RARE RAGA SERIES : SHENJUKAMBOJI – JANYA OF MELA (28) RAGAM HARIKAMBHOJI

Shenjukamboji (or Chenchukamboji), is a very interesting janya of Harikambhoji mela; when sung in medium to medium fast tempo, even fast, it gives real listening pleasure. The raga name is printed as Chenjukamboji in Spiritual Heritage of Thyagaraja. The basic structure of the raga can be written as: S P M1 D2 N2 S // S N2 P N2 M1 G3 R2 S, (without G3 and R2 in arohanam and D2 in avarohanam. The same is found in A.S.P.Iyer's collection of Thyagaraja songs). Prof. Sambamurthy has mentioned it as SMGRPMDNS and SNPNMGRS. In the Walajpet version, the raga uses the P only sparingly from S, preferring to use SNDMD, GMD, NMD (reminding the ragam Malavi), and SMG more often (the SMG can still be heard in some versions of “vara raga laya” even now). SP and DNP which are essential phrases today happen only once. Though the phrase PMGR while possible is not used directly.

Ragapravaham by D.Pattammal places it under melas (28) Harikambhoji and (29) Sankarabharanam: Under Harikambhoji mela, S G R G M P M D N P N D N S // S N P N M G R S S G R G M P M D N D P N D N S // S D N P N M G R S S M G R S D M D N S // S N P N M G R S S M G R P M D N S // S N P N M G R S And under Sankarabharanam mela, S G R G M P M D N P N D N S // S N P M G R S The mostly heard composition is of Saint Thyagaraja, “Vara raga laya”; the way in which it is sung today and the chittaswarams are all mostly belong of the great musician, Sri. GNB, who popularized this; also, the raga itself is closely associated with him only. Sri. GNB himself composed “nannu brova nee” in this raga, which is also heard in concerts. From GNB’s rendition, and the chittaswaram, the ragaswaroopam seems to be SPMGMDNS – SNDNPMGRS – dropping only rishabham in the arohanam, as also keeping all notes of the janaka ragam in avarohanam with vakra prayogas in both directions. Compositions: Vara raga laya - Thyagaraja Nannu brova nee – GNB Bhujanga Bhushana – Dr. Muthaiah Bhagavathar We shall take the most popular krithi in the raga, “Vara raga laya “ by Sadguru; in this he deprecates those who pride themselves to be maestros of music. Meaning (summary): “O Lord SrI rAma praised by this tyAgarAja! People go about prattling that they are masters of sacred rAga and laya. Even though people might not have experienced the differentiations of svara, jAti and mUrchana within themselves, they go about prattling that they are masters of rAga and laya. Those who do not know that all nAda emanating from the body are the forms of energy (or thirst) called the divine OMkAra, are indeed deceiving that they are masters of rAga and laya”.


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