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Dr. KRISHNA ALIAS MURTHY BHAGAVATHAR (BHAJAN SAMRATS IN MUMBAI – 6: Thodupuzha K. Shankar Mumbai)

Published on 10 May, 2018
Dr. KRISHNA ALIAS MURTHY BHAGAVATHAR (BHAJAN   SAMRATS   IN   MUMBAI – 6: Thodupuzha K. Shankar Mumbai)
INTRODUCTION:

 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 Chitha Sudhi 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.

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.

KRISHNA ALIAS MURTHY BHAGAVATHAR:

AN EPITOME OF MULTI-TALENTS:

Traversing the vast and pristine terrains of Mumbai, ever well-known for the presence of innumerable dedicated Bhajan Samrats, who are chanting the hymns and singing aloud, the glories of all Gods and Goddesses, we are now entering the soil, as holy as the divine Vrundavan, the land well-known for Basils, the aromatic herbs, favourite to Lord Krishna! Any place becomes sanctified only with the presence of Rushis, divine singers, Acharyas, holy rivers and temples (worshipping places) always! Being Indians, we all should feel proud that our country is rich enough in these heritages which the rest of the world is watching with utmost curiosity! Moreover, many countries are emulating our good exemplary spiritual attributes, the principle of Sanatana Dharma and many other noble qualities. Our star/iconic performer Shri. Krishna alias Murthy is residing in Vrundavan, further glorifying the grandeur of this model legendary land. Like Lord Krishna, his star is also ROHINI, which is another pleasing coincidence! Again, he also plays flute fluently, which is instilled with innumerable celestial ragas! Here, he is working round the clock, fully engrossed in a variety of musical activities. He has travelled from Kashmir to Kanyakumari as well as overseas in connection with his public music performances or soulful renditions, recordings, devotional music albums, theatrical presentations, dance ballets, human choirs etc. That’s why he is well considered as a confluence of all faculties!

All these have not come to him at one dawn so quickly, but as a result of his diligence, perseverance and sense of determination. All talents were latent in him but, he identified each faculty and nourished them with the inputs of constant attention and passionate nurturing. Over the years, each of his genres developed and he could blossom into a multitalented artist, known the world over! Remember, a hardworking musician’s life is not a cakewalk, but a rollercoaster experience. It involves lots of sacrifices of palatable foods, comfortable sleep, rest, recuperation, hobbies, jovial companies and tendency to fondle the comfort zone. It’s indeed, a marathon- walk to scale the pinnacle of success!

A PEEP INTO HIS MUSICAL CAREER:

As a multi-faceted musician, Shri Murthy has honed up his musical skills in a variety of genres. That’s why it is observed that Shri. Murthy doesn’t conform to the proverbial adage “Jack of all trades but, master of none”, because, he has systematically perfected himself in all parameters and genres over a period.  One can imagine the quantum of pains taken by him, patience borne in mind and expectations fostered all these years to usher in an era of perfection. This corroborates the saying, “Perfection walks slowly, it requires the hand of time”!

Now, a peep into his musical life will reveal that Shri Murthy has acquired tremendous knowledge potential and developed his aptitude for classical music as well as instrumental, with the result, he could achieve enviable mastery over manifold fields such as:

 1)    Music Director- for Dance Ballets, Devotional Albums, Human Choirs,

 2)    Lyricist- has written more than 200 lyrics in consonance with the metric parameters, in Sanskrit and Tamil for Bharat Natyam as well as for vocal artists adept at Varnams, Kirtanas, Thillanas, Jathiswarams, Kavitwams, Sabdam etc.

 3)    Percussionist- Playing Mrudangam (Percussion), Tabla and Kanjira,

 4)    Vocalist-singing for different genres like, Carnatic, Hindustani, Ghazals,Namasankeerthanam, Bharat Natyam vocals,

 5)    Flutist-playing flute during his music programs,

 6)    Harmonist-had won 1st prize at the National Level Competition held by All India Radio under the instruments category, way back in 1983,

 7)    Pianist- can play Karnatic music on Piano so fluently,

 8)    Theatre actor, Director, Script and Dialogue writer- presented/ enacted the role of the renowned, illustrious Tamil poet Subramania Bharathi before an enthusiastic audience,

 9)    Recording Engineer-Shri Murthy has his own Recording Studio at his house, a unique feature in the case of a Musician which facilitates him to create the basic sound tracks for the projects he is working on.

 10)    Director Documentary Film - 3 and a half hours episodes on Sri La Sri Pandrimalai Swamigal Conceptualised / Edited Videos / Voice Over, which was telecast in Sri Sankara TV in the year 2017 May.



His debut in to the arena ofmusic dates back to his childhood, when he was hardly three years old -that he was asked to perform in front of a crowded audience at a temple in Mumbai. When he sang a song on Lord Krishna at the instance of his popular singer- father Shri. Subramanian, popularly known as Nurani Chuppamani, the whole gathering gave him a tumultuous/thunderous applause, which gave a great impetus to his penchant for music. This small incident galvanized him to unfold his hidden talents by and by!

Slowly, as he was growing up, he started showing, growing interest in different instruments like Harmonium and the seven notes sounding different but, showing unity in diversity with utmost musical harmony. He proudly says that his singer- father gifted with an impressive, sonorous voice, was the inspirational, galvanizing force behind his affinity for mastering music and its intricate nuances.

He claims that his first recognition came when he won first prize for Harmonium in the National level competition held by All India Radio now known as Prasaar Bharathi, in the year 1983.

As time went on, his passion for music and inner quest for learning different instruments like Key Board, Piano, Mridangam (Percussion) Flute etc. as stated above and their relative notes, also grew up along with him. There is pretty good amount of hard work and perseverance behind all his achievements especially, in mastering different musical instruments.

Remember, “Hard work is the hallmark of success”!

In short, Shri Murthy, as we observed above, is known not only for his talent in singing but also fully justified in many other genres like playing different types of musical instruments, besides, writing quality lyrics for select dramas on various deities, composing, editing, mixing and recording to complete the cycle of making a Music Album. Hence the conclusion” An Epitome of Multi talents”! Shri Murthy has fully justified this inference.

Making a more innovative foray in to the domain of Music, he has launched his own Musical Mobile App, NRITYA SANGEETHA ARPANAM, available in Google Play store creating his own Lyrics, Music & Vocal tracks, playing the instruments, editing, and mixing which was duly uploaded by a Chennai based web professional.

Meanwhile, he is also into bringing about a merger/fusion of Indian music and Western music with voices rather than instruments. He affirms that he has done this choir for Sai Baba as a symphony for Sai Baba’s 80th Birth day in the same year on 1st January. It had vocals, Indian and Western percussions, Veena, Saxophone, Drums, Flute, Sitar etc. under one thread of Raga -nuance- and rhythm with 200 voices. The songs and dialogues were digitally recorded with a view to staging them at any place outside Mumbai to facilitate   everyone to get an opportunity to be a part of this novel movement.

Though a qualified media marketeer with B. Com and M B A in Marketing, it never deterred him in his determination to become a full -fledged musician. But, at one point of time, he had to quit his job to enable him to be with his ageing parents. Though it was initially difficult to make both ends meet, everything got sorted out by and by and he could finally come out with his compositions in a book and MP3 Format, about two weeks before the sad demise of his beloved father, who could see these achievements in physical form.

He has also recorded music for the dance ballets of some of his known professional dancers, in his own recording studio besides, recordings done for Divine Albums, Theatre dramas, Children’s workshops for staging Ramayana in Canada, all being done so majestically from his august recording station in Vrundavan Mumbai! It is an indisputable fact that there are only a few Music Directors who are able to handle all the instruments so effortlessly. Fortunately, Murthy who is Mumbai’s pride, is one among the rare ingenious musicians!

SOME NOTE WORTHY REMINISCENCES:

Shri Murthy is now swaying in the hammock of pleasant memories of those bygone good old days when the whole house resonated with the chanting during the monthly congregation of Musicians as well as during Shashti Bhajans from the year 1965, resulting in the perennial inflow of positive vibrations!

Shri Murthy’s grand- father and beloved father Late shri. Subramanian popularly known as Nurani Chuppamani, belonged to Pallavur in Palakkad in Kerala. Gradually, they migrated to another village called Nurani where his father commenced his career as a Musician but, later on migrated to Mumbai in the year 1956 in pursuit of better prospects and finally settled down here with full confidence. He also remembers with great pride and gratitude as to how much he owes to his beloved mother Late Smt. Rajalakshmi who, with her cool composure and temperament, inspired him to experiment and learn many musical instruments steadily without any basic orientation.

His wife Mangalam is a talented classical singer and can do long renditions. She also assists him in his musical ventures according to availability of time. Besides, she also sings for Bharat Natyam performances. Their daughter Keerthana, doing her graduation in psychology, is also a gifted singer with a mellifluous voice and she joins them in their concerts whenever possible. Both of them are assisting him in popularising his creations. He has also imparted intensive training to many budding artistes who have won awards and accolades in many Reality shows and competitions. The Sai Baba devotees sing his Bhajan compositions during public concerts and congregations. He, as a seasoned Music Director, had the privilege of working in collaboration with some German Quartet of Violin Viola Cello and Bass at Gottingen, Germany, also way back in 2000 A D which was a great eye opener in terms of the musical notes.

As regards his earlier achievements, Dr. Murthy reminisces with a sigh of self-content that there was a very Divine Project from Chennai for a great saint known as Sri La Sri Pandarimalai Swamigal, who lived mortally from 1906 to 1986, but used to surface in the minds of his devotees and disciples and solve their worries and miseries very miraculously. He had the privilege of recording 6 CDs, finally launched by His disciple and devotee Sri. Sakthivadivel Swamigal, for their hermitage (Ashram), in Chennai.

Subsequently, he affirms that he wrote 12 lyrics in just seven days and tuned them in another week’s time which, he discerned that it was possible only because of the blessings of the realized soul. Soon followed the Sanskrit and Hindi versions also.

As a close sequel to the above developments, the Ashram reciprocated with the prestigious title of “Sangeeta Gandharva (Celestial singer) in recognition of his skills (Iyal, Isai, Natakam) as a lyricist, singer, Music Director and actor, which was aptly conferred upon him, in the much acclaimed, Krishna Gana Sabha on26th April 2017. All these multifaceted ingenuities and achievements, enabled him to carve a niche in his challenging, eventful and brilliant music career!

The Indian diaspora wherever they are all over the world, follow the good traditions in the true perspective, for the preservation and consolidation of our fine arts like Dance, Drama and music, the greatest heritages of our Indian culture!

This is nothing but the amazing amalgam of all these exceptional talents in one person who is focussing only on the enrichment of his manifold genres in the right direction, the greatest contribution of an individual to uphold our values and heritages.

It is heartening to know that based upon his contributions to our legacies of vedic culture and music, The Nityananda University in U S A conferred upon him an honorary Doctorate in Vedic Music in the year 2013. For an innovative and enterprising soul, such an opportune recognition does naturally give great fillip to boost his/her social image and sense of responsibility to the world.

As a connoisseur of classical Karnatic music and traditional or Sambradaya Bhajans, Dr. Murthy has travelled across the world to promote and propagate our culture right from 1990. In this connection, he could extensively visit the following countries:

1983 United Kingdom- 1984 - United Kingdom and U S A -1988 -Soviet Russia -1990Gulf (Flute and Bhajan concerts)-1996 Paris-2000-Germany- 2003 and -Gulf and Bahrain -2009-2013

Specialising in one genre is what we see normally. But, specialising in more than one genre becomes a unique feature in the case of some artistes who manage it with their inborn talents. Such souls only can dazzle before an elite audience with their stand out/sterling performances. It is worth mentioning here that Shri Murthy Bhagavathar has specialized in the following traditional or sambradaya Bhajans:

Ashtapadhi, Divyanamasankeerthanam, Rugmini Kalyanam, Radha Kalyanam, Seetha Kalyanam, etc. on auspicious occasions across the country and abroad as well.

Many pleasant memories, Shri Murthy claims, are slowly filing in to his mind. Shri Murthy claims that he owes very much to his late grand -father, Shri. Krishna Iyer (Kittappa Anna) of Pallavur, who used to sing many hymns so melodiously in praise of Pazhani Murughan and the countless Poojas and propitious rituals with Kavadis and Annadanams (poor feeding) etc. to propitiate the various deities!

Another awesome incident that often flashes into his mind which he recalls with Pleasure, admiration and self- content is the hilarious moment when Bhagavan Sri Satya sai Baba, materialised a golden chain and fastened / hooked it around his neck with his worthy hands, on 8TH July 2006, in the morning, as a fitting gift, soon after listening to Shri Murthy’s soulful multi-lingual Bhajan renditions. He cherishes this sublime incident and recalls as “Sai Baba hooked me into his divine bond”!

Shri Murthy has mentioned in one of his select compositions “Aadharam Nee Thaan Ayya! (Oh Lord! only you are our support!), Oh Lord! The two divine paddles to row in the ocean of life (Samsara Sagaram) are- Devotion (Bhakti) and Knowledge (Gnana) which flow out through the medium of Sangeetham (Music)!

A HISTORIC CONTRIBUTION:

While singing the historic bhajan “VANAMALI RADHA RAMANA” that went viral and became ubiquitous by winning many hearts or that still goes from lip to lip, has anyone ever given a thought as to who has penned and composed this soulful bhajan? It is none other than Shri Murthy, the iconic Bhajan Maestro, the pride of Mumbai, nay the pride of the whole world, who composed this, listeners’ heart-robbing Bhajan in the year 1982! Now, we are all familiar with this melodious composition in every Bhajan concert. Let us pray, many more such hearty compositions will come from Shri. Murthy and continue to regale the aesthetic audiences all over the world.

On August 18th, 2013, he published a book and MP3, titled “NRITYA GEETA ARPANAM”, comprising of Pada Varnanams, Keerthanams, Thillanas, Sabdams etc. which were released by the worthy hands of Adayar Lakshmanan and Bombay Jayashri in Chennai at the ARKAY Convention Centre.

As a versatile writer and composer, Shri Murthy had penned the lyrics “Shanmukha Ananda Kolahalam”, and also the “Parameswara Avathara”, which were rendered vocally, in the presence of many dignitaries, in connection with the unveiling of the portrait of KANCHI MAHA PERIYAVA, on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the famous Shanmukhananda Auditorium, in Sion Mumbai, in the year 2002. The Sabha made it a point to play these two sensational Bhajans before every event for the whole year.

Another foray which Sri. Murthy boldly made was in to Theatrical performances by writing the script, dialogue, composing music, singing directing the play and finally donning the mantle of TWO renowned legendaries –1) Tamil bard Mahakavi-Shri Subramania Bharati, in the year 2015 which was enacted in packed auditoriums in Thane, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai and 2) “Sangeetha Pitamaha Sri. PURANDARADASAR” previewed in Bangalore on February 10th, 2018 and in Mumbai on May 18th, 2018. All these things were done only after making thorough research and study about the iconic protagonist-Shri Subramania Bharati- (1882 to 1921) who enriched the Tamil literature with his voluminous, elegant, patriotic poems like the bard of Hampi, Karnataka credited with 4,75,000 songs (from 1484 to 1564).

Another striking contribution by Shri Murthy is the introduction of Carnatic Piano way back in 2003 which was a very novel and innovative invention in the field of Carnatic music, followed by the launch of Mobile App titled “Nritya Sankeertana Arpanam” of his own for the musicians at large.

This App is available in Google Play Store and is easily downloadable into all Android phones.

Contributions by an enterprising musician, with many genres converged in him, have no bounds. He keeps contributing, not looking into the volume of contributions. In consonance with the above conclusion, Shri Murthy has composed music for Ballets like Sant Tukaram, Sant Meera, Sant Gnaneswar, Sant Namdeo, Sant Sakhubai, Moses The Prophet, Khwaja Garib Navaaz of Ajmer, besides, Dasavatharam, presented together in Bharat Natyam, Odissi, Mohini Attam, Kathak and Ramayana. There were Musical Ballets every year for Satya Sai Baba of Puttaparthy since 1991till 2017.

MUSIC AUDIO ALBUMS

Another noteworthy achievement in the field of music for Shri Murthy was the release of a series of Music Audio Albums like Vayaluramrutam Vol: 1 and 2, Sai Prema Avatara, Sudhananda Bharati Songs, Tara Mata Bhajans, Ramana Geetham, Divya Namam, Sakshaat Guro and many more Bhajan Albums.

Shri Murthy has always been an ardent devotee of saints and seers, like Tapovanam Sri Gnananandagiri SwamigaL, Tiruvannamalai Shri Ramana Maharshi, Puttaparthy Shri Sathya Sai Baba and Aasaan Satguru Shri La Shri Pandarimalai Shakthivadivel Swamigal, whose blessings, he claims, have played a vivid and important role in carving his musical career and winning the hearts of music lovers the world over!



As regards music and the present younger generation, Dr. Murthy firmly believes that though the neo music trend has penetrated in to the lives of the youngsters, Carnatic Music will never lose its value or importance nor suffer any decadence instead, will continue to rule the roost or in other words, reign the kingdom of music in all its splendour and jubilance! 

CONCLUSION:

Music is Ambrosia, a wonderful panacea, that can prolong the life of a versatile singer and enliven his hopes and penchant for music without any time or tropical barriers. Life is the interlude between birth and death and, therefore, we should live a life, worthy of our human birth and substantiate the purpose of our birth or live with full cognizance of our mission on earth. How long one lives is immaterial but, how he/she live is more important.

We can presume that a dedicated soul like Shri Murthy can always have the contentment that the God-given gifts of music has been well nourished perpetuated and propagated with the inputs of passion, patience and practice.

Shri Murthy has succeeded par excellence and stands as a paragon for the whole world!

Blessed with a soft and sonorous voice, Shri Murthy has been able to surmount many hurdles and impediments on his path of music with dedication and determination, fully justifying the adage,” If there is a will, there is a way”!

Today, Shri Murthy is basking in the glory of his hard work and still, continuing to work hard.

In this world, if any one wants to survive in his genre, especially a musician, he can’t afford to sit idle but, keep honing up his skills with an innovative mind and be vigilant to the changing trendy scenario.

With many of the talents conglomerated in a single individual like Shri Krishna Murthy, a   phenomenal feature indeed, with so much of unremitting passion for music and allied arts like writing lyrics, composing, acting in dramatics, the future of Indian Fine arts will be eternal.

Blessed with a soft, sweet and sonorous voice, Shri Murthy, with his wife Mangalam and daughter Keerthana in his prime team, has achieved many laudable milestones so far and is poised to achieve many more in the years to come. 

Let us wish this unique family good health, long life and fulfilment all their dreams!

Let us pray all Gods and Goddesses to shower their bountiful blessings upon this celestial singer to win many more laurels, coveted recognitions, National Awards and accolades and make proud, not only Mumbai, but also make our whole India, one of the proudest nations in the world!

Dedicated Website to connect with Sri. P S Krishnamoorthy

www.pskrishnamoorthy.com



Thodupuzha K. Shankar Mumbai

                                                                  (Poet and Journalist)
Dr. KRISHNA ALIAS MURTHY BHAGAVATHAR (BHAJAN   SAMRATS   IN   MUMBAI – 6: Thodupuzha K. Shankar Mumbai)Dr. KRISHNA ALIAS MURTHY BHAGAVATHAR (BHAJAN   SAMRATS   IN   MUMBAI – 6: Thodupuzha K. Shankar Mumbai)
venkatarengan 2018-05-11 19:55:19
Hail shri.Krishnamurthy and his lovely family of experts !
I need go place on record his album of " Jothi vizha songs" by Kavi Yogi Shuddhananda Bharathiar and his contribution towards singing the natya keerthanas ( from "Natyanjali" ) of Swamiji ( yet to be processed and published by Kalakshetra )
Venkatachalam alias Ramani 2018-05-12 08:52:16
True
Srikrishna Kumar Krishnan 2019-08-22 09:33:22
will I get to speak to murthy my good old friend from S I E S school
മലയാളത്തില്‍ ടൈപ്പ് ചെയ്യാന്‍ ഇവിടെ ക്ലിക്ക് ചെയ്യുക