One of the rarest of the rare raga; existing, like many others, only because of the Thyagaraja krithi, “Samukhana nilva”. This raga seems to be a creation or introduction into carnatic by the Saint, as no references are found regarding its origin. There seems to be references regarding two types of ‘Kokila varali’, but the one which is a janya of mela (28) raga Harikambhoji is the only in use. The suffix, ‘Varali’ does not have any relation to Varali raga of its janaka ragam Jhala varali; just like the other popular varalis, like Shubha panthuvarali, Vasantha varali, Kunthala varali, Prathapa varali etc. This is a pleasing raga because of the oudava arohanam, similar to Arabhi, Devagandhari Sama etc; the avarohanam is vakra-sampoorna, with M1 and G3 appearing additional in vakra. The ragaswaroopa as interpreted by Sri. Nadamuni Pandithar can be shown as:
S R2 M1 P D2 S // S N2 D2 M1 P M1 G3 R2 G3 S
Nadamuni Panditar also named a Kokilavarali under Mela (20) NaTabhairavi, as SGRGMPDNDS // SDNDPMRGRS. Another scale is by T.A.Sambandamurti Acharya under Mela (20) with the notes SGRGMPDNDS - SNDNPMRGRS.
Smt. D.Pattammal puts this raga under two ragas, mela 20 and 28, in her book, Ragapravaham. Under Mela (20) NaTabhairavi, she gives two specifications as:
S R G R M P D N D S // S D N D P M R G R S
S R G R M P D N D S // S N D N P M R G R S
Also, she gives a specification under Mela (28) Harikambhoji, which is same as the one in use:
S R M P D S // S N D M P M G R G S
We shall take up the lone composition in this raga, “Samukhana nilva” by Saint Thyagaraja. In this krithi, the composer praises the greatness of his Lord, Sri Rama.
“O Lotus Faced! O Lord praised by this tyAgarAja!
Is it attainable to stand in Your august presence?
Excepting for great personages like sItA and lakshmaNa who are endowed with forbearance, is it attainable for others to stand in Your august presence?
It is said that, as brahmA, celestials, Lords of directions and others, could not happen to behold You in the Ocean of Milk, their jobs could be accomplished only when they, assembling together, entreated You”.
Let us now listen to a very detailed alapana followed by a bhava-laden rendition of the krithi, from the great musician of 20th century, Sri. Musiri Subramania Iyer, who was responsible for the Thyagaraja Aradhana to be begun at Tiruvaiyaru.