EKA-KRITHI RAGAS: JAYANTHASENA – JANYA OF MELA (22) RAGAM KHARAHARAPRIYA

A beautiful janya of Kharaharapriya mela, ragam Jayanthasena is not much heard in concerts. Also, though there are few compositions available, the raga survives because of the sole krithi of Saint Thyagaraja (thereby retaining the Eka-krithi status). Why it is so is not known; but anybody listening to the Saints composition can understand and feel the beauty of the raga. Melodious, evoking feel of divinity to some extent; still, it is based on rhythm than melody. It is an oudava shadava ragam, without R2; also losing N2 in arohanam only. The ragaswaroopam can be found as:

S G2 M1 P D2 S // S N2 D2 P M1 G2 S

Of the Trinities only Saint Thyagaraja has composed in this raga; also none of the composers before him also. So, it is presumed that it is Sadguru’s own creation. This also is included in the ‘vinta ragas of Thyagaraja’ - even if we have the scale of the raga, it is not easy to compose songs that will stay on for generations. Thyagaraja’s greatness lies in composing songs in all these ragas and making them immortal; he gives the special sancharam of a raga in the opening lines of many of the songs.

(Another reference attributes the creation of the raga to Sri. Raghunatha Nayak of the Thanjavur Nayak dynasty. Most of us have heard the name of Kshetrayya ( also known as Kshetragna ), the famous composer of Padams which were popularised by the Brinda and Mukta sisters. He was the court musician in the Nayak dynasty and was the Asthana Vidwan in the court of Vijayaraghava Nayak. Thanks to his patronage, Kshetrayya flourished and composed the immortal padams. Nayak himself was a great scholar and he wrote a treatise on his father Raghunatha Nayak who is said to have invented this ragam, Jayanthasena).

Ragapravaham also confirms the same specification as above, but gives an additional specification also under the same Kharaharapriya mela:

S G M P D S - S N D P M G S

S G M D P M N S - S N D P M G S

Compositions:

Manamenum penne - Subramanya Bharathiyar

Pada darishanam sheyyum pode - Muthu thandavar

Pada sannidhi naku - Mysore Sadashiva Rao

Shree Rajagopala suthane - K. Ramaraj

Vinata suta vahana - Thyagaraja

nAdiranA (tillana) – T.K. Rangachari

“VINATHA SUTA VAHANA” (Vinatha suta = Garuda; addressing Lord Vishnu, whose vahana is Garuda). This points to the story of Kadru and Vinatha, daughters of Daksha, who were married to Kashyapa prajapathi; Kadru asked a boon to have 1000 sons – she gave birth to 1000 eggs, while Vinatha asked for only two – her wish also was granted and she gave birth to two eggs. All the eggs of Kadru hatched and the 1000 Nagas (serpents) came out, but even after 500 years, Vinatha’s eggs did not hatch. So she broke one; found that the embryo was only half grown boy. He (Aruna) came out and cursed his mother to be a slave of Kadru for having done the cruelty; but asked her to wait for 500 years more; the second son Garuda will release her from the curse. Aruna became the charioteer of Sun. When Garuda was born, he released his mother from the curse; also he became the vehicle (vahana ) of Lord Vishnu (more details can be had from the Epic Mahabharatha).

In the kriti “Vinata suta vahana” Saint Thyagaraja decribes those who harp on differences in religions and sects. This kriti has an element of humour (the composition mostly suits the current situation in most of the parts of the world; especially in India).

Meaning:

“Lord! Mounted on Garuda, son of Vinata, what a grand spectacle you present! Let me prostrate before you again and again to my heart’s content. What is life worth if one is not looking at you everyday? Is not your darshana the sole remedy for all the ills of the world ? Where is the need for that kind of worthless life which involves cruelty to others? What is the use of indulging in fruitless arguments with confirmed atheists and non-believers? Their company should be avoided scrupulously. Only association with the pious and righteous will lead to happiness. O Protector of Devas!”


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