Kannadasan was born on June 24, 1927 as A.L.Muthiah was a Tamil poet and lyricist, heralded as one of the greatest and most important writers in the Tamil language. Frequently called Kaviarasu Kannadasan was most familiar for his song lyrics in Tamil films.
He contributed around 5000 lyrics besides 6000 poems and 232 books, including novels, epics, plays, essays, his most popular being the 10-part religious essay on Hinduism, captioned Arthamulla Indhumatham (English: Meaningful Hinduism). He won the Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel Cheraman Kadali in the year 1980 and was the first ever to receive the National Film Award for Best Lyrics, given in 1969 for the film Kuzhanthaikkaga.
Muthiah was a staunch atheist and a follower of the Dravidian atheistic movement. He had great love for the Tamil language and culture, and excelled in Tamil literature, prose and poetry. He once read the Thiruppavai of Andal, and was amazed at its mystic poetry, that was to have a deep and everlasting impact on him. After a lot of introspection, he decided to reconvert back into Hinduism, christened himself Kannadasan, dug deep into understanding Hinduism, and wrote his series of books on Hinduism titled "Arthamulla Indu Matham".
Kannadasan was the poet Laureate of the Tamil Nadu Government at the time of his death. He wrote an autobiography, titled Vanavasam. He also wrote manavasam detailing his life after he left DMK. Kannadasan died on 17 October 1981 in Chicago, United States, where he had gone from India to attend a Tamil conference organised by the Tamil Association of Chicago. A house in Sirukootalpatti is now a memorial for the Tamil film music's evergreen favourites. The Kannadasan memorial museum was inaugurated on October 21, 1992.