This is a raga, again, surviving because of the Thyagaraja krithi only, though there are few other compositions. It is normally represented as Gandhara-varja in arohanam of janaka ragam; the ragaswaroopa can be seen as:
S R2 M1 P D2 N2 S // S N2 D2 P M1 G3 R2 S
Ragapravaham gives three different specifications under Harikambhoji mela:
S R M P D N S // S N D P M G R S (same as above)
S R M P N S // S N D P M G M R S
S R M P N S // S N S D P M G R S
If we compare some allied ragas, like Kedara goula, Surutti and Narayana goula with Kapi narayani;
Kedaragoula : S R2 M1 P N2 S - S N2 D2 P M1 G3 R2 S
Surutti : S R2 M1 P N2 S - S N2 D2 P M1 G3 R2 S (Nominal)
Narayanagoula: S R M P N D N S - S N D P M G R G R S
Kapi narayani : S R M P D N S - S N D P M G R G R S (Nominal)
While the first two have considerable music history backing them, the last raga Kapi Narayani is an eka kriti raga the creation of which is attributed to Thyagaraja. Given the common swaras and murcchanas which form the single body for these ragas/melodies, one needs to get down to the musical analysis using the notes and the motifs and jiva, nyasa and graha svaras on one hand and the practical musical exposition of the ragas on the other. Please compare the specifications of the ragas as given above and see how the closest raga Narayana goula differs from Kapi narayani. Narayanagaula has a vakra uttaranga PNDNS while Kapi Narayani has a lineal PDNS as its uttaranga. It is not sure whether Narayangaula gave Thyagaraja the inspiration to sculpt this noveau raga Kapinarayani, a raga without a textual history.
Arere jayajaya parashurama - (lng) - Govindacharya
Chintalanniyu- -Sriramachandra Murti Sistla
Daya sara maha sara dainyam hara-Adi-C.S.Shivaramakrishna Bhagavatar
Dhim tana dhim tanana dhim (t)-Adi-Vinai Shesha Iyer
Emira rama-Adi-Bhadrachalam Ramdas
Jagadisha brova-Adi-Tiruvettiyur Tyagayya
Kapi narayana- -Bangalore S.Mukund
Maruni nagari danda ma yillerugava-Triputa-Annamacharya
Parabrahmmamu raghukula tilaka ni pada-Adi-Patnam Subramania Iyer
Sarasa sama dana bheda danda chatura sati deva-Adi-Tyagaraja
Satya pramanamuga bhuta gramendriyadulu- -Sriramachandra Murti Sistla
Satyam jnanam- -Sriramachandra Murti Sistla
Shri hari tarakanama- -Sriramachandra Murti Sistla
Tillai chidambarame-Adi-Marimutta Pillai
Tillana (dhim tana dhim tanana dhim)-Adi-Vinai Shesha Iyer
We now come to the discussion part of the Thyagaraja krithi.
In the krithi, ‘sarasa sAma dAna’, Sadguru Thyagaraja extols the Lord about the way He dealt with Ravana.
“O Elegant Lord who is adept in the four-fold actions (of rAja dharma) - conciliation, gift or bribe, creation of dissension and punishment! O Lord praised by this tyAgarAja!
Which God is equal to You?
Deign to protect me.
But, rAvaNa, being the eminent devotee of the great Lord Siva, failed to understand Your words! You conveyed well a lot of beneficial words; You said that ‘I shall offer even ayOdhyA for ever’; when he (rAvaNa) did not mend his ways even after anointing vibhIshaNa – his brother who supplicated before You – as King of lankA, You ultimately slayed him”.
In this raga, Kapi Narayani , Thyagaraja’s sole exemplar kriti ‘Sarasa samadana’ has been made his own by the great vocalist Ganakaladhara Madurai Mani Iyer. It is said that MMI was responsible to the popularity of the song 'Sarasa sama dana'. His inimitable rendering of the composition, his copious manodharma in his execution of the neraval and sarvalaghu swarakalpana littered with janta prayogas on the charana line, ‘hitavumAta’ gives goose bumps, toa listener even to this date, decades after his passing away. In his recording which is available in the public domain, Mani Iyer uses the dhaivatha note as a graha and nyasa note for his imaginative swaraprastara.