SHRIRANJANI - JAYAMANOHARI - ABHOGI
THREE KRAMA VARJYA RAGAMS DERIVED FROM MELAM KHARAHARAPRIYA
P. P. Narayanaswami
[Editor's Note: 1)
This article has links to several audio files, all of which are in Real
Audio (32 kbps, streaming stereo) format. To play these, you will need the
Real One player, available for free download, from Real
Networks 2) The audio clippings included in
this article, are strictly for informational and illustrative purposes only
3) Click here
for the standard transliteration scheme]
Last month Carnatica's rAgAnubhava session featured the majestic mELa rAgam kharaharapriya. This month, three janya rAgams of this mELam are considered, that are obtained by dropping one note in succession from the previous rAgam (krama varjya). What this means is, we start with kharaharapriya and drop the pa~ncamam note alone, both in the ArOhaNam and avarOhaNam. The resulting rAgam is shrIra~njani. Now, with shrIra~njani as a start, drop the niSAdam in the ascending alone, and we obtain jayamanOhari. Finally, from jayamanOhari drop the niSAdam again from the avarOhaNam (that is, drop niSAdam from shrIra~njani altogether) and we end up in AbhOgi. The rAgAnubhava session in Chennai this week will discuss these three janya rAgams, accompanied by thematic concerts. While the intricate details and nuances will be handled by the experts in the Chennai session, here we present a straightforward rasika's point of view of these beautiful janyams of kharaharapriya.
Here is the simple equation:
1. kharaharapriya "minus"
pa~ncamam = shrIra~njani
All these are very popular rAgams. Saint tyAgarAja excelled in shrIra~njani with some beautiful compositions, and gOpAlak.rSNa bhArati in AbhOgi. Among the trinity, shyAma shAstri never composed k.rtis in any of these three rAgams. tyAgarAja has composed in all three. dIkSitar composed five k.rtis in shrIra~njani, and just one in AbhOgi, but did not compose any songs in jayamanOhari. In fact, subbarAma dIkSitar's sangIta sampradAya pradarshini gives shrIra~njani, but does not mention the other two janyams under the asampUrNa mELam shrI. svAti tirunAL mahArAja seems to have composed only in shrIra~njani (though two of his compositions in junjhUThi are erroneously placed under jayamanOhari).
In what follows below, the svarams
mentioned are all kharaharapriya-owned svarams - catushruti .rSabham,
sAdhAraNa gAndhAram, shuddha madhyamam, catushruti dhaivatam, and kaishiki
janaka mELam - 22 - kharaharapriya
shrIra~njani is an important janyam of
kharaharapriya. It is simply kharaharapriya "minus" pa~ncamam.
This is why there is a lot of similarity between the two ragas.
shrIra~njani is often confused with AbhOgi, which is after all
shrIra~njani "minus" niSAdam. It is a SADava - SADava (6 - 6)
upA~nga rAgam with symmetrical tetra chords. It is a gamaka pradhAna rakti
rAgam, in which the rAga chhAya svarams are ri, ga, dha and ma. The nyAsa
svaram is ma. A tristhAyI rAgam suited for detailed AlApana. This is
usually sung in the beginning segment of a concert. It is also basically a
madhyama kAla rAgam (rendered in a medium tempo). A rAgam suitable for
singing at all times (sarvakAlika rAgam), in which the pratyAhata gamakam
From the very name of this rAgam, it is believed that shrIra~njani is supposed to please (ra~njayati) Goddess lakSmi (shrI). venkaTamakhin places shrIra~njani as janyam no. 1 (bhASAN^gam) under the asampUrNa rAgAN^gam shrI, and gives the following definition:
shrIra~njanI SaDavI ca Pa varjA sArvakAlikA | (caturdaNDi prakAshika)
sangIta sampradAya pradarshini gives several examples of shrIra~njani: a lakSya gItam by venkatamakhin, two k.rtis of muttusvAmi dIkSitar ("shrI duM durge", "nI sATi daivamu"), a cauka kAla varNam, "sAmI ninne" by rAmasvAmi dIkSitar, a kIrtanam, "rAma dayajUDa" by k.rSnasvAmi ayyA, a Tamil padam "coLLakkEL" by mukkupulavar, and a sancAri by subbarAma dIkSitar himself. Among the numerous ra~njani-suffixed cluster of rAgams, shrIra~njani has more number of popular compositions.
tyAgarAja has made shrIra~njani very popular with his marvellous compositions: the popular "sogasugA m.rdaN^ga tALamu" (popularized by M. S. subbulakSmi in one of her LPs), "mArubalka" & "brOcEvArevarE" (favourites of semmanguDi shrInivAsa ayyar) and the rare, yet pleasing "bhuvinidAsuDane" (a favourite of rAmnAD k.rSnan). muttusvAmi dIkSitar's "nI sATi daivamu" and "shrI duM durge" were both popularized by the D. K. paTTammAL/jayarAman school. dIkSitar has introduced the rAga mudra for shrIra~njani explicitly in two of his compositions "parvatarAjakumAri" and "shrI duM durge". It should be noted that of the only two Telugu compositions of dIkSitar that are available, one is in shrIra~njani!
Compositions in shrIra~njani usually commence in ma (mArubalka), ni (sogasugA m.rdaN^ga), sa (shrIrAmacandro), or ri (mari nannu). Pallavi expositions in shrIra~njani are rare. But it forms part of a ra~njani-suffixed cluster of rAgams. S. kalyANarAman's "ra~njani bhaktamanOra~njani rasikajanara~njani nI varamaruLvAy shrIra~njani" is a superb pallavi that features four of the ra~njani-suffixed rAgams, including shrIra~njani. He sang it at the k.rSNa gAna sabha and mesmerized the audience. The violin accompaniment was by none other that the maestro, M. S. gOpAlak.rSNan, and it was a sheer delight to listen to these stalwarts doing rAga elaboration, tAnam, and kalpanA svara exercises in all these four ra~njanis.
The famous "ra~njana mAlA" rAgamAlikA composition by tanjAvUr shankara ayyar, starting with the phrases "ra~njani m.rdupaN^kajalOcani", is set to ra~njani, shrIra~njani, janara~njani and mEghara~njani with beautiful ciTTa svarams, built into the text. This composition is popularized by the D. K. paTTammAL/jayarAman school and is frequently heard in concerts these days, often rendered by their disciples.
Popular Compositions in shrIra~njani
svAmi nI (pada varNam) - pApanAsham shivan
uLLam aRiyada (Adi) - kOTIshvara ayyar
Questions or comments? Send