EKA-KRITHI RAGAS: KUMUDAKRIYA – JANYA OF MELA (51) RAGAM KAMAVARDHANI

Kumudakriya ragam is heard in concerts through the only popular composition of Sri. Muthuswami Dikshithar, “ardha nArISvaraM ArAdhayAmi”, a composition on the man-woman manifestation (half man, half woman) of Lord Siva and Goddess Parvathi at Tiruchengode. This raga is a janya of mela (51) ragam Kamavardhani (Panthuvarali), with the following notes:

S R1 G3 M2 D1 S // S N3 D1 M2 G3 R1 S

Both Sangeetha Sampradaya Pradarshini by Subbarama Dikshithar and Ragapravaham by D.Pattammal, confirm the same structure as above. The raga seems to have been originated from Hindustani; the Hindustani raga 'din-ki-pooriya' resembles Kumudakriya.

The absence of Panchamam in both directions and Nishadam in arohanam gives a very special and unique flavour to the raga. The raga survives only because of the Dikshithar krithi, though there are a few compositions available in this raga.

Compositions:

Ardhanarishvaram - Muthuswami Dikshitar

Amudam shoriyum taye - Bangalore S.Mukund

Kumudapriye - Bangalore S.Mukund

Ennudan ni eppozhudum irunde - S.Vembu

Illai ena naniyulladin(tp) – Arunagirinathar

We shall discuss on the only popular krithi, by Dikshithar, ‘Ardhanareeswaram aradhayami’. This composition, as mentioned above, is on the temple at Tiruchengode; the presiding deity here is Ardhanareeswarar - an image of the man-woman manifestation of Shiva and Parvati enshrined in the sanctum, a bronze image constituting the processional image. Skanda occupies a position of importance in this ancient Shiva temple built on a hill; this is one of the several hill temples in the vicinity of Salem, the others being Kanjamalai, Kollimalai and Skandasramam. Tiruchengode is an ancient shrine, referred to by Illango Adigal in his epic work Silappadikaram of the Sangam period (early 1st millennium CE) as one of the abodes of Skanda (along with Tiruchendur). Tiruchengode has also been revered by the Tevaram hymns of Tirugnana Sambandar and is referred to as Kodimaada Chenkunroor.

Meaning of the composition, Ardhanareeswaram:

“I offer my prayers to Lord Ardhanarishvara incessantly. He is surrounded by a host of eminent sages, such as Atri, Bhrigu and Vasishta.

He has the glory of being exceptionally decorated during the time of Arddha Jama worship. He delights Ardhanarishvari. He is Shiva, offering refuge to his devotees.

He is adorned with the precious gem Nagendramani, and is mounted upon the sacred bull. He is worshipped by the prosperous Guruguha, and is extolled by the melody of Kumudakriya. He is praised by all the Agamas, and is proclaimed by all the Vedas.

He is venerated by Indra and others, and his form shines with the red hue”

The usage, ’kumuda kriyA rAga nutam’, shows the Raga-mudra. ‘nAga-indra maNi bhUshitaM’ in the charanam refers to Naga-ratnams which are jewels said to be found on the hood of cobras. Tiruchengodu is also called “Sarpagiri” (Hill of the snake), as Adisesha, the king of snakes, worshipped Lord Siva here.


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