AMBUJAM KRISHNA, meritorious lyricist of recent times, was blessed with a fulfilling life from the day she was born on May 21, 1917 till she passed away on October 21, 1989.
Her father K. V. Ranga Iyengar, one of the most brilliant minds to adorn the bar in those days, was a connoisseur of fine arts. Married to her cousin, T. S. Krishna, son of pioneer industrialist T. V. Sundaram Iyengar, Ambujam had the privilege and conducive environment to understand and appreciate traditional values, art, culture and the quintessence of bhakti. Having obtained a diploma with distinction in home science from the Lady Irwin College, New Delhi, Ambujam was the archetypal Hindu housewife absolutely devoted to her family. She was hardly ever pretentious, neither did she at any point of time flaunt her exclusive status in society by word or action. Instead, she came across as a lady of charm, grace and refinement.
In August 1951, after a visit to the samadhi of Tyagaraja at Tiruvaiyaru, Ambujam became emotionally charged and was inspired to compose devotional hymns on the deities of the Hindu pantheon. Her first attempt was ``Unnai allal" on Madurai Devi Meenakshi. Her kritis in various languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Sanskrit, Hindi and Manipravalam are not contrived efforts, but spontaneous, emotive expressions of total surrender to the Godhead. Stalwarts like Musiri Subramania Iyer, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, V. V. Sadagopan, S. Ramanathan, K. C. Thiagarajan, Sattur A. G. Subramaniam, K. R. Kedaranathan, Madurai T. N. Seshagopalan, Madurai Krishnan, Ananthalakshmi Sadagopan, R. Vedavalli, Charumathi Ramachandran and others have gloriously attired the lyric in lovely melodies.
Ambujam's creations have a wide range in the forms of opera, kummi, oonjal, kilikanni, thalattu, and the lyrical substance in pada varnams. Her humility has never permitted her to claim authorship of her songs. Just as Vedantha Desika said it was only the Lord using him as an instrument to compose the Daya Sathakam, Ambujam maintained that her songs were solely the result of divine benediction and it was not due to her composing prowess. She commented that although she had sung her songs to herself in different ragas, she felt it would be presumptuous to set them to music with her limited knowledge of the intricacies of the art form.
Since she was more of a rasika than a musician, she deemed it fit that vidvans with practical experience and theoretical understanding of music should be the ones to drape the lyrics in appropriate ragas employing suitable talas.
Ambujam's songs, favoured by performers and rasikas, are shining examples of the Jivatma yearning to merge with the Paramatma. A philanthropist to the core, her munificence to the needy and the deserving was legendary, yet her acts of charity were never permitted to gain any publicity.