Mannargudi Sambasiva Bhagavathar (also spelt Bhagavathar) (1912–2004) was a Carnatic musician, musicologist, Harikatha exponent and composer. He served Carnatic music for over seven decades. He was a disciple of Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer in music and Madurai Narayana Bhagavatar and Smt Saraswathy Bai in Harikatha.
He performed more than 1000 music concerts and 7000 Harikatha performances all over India. He started composing from his teens and has composed more than 3000 songs in many languages such as Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit. He composed different musical forms such as Geetham, Varnam, Krithi, Javali, Padam, Thillana, Ragamalika and Harikatha. The first edition of his compositions are published in Tamil in the book "Sangeetha Ratna Mala". Sambasiva Bhagavatar"s musical discourse of Muthuswami Dikshitar charitram, Ramana Maharshi Charitram, Purandara Dasa charitram and Seetha Kalyanam are brought out in CDs. His compositions (Sahityams) are released in cassettes and CDs.
His composition "Neerajadalanayana" in raga "Maand" was popularised by his guru Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer.
Awards and Titles :
Bhagavatar was a recipient of the Government of Tamil Nadu "Kalaimamani" award. He received many other awards and tiles such as "Harikatha Kalakshepa Jyothi", "Kata Rathnakara", "Sangeetha Sahitya Jyothi", "Sangeetha Ratnam", "Harikatha Sironmani", "Sangeetha Kala Sikhamani", "Nadakkanal", "Harikatha Ratna", "Kalaseva Nirata", "Sangeetha Harikatha Bhusanam", "Sangeetha Harikatha Kala Praveena", and the Madras Music Academy "Vaggeyakara Award" in the year 2001 and the special honour in the category of Musician and Musicologist "T.T.K. Award" in the year 1999.
He served as a lecturer in Kathakalakshepam at Tamil Nadu Government College of Music, Chennai and as an inspector of Music and Dance schools for the Tamil Nadu Iyal Isai Nataka Mandram, the cultural wing of the Government of Tamil Nadu. He trained many students in the art of Music and Harikatha Kalakshepam. His prominent disciples included the violinist M. Chandrasekaran, K. V. Krishnan, Lalitha Alladi Ramakrishnan, Jaya Krishnan and others. In Harikatha his disciples include Susheela Achudaraman, Gowri Rajagopal, Shyamala Ramachandran and others.
A few of his Sahityams or compositions
Sama gana lola
Valli deva Sena
Varaadha dhadi sakiye
Thadhara thani dheemtha
Service to Thiagaraja sangeetha Vidwath Samajam :
Bhagavatar dedicated a major portion of his life to the growth and development of Sri Thiagaraja Sangeetha Vidwath Samajam in Mylapore, Chennai. He was the Treasurer, Secretary, President and finally chairman and executive trustee of the Samajam. He served the institution for over six decades. As per the advice of Chandrasekarendra Saraswati Swamigal, he installed a Panchaloga Vigraham of Saint Thyagaraja at the Vidhwath Samajam Premises.