The musical work of Nantanar Carittirak Kirttanai became popular through out the Tamil country and mesmerized and enthralled the minds of the readers. Nantanar was primarily an agricultural worker and Harijan by birth. He desired to visit the temple at Chidambaram to worship Lord Nataraja, but he was denied permission by his master. Eventually he convinced and acquired the permission of his master to allow him to go the Chidambaram temple on a pilgrimage. Nantanar received the grace of the Lord at the temple of Chidambaram and got the opportunity to offer worship to God and become one with the Supreme Being.
The tale of Nantanar was vividly described in an exciting and detailed manner in Periya Puranam by Cekkilar or Sekkizhar. Kopalakirusna Parati (Gopalakrishna Paratiyar) also narrated the exact same story of Nantanar in his poetic composition, which was much more elaborate and was pregnant with emotions that moved the readers. It was written more like a musical composition. As these musical hymns and poems acquired tremendous popularity in the Tamil country, consequently their pattern of music became the model for kirttanai.
Even the much venerated Tamil poet named Cuppiramaniya Paratiyar also quoted the kirttanai composed by Kopalakirusna Parati and its raga and believed it was the most appropriate one for his own compositions that are meant for singing with tala and raga. This reveals the popularity and appreciation of the musical compositions of Gopalakrishna Paratiyar or Kopalakirusna Parati amongst the Tamil people. Although in the earlier stages, a number of poets depicted serious concern over the textual variations of the tale available in the Periya Puranam as well as the occurrences of grammatical mistakes.
Even Minatcicuntaram Pillai, the great scholar and poet and a contemporary of Kopalakirusna Parati, was indecisive initially to provide a preface to the Nantanar Carittirak Kirttanai. But after he heard the recital by the Tamil poet Kopalakirusna Parati, Minatcicuntaram Pillai was captivated and moved to such an extent that he provided a special preface to this poetic and musical work.
(Last Updated on : 12-02-2013)
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