MURUGA MURUGA
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Sangeetha Samrat Kalaimamani

Sri. PITHUKULI MURUGADAS
Fondly called as Muruga by everyone, Shri Pithukuli Murugadas was born on 25th January 1920 (Tamil year Siddarthiu, Thai Poosam day) in Coimbatore. The boy  Balasubramanian was destined to devote his life singing the praise of Lord Muruga..His parents Alamelu and Sundaram Iyer of a devout brahmin family - were devoted to Bhajans. Though poor and eking out existence through public support, they were well known in the immediate surroundings since his father was generous enough to distribute water during drought period.

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During childhood Muruga’s grandfather Gopalakrishna Bagavathar who was a Bhajanist and his grand mother taught him the intricacies of the Bakthi tradition. At his very tender age, in a fit of anger he was driven out of the house by his father as useless and the neighbors brought him up. May be the world would have lost a Great singer of the Bhakti tradition if Muruga’s childhood had been normal.

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At the age of seven, the boy’s religious bent took him to practice yoga in the caves of Palani. He got initiated into the mantra " SARAVANA BHAVA " by a Pandaram and from then he has been on the path of divine  worship. This event triggered his march towards spirituality. He was blessed by the benign blessings of the "Sridhar" Nadayogi Brahmananda Paradesiar and he learnt from him the first lessons in yoga. He was also called "Pittukuli" by that saintly teacher.

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In 1931, at the age of eleven, he participated in the salt satyagraha campaign and spent some days in prison. As a member of boy’s brigade, fostered by the famous congress leader "Subri", he had to face caning by police while fighting against the use of foreign cloth.

        In 1935, at the age of 15, he relinquished his family life and left the house to become a Sanyasi and started his pilgrimage. He began wandering around the country.

        During 1936, while participating in the nationwide Satyagraha to protest against the Jalianwalabaug massacre he and 200 others were beaten and imprisoned for six months. He was released later as Government's gesture on the occasion of the  wedding of Mysore Maharaja Samaraja Udayar.

        His eyesight affected earlier while playing games  was worsened by the blows he received in the Satyagraha Movement.

        He practised playing Harmonium by himself at his sister’s house  and with this accompaniment he sang Gods' praise. In 1939 he was deeply influenced by Swami Ramadoss of Kanjangadu Ashram in South Kanara and also received the Blessings of Mata Krishnabai. He was named as Murugadas by Swami Ramadoss as he sang mainly on Lord Muruga, During this period, his other eye also started giving trouble. One day when he was rendering Bhajan, one old lady in a frenzy suddenly got up and touched his eyes and lo! his pain in the eyes   dissappeared and he started seeing well with his one eye.

       In 1940, Muruga spent a few days with Avadhudha Swami Swayam Prakash at Sendhamangalam. He then went on a pilgrimage by foot and traveled through out India, when he got endeared to numerous Balayogis. When he was on yogic concentration in Vashishta caves in Nepal at a height 14,000 feet one Saintly person woke him up and said " you have several things to do in the South, get up and go."

After visit to several religious centers he started doing penance at Velliangiri Forest. He learnt many songs from Sachidananda Swamigal famous for Thirupugazh - songs in praise of Muruga. He also absorbed the various other renderings and imbibed the tradition of Brahmananda Paradesiar, Ramana Maharishi and the other great accomplished saintly persons.

In 1946,  he joined Thirupugaz Mani in popularising Bhajans praising Muruga.

On India’s attaining Independence in 1947, he combined social life and service to humanity with his zeal for bhajans and for a few years was the patron of the orphanage known as Dhinabandhu Ashram at Walajapet.

In 1978 he married Devi Saroja who is an accomplished artiste in Dance, Music, Tala Vadya, Painting etc. This marriage further embellished the divine music performances.

He has been frequently going to foreign centers like Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius, California, New York at the request of Indians thirsting to hear his soulful divine music. His music was greatly appreciated at the World Hindu Conference held in July 1995 at Durban, with Nelson Mandela as the Chief Guest.

Some of the titles bestowed on him are 

1956 : Sangeetha Samrat         - Tile awarded by Swami Sivananda
1984 : Kalaimamani"                  - Title conferred by "MGR;' on behalf of Tamil Nadu Iyal                                                           Isai, Nataka Sangham.

He received the Sangeetha Nataka academy award and in 1998 - Guru Surajananda award. In 1989.  The National Cultural Organisation of New Delhi bestowed upon him the THIAGARAJAR AWARD at the Tansen festival.

In London in 1994 he was given the title " Madhura Gana Mamani " and the rasikas in  Seychelles conferred the title " Outstanding Isai Thewar."

Those who have heard Murugadas will always pray :


"MAY HE CONTINUE TO LIFT US BY HIS DIVINE MUSIC AND TAKE US TO THE LORD’S FEET FOREVER"


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