EKA-KRITHI RAGAS: KARNATAKA BEHAG – JANYA OF MELA (28) RAGAM HARIKAMBHOJI

Due to the similarity in name, this is remembered with the Hindustani origin ragam Behag. There are just very few compositions available in this raga, but none seems to be heard in concerts; except the Thyagaraja krithi – this raga also is surviving because of the same. Except for the D2 and N2 appearing additionally in vakra in avarohanam, there is no other difference between the janaka and janya ragas. The ragaswaroopa is :

S R2 G3 M1 P D2 N2 S // S N2 D2 N2 P D2 M1 G3 R2 S

Since there are no earlier reference available including SSP, it can be inferred that the raga must be of a creation by Saint Thyagaraja only.

Ragapravaham by D.Pattammal gives two slightly different specifications; but again under same mela ragam, Harikambhoji.

S R G M P D N S // S N D N P M G R G S

S R G M P D N S // S N D N P M G R S

Compositions:

Nenendu vetukudura - Thyagaraja

Bhakthavatsala - Dr. Muthiah Bhagavathar

Harane innum - Papanasam Sivan

As the only composition heard mostly, we take the Thyagaraja krithi for discussion. In this composition, the Saint curses his own faults for the Lord not manifesting.

The context of the creation of this krithi is also interesting. Serfoji II, (Sharabhoja in Sanskrit), the scholar king of Tanjore, in whose domain Thiruvayyaru, Thyagaraja's hometown fell, is said to have invited him to perform at the palace and to be rewarded with much gold and other gifts, in the early 1800s. Performing at the palace meant performing at the king's pleasure and not purely in the worship of the Lord. It might also have meant panegyrizing a mortal, or "narastuti". Thyagaraja, predictably, refused the king's offer with this song. He composed “Nidhichala sukhama” (does wealth bring happiness?” in ragam Kalyani, after this. But the brother of Thyagaraja was greedy and became angry on this behavior of the Saint; took the Lord Rama’s idol, which the Saint was worshipping everyday, and threw it into river Kaveri. Sadguru is said to have composed “nenendu vetukudura” (where will I search for You?) after this incident

Meaning:

“O Lord hari! O Lord worshipped by this tyAgarAja!

Where will I search for You?

Where will I search for You who did not come heeding the appeal of even that brahmA?

Remaining here as - (a) an impure minded, (b) a person given to evil deeds, (c) often a foul-mouthed, and (d) a pretender as the foremost of devotees, where will I search for You?”


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