RARE RAGA SERIES: RANJANI – JANYA OF MELA (59) RAGAM DHARMAVATHI

Ranjani (or Ranjini) is a Panchama varja raga; asymmetric, oudava vakra shadava ragam, Kakali nishadam appearing in avarohanam only. This is a fairly recent raga, of may be less than 100 years of existence. Though it is usually heard in concerts, it is not a prominent raga, mostly finding place as fillers or to the end of concerts; as it is a very pleasing raga. Ranjani figures in ragamalikas, slokams, viruthams and light or devotional songs. There are few very known compositions, but totally a considerable number. The structure of this raga is seen as:

S R2 G2 M2 D2 S // S N3 D2 M2 G2 S R2 G2 S

Being a comparatively new raga, older books give no reference, also there is no composition from composers before the 20th century.

Ragapravaham by D.Pattammal places it under melas 31 and 59, thereby assigning configurations under Suddha and Prathi madhyamams.

(1) Under mela (31) Yagapriya,

S R3 G3 M1 D1 S // S N1 D1 M1 G3 S R3 S

(2) Under mela (59) Dharmavathi,

S R2 G2 M2 D2 S // S N3 D2 M2 G2 S R2 S

S R2 G2 M2 D2 S // S N3 D2 P G2 S R2 S

S R2 G2 M2 P D2 S // S N3 D2 M2 G2 S R2 S

Compositions:

Ambhoruha pAdame (varNam) - GNB

Adi mudalva - Lalgudi Gopala Iyer

DakshinAmoorthe – Dayananda Saraswathi

Datthathreya - Ganapathi Sachidananda

DurmArgacharA - Thyagaraja

Kadiruvenu nanu sri Rama - Ambujam Krishna

Kai koduppaye - Periyasami Tooran

Kavimani - Malladi Padmavathi

koti manmatha – Padma Veeraraghavan

NenjamellAm – Padma Veeraraghavan

Nenjinil nirainthdum - N.S.Chidambaram

Nirmala namathai - Ambujam Krishana

Pranamamyaham sri prananatham - Mysore Vasudevacharya

Parama pavana - Meesu Krishna Iyer

Ranjani Niranjani - GNB

SadA sAranga NayanE – H Yoganarasimhan

Sangeethame unakku - Gnanam Ramanathan

Varava kodu

thillana - Apoorva Krishna

Out of the above, the Thyagaraja krithi, ‘Durmargachara’ and the one by GNB, ‘ranjani niranjani’ are the most popularly heard compositions, also some ragamalikas (Ranjani mAla). We shall take the GNB composition for discussion. This is on Goddess Kamakshi; as the lyrics are found easily, the meaning is given below (courtesy – Sri. P.R.Ramachander).

“Pallavi

Oh delightful Goddess , who resembles a full moon ,

Who wears gem studded corset as well as ornaments , oh mother

Anupallavi

Oh loving friend of the enemy of God with five arrows(cupid,

Who pleasantly is in the cage made of letter “om”.

Charanam

Goddess with yes like lotus petal . Kamakshi who looks sweetly at us with mercy ,

After destroying all accumulated sins , after removing my wavering , please always protect me”.


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