RARE RAGA SERIES :- SIVASAKTHI – JANYA OF (10) NATAKAPRIYA

The prominent but rare janya of Natakapriya is a raga called “Sivasakthi”. This ia a Swaranthara – oudava raga (4 and 5 notes in aroh and avaroh respectively). Sivasakthi, is a GNB creation, is considered also as a janya raga of Kharaharapriya. The scale is interesting as it is not traditional. Traditional ragas would compulsorily have at least five swaras in the arohanam and avarohanam. Siva Sakthi has just four swaras, 'Sa Ga Ma and Dha' in the arohanam and has 'Ni' in addition to the aforementioned swarams in avarohanam. When Dr.Balamuralikrishna came up with ragas like Mahathi, there were several criticisms for not following the 'five swara' principle. It is interesting to note that GNB didn't face any such criticism. The reason is probably the way he dealt with the raga. Upon listening to the composition, it is difficult to associate the raga with an unconventional or non-traditional scale - the raga is easy on the ears and sounds perfectly "natural". The notes: Aroh: S G2 M1 D2 S; Avaroh: S N2 D2 M1 G2 S (It can be seen that the raga is too close to Suddha Hindolam or Varamu; only that it loses N2 in arohanam)

The first composition of GNB in this raga was “Sri chakra raja nilaye”, the lyrics: P: shrI cakrarAja nilayE shivashakti aikyarUpiNi A: pAshAnkusha bANEkShu daNDa bEsha kalAdhari pAhi pAhi C: asurakula nAshini shrIsha kEshava sahajAmini iShaguNa gAna tOSiNi kOshAntara stita pOSaNI

Veena Maestro S.Balachander once described the concept behind the scale: the 9 swaras (four in the arohanam and five the avarohanam) depict the nine faces of the 'Sri chakram' (widely used in Devi upasana). Of the nine faces, four represent Siva and five represent his female counterpart Shakthi. Appropriately the arohanam has four swarams representing the faces of Siva and the avarohanam has five faces representing Shakthi's five faces. The phrases, 'Sri chakra Raja nilayE' and 'Sivashakthi aikya rUpini' are consistent with the above described concept. Although a madhyama kala composition, this song is being sung as a filler between two heavy pieces. The composition, especially in the anupallavi has ample scope for duritha kala sangatis. This composition is also rendered in an elaborate manner. The moving 'hindolam-ish' phrases in the poorvagam and the more ebullient 'abhogi-ish' phrases on the uttarangam makes this raga (and varamu, a close cousin) a unique blend of swaras. Another notable feature in this kriti is the 'dvitheeyakshara prasam' , i.e. is the rhyming syllable on the second letter. According to Prof. TRS, "It is uncommon to find a composer using 'dvitheeyakshara prasam' on all lines of a compositions. In the case of GNB, it is a regular feature".

Compositions available: Sree Chakra Raja nilaye - GNB Vinutha palini gada - GNB Takat takat takat - Subramanya Bharathi Kanum idamellam sivasakthi mayam - Sayidasan Sivashakti ninnuvina nakevaru - Ashok Madhav Swami Hanuman – Bangalore S. Mukund Thillana - P.P.Ramakrishnan

In addition, vid. Saketharaman and vidushi. Visakha Hari have sung RTPs in this raga.

Here is a rendition of the GNB composition by Dr. MLV; though it is a very rare raga, MLV begins with a great alapana.


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