National Centre for the Performing Arts, Bombay deserves all praise for devoting the September 1975 issue of their quarterly journal to Muttuswami Dikshitar, whose 200th birth anniversary was observed with eclat all over the country last year. As rightly pointed out in the Foreword, Dr. Raghavan is eminently suited to be the author of this venture.
This is perhaps the only book wherein a student or any lover of music can get such authentic and almost exhaustive information on Dikshitar. Hailing from Tiruvarur, where Dikshitar himself was born and wanted to live most of his life, Dr. Raghavan gives us enlightening details upon both Dikshitar and Tiruvarur in an inimitable manner. Few people, for instance, would know that Dikshitar has composed a song on the great Saivite saint, Sundaramurthy Nayanar; that there was a patron called Nagalinga whose name has suggestively figured in two kritis—Abhayamba in Kalyani and Abhayamba Nayaka in Anandabhairavi. The telling description of Ajapa Natana, Hamsa Natana and all such grandeur of the temple rituals at Tiruvarur which inspired Muttusvami Dikshitar to pour out many gems of kritis, could have come naturally only to a Tiruvarurian author, who in the concluding sentences gives touching reminiscences of his boyhood days.