Apurva raga-s handled by Tyagaraja Svamigal – Karnataka Kamas

Dr Aravindh T Ranganathan

This article is a continuation of the previous one on the rāga Kamās. It is advisable to get acquainted with that article before proceeding further as the mentioned article will be quoted often.

Like K V Rāmachandran has mentioned in one of his article, Tyāgarāja Svāmigal is like Prajāpati in creating his own rāga-s.1 Many of these rāga-s were hitherto unknown and many have only his compositions. This uniqueness had posed a problem for the musicians, compilers and researchers in the last century. Many rāga-s were given more than one name, some had scale-lakṣaṇa discrepancies, that is the rāga name does not match with the rāga svarūpa portrayed in the rāga and some were corrected to the nearest scale. The basic reason for such a discrepancy is the name of these rāgas-s remained anonymousand the compilers adopted their own indigenous ways to name these rāga-s (See Footnote 1).Frequently Taccur brothers were impeached for adopting the names from the text by name Saṅgraha Cūdāmani.2 Rāga-s handled by Tyāgarāja and Dīkṣitar with varied lakṣaṇa were given a single name and in this process a theory was devised to behold this glaring anomaly, Tyāgarāja and Dīkṣitar followed two different schools and a same rāga was handled differently depending on the school to which they belong to. Whereas Dīkṣitar’s musical ancestry was traced back to Vēṅkaṭamakhi, sincere thanks to Subbarāma Dīkṣitar, Svāmigal’s ancestry was traced back to the text Saṅgraha Cūdāmani whose authorship is unknown. But this theory was questioned by Chērmadevi Subraḥmaṇya Sāstrigal as early as in 1936, a Veena vidvan belonging to Dīkṣitar school (See Footnote 2).3 This thought was later echoed in many of the articles by K V Ramachandran.1,2 Their reasoning and querying the authenticity of this theory is genuine, when we see a similar handling of ghana, rakti and dēśīya rāga-s, how or why should these contemporary composers follow different schools while handling apūrva rāga-s? This question remains open even now; but we still believe they propagated two different schools. This author tries to supplement the thoughts put forward by these musicians/musicologists, by analyzing Vālājāpeṭṭai manuscripts and other older versions and articles in this series can be accessed in this site.

K V Rāmachandran also made two valid observations which help us to understand these apūrva rāga-s better and help us to continue his quest in identifying the original tunes and the original rāga names. First, he mentions, in the event of identifying or tagging a rāga name to a composition, the original tune has been vitiated. Secondly, Vālajāpet Rāmasvāmy Bhāgavatar (grandson of Vālajāpet Vēṅkaṭaramaṇa Bhāgavatar) has admitted to him that many rāga names has been assigned to the kṛti-s without proper scrutiny.2 The latter point becomes more important as the names that we see today for many of these apūrva rāga-s appear for the first time in the book “Oriental Music in European Notation” by A M Chinnasāmy Mudaliyar published in the year 1893. The main source for this publication is Kṛṣṇasvāmy Bhāgavatar, along with some other prominent musician whose identity is anonymous. However Rāmachandran and Sāmbamūrti expounded the genuineness of Vālajāpeṭṭai notations and Rāmachandran even advises that these notations are to be analyzed to know the true svarūpa of the compositions of Svāmigal.2,4

With this introduction, let us move to the kṛti ‘sītāpate nā manasuna’. Nowhere else the rāga of this kṛti is disputed and this is such an innocuous kṛti always sung in the rāga Kamās. But our understanding on the Kamās made us to revisit all the available versions for this kṛti – both oral and textual and we are here to report an unusual misattribution; a kṛti composed in an apūrva rāga could have been attributed to the rāga Kamās!

Sītāpatē nā manasuna

We had mentioned several times that the popularity enjoyed by a kṛti too vary and is much time dependent. We have seen such instances in the rāga-s Balahamsa and Kamās. This is one another instance, a kṛti which was not common in the early part of the last century, gained prominence in the later half. Very few texts give this kṛti in notation and this is the same trend seen in the manuscripts examined.

Oral renditions

We hear almost a similar version with the sparse use of ṛṣbham. It is one of the fortunate kṛti-s wherein the basic structure of the kṛti is fairly similar across the renditions. As seen in the article on Kamās, none of the renditions are devoid of the svara ṛṣbham (See footnote 3).

Textual versions – An analysis

As mentioned earlier, very few texts give this kṛti in notation; three texts and three manuscripts in our collection gives us this kṛti. The first text to give this kṛti is ‘saṅgīta kalānidhi’ of Taccur brothers.5 This version is totally devoid of ṛṣbham, has Kamās phrases like SGMS, MNDN and PNDP and set to ādi tāla. To make it more precise, it represents the variant Kamās mentioned by Subbarāma Dīkṣitar with unfeigned adherence to the scale SGMPDNS  SNDPMGS, yet maintaining other important phrases of Kamās. If we include the svara ṛṣbham, this version will be much closer to the version that we hear commonly.

Saṅgītānandaratnākaram is the next text to make a note of this kṛti.6 The version given here is also devoid of ṛṣbham, but more closer to the one given in Vālājāpeṭṭai version which will be described soon. The pallavi has five saṅgati-s, of which four show its presence in Vālājāpeṭṭai version. One saṅgati here sports the phrase MNDN, which occur only once in this kṛti. This phrase is absent in Vālājāpeṭṭai version. Similarly the first line of anupallavi has a saṅgati which has the phrase SGMSN. This phrase is again not seen in Vālājāpeṭṭai version. It can be concluded that the basic Vālājāpeṭṭai version could have been followed in this text with few additional saṅgati-s. Whether this version has a Vālājāpeṭṭai source or this was the musical tune of this kṛti prevalent among all the disciples, directly learnt from Svāmigal cannot be ascertained.

Dākṣinātyagānam is the third text to take a note of this kṛti (See footnote 4).7 In contrast with the other two versions mentioned above, this has ṛṣbham. Also, tāla of this kṛti is given as dēśādhi. The svara ṛṣbham occurs in the phrases like SRS, RSNDN and RGM; but phrases like SMGM or MNDN are not seen. Can we then call it as Kamās, when its integral phrases are not present? It is acceptable that a composer need not use all phrases in a rāga. But is he entitled to envisage a rāga with none of its integral phrases?

Coming to manuscripts, this is seen in Vālājāpeṭṭai transcripts and a manuscript written by Śrīnivāsarāghavan and Kumbakōṇam Viśvanātha Ayyar. Śrīnivāsarāghavan has collected manuscripts from various sources and we cannot point it to any particular source. This has ṛṣbham in the phrases SRGM and NRS, but only in two or three places. This version corresponds to SGMPDNS  SNDPMGS with occasional SRGM. Again, no other vital phrases of Kamās can be seen.  

The version by Kumbakōṇam Viśvanātha Ayyar8 does not have ṛṣbham (See footnote 5). The version given here strictly adheres to the scale SGMPDNS SNDPMGS. He was a disciple of Umayālpuram Svāminātha Iyer and consider to represent late Umayālpuram lineage.

Vālājāpeṭṭai transcripts give a version which is different from the commonly heard version, yet identical with the rāga Kamās. The version strictly adheres to the scale SGMPDNS SNDPMGS, a variant of Kamās mentioned by Subbarāma Dīkṣitar, totally devoid of ṛṣbham. This is set to the tāla dēśādhi and the melody when sung in this tāla gives a different feel. In the article on Kamās we have seen the scale mentioned can be a variant and with the occasional presence of ṛṣbham can be considered as Kamās as seen in the kṛti ‘sujana jīvana’. Now a doubt can arise for an astute observer, the reason for us to discuss this kṛti separately when we have seen a Kamās variant.

The Vālājāpeṭṭai version of this kṛti, though appears much similar to the kṛti ‘sujana jīvana’, has much pertinent differences. First, this lacks ṛṣbham completely. Nowhere in the literature, have we come across an evidence to consider Kamās as a ṣādava rāga. Hence calling this kṛti as Kamās is debatable. We had raised this query in the article on Kamās too. Second, the kṛti strictly follows the scale SGMPDNS SNDPMGS, excluding the presence of DNP. Whereas the kṛti ‘sujana jīvana’ had many outliers like SMGS, GPM which can be seen in any old composition composed in the rāga Kamās. Third, the gṛha and nyāsa svara-s used in this kṛti are ṣadjam and pancamam. If we contrast this kṛti with ‘sujana jīvana’, this point can be understood well. The latter kṛti starts with madyamam and almost every āvarta ends with madyamam. Lastly, dhaivatam, though we didn’t see it as a gṛha svara in the latter kṛti, can be considered as an amsa svara. Madhyama and dhaivata are the important svara-s that form a base for Kamās. This cannot be applied for this kṛti in hand. Niṣādha is actually a prominent nyasa svara in this kṛti. Madhyama and dhaivata were not given a prominent place. Considering all these differences, it can be very well precluded that this kṛti could have been composed in some apūrva rāga, having a lakṣaṇa much similar to Kamās. Vālājāpēṭṭai version can be heard here.

When other old versions were compared, it can be seen that all except one follow this variant scale.  Of these versions, the version in Saṅgītānandaratnākaram is almost a reproduction of Vālājāpeṭṭai version. The version by Kumbakōṇam Viśvanātha Ayyar also supports the scale and though the version is not a verbatim reproduction of Vālājāpeṭṭai version, it is melodically much similar with the latter version. It can very well be considered as a modification of Vālājāpeṭṭai version. Śrīnivāsarāghavan too follows this scale but has ṛṣbham. Going by these versions, can we speculate the basic melody could have been in some rāga with the scale SGMPDNS SNDPMGS. Texts could have mentioned it as Kamās due to its inherent similarity with the latter rāga. In that case, phrases suggestive of Kamās were added later? This name confusion and mixing up of rāga-s is not uncommon. We had discussed earlier about this in the rāga Rudrapriya and how Rudrapriya mentioned by Subbarāma Dīkṣitar can very well be called as Karnāṭaka Kāpi by many others.

This hypothesis becomes stronger when we consider the version given in Dākṣinātyagānam. That version too has some melodic similarities with Vālājāpeṭṭai verion, especially in the pallavi segment. But the presence of ṛṣbham makes the melody sound different. C R Śrīnivāsa Ayyaṅgār, author of this text has mentioned that the kṛti-s were procured from his personal collection and from Flute Śarabha Śāstrigal. But the source of individual kṛti was not given. In this version, excluding the presence of SRGM and SRS, no other phrase typical to Kamās can be seen. In such a case, is it acceptable to call it as Kamās? We leave this question to musicologists.  

Name of the rāga

Having seen these versions, it is necessary to name the scale seen in this kṛti. Our idea is not to obfuscate the readers by giving some obscure names; rather this an attempt to create an image in the mind of readers that this could have been composed in a rare rāga. Ideally kṛti-s like this are to be discussed in music conferences and consensus has to be made. But to begin with, an attempt is being made here to name this scale. The text Rāga Pravāham gives three different names for this single rāga culled from three different sources – Bilaval, Dhivyamavathi and Karnāṭaka Kamās.9 Of these the last one suits better than the other two, as the this scale represents Kamās in many aspects.

Conclusion

This kṛti, like many kṛti-s of Svāmigal display heterogeneity, across the versions with respect to rāga lakṣaṇam. Though every other version label it as Kamās, the lakṣaṇa given therein differ considerably. From our analysis, it can be seen the lakṣaṇa seen in the majority of the examined versions do not correspond with the lakṣaṇa of Kamās or its variant.

Though this kṛti and ‘sujana jīvana’ were considered to be set in the same rāga, there exist differences between these two as it is evident from our analysis. But all these differences testimony the past and we nowhere can hear those differences, either now or in future.

The rāga handled here could be a scale much resembling Kamās and somewhere down in the line Kamās phrases could have been added. This ṣādava scale has many other names and the one that is much closer to Kamās, less confusing and also which can be taken by us easily is Karnāṭaka Kamās.

Footnotes

Footnote 1 – From Subbarāma Dīkṣitar, several musicians had made a note that Svāmigal didn’t reveal the name of the apūrva rāga-s to his disciples. Someone, perhaps after the beatitude of Svāmigal has named by referring to some lexicon available to them.

Footnote 2 – Cermādēvi Subraḥmaṇya Śāstrigal represents the disciple lineage Śrī Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar, being a disciple of Subbarāma Dīkṣitar and Ambi Dīkṣitar. He also had his training from Vīna Śēṣaṇṇaof Mysore. In a series of articles in the magazine The Saṅgīta Abhimāni, he expressed his views on the rāga variations seen in the compositions of Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar and Svāmigaḷ. He raises the same query, how or why the changes are seen only in these apūrva rāga-s of these composers when we have the same lakṣaṇa for rāga-s like Kāmbhōji or Tōḍi? He also mentions both of them belonged to the śiṣya parampara of Vēṅkaṭamakhin.

Footnote 3 – This author was told by Dr Rājaśrī Srīpati, Vaiṇika, that she has learnt this kṛti completely devoid of ṛṣbham from Viduṣi Smt Suguṇa Varadācāri.

Footnote 4 – The exact year of publication of this text cannot be identified. Based on the introductory notes given by Ayyaṅgār, it can be speculated that this text must have been published before 1917.

Footnote 5 – At one place in the anupallavi, we were unable to ascertain the exact svara he has written. Though it appears like ṛṣbham, its complementary part that occurs in caraṇam does not read as ṛṣbham. 

Acknowledgements

I sincerely thank Smt Nandhini Venkataraman, descendant of Kumbakonam Sri Visvanatha Iyer and Dr Chandran, descendant of Dr Srinivasa Raghavan for parting me with the manuscripts in their possession.

My sincere thanks to Dr Rājaśrī Srīpati for educating me about the rare version of this composition.

References

  1. K.V. Rāmacandran. The mēlakartā – A critique. The Journal of Music Academy, pg 31-33, 1938.
  2. K.V. Rāmacandran. Karnatic rāga-s from a new angle. The Journal of Music Academy, pg 105-127,1996.
  3. Cermādēvi Subraḥmaṇya Śāstrigal. Vaiṇīka, gāyaka samvādam. Sila janya rāgaṅgalin kuzappam. The Saṅgīta Abhimāni, pg 101-103,1936.
  4. P. Sāmbamūrti. The Wālājāhpet manuscripts. The Journal of Music Academy, pg 114-129, 1938.
  5. Taccur Śingarācāryulu, Cinna Śankarācāryulu . Saṅgīta Kalānidhi, pg . Kalā Ratnākara, Mudrākśara Śālā, Cennapuri, 1912 
  6. Tenmaṭam Vēṅkaṭācāryulu, Tenmaṭam Varadācāryulu. Saṅgītānanda ratnākaramu, pg 51-52. Śrīnikētana mudrāyantramu, Madras, 1917.
  7. C.R. Śrīnivāsa Ayyaṅgār. Dākṣinātyagānam, pg 156-157.
  8. Kumbakōṇam Viśvanātha Ayyar. http://musicresearchlibrary.net/omeka/items/browse?collection=1&sort_field=Dublin+Core%2CTitle&page=2

9. M.N. Danḍapāṇi, D. Paṭṭammal. Rāga Pravāham. The Trinity Book Publishers, 2007.

The Extinct Malavasri

Prologue & A Prelude:

Ragas like Saranganatta, Desakshi, Samantha and Malavasri once upon time ruled the roost but today lie forgotten and unsung. Malavasri is a raga in which both Tyagaraja and Muthusvami Dikshita have composed. This blog post is to document the history of the raga in brief and introduce Dikshita’s composition to the reader of this blog.

But before that, is a prelude. The year was 1945, when the Second World War was winding down, with the day being March 25th, a Sunday. If one had tuned into the All India Radio Madras 1 Station at 10PM that day, after the rendering of  the popular “ Nee Inrangayenil” by the young and sprightly M S Subbulakshmi, the listener would have next heard the kriti of Tyagaraja in the raga Malavasri (“Evarunnaru brova”) played from the vinyl record rendered by the then 26 year old D K Pattammal in her inimitable style, followed by Dikshita’s “Manasa Guruguha rupam” in Anandabhairavi – vide the extract of the day’s broadcast schedule from the “Indian Listener” pinned as the header to this post.

The same recording made by her close to 90 years ago can be heard here:

Yet another is a dance piece for listening- Kubera Stuti- in tisra eka tala set in the raga Malavasri.

The raga Malavasri belongs to the 22nd Mela (Kharaharapriya/Sriraga) taking the following svaras/murrcanas in its ascent and descent, according to the Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini (SSP).

Arohana: S G2 G2 M1 P N2 D2 N2 S

Arohana: S N2 N2 D2 P M1 P N2 D2 M1 M1 G2 S

Mark the emphasis on the gandhara, madhyama and nishadha notes in the progression. This raga is an oddity for more than one reason for it also incorporates a few now-lost 18th century raga architectural attributes. While Natta, Gaula, Arabhi, Varali and Sri were the traditional ghana ragas (pancakam) of the first category, the ragas Reetigaula, Narayanagaula, , Bhauli, Malavasri and Saranganatta are the constituents of the dviteeya ghana pancakam.

Historical Background to the Raga:

The raga right through history has been recorded by musicologists and with the advent of the mela scheme, Venkatamakhin (1620 CE) as well as Shaji (circa 1700 CE) and Tulaja (circa 1732 CE), placed the raga as a shadava raga skipping rishabha altogether under Sriraga mela. And the raga is documented as-is in the Ragalakshanam of Muddu Venkatamakhin (circa 1750). Older texts while helping in validating the broad lakshanas of ragas, do not provide us with the intricate details or compositions and we are left to rely on the Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini (SSP) of Subbarama Dikshita which details this raga for our benefit.

The SSP’s narrative provides us with this nominal raga structure for us.

Arohana: S G2 G2 M1 P N2 N2 D2 N2 S

Arohana: S N2 N2 D2 P M1 P N2 D2 M1 M1 G2 S

Attention is invited to the vakra dhaivatha in the arohana and the SNDPM, SNDNPM, SNDNPM combinations that occur in the descent. Further Subbarama Dikshita asserts on the authority of the older texts that there are no sancaras beyond the madhya stayi. In fact, Muthusvami Dikshita’s kriti provided as an exemplar goes one step further as the raga is dealt with only between madhya gandhara and tara pancama, with no sancaras below.

The SSP documents the following compositions as exemplars of the raga, none of which are in currency on the modern concert stage.

  1. Mangalambayai Namaste” of Muthusvami Dikshita in misra jhampa tala
  2. Devi Sathatham” of Krishnasvami Ayya in Matya capu tala – the musical setting perhaps being done by Subbarama Dikshita himself
  3. Indha perumai” – a padam in Tamil by Mukkupulavar in misra eka tala – the sahitya being that of the Ettayapuram Court poet and the musical setting likely of Balasvami Dikshita

The SSP apart from documenting the lakshya gitam ascribing it to Venkatamakhin as authority for the raga’s grammar also documents a unique gitam commencing as “manmadha naLa” called as “mukta-pada-grastham” whereby the ending syllabic constituent unit of the previous sahitya section becomes the first syllabic constituent of the succeeding sahitya portion. (andhadhi). Much like the Narayanagaula gitam documented in the SSP, this gitam must have been in currency and must have been a popular composition. It must be emphasized that gitas or gita prabhandas were the concise repositories of a raga’s lakshanas, encapsulating pithily the set of all possible svara combinations or murrcanas of the raga, akin to how we treat the varna in modern days.

A perusal of the said gita offers us vital clues as to this raga’s lakshana:

  1. The raga delineated spans the madhya sadja to the tara madhyama. There are no mandhara stayi phrases in the gita.
  2. The gita is divided into two parts – the first one being the dhruvam – the so-called opening refrain or what we today call as the pallavi. The second is the javada or the so called anupallavi part which loops back to the dhruvam or the refrain.
  3. Nishadha followed by the madhyama is found greatly emphasized by their repeated usage both in the dheergha and janta varieties.
  4. The salient arohana and avarohana murrcanas found are as under:
    • Madhya stayi- ascent- SGGM-MMP-MPNNDN-NDNS
    • Madhya stayi – descent: -SNS-SNNDPMP- SNDP-SNDNPN-MNDMGS-SNDNPNDMGS-PMGS
    • Tara stayi – S,GS- MMGS-SMGS-MGSMGS-

Apart from the SSP two other documented sources of this raga from olden times even antecedent to the SSP are as under:

  1. manmadha nala” the gitam in Malavasri found in the SSP is also published in Pallavi Svara Kalpavalli (published in 1900 CE) by Tiruvottriyur Tyagier. There are a few variations here and there save for one crucial aspect which is that in one place the mandhara nishadha is touched.
  2. Sri Ramani kucakumkuma” – a ragamalika gitam of 32 ragas in Dhruva tala of which Malavsri is one is found published in “Sangeetha Sarvaartha Sara Sangrahamu” of Veena Ramanujacharya (1873 CE). The sahitya and the corresponding musical notation which runs for one avarta of tala is as under:
1 2 3 4 5 6
S , M M G S
gA . . . ya ka
N S N D    
pa . rA .    
N N D M    
ya nu rE .    

The notation in italics is the tara sancara notes of the raga. This brief snippet of  the raga encompasses madhya stayi madhyama to tara stayi madhyama, emphasizing   nishadha madhyama notes, corresponding to the treatment of the raga in  “Mangalambayai Namaste” as we will see shortly. And while dhaivatha is vakra in the arohana, it is more seen vakra in the avarohana as well though a lineal SNDP is not forbidden. Vakra sancaras are de rigueur in this raga, which by incorporating multiple flows of murccanas follows the classical 18th century raga architecture.

It has to be pointed out that the raga’s lakshana as embodied in the SSP fully accords with the musical history right from the times of Venkatamakhin staying under the Sri raga mela and omitting rishabha. Both Sahaji and Tulaja in their works reinforce the same lakshana for the raga. Even the Sangraha Cudamani, the lexicon of the ragas of compositions of Tyagaraja omits rishaba in its structure and provides roughly the same arohana-avarohana krama for the raga.

And off course all musical texts are unanimous as to the rishabha being omitted and the raga being a upanga raga under 22nd mela.

Mangalambayai Namaste” of Muthusvami Dikshita

Before we delve into the musical aspects of composition, let’s look at the sahitya and its meaning first:

Pallavi

namastE                        – Salutations to you,

SrI  mangaLAmbAyai              – to (you who are) Goddess Mangalamba!

SrI vAncha linga nija SaktE    – O personal, active power of Shiva (Vanchalinga)!

vilIna cit-SaktE               – O embodiment of the hidden mental power!

anupallavi

sangIta sAhitya sArajna sannutE – O one celebrated by those who know the essence of music and literature,

mangaLa-Alaya gupta gangA taTa sthitE – O one dwelling in the auspicious temple on the bank of (the tank) Gupta Ganga,

ananga-Adi-upAsitE              – O one worshipped by Manmatha and others!

SRngAra-Adi yutE                – O one possessed of the various sentiments (Rasas) beginning with love(Shrngara)!

caraNam

manda smita-AnanE               – O one with a gentle countenance

mALava SrI janE              – O one who has good people (as devotees) in the country of                                                        Malava!

indirA-AlOkanE                  – O one who blessed Lakshmi with your gaze!

ISvara-ArAdhanE                 – O one who worships Shiva!

indIvara-Asana-Adi-IDita      – O one acclaimed by the gods led by the lotus-seated Brahma!

Siva-anganE                     – O young wife of Shiva!

sindUra kastUri candana-AlEpanE – O one anointed with vermillion, musk and sandal paste!

kunda mukuLa radanE             – O one with teeth like small-jasmine buds,

guru guha hRtsadanE             – O one whose abode is the heart of Guruguha,

sundari                                           – O beautiful one!

mRdu gadanE                               – O soft-spoken one!

sukha-tara kara madanE         – O one who grants great joy to Manmatha!

  1. The raga name and the colophon of Dikshita are seamlessly woven into the lyrics referring to the Malava/Malwa region (modern Central India)
  2. The ksetra of the composition is Sri Vanchiyam and Goddess Mangalambika is the consort of Lord Vanchinatha who is the presiding deity.
  3. Sri Vanchiyam is a hoary ksetra and is rich in stala purana from a mythological standpoint. Refer: http://templesoftamilnadu.co.in/srivanchiyam/
  4. Dikshita has composed three kritis, on Lord Vanchinatha and Goddess Mangalambika, of this ksetra as documented in the SSP as under:
    • Mangalambayai Namaste – Malavsri – misra jhampa tala
    • Sri Mangalambike – Kalyani – Khanda Ata
    • Sri Vanchanatham – Surati – Adi

From a musical aspect, the setting of the composition is itself very interesting.

  1. Subbarama Dikshita in his commentary makes a number of pertinent points about the raga:
    • He says the raga is shadava with rishabha being dropped totally and dhaivatha varja. It has to be pointed out that in the lakshana sloka dhaivatha is said to dropped (varjitha) in the arohana.
    • Malavasri is a ghana raga of the dviteeya category.
    • Gandhara, nishadha and madhyama svara are the key life-giving notes
    • From a lakshya standpoint the raga spans madhya stayi sadja to tara stayi madhyama.
    • SGGMPNNS -NNDPMPNDMMGS is the arohana and avarohana krama
  2. In the kriti however, Dikshita implements the raga as under:
    • While rishabha is dropped, dhaivatha is vakra in the arohana and not varjya. Dhaivatha note occurs as MPNDNS in the arohana and SNDP or SNDMP or SNDNP in the avarohana krama.
    • The raga effectively spans madhya stayi madhyama to tara stayi madhyama, with two outliers/exceptions – in the tara stayi the pancama (“srng-ArAdhiyutE”)is touched in one place and in the madhya stayi gandhara (“vilInacit saktE)” is touched in another place.
    • In other words, there is no sancara below madhya stayi gandhara, while the tara pancama is the outermost svara in the upper register.
    • The madhyama kala sahitya portion appended to the carana commencing “kunda mukula radanE” captures the effective gamut of the raga as visualized by Dikshita in this composition.
    • The primacy of the tara madhyama with which the composition starts and the repeated emphasis on the nishadha note (at “mangalAlaya” for instance) are key aspects to be noted.
    • Kampita gamaka adorns nishadha and gandhara throughout the composition.
    • Given the madhya stayi gandhara to tara madhyama only scope as dealt with in the composition, the murcchanas occurring thereof can be noted as below:
      1. MPNNS; MPNNDNS; GMNNDNS and SNDP, SNDPMPG, MPNNDM, SNDMPM in the madhya stayi
      2. SGS, SGMGS, SMGS and PMGS in the tara stayi
  3. From a rendering perspective the following aspects has to be observed for this composition:
    • The song commences on the tara madhyama and therefore a vocalist should “park firmly” at the madhyama note in the upper register, without deviating in any manner, such as intoning the gandhara instead as the commencing note.
    • Keeping in line with the delineation in the composition, any sancara below madhya gandhara should advisedly be eschewed in any sangati or alapana or neraval or svara prastara, so as to ensure fidelity to the intent of the composer as he has kept to that as the gamut of the raga in this composition.

Discography:

In this section I present the my rendering of “Mangalambayai Namaste” to the best of abilities , keeping to my interpretation of the notation found in the SSP. I should hasten to add that errors and omissions are entirely mine.

In this context the following points are to be noted:

  1. A version of this composition is found in the public domain ascribed to Sangeeta Kalanidhi Smt. Aruna Sairam. It is most respectfully submitted that the said version does not conform to the notation as found in the SSP and much liberties has been taken with the same. Here is the recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHSmlUKZ1PI
  2. It is even more unfortunate that the composition is seen rendered in khanda capu tala as well inflicting even greater damage to the composition. As recorded in earlier blog posts, the Jhampa Tala compositions of Dikshita such as “Sri Venugopala” ( Kurinji), “Sri Kalahasteesa” ( Huseini) are seen rendered in khanda capu tala, doing incalculable harm both the intent of the composer and the rhythmic setting of the kriti.
  3. Notations as well narratives of the raga found in the public domain provides the arohana and avarohana krama of the raga wrongly. Rishabha is seen included in the descent. It has to be noted that the raga is entirely devoid of rishabha note. Students as well as performers need to stay wary of these obvious errors. Example: https://karnatik.com/c5787.shtml
  4. There is another composition “ Kanakasabapatim” passed off as a composition of Muthusvami Dikshita in the raga Malavasri. Again it is most respectfully submitted that this is a plain misattribution as the composition can neither be of Dikshita’s nor is it the Malavasri of the SSP as it does not in any way conform to the lakshana of the raga found in “Mangalambayai” and documented in the SSP. And therefore, the said composition is not considered in this blog post.

Malavasri as featured in Ramasvami Dikshita’s 108-Raga-Tala Malika

This magnum opus as published in the SSP, features the raga Malavasri as the 13th portion/khandika set in rAjacUdAmani tala. The notation shows traversal of Malavasri in the mandhara stayi upto the mandhara madhyama. And above all a considerable portion of the lyrics are notated in mandhara stayi in obvious discordance to Subbarama Dikshita’s own commentary that the raga does not permit sancaras below madhya sadja ! However the raga as delineated is otherwise in line with the stated lakshana of the raga being SGMPNNS/SNDPMGS.

Vidushi R S Jayalakshmi in Dec 2014 gave a lecture demonstration of this mammoth composition of Ramasvami Dikshita. In this Youtube Link she demonstrates the Malavasri portion starting 1:07:18 onwards.

Malavasri & the SSP and Tyagaraja’s Compositions:

Thus, Malavasri has always been a shadava raga of the Sriraga mela, omitting rishabha. And in the SSP as we see there are two other unique aspects:

  1. Dhaivatha is vakra in the arohana and
  2. Sancaras span only from madhya gandhara to tara pancama. And according the Subbarama Dikshita sancaras below madhya stayi sadja are not seen in the raga. This feature of the raga is akin to that of Surati where no sancaras are seen below the sadja of the middle register.

In this context we have to assess the melodic contours of the Malavasri found in Tyagaraja’s compositions “Evarunnaru” and “Ennalu tirigedi”. It is to be noted that this composition of Tyagaraja – “Evarunnaru” is only found listed in Rangaramanuja Iyengar’s publication and is not found documented in other publications or compendia of Tyagaraja’s compositions.

The lyrics of the composition can be found here: http://thyagaraja-vaibhavam.blogspot.com/2007/09/thyagaraja-kriti-evarunnaaru-brova-raga.html

While the rendering of Smt D K Pattammal was presented earlier, the other rendering being that of Sangita Kalanidhi T V Sankaranarayanan is given below:

https://wynk.in/music/song/evarunnaru/am_INM159200051?page=0

The following conclusions can be drawn from these renderings:

  1. The melody indeed involves the notes of Mela 22, duly eschewing the rishabha note.
  2. The composition as well as the renderings span the full middle register and up to tara madhyama.
  3. Dhaivatha is seen rendered vakra in the arohana krama.
  4. The carana section “manasAraga dhyanimpanu– manasu nilupu marmambu telipi” seems tinted with rishabha (perhaps due to an oscillated flatter gandhara) which is avoidable. It has to be mentioned that the tara sancaras are rendered with SMGS or its variants without any trace of rishabha.

A cleaner version devoid of even a faint suggestion of rishabha in the said places in the kriti along with a sharper sadharana gandhara intonation, is this rendering of Vidvan Dileepkumar which is presented below:

The other kriti of Tyagaraja “ennalu tirigedi” of Tyagaraja is rendered by Dr Ritha Rajan which can be heard here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdvhTBoydpY

Conclusion:

The evaluation of the musical material available to us shows that for Malavsri, the gitam as well as the kritis of Muthusvami Dikshita and Tyagaraja present an unalloyed and complete picture of the raga, which is sufficient for one to comprehend, understand and assimilate the raga, from the point of view of both a student and a performer. Further the raga as well as the Dikshita’s composition “Mangalambayai Namaste” can not only be rendered with practice but can be dealt with along with alapana, neraval and svaraprastara. By properly imbuing the composition and the raga lakshana therein, with fidelity to the notation and the intent of the composer, the composition can be performed competently. It is earnestly hoped that this beautiful composition with its uttaranga and upper register centric pivot, will be encountered more frequently on the concert circuit in the days to come.

References:

  1. Subbarama Dikshitar (1904) – “Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini” – Republished in Tamil by Madras Music Academy (2006) -Vol II- Sriraga Mela- Pages 489-496
  2. Dr Hema Ramanathan (2004) – “Ragalakshana Sangraha”- Collection of Raga Descriptions pp 816-828
  3. Prof S R Janakiraman & Subba Rao (1993)- “Ragas of the Saramrutha”- published by the Madras Music Academy -pp 34-35
  4. Savitri Rajan & Michael Nixon (1982)–“Sobhillu Saptasvara” – published by CBH Publications -pp 115 & 135

A Critical Appreciation of the raga Jujavanti and ‘ceta srI bAlakrishnam’

Prologue:

The raga Jujavanti is typically spoken about in our world of music as a Northern import. The first historical reference to the raga is the Anubandha to the Caturdandi Prakashika (dateable to circa 1750 AD) of Muddu Venkatamakhin. None of the prior Southern musicological texts talk about this raga. Therefore for us today, the definition of this raga according to the Anubandha, the commentary of Subbarama Dikshita for the same in the Sangeeta Sampradaya Pradarshini (SSP) and the exemplar compositions thereunder which he has provided are the ones which can help us understand the raga.

We can see that the raga as presented in the SSP ( its original construct) has during the 20th century and till date has acquired a slightly evolved hue. And in this blog post we seek to uncover the correct original structure of the composition and the authentic versions from our oral traditions.

SOME INITIAL DISCLAIMERS:

But before we jump headlong, a few disclaimers need to go on record.

  1. As the Anubandha to the Caturdandi Prakashika is the first and earliest authoritative musicological text which talks about the raga, I have provided pre-eminence to the same in this blog post.
  2. Secondly the Anubandha gives the raga name as ‘jujAvanti’. And so that will be the name which we will stick to.
  3. We have modern music books and composition banks giving the raga name as Dvijavanti. For this assertion, the authority is the Sangraha Cudamani, a lexicon which we have encountered much in our earlier blog post, wherein the raga is listed with the name as Dvijavanti and not Jujavanti. It has been held beyond reasonable doubt that the Sangraha Cudamani is much anterior to the Anubandha in terms of its creation/authorship. And hence we are not seeking to consider the raga name/definition of Dvijavanti therein. Besides the Sangraha Cudamani can be considered a lexicon of the ragas of Tyagaraja’s compositions. Even from that perspective we see little relevance to this blog post, as we do not have any Tyagaraja composition handed down to us in this raga. We do have some records of compositions being in this raga from later times- see foot note below.
  4. We do have modern texts of music talking about this raga’s kinship to the Hindustani raga Jaijaivanti and Dikshita having a hand in getting to know the Northern melody during his Kashi sojourn. In so far as this blog post goes, given that there is no solid evidence to prove nexus between the northern melody and Jujavanti found in the SSP and on the authority of Muddu Venkatamakhin who has listed it in the Anubandha circa 1750 AD, the proximity if any between the ragas is purely coincidental perhaps unless proof is unearthed to prove nexus.
  5. Given that Muthusvami Dikshita alone has composed in this raga and we do not have any record of pre-trinity composers composing in this, the SSP is taken the final and authentic authority for the composition- see foot note 1.
  6. Post SSP we did have the Dikshitar Keertanai Malai (DKM Series) bring forth a new composition ‘akhilAndEsvarI rakshamAm’ attributed the same to Muthusvami Dikshita himself. The same has not been considered again for this blog post and for reasons vide foot note below.
  7. Again, many 20th century composers have taken up this raga which again is not in scope for this blog post.

JUJAVANTI – RAGA LAKSHANA:

The Anubandha to the Caturdandi Prakashika ( the text Ragalakshanam attributed to Muddu Venkatamakhin) places the raga Jujavanti under Kedaragaula Mela (28). There are five important dimensions we have to consider to discern a raga’s lakshana, when we say that it is under a particular mela in the Anubandha.

  1. The Anubandha is just a seriatim listing of ragas and their murccana arohana/avarohana, mela wise as one can see from the text of the Anubandha published by the Madras Music Academy.
  2. Beyond this listing one has to look at whether the raga name is found as an upanga or bashanga under the lakshya gita of the parent mela- for example the raga name Jujavanti has to be found under the relevant kandikha of the Harikedaragaula lakshya gitam.
  3. The lakshana sloka for the raga if available has to be looked into.
  4. Gitas and tAnas if any in the raga as to be finally vetted in order to develop the complete picture of the raga.

For points 2, 3 and 4 as above, we have Subbarama Dikshita’s inestimable SSP to assist us. The SSP provides these data point along with Subbarama Dikshita’s commentary on the raga along with his exemplar – kritis and his very own sancaris which we can evaluate as the 5th dimension.

When we evaluate the above dimensions in the context of Jujavanti, the following are the findings:

  1. The Anubandha lists it as the 15th & final raga under the Harikedaragaula mela/clan.
  2. However the Harikedaragaula rAgAnga lakshya gitam  in triputa tAla having ‘Nanda gopa nanda’ as its refrain ( antari section) does not list the raga in its upanga or bashanga raga section.
  3. The raga’s lakshana shloka goes as :

 जुजावान्ताख्यरागश्चसंपूर्णःसग्रहानवितः |

 लक्ष्यमार्गानुसारेणगीयतेगानवेदिभिहि ||

In other words,

  1. the raga jujAvanti is sampurna – meaning it has all the seven notes in both the arohana and avarohana together
  2. the note ‘sA’ – the sadja is the graha or starting note of the raga
  3. the raga has to be sung and understood from practice

While the above shloka is as given by Subbarama Dikshita, the text of the Anubandha as published by the Madras Music Academy is slightly different yet conveying the same meaning as to the lakshana of the raga.

  • There are no available gitas or tanas in the SSP.
  • Subbarama Dikshita provides a kriti of Muthusvami Dikshita ‘ceta srI bAlakrishnam’ in rupaka tAla and his own sancAri in matya tAla as exemplars. He has also provided an elaborate commentary to the raga, which is as we would be seeing in a while, the lodestar for us to get a grasp of the salient features of the raga. At the end of the sancari he provides a foot note to the effect that this raga also displays the shades of Yadukulakambhoji( Yerukalakambhoji as he calls), Darbar, Sahana and Bhairavi, even as it shines forth with its own native shade.

 SUMMARY OF THE LAKSHANA:

With the material at our disposal as above we can proceed to deconstruct their import and deduce the theoretical framework of the raga. Once we have done that can move to the discography to discern the aural contours of Jujavanti through the exemplars cited by Subbarama Dikshita.

The analysis of the above would reveal to us the following findings:

  1. As we can see while the listing of ragas in the Anubandha talks of Jujavanti there is no mention of the raga name in the rAgAnga rAga’s lakshya gita. The deduction can be that the lakshya gita is even prior to the seriatim listing and hence the raga was not formally inducted as a janya to Harikedaragaula at that point in time.
  2. The above also perhaps explains why we do not have gitams and tanams in the raga.
  3. The raga is thus only a post AD 1750 development finding place only in the Anubandha listing with the two Subbarama Dikshita provided exemplars alone as repositories of the raga’s lakshana in the SSP. Obviously the works of Sahaji ( AD 1700) and Tulaja ( Ad 1732) do not mention Jujavanti or any other raga with scalar equivalence.

 The narrative of Subbarama Dikshita for this raga in the SSP can be summarized as under:

  1. He says it is a desi raga or raga which had its origins from the public space.
  2. The raga can be discerned only from practice/lakshya
  3. The notes rishabha and madhyama are the life-giving notes. In fact, the prolonged RRR and MMM are given as illustrative murccanas.
  4. Both sadharana gandhara and antara gandhara occur copiously in this raga. Implicitly the other notes are R2, M1, P, D2 and N2 which are the default svaras for Mela 28.
  5. R/M\G2.R.G2R is a recurring leitmotif. The phrase begins with the catusruti rishabha gliding to the madhyama through jaru gamaka, gliding back to a prolonged sadharana gandhara followed by back-and-forth movement between catusruti rishabha and sadhara gandhara.
  6. Apart from RRR and MMM – prolonged exposition on rishabha and madhyama notes, MGMPD, MPDSPMG, RMG1.R, SRN.D.NS also add color to the raga.
  7. The phrase RGMGR occurs aplenty using both G1 and G3. However given that the raga is under Mela 28, the default gandhara is G2 ant it also occurs aplenty.

While the above is the commentary, from a musical standpoint Subbarama Dikshita while providing the notation for ‘ceta srI bAlakrishnam’ has ensured that the gandhara type- G2 of G3 is marked appropriately as necessary leaving us in no doubt as to when a particular gandhara type occurs in the composition. One can also notice that the rare ‘vaLI’ gamaka occurs extensively in this composition ornamenting almost all the note types and especially the madhyama as seen in the opening lines of the carana.

ANALYSIS OF THE NOTATION OF ‘ceta srI bAlakrishnam’:

The notation of the kriti by Subbarama Dikshita provides us with a number of useful insights.

  1. Muthusvami Dikshita almost as a rule always commences his composition right on the jiva svara- especially the graha or take off of the kriti sections namely Pallavi, anupallavi & caranam. In this case given that rishabha is the primary note, Dikshita rightfully begins the composition on a prolonged Rishabha. The lakshana shloka of the raga attributed to Muddu Venkatamakhin makes no such assertion. It is likely that Subbarama Dikshita’s comment that the rishabha is one of the raga’s jiva svara was driven by the pride of place given by DIkshita right at the start of the composition.
  2. Again it is this Dikshita kriti which is the authority for the usage of both the gandharas and the way it is to be used.
  3. The kriti notation makes it clear that G2 is always a transitory note. It is not a graha or a nyasa note. G2 occurs almost always as RG2R & MG2R in avarohana phrases ending with rishabha. And is typically accessed through the jaru or the glide. This is the aesthetic usage of the sadharana gandhara in Jujavanti. G3 can be a graha or starting note.
  4. Subbarama Dikshita says the raga is sampurna- considering both the arohana and avarohana together, which leaves us to determine what the salient arohana/avarohana & purvanga and uttaranga phrases of the raga are, using the composition as our compass.
    1. In the purvanga section SRG3MP, SRG2R, SRMG2R , SRPMG2R, SRG3MG1R, MG3MP,RG3MPDN
    2. In the inter-octaval movements pR- jump from the pancama ( mandhara/Madhya) to the rishabha ( Madhya/tara) respectively is an oft repeated motif adding beauty to the raga.
    3. In the uttaranga one can notice that PDNS is eschewed as an ascending phrase. We see PS, DPS, DNS and NDNS being used. Also we can see that RGMPDN can also be used.
    4. In the descent SNDP is to be used as a rule without skipping any of the notes.
    5. PMGRS is again not used and instead the double gandhara prayoga PMG3MRG2RS, PMG3RG2RS and MG3S (skipping rishabha in the descent, but using G3 and not G2) are seen.
  5. Subbarama Dikshita adds that RGMGR phrase which recurs again and again uses G2 and sometimes G3. Practically speaking however, the first gandhara occurring in the said phrase is a trishanku gandhara neither as sharp as G3 nor as flat as G2. So much for the gandhara and the way the raga has to be sung with bhava to bring out the unique flavor, that the ancients/Muddu Venkatamakhin decided to give up defining the raga and instead took shelter under the edict “ लक्ष्यमार्गानुसारेणगीयते “
  6.  In the krit notation if one were to observe, Subbarama Dikshita notates the gandhara as G2 in some places, G3 in some places and in quite a few places the gandhara is left without indication as to the variety – G2 or G3. It may be implied that in those places, since the default gandhara is G3 for the raga (as it belongs to Mela 28, for which the gandhara is G3), those places need to be sung only with G3.
THE NOTATION OF THE COMPOSITION AS FOUND IN THE DKP:

As mentioned in previous blog posts, the Dikshita Keertanai Prakashikai (DKP) of Tiruppamburam Natarajasundaram Pillai is yet another documentation of authentic notation of Dikshita’s kritis. The study of the composition’s notation in the DKP, reveals the following :

  1. The raga name is given as Jujavanti only and not Dvijavanti for instance, exactly in line with SSP.
  2. The raga is under mela 28 – Harikedaragaula having the same murccana progression as found in the SSP.
  3. The notation closely matches SSP, save for one factor which is that the sadharana gandhara occurrences are not clearly discernible.

DISCOGRAPHY:

Presented first is the doyenne Sangita Kalanidhi Smt T Brinda presenting the composition.

Attention is invited to the specific areas of the composition to show how her version has utmost fidelity to the notation found in the SSP & DKP. The “PDSP” usage in the raga and the rendering of the portion ‘purushOttamAvatAram’ in the composition provide the Yadukulakhambhoji like feel to the raga. Some modern day performers therefore elide/modify the portion as if to keep Yadukulakambhoji out. One can see in the versions presented in this section that this is not the case and she does not shy away from the prayoga.

It has to be reiterated that Smt T Brinda traces her patham to her mother / grand mother Dhanammal on to Sathanur Pancanada Iyer  on to Tambiyappan and finally to Dikshita himself. Smt Dhanammal and Sri Natarajasundaram Pillai ( the compiler of the “Dikshitar Kirtanai Prakashikai”) learnt Dikshita’s kritis together from Sathanur Pancanada Iyer during the 1880-1900 timeframe. This aspect can be considered while reviewing her rendering with the notation found in the DKP.

Arguably Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer must be credited for rendering this magnum opus of Dikshita frequently in his recitals and invariably he has rendered svara kalpana for the pallavi line almost as de rigueur. Presented first is the kriti proper.

Next is his svarakalpana. Attention is invited to the unique SRG2R, SRMG2R, G3MG3MRG2R and such other purvanga usages highlighting the core of the raga. Attention is invited to the chaste and polished mrudangam accompaniment, filling the gaps and pauses with beautiful rhythmic patterns in the process showing that the composition is a percussionist delight as well.

In passing it needs to be noted that this composition is yet another exemplar for the stylistic construct of Dikshita as is usual for him- a languorous and lilting gait, slow and sedate yet majestic marked by the cadences of the rupaka tala which gives enough visranthi or stretch to the fabric of the kriti. Across the board all performers of this composition render it in the sedate cauka kala as the compositional structure as well as the mood of the raga affords no opportunity to accelerate. As the veteran performer Sangita Kalanidhi Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer’s rendering shows, the composition can be artistically rendered in cauka kala and finally topped up with a few round of sedate 1st kala svaras to give a wholesome effect.

PROXIMITY OF SAHANA TO JUJAVANTI:

Subbarama Dikshita’s cryptic foot note on this is rooted to a very subtle point. Many musicians and rasikas alike confuse the point and make a comparison of Jujavanti with modern Sahana. Modern Sahana has practically only G3/antara gandhara. However for Subbarama Dikshita, as we saw in a previous blog post, Sahana is a raga under Mela 22 – with sadharana gandhara dominating and antara gandhara occurring sparsely. Thus this older Sahana and the Jujavanti of Ceta Sri Balakrishnam documented in the SSP has much melodic overlap as

  • Both them utilize the same notes, including the two types of gandhara.
  • GMRS and RGMP the motifs of Sahana, are shared by Jujavanti as well.
  • Both are sampurna utilizing all the seven notes in both arohana and avarohana.
  • The Muddu Venkatamakhin sloka for both the ragas talks about knowing or understanding the raga from practice / lakshya / empirically.

In fact, one can say that with the ascent of modern Sahana ( with G3 and  almost totally eschewing G2), Sahana has itself eveolved and created its own niche and a well-marked domain differentiating itself from Jujavanti markedly. And so the raga Dvijavanthi can at best be treated as a sibling of modern Sahana sharing common musical material.

CONCLUSION

‘ceta srI bAlakrishnam’ created by the composer nonpareil Muthusvami Dikshita is a magnum opus. Thankfully apart from the notation in the SSP and DKP we do have authentic and high fidelity vocal renderings which assists us in uncovering the original construct of the composition.

REFERENCES:

  1. Subbarama Dikshitar (1904)- Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini Vol III– Tamil Edition published by the Madras Music Academy in 1968/2006
  2. Dr Hema Ramanathan (2004) – ‘Ragalakshana Sangraha’- Collection of Raga Descriptions- pages 1005-1013
  3. Prof R. Satyanarayana (2010) – ‘Ragalakshanam’ – Kalamoola Shastra Series- Published by Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts, New Delhi
  4. Vidvan Thiruppamburam Svaminatha Pillai (1936) – Dikshita Keertanai Prakashikai (Tamil) – pages 105-108
  5. T L Venkatarama Iyer (1968) – “Muthusvami Dikshitar” ( English) – Biography Series Published by the National Book Trust, New Delhi
FOOT NOTES:
NOTE 1: A NOTE ON THE KRITI “AKHILANDESWARI RAKSHAMAM” :

This kriti surfaced in the 20th century along with numerous others, ascribed to the authorship of Muthusvami Dikshita. Set in raga Jujavanti and adi tala it was ostensibly composed by Dikshita on Goddess Akhilandesvari at Tiruvanaikaval/Trichirappalli, the Consort of Lord Jambukesvara. In fact, it was also given pride and prominence by being catalogued as a premier composition in the famous NCPA Red Book by no less a personage than Dr V Raghavan. However, both on the internet discussion boards and also in private and public domains, numerous individuals have questioned the attribution of this kriti to Muthusvami Dikshita. One example is this old USENET group discussion archived here. A range of reasons has been quoted in this context including the following.

  • Deficiency of the sahitya including usage of terms such as “jalli jarjhara” which occurs in the body of the composition.
  • The musical construct of the composition not being in consonance with Dikshita’s usual style

Be that as it may for me one particular evidence that this composition is most likely not Dikshita’s comes from Sangita Kalanidhi T L Venkatarama Iyer (TLV) a legal personage who retired as a Chief Justice of India. He had in my opinion the greatest opportunity to provide first-hand information on this. Enamored by Muthusvami Dikshita’s kritis, he was the one who brought Subbarama Dikshita’s son Ambi Dikshita to Madras and learnt many compositions of Dikshita from him. At that point in time he was a sitting Judge of the Madras High Court and later Chief Justice and therefore the respect and awe that he commanded from the society then was considerable. Much later after his retirement from the Supreme Court, he along with Mudicondan Venkatarama Iyer, assisted by Dr S Ramanathan and Dr B Rajam Iyer brought out the Tamil translation of the SSP. In other words, Justice TLV had an insider view of this and he had in all probability complete access to the repertoire and manuscripts of Ambi Dikshita himself from where much of the Dikshita compositions, post Ambi Dikshita’s demise surfaced. Now, Justice TLV in his biography of ‘Muthuswami Dikshitar’ National Book Trust published in November 1968, makes the following two statements & I quote him verbatim:

  1. On page 18 he says “The song Ceta Sri Balakrishnam of Dikshitar in this raga ( Dvijavanti) is a magnificent edifice giving the full view of the raga in all its aspects and is rightly regarded as the most impressive song in this raga….”
  2. On page 72 he makes a telling remark thus: – “In Dwijavanthi the piece Ceta Sri of Dikshitar stands out in solitary splendour…..” (emphasis mine).
  3. Again, on page 39 when he narrates the ksetra kritis of Tiruchirapalli he narrates that Dikshita created ‘Jambupate’ in Yamuna Kalyani. And he says “……On the Devi in that temple he composed the kriti “ Sri Matah siva vamanke” in Begada….”. But does not mention the Dvijavanthi composition.
  4. Nowhere in this book does he catalogue the kriti “Akhilandesvari” in Dvijavanthi.

Attention is invited to the use of the word ‘solitary’ which means a “singular” creation in this raga by Dikshita, in this context. Given his background as a jurist as well one must accord the right weightage to his written view or statement. Moreover, nowhere in his book does he make a mention of the kriti “Akhilandeswari” in this raga, even as he refers to a number of other kritis which came to be published later & not found in the SSP. He makes no mention of this kriti even in the context of his narrative on the kritis composed by Dikshita on the temples in Trichirappalli. And this book is dated 1968 more than a decade or so after the composition surfaced as a part of Dikshita Kriti Mala Series published by Kallidaikurici Sundaram Iyer in the 1940’s-1950’s.

If Justice T L Venkatarama Iyer’s take on this subject is that “Ceta Sri Balakrishnam” is the “solitary” i.e. the “only creation” of Dikshita in Jujavanti, it surely is an added & forceful weight to the argument that ‘Akhilandeswari rakshamam’ is not a composition of Dikshita. For this reasoning and others outlined above which casts doubts over the authenticity of the kriti , the same has been kept out of the analysis of the raga in this blog post.

NOTE 2: COMPOSITIONS IN JUJAVANTI/DVIJAVANTI- SOME COLLATERAL EVIDENCE:
  1. Dr Sita in her ‘Tanjore as a Seat of Music’ avers on the authority of old manuscripts found in the Tanjore Sarasvati Mahal Library that there is a composition in raga Jujavanti by a composer by name Giriraja Kavi who was patronized by King Sarabhoji, making it dateable to round 1800’s or thereabouts coinciding with the period of Trinity. However the musical setting is not available for the composition. Technically this composition is probably of the 1800 vintage coinciding with Muthusvami Dikshita’s times.
  2. Tiruvottiyur Tyagayya’s Pallavi Svarakalpavalli lists a lakshya gitam in raga Jujavanti, again which is post 1850 AD.
  3. Dr S Ramanathan has notated in the JMA 1965 Vol XXXVI a kriti of Gopalakrishna Bharathi in raga Dvijavanthi. Again this is a composition of post 1850 AD vintage.
  4. A composition of Margadarsi Sesha Iyengar, a pre-trinity composer is also seen assigned this raga.