Sri Narayana Teertha (c. 1650 – 1745 CE) was a composer of Carnatic music.
Narayana was born in South India in the region covered by the present-day Andhra Pradesh. He lived in Kaja near Mangalagiri in Guntur district. They belonged to Tallavajula family. His birth name was Govinda Sastrulu. They eventually moved to Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu.
He mastered music at a very early age and studied Puranas, Bhagavata Purana and other Sanskrit works. He renounced family at a very early age and took on a life of a religious devotion. He went to Varanasi to spread his philosophy.
Teertha was very well versed in Music and, Natya Shastra, and a great scholar in Sanskrit. He used at least 34 popular ragas. Many of the songs are structurally well set for direct use as nritya or natya padams. He carefully avoided complex usages and utilized easy expressions. His Gadyams and Padyams are exquisite in beauty.
He wrote 15 books and some of them are available in Benares Hindu University and Parijatapaharanam at Saraswathi Mahal in Tanjore. He is also credited with composing two other operas, Parijatha Apaharanam and Haribhakthi Sundarnavam.
Sri Narayana Tirtha attained Mukti in 1745 at a nearby village called Varagur in Thanjavur Dist.
Sri Krishna Leela Tarangini
Narayana Teertha was the author of a Sanskrit opera called Sri Krishna Leela Tarangini on the life of the Hindu god Lord Krishna. It deals with the life story of Krishna starting with his birth, childhood pranks and ending with his marriage to Rukmini. Narayan Theertha uses various literary and musical forms such as songs, prose passages, Slokas (praises in verse), Dwipadis (couplets), etc. The songs are popularly called "Tarangas" means waves. The lyrics are simple yet beautiful and effective. The Astapadis of Jayadeva are said to be the inspiration.
Legend has it that the inspiration to compose this piece occurred when he was along the banks of Naducauvery. He was suffering from a serious stomach ailment and prayed that he should be given the strength to go back to Tirupati, where it all started. A divine voice asked him to follow a boar (varaha) to wherever it led him. The varaha led him to Bhupatirajapuram, which came to be known as `Varahur' later. The people of the village knew that a maha-purusha was coming. With their help, he raised the temple for Sri Lakshmi Narayana and Lord Venkateswara and settled down on the banks of river `Kudamurutty' the name by which the Cauvery was known at this place.
Tarangini is an opera highly suitable for dance drama and it has been very well utilized by Indian classical dancers over the last two centuries. Tarangini consists of 12 Tarangams and encapsulates 153 songs, 302 slokams and 31 choornikaas. Teertha followed Veda Vyasa’s Bhagavatam and concentrated on the 10th skandam.