RARE RAGA SERIES: SARASWATHI – JANYA OF MELA (64) RAGAM VACHASPATHI

Still, another well-known raga, Saraswathi; there are some good number of compositions, many are popular also, but only very few of these heard in concerts. So it was little confusing , whether to be included in Rare ragas or not. But as some of the previous similar ones were included, finally decided to treat the same way.

Saraswathi is an oudava – shadava janya of mela (64) ragam Vachaspathi; losing G3 in both directions and N2 additionally in arohanam only – the ragaswaroopa can be written as:

S R2 M2 P D2 S // S N2 D2 P M2 R2 S

This raga is very melodious and also considered to be a very auspicious one; as the name of the raga indicates, many krithis on Goddess Saraswathi are composed in this raga (see the list below). There is a raga with similar name in Hindustani music of the Kalyan thaat; almost similar to the carnatic raga.

Ragapravaham classifies this raga under both Suddha and Prathimadhyamam scales, as janya of mela ragas, Sarasangi, Harikambhoji and Vachaspathi, as:

Under mela (27) Sarasangi:

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

Under mela (28) Harikambhoji:

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

And under mela (64) Vachaspathi:

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

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

(none of the above, supporting the structure followed).

Compositions:

Adaikkalathi - Tanjore Sankara Iyer

Amba saraswathi - Lalitha dasar

Anuragamule - Thyagaraja

Anuvige anuvagi - Purandaradasar

Devadideva - Mayuram Vedanayagam Pillai

Hari hari hariyani – Walajpet Venkataramana Bhagavathar

Jaya Saraswathi - Ch. Swarnavenkatesa Dikshithar

Kalaimagale - Dandapani Deshikar

Kavalai ellam - GNB

koDu bEga divyamati - Purandaradasar

manamE unakkhitamAi – Gopalakrishna Bharathi

Navarasayutha Bhavamutho - K.M.Soundaravalli

Rudram mahesham – Dr. Muthaiah Bhagavathar

SarasIruhAkshi - Dr. Muthaiah Bhagavathar

Vageeswari - Dr. Muthaiah Bhagavathar

Saraswati namosthuthe – GNB

Saraswati namosthuthe – N.S.Ramachandran

Saraswathi dayainidhi neegathi - Papanasam Sivan

Saraswati vanaja bhava sati - Veena Raja Rao

Unaiyan thunai veroru - Periyasami Tooran

gathi nee – Varnam – Mysore Vasudevachar

(there are about 15 varnams in this raga)

(Uma rama saraswathi – RTP sung by TMK)

We shall take the mostly heard composition, “Saraswathi namosthuthe” by Sri. GNB (not to be confused with a similar krithi by N.S.Rmachandran) for discussion. As the lyrics is easily available, we shall look into the meaning:

“P:- Salutations to Saraswathi who is Sharadha the giver of learning.

AP:- Who holds in her hands book, Veera and divine rosary of gems

C:- Who has a conch like neck decorated by nine gems and fondled by Brahma,

Who has feet thatare served by devasand who is as white as the Sun God”.


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