EKA-KRITHI RAGAS : VASANTHA VARALI – JANYA OF MELA (20) RAGAM NATABHAIRAVI

A raga, handled only by Saint Thyagaraja; the only composition in the raga available also is his own – “Pahi Ramadootha jagatpraana kumara” on Lord Anjaneya. Prof. S.R.Janakiraman also lists this as an Eka-krithi raga. Though the name contains the two popular ragas, Vasantha and Varali, this raga has no similarity to any of these. Raga Vasanthavarali is said to be a janya raga of the 20th mela NaTabhairavi; with notes:

S R2 M1 P D1 S // S N2 D1 P G2 R2 S

Another type of VasanthavarAli is also said to exist which is a nishadantya type with the arohanam & avarohanam notes 'SRMPDN - NDPMGRSN' and this popular song of Saint Thyagaraja is said to be of the 'nishadantya' type Vasanthavarali.

Ragapravaham by D.Pattammal puts it under both mela (20) and (24).

Under mela (20) raga NaTabhairavi as:

S R M P D N - N D P G R S N

S R M P D N - D P G R S

Under mela (24) Varunapriya as:

S R M P D N - S N D P M G R S N

S R M P D N - S N D P G R S N

S G M P D N S - S N D M G S

Also, it is found that other specifications also exist, such as:

(1) S R2 M1 P D1 S | S N2 D1 P G2 R2 S (same as the conventional type)

(2) S R2 M1 P D3 N3 | N3 D3 P G2 R2 S N3

(3) S R2 M1 P D3 N3 | N3 D3 P M G1 R S N

Vasanthavarali was considered as a janya of NaTabhairavi in the early half of previous century; later changed to the janya of mela (46) ragam Shadvidhamarini. It was given as a janya of 20 in Sri. K.V.Srinivasa Iyengar book and as a janya of 46 in many others. Even as a janya of 20, it seems, there are 2 versions; one given in KVS's book and the other one given in the book Sri

Thyagaraja Keerthanaigal - Thillaisthana patham by Sri. Parthasarathy.

Again, the only composition, “Pahi Rama dootha” by Thyagaraja is sung in mela (46) Shadvidhamargini also.

As we have seen, the only composition being the Thyagaraja krithi, let us see the details about the same. In this composition, the Saint praises Lord Anjaneya. The meaning can be found as:

“O Messenger of SrI rAma!

O Son of vAyu!

O Messenger of SrI rAma -

who leaped across the ocean!

slayer of aksha kumAra – son of rAvaNa!

who dried up the ocean of terrible demons as did sage agastya!

resident at the root of pArijAta tree!

who moves about with the speed equivalent to wind!

subduer of the malefic planet(s) by his feet!

sanctifier of those who have fallen from righteous path!

most excellent among those masters of vEdas and SAstras!

the blemish-less minded!

Lotus Faced resembling (in colour) that of rising Sun!

who shines as if a crore Suns have risen together!

who holds in his hands the holy feet of SrI raghuvara!

the wind which drives away the cloud of impurities of this kali yuga!

replete with compassionate feeling towards devotees!

whose body is like the Mount mEru (in firmness or hue)!

besought by the great devotees of Lord!

bestower of boons to devotees!

praised by this tyAgarAja!

Deign to protect me ever”.

There is a sloka in Bhagavatha, about the nine forms of Bhakthi:

“Sravanam keerthanam vishnoho Smaranam Paadasevanam Archanam vandanam Dasyam Sakyam Atma Nivedanam”

Sadguru Thyagaraja, in his long and rich enjoyment of Rama Bhakthi exemplified all these forms. The sixth form Vandana or paying obeisance to the lord is illustrated by the kriti Vandanamu (Sahana) and Dandamu Pettedanura (Balahamsa). 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 the most accomplished servant of Rama 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 (Asaaveri). Similarly Hanuman’s service to Rama also portrayed in the kritis Pahirama (Vasantha Varaali) and Kalu gunaa pada neeraja (Poorna Lalitha). Thyagaraja also yearns to join this company of Rama’s servants in the kritis Thavada soham and Upachaaramu.


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