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Muthuswami Dikshithar, an 18th-century composer, was born into a Brahmin family from Thiruvarur near Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. He is one of the musical Trinity including Saint Thyagaraja and Saint Shyamasasthry. He composed nearly five hundred keerthanas on various Gods and Temples.

He captured the essence of ragas in Vainika veena style includes gamakas. His compositions are widely sung and played in Carnatic musical concerts. He composed many keerthanas in Sanskrit and some are a mixture of both Tamil and Sanskrit languages.

His father Ramaswamy Dikshithar is a scholar in Sanskrit, Vedas, astrology and poetry. Muthuswami had three siblings, Chinnaswami, Balaswami, Balamba. The family belonged to the lineage of Govinda Dikshitar.

Later, Muthuswami moved to the town Manal near Madras where the Dikshitar brothers got to meet the Zamindar of Fort St. George and there they got to know the western style of music including Celtic. Muthuswami owned the skill of playing violin there. After that, he met a mystic named Chidambaranatha yogi and he went to Varanasi with him and mastered Yoga, Advaitha philosophy there. After few years of Saadhana, he came back to Tiruttanni near Tirupati.

Muthuswami often uses the word Guruguha in his compositions, there is a story behind this. One day while he’s singing his first composition on Murugan, he tasted honey-like sweetness in his mouth and he felt like the God himself poured honey on his mouth by hearing his sweet and serene composition.  His compositions are indeed like honey. Lovers of Carnatic music will know the taste of it for sure.        

-Viswanath Venkat Dasari.

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