“Suddha Saveri” is the name usually referred to the moderately popular janya of Sankarabharanam (it can be derived from Kharaharapriya, Gourimanohari or Harikambhoji also). This raga is referred as “Devakriya” in the Dikshithar sytem. Now, what we are going to discuss is the Suddha Saveri in the Dikshithar system, also came to be known as Karnataka Suddha Saveri.
Suddha Saveri in the Dikshithar system is an oudava (pentatonic) raga, created from the mela (1) Kanakangi raga. The notes, therefore are “SR1M1PD1S // SD1PM1R1S”. It can be seen that all the notes are Suddha (basic) notes only. This raga is not much seen in any stage, except the famous dikshithar krithi, “Ekamresha nayike”. The other known compositions are ‘Akhilandeswaro rakshathu’ (Dikshithar) and ‘marandidamale irundu’ by Kovai Subri. The Durga Pancharatnam by Paramacharya Sri. Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi swamikal has been sung in this raga by Bharat Ratna M.S.Subbulakshmi. Even the Geetham ‘Analekara’, which is now sung in suddha saveri, seems to have been originally sung in karnataka suddha saveri. While Dikshithar composed krithis in the janya of Kanakangi, Thyagaraja and other composers used the Sankarabharanam janya. So, in a later stage, the term “Karnataka” was prefixed to differenciate between the two.
Another janya raga of Kanakangi, ‘Thatillathika’ also has the same notes as K.Suddha saveri. If suddha gandharam, G1 is added to the KSS notes, it becomes ‘Vageeswari’ (not tobe confused with the mela ragam (34) Vagadeeswari); also, if G1 is added to arohanam and Suddha nishadam, N1, added to avarohanam notes, we get ‘Kanaka Thodi’. None of these ragas are prominent. Dr. M.Balamuraleekrishna dropped the Panchamam from KSS notes and developed “Lavangi”; while dropping R1 and D1 from KSS notes give “Sarvasree” another raga created by him, both being swaranthara ragas (four or less notes).
Coming to the Dikshithar krithis, as we have seen there are two of them in this raga; only “Ekamresa Nayike” has the raga mudra incorporated in the charanam as ‘Suddha sAvEri nuta nandini”, while “Akhilandeswaro rakshathu” does not have any raga mudra. The composition, Ekamresa Nayike is written on the Ekamranatha temple, Kanchipuram. This is one of the most revered temples to Lord Siva; it is one of the Panchabhootha Stalams signifying the 5 elements of wind (Kalahasti), water (Tiruvanaikka), fire (Tiruvannamalai), earth (Kanchipuram) and space (Chidambaram). It is a vast temple with many an endowment from the Vijayanagar rulers, as seen in the long corridors, towering gopurams and mandapams. This is the 1st of the 32 Tevara Stalams in the Tondai region of South India.