RARE RAGA SERIES : KAMALA MANOHARI – JANYA OF MELA (27) RAGAM SARASANGI

We are coming to a raga under various disputes, Kamala Manohari. Before going into the details, let us see the Ragaswaroopam. S G3 M1 P N3 S // S N3 D1 P M1 G3 S (It can be seen that since there is no Rishabham in the notes, this raga can be obtained from mela (15) raga Mayamalavagoula, or (33) Gangeyabhushani). Subburama Dikshithar in SSP shows it as a janya of mela (33) Gangatharangini (asampoorna mela, equivalent to Gangeyabhushani ragam) and gives the specification same as above. Ragapravaham by D.Pattammal, however puts this raga under mela (14) Vakulabharanam, as: S G3 M1 P N2 S // S N2 D1 P M1 G3 S (contains kaishiki Nishadam); same time, putting it under mela (27) Sarasangi with N3. Ragapravam also puts some specifications, mixing up both Kamala Manohari and Manohari ragas, under the title, Manohari: S G R G M P D S // S D P M G R S (mela -22) S G R G M P D S // S N D M G R G S (mela -22) S G R G M P D S // D D P M G R G (mela -22) S R G M P D S // S D P M G R S (mela -22) S G R G M P D S // S D P M G R S (mela -22) S G M P D N S // S N D P M G S (mela -28) S G M P N S // S N D P M G S (mela -33) Now, we shall discuss disputed part of this raga. 1. We have to consider three ragas, Kamala manohari, Manoharam and Manohari (Thyagaraja). Sri. Dikshithar has written ‘Kanjadalayathakshi’ in the first and ‘Shankaram Abhirami’ in the second; while Thyagaraja composed ‘Parithapamu’ in the third ragas. In the Thyagaraja krithi, it is the Kharaharapriya scale used; also the composition was written on the last day of his life. Hence the Dikshithar compositions are much older; the question arises – why he should have used ‘Kamala manohari’ and ‘Manoharam’ as raga-mudras? Is there any difference in these two ragas, or he has used it just like Devagandharam (known later as Karnataka Devagandhari)? It has to be remembered that Sr. Dikshithar has at several places indicated the raga name from the other school when possible (eg: hari yuvatIM haimavatIM) - So he may have intentionally introduced the word “kamala” in kanjadaLAyatAkShi. Again, does it mean that in “SankaraM abhirAmI manOharaM”, did Dikshithar follow the same raga as followed by Thyagaraja ? This composition of MD is on Lord Amritaghateswarar of Tirukkadavur; a description about this shrine says: “Muthuswamy Dikshitar's kriti ‘Sankaram Abhirami Manoharam’ in Kamalamanohari praises this shrine”. So, does it mean that Dikshithar composed this krithi in Manohari, which was later interpreted as Kamalamanohari; or the raga mudra is “Manoharam”, as he used Devagandharam in place of Karnataka Devagandhari (cf: pancASatpITha rUpiNi) is still not solved undoubtedly. While discussing on ragam Manohari, I was thinking of combining both these ragas; but later it was found difficult, so that a separate article became necessary. 2. There is another question arising now. Sri. Dikshithar has used similar other words along with the indicative ragamudras in some krithis; does it mean that the word ‘kamala’ is only one such and the raga is ‘manohari’ itself? SSP by Subburama Dikshithar gives notations for both the compositions (Kanjadalayathakshi and Shankaram Abhirami) under raga ‘Manohari’ only; which again is a janya of mela (33) Gangatharangini (shown already). (Please listen to the renditions of the first by MSS and second by Padma Sugavanam; these will confirm the same). So, we have come to a point where we have to drop ‘kamala’ and stick to ‘Manohari’ only; but please bear in mind this has no relation to the ‘Manohari’ raga of the Thyagaraja school. Accordingly, it has to be assumed that, to avoid this confusion, the word ‘kamala’ was retained with the raga name to differentiate the Dikshithar and Thyagaraja schools (as done in the case of Suddha Saveri and Karnataka Suddha Saveri).

Compositions: (Kamala manohari is a raga in which a large number of (10) varnams have been composed). KanjadalayatakShi - Dikshitar Shankaram abhirami - Dikshithar Nee muddu mOmu - Thyagaraja Kudi vazhuvOm - Suddhananda Bharati Narasimhudu - Mysore Sadaashiva Rao Gajananam bhaje - Tulaseevanam Sree shaila - Dr. Muthiah Bhagavathar Ulladu paramporule - Suddhananda Bharati Vidavanura navyatalu - Walajapet Venkatramana Bhaagavatar Sree Ramachandra(tv) - Walajapet Venkatramana Bhaagavathar Arul tara viraindu varuvai muruga (tv) - V.S.Gomatishankara Iyer Garima ninne kori chala marulu (tv) - Kottavasal Venkatrama Iyer Kamala manohari anbin taye kattarul (tv) - K.Muttukumarasvami Varaghoor Nivanti samini nenendu ganara nenarunchinanu (tv) - Chinniah Ozhukka udaimai kudimai izhukkum (tv) - Tiruvalluvar (VSG) Sami niveyani (pv) - Vadivelu Samikku sari (tv) - Pattamadai Krishna Iyer Svamiki sari evvare kamitartha phalam (tv) - Pattamadai Krishna Iyer Vara vina pustaka dharini (tv) - Namakkal Narasimha Iyengar Vara vina pustaka dharini (tv) - Rasipuram Venkatapati

We take the most popular krithi of Sri. Dikshithar – ‘Kanjadalayathakshi’. This composition is on Goddess Kamakshi Amman of Kanchipuram and is in the eighth vibhakthi (sambodhana prathama). Goddess Lalitha Tripurasundari resides in Kanchi as Kamakshi; the word is derived from the heritage “Ka” means Goddess Saraswati (God of Education), “Ma” means Goddess Lakshmi (God of Wealth), “Akshi” means Eye. The name as a whole refers as the Goddess lives in Kanchi with Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi as her both eyes. As usual, Dikshithar has decorated the charanam part with prasams, giving beauty par excellence; same time the lines perfectly meaningful.

We shall now listen to none other than the legendary, Bharat Ratna M.S.Subbulakshmi Amma, for, this was a masterpiece of the great singer :


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