RARE RAGA SERIES: SALAKABHAIRAVI (SALAGABHAIRAVI) – JANYA OF MELA (22) RAGA KHARAHARAPRIYA

Salakabhairavi is a very interesting raga, in the sense, that it violates all the rules for Rare Ragas; the number of compositions are many, as also many of the same are seen sung – still, it is included here as a Rare Raga, since only a couple of compositions (mainly only one) are seen sung in concerts at least a few times, others are of academic interest only. It is a janya of mela (22) raga Kharaharapriya; oudava – sampoorna in nature, losing G2 and N2 in the arohanam. This can thus be explained as a combination of ‘Suddha Saveri’ notes in arohanam and ‘Kharaharapriya’ notes in avarohanam, as:

S R2 M1 P D2 S // S N2 D2 P M1 G2 R2 S

Since both the above ragas are listeners’ favourites, we expect the same from Salakabhairavi also; it never disappoints, but can not be compared to both the ragas. Also, changing the G2 in avarohanam to G3, yields another beautiful raga, Yadukula Kambhoji.

Salaga Bhairavi scale as per Dikshitar school uses sadharana gandharam in ascending scale, and also has a vakra prayoga (zig-zag usage of P D2 P). Its aroh-avaroh structure is S R2 G2 M1 P D2 P S : S N2 D2 P M1 G2 R2 S, as seen in Venkatamakhi system.

SSP defines Salakabhairavi by the lakshana sloka:

"sampurna sagrahopeta carohe padhavarjita l

dinasya carame yame geya salagabhairavi ll”

(this is the scale Sri. Muthuswami Dikshithar has followed)

Ragapravaham by D.Pattammal places it under three ragas; (a) mela (20) NaTabhairavi:

S R2 G2 M1 P D1 P S // S N2 D1 P M1 G2 R2 S

S R2 M1 P D1 S // S N2 D1 P G2 R2 S

(b) under mela (22) Kharaharapriya :

S R2 M1 P D2 S // S N2 D2 P M1 G2 R2 S (same as the one followed currently)

S R2 G2 M1 P D2 P S // S N2 D2 M1 G2 R2 S (almost similar to Dikshithar system)

(c) under mela (37) Salagam, a prathimadhyama raga :

S R1 M2 P D1 S //S N1 D1 P M2 G1 R1 S

Another scale followed by some musicians is found to be:

S R2 M1 P N2 D2 S // S N2 D2 P M1 P G2 R2 S

This raga was said to be a favourite of Sri. Mysore V. Doraswamy Aiyengar, and he played it often, once even in a jugalbandhi. He used it for a Kannada film song as well.

Compositions:

Amuda tamizhukkinai edu - K.S.Krishnamurti

Are jaya jaya deva - Govindacharya

Avaro varo bhavati krupaya - C.S.Shivaramakrishna Bhagavatar

Bandisuve damaniya - Bangalore S.Mukund

Baride hoyitu hoyitu hotatu - Purandaradasa

Bhagavad bhakti kari monnu - Natanagopalanayaki

Dandini shri chandikambe - Muttiah Bhagavatar

Dasa gresha - Madurai G.S.Mani

Edu vendum - Muttusvami Kavi

Elatare mettu kontivi - Tyagaraja

Enna vidam pizhaippom - Nilakantha Shivan

Itadena ee lokamulo - Bhadrachala Ramadasu

Jnanamosaga rada kaivalyardhiyagu - Sriramachandra Murti Sistla

Kalinga mardhana nandagopa - Bangalore S.Mukund

Kamavesulai - Sriramachandra Murti Sistla

Kola mayil erum kumaranai kandayo - N.S.Chidambaram

Lalite suravinute - R.Vishveshvaran

Madhava ninnu madi namminanu - Tiruvettiyur Tyagayya

Manimayadi mahadaishvaryamulaku - Sriramachandra Murti Sistla

Nagarajam - Bangalore S.Mukund

Namo namo dasharate - R.Venugopal

Ni mahima paluka - Madurai G.S.Mani

Padavi ni sadbhaktiyu - Tyagaraja

Parigal neriyagi nalliravil - D.Pattammal

Parvathi palisenna - Gopala dasa

Pahi paramaguru raghavendraya - R.K.Suryanarayana

Radha ramana - E.S.Shankaranarayana Iyer

Rama jogi mandu konare - Bhadrachalam Ramdas

Saddu madalu bedavo - Shripadaraya

Saketa rajakumara - R.N.Doresvami

Sama gana lola nannu brova - Vinai Kuppier

Sangita shastra jnanamu - Tyagaraja

Sarasija lochani nammitini (tv) - Madurai G.S.Mani

Shailaja ramana - Bangalore S.Mukund

Shri nandatanu ubhavurejjare - Venkatamakhi

Shrikantha dayanidhe - Muttiah Bhagavatar

Sukhamu gadu - Patnam Subramania Iyer

Tayin manikkodi vanil - Papanasham Shivan

Tunga tira virajam - Kamaleshavithaladasa

Tyagarajena samrakshitoham - Dikshitar

Unnai maravamal enakkarul - Vedanayakam Pillai

Varalakshmi niye vandarulvaye - Papanasham Shivan

Virumbi tozhum adyar - Abhirami Bhattar

Among these, the most prominent song is the composition of Saint Thyagaraja, “Padavini”, followed by the Dikshithar krithi, “Thyagarajena” and the Papanasam Sivan krithi, ‘Varalakshmi neeye”. We shall discuss Sadguru’s composition in detail. In this krithi, the Saint states that one’s real status is true devotion to the Lord. He says:

“Having true devotion towards You is indeed status.

Is it a status –

- being erudite, not knowing the Truth of vEda, SAstra and upanishad etc?

- to possess wealth, wife, offspring, house, as also, friendship of kings?

- to deceive the World with aNimA and other siddhis, attained by repetition of mantras and penances?

- to attain enjoyments through sacrificial oblations etc, tainted with desires and covetousness?

- not knowing the true nature of SrI rAma – one praised by this tyAgarAja?”

Now, we shall listen to the legendary musician / composer Sri. M.D.Ramanathan’s rendition of the Thyagaraja krithi, “Padavini”.


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