RARE RAGAS (EKA-KRITHI RAGAS) : RAGAPANJARAMU – JANYA OF MELA (28) RAGAM HARIKAMBHOJI

Ragapanjaramu (or Ragapanjaram) is one of the Rarest of the Rare ragas; only Saint Thyagaraja, from the Trinities, has composed in the raga, it seems the Saint has introduced this raga. This raga is Gandhara – varjam; loses Panchamam in avarohanam, also Dhaivatham appears in vakra in the arohanam only. The ragaswaroopa of this vakra-shadava oudava raga can be written as: S R2 M1 P D2 N2 D2 S // S N2 D2 M1 R2 S Since Gandharam is absent, this raga can also be obtained from mela (22) ragam Kharaharapriya; as per the rules, this raga should have been grouped under the same, but there may be factors deciding the other way. Ragapanjaramu is a very sweet raga, having very close resemblance to Ragam Andholika; please look at the notes: Ragapanjaram - S R2 M1 P D2 N2 D2 S // S N2 D2 M1 R2 S Andholika - S R2 M1 P N2 S // S N2 D2 M1 R2 S This similarity is found in the renditions also. Both ragas are grouped under mela (28), though obtainable from mela (22) ! There is also some similarity found between Ragapanjaram and Devamanohari also, due to the similarity in arohanam.

Ragapanjaramu is a raga created by Thyagaraja, or he got it from 'Swararnava', the great reference book given to him by sage Narada. (It is said that one day when Sri Thyagaraja was doing some puja in his house, a saint came by. Thyagaraja wanted to give him a sumptuous lunch. The saint said he will leave his belongings at Thyagaraja’s house and go to the Cauvery to have a bath. The saint never returned in person but came that night in Thyagaraja’s dream as the sage Narada, instructing Thyagaraja to open the belongings left behind and use the rare manuscripts present inside. This was how Sri Thyagaraja came to possess important works like the Svararnava. The Svararnava is said to have vanished after Thyagaraja attained moksha). There are 82-83 ragas, which the Saint has given us. There is no evidence of existence of these before Sri Thyagaraja’s times. Either he created them or he got a clue about them from Swararnava or raga lexicons like Vyasakatakam or Hanumathkatakam. These were called 'Vinta ragas' by him. Vinta ragas are janya ragas. Thyagaraja himself gives the name “vinta rAgAs” to these rAgAs in his songs “mitri bhAgyamE” in kharaharapriyA and “muccaTa brahmAdulaku” in madhyamAvati. He says “vinta rAgamulanAlApamu sEyaga mEnu pulakarincaga” and “bhAgavatulu hari nAma kIrtanamu bAguga susvaramulatO vinta rAgamulanu AlApamu cEyu“. He doesn’t even ask us to sing his songs in vinta rAgAs but to just do Alapana in these. Even if we have the scale of a raga, it is not easy to compose songs that will stay on for generations. Sri Thyagaraja’s greatness lies in composing songs in all these ragas and making them immortal. He gives the special sanchram of a raga in the opening lines of many of the songs. Ragapanjaramu compositions also are no exceptions (please check the notations).

Ragapravaham shows several structures under mela (28) as: S R M P D N D S // S N D M R S S R M P D S // S N D M G R S S R M P D N D S // S N D M G R S S R M P N D S // S N D M R S While SSP gives no reference to the same at all.

Compositions: SArvabhowma sAkETa - T Varada navanIta - T Anjana varnanin ambuja padamalar(tv) - Ambujam Krishna

We shall consider the composition, “varada navaneetha” (in some versions, it is seen as ‘navaneethaasha’) for discussion. Around the year 1780 , Sri Upanishad Brahmendra, then living at Tanjavuru, was known by his Sanyasa-ashrama name Ramachandrendra Sarasvathi. The influence of Sri Upanishad Brahman on Thyagaraja was very significant. Sri Rama was the Ishta-devata of the Swamin. He inspired in the boy-Thyagaraja the intense fervour of devotion to Sri Rama. In 1839, Saint Thyagaraja, with his twenty disciples, departed to Srirangam. After worshipping Lord Sri Raganatha at Sri Rangam, the party reached Kanchipuram when the Dolothsavam of the Lord Varadaraja Swami was in progress; this was mainly due to his father’s (Ramabrahmam) wishes to meet Upanishad Brahman. A srimukam from the noble Sanyasi and Rama Bhakta, Upanishad Brahmam took Thyagaraja to Kanchipuram; since it was the utsava time of Varadharaja perumal, he had to stay there for some days.and he visited Kanchi Kamaskshi too. He has composed two krithis on Varadaraja and one on Kamakshi – “varada navaneetha” in Ragapanjaramu; “Varadaraja ninnu kori” in Sarvabhushani and “Vinayakuni valenu” in Madhyamavathi (this is on Kamakshi.)

Meaning: “O Bestower of boons! O Lord who is fond of fresh butter! O Excellent Lord who destroyed the arrogance of the demons! O Lord who resembles rain-cloud! O Lord who wields arrows in His hands! O Wind that blows away clouds called demons! O Father of Cupid! O Lord bereft of desires! O Lord who has a wonderful gait like that of an elephant! O Lord praised by Lord Siva! O Lord wearing lustrous ornaments! O Lord who is best in protecting celestials! O Lord who has garuDa as carrier which moves fast! O Lord who has conquered (the minds of) the blessed eminent devotees by his splendour! O Bestower of boons to this tyAgarAja! Please protect me; please come near”.


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