RARE RAGA SERIES: KALYANA VASANTHAM – JANYA OF MELA (21) RAGAM KEERAVANI

A raga, the name of which is too popular, also some compositions are frequently heard in concerts and known – this is a point of controversy whether the raga can be considered Rare or not. There is still doubt about such ragas, about in which category they are to be accommodated. Here is one such; it is “Kalyana vasantham”. Most of us know this raga, also some compositions like ‘nAdaloludai’ or ‘innudaya bArade’ are much popular in concert arena. On first hearing the name, one may get confused as to whether it is a combination of Kalyani and Vasantha like Mohana kalyani; but unlike the latter, Kalyana vasantham has no relation to the said ragas. It is considered to be a janya of mela (21) ragam Keeravani; oudava sampoorna in nature, losing R2 and P in the arohanam only, so that the ragaswaroopa can be written as:

S G2 M1 D1 N3 S // S N3 D1 P M1 G2 R2 S

(it is seen that some sites use N2 instead of N3, by which it becomes janya of NaTabhairavi, which is incorrect)

The word Kalyana means marriage/mangalam, and Vasantham means spring/happiness.This ragam is a unique, majestic and enchanting one that gives such an abundant joy to the music lovers. If you listen to this raga in a calm environment, the ecstasy that you get cannot be expressed in words ; such an enchanting raga. It also evokes a strong feeling of Bhakthi with a tinge of sadness. It is believed that though the ragam is having the prefix “ Kalyana “, it should not be sung/played in auspicious occasions like marriages.

Ragapravaham places it under both Keeravani and Kharaharapriya melas, thereby changing the nature of Dhaivatham from D1 to D2; as also N3 to N2.

under mela (21) Keeravani:

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

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

Under mela (22) Kharaharapriya:

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

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

The story of this raga and it's identity reveals that it had quite a few split personalities, including one where a chathushruti dhaivatam (D2) had crept into it. One version of Kalyana vasantham used to go like S G2 R2 G2 M1 D1 N3 S - S N3 D1 P M1 G2 R2 S. There are so many versions of Kalyana vasantham found, this raga has at least 6 different variations. These are all signs of a raga that had at least two forms before one got discarded and the other transformed into what it is today (it is said that the discovery of some old manuscripts and an investigation into how D2 crept into this raga by Sri. Lalgudi Jayaraman and other musicians was how this raga acquired it's present shape). A dark, deep, tragic, nostalgic and absorbing raga that makes the heart weep with melancholy -- those are the words that would be thrown about to describe the Kalyana vasantham as it is popular today, with the efforts of Sri. Lalgudi Jayaraman in researching into it and settling it into this form of Kharaharapriya janya.

Kalyanavasantham was considered as a janya of mela 23, Gowrimanohari (version of Sri Tadepalli Lokanatha Sharma is close to this). The "controversy" is indeed over the the usage of Dhaivatam. Kalyanavasantham as we know it uses D1, making it Keeravani janyam and has some character and emotive appeal. Change the Dhaivatam to D2 and it becomes Gowrimanohari janyam and has neither character nor appeal. It is a very odd sounding raga.

Compositions:

Damodara mamava - Madurai G.S.Mani

Enda mukham - Ambujam Krishna

Ganamalinci - Dr. M.Balamuraleekrishna

Inru varuvano - Rajee Krishnan

Kanden kan kolla - Kovai Subri

Kanulu taakani - Thyagaraja

Nadaloludai - Thyagaraja

Makula shree ramana - K. Ramaraj

Murugap-peruman tirunamam - Kovai Subri

Ragi thandeero - Purandaradasar

ShrI Venkatesham - Ambi Dikshitar

Unmai arindavar - Subramanya Bharatiyar

Deva Jagannatha - Gopalakrishna Bharathi

Innudaya barathe - Purandaradasar

Sridhara keshava - Nadopasana Srinivasan

Kamakotipeeta guru - ?

Annalin anai endi (varnam) - ?

Neerajaksha ninne nammi(V) - Mysore R.N.Seetha

Chandrasekharam kripakaram(V) - S.S.Paramasivam Pillai

Vinayaka sharanam(V) - T.M.Thyagarajan

Unlike the previous episodes, today we are going to discuss on a rare composition, “KAmakotipeeta guru” on Maha Periyava, the Paramacharya of Kanchi. This is a very short krithi, with lyrics:

“Kamakoti Peeta Guru, Kanchi Nivasa Guru

Kaamamoha thaapa shamana, karuna vilaasa guru

Adi shankaracharya avatara loka guru, kamakshi paada pankaja puja ananthaguru.

Advaitha boda guru , aathma vichaara guru.

Vidvarjana Poshaka shri, parama guru jagadguru"

(This seems to be probably composed by Maharajapuram Santhanam or Nagarajan; if any of the rasikas know, please confirm).

Here is the very divine, blissful rendition of the above composition, by Maharjapuram Sri. Nagarajan.


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