D.K. Pattammal

Friday, 16 March 2018

VV. Subramanyam


Birthdays & Anniversaries

VV. Subramanyam is a musician who, even his worst detractors will admit, has reached regions beyond mere technique and dwells in them. As a probable corollary, he is not very facile with the world of everyday interactions. His refusal to accept anything less than perfect lies at the root of his musical achievements and that same attitude perhaps underlies what is seen as his somewhat intractable disposition towards men and matters.

A complex personality, Subramanyam has one consuming passion – music; and this has led him into deep explorations of religious belief and spiritual techniques. His is a world of mysterious connections, of kundalini yoga and mantra sastra, and, above all, nada – that all pervading, primal sound energy mentioned in esoteric philosophical traditions.

Born at Thoattuvay in Kerala on 16 March 1944, Vadakkencheri Veeraraghava Subramanyam (VVS), is among the great Carnatic musicians that verdant green country has produced.

Among VVS’s earliest memories are concert tours with his guru Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar. One of them stands out clearly: a visit, when he was barely ten, to Poomuli Mana in Kerala – a household where prosperity wafted through the air like cool fragrances. An old, orthodox namboodiri in that household murmured “Saraswati kataksham” whenever he looked at the boy VVS, convinced that he was blessed by the goddess. During that visit VVS also remembers a little girl offering him a flower as devi prasadam – Saraswati’s blessings. It all fits with his worldview: a world where the divine is as much a matter of experience as normal sense experiences.

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