In many carnatic sites, Devakriya is said to be same as Suddha Saveri; even a considerable number of musicians, including Sri. Chitraveena Ravikiran have confirmed the same; used by Muthuswami Dikshithar in his compositions. Same time, it is found that there are so many ragas with this name found, under (1) NaTabhairavi, (2) Kharaharapriya, (3) Harikambhoji (4)Sankarabharanam and (5) Dhavalambari. Here is a brief analysis of this.
It is to be noted that Suddha Saveri has the notes SR2M1PD2S // SD2PM1R2S; which is said to be janya of mela (29) Sankarabharanam, though it can be got from many ragas, like (22) Kharaharapriya, (23) Gowrimanohari and (28) Harikambhoji. Now, the main difference between this and Devakriya is found that Devakriya has N2 in lieu of D2 in the arohanam, while it is vakra-sampoorna in the avarohanam, the N2 appearing in vakra.
S R2 M1 P N2 S // S N2 D1 N2 P M1 G2 R2 S
Devakriya has an arohanam quite similar to Madhyamavathi group of ragas. It was first mentioned by Ramamatya in his Svaramelakalanidhi in 1550. The author had classified it under the Kannada gaula group of ragas which corresponds to the 34th mela of Venkatamakhi. It is also referred to as an inferior raga. The raga then finds mention in the Sadragachandrodaya of Pundarika Vittala. Shahaji, the Maratha ruler of Tanjavur emphasises that it is devoid of G and N classifies it as a janya of Kambhoji. He also gives it the structure of S R M P D S //S D P M R S. Tulaja repeats the same. The raga was elaborated upon by Muddu Venkatamakhin who classified it as an audava and upanga raga. Today this Devakriya is known as Suddha saveri, is classified as the 2nd janya raga of Kanakambari in the Sangita Sampradaya Pradarsini. That completed the part of the earlier Devakriya which later changed its name as Karnataka Suddha Saveri. (This had been discussed in detail in this series under jana raga of Kanakangi).
Devakriya as we know of it today and as handled by Thyagaraja. This appears in the Sangrahachudamani where it is classified as a Nishadanthya raga and a NaTabhairavi janya with the scale of S R G M N D N / N D P M G R S R S. Later works such as the Sangita Sarvartha Sara Sangrahamu repeat the same information. The Raga Lakshanamu of the late 19th century has the scale as S R G M N D N S // S N D M G R S. There is one song by Thyagaraja in this raga (nATimATi maracittivO) and based on the movement of notes given in this song, the Music Academy in its early years, worked on a scale for it which it gave out as S R M P N S // S N D N P M G R S. It has to be noted that Thyagaraja has composed about half a dozen krithis in Suddha Saveri itself; only the above composition in Devakriya, indicates that Sadguru had enough knowledge of both ragas; same that which happened with Suddha Dhanyasi and Udayaravichandrika; also Abheri and Karnataka Devagandhari (Devagandharam) with Muthuswami Dikshithar.
Ragapravaham by D.Pattammal shows three scales:
S R G M N D N // P D M G R S N
S R S R G G M N D N // D P M G R S
S R G M N D N // P M G R S N,
All under mela (20) NaTabhairavi. She also gives another spec for a different variety,
S G R G M P D N D S // S N D P M G R G S, under mela (22) Kharaharapriya ragam.
It is interesting to note that she has not mentioned Devakriya, under melas (28) or (29) !!
There is janya of mela ragam (28) Harikambhoji with notes S R M P D S // S D P M R S, same as from (29) Sankarabharanam and similar to Suddha Saveri; also called Devakriya; this is the one some of our musicians are following. Subburama Dikshithar, in SSP gives this specification under mela (28) Harikedaragoula. Under Suddha Saveri (KSS now), it says “Purandaradasa, who excelled as an expert in tradition and was one of the purvacharyas, who wrote the Pillari geetha which is suitable for learning by all beginners, wrote a Suddhasaveri anubandha to the
Pillari geetha. This is sung and practised with Suddha Rishabha and Suddha Dhaivatha as per the tradition of Venkatamakhi. The raga with gandhara nishada varjya and pancha sruthi rishabha dhaivatas is devakriya and not suddha saveri. This being the case, it is seen in modern times that this Suddha Saveri is being sung with panchasruthi rishabha dhaivatas”. Interestingly Devakriya which has the same scale which Dikshitar composed uses Thrisruthi.
A totally different variety mentioned is under mela ragam (49) Dhavalambari, with notes S R M P D S // S N D P M G R S, which of course contains prathimadhyamam.
Anyhow, musicologists agree with the findings of the Music Academy and are following the note structure: S R2 M1 P N2 S // S N2 D1 N2 P M1 G2 R2 S for Devakriya.
Nati mata marachithivo - Thyagaraja
Lalithambikam chinthayamyaham - Dikshithar
Madhuramaba samrakshathu - Dikshithar
Sandhyadevim savitrim - Dikshithar
Sree Guruguha tarayashumamam - Dikshithar
Sree vatukanatha shiva - Dikshithar
Sree Saraswathi vidhiyuvathi - Ambi Dikshithar
We shall listen to the Dikshithar krithi, “Madhuramba samrakshathu mam”, in ragam Devakriya; this composition is on Goddess Meenakshi of Madurai, as evident from the usage, “kadamba kAdambarI” (Madurai was originally a forest of Kadamba trees, known as Kadamba vanam). Sri. Dikshithar has very intelligently spun in the raga mudra, as “SrI dEva kriyA mOdinI” which also means the one who rejoices in the propitious actions of the Devas.
Also, here is a superb rendition of the Thyagaraja krithi, “Nati mata marachithivo” in this raga by the great musician Sri. M.D.Ramanathan.