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‘Mohana kalyani’, as can be inferred is a combination of the two ragas, Mohanam and Kalyani, if we look at the meaning – ‘Mohanam’ means beautiful in everything (we can’t find a better equivalent in English); ‘Kalyani’ is one which brings in auspiciousness – the raga should possess both the qualities; yes, still it remains as a Rare Raga. But unlike other rare ragas, though the number of compositions are less, most of them are heard sung in concerts.

Mohana kalyani is an oudava – sampoorna ragam, with notes of Mohanam in arohanam and of (mecha) Kalyani in the avarohanam; the structure can be seen as:

S R2 G3 P D2 S // S N3 D2 P M2 G3 R2 S

There is no other contradictory specifications found in any reference.

While Mohanam is a janya of mela (28) Harikambhoji (or mela-29 Sankarabharanam), losing Suddha Madhyamam and Nishadam, it can also be obtained by removing the same notes from the Prathimadhyama raga, mela (65) Mecha kalyani; hence it is said to be a janya of Mecha Kalyani (this is only technical). The most interesting fact is that if the M2 in the avarohanam of this raga is changed to M1, it becomes Bilahari, a raga with no similarity at all. In Hindustani, Bhoop is the equivalent of Mohanam; hence the equivalent raga is ‘Bhoop Kalyan’ (Shuddh kalyan).

Dr. Muthiah Bhagavathar is said to have created and popularized this raga. Some musicologists are of the opinion that this was only popularized by the legend and the raga owes its existence to him. Others believe that Mohanakalyani was not invented by Dr. Muthiah Bhagavathar, but he introduced it to Carnatic Music; like Muthuswami Dikshitar adapting Dwijavanti, Ramkali and Brindavanasaranga. The equivalent raga Shuddh Kalyan existed in Hindustani music long before this (Sri. Lakshman Ragde).

It can be seen that the most number of krithis, as also popular ones are composed by Dr. Muthiah Bhagavathar. Also, at the request of the Royal family of the erstwhile state of Travancore (now part of Kerala), he stayed at Trivandrum and set about 300 krithis of Maharaja Swathithirunal, in the presently found ragas; he has put his signature by composing “seve SrikAntham” in ragam Mohana kalyani !!


Aadinaye kanna - Ambujam krishna

Bhuvaneshwariya - Dr. Muthiah bhagavathar

cikkavanE ivanu - Purandara Daasar

En thAi nee irukka - Ambujam krishna

Sangeetha samrajya sancharini - Bangalore Ramamurthy

Seve sreekAntham - Swathi Thirunal

Shivam vrishabhAroodham - Dr.Muthiah Bhagavathar

siddhi vinAyakam seveham - Dr.Muthiah Bhagavathar

Tozhudal teerume - Kovai Subri

varuvAi murugA aruL - Andavan Pichai

Tamadam tagadaiyya - Lalgudi Gopala Iyer

Aadutha baro - Santh Keshavdas

Vallabhai nayaka - Lalgudi G.Jayaraman

Bhajare - Mysore vasudevacharya

Samayamidhe - Meesu Krishna Iyer

Mohana kalyana Ramam – V.Ramaswami

KamalamukhiyE kamalAlaye – Gopaladasa

Sree Dharma Sastharam – Tulaseevanam

Ambikaye – Tara natarajan

Thillana - Lalgudi G.Jayaraman

In addition, it is seen that vidushis Ranjani & Gayathri has sung an RTP in Mohana kalyani, with pallavi, “Ramanai Raghuveeranai Dinamum Nee Ninai”.

We shall consider the famous composition, “Bhuvaneswariya” for discussion; Bhuvaneshwari is the fourth amongst the ten Mahavidya or Shivasakthi goddesses in Hinduism, and an aspect of Devi as elements of the physical cosmos in giving shape to the creation of the World. She is also known as Adi Parashakti or Parvathi, i.e. one of the earliest forms of Shakti. Her consort is Shiva as Triyambak (Bhuvaneswara).

The meaning of the composition:

“Pallavi: Oh mind, think of goddess Bhuvaneshwari, and leave the fear of the earthly ties

Anupallavi: without suffering (from worldly ties), be happy and satisfiled in (Bhuvaneshwari's) vilAsa

Charanam: (Think of) the mother of three worlds and who is beyond three qualities (sattva - purity of body mind and soul, rajasa - pomp luxury and bravery, tamasa - lust greed darkness), who destroys all suffering.

(Think of her), who is respected by Brahma and the beloved of Harikesha, who grants all boons to the devotees”.

Sharing rendition of this composition by one of the prime and earliest disciple of the composer, Sangeetha kalanidhi Madurai Mani Iyer, with Sri. Lalgudi G.Jayaraman on violin and Sri. C.S.Murugabhoopathy on mridangam.

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