We have seen about the rāga Rudrapriyā, its gṛha,
amsa, nyāsa svarā-s and salient phrases in the two earlier posts. It was established
that Rudrapriyā was mentioned by various names, the most common one being Karnāṭaka
Kāpi. It was also illustrated the name Rudrapriyā was used to denote different
scales in the past.
We have been mentioning in our earlier posts
that Rudrapriyā elucidated in the main body of Saṅgīta Samprādaya Pradarśini is
much different from the two kṛtis, ‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’ and ‘tyāgēśam bhajarē’,
notated in the ‘anubandham’ of the same text. The lakṣaṇa of these two kṛti-s
too does not confirm with each other. The kṛti ‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’ was
covered in an earlier post and the second kṛti will be the subject of
discussion in this post.
bhajarē in Saṅgīta Samprādaya Pradarśini
This is a very small kṛti constructed in a pallavi-anupallavi
format. This is not even suffixed with a ciṭṭa svara passage. This is an ode to
Tyāgēśa of Tiruvārur. Despite being a small kṛti, it has a reference to an important
attribute associated with the deity Tyāgēśa. The relics of Tyāgeśa like his
swords and throne are equally famous and much venerated as the Lord himself in
this shrine. He is the sovereign, rules the world and his throne is said to be
made of precious gems (Ratna simhāsanam). Muddusvāmi Dīkṣitar has referred to
His throne in many of his compositions, ‘kanaka ratna simhāsanābharaṇa’ in the Vīravasanta
kṛti ‘vīravasanta tyāgarāja’, ‘simhāsanapatē’ in this kṛti and in ‘tyāgarājaya
namaste’, a kṛti in Bēgaḍa. There is a ślokam ‘Tyāgarāja aṣṭakam’ attributed to Muddusvāmi Dīkṣitar.1
As the name indicates, this has eight verses and each verse ends with the line
‘śri tyāgarāya namo namaḥ’. The second verse here again refers to this throne
as ‘samśobhi simhāsana samsthithāya’ (one who sits on a greatly shining throne).
Musically, the rāga lakṣaṇa portrayed here is much different from others kṛti-s notated in Rudrapriyā. Excluding a single phrase MGMGGR, the lakṣaṇa followed here more confirms with the scale SRMPDS SNDPMGRS, which can be heard here. This is one of the few kṛti-s, wherein Muddusvāmi Dīkṣitar strictly follows a scale. The gṛha svara used here includes gāndhāra, pañcama and niṣādha and the nyāsa svara is always madhyama. We do find a plenty of janṭa gāndhāra, dhaivata and niṣādha prayōga-s. Excluding the use of janṭa phrases, we do not find any similarity with the rāga Rudrapriyā. More about the rāga Rudrapriyā can be read here. We now get a question, can a kṛti with this lakṣaṇa can be called as Rudrapriyā ?
We have not seen the
opinion of other musicians/musicologists on this rāga in our earlier posts and
that will be taken now. The documentations of the rāga lakṣaṇa discussions
happened during the annual conference organized by The Madras Music Academy
always provides a valuable reference to understand a rāga. These discussions
were attended by legion of musicians and they were not restrained in expressing
their thoughts on a rāga, its versions or the kṛti-s known to them. These
discussions not only enable us to know about a particular rāga, but also make
us aware of its variants. Fortunately, they were also recorded for the
Rudrapriyā finds a place in
two of such discussions. The first one happened in the year 1956.2 Two
distinctive types of Rudrapriyā were mentioned by the musicians participated in
this discussion; first is with the scale SRGMPDNNS SNPMGRS and the second with the scale SRGMNS
SNPMGRS. They were also of the opinion that the second one is to be called as Pūrṇaṣaḍjam.
A note has been made that Subbarāma Dīkṣitar has given six kṛti-s in notation including
‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’ and ‘tyāgēśam
bhajarē’. Whereas Musiri Subraḥmaṇya Ayyar had recorded the lakṣaṇa
of the former kṛti,
no discussion happened on the kṛti ‘tyāgēśam
The second discussion happened in the year
2009.3 Here this rāga was discussed with its allied rāga-s like Kānaḍā and Durbār. This was a much-detailed
discussion wherein many eminent musicologists participated and shared their
views. Here Rudrapriyā compositions in the main section differed from the two kṛti-s
in anubandham and difference between these two kṛti-s were taken note of. The kṛti
‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’ was
analyzed in detail and its resemblance with ‘śrī mānini’ of Svāmigal
was also discussed. Again no reference to the kṛti ‘tyāgēśam
bhajarē’ can be seen.
It can be seen from the above discussion,
though a note has been made about this kṛti and the different lakṣaṇa
seen here, no detailed analysis has been attempted; possibly due to
unpopularity of this kṛti.
kṛti of Tyāgarāja Svāmigal
When we discuss the kṛti ‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’ or render the kṛti, it is inevitable for us to think about the kṛti ‘śrī mānini’. We have analyzed these two kṛti-s in detail in the second part of this article which can be read here. Lesser-known fact is the kṛti ‘tyāgēśam bhajarē’ also have a complementary kṛti, composed by Svāmigal. Contrary to the first pair, this pair is similar only with respect to their rāga lakṣaṇa-s and not with the melody.
We have mentioned earlier that the kṛti ‘tyāgēśam bhajarē’ follows the scale SRMPDS
SNDPMGRS. This rāga is now called as Sālagabhairavi. But the complementary kṛti that we will be seeing is not the commonly
heard ‘padavini sadbhakthi’. Though this is the kṛti which
epitomizes the rāga Sālagabhairavi today, the older version of this kṛti is much different,
perhaps composed in a different rāga and we also find references to support
this view.4 An analysis of this older version and the differences
between this and the old Sālagabhairavi is to be covered separately.
We have a kṛti which could
have been composed in the present Sālagabhairavi (the scale that corresponds to the
in ‘tyāgēśam bhajarē’), but now
commonly sung in Mukhāri (See footnote 1). This kṛti ‘ēlāvatāra’ is mentioned as Sālagabhairavi in the text ‘Oriental Music in
European Notation’ by A M Chinnasāmy Bhāgavatar (See footnote 2).
Though this kṛti is a
personal dialogue between the composer and his iṣta dēvata Śrī Rāmacandra, this
kṛti has an important reference about the musical contribution of the composer.
This is one of the kṛti-s which reveals he has composed in 100 rāga-s and
grouped it as rāgamālika, referred to as ‘śata rāgaratna mālikalu rasiñcina’ in
this kṛti. Though we have no idea about this rāgamālika, C R Śrīnivāsa Ayyaṅgār
gives a fleeting reference in one of his article published in Sudēsamitran (See
Vālājāpeṭṭai manuscripts mention the rāga of this kṛti as Sālagabhairavi. The version here exactly follows the scale SRMPDS SNDPMGRS. Gāndhāra and pañcama were the gṛha svara-s used and madhyama acts as a nyāsa svara apart from ṣaḍja (can be compared with the kṛti ‘tyāgēśam bhajarē’). The svara-s ṛṣbha and gāndhāra do occur as janṭa, but as pratyāgata gamaka (janṭa occurring in avarōhaṇa krama) and in catusra phrases. So it is common to find phrases like MGG and GRR, in this kṛti. This confirms with the typical style of Svāmigal, as seen in Vālājāpeṭṭai versions. This can be compared with the janṭa phrases seen in the kṛti ‘tyāgēśam bhajarē’ wherein the janṭa svara-s occur as pratyāgata gamaka (but not as catusra phrases). This stylistic difference in the handling of svara-s give a different gait to the kṛti, despite being composed in the same rāga. The only difference that can be seen between these two kṛti-s is the presence of prayōga-s MGMGGR and PDND, but only in the latter kṛti. Though the first phrase is a deviation from the scale, the latter one is very much within the scale. There is a kṛti of Vīṇa Kuppaier in this rāga, ‘sāmagāna lolanē on Śrī Kālahastīśa. This kṛti too follows the mentioned scale, excluding the presence of the phrase SRGR. This special phrase is seen in the lakṣaṇa gītaṃ notated in Saṅgraha Cūḍāmaṇi.
in Saṅgraha Cūḍāmaṇi
Many believe Tyāgarāja Svāmigal
followed the treatise Saṅgraha Cūḍāmaṇi, selected apūrva rāga-s and composed in
them. But analysis of many old, defunct versions like that from Vālājāpeṭṭai
transcripts disprove this hypothesis (Readers can refer to Apūrva rāga-s series
of this author placed in this site to know more). This rāga, Sālagabhairavi, as we call it today, is seen in this
treatise and it also gives a lakṣaṇa gītaṃ for better understanding of this rāga.6
Many phrases outside this scale can be seen here like SRGR, SPM, RGRS, RPM, GSR,
GRPM, GDP, MMGMGR and PDMGR.
As mentioned earlier, none
of these outliers can be seen in the kṛti ‘ēlāvatāra, whereas these outliers can be seen in the kṛti-s ‘tyāgēśam bhajarē’ and ‘sāmagāna lolanē’
– MGMGR and SRGR respectively. Can we say Muddusvāmi Dīkṣitar and Vīṇa Kuppaier were conversant with Saṅgraha Cūḍāmaṇi?
Though we cannot give a definite answer, these
phrases cannot be taken lightly and ignored as a mere coincidence. It is a
well-known fact that Muddusvāmi
Dīkṣitar was equally conversant with Kanakāṅgi – Rasikapriyā nomenclature (See
footnote 4). This possibility can be conceived if we feel the present mēla
system was a later development. Rather if we consider Kanakāṅgi – Rasikapriyā and
Kanakāmbari – Rasamañjari system were coeval, it can be taken that he had good acquaintance
with both these systems.
It seems Saṅgraha Cūḍāmaṇi
was much popular among the disciples of Svāmigal and Vīṇa Kuppaier too could have accessed the same.Hence it is actually not impossible to find the use of the phrases seen
in Saṅgraha Cūḍāmaṇi
in the works of these composers
who were shrewd and able to incorporate the changes happening around them.
Sindhūra or (Hindustāni) Saindhavi
Though we were able to locate the phrases used
in these kṛti-s, in the lakṣaṇa gītaṃ notated in Saṅgraha Cūḍāmaṇi, this
hypothesis is not infallible when we consider the cultural milieu of Tanjāvūr between
17-19 CE. In the second part of this article, we have speculated the kṛti ‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’ and ‘śrī
mānini’ were not identical twins, but actually an inspiration from a common
melody heard in that area. We can apply this hypothesis to this kṛti too. Tanjāvūr
during the mentioned period was very active musically and there was not only an
amalgamation of various genres of music, but also effective incorporation and
thereby adaptation of these genres into our music. The composers mentioned in
this article were much inclusive to various musical thoughts and they did not
restrain themselves from incorporating these ideas into their creations. Dīkṣitar’s
nōṭṭusvara sāhitya-s, Svāmigal’s ‘ramiñcuva’ all come under this category
wherein they have adopted Western music into their creations. This rāga under
discussion could be an adaptation from Hindustāni music. There is a Hindustāni
rāga by the name Sindhūra or (Hindustāni) Saindhavi (emphasis is mine) and with the same scale.7
This rāga could have influenced these two composers to create a composition in
their own commendable style. Both these
composers were adept in ancient treatises and it is very unlikely that they
would have labelled this kṛti as Sālagabhairavi. For our reference, Sindhūra could be a better option as it will not lead
to any more confusion.
The above discussion clearly shows the rāga of this kṛti
cannot be fitted into the realm of Rudrapriyā. Atleast
the kṛti ‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’ has some elements that
made us to speculate, this kṛti could be a different interpretation of the rāga Rudrapriyā. But
that cannot be applied for this kṛti. In such a case, the reason for Dīkṣitar labelling it as Rudrapriyā is mysterious. We did not want to make a hasty
conclusion saying Dīkṣitar was wrong in naming it as Rudrapriyā. We just want to make a point that we are
unable to find a reason for this labelling. Even Dīkṣitar could have been puzzled by seeing the lakṣaṇa of this kṛti, strikingly
different from the Rudrapriyā of the main text. But the reason for him to
with this melody is even really intriguing. Perhaps he must have had a lexicon
in his possession, which label this scale as Rudrapriyā. Our statement ‘Rudrapriyā
had many names and many different scales were called as Rudrapriyā’ can be
We will stop at this point
and leave this discussion open. We believe Dīkṣitar will show us the way to crack this secret by
opening some unknown avenues in the near future.
Rudrapriyā visualized by Muddusvāmi Dīkṣitar in this kṛti is
distinctly different from the Rudrapriyā mentioned elsewhere. Analysis of the lakṣaṇa clearly shows the name Rudrapriyā is actually a
misattribution, based on the present level of understanding. Considering the
acumen of Subbarāma Dīkṣitar, it can be very well presumed that he must have
had his own reasons to label this as Rudrapriyā.
It is better to call the
scale SRMPDS SNDPMGRS as Sindhūra or Hindustāni Saindhavi. The rāga Sālagabhairavi
is an old rāga mentioned in various treatises and was much popular. Muddusvāmi Dīkṣitar and Svāmigaḷ
were much conversant with these rāga-s and they would have not called this rāga
as Sālagabhairavi. This also proves our oft-quoted hypothesis that evanescence
of old versions made us to believe Muddusvāmi Dīkṣitar and Svāmigaḷ
were followers of two different schools.
It is much surprising to see a phrase seen in Saṅgraha Cūḍāmaṇi finding a place in a kṛti of Muddusvāmi Dīkṣitar. This makes us to presume Muddusvāmi Dīkṣitar too was aware of Saṅgraha Cūḍāmaṇi.
Footnote 1 – The present scalar Sālagabhairavi is actually an abridged version of
Mukhāri, but with only one variety of dhaivatam.
Footnote 2 – Interestingly, this kṛti was not
mentioned by Narasiṃha
Bhāgavatar and S A Rāmasvāmy Bhāgavatar in their texts.
Footnote 3 – Rāmasvāmy Bhāgavatar,
grandson of Vālājāpeṭṭai Vēṅkaṭaramaṇa Bhāgavatar has averred to Śrīnivāsa Ayyaṅgār
that he had collected the individual kṛti-s in this rāgamālika and had plans to
publish it soon. Unfortunately, we are now clueless on the condition of the
manuscript in the possession of Rāmasvāmy Bhāgavatar.
Footnote 4 – Using mēla
names current in Kanakāṅgi – Rasikapriyā nomenclature like ‘haimavatīm’ and ‘śūlinīm’
in his kṛti-s attest this fact.
The rāga Rudrapriyā is mentioned twice by Subbarāma Dīkṣitar in his treatise Saṅgīta Sampradāya Pradarśini; once under the rāgāṅga rāga Śri rāgaṃ and second time in the Anubandham. The first mention has 5 kṛti-s and a sañcari and in the Anubandham, two kṛti-s of Śri Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar –”gaṇanāyakam bhajēham” and “tyāgēśam bhajarē” were given. Analysis of the notations reveal a considerable difference in the lakṣaṇa of these two kṛti-s from other kṛti-s notated in the main section and also the svarūpa of Rudrapriyā differ considerably between these two kriti-s to an extent that they need a separate discussion. Hence these two kṛti-s will be covered separately and this article will cover the kṛti ‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’. It is advisable to read Part I for better understanding of this rāga. Before we embark into the kṛti, it is pertinent to know about the structure of rāga-s prevailed during 19th century and prior.
a rāga – concept prevailed during 17th and18th century
century or even prior to that, there could have been two school of thoughts in
approaching or handling a rāga. First one is to treat a rāga in such a way that
a definite scale (ārōhaṇam or avarōhaṇam) cannot explain the svarūpa of a rāgaṃ
as they transcend these scales (Scale-transcending rāga-s). Second thought is
to approach a rāgam in a scalar manner. Both could have enjoyed popularity and
there could have been proponents for both these systems; the exact time period
which saw the inflow of these systems cannot be framed with the available
Whereas the latter is
really a simple method to approach a rāga, only the former method gives an
adequate structure to the svara-s to be called as a rāga. Whereas the treatment
of a rāga in the latter approach can be compared with a small water canal,
which has only a single course with the water flowing through it monotonously,
the former approach can be compared with a river. A rāga has its own delineated
course and it is our duty to cruise through it and identify its tributaries and
distributaries, the area where it bifurcates, various ways through which it
reaches its destination etc.
Scale-transcending approach is seen with the treatises like Rāga lakṣaṇamu of Śahāji
and Saṅgīta Sārāmṛta of Tulaja, to cite a few, the scalar approach is seen with
the treatises like Saṅgīta Sāra Saṅgrahamu of Tiruvēṅkaṭa Kavi and Saṅgraha Cūdāmaṇi.
So, if a composer is a follower of the first school, he handles a rāga as an
organic structure (Scale-transcending approach); whereas a composer who
believes in the latter thought handles a rāga exactly in concordance with the
scale prescribed for that rāga (Scalar approach). In due course, a scalar rāga
could have been developed as an equivalent to ‘scale transcending’ rāga and
used by the Scalar school. Pūrṇacandrika and Janarañjani can be cited as an
example to explain this. Whereas the former is limited to a scale now, it was actually
a rāga with a wider scope. The latter could have been developed to get a feel
of Pūrṇacandrika and at the same time making it simple to approach by making it
to abide a scale. Alternatively, many Scale-transcending rāga-s were converted
into scales. This concept can be easily understood by studying the rāga Gauḍamalhār.
Though we generally believe
Harikēśanaḷḷur Muttiah Bhāgavatar handled this for the first time, we do have
evidence to say this could have been handled by another composer preceding him.
‘Cinta dīrca’ is a kṛti of Tiruvoṭṭriyūr Tyāgayyar in this rāga and belongs to
the set “Śrī Vēṇugōpāla Svāmy Aṣṭottara Śata Kṛti-s” composed by Tyāgayyar.
Many rare scales feature in this set and this is one amongst them. Both Tyāgayyar
and Muttiah Bhāgavatar had strictly adhered to the scale SRMPDS SNDMGRS,
considering it as as janya of mēḷa 29, Dhīraśaṅkarābharaṇam. Interestingly, Saṅgraha
Cūḍāmaṇi gives the scale as SRMPDS SDNPMGRS
and the scale followed by them is seen only in the treatise Saṅgīta Sāra Saṅgrahamu
! This is again an instance showing, even 20th century composers
were not strict followers of Saṅgraha Cūḍāmaṇi.
The above discussion might
give an impression that this was a recently developed rāga. In reality, this is
an old rāga finding its presence for the first time in the Rāga lakṣaṇamu of Śahāji
and Saṅgīta Sārāmṛta of Tulaja in its present form (as a janya of mēla 29). In
these treatise, this was more a rāga and we do find phrases outside the scale
Whereas Śrī Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar
has followed the former method (though with few exceptions like the kṛti in the
rāga Navaratnavilāsa), Śrī Tyāgarāja Svāmigaḷ was a follower of both these
schools. The rāga-s handled by Svāmigaḷ can be divided into two types – rāga-s
which are seen in both the schools and the rāga-s which are unique to the
scalar school. In the former category, Svāmigaḷ has handled only a Scale-transcending
approach. An analysis of Vālājāpeṭṭai notations and other reliable sources
clearly indicate this.
Until the dawn of 20th
century, both schools were active and we can see the rāga repertoire being
built in by both the schools; but the second school dominated the scene from
the last century onwards. Though we find plenty of new rāga-s being developed
in the last century, they were mere scales and lack the skeleton inherently
present in the Scale-transcending approach.
This is a kṛti by Muddusvāmy
Dīkṣitar on Lord Vināyaka. This does not have any reference to a kṣētra or a
purāṇa and it is structured more like a hymn to the Lord. Structurally too, this
is much smaller with a paḷḷavi and anupaḷḷavi.1 This is not even
affixed with a ciṭṭa svara passage as seen with many other kṛtis composed in the
paḷḷavi-anupaḷḷavi format. Many doubt the authenticity of this kṛti as:
is not grouped with the other kṛti-s in the rāga Rudrapriyā (by Subbarāma Dīkṣitar).
is different from other kṛti-s notated in the rāga Rudrapriyā.
of this kṛti (more modelled like dēśādhi which is unusual for a kṛti of Muddusvāmy
of this kṛti is extraordinarily identical with the kṛti ‘śrī mānini manōhara’
The points mentioned above
are overtly visible and Subbarāma Dīkṣitar himself could have been aware of
these facts. Considerable thought must have gone into his mind before including
this in Anubandham and labelling it as a kṛti of Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar. Hence it
can be believed that this kṛti was a genuine construction of Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar
and having this in mind let us try to understand and solve the discrepancies.
In general, the kṛti-s of
Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar propagated through the printed texts in the early part of
the last century are very minimal. If we analyse the Dīkṣitar kṛti-s in the available
texts, the number might rarely cross 25-35, implying singing or hearing a kṛti
of Dīkṣitar was a rarity in those days. The same inference can be again drawn from
the available gramophone records. Whereas kṛti-s like bālagōpāla, śrī vēṇugōpāla
and ananta bālakṛṣṇam can be seen frequently either notated or otherwise, it is
surprising to see the absence of (presently) popular kṛti-s like raṅganāyakam,
saundararājam or jambupatē. It was at that juncture Pradarśini was releasedhaving around 230 kṛti-s of Dīkṣitar
notated. Needless to say the kṛti in hand is seen here for the first time.
A rāga can be visualised
and envisaged only from its phrases and each rāga has its own special phrases
and common phrases that it share with its allies. It can be redacted from a
simple examination of Pradarśini that this kṛti follows the scale SRGMNNS
SNPMGRS. This scale is now called by the name Pūrṇaṣadjam and we have two kṛti-s
of Svāmigal in this rāga, ‘śrī mānini manōhara’ and ‘lāvaṇya rāma’. But a
stringent examination will reveal the presence of a phrase PNS which cannot be fitted
into the mentioned scale. The readers are now requested to recollect our
discussion on the two schools of approaching a rāga. The Scalar rāga-s
generally are faithful to their scale and we cannot find even a single phrase
outside the prescribed scale. In that case, where do we place this rāga? This phrase
PNS is to be neglected (considering it as an error on the side of Subbarāma Dīkṣitar)
and calling it as Pūrṇaṣadjam or it is to be considered as an inkling that this
could have been a Scale-transcending rāga? In the latter case, is it advisable
to call it as Rudrapriya? Before trying to find out a solution for this
question, let us get introduced to the rāga Pūrṇaṣadjam.
It has been mentioned at various occasions that the lakṣaṇa and the nomenclature of the kṛti-s of Svāmigaḷ in the apūrva rāga-s always pose a problem and the readers are requested to understand the facts given here before proceeding further.
It was a general consensus
made in the last century that Svāmigaḷ followed Saṅgraha Chūḍāmaṇi, a text of
late origin and unknown authorship. Scholars date the period of this text to be
somewhere around late 18th century and in that case we are forced to
believe Svāmigaḷ followed this treatise leaving behind the tradition that was
extant for very many centuries. Strangely, no one focused or questioned this
aspect, excluding few lone voices like that of renowned musicologist Śrī K V Rāmacandran. A study of this rāga shows, we have much
deviated from the truth and it is pertinent, at least at this point of time to
search for the same.
Pūrṇaṣadjam appears to be a
rāga of recent origin with the present available evidences, as we do not get to
see this rāga in the treatises belonging to the medieval period, from Svaramēlakalānidhi
of Rāmamāṭya to Saṅgīta Sārāmṛta of Tulajā. This rāga is first seen in the text
Saṅgīta Sarvārtha Sārām attributed to Tiruvēṅkaṭakavi (See Footnote 1) and later,
we do find it in Saṅgraha Chūḍāmaṇi. This rāga is considered as a janya of mēla
20 in both the texts though with a different lakṣaṇa. Whereas the former treats
this as a rāga with the scale SRGMDS SDPMGRS, the latter consider SPMPDPS
SNDMGRS as the scale.2 In both cases this is a rāga with dhaivatam unlike
the rāga, that we now call it as Pūrṇaṣadjam.
Books on Tyāgarāja kīrtanā-s
published in the last century follow a dichotomous approach for labelling the kṛti-s
‘śrī mānini manōhara’ and ‘lāvaṇya rāma’ of Svāmigal. Few mention as Rudrapriyā
and few others as Pūrṇaṣadjam, but the lakṣaṇa remains the same. Any ways it
becomes clear that scale or the structure of the kṛti ‘śrī mānini manōhara’ in
its present form (and also the commonly available version of the kṛti ‘lāvaṇya
rāma’ of Svāmigaḷ) cannot be fitted into the scale of Pūrṇaṣadjam mentioned in
these treatises. This again is an indication that the belief, Svāmigaḷ was a
follower of Saṅgraha Cūḍāmaṇi is a hoax.
Henceforth the discussion
will pertain only to the kṛti ‘śrī mānini
manōhara’ as this is related to the main topic and the other the kṛti ‘lāvaṇya
rāma’ will be covered at a later period of time. Though, the commonly available
version and the versions given in the majority of the texts follow the scale
SRGMNS SNPMGRS, few texts published in the last century and some unpublished
manuscripts harbour the phrase PNS! So, it is not the rāga name alone that has
been appropriated, an immaculate service had also been done by removing a
phrase which do not fit into the scale and this is definitely not a fate of
this kṛti alone. Be it as it may, it can be concluded that the rāga of this
scale cannot be called as Pūrṇaṣadjam and few versions in the past do had the
phrase PNS is emphasized.
Having reiterated the
problem seen with these apūrva kṛti-s and inclusion of the phrase PNS at least
in the few versions of the kṛti ‘śrī mānini manōhara’, it is essential for us
to turn into another related question – was the melody of these two kṛti-s (gaṇanāyakam
bhajēham andśrī mānini manōhara) were
same in the past? This will also give us a solution to the question on the rāga
of the kṛti ‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’.
The two kṛti-s
Unlike Dīkṣitar kṛti,
we lack an authentic source to study
this kṛti of Svāmigaḷ, as Vālājāpēṭṭai manuscripts, said to be written by his
direct disciple Vālājāpēṭṭai Śrī Vēṅkaṭaramaṇa Bhāgavatar do not give us this kṛti
in notation (in the corpus available to us).
From the recordings available to us and from the books and manuscripts
which give this kṛti in notation, it can be said that the currently heard
version could have been a common version in the past. Hand written manuscripts
written by Dr Śrīnivāsarāghavan, Śrī B Kṛṣṇamūrti (as learnt from Umayālpuram Śrī
Rājagōpāla Ayyar) and a musician by name Śrī Bālasubraḥmaṇya Ayyar (possibly a
student belonging to Umayālpuram lineage) too record the same, though with
minor differences. Śrī C R Śrīnivāsa Ayyaṅgār, too gives almost the same
version. In all these versions, the paḷḷavi starts with the svara ṛṣabham (see
Footnote 2). There is an exception to this common version which will be dealt
bhajēham in Saṅgīta Sampradāya Pradarśini
The kṛti ‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’ as given by Subbarāma Dīkṣitar can be heard here. It can be seen that the kṛti starts with the svara gāndhāram (unlike ṛṣabham in most of the presently available versions). Paḷḷavi has only two lines in contrast with the kṛti ‘śrī mānini manōhara’. Also, the line ‘vara bāla guruguham’ is rendered in a madhyama kālam (see Footnote 3). The sāhitya akṣara-s in the mentioned line is doubled when compared to other parts of the caraṇam, indicating this was the intent of the composer and not changed later. Though in some renditions we do hear the word ‘guruguham’ slightly rendered fast, and in some others, this was treated as a śabdam in the sama kālam. All these points not only convey us, the melodies of these two kṛti-s were not identical, but also add value to the authenticity of Subbarāma Dīkṣitar in considering this composition as a genuine construct of Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar.
The structure of these two kṛti-s: are they identical?
We have seen that hearing a
kṛti of Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar itself was a rarity in those days. When this kṛti
came into circulation, the similarity in the rāga lakṣaṇa between these two kṛti-s
could have made some musician to transpose the melody of ‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’
(to start with ṛṣabham) and made it to be identical with the kṛti ‘śrī mānini
manōhara’, either voluntarily or inadvertently!
We have seen, the way in which the original version of ‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’ has been changed to resemble the kṛti ‘śrī mānini manōhara’. Now we will look into a lost version of ‘śrī mānini manōhara’ which resembles ‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’ as notated in Pradarśini. The rāga handled in this version is more like ‘Scale-transcending’. Incidentally, this version published by Tenmaṭam Brothers was the earliest published version and it starts with the svara gāndhāram, similar to ‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’ given in Pradarśini.3 Also, it has the phrases MGRG, RGS which out lie the prescribed scale! Though the tāḷam of this kṛti is given as dēśādhi in various texts, it is notated only in ādhi tāḷam starting from 1.5 idam in this text and can be heard here. This version can better be called as Rudrapriya (as it has all the phrases seen in the Rudrapriya mentioned by Subbarāma Dīkṣitar in the main text).
It can be very well
observed that these kṛti-s are not exact copies of each other and the present
version of ‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’ was modelled like the kṛti ‘śrī mānini manōhara’
in the last century. The original version of the former kṛti is quite different
from the latter (be it a common version or the version given by Tenmaṭam
Brothers) despite having few similarities. The similarities can be attributed
mainly to the key phrases highlighted in these compositions and handling of the
rāga, in general.
Irrespective of the rāga
nomenclature, it is clear that the rāga lakṣaṇa and handling of the phrases is
same with both the kṛti-s. This might be an indication that both the composers
might have had a common source of inspiration.
The cultural and social
canvas of Tanjāvūr was always inclusive. Though it had its own indigenous
culture, it always invited and incorporated the customs and practise from other
regions. This is much so with music. What we now call as Karnāṭaka Music is
actually a digestion and integration of all these cultures. Whereas we had
indigenous rāga-s and musical systems flourishing there, we also see Kings
patronising other forms of music. The pillars of Tanjāvūr Mahal had witnessed
the musicians playing God save the King and Marlbrook. The streets in Tanjāvūr
were reverberated with Mahārāṣtra Bhajans and Abhangs. Varāhapayyar, an eminent
musician in the court of Śerfoji was fined for not learning Hindustani music in
the stipulated time. Hence, melodies of various genres were prevalent during
the period of Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar and Svāmigaḷ. These composers too never
restricted themselves from including these melodies into their repertoire. It
is like having multiple ‘maṅgaḷam’ and ‘tālāṭṭu’ set to a single tune differing
only in sāhityam, sung by household women of yester generation.
The basic melody or the
original tune seen in these two kṛti-s could have been a popular melody
belonging to any of these genres; these composers having inspired by that tune
could have shaped them in their own
imitable way. Hence, calling them as copies and believing one copying another
is going to be a futile and stale discussion.
Such tunes were a strong
source of inspiration even in the last century as can be seen from the work of Popley
and Stephen4, two Christian musicians, in the last century, has used
them to fit into their own sāhityam as a method to evangelise the natives,
though just mentioning as Mahārāṣtra meṭṭu and without mentioning the original
of these kṛti-s
Having established that it
is a vagary to consider ‘śrī mānini manōhara’ as to have been composed in Purṇaṣadjam
and this was not a copy of ‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’, it is essential to discuss
the lakṣaṇa portrayed in these kṛti-s.
kṛti ‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’
In the Part I of this
series, we have seen Rudrapriyā blossoms when G or N is used as a janṭa svara,
use of phrases like SNP, SNDN, SDNP and the use of dhāṭṭu prayōga-s. R,G,M and
N can be the jīva svara-s (starting notes) and nyāsa svara-s (ending notes). In
the kṛti ‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’ G,N and N,M were the jīva and nyāsa svara-s
respectively. The kṛti starts with the janṭa G and we do see a profuse use of
janṭa R and N throughout the kṛti. None of the phrases used here were outside
the realm of Rudrapriyā including MNN, though it is to be accepted that
Rudrapriyā is not shown in its full potential. For the matter of fact,
Rudrapriya was exploited to its full potential more by Bālasvāmy and Subbarāma
Dīkṣitar than Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar as discussed in Part I. The phrase GRR is
used frequently similar to the kṛti-s in the rāga Rudrapriyā (notated in the
main section of Pradarśini). These findings could have made Subbarāma Dīkṣitar
to name the rāga of this kṛti as Rudrapriyā and he is certainly not wrong in
We have mentioned in Part I
of this article that Rudrapriyā could have been called by several names in the
past and Karnātaka Kāpi was one amongst them. We hypothesized Subbarāma Dīkṣitar
could have been a single proponent in using the name Rudrapriyā. We also made a
point that the name Rudrapriyā could have also been shared by many rāga-s. We
can conjecture from these facts that the rāga that we see here in these two kṛti-s
could have been called as Rudrapriyā and the other 5 kṛti-s seen in the main
section of Pradarśini could have been called by the name Karnātaka Kāpi! This
statement gets more valid when we remember the rāga mudra is not seen in the kṛti
kṛti ‘rudra kōpa’ of Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar and the pada varṇam ‘suma sāyaka’ is
still called as Kāpi (provided the version that we hear is original) despite
resembling Rudrapriyā. We also have another evidence to support this.
We also like to place
another view. We were discussing the proponents of the Scalar approach tried to
have an equivalent for a Scale-transcending rāga. So, Rudrapriyā (seen in ‘gaṇanāyakam
bhajēham’) could have been invented by the proponents of the Scalar approach as
an alternate to Karnāṭaka Kāpi. Hence, Subbarāma Dīkṣitar who was well aware of
these facts placed the kṛti-s in Karnāṭaka Kāpi separately, naming it as
Rudrapriyā, thereby differentiating from the Scalar Rudrapriyā. A manuscript written by Mazhavarāyanēndal
Subbarāma Bhāgavathar names the scale SRGMNS SNPMGRS as Rudrapriyā and not Purṇaṣadjam.
But the problem in relying this manuscript is that it does not attest involving
the phrase PNS.5
Alternatively, we can also consider the rāga of this kṛti as Karnāṭaka Kāpi akin to the kṛtis given as Rudrapriyā in Pradarśini (main text). Going by this statement, a doubt arise on the authenticity of not using all/ majority of key phrases in a rāga. Though this question cannot be satisfactorily replied with the available evidences, it can be said that we do have examples to show ‘out of the box’ handling of a rāga. A beautiful exemplar to explain this is the kṛti ‘pāliñcu gōpāla’ of Vīṇa Kuppaier in the rāga Husēni. The rāga, in this kṛti is explored only from mandra niṣādham to madhya pañ chamam! Though it is unimaginable now to see such a handling of Husēni, this shows the inclusive nature of our music and the liberty enjoyed by our composers in the past.
kṛti ‘śrī mānini manōhara’
Regarding the rāga of the kṛti
‘śrī mānini manōhara’, if we go by the common version, it can be called as (or
ought to be called as?) Rudrapriyā (the Scalar one) and if we go by the version
by Tenmaṭam Brothers, it can be considered to be close to Karnāṭaka Kāpi
(Rudrapriyā of the main section in Pradarśini). Any more observations will be
updated if we happen to get a Vālājāpeṭṭai version or a version from other
The following can be
concluded from the above discussion:
The kṛti ‘gaṇanāyakam bhajēham’ and ‘śrī mānini manōhara’ were not cast in the same mould. Both the composers could have been inspired from a single source, a popular melody of their times.
It is advisable to not label the kṛti ‘śrī mānini manōhara’ as Pūrṇaṣadjam; preferable to call it by the name Rudrapriyā.
Many details are unsaid explicitly in the treatise by Subbarāma Dīkṣitar. It is up to us to reconcile with the available evidences rather dismissing his thoughts out rightly.
Though Saṅgraha Cūḍāmaṇi is much popular now, it might not have been the case in the past. Svāmigaḷ had his own lexicons of rāga-s and it is not wrong if it is said he was a creator many rare rāga-s.
Manuscripts serve as a living evidence to understand the past. It is pertinent for us to search all the available manuscripts and preserve them for posterity.
Stephen LI, Popley HA. Handbook of Musical Evangelism.
The Methodist Publishing House, 1914.
P.C Sitaraman : Mazhavai Subbarama Iyyarin nottupusthakalilulla
sangita vishayangal. Journal of Music Academy:106;1972.
– Though Saṅgraha Cūḍāmaṇi is much popular in understanding the scalar rāga-s,
this is not a singular treatise dealing rāga-s like this. Saṅgīta Sarvārtha Sārām
was written earlier than Saṅgraha Cūḍāmaṇi and we do have manuscripts just
having rāga name with their scales lying in various libraries. Many musicians
lived during the last century had a lexicon of these scalar rāga-s.
– The kṛti ‘śrī mānini manōhara’ too has many versions as with any other kṛti
of Svāmigaḷ. An in-depth analysis of these versions was not attempted. Though
we frequently hear MNNS in the renditions available, we do rarely hear
PNS/PNNS, especially in the mandra sthāyi.
– The name ‘madhyama kāla sāhityam’ itself is self-explanatory. It refers to
only the sāhityam and not the melody. For example, in any segment of a
composition in ādhi tāla, if the first two lines has 16 sāhitākṣara-s
(calculated by giving a value of 1 for short vowel/consonant and a value of 2
for long vowel/consonant) and the succeeding line has 32 sāhitākṣara-s, the
latter line is called as ‘madhyama kāla sāhityam’.
The colourful nature of the bhāṣāṅga rāga-s, their ability to be used flexibly according to the intent of a composer were explained in an introductory article on these rāga-s. In this article, we will be venturing into Rudrapriyā, a representative of the bhāṣāṅga clan.
Rudrapriyā is not a very popular rāga though few can reconcile this rāga and relate it with the kṛti ‘amba paradēvatē’. But Rudrapriyā was very popular once and we do have a significant number of compositions to analyse this rāga.
– A bhāṣāṅga
treatise to elaborate this rāga is Saṅgita Saṃpradāya Pradarśini of Subbarāma Dīkṣitar
and Rudrapiyā is introduced as a dēśīya, bhāṣāṅga janya of the rāgāṅga rāga Śrī and takes the
svara-s therein. Though the given mūrcana is SRGMPDNS – SNPMGRS, this is really
a grand rāga and use various phrases outside the given mūrcana. In fact,
Rudrapiyā cannot be conceived with this scale alone and can be considered akin
to Kharaharapriyā. Subbarāma Dīkṣitar also says antara gāndhāra is employed in
some places where the phrase MGM occurs and this Rudrapriyā is called as
Hindustani Kāpi. We can infer two points from this valuable statement:
Antara gāndhāra do not or need not necessarily feature in all the places wherein the phrase MGM occurs. MGM with antara gāndhāra is used only by Subbarāma Dīkṣitar, that too only once in his sañcāri. This was the hypothesis proposed in our previous article; use of a svara not seen in the parent scale in a bhāṣāṅga is an option!!
A rāga is given two different names based on the presence or absence of a svara. The necessity to employ two names for a single rāga is not known. Does Subbarāma Dīkṣitar mean to say Rudrapriyā (Rudrapriyā is a dēśīya rāga is to be remembered) was used in some other regions with antara gāndhāra, wherein it was called as Hindustani Kāpi ? Anyways this is a very clear indication that this rāga was called by more than one name. This point will be elaborated later.
nature of this rāga does not end only with its bhāsāṅga nature. The way it was
handed by various composers is equally intriguing. Before proceeding to analyse
the lakṣaṇa of this rāga, let us acquaint with the available compositions.
gives the following compositions notated in his treatise in addition to his own
Enduku rā rā – Rūpakam
– Subbarāma Dīkṣitar (occurs as a small segment in this rāgamālika)
For the kṛti ambā paradēvatē, both Śrī Kṛṣṇasvāmy Ayya and Śrī Subbarāma Dīkṣitar are to be given the credit. Whereas the former has written the lyrics, the latter tuned it. Since we are concerned with music, only Subbarāma Dīkṣitar will be associated with this kṛti henceforth.
anubandham of the same treatise, Subbarāma Dīkṣitar gives two more kṛti-s,
named as Rudrapriyā but with a different rāga lakṣaṇa:
Gaṇanāyakam – Catusra
Ēkam – Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar
– Ādhi – Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar
Since the last
two compositions differ considerably from the rest, they will be covered separately
in two subsequent articles. We will be analysing only the main Rudrapriyā here.
Apart from those
mentioned, three other compositions are attributed to Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar:
bhakto bhavāmi – Misra capu / Triputa
bhajarē – Ādhi
These Non – Pradarśini kṛti-s require special attention and they too will not be covered here.
Only the Dīkṣitar tribe has handled this rāga is clearly fathomable from the above discussion (Eṭṭappa Mahārāja, the composer of Tamiz kṛti was also a disciple of Bālasvāmy Dīkṣitar). Apart from the kṛti-s, we do not find any gīta in this rāga (gīta–s are usually given by Subbarāma Dīkṣitar to demonstrate old phrases in a rāga). Also, there is a conspicuous absence of a kṛti by Rāmasvāmy Dīkṣitar. This rāga was not even included by Rāmasvāmy Dīkṣitar in any of his rāgamālika-s. These, along with the fact of not seeing this rāga in any of the earlier lakṣana grantha-s might make us to surmise this is a relatively a new rāga which must have come into circulation around 18th century. But, what is the reality?
It is to be remembered, absence of a rāga in the lakṣana grantha-s do not demote antiquity of a rāga. These treatises are not comprehensive in cataloging the rāga-s prevalent when they were written (also see the related discussion here). The information given in these treatises are to be conjunctively analysed with the available compositions to date a rāga. The following evidence show the perspicuous presence of this rāga even before the arrival of the mentioned kṛti-s.
Dakśiṇāśāsyam gurum vandē
This is a composition of Śrī Bhadrācalam Rāmadāsu (1620-1680) in the rāga Rudrapriyā. It is very surprising to see a composition on Dakśiṇāmūrti by Rāmadāsu. But worshiping Dakśiṇāmūrti is an integral part of Bhajana saṃpradāya and this kṛti could have been used to invoke Him in his daily bhajana. This kṛti, to the best knowledge of this author is not in circulation and this is the only version available.
This is more like a divyanama kīrtanam with a pallavi and multiple caraṇā-s. All the caraṇā-s have the same melodic structure. The melodic structure is much simple and devoid of any decorative saṅgati-s, characteristic of any old version. Rudrapriyā portrayed here highly confirms with the mūrcana mentioned earlier excluding two significant signature phrases, SDNP and SNDNP which transgress the mūrcana mentioned proving it a non-scalar rāga.
Jagannatha Rao, who gave us this version make a note that this is also called
as Śuddha Kāpi. We request to reiterate the point mentioned earlier; this rāga
had multiple names !!
two evidences additionally prove the existence of this rāga during 18th
This is a composition of Śrī Mazavai Cidambara Bhārathi who lived in early part of the19th century. He is said to be a contemporary of Kavikuñjara Bhārathi, whose period is said to be between 1810 and 1896.
This kṛti can be seen in the book published by The Music Academy, but labelled as a different raga – Karnāṭaka Kāpi !! Perhaps, this name could have been in common use and a variant of this rāga with antara gāndharam was called as Hindustani Kāpi. Subbarāma Dikṣitar having been aware of this polyonymy (especially Karnāṭaka Kāpi) gives us the variant name alone. This is extremely possible, as Subbarāma Dīkṣitar was proud of his heritage and he must have felt this rāga is to be named as Rudrapriyā as Vēṅkaṭamakhī followed this nomenclature (in the treatise that was available to Subbarāma Dīkṣitar). Our doubt gets more validated if we observe the fact that the kṛti ‘rudra kōpa’ by Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar lacks the rāga mudra Rudrapriyā!!
portrayed here is exactly like Rudrapriyā sans two phrases – SNDNM and SDP. The
phrase SNDNM occur in the beginning of this kṛti as seen below:
da n m
m ga r
ri s r
g I m ; ; r g I s ri m
pa ni ri II
krupai.. tan..dhu..rak.shi yiyam yo…ga ga na..yi..ke..jaga
Svara-s in bold denote tāra sthāyi
SNDNM is replaced by SNDPM in the second saṅgati. This phrase was an original construction or a printing error is not to be identified. Though SNDNM appears odd, a similar phrase PDNM is there in the Rudrapriyā segment, seen in the rāgamālika of Subbarāma Dīkṣitar. The phrase SDP is found nowhere in the compositions notated by Subbarāma Dīkṣitar; rather, it is seen in the kṛti by Rāmadāsu. This is an allowed phrase and not used by Dīkṣitar Quartette or is a corrupt phrase that occurred due to the passage of time or a printing error cannot be ascertained.
This is a
hitherto unknown svarajati composed in the rāgam Karnāṭaka Kāpi. It is seen in a manuscript whose
authorship too is not traceable. This is composed in the style of Svarajati-s
composed by Śrī Śyāma Śāstri. This has a pallavi and four caraṇā-s. Predominant
phrases seen include ṠNDNP, ṠNPM, NGR and ṠNPṠNPM. It very well corresponds
with the rāga lakṣaṇa described above excluding a single phrase MNDPM.
From the above discussion it is unquestionable that Rudrapriyā was indeed a very old rāga. More importantly, it must have been called by various names at different part of this country.
structure of Rudrapriyā and its possible relationship with Karnāṭaka Kāpi
lineage is same for all the Dīkṣitar members, each one has carved their own
style in approaching a rāga. This is explicitly seen in the rāga-s which are
bestowed with a composition from more than one Dīkṣitar. Rudrapriyā is one such
and this heterogeneity is seen its full glory here. The main feature of
Rudrapriyā will be described in brief, which will be followed by a discussion
on their individual style.
features of Rudrapriyā
earlier, a broad picture about this rāga is given only by Subbarāma Dīkṣitar
and the compositions therein are lexicons to understand this rāga in its full
grandeur. This rāga has many unique features to distinguish it from its saṃpūrṇa
allies like Kharaharapriya and Kāpi (the old one) which can be grasped by
learning and analysing these compositions.
Subbarāma Dīkṣitar says niṣādha, gāndhāra, madhyamaṃ and riṣabha are the pivotal svara-s. Compositions start or end only with one of these svara-s. There is a profuse use of janṭa niṣādha and gāndhāra. With this idea let us analyse the individual compositions. When the compositions are analysed, there are some important prayōga-s which traduce the mūrcana given, like SDNP, SNDNP, DNDNP, SRM and SMGM. Apart from this, plenty of dhāṭṭu prayōga-s like MGNPGR, GDGN can be seen. All these prayōga-s, are unanimously used in all the sthāyi-s, unlike Rītigaula wherein the phrase NPNNS is used only in the mandra sthāyi.
kōpa of Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar
follows the lakṣana mentioned above. The āvarta-s start only with the above
mentioned four pivotal svara-s apart from sadja and pañcama. Janṭa ṛṣabha as GRR
is more commonly used other janta niṣādha and gāndhāra. We see dhāṭṭu prayōga-s
like MGNPGR. In all these aspects, we see similar handling of this rāga among the
seen are as below:
use of janṭa svara is much less than that used by Bālasvāmy Dīkṣitar. Also, the
gamakam used for these janṭa svara-s are different. Apart from spuritam, we
also find kampitam and nokku for these janṭa svara-s.
predominant avarōhaṇa phrase in this kṛti is SDNP and SNP. We never get to see
the phrase SNDNP. Though a composer is not expected to use all the phrases to
visualise his rāga, certain phrases become important as either they define a rāga
or has been by all the composers whomsoever has handled that rāga. SNDNP, being
such an important phrase can be in the kṛti-s of Rāmadāsu, Cidambara Bharati, Bālasvāmy
and Subbarāma Dīkṣitar. It is surprising that this was not used in this kṛti.
compensate for the phrase SNDNP, we find a new phrase seen in this kṛti – MN(N)G.
This occur twice, first in bhadrakāli and second in mālikā, both in anupallavi.
This phrase is not seen in any of the compositions mentioned above, inclusive
of the kṛti-s of Rāmadāsu and Cidambara Bharati. This phrase reminisce the composition
‘suma sāyaka’ of Svāti Tirunāḷ. The first text to publish this Kṛti with
notation is Bālāmṛtam by S Raṅganātha Ayyar. He mention the rāga of this varṇam
as Kāpi. The present version has plenty of ṠNP, ṠNDNP, NRG which all feature in
Rudrapriyā. On the other hand, these are not found in the old Kāpi. The old Kāpi
is now living through the compositions of Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar and other
Pre-Trinity composers notated in Pradarśini. We too have Vālājapeṭṭai
manuscripts giving the compositions of Tyāgarāja Svāmigaḷ in this rāgaṃ (the kṛti-s
of Svāmigaḷ that we commonly hear in the rāga Kāpi were all mutated and
mutilated in the last century). Interestingly this phrase MNG is not seen in
any of the old Kāpi compositions. All these might make us to surmise Rudrapriyā
could have been alternatively called as Karṇāṭaka Kāpi in the past (along with
its other known and unknown names). We are now left with another question – the
reason for not seeing this phrase in the composition of other composers. We can
exclude the compositions of Rāmadāsu and Cidambara Bharati, as they are small kṛti-s.
But, not seeing even in magnificent edifices of Bālasvāmy and Subbarāma Dīkṣitar
dēvasēnāpati and Nīvē raśikhāmaṇi of Bālasvāmy Dīkṣitar
The kṛti ‘nīvē raśikhāmaṇi’ could have been one of the initial compositions of Bālasvāmy Dīkṣitar on Vēṅkaṭēśvara Eṭṭapa Maharāja. The kṛti ‘vaḷḷī dēvasēnāpati’ is unique in that it is one of the three compositions composed by Bālasvāmy on Kazugumalai Subraḥmaṇya Svāmi. Rest of his compositions were all on various Maharāja-s of Eṭṭayapuram.
These two kṛti-s
are better exemplars, even more than the ‘rudra kōpa’ of Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar.
Plenty of janṭa gāndhāra and niṣadha can be seen in these kṛti-s. Here the janṭa
svara-s are handled predominantly with the spurita gamakam. The predominant
avarōhaṇa phrases are PDNDP, PDNDNDP, ṠDNP, ṠNDNP and ṠNDNṠ (the last two
phrases are absent in ‘rudra kōpa’). We also find phrases SMGM, GRR, NG and NR,
PDNS (in mandra sthāyi). All these phrases give a wholesome structure covering
an entire gamut of this rāga. Rudrapriyā flows through the dhāṭṭu prayōga-s and
the ciṭṭa svaram affixed to the kṛti ‘nīvē raśikhāmaṇi’ is captivating. The
third āvarta goes as NṠṘN GNDN MGNP GR with plenty of three-s. Also, ṠṘĠṀ can
The kṛti nīvē raśikhāmaṇi interpreted from the treatise of Subbarāma Dīkṣitar can be heard here.
nambinēn of Vēṅkaṭēśvara Eṭṭapa Mahārāja
This is much in
line with the other kṛti-s and uses some special phrases used like ṘDD. Also,
extreme importance is given to riṣabham as a jīva svaram. This was composed by
Jagadvīra Rāma Vēṅkaṭēśvara Eṭṭappa Mahārāja who ruled between 1853 and 1858.
paradēvatē and Enduku rā rā of Subbarāma Dīkṣitar
The rāga approach
by Subbarāma Dīkṣitar can be considered as a combination of both Muddusvāmy and
Bālasvāmy Dīkṣitar. Whereas we find almost all the prayōga-s used by Bālasvāmy
in these two compositions, we also find some phrases like PDP, PNṠ, ṘDD and
PDNM which are not seen in the compositions of Bālasvāmy. Though the janṭa
svara prayōga-s are more seen in this kṛti when compared to that of Muddusvāmy
Dīkṣitar, it is certainly lesser than what is seen in the works of Bālasvāmy Dīkṣitar.
The ciṭṭa svara
segment attached to this kṛti is very unique and displays the craftsmanship of Subbarāma
Dīkṣitar. It runs for 32 āvarta-s and every āvarta starts with ṛṣabham. This 32
āvarta svara segment composed by Subbarāma Dīkṣitar is much different from the
abridged version that we hear today and it is a question to ponder on the
composer of this abridged version. Also, the manōdharma that we hear frequently
only display the scalar Rudrapriyā. Though we enjoy the modern versions and are
equally pleasant to hear, these old tunes conceived by the composer are to be
at least archived as they not only serve as an example to understand the rāga
conceived by the composer, they also teach us the svarūpa of the rāga extant
during their times. Here, the various ways in which the jīva svara ṛṣabham can
be employed in various ways is demonstrated. These can be adopted by us to
resurrect the rāga Rudrapriya,
rather than following the scale.
The presence of
the phrase ṘDD along with an importance given to ṛṣabham makes us to understand
the influence of Vēṅkaṭēśvara Eṭṭapa Mahārāja on Subbarāma Dīkṣitar.
grand rāga of the past is mainly characterised by janṭa and dhāṭṭu prayōga-s. This
rāga has very many phrases outside the prescribed mūrcana and only an untainted
version of the kṛti-s preserved by Subbarāma Dīkṣitar and from other older/original
versions help us to understand this rāga. The kṛti-s of Bālasvāmy and Subbarāma
Dīkṣitar epitomize this rāga more than even the mentioned kṛti of Muddusvāmy Dīkṣitar.
Sadly, the rāga portrayed in majority of the versions that we hear today is
mainly scalar and fail to project the beauty of this rāga in its full capacity.
Unlike Rītigaula, the phrases in this rāga are not sthāyi specific – all the phrases occur in all the octaves.The name Rudrapriyā could have been in circulation only with the family of Dīkṣitar and this rāga could have been called by multiple names in the past. Perhaps, Subbarāma Dīkṣitar could have been the single person endorsing this name. The rāga Kārnāṭaka Kāpi mentioned in various texts could be this Rudrapriyā and we need to search for original versions to get a clear picture.
This also highlight the importance of collecting the manuscripts preserved at various places to understand rāga-s of the past.
Footnote 1 – Whereas the Tamiz edition of Saṅgīta Sampradāya Pradarśinī read as ‘anuvadana’ in anupallavi, the original Telugu version read as ‘ajavadana’. This difference was overlooked by this author in his rendition. This is a mistake and is deeply regretted.
This raga Rudrapriya as listed in
the Sangeetha Sampradaya Pradarshini (“SSP”) which we take up in this
blog post along with the compositions available to us, would confound any
student or practitioner of music when viewed against the available
musicological texts and musicological history. The objective of this blog post
is to evaluate the material available to us and seek a plausible explanation
for the confusing or contradictory aspects. This raga belonging to the mela
varga or the clan of ragas under Mela 22 Sriraga, is a raga of late 18th
century vintage (post 1750 AD), as it is not seen in the prior musicological
texts, such as those of Shahaji or Tulaja.
Overview of Rudrapriya:
In the modern musical parlance, the raga
Rudrapriya is an upanga janya under Mela 22 Sriraga, taking all the 7 notes in
the arohana lineally while dropping the dhaivata note in the avarohana.
Arohana krama/murcchana: S R2
G2 M1 P D2 N2 S
Avarohana krama/murcchana: S N2 P M1 G2 R2 S
Simple as the definition may sound, yet the
raga plays hosts to a number of unique features beyond what is conveyed by the
above skeletal definition, which is also the source of confusion for us. We
will start the exercise of dissecting the raga, from the commentary provided by
Subbarama Dikshitar in the SSP and the exemplar compositions provided
The SSP’s take on Rudrapriya:
According to Subbarama Dikshitar:
raga is bhashanga
sampurna with dhaivatha being varjya in the avarohana
is the graha svara of the raga
a desya raga
raga can be sung at all times
is a key note of the raga, identified by the dheergha note in the arohana krama
and the Janta combination with which it occurs in the avarohana
and gandhara are the other jiva and nyasa svaras
A brief evaluation of the above commentary
in the modern context is required for us to understand the raga and let us
taken them up seriatim.
Subbarama Dikshitar says that the raga is bhashanga, it is not so in the modern
sense. As pointed out earlier in our other blog posts, such as the one on
Gopikavasanta raga, a proper reading of the SSP as a whole would show that
Subbarama Dikshitar has presented the term “bhashanga” in its older sense, when
ragas were classified as upanga, bhashanga and kriyanga ragas on an entirely
different aspect. The perusal of the Lakshya Gitam of Sriraga, the parent raga
of the 22nd Mela varga in the SSP would show that Sriranjani,
Madhyamavati and Devamanohari are also shown as bhashanga janya ragas of the
mela (22), which we know, they are not, in the modern sense. Today we call a
raga bhashanga if it takes a note which is foreign to the parent scale. Rudrapriya
does not take any note from outside the notes of Mela 22 so is upanga in the
context of the SSP, it has to be pointed out that Rudrapriya is not mentioned
in the Sriraga lakshya gitam either as a upanga or a bhashanga janya
thereunder. Suffice to state that the
raga must have been inducted into the Anubandha listing (to the Catur Dandi
Prakashika probably authored by Muddu Venkatamakhin) much later in time.
as a foot note at the very end of the last composition provided as the
exemplar, Subbarama Dikshitar makes a mention that the prayoga M1G2M1
in certain places is rendered as M1G3M1 which is called as
Hindustani Kapi. Without wading into this controversial point at this juncture
as to the usage of G3/antara gandhara alluded to by Subbarama Dikshitar and
confining ourselves to Rudrapriya alone, we can safely conclude the following
none of the exemplar compositions that Subbarama Dikshitar cites in the SSP,
does MG3M occur or is so notated.
usage of G3 may have been seen by Subbarama Dikshitar during his times but was
not an intrinsic part of the sastraic definition of Rudrapriya.
for us today therefore is a upanga janya under Mela 22 taking no foreign notes.
Subbarama Dikshitar says that the raga is sampurna. What it meant in the older
context was that taking together both arohana and avarohana krama all the seven
notes occurred in the raga. And given that dhaivatha was varjya in the
avarohana, Subbarama Dikshitar rightly provides his summary so. From a
practical perspective thus the musical motif SN2P becomes
defining to mark out this raga. Further since D2 is said to be varjya, or
avoided in the avarohana, the phrase SN2D2N3P should not occur in the raga.
Dikshitar’s reference to sadja being the graha svara of the raga is superfluous
for us today, for even by the late 18th Century ragas had adopted
the sadja note only as the graha svara. The erstwhile architectural construct
of svaras other than sadja, being graha or the commencement/basal note had long
to Subbarama Dikshitar, Rudrapriya is a desya raga. The concept of desi/desya
ragas as referred to by him relates to the aspect of the origin of the raga.
Ragas were classed as Ghana, Naya and Desi right from the days of Shahaji
(circa 1700). A century before Shahaji, Venkatamakhin (circa 1620 AD) in his
trail blazing ‘Caturdandi Prakashika’ is seen using the term ‘desi raga’ and identifies
Kalyani and Pantuvarali/Ramakriya as desi. Venkatamakhin uses the term
“turuska”, meaning Turkish or a Moslem import into Indian music. Though the
practice of classifying ragas as ghana, naya and desya had gone out of vogue,
still in the SSP, Subbarama Dikshitar has in his commentary of the ragas called
out certain ragas as desya ragas- for example Pharaz, Nayaki etc. These so
called ‘auttara’ or foreign origin ragas probably imported into our Music from
the North were nevertheless seen as ranjaka or pleasing to the ear and hence
came to be accepted along with the other established and ordained ragas, by the
Subbarama Dikshitar’s description that Rudrapriya is a raga which can be sung
at all times of the day, relates to a concept which has long since died out in
our system of music. As we saw in prior blog posts, SSP still latches on to this
concept of ragas and the time of the day in which they are to be rendered, for
instance the raga Ahiri is supposed to be sung in the first quarter of the
night ( bhANa yAmE pragIyatE). Again, suffice to say that this concept of
singing a raga at the anointed time has long since gone out of vogue.
according to Subbarama Dikshitar, the janta nishadha is a unique feature of the
raga which is reinforced in the arohana/avarohana murchana krama that he
provides. It is janta in the arohana krama and dheergha in the avarohana krama.
apart Subbarama Dikshitar also identifies gandhara (dhirgha) and rishabha as
preferred jeeva and nyasa svaras. We can see the import of these when we
discuss the exemplar kritis in the sections to follow.
In sum, the Rudpriya of the SSP goes as
an upanga janya raga under mela 22.
It is sampurna
in the arohana and devoid of dhaivatha in the avarohana krama.
Nishadha, dirgha nishadha and gandhara are the hallmarks of this raga with
rishabha figuring as a preferred jiva and nyasa note.
Though Subbarama Dikshitar does not specify
unique motifs for the raga, nevertheless we will endeavour to identify them
when we study some of the exemplar kritis later on in this blog post.
Kritis in the SSP:
Apart from providing the lakshana of the
raga, Subbarama Dikshitar lists out the following compositions for us in the
SSP as illustrating Rudrapriya:
Kopa Jaatha Veerabadhram Ashyraye” of Muthusvami Dikshitar in rupaka tala,
composed on Lord Veerabadhra, the Lord of the Shiva Ganas and considered an
aspect of Lord Shiva Himself in the Hindu mythology.
Senapathi” of Balasvami Dikshitar in Rupaka tala, a composition in Telugu
propitiating Lord Subramanya at Kazhugumalai (or Kazhugachalam or Grudhra Giri)
wherein he seeks the Lord’s benign blessings for his Royal patron Kumara
Ettendra. It may be pointed out here that the Lord at Kazhughachalam/Kazhughumalai
was the presiding deity of the Ettayapuram Royals who were the patrons of the Dikshitars.
rasikashikamani” a daru (ode) again of Balasvami Dikshitar in Adi tala on his
Royal patron Venkatesvara Ettappa, the then Ruler of Ettayapuram.
paradevate” of Krishnasvami Ayya in matya capu tala
Unnai nambinen ayya” a composition by Venkatesvara Ettappa, again on the Lord
own sancari in matya tala.
While this is the listing from the main
SSP, in the Anubandha, Subbarama Dikshitar lists out two more compositions in
this raga attributing the same to Muthusvami Dikshitar:
first being a kriti on Lord Ganesha, “Gananayakam Bhajeham” in Adi tala. It is
the notation of this kriti and the extant versions of the same which causes
considerable confusion to a discerning listener of music, which we will deal
with in the relevant discography section.
second is “Tyagesam Bhajare” again in
Outside the ken of the SSP, from amongst
the lot of kritis which came to be published by Veenai Sundaram Iyer
purportedly from out of the palm leaf manuscripts of Ambi Dikshitar, the son of
Subbarama Dikshitar, we have three kritis attributed to Muthusvami Dikshitar,
available to us:
Bhaktobhavami” (misra capu tala) as part of the set of vibakti kritis on Lord
Tyagaraja of Tiruvarur
in Rupaka tala
in Adi tala
While we take up a few key individual
compositions for analysis, we will also briefly look at the other collateral
aspects of the composition and its subject matter to bolster our understanding
and also enhance our appreciation of the raga and the composition, in unison.
Kopa Jaatha” of Muthusvami Dikshitar:
This kriti is on Lord Veerabadhra,
considered by some as a form of Lord Shiva himself, but yet the popular
mythology places the deity as having been born out of Lord Shiva’s wrath as Muthusvami
Dikshitar very neatly encapsulates it in the opening pallavi of the
composition. Let’s first look at the lyrics and the meaning of the composition.
sadA – Always,
hRdaye – in (my) heart,
AshrayE – I surrender to
vIrabadhram – Lord Virabhadra,
rudra-kOpa-jAta – He whose arose from Shiva’s
– the Consort of Bhadrakali,
bhava-haraNam – the remover of (the sorrows
of) worldly existence,
the one whose feet are adroit in granting prosperity,
one ornamented with garland strung of Rudraksha beads,
preventer of petty or cruel effects,
bhakta-bharaNam – the supporter of devotees,
vijita-vidhi-hari-hari-hayam – the one who subdued Brahma, Vishnu and
Indra (who has golden horses),
vira-adhi-vIram – the bravest of the brave,
abhayam – the fearless one,
rajata-parvata-Ashayam – the one residing in the silver hued mountain,
ravi-vidhu-tEjOmayam – the one who embodies the sun, moon
gaja-mukha-gaNEsha raksham – the protector of the elephant-faced
aja-vadana-daksha-shiksham– the one who taught a lesson to the goat-faced Daksha,
nija-rUpa-dAna-daksham – the adept at granting knowledge of
one’s real self,
nija-guruguha-svapakShststayiam – the one who has his preceptor Guruguha on
The composition encapsulates the portion of the story of Sati or Dakshayani, Daksha’s (son of Lord Brahma) daughter who married Lord Shiva, much against Daksha’s objections. When She attempted to seek the rightful share of the sacrificial offering (haavis) in the yajna that her father conducted, without duly inviting Lord Shiva, Daksha insulted her & Lord Shiva and thereupon Sati immolated herself. It was at this juncture Lord Shiva upon hearing the fate of Sati, was subsumed by anger at Daksha. And in wrath he plucked the locks of his matted hair and split them into two. From one rose Lord Veerabadhra or Aghora Veerabadhra and from the other, his consort Goddess Mahakali appeared. Lord Shiva bade them to go and destroy Daksha’s sacrifice in divine retribution for the sacrilege that he had committed. When Lord Veerabadhra leading Shiva’s bhutaganas, descended on the place where Daksha was conducting his yajna, a great war ensued between them and the Gods including Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Indra on Daksha’s side. Lord Veerabadhra defeated the Gods and exacted revenge by slaying Daksha. When Lord Shiva was thereafter duly propitiated by the Gods, he condescended and revived Daksha by fixing a goat’s head on his decapitated torso. Sati was thereafter reborn as Parvati (daughter of Himavan) and she duly reunited with Lord Shiva. The esoteric worship of Lord Veerabadhra and the related mantras propitiating him can be accessed here.
Muthusvami Dikshitar adroitly weaves this
puranic lore dealing with Lord Veerabadhra in this composition by the following
rudra kOpa jAta, – Veerabadhra
being born out of Lord Shiva’s wrath
Veerabadhra being the consort of Bhadra Kali.
Vijita-vidhi-hari-hari hayam – In the war that
took place between Veerabadhra and Daksha’s forces, Veerbadhra vanquishing Lord
Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Indra
Rajata-parvata-Ashryam – As a
Commander of Lord Shiva’s Ganas, Veerabadhra being a resident of Mount Kailasa,
referred to as a silver hued mountain
Veerabadhra by slaying Daksha for his act of sacrilege thus teaching him a
As is his wont, in the body of the composition,
Dikshitar weaves in part, the raga mudra and his colophon ‘guruguha’ in the
lyrics, even while keeping his date with prasa concordance. It has to be
mentioned that the lyrics provides no specific stala/ksetra reference as the
abode of the deity.
The notation of the composition in the SSP
would show the following for us:
SGRS (especially in tara stayi) forms the alternative progression of the raga
on the purvanga. Actually, SRG is not seen in tara stayi and almost as a rule
only SGR is seen.
uttaranga, PDNS in the madhya stayi and MPNS in the mandhara stayi, (for
example the notation of the lyric “abhayam” in the caranam) are the prayogas
seen. It has to be noted that both PDNS and PNS are thus used in the
composition with the caveat that PDNS figures in the madhya stayi and PNS in
the mandhara stayi.
foregoing would clearly show that the raga conforms to the 18th
Century raga architecture whereby different/multiple progressions in
purvanga-uttaranga are taken in the madhya and mandhara stayi.
NgrsNP and sgrsNP along with MGM are recurring motifs with rishabha being a
preferred phrase ending note.
nishadha and kampita gandhara are seen used. In fact,the NNsNPM can be anointed
as the leitmotif of the raga (the lower case sadja being the tara sadja note).
However, this specific murccana is not found explicitly in this composition,
terms of octaval traversal, the kriti stretches from mandhara madhyama to tara
always Dikshitar unveils his conception of the raga with its delectable turns
and twists, in the madhyama kala sahitya section starting “gajamukha”. The
musical notation of this segment of the composition being the finale goes thus:
Note: Notes in lower case is mandhara
stayi, upper case is madhya stayi and italics is tara stayi.
For this composition, presented is a
compact and almost close to the SSP notation, rendering of the composition by
the Rudrapatnam Brothers in this Youtube audio recording with a raga vinyasa,
kriti rendering followed by a few avarta of svaras.
However, the following points merit
attention in the context of the rendering above:
raga vinyasa could have been structured with more janta nishadhas and by ending
the musical phrases with rishabha note so as to remove any traces suggestive of
lyrical portions of the caranam being “harihayam” and “abhayam” ought to have
been rendered as per SSP with the notation as RnRGM and npmpns respectively.
Instead it is heard as SRGM and npdns. To that extent the fidelity to the
notation of the SSP is not seen in the rendering barring which the rendering otherwise
closely aligns to the SSP.
madhyama kala carana portion is brought out satisfactorily in accordance with
the SSP notation.
There are other renderings of this
composition but they do not meet the benchmark set by SSP and are at best left alone.
With this we move on the next kriti.
Before we embark on dissecting this
composition, a brief note on some aspects of this composition merit our
This composition was published as a part of the Anubandha to the SSP by Subbarama Dikshitar attributing the same to Muthusvami Dikshitar. Some scholars cite this as an infirmity, in a sense, whether the composition was indeed Dikshitar’s and why was it that Subbarama Dikshitar made it part of the Anubandha rather than making it part of the SSP itself.
Further in support of this point of view it is argued that:
The eduppu or the take-off of “Gananayakam” (½ edam of the second beat of the adi tala) and it overall rhythmic format is reminiscent of the style of Tyagaraja. This feature is not seen in any kriti of Muthusvami Dikshitar and thus is stylistically alien to him.
The melody or musical setting/mettu of this composition is uncannily similar or exactly the same as that of “Sri Manini Manohara” a composition of Tyagaraja which goes with the raga name of Poornasadjam. It has to be pointed out that the Anubandha to the SSP states that raga of ‘Gananayakam” as Rudrapriya and not Poornasadjam.
Thus, we are left holding with an issue as
to the antecedents of this composition which can boiled down into the following
a composition of Muthusvami Dikshitar?
is the raga lakshana of Rudrapriya found documented for this composition in the
Anubandha to the SSP?
Rudrapriya and Poornasadjam same or similar, or are they different?
We will proceed to find a satisfactory
explanation for these vexing questions by adopting the following methodology:
the composition from a lyrical and musical perspective (both with the notation
found in the Anubandha and the extant renderings of the composition)
the composition from a musical perspective with “Rudrakopa Jaata” and ‘Sri
the take of musicologists on these questions, if any and summarize our
The notation of the composition:
The Anubandha to the SSP documents the
notation of “Gananayakam” ( catusra eka tala). The perusal would show a number
of distinctive aspects:
is completely avoided both in the arohana and avarohana
kriti itself is architected with the nominal arohana/avarohana murchanas as
S G R G M N
N S / S N P M G R S
to emphasize the core raga lakshana of Rudrapriya, Nishadha note is made the
pivot of the composition both the dheergha and the janta variety littering this
short and exquisite piece.
is invited to stark contrast between the musical texture of “Rudra Kopa Jaatha”
and “Gananayakam” especially the dropping of the dhaivatha note in both arohana
& avarohana and pancama in the ascent.
When we examine the available recordings of
this composition, we have two main varieties of rendering:
1 -Rendering strictly based on the Anubandha notation eschewing dhaivatha
completely in both the arohana and avrohana while pancama in avoided in the
2- Rendering of the composition by normalizing the phrases to incorporate PDNS
wherever MNNS occurs, throughout the composition. This would make the raga
lakshana of the composition to accord with the version laid out in the main SSP
of which ‘Rudrakopa Jaatha” is the exemplar.
In this I present the mellifluous vocalist Sangita
Kalanidhi Dr M L Vasanthakumari rendering the composition fully in accordance
with the Anubandha to the SSP notation. Attention is invited to the musical
notes of the lyrics “dayakam” in the anupallavi, “viradham” in the carana and
the svara kalpana sally on the pallavi wherein the MNNS (not PDNS) figures as
the building block for her. Both “dayakam” and “viradham” are notated as MNNS
in the anubandha to the SSP and she sings the same in strict accordance with
Sangita Kalanidhi D K Jayaraman of the Ambi
Dikshitar sishya parampara sings in accordance with the notation found in the
If we surmise that this was the Ambi
Dikshitar version was this how it was taught?
I present the rendering of the legendary
Sangita Kalanidhi Dr M S Subbulakshmi who begins one of her innumerable
concerts with ‘Gananayakam Bhajeham”. Attention is invited to the musical notes
of the lyrics “dayakam” in the anupallavi, “viradham” in the carana and the
svara kalpana sally on the pallavi wherein the PDNS figures as the building
block for her. Both “dayakam” and “viradham” are notated as MNNS in the Anubandha
to the SSP and NOT as PDNS as she sings.
I next present a detailed exposition by
Sangita Kalacharya Dr S Rajam who too traced his patham to Ambi Dikshitar.
Attention is invited to the introduction he
provides to the raga before commencing his recital. Again, if he too had learnt
it from Ambi Dikshitar, why is the version of the composition is different as
between him and Sri D K Jayaraman? Food for thought, one should say.
Dichotomy in the Raga Lakshana:
The discography above as evidenced by the
two versions poses us with the further question whether the raga of Gananayakam
is Rudrapriya, as exemplified by “Rudra Kopa Jaatha”. The raga seen in ‘Gananayakam’,
being totally devoid of dhaivatha and eschewing panchama in the ascent, cannot
be melodically equated to the Rudrapriya of “Rudra Kopa jaatha”. Yet Subbarama
Dikshitar in his wisdom calls the raga of both the compositions as Rudrapriya.
It is in this context that the raga
lakshana found in ‘Gananayakam” came to be found as being exactly like the one
in Tyagaraja’s “Sri Manini” and similar to the famous ‘Lavanya Rama” which are
labelled in all musical texts as being in the raga by name Poornasadjam.
Without wading into the two Tyagaraja kritis, lest we deviate away from the
subject matter Dikshitar kritis on hand, I refer the reader to the rendering of
the two compositions by the late Vidvan Ramnad Krishnan, available in the public
Which now leaves us with the question as to
the difference between Rudrapriya and Poornasadjam.
two ragas can be compared with the available musicological records as
is found mentioned only in Muddu Venkatamakhin’s Ragalakshanam and in
Subbarama Dikshitar’s SSP. No other prior musicological text talks about this
is found documented only in Sangraha Cudamani and the later Ragalakshanamu.
As reiterated in these blog posts the Sangraha Cudamani (SC) is found to be documenting
the ragas of the compositions of Tyagaraja.
of the raga
22 – Sri Raga or the
equivalent heptatonic mela Karaharapriya
20 – Natabhairavi or
Narabhairavi, as SC calls the Mela, the raga is seen documented in SC.
S R G M P
D N S
S N P M G
S P M P D
P S and
S N D M G
varjya or vakra
omitted in the descent
and Ni omitted in ascent and Pa being omitted in the descent. The sloka in
the SC as well as the Ragalakshanamu are individually as well as mutually,
noticed to be inconsistent
Compositions we hear today
Kopa Jaatha” of Muthuswami Dikshitar and “Amba Paradevate” by Krishnaswami
composition exists in this scale
The very perusal of the authoritative
musicological texts would show that the ragas going by the names of Rudrapriya (found
only in Muddu Venkatamakhin’s raga compendium and the SSP) and Poornasadjam (found
only in the Sangraha Cudamani and its related text called Ragalakshanamu) are
so dissimilar originating in different melas and having different scales. And
further there is no raga similar to Rudrapriya (of SSP) documented in the
Sangraha Cudamani. The facts as above would lead us to only one conclusion:
raga of “Sri Manini Manohara” is not Poornasadjam as the notes found in the
composition belong to the 22 Mela, given that Purnasadjam is a janya of the 20th
mela, on the authority of the Sangraha Cudamani.
assignment of the name Poornasadjam as the raga of “Sri Manini” is most
possibly a misattribution, borne out of ignorance of musicological history, a
phenomenon we have seen repeatedly in the case of a number of instances as
documented in these blog posts, by which some name has been randomly been
assigned to the raga.
the raga of “Sri Manini Manohara” is therefore not Poornasadjam as defined by
The above table for the raga that we today call
as Poornasadjam will be thus:
raga that we today call as Poornasadjam
textual or musicological authority exists for the raga. Only Post 1906 AD
publications talk about this raga.
of the raga
S R G M N
(N) S /S N P M G R S
varjya or vakra
completely omitted in the raga and pancama is omitted in the ascent
Compositions we hear today
Manini Manohara” and “Lavanya Rama”
the raga of certain oral versions of “Gananayakam” (as we saw by Dr M S
Subbulakshmi) and the notation that is given in the Anubandha to the SSP
conform to this scale, we still call the raga of “Gananayakam” as Rudrapriya
only and NOT as Poornasadjam.
Therefore, the question that survives for
our consideration is given the similarity of the tonal material of “Sri Manini”
with “Gananayakam” and on the authority of the Anubandha to the SSP, can the
raga of “Sri Manini” also be Rudrapriya?
Amba Paradevate of Krishnasvami Ayya:
But before we embark to find the answer to
this question, we should look at the other compositions, renderings of which
are available for us. In the same breath we have to note that the other
compositions in the SSP, being the two compositions of Balasvami Dikshitar, the
kriti of Venkatsvara Ettappa and the sancari are aligned to the Rudrapriya
described by Subbarama Dikshitar and delineated in “Rudra Kopa Jaata”. All
these compositions go with the SRGMPDNS/SNPMGRS as the common murccana arohana/avarohana,
whereas “Gananayakam” goes with the melodic structure of SRGMNNS/SNPMGRS in
Leaving this at this point, we take up the
exposition of Rudrapriya by the renowned Sangita Kalanidhi Flute T Visvanathan
who prefaces his demonstration of Krishnasvami Ayya’s “Amba Paradevate” with
his commentary of the raga and its lakshana.
Here is the audio of the rendering: Link (requires Yahoo or Gmail sign in credentials)
is a live video of his rendering (excerpt) of the same: Link
It has to be said that though the doyen’s
presentation of the composition is par excellent, it is tinted much with Karaharapriya,
with no distinguishing features in place. The rendering may be immaculate from
a scalar grammar perspective duly avoiding the dhaivatha in the descent but
does it convey the melodic idea of Rudrapriya as a scale distinctive in itself?
I leave the answer to a discerning listener to decide for himself. One can
however say with certainty that the musical texture and conception of
Rudrapriya as seen in “Rudra Kopa Jaatha” is nowhere seen in ‘Amba Paradevate”
atleast from this popular rendering of the composition.
And to conclude our exploration of
Rudrapriya we move over to the final piece of this discography section.
“Sri Tyagarajasya Bakthobhavami” of
We move on next to this composition which
is not found in the SSP. This composition is identified by certain
musicologists as being part of a set of compositions being the Vibakti
set/series of kritis on Lord Tyagaraja at Tiruvarur. While in the SSP,
Subbarama Dikshitar clearly identifies such sets of compositions (example the
Vaara kritis and the Navavarana Kritis on Goddess Kamalamba) by way of his foot
notes, no such reference is made by him in so far as this set of compositions
go. Be that as it may I first take up the rendering of the composition by Vidushi
The evaluation of this rendering assuming
it is as per the published notation of this composition would yield us the
Vidushi embarks first on an alapana embellishing it liberally with PDNP and
phrases ending with rishabha. Every time she fleshes out a musical phrase, she
keeps the DNP or SNP as a refrain so as to keep any trace of Karaharapriya at
same time quite controversially, she repeatedly uses PDNPGR in the madhya stayi
descent phrases, while it ought to be PDNPMGR. These madhyama varjya
sancaras bring a different texture to the raga (tinting it with the feel of
Rathipatipriya – Mela 22- SRGPNS/SNPGRS). The madhyama has a solid pride of place
in the raga Rudrapriay both in the ascent and descent and hence while a casual
or one-off rendering of madhyama varjya phrases could be artistically
supported, repeatedly or only using the phrase PDNPGR almost as a rule is
certainly unwarranted. Similar is her usage of the MGS in the tara sancaras which
conveys a very different feel to the raga.
her rendering of the composition too seems to carrying these phrases as well
lending a different feel to the raga, in contradistinction to the one
delineated in the SSP and ‘Rudra Kopa Jaatha”.
perusal of the notation of the composition as published by Veeni Sundaram Iyer
reveals a few puzzling aspects. In more than one place the phrase PMNDN and DND
figure prominently. Further phrases such SNDS, PNDNS too occur. Grammatically
speaking these phrases do not conform to the laid down lakshana and if the
composition is so notated with these non-kosher phrases not seen in the SSP, it
certainly needs further explanation and authority. And it would be yet another
flavour or variant of the Rudrapriya apart from the versions found in “Rudra
Kopa Jaatha” and “Gananayakam”
Thus, neither does the musical setting of
the composition strictly conform to the lakshana of the raga as found in “Rudra
kopa jaatha” or SSP nor does it sound stylistically aligned to how Dikshitar
would set the melody of the composition. It must have been perhaps for this
reason that Subbarama Dikshitar in his wisdom decided to keep the composition
out of the SSP (assuming that he had the lyrics with him). Given this problem I
keep this composition out from further discussion in this blog post.
It must be pointed out that from a lyrical content
perspective the kriti is replete with references to the hoary traditions and mythologies
surrounding the Tyagaraja Temple. To conclude this section, it is observed that
this kriti too does not take us any further in resolving the dichotomy that we
see in the raga’s lakshana.
The foregoing thus shows that:
kriti “Rudra Kopa Jaatha” is the benchmark or standard or exemplar which
conforms to the laid down lakshana of Rudrapriya and evidenced by Subbarama
Dikshitar’s commentary of the same in the SSP.
raga as conceptualized by Muthusvami Dikshitar in the said composition is
unique like Reetigaula ( different prayogas in the different registers) by
sporting PNS and not PDNS in the mandhara stayi (and) PDNS and not PNS in
madhya stayi and again sporting SRGM in madhya stayi while its equivalent tara
stayi prayoga being SGRS, reinforcing the 19th Century raga
architecture tenet that multiple progressions for a raga are permissible in its
purvanga and or uttaranga and/or in the mandhara/madhya/tara registers/octaves.
mettu of ‘Gananayakam” and ‘Sri Manini” being the same/similar, the raga of the
composition is certainly not Poornasadjam (as defined under Sangraha Cudamani)
the scale SGRGMNNS/SNPMGRS found in these two kritis should probably be treated
as a form/variant or a truncated version of Rudrapriya.
One could possibly reconcile
the foregoing and conclude that this variant of Rudrapriya (SGMNNS/SNPMGRS as seen
in “Sri Manini Manohara”/”Gananayakam”) was perhaps an offshoot of the original
Rudrapriya whereby primacy was given to janta nishadha by dropping dhaivatha
altogether. Hence the Rudrapriya found in “Gananayakam”/”Sri Manini” represents
yet another interpretation of the raga. Harmonically speaking it can be
reasoned that only when dhaivatha is absent will dheergatva and janta prayoga
on the nishadha note make musical sense.
Compositions in Rudrapriya by other
Leaving aside the case of the kritis “Lavanya Rama” or ‘Sri Manini Manohara” of Tyagaraja which are obviously not in the same musical mould as the Rudrapriya found in “Rudra Kopa Jaatha”, there are no other available compositions in the raga. The only known composition from the post Trinity composers in this Rudrapriya, seems to be the kriti “Nee Dasudani” of Veena Varadayya (AD1877-1952). A recording of the same is available on the web –Link.
Is the composition “Gananayakam” really
Muthusvami Dikshitar’s, given the points as to the stylistic aspects which has
been raised? In this regard we should take notice of the following factors:
Anubandha to the SSP also documents a few other compositions of Muthusvami
Dikshitar including the famous Caturdasa Ragamalika. On the strength of
Subbarama Dikshitar’s assertion we have to go with this attribution. Further
along with “Gananayakam”, Subbarama Dikshitar also provides ‘Ananta
Balakrishnam” in Isamanohari, ascribing it to Muthusvami Dikshitar. And again,
he provides ‘Ananta Balakrishnam’ in the Prathamabyasa Pustakamu as well.
Considerable thought must have gone into his decision to make these kritis part
of the SSP Compendium attributing authorship to Muthusvami Dikshitar and
therefore it would be in the fitness of things to acknowledge his call at face
value and accept that the kriti is indeed of Muthusvami Dikshitar despite the
stylistic reservations as aforesaid.
respected music critic of the last century Sri K V Ramachandran in his erudite
Music Academy lecture demonstration, published in the Journal titled “Apurva
Ragas of Tyagaraja’s Songs” (The Journal of the Music Academy XXI, pp. 107-109,
Madras) has this to say:
the two composers (Tyagaraja and Dikshitar) have composed several songs with
the same dhatu as though in friendly rivalry: –
Sri Venugopala and sri Rama in Kurinji, Kamakshi Mampahi and Sri Rama
padama (Suddha Desi), Syamale Meenakshi and Pahi Ramachandra (
Sankarabharanam), Gananayakam and Sri Manini (Rudrapriya), Gatamoha and
Gurumurte ( Sankarabharanam),Ananta Balakrishnam and Dinamani vamsa (
Isamanohari); and Eramuni of Tyagaraja resembles a Dikshitar song in
Vasantabhairavi. If a diligent search is made, we could find many other songs
with the same musical idea…………..”
And rightly so in olden days,
composers used to conjure lyrics for a popular captivating tune and that was
never frowned upon as plagiarism. It may be pointed out that the famous
Svarajati of Melattur Virabhadrayya in Huseini spawned many a copy. As it is
said imitation is the best form of flattery. In this instant case of
“Gananayakam” and “Sri Manini”, who imitated whom, will never be known. Yet
here are these compositions for us to hear, learn and relish with the full
knowledge of all these contradictions and confusions. With passage of time,
none of this will ever be resolved.
In so far as the question of what is
Rudrapriya and what is Poornsadjam, the following points merit our attention.
The Music Academy Experts Committee in the year 1955 (JMA Volume 27 1956 pp 27-28) took up the detailed discussion on the raga Rudrapriya. After discussing the lakshana laid down in the SSP and the musical setting of “Lavanya Rama” and the identical progression of the raga in “Gananayakam” the Committee reiterated the position that we see today: Rudrapriya is SRGMPDNS/SNPMGRS under Mela 22 and the other being Purnsadjam with SRGMNS/SNPMGRS under mela 22 as well.
Unfortunately, the Committee never went into issue of the textual authority supporting the parent mela of raga Purnasadjam as Mela 20 nor did they get into the other aspects of Rudrapriya such as the janta/dheergha nishadha and the usage of MPNS, PDNS and SGR as some motifs as found in ‘Rudra Kopa”. Nobody seems to have even come forward to sing “Rudra Kopa”. Further the kriti “Sri Manini” and its melodic closeness with “Gananayakam” is not even mentioned in the said discussion. It can be noted from the discussion, that the divergence between the stated SSP lakshana and the melodic progression in “Gananayakam” seem to have troubled the veteran Sangita Kalanidhi Mudicondan Venkatarama Iyer, who has ventured to explain it away by suggesting that with passage of time the raga’s structure might have changed.
The Music Academy Experts Committee again in the year 2009 (JMA Volume 80 2009 pp 103-114) discussed the raga Rudrapriya along with its allied ragas without any definitive conclusion as to its individual lakshana. According Dr N Ramanathan, who has summarized the said discussion as an article in the JMA:
The original musical setting of the kriti “Gananayakam” must have been lost and therefore the composition possibly must have come to be rendered in the tune of “Sri Manini”. Subbarama Dikshitar wary of this therefore relegated it to Part B of the Anubandha and not presenting it in the main SSP.
The phrase ‘MPNS’ seen in “Rudrakopa Jaatha” is reminiscent of Hindustani Kapi but there the nishadha is kakali. The phrases RMP too occurs in profusion along with NPMGR and NPGR in “Rudrakopa” and “Sri Tyagarajasaya”
K V Srinivasa Iyengar mentions the raga of “Sri Manini” as Purnasadja and “Lavanya Rama” as Rudrapriya. In the absence of a reliable notation of these two Tyagaraja compositions it is difficult to determine what the melodic forms of these compositions.
It is respectfully noted that this discussion of the Committee of Experts of the Music Academy in 2009 seems to have taken no notice of the earlier discussion made in the year 1955, cited above. The 2009 discussion too seems to have completely ignored the fact that the raga Purnasadja as documented by Sangraha Cudamani belonged to Mela 20. Further the analysis of the raga has been done mainly with reference to Hindustani Kapi and the sibling ragas Kanada, Durbar and Karnataka Kapi, without getting in depth into the raga Rudrapriya’s contours on a standalone basis.
For us, the raga name ascribed to “Lavanya Rama” as Rudrapriya by Sri K V Srinivasa Iyengar adds yet another twist to the tale, making us doubt whether the raga of that composition too has been normalized by dropping dhaivatha completely and aligning it to the nominal structure of SRGMNNS/SNPMGRS. Could it have been that “Rudra Kopa Jaatha” and “Lavanya Rama” were in one bucket while “Gananayakam” and “Sri Manini” were in another? One would never know.
Be that as it may, right or wrong, one silver lining in this entire controversy is the final conclusion drawn by the 1955 Music Academy Experts Committee Meeting supra, which for us today resolves the naming convention of the raga found in the compositions so that students of music of today aren’t confused as to the raga and it name in the context of these compositions. Thus, if the scale used is SRGMPDNS/SNPMGRS then it is Rudrapriya and if it is SRGMNNS/SNPMGRS it is Poornasadja, both under Mela 22, notwithstanding the assignment of the raga name as Rudrapriya to “Gananayakam” in the Anubandha to the SSP. Despite this, today we still see Dikshitar’s compositions being called only as Rudrapriya and the Tyagaraja compositions being called as Poornsadjam.
In this blog post I have consciously
avoided discussing the raga Rudrapriya in the context of its allied ragas as
well as its melodic affinity if any to the Northern Kafi. Instead I have
focussed only on the determination or examination of Rudrapriya’s core musical
form as available to us through the SSP.
At this juncture it must be reiterated that
any work of art must always be represented with utmost fidelity to the intent
of the composer, of which we have cognizance based on appropriate facts and
circumstances. In the instant case on hand one therefore ought to conclude
kriti “Gananayakam” ought to be sung as notated in the Anubandha to the
SSP (vide the rendering of Sangita Kalanidhi Dr M L Vasanthakumari) and should
not be normalized to the nominal arohana/avarohana krama given in the main SSP.
There is no need to apply our judgement in this matter in the light of the
proper notation as provided by Subbarama Dikshitar for “Gananayakam” in the
the kriti “Rudra Kopa Jaatha” ought to be sung duly emphasizing the MPNS &
avoiding PDNS in the mandhara stayi and by using only PDNS in the madhya stayi
and SGRS in the tara stayi. Again, there is no need to normalize the prayogas by
replacing the MPNS with the PDNS and rendering the same, based on our defective
belief that ragas must have octaval symmetry or that it can be only of one
Thus, in sum, compositions ought to be
rendered with complete adherence to the composer’s intent as found in the
composition and any transgression from the same ought to be eschewed
completely. Similarly attempting to morph raga lakshanas by standardizing the
svaras/combinations is a pernicious tendency which we must get rid of. Under
the garb of normalization, we have mauled or mutilated the compositions of the
Trinity, which we have repeatedly been seeing this these blog posts. We must
accept and acknowledge that two or more variants of a raga can be there
(musical isomerism) and no harm will be caused by rendering the kriti properly
in accordance with the raga lakshana found therein.
It is sincerely hoped that students as well
as professional performers of our music would respect these aspects as to
lakshya, lakshana and the adherence or fidelity to the laid down lakshana in
the composition are kept in mind, to the best of ability, while learning and rendering
compositions of the great vaggeyakaras.
Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini (Telugu Original 1906) – Tamil edition published by the Madras Music Academy (1961) along with the Anubandha – Pages 556-567 of the 2006 Edition of Vol III and Pages 1359-1361 of the 2006 Edition of Vol V and the English version available online here: Link
Ragalakshana Sangraha – PhD Dissertation of Dr Hema Ramanathan (2004) – Published by Dr Ramanathan – pp 1084 and 1158
Dr V Premalatha – Note on Ghana Naya Desya Ragas – Link
Journal of the Music Academy Madras (2009) – JMA Volume 80 – Editor Pappu Venugopala Rao – pp 103-114
Journal of the Music Academy Madras (1956) -JMA Volume 27 – Editor T V Subba Rao & Dr V Raghavan- pp 27-28
Journal of the Music Academy Madras (1950) -JMA Volume 21– Editor T V Subba Rao & Dr V Raghavan- pp 107-109
The proof of the pudding always lies in eating it. And with that note & on this Vijayadasami Day I present my amateur interpretation of Dikshitar’s “Rudra Kopa Jaatha” duly prefaced with a brief raga vinyasa just to highlight that indeed a very professional and thoroughly delectable presentation of the raga is in the realm of possibility.
I learnt this SSP interpretation from the revered Prof C S Seshadri, a guru of sorts for me. However, all errors and omissions in this rendering are entirely mine and I have also further improvised the version I learnt from him. As can be noticed, in the rendering, my first sangati for a line of lyric will always be completely aligned to the SSP while the second/additional sangatis if any thereafter shall be fully in consonance with the laid down lakshana seen in the composition.