RARE RAGA SERIES: SUNADA VINODINI – JANYA OF MELA (65) RAGAM KALYANI

Ragam Sunadavinodini is a Rare Raga indeed, but in practice, almost qualifying to be grouped along Eka-krithi ragas. But there are few compositions available and most of them are heard sometime or other, that it was included in Rare Ragas. The raga is known mostly through the composition, “Devadi deva” by Mysore Vasudevacharya.

The raga is ‘Panchama-varjya’, usually considered as a janya of mela (65) Kalyani ragam; but also can be obtained from mela (53) ragam Gamanashrama, by dropping Rishabham and Panchamam. The notes are, Shadjam, Anthara Gandharam, Prathi madhyamam, Chathusruthi Dhaivatham and Kakali Nishadam, as:

S G3 M2 D2 N3 S // S N3 D2 M2 G3 S

Sunadavinodini is an allied raga of ragam Hamsanandi and shows resemblances to a considerable extent; the only difference being the presence of Suddha Rishabham (R1) in both arohanam and avarohanam of the latter.

Ragapravaham by D.Pattammal places it under both melas (53) Gamanashrama and (65) Kalyani; confirming the same ragaswaroopa as above.

Compositions:

Devadi deva - Mysore Vasudevachar

Nannu Brovuvamma - Madurai somu

Munde Phala - Purandaradasa

Ambare Chidambara - Muthuthandavar

Gnani ansaraja - Sant Tukkaram

Gana Nayaka (V) - N.S.Ramachandran

Devi Kavai shri(V) - A.Govindarajan

Let us discuss the composition, ‘Devadi deva’ in detail. Bhakti rasa is a common element of most of the carnatic compositions. One can identify this rasa in the absolute belief and submission to the power (majesty) of God. Composers who were renowned to have shown their mastery over shruti (melodic aspects), laya (rhythmic aspects), sahityam (literature), chandassu (meter), vyakaranam (grammar) and alankaram (figures of speech) also have their own self transformational journeys which led them to seek the ultimate truth. Bhakti rasa played a critical role in their journey. Many composers associate their bhakti to various incarnations of thrimurthis (Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara) and their consorts. Some adored God as their father/mother, sibling, spouse, protector/guardian, beloved or child. This composition is also no exception, it has a bhakti bhava mixed with aarthi. The song is rendered in the tone of helplessness mixed with restlessness. But it's not sad.

The meaning:

“Oh god of the gods, Sri Vasudeva (Lord Krishna), protect me, Oh merciful one!

This is the right time to eradicate my 6 enemies, namely Kama (lust), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Moha (wanting to get), Mada (ahankaram) and MAtsarya (competition because of jealousy).

It is said that one can be a true devotee, when one gets completely rid of these enemies.

May be my life is a result of my rituals in the past or may be it's a result of the virtuous deeds of my ancestors (It's believed that one's deeds and their effects are passed on to one's kith and kin). Sri Janakisa (Sri Rama - Composers refer to Vishnu with the names of his incarnations. Rama and Krishna are believed to be the incarnations of Vishnu). I'm indebted to you (I'm thankful to you) for giving me such a valuable life”.

Not to be confused with a similar composition, “Devadi deva sadasiva” by Saint Thyagaraja, which is in ragam Sindhuramakriya.


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