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
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
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).
Oh delightful Goddess , who resembles a full moon ,
Who wears gem studded corset as well as ornaments , oh mother
Oh loving friend of the enemy of God with five arrows(cupid,
Who pleasantly is in the cage made of letter “om”.
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”.