His Profile

Sri SwaminathaAtreya

Born in Simizhi Village, 12 kms from Tiruvavur, in Nagapattinam district, Tamilnadu state, India, to Sri K.VenkataramaSastri and Smt Sankari on 30th November 1919. He hails from a renowned family of vedic and sanskrit scholars. He along with his brothers Sri S V Balakrishna Sastri, Sri S V Radhakrishna Sastri and Sri S V Santhanaraman, studied sastras in the traditional manner under their father and guru Simizhi Sri K Venkatarama Sastri. All the four brothers attained high proficiency in sastras and are highly devoted to Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Their holiness, Sri Periyavas of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt and the mutt circle call him Atreyar.

Upto 1938, Atreyar learned yajurveda from his father. He went to Annamalai University, Chidambaram for his Sironmani and came out with flying colors. He stood first in the University. He got married to Smt Jayalakshmi (born on 16.11.1926). He started with a shop at Mannargudi and later shifted to textile business Sri Lalitha Mahal at Thanjavur. His brothers’ children used call him as SLM Perippa. His mother lived with him till her end in 04.08.1988 at the age of 92 years. His association with various Tamil Writers and the discussions with them had made more effect on his linguistic character on Sanskrit, Tamil and Harikatha.

SwaminathaAtreya a Vedic scholar and writer of Hindu divine literature. SwaminathaAtreya has translated the Bhagavat Gita published by Gita Press.

His book on Samarth Ramdas is a research publication on Ramadasar and his association with King Shivaji. SwaminathaAtreya finished the task after extensive research on SamarthaRamadas and Sivaji. Octogenarian author SwaminathaAtreya has completed his book on SamarthaRamadas. And thereby hangs a tale and a moving one at that.

In 2004, he compiled Narayana Tirthar Charithram, a book on Narayana Tirthar.

He has authored and compiled many works of the Saraswathi Mahal Library in Thanjavur.

Sri Tyagaraja Anubhavangal is a collection of 12 short stories written over a period of years that narrates specific incidents that gave birth to different compositions.

He is considered one of the prominent composers of Sanskrit Nirupanas that includes Jagannatha Pandita, Chitrakavi Sivaramakrishna Bhagavatar, Mangudi Saptarishi Bhagavatar, Harikesavanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar and Thanjavur Sundaresa Sarma.

Atreya has been honoured with AgavithilagamAward and was an AsthanaVidwan of the Sri KanchiKamakotiPeetam.
The SahityaParishad honoured him with SahidiVallabha Award.
He was conferred with GnanaSemmalAward on 1 January 2010 by Krishna Sweets.

The Hindu 31st October 2008» FRIDAY REVIEW
When Ra. Ganapathi, Tamil author met the seer in connection with publishing the first volume of “DeivathinKural,” Paramacharyal handed over the script to him and said, “This contains the story of Samartha Ramadas, a saint who was blessed by Lord Anjaneya. He was the one who spread the Rama Nama throughout Maharashtra. He performed many miracles and brought succour to several of his devotees. However, a vital piece of information that he was responsible for Sivaji establishing the Maharashtra Empire has not been recorded. You must gather the historical details from authentic sources and complete the book.”Ganapathi accepted it, but felt it was too big a task for him to accomplish. Although he could gather over a span of thirty years written material that could fill thousands of pages, he was diffident to meet Paramacharyal as it lacked the significant portions on Sivaji. He, therefore, kept the script aside, deterred by failing vision and deteriorating health. Ganapathi confided in the members of the Mahaperiyaval Trust.“There may be many scholars who are adopting at presenting history. But there is only one, who can combine the spiritual greatness of Samartha Ramadas and the story of the warrior Sivaji — SwaminathaAtreya. He is also close to Paramacharyal. I am afraid he is not doing well at present. You may, however, approach him.”Thus the work landed in the hands of SwaminathaAtreya. Atreya was chanting Rama nama at Bhodendral’s shrine when the message was conveyed to him over phone. For reference, he wanted “Daasabotham” by SamarthaRamadas. The authorities tried their best but could not get it. Surprisingly, an old acquaintance Nagaraja Rao Goswami had, not only this book, with its English translation by W.G. Dhambwekar, but also other titles, such as “Karunashtakam,” “Atmaram” and “ManacheSloka,” all by SamarthaRamadas and “SamarthaPratapam” by Giridhar Swami.
“Mahaperiyaval felt that the underlying theme of the book must be the fact that SamarthaRamadas’ strength of gnana and the power of his wisdom as well as his blessings enabled Sivaji to establish the huge empire,” says Atreya.
“Every week the members of the Mahaperiyaval Trust would telephone me and inquire about the status of the book. But my fingers were not co-operative. My friend Mr. Srinivasan helped me in copying them legibly,” says Atreya.“It is only the grace of the Kanchi Seer that gave me the strength to complete the work.”
“I am working on ‘Jai Hanuman’ whom Samartha Ramadas worshipped and this would be around a thousand pages. I am also working on the life of Ramabhadra Dikshitar, disciple of Neelakanta Dikshitar, who lived in the 17th century and composed numerous verses on Lord Rama, in Sanskrit.”
“Samartha Ramadas Charitam” contains BalaKaandam, YatraKaandam, MaruthiKaandam, SahjiKaandam, ShivajiKaandam, DasabothaKaandam and finally ManacheSlokaKaandam.

The Hindu 03rd September 2004
THE 12TH year celebrations (Gokulashtami Taranga Anjali) of Tirupoonthuruthy Sri NarayanaTirtha will begin on September 6 at Sri NarayanaTirtharBrindavanam, Thanjavur district – 613 103. A Tamil book titled, `NarayanaTirtharCharithram’ compiled by SwaminathaAtreyawas released.

The Hindu 27thDecember 2011
Capturing the moods of Tyagaraja in short stories
There is an apocryphal story that Madurai Mani Iyer steadfastly refused to sing Tyagaraja’sKalyani raga composition Nidhichaalasukhama. The bard is said to have composed it after rejecting an offer from the Thanjavur king to become a court musician. “How can I sing that song when I am accepting money for my performances?” Mani Iyer would ask.
Swaminatha Atreyan, a vedic scholar and an authority on Tyagaraja, however, rejects the story, terming it a “stale construction”.

“Though there is a story behind every composition of Tyagaraja, I don’t believe this one. Tyagaraja was not the kind of person who would make wounding remarks in response to some suggestion,” says 95-year old Atreyan, the author of Sri TyagarajaAnubhavangal, a collection of 12 short stories, in which he re-tells specific incidents that gave birth to different compositions.

A close friend of Tamil writers T. Janakiraman and KarichanKunchu, Atreyan has written a total of 28 such stories over the years, but could trace only 12 of them and has published them in this book.
Writer Ku.Pa. Rajagopalan encouraged him to write and his stories were published in serious literary journals such as Manikodi, Kanaiyazhi. Another important work of his is the TulasiRamayanam in Tamil.

The stories in Sri TyagarajaAnubhavangal are not his own construction, Atreyan observes. “They were narrated to me by Umayalpuram Swaminatha Bhagavatar during my student days in Kumbakonam. I used to wash his clothes out of respect. I also got to listen to many stories while I heard some conversations Swaminatha Bhagavatar had with Yagnaswami Sastri, and also from Embar Vijayaraghavachariar.”

Swaminatha Bhagavatar was a disciple of Umayalpuram Sundara Bhagavatar, who learnt directly from Tyagaraja.“Tyagaraja had a very sensitive mind. All his compositions were born out of personal experiences, in a spontaneous outpouring. Unlike Muthuswami Dikshitar and ShyamaShastri, who composed to enrich Carnatic music and give shape to ragas, Tyagaraja was not driven by any such motives. His compositions are purely an outcome of sukhanubava,” explains Atreyan, singing a line or two from each composition that he speaks about.
In one of his stories, the author also expresses concern about some musicians not paying enough attention to the words, pronunciation and context of every song. And the fictionalised versions of the real-life incidents offer some insights into Tyagaraja, a saint-composer, ardent devotee of Rama and also a man given to human emotions.
The story behind the Hindola raga composition Manasuloni is a case in point. According to Atreyan, Tyagaraja was disturbed by how his kriti Palukukandachakkera in Navarasa Kannada was interpreted by a group of dancers.
“He suddenly plunged into sadness, after seeing how the crowd there started celebrating the erotic postures. Spontaneously, the pallavi of Manasuloni was born. But it took quite some time for him to complete the composition,” Atreyan said.

The fact that ArunachalaKavirayar’s Rama Nataka keertanas made a tremendous impact on Tyagaraja is exemplified by his Yadukula Kambhodhi song Etavunanerchitivo.

He composed the song after spending a whole night watching Rama Natakam at an open field. When he was asked to come to the dais, he turned emotional and hugged the blacksmith who performed the role of Rama and wiped off the sweat on his body with his towel.
Several such lesser-known incidents have been captured in Atreyan’s stories, in a language, that conjures up the era in which Tyagaraja lived.

Atreyan, who has listened to two generations of great musicians, is full of praise for today’s younger generation of musicians. “I have no doubt that they can be placed on a par with the great musicians of yesteryear.”

The Hindu 10thJanuary 2013
An informative session on Harikatha was presented by N. Srinivasan, Sanskrit Pandit, Saraswati Mahal Library, Thanjavur, under the AlameluRamanarayanaSarma Memorial Endowment. He spoke of Sanskrit nirupanas and highlighted the different musical compositions used in Harikatha expositions. He traced the origin and evolution of Harikatha as an art form during the Maratha rule in Thanjavur and explained the synthesis of the Keerthana mode propagated by Ramchand Moregaonkao Baba (1855) and that of Krishna Bhagavatar who devised 135 stories for narration. Prominent composers of Sanskrit nirupanas like JagannathaPandita, Chitrakavi Sivaramakrishna Bhagavatar, Mangudi Saptarishi Bhagavatar, Harikesavanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar, Thanjavur Sundaresa Sarma, Swaminatha Atreya and others were mentioned.

The Hindu 02ndJanuary 2010
The awardees chosen for the Award included V. SwaminathaAtreya of Thanjavur. He was earlier given the Agavithilagam award and had been an ‘asthanavidwan’ of the Kanchi Mutt. The Sahitya Parishad had honoured him with Sahidi Vallabha award. He had authored and compiled many works of the Thanjavur SaraswathiMahal.
With profound grief, we share the passing away of Smt Jayalakshmi wife of Sri SwaminathaAtreya on 12.02.2013. Within ten months, Sri SwaminathaAtreyaelder brother of Srirangam Sri. S.V. Radhakrishna Sastrigal and a great devotee of Maha Periyava, who accompanied Him on many of His Paadha Yathras joined MahaPeriyava’s Divine Feet on 19.12.2013 at the age of 94 years.

His interview was posted in the blog and in spite of frail health and feeble voice, he spoke for more than 30 minutes about His anubhavam with MahaPeriyava. After MetturSwamigaL, Sri. ChandramouliMaama, AtreyaMaama has joined MahaPeriyava’s Divine Feet.

One should read one of his beautiful stories titled ‘Tukkiri Patti’ written based on actual incident. His narration takes the readers to totally different level of Bakthi Margam and embellishes the greatness of Rama Nama. Also one should not miss his narration about an incident with HH titled ‘Puli Mathulai’ which reiterates the greatness of HH. Beautiful experience. One should read his book on Samartha Ramadas. The rough materials for this book were originally with Sri Ra Ganapathi, who could not find time and so had requested Sri Atreya to pursue. It so happened through divine intervention that Sri Atreya could finish that elaborate book, out of devotion and self-motivation at the old age, purely because of his deep and abiding faith by drawing tremendous energy and inspiration from Lord Rama and Sri Anjaneyaswami.
Visit for Sri Atreya’s remembrance: www.youtube.com/watch?v=nP8ktqFZCYY