RARE RAGAS SERIES: CHAYA GOULA – MELA (15) MAYAMALAVAGOULA JANYA

RARE RAGAS SERIES: CHAYA GOULA – MELA (15) MAYAMALAVAGOULA JANYA

‘Chayagoula’ is a very interesting rare raga, about which there are too many disputes in its structure and origin. The commonly found configuration is : Aroh: S R1 M1 G3 M1 P N3 S; Avaroh: S N3 D1 P M1 G3 R1 S Because of the so many specifications available, it is considered to be a janya of mela (3) Ganamoorthi ragam also. Let us go through the various documents and books describing this raga.

Venkatamakhi defines this ragam as follows: “chAyagauLashca saMpUrNah ArOhe ga ni varjitaH | niSada graha samyuktaH sAyamkAlE pragIyatE ||” A janyam (upangam No. 2), placed under MayamalavagauLa. (15) mUrccana ArohaNam: s r m p d p m p d s n s; avarOhaNam: s n d d p m g s r s Ragangam; sampoornam; nishada graham; gandharam,and nishadam varjyam in Arohanam; suitable for singing in the evenings.

Sangeeta sampradaya pradarshini gives only the krithi, “sarasvatyA bhagavatyA” by Muthuswami Dikshithar, and a sanchari by Subbarama Dikshithar, with no lakshya geetham. Prof. S.R.Janakiraman’s book shows: An audava – shadava janyam of melam 15, Mayamalavagaula, Arohanam: s r m p n S; Avarohanam: S n d p m g s (Arohanam omits Ga and Dha; Avarohanam omits Rishabham.

Even though this rAgam can be traced from the 18th century, krithis are hard to find. There are three other scales in literature, one under melam 3 (s g r m p d n s; s d n p m g r s), and the other two under meLam 15. Ragapravaham by D.Pattammal shows scales: S R G R M P D N S // S D N P M G R S; S R G R M P D N S // S N D P M G R S; and S R G R M P D N S // S D N P M G S R S (under mela -3) Also, S R M P N S // S N D P M G S R S; S R M P D P M P D S N S // S N D D P M G S R S; S R M G M P N S // S N D P M G R S (under mela -15) In spite of the fact that there are various possible scales of Chayagoula, compositions are very very rare.

Compositions available: Neelotpalambike - Dikshithar Saraswathya Bhagavathya - Dikshithar Meenakshi - N.S.Ramachndran

The composition, ‘Saraswathya bhagavathya’ is in the third vibhakthi (instrumental); the raga-mudra is seen as “chAyA gaura-tarayA”; Sri. Muthuswami Dikshithar uses “sarasa sangIta sAhitya stana dvayayA” reminds the Shloka often quoted in the treatises on music:

sangItamapi sAhityam sarasvatyAH stanadvayam |

Ekam ApAna madhuram anyadAlOcanAmRrtam ||

(Sarasvati nurtures us with the milk of music and literature which are her two breasts.

Of these, music can be imbibed and enjoyed directly, while literature or Sahitya is nectar upon reflection.)

We shall listen to an excellent rendition of the Chayagoula composition, “Saraswathya Bhagavathya” by the very experienced musicians, the Mambalam sisters.


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