RARE RAGA SERIES : ESA MANOHARI – JANYA OF MELA (28) RAGAM HARIKAMBHOJI

Esa manohari (also referred as Isa manohari) is a very rare raga; there are few compositions available in this raga, but the main contributors are two of the Trinities, Thayagaraja and Dikshithar. After their period, few other composers also used this raga; but still not heard much anywhere. The ragaswaroopa can be seen as:

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

It can be seen that the raga contains all notes of the janaka raga; only that an additional M1 and R2 appear in vakra in the avarohanam only. So, when it is sung, it gives taste of the janaka raga and some other janyas like Kambhoji.

Sangeetha Sampradaya Pradarshini (SSP) describes this raga as:

"sadjagraha ca sampurna bhavedisamanohari"

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

It is a Bhashanga, sampoorna raga; in some places, there is usage of 'kakali nishada'(N3), suitable for singing all times.

Ragapravaham by D.Pattammal also places it under mela (28) with the conventional notes as:

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

but also gives three other specs under the same mela as:

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

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

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

Many other alternate scales are found:

S R2 G3 M1 P N2 D2 N2 S - S N2 D2 P M1 G3 M1 R2 G3 R2 S

S R2 G3 M1 P M1 P D2 N2 S - S N2 P M1 G3 M1 R2 S

S R2 G3 M1 P N2 D2 N2 S - S N2 D2 P M1 R2 M1 G3 R2 S

S R2 G3 M1 P D2 N2 S - S N2 D2 P M1 R2 M1 G3 S

(The raga is very close to Khamas, but uses vakra sancharas in the avarohanam).

There is a difference in the treatment of this raga, by Thyagaraja and Dikshitar. This raga was mentioned for the first time in King Tuleja's Sangita Saramrita. Tuleja had put it as the janya of Kambhoji, a sampurna raga with no Bhashanga, an evening raga. Dikshitar made a compromise and put it as a Bhashanga raga, janya of Hari Kedaragaula with bhashanga swara Kakali Nishadam used in certain phrases. Thyagaraja however, retained it as a pure janya of Harikambhoji, devoid of Kakali prayogams, as a sampurna vakra sampurna ragam.

DIKSHITAR'S TREAMENT

Arohanam - S R2 G3 M1 P D2 N2 S; Avarohanam - S N2 D2 P M1 G3 R2 S; Janya of 28th Mela - Hari Kedara Gaula; Bhashanga swara Kakali Ni (N3) comes in the phrase 'SN3S' and 'RNS'; Bhashanga, sampurna raga sung at all times; No Vakra prayoga in arohana or avarohana.

There are 2 versions - one that uses Kakali N3 (in addition to Kaisiki - N2). This is the one used by Dikshitar and if if Prof SRJ is interpreted correctly, this is similar to the one in Tuleja's work which assigns it to Sankarabharanam. Mudduvenkatamakhi assigns it to 28th Mela as well, just calling it sampoorna without any further explanation about N3 usage. But he lists it among the Bhashanga janyas of Harikedaragoula.

THYAGARAJA'S TREATMENT:

Sangraha Chudamani (Govindacharya), Sangita Sara Sangrahamu, Sangita Svara Prasthara Sagaramu, Gana Bhaskaram, give it as janya of 28th mela, Harikambhoji.

Arohanam - S R2 G3 M1 P D2 N2 S; Avarohanam - S N2 D2 P M1 R2 M1 G3 R2 S; No Bhashanga swara Kakali Nishadam (N3); sampurna vakra sampurna raga (Sangita Chudamani). Thyagaraja's version does not use N3 - and Prof SRJ says it is based on Sangraha Chudamani which would have assigned it to Harikambhoji.

Compositions:

Ananta Balakrishnam ava - Dikshithar

Jagadeesha manohari – Dikshitar

Sree Gananatham – Dikshithar

Manasa sree Ramachandruni - Thyagaraja

Sree Janaki manohara - Thyagaraja

Himagirisha manonmaNi – Dr.Muthiah Bhagavathar

Shambho gangadhara - GK Bharathi

Meyyidu Meyyadi - Vedanayakam Pillai

Abhayam Nee - Vedanayakam Pillai

(Though Sri. Dikshithar has written three krithis, except ‘jagadeesa manohari’, the other two do not have the raga-mudra).

We come to the discussion stage; we shall take up the Thyagaraja krithi, “manasA sri Ramachandruni” for the purpose. In this krithi, the Saint asks his mind to read Valmiki Ramayana to understand the true nature of Lord Sree Rama.

Meaning:

“O My Mind!

Don’t forget the Lord SrI rAma candra - praised by this tyAgarAja;

don’t be deceived.

Take note of the third and sixth kANDas of rAmAyaNa - earlier composed by the sage vAlmIki.

He has allocated the tasks of projection, sustenance and in-folding to the Trinity considering these (tasks) to be inferior (to His status);

He remains satisfied with bestowing wishes to true devotees”.


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