall, in April 2017 and it was really a grand performance for a couple of hours during that day.


Shri MuthumaniBhagavathar was born in Thrissur, the cultural capital of the former Cochin State. Later on, his parents shifted to Cochin, the famous vibrant commercial hub of Kerala. He belongs to a highly disciplined and pious family, dedicated to spiritual life. His grand father was well known for performing Sastha Preethi in Sabarimala every year, for a long period. His spiritual involvement dates back to his school days and as he grew up with the heritage of devotion and dedication, he used to be very agile in the domain of Sastha Preethi and Kumara Shashti celebrationsin Cochin Kerala. 

He came to Mumbai in the year 1962, searching for a job and held secretarial posts in many companies. After settling down in Chembur Mumbai, he became more enthusiastically involved in Bhajan not only to practise himself, but also to propagate by inculcating Bhakti in those like-minded as well as in the upcoming younger generation. He could,therefore, regain and restore the status of his spirit, and infuse his heart and soul into Namasankeerthanam with a noble futuristic ideal in mind. 

In order to achieve his goal, he took over the entire governance of the Chembur Bhajan Samajand started spearheading the cultural activities to enlarge the scope of Namasankeerthanam so that this cultural heritage could be carried forward and propagated in a larger dimension. He started actively participating in the Sriram Navami festivals conducted at the shell colony Chembur, Mumbai from time to time and also could watch the Silver Jubilee celebrations at close quarters. 

With his exceptional qualities of leadership, organising ability and also administrative acumen, he could forge ahead and become the cynosure for other spiritual organisations in this vast metropolis. His conspicuous, untiring efforts were there behind the culmination of the celebration at the Murugan Temple at Chheda Nagar Chembur Mumbai. 

He has been putting his heart and soul into all his activities related to the temple and he has persevered well for the past seventeen years up to 2000 and streamlined things with a great vision to accomplish his mission of performingSastha Preethi more and more enthusiasticallyon a regular basis. As years elapsed, the celebrations have also achieved a laudable milestone or landmark point of 25 years in its history. 

By the by, his Shashtiabdapurthi(60 years) was celebrated in the year 2000, with a big bang and everybody enjoyed and appreciated this notable event in full measure. As an integral part of the birth daycelebration, special Bhajan programs were organised and the whole surroundings, resonated with the chanting of relevant mantras and hymns, emanating from theChheda Nagar Murugan Temple complex for the next three consecutive days. Special Bhajan programs were organised by him which were attended by eminent Bhagavathars from different parts of India.


As time went on, further development of things witnessed the formation of a N G O by name, DHARMISHTA MITHRAN, an organization set up with the sole motive of providing facilities for performing obsequies(funeral rites performed on the first day, following the death of a person) as well as the subsequent rites, purported for the departed soul, for 13 days thereafter, known by the typical nomenclature, APARAKRIYA for the Brahmin community and all Hindus in Mumbai as well as those needy from the rest of the world. Today,Shri Muthumani, heaves a sigh of relief over all these achievements. 

It deserves special mention here that DharmishtaMithran is the brain child/ dream -child of both Shri Muthumani and shri N Hariharan (Nerul Navi Mumbai) the founder members, for which they and many under their able leadership, had made many a sacrifice.The organisation was formally launched with the blessings of Lord Sidhi Vinayaka In His presence at the Sidhi Vinayak Temple in the year 2000 A. D. and thus DharmishtaMithran was brought to existence, which was witnessed by everybody.

The Aparakriya centre, functioning under DharmishtaMithran, is situated at Jai Ambe Nagar, on the Ghatkopar Mankhurd Link road, between Chembur and Garodia Nagar, Mumbai. The approach road, leading to the Aparakriya centre was named ChakyarRajan Marg, (Late ChakyarRajan, a brahmin by birth and a Cost Accountant by profession, was also a prominent, popular and resourcefulChakyarkuthu artist who had mastered this visual art and presented very ingeniously on a number of platforms in Mumbai and other places. 

He was a great scholar in Sanskrit and a prolific writer as well. He has acted in some Malayalam films also. He was not only a well- wisher, but also an integral part of DharmishtaMithran) as a mark of respect to him. This couldn't have been achieved, but for the active support of the then Shiv Sena Corporator and Chairman of Law Commission, Muncipal Corporation, Bruhan Mumbai, Shri Rajiv Suman Chougule.

Shri Muthumaniwas the Chairman of DharmishtaMithran till very recently and he could deliver maximum good to the people. The Aparakriya centre was set up with the help of the then M L A Late Shri Pramod Shirvalkar and some 2500 funerals have beenconducted under the aegis of DharmishtaMithran so far. 

Besides the Aparakriya centre, a Shraadha centre has also been set up by DharmishtaMithranat RajDarshan Residency DeonarMumbai and it is functioning well since its' inception. It will be more befitting to mention here that the centre was inaugurated byHis Holiness SriSriJayendra Saraswathi Swamiji of KanchiKamakotiPeetam. The centre also makes arrangements for the required number of priests for performing the rites during the prescribed period. 

In addition to the above, Mithran is also engaged in many philanthropic activities, catering financial assistance to the needy middle and lower middle- class families, in the areas of health, marriage, education, besides orphanages and old age homes. Forgingahead to achieve further progress, Mithran could purchase amore commodious flat at Deonar for housing Mithran's Multipurpose Community Development centre. Shri Muthumani could mobilise a huge sum as high as Re.50 lakhs to meet this noble end within a record time. This was, indeed, an acid test of his fund mobilising capacity which he encountered successfully.

Mithranalso started publishing a magazine by name ANANDA MITHRAN on a quarterly basis. This magazine serves asMithran's principal organ to make the patrons and the public know ofMithran's various activities cited above. Itmentions about the Aparakriyas performed during the previous quarter and it also contains many important information and spiritual articles, contributed by the members of DharmishtaMithran.The audited P and L and Balance Sheet are also publishedin this trimonthly every year. There are about thousand permanent members, besides many ordinary members and membership is availableat a nominal fee. 

His wife Smt.Vijayais ahouse wife and the Muthumani family is blessed with one son and two daughters. All the children are well settled in life.

He was previouslyrunning a family trading company, dealing in Chemicals and Pesticides. As time went on, due to increase in social and community responsibilities, he had to wind up the trading company, in order to pay more attention to the day to day functioning of DharmishtaMithran.

Amidst all these, he had also served a brief stintas the Special Executive Magistrate for a period of 3 years.

As a Bhajan Singer, belonging to the Pudukkottai Sambradaya Bhajan group, set up and groomed by the renowned Bhahajn Guru, Shri Pudukkottai GopalakrishnaBhagavatha Swami, popularly known as APPA, Shri MuthumaniBhagavathar, embarked upon this spiritually noble genre at a very young age. He was also under the able tutelage of BrahmashriSanjeevaniBhagavathar during his earlier period.It was for Shri Muthumani's consistent effort that the aforesaid great Bhagavathars made their maiden visit to Mumbai. Besides, he has also arranged number of Unchavruthies all over Mumbai. 

He had the privilege to learn and practise the different branches of Sambradaya Bhajan, like AshtaPadhi, DivyanamaSankeerthanam, Dolotsavam, Dhyana Bhajan, VaravuPattu, Ayyappa Bhajan etc. during the various religious festivals like Ramanavami, Ayyappa Pooja,Sastha Preethi, BhagavathaSapthaham and other periodical Bhajans in temples and on different social occasions. 

It is worth mentioning here that he is the office bearer of the Pudukkottai Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Jayanthi KainkaryaSamithi. This has enabled him to gain more experience in Sambradaya Bhajans. Unchavruthi, being an integral part of Sambradaya Bhajan, was also conducted ever year by the Pudukkottai Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Jayanthi KainkaryaSamithi at different suburbs in Mumbai till the recent past. 

Shri MuthumaniBhagavathar has visited the Sabarimala shrine many times and has attained the status of a GURUSWAMI, leading the team of Bhaktas to the Sabarimala Sannidhanam for the past several years. 

An unassuming Shri MuthumaniBhagavathar reiterates that all these achievements would not have been possible, but for the perennial flow of Lord Ayyappa's blessings and the blessings of his Gurus and vis a vis the benign blessings of Sri SriKanchiChandrasekharendra Saraswathi Swamiji and Sri SriJayendraSaraswatiSwamijiin abundance!

It is worth mentioninghere with pride that the prestigious title of DHARMA RAKSHA MANI was conferred upon Shri MuthumaniBhagavathar by His Holiness SriSriJayendraSaraswatiSwamiji of Sri KanchiKamakotipeetam on the occasion of His visit to Mumbai between 14th and 23rd of November-2015.

As a close sequence to this event, Shri V G Parameswaran aliasMuthumaniBhagavathar was presented an AWARD OF EXCELLENCEBy Sri Krishna AsthikaSamajam(Regd) S K A S, L B S Marg Ghatkopar west Mumbai-400086, as a honour in connection with the Fund Mobilisation Program, for their organisation in 2017. 

In addition, he was also duly honoured with the title "SEVAI CHEMMAL" for his unstinted service towards a noble cause, by Mumbai Muthamizh Sangam, Andheri East Mumbai, on 26-1-2017, during their Annual Day, for his unstinted service towards a noble cause by imparting proper guidance in setting up volunteer corps for the assistance in funerals in the nearby places for the Tamil community. 

Shri MuthmaniBhagavathar is continuing his Sambradaya Bhajan programs very actively with his group in Mumbai and when it is done with the confluence of devotion and dedication, it becomes a laudable event. 

He wants to convey his humble regardsto all devotees and his well- wishers! 

Let us pray GOD for his and his family's good health and prosperous long life so thathe could continue to regale and enthral the devout Bhajan lovers for manymore years to come!



Thodupuzha K. Shankar Mumbai
(Poet and Journalist)
K S RAMASWAMI 2018-04-21 23:54:51
Your article presented on the life and achievements of Shri Muthumani Bhagavathar of Chembur is very informative. One could understand the services by the Dharmishta MIthran for the Aparakriyas and the annual Shradha facilities. Your details about the life and achievements of Shri Muthumani Bhagavathar is very exhaustive. May GOD give him many more years of happy living in his social and religious pursuit.
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