RARE RAGA SERIES: URMIKA – JANYA OF MELA (57) RAGAM SIMHENDRAMADHYAMAM

Yet another Rare Raga, not much heard; there are few compositions, only the Pallavi Shesha Iyer seems known little. None of the Trinities nor the composers of the same or older periods have composed in this raga. First seem to be used by Pallavi Shesha Iyer, son of Neykkarapatti Subbayar, who was a disciple of Saint Thyagaraja. Urmika is a janya of Simhendramadhyamam mela raga, losing D1 in both directions. It is a very minor raga and almost having much similarity to its parent raga. The sanchara of the raga through notes MPNS gives a feel of Hamsanadam may be because of the same notes. The structure of Urmika is:

S R2 G2 M2 P N3 S // S N3 P M2 G2 R2 S

There is another janya raga of same Simhendramadhyamam mela, called “Suddha” (Shuddha), said to have same notes as Urmika; but no composition is found available in the raga.

Compositions:

Entani vinnavintura - Pallavi Shesha Iyer

Kalaratri swaroopini – Dr. Muthaiah bhagavathar

Gati nive raghava - Chitravina N.Ravikiran

Jnana kumara - Bangalore S.Mukund

Rajakumari urmila - Bangalore S.Mukund

Maha tripurasundari sodari - Spencer R. Venugopal

Shangu tirandu muranrezhu - Manikkavachakar

Vanjam murai ulagil - Dandapani Deshikar

(Sri. Madurai Somu has sung the Narayana Theertha tharangam “Lambodhara dheera lavanya” in this raga).

Since none of the above is so popular, a short discussion is given here about the known ones.

1. Entani vinna: This is the mostly heard composition in this ragam Urmika, composed by Pallavi Shesha Iyer. There is an interesting anecdote regarding this krithi. The great musicologist Prof Sambamurthy did a research project on behalf of Madras Music Academy on the works of Pallavi Seshaiyer and he brought out a compendium of the works of this composer. This song is indicated as set in the ragam Shuddha and it is a mystery how the ragam got changed into Urmika. Smt. M.L.Vasanthakumari has given a beautiful alapana explaining the raga well.

“P: entani vinnavinturA evaritO moraliDudurA

A: pantambulEla nApai pankajanAbha nItO

C: I kSaNa trayamula jikki ItibAdhayu baDedu nAdu

dOsamula tolaga sEyu shESa vinuta nIdu karuNaku nEnu”

2. The Muthaiah Bhagavathar krithi, “Kalaratri swaroopini” is a composition on Goddess Chamundamba, and included in the Chamundamba Ashtothara krithis. This composition has some stigma that it should be sung only at some 'KAli temple' or some such places and also that, Smt. Ganasaraswati, a not-so-popular artist of the yesteryears was a master in rendering this ragam and kriti.

3. Sri. Madurai Somu has rendered “Lambodhara Dheera Lavanya” in this ragam, Urmika. Lyrics rendered by him are the same as the last two charanas of the Narayana Theertha composition – ‘Jaya jaya swamin’, usually sung in Sourashtra, or Nattai. The charanas are as:

“lambOdara dheera lAvanya sAra

kambu sudhAnidhi karpoora goura

sAmba sadASiva satkruti chatura

sAmavEdageeta sakalAdhAra

SakrAdi sura gaNa sannuta charaNa

SAtakumbha maNi divyA bharaNA

dhikrutaghana vighna timirAvaraNa

dheera nArAyaNa teertha sukaruNa”

Let us now listen to the great Female Trinity, Smt. M.L.Vasanthakumari, rendering the Pallavi Shesha Iyer composition, “Enthani vinna” – at the beginning, she gives the raga details also. (please play from the beginning).


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