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.
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”.