Chennai – Many sing bhajans unto God and teach others too. However only some of them sing them out of devotion. Out of those only one or two devotees perform intense devotion. One such great personality attaining Sainthood through singing bhajans is Mrs. Kantimati Santanam from Chennai, the music Guru of H.H. (Mrs.) Uma Ravichandran. On August 25, 2019 at the residence of H.H. (Mrs.) Ravichandran Sanatan Sanstha’s Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil had a conversation charged with spiritual emotion with Mrs. Kantimati Santanam. It is during this conversation itself that Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil declared that Mrs. Kantimati Santanam (81 years) had attained Sainthood. Sadguru (Mrs.) Gadgil honoured her with a floral garland, a coconut and a gift in the presence of her younger daughter Mrs. Rama and Sanatan Sanstha’s seekers.
1.H.H. (Mrs.) Kantimatimami thinking
that a vision of Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil
was more important than her being declared a Saint
H.H, (Mrs.) Kantimatimami offered the entire credit for her attaining Sainthood at the Holy feet of her Deity of worship Shri Murugan (Kartikeya) and her husband Mr. Santanam. When speaking on the occasion she said, “More than attaining Sainthood I am happy that I was able to get a vision of Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil. Today the very moment I got a vision of Sadguru all the sorrows in my life have vanished. What more do I need ?”
2. What is glorifying God through bhajans ?
Namasankirtan means beckoning God through short phrases from a devotional song and expressing devotion unto Him. It is an easy path used by some Saints from the Path of Devotion in South Bharat to turn society to God. In reality this concept originated in Maharashtra through devotional songs (abhangs) of Deity Vitthal. Today several Saints, devotional song singing groups and narrators of katha in Tamilnadu sing devotional songs in of Deities Vitthal, Murugan (Kartikeya), Krushna, Radha-Krushna, Durgadevi etc.in a one raga and rhythm in just 2 or 4 lines. Sometimes women singing bhajans play the musical instrument of tipri (like a clapper) and dance beautifully with spiritual emotion
3. Some special features of H.H. Kantimati
A. H.H. (Mrs.) Kantimati remains indisposed due to her old age. Despite that she goes to sing bhajans with the spiritual emotion that Deity Murugan Himself is getting the bhajan sung from her.
B. When H.H. (Mrs.) Kantimati goes elsewhere to sing bhajans she does not pay attention to the renumeration she receives from individuals or the temple administration. She goes there to sing for her Murugan. However she does pay attention to whether financially backward women, musicians playing the drums (tabla) or the harmonium, receive sufficient payment.
C. Till date H.H. (Mrs.) Kantimati has not had spiritual experiences of visions or dreams of her deity of worship but she experiences that Murugan is constantly talking to her. In other words she is in constant communion with God.
4. Thoughts expressed by H.H. Kantimati
A. As Bharatiya classical music is based on devotion, it is eternal. On the other hand as Western music depends on money it is temporary. It is only the former which endows the spiritual emotion of Bliss.
B. Till today I have faced several calamities and problems in life. It is only with the grace of my Deity of worship Shri Murugan that I have been protected from all calamities and I am sure He will continue to do so in future.
– H.H. (Mrs.) Kantimati Santanam
5. H.H. (Mrs.) Kantimati Santanam has
received recognition with the award ‘Bhagwat
Shiromani’ by various organisations and Kanchi Mutt
Her awards are ‘Bhagwat Chudamani’, ‘Namawali Ratna’, ‘Tirupugajha Chemmanni’, ‘Bhagwatratna’, ‘Sankirtan Chudamani’ etc.
A brief introduction to H.H. (Mrs.) Kantimati Santanam
H.H. (Mrs.) Kantimati Santanam has been glorified with a number of awards such as ‘Namasankirtan Chudamani’, ‘Bhavratna’ etc. Always smiling even at the age of 81 years she has the enthusiasm of a small child. She is lovingly called ‘Mami’ by all. She was taught bhajan singing by her father at a young age. When she was 2 years old her father Late Ramaswami Ayyar would take her to the temple. He would then tell her to read whatever lines of the bhajan that she could read from inscriptions in the wall and to sing them. Later she always accompanied him to bhajan and kirtan programmes and would learn on her own. When singing (Mrs.) Kantimati would lose body consciousness. In 1961 she married Mr. Santanam from Chennai. In 1975 they purchased a new home. Ever since for the past 44 years she had been conducting bhajan classes daily and under her guidance thousands have learnt bhajan singing.
She has two sons and two daughters, all of them are married. None have an inclination for bhajan and music. Both sons live in U.S.A. The older daughter resides in Salem and the younger one at Chennai in Tamilnadu. In the past two years her husband is bedridden after a stroke. H.H. (Mrs.) Kantimati cannot walk due to age related physical illnesses. Despite all this she happily goes out of the house to sing bhajans.