Muddusvāmi Diksitar (A. D. 1775-1835) The science of Hindu music, though originally one, gradually got crystallised into two broad traditions: The uttarādi (North Indian) and the dakṣiṇādi (South Indian, also called Karnatic). If the saint Purandara Dāsa (A. D. 1484-1564) laid the foundation for the present form of South Indian music, the three jewels (‘ratnatraya’) of the same system have enriched it abundantly. They are: Tyāgarāja (A. D. 1767-1847), Muddu-svāmi Diksitar (A. D. 1775-1835) and Śyāmāśāstri (A. D. 1763-1827). Muddusvāmi Diksitar—also known as Muttusvāmi Diksitar or just ‘Diksitar’— was the son of Rāmasvāmi Diksitar and Subbalakṣmi Ammāl, born as a result of the grace of the Divine Mother Bālāmbikā (Pārvatī) (of Vaidīśvaran Koil, a famous temple in Tamil Nadu). This is obviously reflected in many of the compositions of Diksitar on the Mother Divine. Muddusvāmi—known in his earlier days as Kumārasvāmi—was the eldest son and had three younger brothers. He was well-educated by his father himself in several branches of knowledge like the Vedas, Sanskrit language and literary works, health sciences, mantraśāstra (esoteric science of sacred formulae) and music. Cidambaranātha, a great yogi, who was the guru of Rāmasvāmi Dikṣitar, took him and Muddusvāmi to Kāśī where they spent six years. During this sojourn in the north, the boy not only visited many places of pilgrimage but also picked up a fairly good knowledge of the North Indian music. Its influence can be noticed in some of his compositions like ‘raṅgapuravihara,’ ‘jambṅpate māih pāhi,’ and ‘akhilāṇ- ḍeśvari.’ Muddusvāmi Diksitar then returned to his native place Maṇali. Once he went to Tiruttaṇi, a nearby sacred place and practised special spiritual disciplines, meditating on the deity Subrahmaṇya. A strange mystical experi¬ence here induced in him a remarkable power to compose songs. This is the reason why his songs always contain the words ‘Guruguha’ (= Subrahmaṇya) towards the end. Later in life he toured South India extensively and composed songs on the various deities of the Hindu pantheon (the presiding deities of the places visited). He had met both Tyāgarāja and Śyāmāśāstri in his tours.
All his compositions are in Sanskrit and excel not only in diction but also in rousing our devotion. His ‘navāvaraṇa- kṛtis’ are special compositions on the esoteric worship of the Divine Mother. He intuitively perceived that his death was very near and passed away when his disciples were singing—at his behest—his famous song ‘mīnāksi me mudaih dehi’. He left behind him a galaxy of disciples to continue his tradition.