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  . . Karaikudi Tradition | Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer

Karaikudi Veena Bhaani

Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer was an orthodox religious Brahmin with an austere and reverential demeanor. He held strong views on how and where music should be played. He did not want his music to be recorded. The recordings available are either through the radio broadcast or in some friend's home with whom he had confidence. He refused the first presidential honor called the President's award in 1952 on the ground that his daily pooja would be affected by travel to Delhi for several days. After persuasions from Sri Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Sri G.N.Balasubramaniam and Shri G.T. Shastri he agreed to accept the award after seeking the divine command of the deity he worshipped. Finally he traveled to Delhi splitting his travel time and performing his pooja at every place he choose to stay. He performed the basics all through his life as a ritual.

He taught me all the basics for one year. He would wake me up at 5am. My first duty was to supervise the practice of the Kalakshetra students at the Pooja Hall next to his quarters. Then I should pick flowers for his pooja and do my Sandhiyavandanam and Samidaadaanam. I should practice the basics every day before the altar where he performed his pooja up to the point he taught. Gradually this became a three hour ritual. If I made a mistake I should start from the beginning. I would now play for you the basics he taught me, the way I played then. I strongly hold the view that that was the foundation on which I even now stand. The first concert he made me play was in Kapali temple. The performance was a vedic chant. This gave me a very strong message what I should do. I pursued music as my career passing through several hurdles.

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