RARE RAGA SERIES: PUSHPALATHIKA – JANYA OF MELA (22) RAGAM KHARAHARAPRIYA

Before we take up this ragam, we have to compare a group of ragas, headed by Madhyamavathi. This group, in addition to Madhyamavathi, contains Manirangu, Shriragam, Brindavana Saranga, Brindavani and Pushpalathika. Madhyamavathi is the leader of this group with notes SR2M1PN2S // SN2PM1R2S. An addition of G2 to the avarohanam only, makes it Manirangu and a slight vakra with R2 makes it Shriragam, as can be shown:

S R2 M1 P N2 S // S N2 P M1 R2 S – Madhyamavathi

S R2 M1 P N2 S // S N2 P M1 G2 R2 S – Manirangu

S R2 M1 P N2 S // S N2 P M1 R2 G2 R2 S – Shriragam

(Shriragam has another popular avarohanam, S N2 P D2 N2 P M1 R2 G2 R2 S also; but the original Shriragam is as shown above. Saint Thyagaraja’s ‘Entharo Mahanubhavulu’ is of the above type, without D2, also though Venkatamakhi has given the lakshana with D2, his lakshana geetham contains no D2 prayoga).

Now, if we take the ragam Manirangu, and use the same notes in the avarohanam for arohanam also, it becomes Pushpalathika; otherwise, we can get it by adding G2 to both arohanam and avarohanam of Madhyamavathi. Hence, Pushpalathika (also called Pushpalatha, Palasi, Kalindi) can be represented as :

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

Due to its origin from Madhyamavathi, we expect this should be invariably a pleasant and sweet mangala raga – yes, it is. Still, unlike the other members of this group, Pushpalathika is a very rare ragam; only few compositions; seldom heard in concerts – none of the trinities nor any composer before them have ever used this for composing. It seems that Maharaja Swathithirunal was the first to compose any krithi in this raga. Only Ragapravaham by D.Pattammal gives details about this raga;

As janya of mela (20) Natabhairavi raga (Pushpalata)

S R G M P N S // S N P M G R S (since, there is no Dhaivatham involved, it is same as the common specification of mela (22) janya).

Under mela (22) Kharaharapriya, she refers to Palasi, Pushpalatha and Pushpalathika; all these having the same specification as above.

Compositions:

Bhavaye Gopabalam – Swathithirunal

Gurukripaleka sree harikripa – Mysore Vasudevacharya

Devaki thanaya Vasudeva - ,,,

Bhava pasha mochakam – Dr. Muthaiah Bhagavathar

Gurunatha anugrahahisai - ,,,

Ikanainana moravina rada – Tirupathi Narayanaswamy

Kallurikuntren – Periyasami Tooran

Bhuvana Mohana - ,,,

Valachiyunna napai (tv) - Kalahasti Vinai Venkatasami

(Out of these, only ‘Ikanaina’ and ‘Bhavaye gopabalam’ are heard in concerts; the former being the most popular. Can a song, one by an obscure composer become popular solely based on a singer’s rendition? There are a surprising number of such songs that have shot to prominence. Here is one such story which became well known after Smt. M.S.Subbalakshmi’s concert. The song Ikanaina, the composer Tirupati Narayanaswamy and the raga Pushpalathika were not well-known in the concert circuit. It went down in the annals of Carnatic music history as a successful attempt to showcase a raga that didn’t seem to offer much scope earlier).

We shall take up the composition, ‘Ikanaina’, on Lord Venkatesha of Tirupathi, sung by Smt. MSS at the Carnegie Hall, New York; the lyrics of which:

P: ikanainanA moravina rAdA inakula candrA idi samayamurA

A: akaLanka(adaramani) nIvE AdhAruDani Ashrayincu nannAdarinca rAdA

C: parama dayA garuDA(karudu) ninnu prahlAdAdulu vEDaga

karuNinci nIvu kApATa lEdA tirupatipura varada venkatEsha

Meaning:

“Can you atleast listen to my plea now? Oh Raama! Its about time you come to my rescue.

Oh Impeccable!!! You are the one who can protect me, please dont let me down..

You are an epitome of kindness and have been worshipped by Prahlada. You reside in Tirupathi as Lord Venkatesa...”

Now, let us listen to Bharat Ratna M.S.Subbulakshmi rendering this composition.


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