Syama Sastri (Sanskrit: श्याम शास्त्री , Telugu: శ్యామశాస్త్రి) (26 April, 1762 – 6 February, 1827) is one of the most renowned Carnatic music composers and is considered Trinity of Carnatic music besides Tyagaraja and Muthuswami Dikshitar.
Syama Sastri was born to Vengalakshmi (mother) and Viswanatha Iyer (father) a priestly scholarly and tamil speaking telugu vadama brahmin family in Tiruvarur village, Thiruvarur district, Tamil Nadu. He was a Tamil – speaking brahmin known as auttara vadama. His father Visvanatha Iyer and his forefathers were archakas in the temple of goddess Bangaru Kamakshi in Thanjavur.
Syama Sastri’s birth name was Venkata Subrahmanya but he was affectionately called Syama Krishna. At the age of seven, his Upanayanam was performed. He was taught devotional songs, given sound education in Sanskrit and Telugu. He used to accompany his father to the temple. Gradually his faith in the Goddess grew. Finding his aptitude for music, his mother requested her cousins to teach him the fundamentals of music. Within a short period, the boy became proficient in it.
When Syama Sastri was 18, a sanyasi, Sangita Swami came to their house from Banares. Pleased with the talents of Syama Sastri , he offered to be his guru and tought him mysteries underlying the raga and tala prastaras. He directed Syama Sastri to go to Paccimiriyam Adiyappayya. As per Swamiji’s advice, Syama Sastri approached Adiyappayya and the influence of Adiyappayya is reflected in his svarajati -kamakshi’ in Bhairavi raga.
Once, Kesavayya, a great musician from Bobbili, came to Thanjavur and challenged the court musicians in handling intricate talas. Syama Sastri had to face him. He entered the temple and stood in deep meditation. He sang “Devi brova samayamide’ meaning “Devi! now it is the time for you to protect me”. Later he gained confidence and went to the court to face the contest and defeated the challenger.
Muthuuswami Dikshitar and Syama Sastri were good friends. They often met and spent hours together singing. Syama Sastri had deep regard for Tyagaraja.
Once Syama Sastri was singing Brhadamba in Pudukottai, an elderly saint was pleased and directed him to go to Madurai and sing in praise of Meenaksi Amman and receive her blessings. Syama Sastri decided to do so and composed “navaratnamalika’ (nine kritis). Once at Nagapattinam, Syama Sastri defeated in a contest Appukutti Nattuvanar who was proficient in music. Consequently Appukutti forfeited his tambura and tala for ever.
Most of Syama Sastri’s compositions are in praise of godess Devi. He composed about 300 songs. Though he was a Tamil he had chosen Telugu as the medium of expression for his songs because of the inherent beauty of that language. There are a few Sanskrit and Tamil songs also.
His style is neither simple as that of Tyagaraja nor difficult as that of Muthuswami Dikshitar. He signed his songs as Syama Krsna. He died on February 6, 1827, at the age of 65.
|1||Adinamuninchi pogadi ||Anandabhairavi||Triputa|
|2||Akhilandeshvari durusuga||Karnataka Kapi||Adi|
|3||Birana varalichi||Kalyani||Tishra nadai Adi|
|4||Brihannayaki nannu ||Madhyamavati||Tishra Mathya|
|5||Brova samayamide devi||Punnagavarali||Adi|
|6||Brova vamma bangaru ||Nilambari||Mishra Chapu|
|7||Brovavamma tamasamelebiranabrovavamma||Manji||Mishra Chapu|
|8||Dayajuda manchi||Jaganmohini||Mishra Chapu|
|9||Dayanidhe mamava (varnam)||Begada||Adi|
|10||Devi brova samayamide||Chintamani||Adi|
|11||Devi mina netri||Shankarabharana||Adi|
|12||Devi nannu brovavamma ||Kalyani||Jhampa|
|13||Devi ni padasarasamule||Kambhoji||Adi|
|16||Enneramum un namam ||Purvikalyani||Mishra Chapu|
|17||Enneramum un padakamaladhyanam||Punnagavarali||Triputa|
|18||Himachalatanaya brochutakidi||Anandabhairavi||Viloma Chapu|
|19||Himadrisute pahimam||Kalyani||Tishra nadai Adi|
|21||Kamakshi anudinamu (svarajati)||Bhairavi||Mishra Chapu|
|22||Kamakshi bangaru||Varali||Mishra Chapu|
|23||Kamakshi karunakatakshi (gitam)||Pharaj||Triputa|
|24||Kamakshi lokasakshini (gitam)||Madhyamavati||Triputa|
|25||Kamakshi nato vada ||Begada||Adi|
|26||Kamakshi ni padayugamu (svarajati)||Yadukulakambhoji||Mishra Chapu|
|28||Karunajuda ninnunammina||Sri||Mishra Chapu|
|29||Karunajudavamma vinamma||Varali||Mishra Chapu|
|30||Karunanidhi ilalo||Todi||Tishra gati Adi|
|31||Mahilo amba ||Anandabhairavi||Adi|
|32||Mari ve re gati||Anandabhairavi||Mishra Chapu|
|34||Mayamma yani ne||Ahiri||Adi|
|35||Minalochana brovayochana||Dhanyasi||Mishra Chapu|
|36||Namanavini vinu (varnam)||Saurashtra||Chaturashra Ata|
|37||Nannu brovarada o jagadamba||Janarahnjani||Triputa|
|38||Nannu brovarada vegame nivu||Gaulipantu||Mishra Chapu|
|39||Nannu brovu lalita||Lalita||Mishra (Viloma) Chapu|
|42||Ninne namminanu||Todi||Mishra Chapu|
|43||Ninne nammiti ||Kedaragaula||Adi|
|44||Ninnuvina marigalada||Abheri||Rupaka (Tishra nadai Adi)|
|45||Ninnuvinaga mari||Purvikalyani||Desadi, Mishra nadai|
|46||Nive gatiyani (varnam)||Kalyani||Tishra Mathya|
|47||O jagadamba nanu||Anandabhairavi||Adi|
|48||Pahi mam shri rajarajeshvari ||Nata||Rupaka|
|49||Pahi shri girarajasute||Anandabhairavi||Rupaka|
|50||Palayashu mam paradevate ||Arabhi||Triputa|
|52||Palinchu kamakshi pavani||Madhyamavati||Adi|
|54||Paramukhamenamma parvatiyamma ||Kalyani||Triputa|
|55||Parvati janani (gitam)||Bhairavi||Khanda Mathya|
|56||Parvati ninnu ne||Kalgada||Tishra gati Adi|
|57||Puraharajaye palaya mam ||Gaulipantu||Mishra Chapu|
|58||Rave himagirikumari (svarajati)||Todi||Adi|
|59||Rave parvatarajakumari ||Kalyani||Jhampa|
|60||Sami ninne nammitirara||Begada||Adi|
|61||Samini rammanave (varnam)||Anandabhairavi||Ata|
|62||Santatam ennai rakshippai (gitam)||Pharaj||Adi|
|63||Sarasakshi sada (gitam)||Saveri||Triputa|
|64||Sari yevaramma||Bhairavi||Khanda Jhampa|
|66||Shankari shamkaru chandramukhi||Saveri||Tishra gati Adi|
|68||Shri kamakshi kavave ||Kalyani||Adi|
|70||Talli ninnu nera||Kalyani||Mishra Chapu|
|71||Tarunamidamma ennai rakshikka||Gaulipantu||Chapu|
|72||Trilokamata nannubrovu||Pharaj||Mishra Chapu|