RARE RAGA SERIES : RAGAM VEGAVAHINI – JANYA OF MELA (16) RAGAM CHAKRAVAKAM

A raga which causes a lot of confusion among listeners is ‘Vegavahini’. This raga is referred to be a janya of mela (16) Chakravakam in many reference places; also same as Chakravakam in Dikshithar system (mela ragam in Asampoorna system) etc. Again, it is seen that the equivalent raga of Chakravakam in Dikshithar system is ‘Toya Vegavahini’, while Vegavahini is a janya of the same. Here, Toya Vegavahini is considered as containing the same notes of Chakravakam. The confusion increases when the so called compositions in Vegavahini are sung in Toya Vegavahini (Chakravakam) by most of the musicians. So, here, we are going to have only a theoretical approach to the same, considering Vegavahini as a janya raga only, though the video clips may not support the same.

The generally accepted ragaswaroopam of Vegavahini is:

S R1 G3 M1 D2 N2 D2 S // S N2 D2 P M1 G3 R1 S

According to Walajapet tradition, the scale goes like this: SRGMPDS // SNDPMGRS.

As per Dr. Bhagyalakshmi's Raga book, Vegavahini raga is a vakra sampoorna raga; in the arohana only it is vakra and the note R1 is the vakra swara. This raga is said to have existed much earlier than Chakravakam.

Ragapravaham by Smt. D.Pattammal shows three types of configuration:

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

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

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

Chithraveena maestro vid. Ravikiran says this raga has the following specification:

S M1 G3 M1 P D2 N2 S // S N2 D2 P M1 G3 R1 S

Main Compositions:

Vinayaka vighna nashaka - Dikshithar

Gajanana yutham - Dikshithar

kailasa natham - Dikshithar

vArAhIM vaishNavIM - Dikshithar

vINA pustaka dhAriNIm - Dikshithar

Challaga nato - Thyagaraja

Inka dayarakunnanu - Ramaswamy Dikshithar

We shall discuss the Dikshithar krithi, ‘Vinayaka vighna nashaka’; this is written on the Varasiddhi Vinayakar near the Jayasthambham, at the temple Kanchipuram (mentioned as Devaraja puram). In the Charanam, the raga-mudra is incorporated as “dEva rAja pura tOshita vEga vAhinI vardhita”, which indicates that this is not the sampoorna mela, Toya Vegavahini. There is a reference to the characters in the Ramayana - pavana-Atmaja-Ananda-kara rAma mitra vara pavitra – Pavanathmaja anandakara (the one who made Hanuman happy) and vara pavitra (the purifier) of Rama mitra (Vibhishana, the friend of Lord Rama).

We shall listen to vidushi. N.C.Vasanthakokilam, the singer of the yester years (1919 – 1951), rendering this very interesting composition of Sri. Muthuswami Dikshithar.


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