Born: 24 March 1775
Place of Birth: Thiruvarur, Thanjavur (Tamil Nadu)
Died: October 21, 1835
For his contribution to the creation of Carnatic music and the rise of Indian classical music.
Muthuswamy Dixitar was a great exponent of the South Indian Carnatic music genre. He composed about 500 musical compositions, most of which are still widely performed by renowned musicians in various concerts in Karnataka and South India. Muthuswamy Dixitar was the youngest music composer in the trio of 18th-century composers of Carnatic music (Tyagaraja, Shyama Shastri and Muthuswamy Dixitar).
Thyagaraja, Shyama Shastri as well as Muthuswamy Dixitar adjusted India’s northern and southern music and poetry together. He has been given an important place in the history of Indian music for this special contribution to Indian music.
Each raga of his music and poetry was special in itself, which was dedicated to different Indian deities. He propagated the Advaita philosophy of God through music. In addition, he converted complex melody and melody of music into melodious and asana forms of poetry, known as ‘Kirti’.
Early and Family Life
Muthuswamy Dixitar was born on March 24, 1775 at a place called Thiruvarur in Thanjavur district of present-day Tamil Nadu. He was related to a traditional Tamil Aiyar Brahmin family. His father’s name was Ramaswamy Dixitar and mother’s name was Subbamma. He was the eldest son of his parents. He had two younger brothers Baluswami and Chinnaswamy and also had a sister, whose name was Balambal.
According to the statement of his mother Subbamma, his son was born in the Kritika Nakshatra of the month of Phagun in the year of Manmath. It is also said about his birth that Muthuswamy was born as a result of many years of penance by his parents in the Vaithiswaran Koil temple. Because of this, they were also named after the temple deity Muthukumar Swamy.
It is believed that Muthuswamy Dixitar married, leaving him the only daughter, who was famous and accomplished for playing musical instruments.
Being born into an educated Brahmin family, he had received his early education in Sanskrit language, traditional religious education and music from his father. His father was the first guru of Muthuswamy Dixitar, who gave him early education. After this, Yogi Chidambarnath took him with him, who gave him further education, but unfortunately he (Guru) died before his education was completed. After this, he could not get any more training in music.
With the passing time, his parents sent him to visit religious pilgrimage places and visit under the supervision of Yogi Chidambaranath as a child. The main reason for sending them away from the family was that their life outlook should be all-round and wide-ranging and there could be a detailed knowledge of music education. He toured North India extensively, which is a direct evidence of Hindustani classical music in his music. Many compositions prepared by Muthuswamy Dixitar have been composed in Sanskrit language. These compositions have been done in ‘Kirti style’. The poems are rhythmic as music.
He had visited many holy and religious places of the country during his entire lifetime. As a result, he has given special mention of various deities and temples in his compositions. The main feature of his compositions is that they have been constructed in a special way, apart from the then prevailing method.
Not only has he produced each of his 500 compositions with melodious emotion, but these compositions are also deeply filled with the sensations of human life. In their Sanskrit compositions, the deities of the temple are described as the basis. While his personal thinking seems to be based on the concept of monotheism. The songs composed by him give a lively description of the history, architecture, valuable tradition of temples and the beauty of its premises.
Their contribution in advancing Indian music
Muthuswamy composed compositions related to different types of music in his life. Some of these major compositions are – Shodash Ganapati Kirti, Gurguha Vibhakti Kirti, Kamalamb Navavarna Kirti, Navagraha Kirti, Nilotpalamb Vibhuti Kirti, Panchalinga Kshetra Kirti, Ram Vibhakti Kirti, Abhayamb Vibhuti Kirti and other compositions.
Many folklore are popular in the context of their excellent music and poetic compositions. According to one Janasruti, once he was doing his meditation in the Tiruttani temple in South India, then a person asked him to open his mouth and put a piece of sugar (sweet item) in the mouth and immediately disappeared. After this, when he opened his mouth, the welfare message of Muruga Devta came out of his mouth. Pleased with this, he started singing his composition ‘Shri Nathadi Guruguho’ in the song ‘Mayamalavagovla’. After this, he also composed many small songs and music for Muruga Devta. Similarly, he visited many religious places like Kanchi, Tiruvannamalai, Chidambaram, Tirupati and Kalahsthi.Traveling to different places of the country