NãmaSmaran 2014

Sri R (‘Salem’) Subramanian (better known today as Narayana Bhagavathar only because  he  brings forth  to  his  lips  the  ubiquitous  Narayana  Naama  with  every breath he takes)  was born in  the year 1942, to  the  illustrious  and pious couple, Smt. and Brahmasri G Ramachandra Sastrigal. He recalls how while still in his teens, he had a short stint of employment with Survey Dept. at Pudukkottai when the early interests on Sampradaya Bhajans got kindled listening to Sadguru Gopalakrishna Bhagavathaswamy in person performing Unchavrithi during Narasimha Jayanthi Utsavams. He reminisces how Sadguru moved Bhaktas to tears rendering the line “ennakala  Prahlaada bhaktulu”  pouring  out  the emotional  content  in  all  its  glory! “In  fact  It  was  a  visual  treat  to  watch  several  of  the bhagavatars  including  the  famous Sri Chintamani Iyengar Swamy singing along with graceful movements letting  the tears of joy flow unabashedly”, says he.  After the function, while blessing all participants, the Sadguru had then, giving the ‘Akshatai’  fondly whispered, “Do keep them safe…” and since that interaction with Sadguru  “my spiritual and other progress  have all been  in  most favourable  terms.  Today I am proud to be one  of the lead bhajan singers in  the  ‘Mahaswamigal-Mahajayanthi’  utsavams”,  says an emotional ‘Salem’ Subramanian.

From the  very early boyhood, he showed keen interest  in  participating with Namasankeertanam and Sampradaya  Bhajans  groups  in  and  around  his  workplace.  Amongst his early Gurunathars, Sri Ananthakrishna Bhagavathar had a significant role to play in shaping him to become a true exponent of Sampradaya Bhajan.  He has been closely associated with eminent Bhagavatars and Bhajan exponents of  repute,  one well-known name being  Sri  Sanjeevi  Bhagavatha  Swamy  (Anna).  He recalls how in one of the sessions at Salem Sri V N Sundara Rajan’s place ‘Anna’ had brought alive Srikrishna’s ‘Kaaliya Madrasa’ for almost 5 minutes of ‘Taandavam’ performed to the tune of “Kripayaa maam uddhara Sri Krishnaa” when the line ‘Kaaliya sirasi’ was sung.  Another unforgettable incident with Sri Sanjeevi Bhagavata  Swamy (Anna)  is  recalled  thus,  “ I  had  just  finished  rendering  a  song ‘KaaveRi   varathunuki’. “Anna”  later  while  interacting  with  me  personally ,  patted  me  on  back  saying,  “KaaveDi”  almost  as  if  gently nudging, an  event which is etched in my mind  forever”  The  septuagenarian  Sri ‘Narayana’ Bhagavathar’s interest in Sampradaya Bhajans, continues  unabated,  but  he  never  fails  to  pay  homage  to the  Sadguru  for  all  that  he  has  achieved  and  always  remembers  him  with  reverence  and  fondness. 


Also see Sri V Neelakantan

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