The raga is one which is rare due to the number of compositions; but couple of compositions are very frequently heard in concerts. This raga is alive only because of these two compositions. As a janya of NaTabhairavi ragam, also being a pleasing one, everybody expect this to be a popular one; only Saint Thyagaraja from the Trinities has composed in this raga. Oothukad Venkatakavi, who lived before Thyagaraja also has composed in this raga, indicating it is a fairly ancient one. One of the earliest reference about this raga is found in ‘Sangraha Choodamani’. But after these two vaggeyakaras, few others like Mysore Vasudevacharya, Periyasamy Thooran etc also have composed songs in Jayanthasri ragam, but these never became popular.
Jayanthasri raga contains the notes:
S G2 M1 D1 N2 S // S N2 D1 M1 P M1 G2 S
We can see that since there is no Rishabham in either direction, this raga can also be derived from mela (8) Hanumathodi. Ragapravaham by D.Pattammal shows two more structures, but none of these containing Rishabham.
S G M D N S // S N D M P M G S
S G M D N S // S N D N P M G S
S G M P D N S // S N D P M G S
This raga is an Upanga ragam (contains only the same notes of the janaka ragam); evokes Bhakthi rasa. There is much resemblance between this and Hindolam, the main difference is that Hindolam does not contain Panchamam. There is no much scope of a big alapana in ragam Jayanthasri.
marugElarA O rAghavA - Thyagaraja
neerada sama neela krishna - Oothukad Venkatakavi
arjuna sArathim AshrayE - Madurai G.S.Mani
enran paDaginil - Periyasami Tooran)
shrIdhara pAhi - Mysore Vasudevacharya
Jaya Jaya Madhava - Mysore Vasudevacharya
varam aruLvAi paramEshanE - Sudhananda Bharathi
Marugelara – Thyagaraja krithi : Since the lyrics are easily available, here is a literary translation of the verse.
“Son of Raghu, must You still evade?
All beings alive, Your Person make.
You transcend all; All you pervade.
The sun and moon, for eyes, You take.
You are all that is, now I've learned,
Looking hard within, as my mind turned.
You fill my mind; all others I've spurned,
Save this bard,- for so much, I've earned.
Thyagaraja continues his quest for Rama, as in many of his krithis. Here, he searches hard within himself and finds a slightly different answer to the question, "Where is Rama?".
O Raghava (Lord Rama)! Why are you concealing yourself?
The Universe itself is your form! The Sun and the moon are your eyes. By deep contemplation, inquiry, and search, I have directly perceived that you are everything, and everything is within you.
There is no place in my mind for any other God. Please protect me
As Thyagaraja saw the light within himself there as the Lord is all pervasive, he now sees him pervade all other elements of the universe, that is all other elements save Thyagaraja himself. In this song, he restricted himself to seeing the Paramatma only within himself. Thyagaraja asks Rama to come before him. He says O Rama, why are you concealing yourself? Lord is concealed with a screen called maya. Only the lord can remove the screen. Thyagaraja says that inspite of you having the screen, I have perceived you. Your trick of having the screen hence is useless. Why keep it any longer? Please remove it and come before me. He also asks Rama, "Can you even try to conceal yourself?". There is clear proof of Lord's existence. There is the Sun and the moon - which are the two eyes of Rama. The world itself is there and functioning which again shows that the Lord is there. How can HE conceal HIMSELF?.
Let us now listen to a beautiful rendition of this Thyagaraja krithi by Dr.M. Balamuralikrishna, which begins with alapana, rarely found in other clips.