Sunday, January 14, 2018


The Bakula Panchami is one of the rarest astronomical events which induces a surge of devotion, cohesion and unorganised harmony in tune with music. On the appointed day, a confluence of all noted classical vocalists and accompanists throng a small village on the banks of River Cauvery, Thiruvaiyaru in Tamil Nadu State. These persons act as catalysts for any person having the knowledge of the pancharatnas composed by musician saint Tyagaraja (literally meaning a king of sacrifice). 

The confluence of these musicians is akin to the Kumbh Mela, Ardh Kumbh Mela, Mahamasthabhisheka, Haj or any such pilgrimage for the musicians of the peninsular India. This event requires no invite and can be equated to the Sabarimala trek for those in the field of South Indian classical music. On this day, they render the pancharatna krithis composed by the great saint as a tribute to him and seek his blessings in pursuit of the music they profess. The event also gains significance as it normally falls in the month of Margazhi of the Tamil calendar which is set apart for the music sabhas across cities like Chennai to play host to musical fetes. Despite such a packed schedule leading luminaries who have been drawn to this small town include the legends such as M.S.Subbulakshmi, Balamuralikrishna, M.L.Vasanthakumari, D.K. Pattamal amongst a host of others. Leading instrumentalists such as Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan have enhanced the value of paying homage to a saint philosopher of music who is also known as Tyagabrahma. This kind of felicitation or reverence is not commanded even by the others of the trinity namely Muthuswamy Dikshitar and Syama Sastri. The only other composer who has a similar honour is Purandaradasa of Karnataka.

It is said that the leading light of classical music Sudha Raghunathan had stated that efforts should be made to list the event in Guiness Book of World records. There can be no such parallel in the entire world and the Guiness and Limca Book of records would be privileged if they take note of this rare phenomenon of voluntary homage in honour of any person in living memory being held where a symphony takes place without any rehearsals. The mindblowing fact is that the symphony cannot even as much as err as the rare krithis are so mathematically composed. So will they please doff their hats?