EKA-KRITHI RAGAS: POORNA LALITHA – JANYA OF MELA (19) RAGAM JHANKARADHWANI

One of the rarest of the rare ragas, Poornalalitha originates from a rare mela ragam, Jhankaradhwani, which by itself is surviving because of a couple of very rarely heard compositions. Poornalalitha survives because of the only composition of Saint Thyagaraja on Lord Anjaneya, “Kaluguna pada neeraja”. It is probable that the Saint would have created this raga, or introduced the same to carnatic music; still he did not compose more than one. This is a vakra-oudava, sampoorna ragam, as can be seen from the configuration:

S G2 R2 M1 P S // S N1 D1 P M1 G2 R2 S

Various other scales have been found for this rare raga; Ragapravaham by D.Pattammal places it under same mela (19) Jhankaradhwani as:

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

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

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

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

S G R M P S // S N D P M G R S (same as the currently used one)

She also puts it under mela (41) ragam Pavani:

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

Some other scales which are found relating to this raga are:

S R1 G3 M1 P D1 S // S D1 P M1 G3 R1 S (mela 15), S G R G R M P S // S N D P M G R S,

S R G R M P S // S N D P M G R S (mela 19), S R1 M2 G1 R1 M2 P N3 D2 N3 S // S N3 D2 P M2 G1 R1 S (mela 41)

Compositions:

Kaluguna pada neeraja – Thyagaraja

Being the only known composition, we shall discuss on the Thyagaraja krithi. In this krithi, Saint Thyagaraja praises Anjaneya for his blessedness of serving Sree Rama and yearns for similar privilege. The meaning:

“O AnjanEya! You are the foremost of the devotees; You have the privilege of experiencing the Supreme Bliss by always beholding the Lord SrI rAma - the Consort of lakshmI, the King of ayOdhyA, the prop of everything and the Lord praised by this tyAgarAja!

At pre-dawn hours, the Lord takes bath of nectar holding Your hands; having offered the sacred foods to Lord ranganAtha, He partakes food laid by the hands of sItA; and then, He commands You to read out the holy scriptures.

Will it be possible for me too to have the privilege of beholding the Lord SrI rAma manifestedly and perform such a service at His Lotus Feet?”

Bhakthi can be of nine types, known as ‘Nava vidha bhakthi. In ‘BhAgavatham, this is described by the sloka:

“Sravanam keerthanam vishnoho Smaranam Paadasevanam

Archanam vandanam Dasyam Sakyam Atma Nivedanam”

The Thyagaraja krithi falls in the seventh type, Dasyam. Hanuman’s service to Rama is portrayed in the kritis ‘Pahirama dootha’ (Vasantha Varali) and ‘Kalu guna pada neeraja (Poorna Lalitha). Thyagaraja also yearns to join this company of Rama’s servants in the kritis ‘Thava dasoham’ (Punnagavarali) and ‘Upacharamu’ (Bhairavi). Lakshmana, in whose form also the Lord incarnated exemplified the ideal of service as a servant, Kainkarya or Dasya, Thyagaraja while describing Rama mentions Lakshmana also often as attending upon him as his most accomplished servant who knows Rama’s inner intention and who at the mere glance of Rama would carry out his idea. This is specially referred to in the Kriti ‘Lekana juttukonnaru’ (Asaveri), wher the composer says: ‘Lakshmana delights in responding to the slightest gesture of your eyes and serving you accordingly, and The mere thought of your feet lifts Anjaneya to the empyrian heights of devine trance.

We shall now listen to the Thyagaraja krithi from our beloved members Ashok hari Bangalore Brothers, who have sung this very rarely heard composition superbly.


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