Coimbatore, Nov 10: Arunagirinathar, the composer of Thiruppugazh in 15th century, prayed in Kandhar Anuboothi: "Bless me with the avocation of ever singing your glory (Padum paniye paniyai arulvai)." That has become the mission of 53-year-old N V Vaidyanathan, an employee of a private company, who expects nothing in return.
Interestingly, even after involving himself in singing Thiruppugazh and teaching the same in several parts of Tamil Nadu for the last more than a decade, he struggles to write Tamil. "I am from Nemmara, Palakkad district, and never had studied Tamil. I know Malaylam, Sanskrit, Hindi and English. Of course, I can speak Tamil. But I know more than 300 Thiruppugazh songs by heart because I have listened to each song more than 50 times," he tells G.Satyamurty.
Coimbatore, known for its industry all over the country, has now become the hub of Thiruppugazh activity, thanks to the dedication of Mr.Vaidyanathan.
"Thiruppugazh is the essence of Vedas and Upanishads. It does not discriminate between Saivism and Vaishanvism and the Gods that it mentions include Muruga, Ambal, Narayana, Krishna and Rama. I learnt Vedas and Upanishads and also Gita from my father, a priest. I had some basic carnatic lessons for five years and learnt Thiruppugazh from G.Balsubramaniam of Mumbai for six years. The raga-thala-bhava of Thiruppugazh has been set by my guru A.S.Raghavan, president of the Thiruppugazh Anbargal. Of about 1,300 Thiruppugazh songs available, my guru has provided the tune for about 500 covering 100 ragas."