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RARE RAGA SERIES: POORNASHADJAM – JANYA OF MELA (20) RAGAM NATABHAIRAVI

Poornashadjam is a very rare raga, the main compositions are of Sadguru thyagaraja. There is another related raga called Rudrapriya; some compositions are listed under both or played in both (we shall discuss this raga in another episode). This creates confusion as to whether both these are same or not. There is no doubt that Rudrapriya and Poorna shadjam are two different ragas. They only came closer because of the controversial krithi, Gananayakam by Muthuswami Dikshithar. Gananayakam, has two versions. The Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini indicates it to be a composition in Rudrapriya (SRGMPDNS SNPMGRS), janyam of Kharaharapriya. But rarely do any musician sing the composition in this raga; most of the renditions are in the ragam Poornashadjam, janya of NaTabhairavi. It may be a possibility that some artistes of the previous generation used Thyagaraja's Poorna shadjam for Dikshitar's(?) Gananayakam! Some of today's artistes continue to render it that way because the tune is pleasant for the first half of the concert and the lyrics are on Ganesha. We can see that Poornashadjam was popularized by the Thyagaraja school, while Rudrapriya by Dikshithar school. Thyagaraja composed nothing in Rudrapriya and Dikshitar, nothing in Purnashadjam and Shyama Shastri nothing in either.

Let us look at the configuration of this raga. Poorna shadjam is an oudava – shadava raga, losing Panchamam and Dhaivatham in arohanam, and only Dhaivatham in the avarohanam as:

S R2 G2 M1 N2 N2 S // S N2 P M1 G2 R2 S

This is considered to be a janya of mela (20) ragam NaTabhairavi; but since the deciding note being Dhaivatham, it is considered to be janya of mela (22) ragam Kharaharapriya. Here is the confusion rising up, as Rudrapriya also is janya of same mela, also having same avarohanam of Poorna shadjam. The controversy as already seen is mainly about the Dikshithar krithi, ‘Gananayakam’; the funny thing is that Gananayakam, played in Rudrapriya is EXACTLY THE SAME TUNE as the Pallavi and Anupallavi of the Thyagaraja krithi, Srimanini. Hence, even the authenticity of this krithis itself is under doubt, as to whether it belongs to Dikshithar. Vid. D. K. Pattammal was of opinion that this was one of the dubious songs which have crept in the Dikshitar list.

Ragapravaham by D.Pattammal places Poornashadjam under melas 20 and 22. She gives the various configurations under these melas, under mela (20) ragam NaTabhairavi:

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

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

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

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

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

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

And under mela (22) ragam Kharaharapriya:

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

However Chithraveena Sri. Ravikiran is of opinion that the usage of two nishadams in arohanam confirms the specification as S R2 G2 M1 N2 N2 S // S N2 P M1 G2 R2 S.

Compositions:

Lavanya rAma - T

Shri manini manohara - T

Sri ramana nive - Mysore Sadasiva Rao

(Also, the Dikshithar krithi, Gananayakam is considered to be in this raga)

We shall take the Thyagaraja krithi, ‘Lavanya Rama’ for discussion. In this krithi, Sadguru praises the qualities of Lord Sri Rama.

“O Exceedingly charming rAma! O Moon who blossoms the lily of the mind of Your wife lakshmI (or sItA)! O Lord who is as charming as a hundred cupids! O Lord praised by this tyAgarAja! O divinely charming rAma!

Your mind, Your elegance and Your style are totally different.

Why should I seek the grace of Gods of sects given to tAmasa worship?

Please look at me gracefully”.

We shall now listen to an excellent rendition of the Thyagaraja krithi, ‘Lavanya Rama’ in the very pleasant Poornashadjam raga, from the globally acclaimed vid. Mysore Nagamani Srinath (Dr. G.N.Nagamani Srinath).


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