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Sri Shyama Shastry (1763-1827)- Part Eleven

Continued from Part Ten

Sri  Shyama Shastry – Music-continued

Varnas

bangaru kamaksi

Varna is a short, crisp and tightly knit composition that aims to encapsulate the main features and requirements of a Raga. These are finely crafted exquisite works of art. The creation of a Varna calls for delicate craftsmanship, thorough knowledge of the Raga, its sanchara (movements) in various Kaala (tempos) ; and, a  grasp over Taala and an overall sense of beauty and balance.

Varna is unique to Karnataka Samgita. The Hindustani Music does not seem to have its counterpart

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During the course of training in Music, after the Gitas, the Svarajatis with their rather complicated arrangement of Svaras and Sahitya are taught. Then comes the Varna; rich in textual expressions of Raga-Svarupa, displaying the vigour, the tenderness and the graces of the Raga.

Now, the student is at a more difficult level. She/he will have to gain an understanding of the subtleties involved in the  rendering of a Raga in all its gaits  and rhythms (Laya) through its ascending and descending notes, in Vilamba-kala (slow speed), in Madhyamā-kala (normal) and in Druta-kala (fast tempo) movements.

While doing so, the student learns to appreciate the unique characteristics of the dominant notes; and, the way they are used to delineate the Raga in its various shades and colours.

For students, the Varnas that are taught at the intermediary level are useful for learning the Svaras of various Ragas, singing in multiple speeds fluently; as well as learning the appropriate Gamakas. 

Further, learning to sing effortlessly in three degrees of speed strengthens ones Laya-Jnana (sense of rhythm); while the profusion of vowels helps one to render Gamakas in smooth, seamless  curves , oscillations, glides and turns.

Varna- rendering also helps to develop voice culture and in learning to maintain proper pitch and control over rhythm. The instrumentalists too can gain control over playing -techniques

Therefore, among the Music-curriculum, practicing Varna, understating its structure and its implications is of much importance. A diligent student, of both the vocal and the instrumental music, learns with great care and assiduity the various components (Anga) of the Raga structure and its nature.

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Although the Varna precedes the Kriti, in the teaching-schedule, the student continues to practice Varnas along with the Kritis, because of its inherent merit as an Abhyasa-gana

Therefore, in order to gain a convincing hold over a Raga and the Laya, a Varna in which its Raga-svarupa is crystallized in a systematic manner, the advanced students also practice Varnas in multiple Ragas or Taalas. It also helps to inculcate in them the discipline that is needed for singing complicated combinations of Svaras and Sahitya.

A Varna, therefore, is a very important component of both the Abhyasa-gana (compositions forming a part of initial training) and the Sadhana-gana (performance of the compositions);

In the concerts, a Varna is most often the first or the second piece to be rendered. Though some consider it as a warm-up exercise, the correct rendering of Varna requires complete knowledge of the Raga. It is thus of great value to beginner as also to and an experienced performer.

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In the Karnataka Samgita, all types of compositions are Raga-specific. Among the many such verities, in particular, the Varna and the Kriti aim to bring out and display artistically, the nature and the tendencies of a Raga.

But, in a Kriti which is steeped in its own emotional content and in the intricacies of Prosody (Chhandas), Prasa, and Anuprasa etc., only certain aspects and shades of a Raga are portrayed, keeping in view the overall context of the Kriti.

The Varna, in contrast, is an independent and a methodically structured work having the sole aim to present efficiently and objectively all the significant characteristics of a Raga. Encapsulating and preserving the essentials, within a tight knit work of art, is the sole objective of a Varna. Apart from that, it has no other theme.

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A Varna is composite musical form. According to one definition; it is said to include in itself the elements of Raga-Bhava; Raga-viseha-sancharas; and, several Apurupa- prayogas (use of unusual phrases in a Raga). Analysing and understanding these aspects are the initial steps in Manodharma Samgita. 

Varna lays out the Grammar of a Raga. That is to say, it specifies the features and the rules regarding the movement of the Raga (Raga-sanchara); its scale; how each note of the Raga should be stressed and so on. A Varna is therefore a fundamental form in Karnataka Samgita.

Learning a Varna is the process of getting to know intimately a Raga, which is beautified by the tonal excellence of its Svaras. Each Raga has its own peculiar features; it is a living and a throbbing dynamic entity finding its own flow, rhythm and gait. Each one has its own preferred ways of movements, turns, slides and glides etc.

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In a Varna, the starting note of its Pallavi is said to be significant; because, it captures the flavour of the Raga, and establishes its identity. It is also said; the identity of a Raga is better established in the Avaroha (descent), especially in the Madhya-Sthayi.

A Varna attempts to project the total picture of a Raga, drawing attention to its parentage (Mela), its Murchanas (the ascending and descending movement of the seven notes in successive order)  , pointing out to its Graha-Svara (initiating Svara), its Amsa Svara – the important notes ,which should be prolonged; the Hrasva-Nyasa, the shortened delicate notes at the conclusion of a phase; and so on.

The Varna also tries to demonstrate the enterprising Ranjaka-Prayogas, Viseha-Sancharas, permissible Apurva-Prayogas; Dhathu-Varisha-Prayogas and the Alpa-Prayogas– the skipping of certain notes etc.

In short, a Varna captures the total physiology of a Raga within a well designed work of Art.

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A Varna does include Sahitya (lyrics); but, its role is rather secondary; mostly supporting the music-content of the Varna. It provides the Lakshya and Laksana of a Raga. The focus of a Varna is on the Raga, its individual Svaras and Svara phases of various lengths and speeds. It is said; a Varna does not need the distraction of Sahitya.

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Usually, there will be two Avartas (cycles) each for Pallavi and Anupallavi; and, two to four Avartas for the Muktayi-Svaras. The length of the Ettugada Svaras increases progressively; and, the last Svara will be the longest one. This will have four or five Ettugada Svaras.

The movement of a Varna is strictly controlled; and, it’s rendering demands discipline.  Its focus is on the Graha Svara (initial note of the Raga), the Gamakas, the Sanchara (movement) of the Raga according to the prescribed format.

The Pallavi of a Varna starts on the lower end of the scale, stressing on the most important Svara (Jiva Svara) in the opening phase of the Pallavi. The Anupallavi deals with the higher end of the scale. And, the Mukthayi Svara and Chittasvara – consist of meandering (Sanchari) chains of Svaras that explore both the upper and lower reaches of the Raga.

The rendering of a Varna employs all the three tempos. The first Carana-Svara is rendered in Vilamba-kaala (slow tempo); where, each Jiva Svara must be highlighted.

After which, the rest is sung in Madhyamā-kaala (half-time). Some musicians insert their own kalpana-svara passages.

 In the third Carana-Svara, the Svaras are short and made into groups (Avartana) of four.

Thus in Carana, there are two or three Svaras of one Avartana, one Svara of two Avartanas; and, finally one Svara of four Avartanas.

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The Varnas are mainly of three types: Daru-Varna, Pada-Varna and Taana-Varna. The theme of these Varnas is usually Bhakthi (devotion) or Srngara (love).

The major types of Varnas are, however, two: Taana-Varna and Pada-Varna.

The Taana-Varna, with Svara and Sahitya passages, is essentially for concert Music. The Pada-Varna, with its rhythmic patterns, is mainly for Dance.

[There is also a mention of Raga-maalika-Varnas, with a string of stanzas, composed in compatible Ragas that blend well with each other. This type could be either Taana-Varna or Pada-Varna.

The other is the Nakshatra-malika-Varna, set in twenty-seven Ragas (each representing a star in the Indian Almanac) . In each Avartana, the first half is set in one Raga; and, the second half in another Raga; which makes two Ragas in, one Avartana.]

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Daru-Varnas are a special type of Varnas, wherein its Mukthayi-Svaras start with the Svara passages, followed by the Jatis, which are then followed by the Sahitya. The Daru Varnas are structured with Ettugada-Pallavi and Ettugada-Svara-passages.  They are similar to the Pada-Varnas; and, are well suited for Dance.

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 Pada-Varna (Ata-Varnam): As its name indicates, has a greater element of Sahitya (Pada or words). Pada-Varnas with elaborate Sahitya are hard to grasp; especially, when set to difficult Ragas and Taala.

But, the Pada-Varnas rendered in Vilambita-laya, offer greater scope for Abhinaya to interpret the Sahitya, interspersed with appropriate Sollulkottus, Tirmanas and stances. Hence, they are in greater use in Bharatanatya; where, it’s Sahitya, its expressions and its Svaras, in moderately slow pace, are said to be suitable for choreography.

[Pada Varnas used for dance choreography are also called as Chowka Varnas or Ata Varnas. They usually are set in slower tempo (Chowka-kala); and, have longer lines and pauses, enabling the apt portrayal of the Bhava of the Varnam. All its Svaras are accompanied by Sahitya (lyrics) and Sollukattus which are made up of rhythmic syllables. The dancer performs the Sahitya in Abhinaya and the Sollukattus in Nrtta. Thus, the Chowka Varnas are well suited to dance. 

Further, learning to sing Chowka Varnas is considered a part of developing a good voice cultureThe Chowka kala rendering helps one to explore the Raga, in depth. It also helps the learner to balance the Taala; to adjust the Gamakas; and, to pay greater attention to pauses.]

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[When adopted into Dance-form, Varnam is transformed into the richest composition in Bharatanatya. The Varnam, either in music or dance, is a finely crafted exquisite works of art; and, it gives full scope to the musician and also to the dancer to display ones knowledge, skill and expertise.

And , in Dance , its alternating passages of Sahitya (lyrics) and Svaras (notes of the melody) gives scope to the dancer to perform both the Nrtya (dance with Abhinaya) and Nrtta (pure dance movements) aspects. In its performance, a Varnam employs all the three tempos. The movement of a Varnam, which is crisp and tightly knit, is strictly controlled; and, it’s rendering demands discipline and skill. It also calls for complete understanding between the singer and the dancer; and also for the dancer’s ability to interpret not only the words (Sahitya) but also the musical notes (Svaras) as per the requisite time units (Taala). The dancer presents, in varied ways, through Angika-abhinaya the dance elements, which the singer brings forth through the rendering of the Svaras]

sarasvathi-tanjore

The Taana-Varna perhaps derived its name on account of its brisk Laya and Svara arrangements with pulsating movements in even tempo, as in the Taanam. It usually is of fast tempo (Druta and Tisra Gati). But, they sound best in Madhyama-kala, when the Taana sequences have to be executed.

Taana-Varnas do not have Sahitya for Svaras. It is the sort of Varna that is meant as pure music, without the intervention of words. It, therefore, has fewer words than the Pada-Varna.

The characteristic Svara-Prayogas, emphasising on Graha, Nyasa, Amsha; as well as Hrsva, DeerghaPrayogas are very frequently employed in Taana-Varna.

The difficult Taana-Varnas are commonly chosen for rending in the concerts; and, they provide the base for Mano-dharma-samgita. The artists enjoy greater elaborations of Taana-Varnas studded with Kalpana-Svaras to enhance to beauty of the Raga; and, to entertain the listeners.

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A typical structure of a Taana-Varna has Pallavi, Anupallavi, Mukthayi Svara, Carana, Carana-Svara and an optional Anubandha.

A Varna is structured in two Angas (sections):

The Purvanga (first section) comprises Pallavi, Anu-pallavi, Mukthayi-Svara (a passage of Svara syllables, usually of two Avartas, succeeding the Anupallavi).

And, the Uttaranga (the latter section) comprises a Carana that acts as a refrain for the latter part of the Varna and Carana-Svaras (Chittasvara) that are alternated with the Carana. 

Each section of a Varna elaborates an aspect of the Raga (raga-svarupa).

Thus, the Taana-Varnas are basically Svara and Sahitya exercises; and, help the student to gain a greater degree of control while venturing into the finer Prayogas in the Raga.

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Gana-krama 

Although the Varna has the structural divisions of Pallavi, Anupallavi (with Muktayi Svara) and Carana; while singing, the Pallavi is not treated as an independent Anga. There is continuity in singing.

The Purvanga starts with the Pallavi; and, is continued through Anupallavi and Mukthayi Svara; and, then it reverts to the opening words of the Pallavi.

The first movement of the Pallavi ends in Mukthayi-Svara. After this, the Ettugada Pallavi, made of the Sahitya lines of the Carana, is sung. This is followed by the Svara-passages in sequence. After each Svara passage, the Carana line is sung again, as refrain

[It is said; in the olden days, the Purvanga was sung in all the three speeds followed by Uttaranga, alternating between two speeds for each Carana. Nowadays many other rendition styles have come into being.]

[Sometimes a Taana-Varna is adapted for dance (Say, like Viriboni, Bhairavi, Ata). In such cases, the Taana Varna is expanded by repeating the Sahitya many times, with Sangatis. Additional Sahitya and Jati patterns are added. And, even though the words are meagre, the dancer has to interpret them with Abhinaya, so that the meaning is brought out clearly. ]

Shyama Shastry by S Rajam

The Varnas composed by Sri Shyama Shastry

According to most of the versions that are now in circulation, Sri Shyama Shastry is credited with four Varnas, which are highly musical in their structure. They are:

(1) Na-manavi-vinu (Saurastra-Chatursra-Ata); (2) Samini-ramm-anave (Anandabhairavi, Khanda-Ata); (3) Dayanidhe (Begada, Adi); and, (4) Nive-gatiyeni (Kalyani, Tisra-Mathya).

Varnas of Sri Shyama Shastry 2

[Though most of the sources mention these four Varnas as the works of Sri Shyama Shastry, Smt. Sharadambal recognized only two Varnas (not four) as that of Sri Shyama Shastry.

She says: ’There are two Varnas of Sri Shyama Shastry found in the early publications’. And, throughout her book, she talks of only about his two Varnas; Samini-rammanave (Anandabhairavi, Khanda-Ata) and Dayanidhe (Begada, Adi).

She also mentions that the detailed notations have been worked out for the Varna ‘Samini…’ (Anandabhairavi) in the Sangita-Sampradaya-Pradarshini of Sri Subbarama Dikshitar at  B.50 on pages 1540-1545.

This and the Hand Written Note Book of Shyama Shastry II are said to be her sources.

According to Smt. Sharadambal, both these Varnas are Taana Varnas. Yet, in the Varna ‘Samini-rammanave’ (Anandabhairavi), the Sahitya resembles Pada-Varna. This is sung by the Nayaki to her Sakhi, to describe her plight to Lord Varadaraja of Kanchipuram, who is the Nayaka of the Varna.]

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These four Varnas, though similar to Svarajati (pertaining to the realm of Dance), in structure; they are composed of a separate Pallavi, Anupallavi and Mukthayi- Svara, collectively known as Purvanga. The Uttaranga part consists of Carana, Carana-Svaras and Sahitya.

These Varnas are above the level of the usual Abhyasa-ganaVarnas. They are set in more difficult Taalas, like Chaturasra Ata and Tisra Mathya. The Varnas here, are characterized by many peculiar features, such as: the introduction of Svara-Sahitya (each Svara syllable having a corresponding syllable of text of identical duration) in the Mukthayi-Svara (in ‘Na-manavi’ and ‘Dayanidhe’); and, the unusual length of the Carana-Sahitya (four Avartas in ‘Nive-gatiyani ‘, Kalyani)’

The Varnas in Kalyani and Anandabhairavi are recommended even for the practitioners at a slightly higher level.

design rangoli

  1. The Varna Na manavini vinu in Raga Saurastra is set in Chatursra Ata Taala.

[Raga Saurashtra is a Janya of the 17th on the Melakarta Suryakanta 

Arohana (Ascending): S R1 G3 M1 P M1 D2 N3 S’ / Avarohana (Descending) : S’ N3 D2 N2 D2 P M1 G3 R1 S.

Saurastra is an auspicious Raga. Sri Thyagaraja’s opera ‘Prahlada Bhakthi Vijayam’ opens with ‘Sri Ganapathi’ and concludes with the Mangalam’ Nee Nama Rupamalu’ both of which were set in Raga Saurastra.]

The Varna is structured with a Pallavi, Anupallavi followed by a Svara-Sahitya passage; and ends with a short Carana of just two lines.

Na Manavi Vinu yi vela brovu Kanchi Kamakshamma / Pamara-palini O Janani, krupa judamma is a poignant prayer submitted to Kanchi Kamakshi , beseeching her, repeatedly, to kindly show mercy  and to pardon  him for all his wrong-doings committed knowingly or otherwise  (telisi-telitaka-jesina-aparadhamulanu-manninchi); to protect him (brovu) ; and ,to grant him salvation (Mukthi ni eeyave). O Mother, I have the deepest faith in you; I trust you, I trust you and have ever trusted you (nammiti nammiti nammitin-amma).

The slower tempo (Chowka-kala) and Chatursra-Taala are eminently suited for the Raga-Bhava of Karuna Rasa.  Usually, such Varnas in Chowka-kala will have longer lines and pauses, enabling the apt portrayal of the Bhava of the Varnam.  

This Varna has two Avartas (Taala-cycles) each, in the Pallavi and the Anupallavi. The Svara-Sahitya passage is appended to the Muktayi Svara. The introduction of the Tisra, Chatursra and Khanda groups in patterns can be seen in this Varna.

design rangoli

  1. The Varna Samini-ramm-anave Saraskshi is set in Raga Anandabhairavi, Ata Taala

[Anandabhairavi is a Janya of the 22nd Mela Kharaharapriya. Arohana: S G₂ R₂ G₂ M₁ P D₂ P Ṡ / Avarohaṇa: Ṡ N₂ D₂ P M₁ G₂ R₂ S.

Svara-sthanas: Chathusruthi-Rshabha, Sadharana-Gandhara, Shuddha-Madhyamā, Chatusruthi-Daivatha, Kaisiki-Nishada; apart from Shadja and Panchama.

Anandabhairavi is said to be one of the favourite Ragas of Sri Shyama Shastry.]

Saminirammanave  (Anandabhairavi) is an Ata-Taala, Taana-Varna, starting in the Laghu after a pause of eight  Akshara-kala duration.

But, here, the Svarasahitya passages are suffixed to the Muktayi-Svara, first, fourth and fifth Ettugada-Svaras. There are five Ettugada Svaras in all. Few syllables are there in the Pallavi and Anupallavi, with more vowel extensions.

This Varna is marked by a number of distinct features.

This is a fairly lengthy Varna with Pallavi, Anupallavi and two Caranas, with four Svarasahithya passages interposed between the Anupallavi and the last Carana.

Though it is listed under Taana-Varnas, its Sahitya resembles Pada-Varna.

We find the Kshetra-mudra ‘Kanchi-vasudina-Sri Varadarajuni’ in the Anupallavi.

The Telugu language used in this Varna is different from the one found in his Kritis. The use of the complex words of  archaic poetic nature resemble the Svarajatis; and gives a complex form to the language, as against the simple colloquial style of the Kritis.  In fact, the Telugu Sahitya here makes a difficult reading.

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And, to say the least, this is a rather unusual Varna; and, therefore, has been much discussed.

This is one of the two compositions of Sri Shyama Shastry that is not dedicated to praise the Mother Goddess in her various forms.

This Varna is the only single instance among the body of the works of Sri Shyama Shastry portraying Madhura-bhakthi.*

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Sri Shyama Shastry was a true Bhaktha of the Devi in the classical mould. He worshiped his Ishta-Devatha Bangaru Kamakshi with intense devotion (Archana); serving her and praying at her feet (Pada-sevana, Vandana and Dasya); thinking of her all the time (Smarana); listening to the legends of her magnificence (Srvavana); singing of her beauty, glory and splendour in countless manners (Kirtana); submitting himself to the will of the Mother and seeking refuge in her with absolute faith (Atma-nivedana) .

Thus, Sri Shyama Shastry was indeed a true icon of a devotee, a Sadhaka who constantly served his Devata with utmost devotion in all its modes (Nava-vidha-Bhakthi) as extolled in the Srimad Bhagavatha Purana.

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Sri Shyama Shastry adopted the Apatya-bhava*, an intense sense of proximity, looking upon Devi Kamakshi as his own Mother, who is always with him. It is the guileless (Akritrima) natural love; the purest of the attitudes that one can cultivate towards God.

[* The term Apatya is related to the child; and, to its attitude towards its parents. Yaska, in his Nirukta 3.1 :, explains it as: apatya kasmāt apatata bhavati pitu sakāśādetya pthagiva tata bhavati. ]

He was a child (Bidda, Sutudu) to his mother (Talli, Mayamma) with whom he talked, confided his fears, argued with her, cajoled her,  persistently sought her protection ; and , above all,  he never was willing to be weaned away from her. He loved her with all his heart, as only an innocent child can. He devoted his entire adult life in serving her, thinking of her,  being ever dedicated to her,  and loving her till his very last moment on this earth.

[Sri Shyama Shastry could foresee the end of his time on this Earth.

On the morning of the that appointed auspicious day, the Dashami, Tuesday (Cevvai), Shukla-paksha Makara (Magha) Masa , Shishira-Rtu – Uttarayana – Vyaya – Samvatsara – 1748 – Kaliyuga – 4927,  February 7th, 1827Sri Shyama Shastry meditated upon his Ishta Devata Mother Kamakshi; and, a little later he laid his head on the laps of his son Subbaraya Shastri; and, asked him to softly recite the Karna-mantra into his ears.

He was fully conscious till the very last moment. He peacefully, serenely journeyed to Sripuram; the heavenly abode of Devi Kamakshi, as if a child goes home to his Dear Mother.

That was how a noble soul came to pass.]

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The other notable Sadhaka who adopted such Apatya-bhava was Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (18 Feb 1836 – 16 Aug 1886), who was born about nine years after the passing away of Sri Shyama Shastry (1827).

Sri Ramakrishna, just as Sri Shyama Shastry, was a priest. He worshipped Goddess kali at the Dakshineshvar temple. And, he too regarded Kali as a living Goddess (Pratyaksha Devata); he felt her presence everywhere, talked to her, fed her, and argued with her just as a child does with its loving Mother.

[The other Sadhakas who sang of Kali with a flaming devotional fervour that quickly come to my mind are Ramprasad Sen (1718-75) and Kamalakanta Bhattacharya (c. 1769–1821)]

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Sri Ramakrishna all through his Sadhana-kala practiced Apatya-bhava. But, for a very brief time, he tried, Madhura-bhakthi-bhava, the sweet love-filled attitude (Mahabhava) of Radha, the highly idealized personification Love and Beauty, towards Krishna the eternal Lover.

But, very soon he came back to Santa-Apatya-Bhava, the child-attitude, of peaceful adoration. 

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 In all the known compositions of Sri Shyama Shastry that have come down to us, it is the Apatya-bhava, the love and affection binding the child and the Mother that shines forth and overwhelmingly dominates. His child-like love, looking up to  Devi Kamakshi as his own Mother; as also the Bhakthi and Karuna Rasa appealing to her for  love and care at every moment and every turn of his life are the recurrent themes of all his compositions. It is truly very touching.  And, when that purest emotion is rendered through soulful Vilamba kala, it is then the Bhakthi Samgita of the highest order.

The Varna in Anandabhairavi is the sole instance of Madhura Bhakthi among all his compositions.

This could be considered as a very brief phase along the course of his Sadhana, which was essentially rooted in the Apatya-bhava, the purest of all. Just as Sri Ramakrishna did later, Sri Shyama Shastry had quickly come back to his  own natural aptitude. You can perhaps say; Apatya, truly, was Sri Shyama Shastry’s Sthayi-Bhava; while Madhurya was a fleeing Sanchari-Bhava.

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The Varna Samini-ramm-anave (Anandabhairavi), for all purposes can be treated as a Pada Varna. 

This is sung by the lovelorn (Virahini) Nayaki, asking her maid (Sakhi), to convey a message (Sandesha) to her Lord Varadaraja of Kanchipuram, the Nayaka, describing her plight, suffering pangs of separation; and, hasten to come to her.

Here, in this Varna, there are descriptions of the Lord as ‘Kamini Kanna’, who gave birth to Manmatha; and as Gunavanthudaina (meritorious one) Sarasa-nayana (with eyes like lotus), Samaja-gamana (with gait like that of an elephant).

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Some have pointed out that considering the overall nature of Bhakthi and Karuna Rasa, that pervades the compositions of Sri Shyama Shastry, the Varna ‘Samini..,’  surely does appear to be out of character; and, it stands out oddly. Therefore, they have expressed reservations about the authorship of this Varna; and, have even pondered over the possibility that it might have been, at a later stage, interpolated (prakshepa) by someone else into the body of the works of Sri Shyama Shastry.

That is a fairly plausible way of looking at this Varna, in the context of Sri Shyama Shastry’s compositions taken as a whole.

But, the scholars such as Prof. Sambamoorthy (1930), Dr. Vidya Shankar and Dr. Sharadambal, who have studied deeply into the works of Sri Shyama Shastry, have all accepted this Varna as being a composition of Sri Shyama Shastry.

This Varna is also featured at Number 32  in Dr. T K Govinda Rao ’s book ‘ Compositions of Shyama Shastri..’ , published in 1997

Dr. Sharadambal also mentions that the Varna is included in the Hand Written Note Book of Shyama Shastry II (the great grandson of Sri Shyama Shastry).

Further, Sri Subbarama Dikshitar, in his Sangita-Sampradaya-Pradarshini (published in the year 1904), has included this Varna among the works of Sri Shyama Shastry. He has also worked out, in great detail, the Notations , spread over five pages, for the Taana Varna ‘Samini...’ pages 1540 to 1545  in the Appendix-Anubandha

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Considering the fact that many scholars had gone into the issue; and had, after due consideration, admitted this Varna into the list of the compositions of Sri Shyama Shastry, we may perhaps follow suit.

But, we may, for a limited purpose,  treat it as  the sole representation of Madhura Bhakthi in his compositions , which came about  at a very brief passing phase along the arduous course of his Sadhana; as it happened , later, in the life of Sri Ramakrishna.

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This is a typical Ata-Taala-Varna, starting in the Laghu after a pause of eight Akshara-kala duration. The only difference being the Svarasahitya passages suffixed to the Muktayi Svara, first, fourth and fifth Ettugada-Svaras. There are five Ettugada Svaras in all. Few syllables are there in the Pallavi and Anupallavi with more vowel extensions

*

According to Smt. Sharadambal, who has made a detailed study of this Varna:

This Varna ‘Samini-ramm-anave’, though similar to Svarajati (pertaining to Dance) in structure has evolved with a separate Pallavi, Anupallavi and Mukthayi-Svara, collectively known as Purvanga.  The Utaranga part consists of Carana, Carana-Svaras and Sahitya.

In the complete version of the Varna ‘Samini-ramm-anave’ (Anandabhairavi) as seen in the Note Book of Shyama Shastry II, there is no Sahitya for the Ettugada-Svara. The Carana and the Carana-Svaras are also missing.

But, in other books, the Sahitya is found for Ettugada-Svara and some Carana-Svaras.

Among the Carana-Svaras, the first, fourth and the fifth alone have Sahitya portions. The four Carana-Svaras have one Avarta; while, the last one has two Avartas. There is no Anubandha or the continuing portion after the Carana-Svara. After singing the last Carana-Svara and the Sahitya, the Ettugada-Pallavi is sung. Then, the Anubandha is sung; and, finally, the Varna is concluded with the singing of Pallavi.

*

The Graha-Svaras for the various Angas of this Varna ’Samini….’ (Anandabhairavi)  are : Shadja for the Pallavi, Anupallavi and the Mukthayi Svara. The Carana starts as:  ’ mg-Ma-ga-ma-Pa’, after ending the phase ‘Pa-dha-pa-ma-ga-ga’. The Carana is taken as ‘ga-ga-Ma’

While the first and second Ettugada-Svaras start on Pa; the third and fourth Svaras on Madhyamā; and, the fifth Svara on Nishada. The ending phases of the Svaras have natural link with Carana.

We can find different Svaras as the ending Notes. While the first and last Svaras end as  ’ Sa-ga-ri-Ga-ga’ ; the second ends as’ Pa-Ma-Ga-Ri-Ni’; third as ‘Sa-Ni-Dha-Pa’; and, the fourth as ‘ Ma-Pa-Sa-Ni-Dha’. And, the Graha-SvaraMa’ is sung with a glide (Jaru) from ‘Ga-Ni-Pa and Dha’.

*

As regards the Gamakas, the Varna ‘Samini..’ opens with the key phrase of Anandabhairavi Raga i.e., the ‘Erra-jaru’ prayoga as ‘ Sa/Sa Dha-Pa-Ma-Ga-Ma’ in the Pallavi and also in the Anupallavi, as ‘ Sa/Sa Dha-Pa-Ma’ as published in the Samgita-Sampradaya –Pradarshini of Sri Subbarama Dikshitar.

The Jaru-Prayoga is found not only as the opening phrase ; but also in the other parts of the composition.

*

We find Svaraksharas in many places in the Varnas of Sri Shyama Shastry; as also in the Svarajatis.

In the two Varnas, Svarakshara syllables are found in the beginning as well as in some places. Both the Shuddha and Suchita Svaraksharas are found in them

In the Varna in Anandabhairavi Raga, Svaraksharas are found in the beginning of the Pallavi, Anupallavi and Carana.

[ I am reproducing here a rather lengthy observation  / comment receive by mail from Vasudeva Anand.

I have been watching the ongoing debate concerning the Varna ‘Samini rammanave’ by Sri Shyama Shastry.

These are my tuppence, for whatever it is worth.

The revered Trinity of the Carnatic Music are all basically rooted in Bhakthi-Bhava. The Music for them was a means for expressing their devotion; and their Kritis were their offerings, like flowers, to their deities.

These composers of long-lasting   musical careers also try to have in their repertoire other kinds of Rasas and Rasa-anubhavas. While their own essential attitudes stay firmly as bedrock, they might occasionally try other Bhavas as well. In other words; while Bhakthi is their Sthayi-Bhava, its variants like Madhura-Bhakthi would be its Sanchari-Bhava.

*

In the case of Sri Shyama Shastry ; all his compositions are in submission to the Mother Goddess praying for her Love and protection. All his Kritis are steeped in child-like devotion to its Mother. Perhaps his only composition depicting Madhura Bhakthi is the Varna ‘Samini rammanave.’

But the two of the Trinity – Sri Thyagaraja and Sri Mutthuswamy Dikshitar – have composed many Kritis (apart from those in Karuna and Bhakthi Rasas)  , which  portray different Rasas and Rasanu-bhava . Some of their songs do have Srngara Rasa.

 For instance:

Sri Thyagaraja’s Nauka Charitam depicts the Nayaki-Bhava and has shades of Srngara Rasa. All the Gopis are Anya-nayikas depicting proua and swādhina-pathika nāyikā-bhāva.

He describes the colourful scenes of the Gopis , dressing themselves , adorning themselves with lovely looking fragrant  flowers  to dance with Krishna : Shringārinchukoni-vedaliri-Sri-Krishnunithōnu…..-Puvvulumudugusunokathe….. Ravvajeyusu-nokathevētkaka

One of the Gopis is offering exotic flowers to Krishna, while another is offering him Tambūla. Some others are combing his hair, teasing him and making fun of him. While some are looking coyly at Krishna, someone suddenly hugs him overcome with love, some put Tilaka on his forehead, laughing and enjoying, calling him to sit beside them. All these lines in the song explain the essence of Srngara of the Madhura Bhakthi.

*

Further, some of his songs resemble Javalis. The songs of this genre describe the intimate relationship between the Nayaka and the Nayaki. Take, for instance, his songs Entha Muddhu and Chinna Natane, based in Nayika-Nayaka-bhedha. The song Chinna Natane, in particular, alludes to the relation between the Nayaka and the Nayaki.

In Entha Muddhu,

Sri Thyagaraja says : How charming and how elegant is He! Whoever is capable of describing! No matter how great people are, they became besieged by thoughts of lust. Being slaves to lust, they fear their mothers-in-law; yet, they pretend as true devotees of the Lord. Much like jug knowing the taste of milk! How charming and how elegant is He – praised by this Thyagaraja – who bears burden of the Universe! Whoever is capable of describing!

 In Chinna Natane,

 He says:  Have you not taken me, clasping my hand from my childhood and accepted with grace numerous services from me? You had assured me of your care and protection to the last. Now it looks as if you are in two minds, unable to decide if you should accept me or abandon me to my fate. Please help me to uphold my self-respect at least as a devotee of yours. Oh Ocean of virtues! Transcendent Lord!

**

As regards Sri Mutthuswami Dikshitar his two Kritis- Kadambari Priyayai and Arunacha natham– do definitely differ from his other well known compositions steeped in Bhakthi and Vairagya Bhavas.

The Kriti Kadambari Priyayai is beautifully suited for an elaboration as a Padam in a Bharatha-natya recital. It brings nature and Srngara Rasa together beautifully.  Its  Kala pramana is eminently  suited for Abhinaya.

In his other Kriti – Arunacha natham- Arunachala-Natham-smarami-anisamapeeta kuchamba- is based on Srngara. Sri Dikshitar brings out the Nayaka-Nayika-bedha in its all its expressions.

The sheer beauty of this piece lies in the fact the Nayaka-Nayika-bedha is ensconced within a larger Bhava of Madura Bhakti, wherein the Jeevatma and Paramatma are in union.

**

Here in all these cases, Srngara should be viewed as an aspect of Madhura Bhakthi; and , should not be taken as  something that is improper .]

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  1. Dayanidhe Mamava sadaa – Begada (29) Adi Taala

[Raga Begada is the Janya of the 9th Mela Dhira Shankarabharana

Arohana: s g r g m p d p S; Avarohana: S Nd p Mg r s

Svara-Sthanas: Shadja, Chatussruthi-Rshabha-, Antara-Gandhara-, Suddha-Madhyama, Panchama, Chatussruthi Daivata, Kakali Nishada]

The Dayanidhe (Begada, Adi Taala), comparatively, is a short Varna. Its Pallavi, Anupallavi and Carana, have just one line each.  The Svarasahitya that follows the Carana has four lines.

The Vaggeyakara Mudra or Sva-nama, unusually, appears right at the beginning of the Varna in the Pallavi as:  Dayanidhe mamava sadaa Shyama Krishna pujite.

This Varna in Sanskrit is a simple prayer, composed in easy flowing beautifully worded lines; very pleasant on the ears. 

The Varna calls out to the Mother, citing her various names and forms (Nama-Rupa).It describes the beauty of Devi as having soft and delicate feet; and a very graceful neck.

Lalita-pada-yugale; kamaniya-kandhare

Sri Shyama Shastry sings the magnificence of the Mother, praising her as the protector of the people of the world, the Sages and all the celestial beings.  And, as one who mitigates the sins of all beings; and, protects the virtuous

Parama-Pavani; Bhavani; Paratpari; Shiva-shankari / Palita-Jana-Munigana- Sura-samude / Paapa-shamani, Sahrudaya-sammodini/

He adores the Mother as the Ocean of mercy and compassion; the abode of all illustrious virtues, which bring delight to pious people. And, he prays to her to grant him the sublime virtue of devotion

Mahaniye-Sugunalaye -Vitara –Bhakthim me

This is a very pious, delightful and a happy song, praying to the Mother to protect, redeem and uplift all beings including the Munis (Sages) and Devas.

*

This is a Varna with vowel extensions in the Pallavi and Anupallavi, lending scope for Madhyamā Kala singing.

A Svarasahitya passage is appended to the Mukthayi Svara.

There are four Ettugada-Svaras in the Uttaranga.

There is no Sanchara below Madhya-Sthayi-Shadja in this Varna; but, there are many Tara-sthayi phrases.

The Svarakshara beauties can be seen in the Pallavi, Svarasahitya and the Carana.

[There is also another version of this Varna, which is generally sung with slight variations.

 For more on this, please check page 251 0f Dr. Manju Gopal’s work under Appendix.]

*

Smt. Sharadambal , in her book, talks about this Varna

The Varna ‘Dayanidhe’ in Begada Raga is not found in the Hand-Written Note Book of Shyama Shastry II. This Varna as found in the book of Sri A Sundaram Ayyar is in the regular structure of Taana-Varna with Pallavi, Anupallavi and Mukthayi-Svara, in the Purvanga. And, the Uttaranga consists of a Carana and four Ettugada-Svaras.

Yet, we find the Sahitya for the Muktayi Svara, and the second Avarta for the Carana to be sung after the last Ettugada-Svaras in the book of Smt. Vidya Shankar

*

The Varna ‘Dayanidhe ‘ in Begada Raga of Sri Shyama Shastry , in praise of Goddess Raja-rajeshvari is in simple diction. In the Pallavi of the Varna itself, we find the Mudra of the composer, in the second Avarta.

 The actual words start as Atita-Eduppu from the first Avarta as: ‘Sa //Dha Shyamakrishna’. Usually, the Mudra of the Vaggeyakara will figure in the Anupallavi of the Varna.

*

Both the Nishadas are used in the Begada Varna ‘Dayanidhe’. The Anya-Svara Kaishiki Nishada is used only in the opening phase: ’Dha-Pa-Ma-Pa-Dha-Ni-Dha-Pa’.

[The noted scholar Dr. V V Srivatsa in his ‘Introduction and historical background of the Begada ‘presented at the Raganubhava session on Begada Raga held on 16 January 2000, while referring to the compositions of Sri Shyama Shastry in that Raga mentions :

Begada is a Raga with unique, if not exclusive, Madhyama and Nishada Svaras. The Madhyama is of Pratyantara-Madhyama level. Nishada appears to be between the Kaishiki and Kakali-Nishada Svaras. This Raga also permits, on a selective basis, Kaisika and Kakali-Nishada. Begada is of the genre of Sahana, Saveri and Anandabhairavi, liked primarily for the Ranjakatva. The dual-vakra-sanchara in the Arohana is the main characteristic of this raga. The glide from the Purvanga to the Uttaranga is harmonious.

Begada belongs to a select group of Ragas in which we have at least one composition by each member of the Trinity. This is a raga which provides Hasya, Srngara and Adbhuta Rasas. The present version of this raga conforms to that given in the Sangraha Choodamani.

Earlier,  in the Adi tala Varnam by Syama Sastri,  we can find often, the permutation “pa-ma-ga-ri”. Syama-Sastri’s “Kamakshi-Nato-Vada” has several pristine sancharas now virtually lost to posterity.]

The Pallavi alone starts with ‘Dha’, while the Anupallavi and Ettugada –Svara start on Ma ; the Ettugada-Pallavi and the first two Svaras start on ’Pa’; third one on ‘Ga’; and, the last on Tara ‘Sa’.

Though in many Varnas we find similarity in the opening Svaras of the Pallavi and the Ettugada Svara here is missing.

*

We find Svaraksharas in many places in the Varnas of Sri Shyama Shastry; as also in the Svarajatis.

In the two Varnas, Svarakshara syllables are found in the beginning as well as in some places. Both the Shuddha and Suchita Svaraksharas are found in them

The Varna ‘Dayanidhe’ in Begada Raga also starts with Shuddha Svarakshara in all the three Angas.

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  1. Nive gatiyeni namminanu Jagadamba– Kalyani (65) –Tisra Mathya

[Raga Kalyani is the 65th Melakarta Raga; Sampurna Raga It is also called as ‘Mecha Kalyani’ based on Katapayadi Sutram

Arohana: s r g m p d n S; Avarohana: S n d p m g r s

Svarasthanas: Shadja, Chatussruti Rshabha, Antara Gandhara, Prati Madhyama, Pachama, Chatussruti Daivata, Kakali Nishada]

In this Varna, Sri Shyama Shastry prays to the mother to listen to his pleas (manavi vinu); to make haste and come to him (vegame); and, to rescue him, since she is the only resort and there is none else to protect him.

He addresses the Mother Kanchi Kamakshi seated in Kama-Koti as Raja-Rajeshvari; Anatha-rakshaki (one who protects the orphaned)

O Jagadamba (mother of all this existence) I have been listening to your awe-inspiring legends (Charitamu-vini-vini); and have been constantly singing your glory (pogadi-pogadi). O Bangaru Kamakshi I have absolute faith in you (nere namminanu) and take refuge in your lotus feet (paada-kamala). You are my only saviour. Please do protect me.

The Raga Mudra and Vaggeyakara Mudra are in the phrase: Kalyani Shyamakrishna Sodari Devi.

The Telugu Sahitya is in simple words. It is the Music of the Varna that is more impressive.

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What better way could there be to conclude the Series than with the  auspicious , most pleasing and lovely Mangala-Kriti (Shankari-Shankari, Kalyani, Adi) recited  by Sri Shyama Shastry as a benediction (Svasthi-vachana) – a prayer entreating the divine blessings of  his Mother, the Supreme Goddess Raja-Rajeshvari, who is the very embodiment of  all the spiritual knowledge  (Tattva-jnana-rupini) and one who enlightens  all (Sarva-chitta-bohini)  to bless  and grant (Disa)  all of this existence (Sarva-Lokaya) health, happiness , prosperity (Jaya) and well-being  in  all its forms (Shubha)

 – Mangalam– Jaya Mangalam – Shubha Mangalam

श्याम कृष्ण सोदरि शिशुं मां परिपालय शङ्करि
करि मुख कुमार जननि कात्यायनि कल्याणि
सर्व चित्त बोधिनि तत्त्व ज्ञान रूपिणि
सर्व लोकाय दिश मङ्गळं जय मङ्गळं
शुभ मङ्गळं (शङ्करि)

rajeshi

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Sources and References

All images are taken from Internet

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2020 in Music, Sangita, Shyama Shastri

 

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Sri Shyama Shastry (1763-1827) – Part Ten

Continued from Part Nine

Sri Shyama Shastry – Music-Continued

Devi Kamakshi

Svarajati

Svarajati, as the name suggests, is a combination of Svaras (notes) and Jati (rhythmic pattern represented by a vocal ‘Sol’).

The Svarajati is said to have been developed in two ways – one type with Jatis to suit dance movements; and, the other, a simple type for beginners in music.

Thus, the Svarajati could be rendered as a song, with all the Alamkaras; and, it could also be a musical composition adorned with graceful and flowing stream of rhythms, to which a Dancer performs with apt Nrtta (rhythmic-body-movements) and present the interpretation of its words through Abhinaya (meaningful expressions).

The main features of the Svarajatis are (1) presence of a number of Svara-Sahitya passages in the Carana ;( 2) the absence of Anupallavi; and, (3) preponderance of Jatis

The first two features can be seen in beginner’s Svarajatis. And, in the Dance-Svarajatis, the third factor is important.

*

As regards the Svarajatis, which belonged to the sphere of Abhyasa-gana; they were mainly intended to be learnt by students of music. These were simpler types, without the Jatis.

On account of the simple, yet qualitative music, and good rhythmic flow, many Svarajatis are taught to the students of music, after they learnt Gitas; but, before the Varnas.  The Svarajatis are, therefore, normally treated as Abhyasa-gana class of practical compositions.

[Simpler Svarajatis, without Jatis and the Anga of Muktayi Svara, were composed for the benefit of students of art music and dance. These are pieces to be learnt after a course in Alankara, Gita and Jatisvara; but, before learning to sing Varnas.

The purpose of learning Jatisvara and Svarajati is to get a good grasp of the rhythm, which would prepare the student for the next difficult piece, the Varna.

Thus, there is some logic behind the graded method of teaching the musical forms.

The Sahitya of a Svarajati has more words than the Sahitya of a Gita.

To enable the student to get familiar with a Sahitya consisting of more number of words; to train her/him to sing properly, following the time-units precisely is perhaps the intention behind the gradation of  these technical forms.]

This Abhyasa-gana type of Svarajatis is quite different from the Pada-Varna.  It has a different structure. It has no Anupallavi; but, there is coordination between the Svaras and the syllables of the Sahitya. The Sahitya and the melody take priority.

Perhaps, the only common point it has with the Pada-Varna is the fact that the beginning Svara sahitya passages are simpler; and, there is a gradual increase in the length and complexity of the lines.

*

As regards the Svarajatis that are specially designed for Dance; they have rhythmic syllables or Sollukottus in its musical structure. In this type, there are Jatis and Sahitya for all the Svara-passages. The Svara and Sahitya lines which follow each other alternatively, lend themselves well to the Abhinaya and Nrtta sequences in a dance.

Here, the Nrtta (rhythmic-body-movements) and Adavus (basic steps in Dance) are performed to the Svaras and Sollokottu; whereas, the Abhinaya is performed to the Sahitya.

The early version of the Dance-Svarajatis resembled the Pada-Varnas. It had a short Pallavi, Anupallavi and a fairly long Carana portion, consisting of Carana-Sahitya, Svara passages and a Jati section.

*

The third type of Svarajati, which has no Jati or Sollukottu in its structure; which has the refinement to project the Raga-svarupa; and, which can be rendered in music concerts, was the one that was developed by Sri Shyama Shastry.

The Svarajatis developed by Sri Shyama Shastry were far more advanced and sophisticated than the simple Abhyasa-gana Svarajatis. And, at the same time, they are different from the Dance Svarajatis.

The Svarajatis of Sri Shyama Shastry form a separate class of compositions, which do not resemble Dance-Svarajatis. They do not have a Mukthayi-Svara section with Sahitya and Jati. They also do not, generally, form a part of the repertoire of Dance-Music. They are largely rendered in Art-musical-concerts.

In their structure, these types of Svarajatis are made of Pallavi, and many Caranas in the form of Svara-Sahityas (Svara syllable having a corresponding syllable of text of identical duration).

A number of Svara-Sahitya passages in the Carana and the absence of Anupallavi are the other characteristic features of this type of Svarajati.

The Svarakshara beauty, where the syllable of the text is identical or similar to the correspondent Svara syllable, is a noteworthy feature in most of the Svarajatis.

Svara-Sahitya is a combination of Svara (Sol-fa) passages with appropriate Sahitya passages that match the Svaras. The Svara-part should steadily maintain continuity with the Music of the Sahitya of the Carana; and, should methodically lead to the Pallavi. Again, the Sahitya-portion of the Svara-Sahitya should blend with the Sahitya of the Carana; and, later with the Carana.

That is to say; the Svarajatis are compositions made of Pallavi, Anupallavi and Caranas in the form of Svara-sahitya. Now, while rendering the Carana, its Svaras are sung first; and, then its corresponding Sahitya is presented. After the final Carana, the Pallavi is again rendered as  the conclusion.

By increasing the numbers of Svara letters and the Sahitya letters, according to the time-units of the Taala-aksharas, the Carana-Svaras are sung as if in Madhyama-kala. The number of Avartas (one Avarta is a complete cycle of a Taala) for the Carana-Svaras is also increased gradually.

When one tries to explain in words, it does sound very complicated. But, when an erudite artist sings, seamlessly weaving the Svara-Sahitya passages with consummate skill and artistry, it is truly delightful.

Vajra

Almost running parallel to what I said above:

Dr. Ritha Rajan, in her articleJatisvaram/Svarajati’ published in the Journal of the Music Academy Madras (Vol. LXXV- 2002) mentions that Sri Subbarama Dikshitar, in his Sangita-Sampradaya-Pradarshini, described two types of Svarajatis.

The first type of Svarajatis are those, which are more suitable for Dance-Dramas , like Bhagavatha-Mela-Natakas, wherein the brisk Madhyama–Kala could be executed , with all its vigour and gusto, by the male dancers.

This is said to be the older form or type of Svarajati; with Madhyama-kala as its characteristic feature. Many of them are set in Tisra-Eka-Taala (each unit of Taala being three melodic pulses) or in Rupaka-Taala (one Dhruta followed by one Laghu).

The Mukthayi (a passage of Svara syllables that succeeds an Anupallavi, usually of two Avartas) was composed with the first phase,  with only long Svaras; the second phase in Madhyama-kala; and, the third phase in Durita-Kala, ending with the Jati phrase : ‘ taddin ginata tom’. The Carana was sung in a faster tempo as Svarajati.

[It is said; this older type of Svarajati-s fell into disuse; because the Pada-Varnam, which resembled it, gained more popularity.]

The other type of Svarajatis that Sri Subbarama Dikshitar mentioned is that, where the Jati-groups (rhythmic patterns composed of vocal ‘Sols’) form the central core of the composition. The Jati-groups are presented in the form of Svaras, along with the Sahitya.

The Graha-Svaras (Svara on which a Raga or a song commences) of the Svara-Sahityas will be in the Arohana-Krama (ascending order), in accordance with the Murchanas (the ascending and descending movement of the seven notes in successive order) of the Raga. Sometimes, the Krama or the sequential order of the Graha-Svaras of the Svara-Sahitya will be in Avarohana-Krama (descending order). The Mathu or the text will be of devotional nature. The Mathu of the first section of the Svarajati will be like a Pallavi.

*

Viewed in the light of these explanations, you find that the Svarajati-s of Sri Shyama Shastri in the Ragas Bhairavi and Yadukula-kambhoji in Misra-Chapu-Taala, alone come under the second category of Svarajatis.

These Svarajatis have a Jati based format, which is presented as Svaras with appropriate Sahitya. The Graha Svaras of the Svara-Sahityas are in the Arohana- Krama. The Mathu is devotional, in its nature. The first section is complete like the Pallavi section of a Kriti, in terms of both Dhatu and Mathu.

Dr. N. Ramanathan points out that the Todi Svarajati of Sri Shyama Shastry seems to be the odd one out; because, certain important features found with the other two Svarajatis are absent here. There is no proper ascending order (Arohana)   for the Graha-Svaras in the Svara-Sahityas of the Svarajati in Todi Raga; and, a planned gradual musical development is also missing in its Svara-Sahityas.

*

As regards the Svarajatis in Ragas Bhairavi and Yadukula-Kambhoji, Dr. Ramanathan mentions:

The Pallavis of the Bhairavi and Yadukula-kambhoji Svarajatis have almost identical rhythmic structure; and, also have architectonic order and proportion. Further, certain Svara-Sahityas have similar structure in both the forms. In the Bhairavi Svarajati, out of the Eight Svara-Sahityas, from the 5th Svara-sahitya onwards the numbers of melodic pauses considerably increase.  There are also sub divisions of melody within the sections.

Vadi-Samvadi-Svara combinations, Svara-aksharas, Atita and Anahata-Eduppus and prolonged Svaras with Karvai for five or seven Aksaras also figure in the Svarajatis

*

Further, Dr. N. Ramanathan says that the Svarajati form created by Sri Shyama Shastry is almost similar to the Carana part of the old Svarajati, with modifications. These made the composition into an Art-musical form. With revision of the Kala-pramana into a slower one; and, by concentrating more on melodic richness; and, with a plain Bhakthi text, the new form of Svarajati came into vogue.

Vajra

Sri Shyama Shastry revised the form of the Svarajatis by eliminating the Jatis from their musical structure and, letting the Svaras to arrange themselves into Jati-patterns. And, he converted them into a refined form, which can even be sung in concerts.

Though the Jatis are eliminated, there are enormous other rhythmic beauties and complexities in the structure of his Svarajatis; without interfering the Bhava aspect; and, at the same time, adding more richness to these compositions. Sri Shyama Shastry, elsewhere, referred to this musical form in his Natta Raga Kriti ‘Pahimam’ as ‘Sarasa-pada-yugale Svarajati kalpita sangeeta-rasike’.

Sri Shyama Shastry’s contribution in reforming the Svarajatis is indeed exceptional. He was probably the first to compose Svarajatis in a new form of musical genre, where the compositions can be rendered in vocal or in instrumental form, with all the embellishments. Prior to this, the Svarajati was primarily a dance-song, resembling the Pada-vara, in its structure.

The Svarajatis of Sri Shyama Shastry are different from the rest; they are more advanced; and by themselves, they form a separate category of Art Music.

The beauty of the Svarajatis composed by Sri Shyama Shastry is in its natural flow of the Taala, Laya and Svaras.

He seemed to have found the Svara-Sahitya feature most fascinating and challenging, as well.

Here, in the Svarajatis of Sri Shyama Shastry, the elegant Svara passages blend naturally with the emotionally rich Sahitya. What you experience here is the harmony that binds together in one entity, the soulful Ragas; the lyrical elegant Sahitya; and, the innovative Taala patterns; all into a rare joyful aesthetic delight.

As regards their structure; his Svarajati compositions commence with a Pallavi, which is followed by Carana/s. While rendering the Carana, the Svaras are sung first; and, then its corresponding Sahitya is presented.

*

It is often said that the earlier form of Svarajati was primarily a dance-song, resembling the Pada-Varna in its structure; and, Sri Shyama Shastry transformed it into a more Musical form.

However, Dr. Ramanathan observes:

I think that in Shyama Shastri’s compositions the dance rhythms may not be explicit; but, they are still very much there. His Guru Samgita Swami was a Natyacharya; and , learning from this Guru at a young age had probably left certain deep impressions and ideas in the disciple’s mind, based on which, he would later mould his compositions.

It is also possible that in making modifications to the earlier Svarajati forms, Sri Shyama Shastry was influenced by the songs like ‘ēmandayānrā’ in Husēni Raga of Paccimiriyam Ādippayya (with whom he spent quite some time).

*

Sri Subbarama Dikshitar also says that the compositions of Shyama Shastri have an under-current of Jati-patterns in the melodic structure; and, should be sung with a proper grip and assertiveness.

That is because; his techniques have created unique rhythmic patterns and movements. For instance; in the application of Chapu Taala, he very effectively used the khanda phrases (i.e. phrases with 5 pulses), by way of starting the composition after the lapse of 5 counts and by providing apt Misra and Sankirna pauses of duration of 5 counts. This extraordinary use of khanda-Karvais, in effect, made the Taala gain an altogether different dimension.

[Dr. N. Ramanathan says that there is another variety of Svarajatis, which is modelled in the structure of a Pada-varna, with Pallavi, Anupallavi, Muktayi-Svara, Carana and Carana-Svaras.

In this type, the Muktayi-Svara passage consists of two parts i.e. Paata syllables and Svaras. It ends with the Jati ‘ta-dingina-tôm’ before returning to Pallavi.

He mentions that the Graha-Svaras of the Carana-Svaras are in the ascending order; in this type it is observed only in the Svarajati ‘Emandayanara’ in Huseni Raga composed jointly   by Paccimiriam Adiyappa and Melattur Venkatarama Shastri

In these Svarajatis we find the Sahitya of the Pallavi and Anupallavi is spread over a number of Svaras; and, only in the Carana Svaras we find the Svara letters and Sahitya letters are identical either long or short (Dheerga or Hrasva).

 Moeover, the Kala-pramana also differs between the Purva-part and Uttara -part in some Svarajatis.  The Purva-part is in slow tempo while the Uttara-part is in Madhyama-kala.]

devi 

Sri Shyama Shastry has composed three Svarajatis which are aptly called ‘Ratna-traya’ i.e. three gems.

His three Svarajatis are: (1) Rave Himagiri Kumari (8-Todi, Adi Taala); (2) Kamakshi anudinamuna (20-Bhairavi, Misra-Chapu Taala); and, (3) Kamakshi nee padayugamu (28-Yadukula-Kambhoji, Misra-Chapu Taala).

All the three are composed in Telugu; and, consist of Pallavi and multiple Caranas, which are sung as Svara-Sahityas.

And, all the three Svarajatis are dedicated to Devi Sri Kamakshi of Kanchipuram.

 Each Svarajati extols the beauty, the magnificence and splendid virtues of the Devi. And, through these gems, Sri Shyama Shastry prays to the Devi, seeking her blessings, her protection and her Motherly Love; and, refuge at her Lotus-feet.

All the three Svarajatis, singing the beauty and glory of the Mother Goddess Kamakshi, resemble the Kriti in their form. However, they differ from the Kriti in that they have no Anupallavi; and, have a number of Svara-sahitya passages with an entirely different Dhatu. 

All the three Svarajatis are structured with a gradual sequence of music that ends in a climax.  With the steady ascendance of the tempo, it looks as if Sri Shyama Shastry adopted here the sequential progression of the Alapana-Paddathi.

The Todi-Svarajati ‘Rave-Himagiri-Kumari-Kanchi-Kamakshi‘in Adi-Taala is the shortest, with six Svara-sahitya; each of which begins with the Raga-Chaya-SvarasDha, Ga and Ma. The Svara-kashara syllables are dexterously woven into the texture of the Sahitya.

*

The Bhairavi-Svarajati ‘Kamakshi-Amba-anudinamu-maravakane’ is set to Chapu Taala; and, has the unique structure with eight Caranas  each beginning with a successively a higher note in the scale of   the eight Svaras ‘Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa’ in that order (krama). And, the last Carana begins with tara-sthayi shadja. And, the Pallavi starts in the Mandra-sthayi; and, has a rare Prayoga of Shudha-Dhaivata, sung as a prolonged note. This is perhaps is the most popular Svarajati of Sri Shyama Shastri.

*

The Yadukula-Kambhoji Svarajati ‘Kamakshi-ni-paada-yugamu’ is set to Misra-Chapu. And, here again, the different sections commence on the Raga-Chaya- Svaras of the Raga- Sa,-Ri,-Pa,-Dha. This Svarajati is mostly in Mandra and Madhya Sthayi; but, some lines, towards the end, ascend (Makuta) to the Tara-Sthayi.

Svarajatis of Sri Shyama Shastri

The Ragas selected, in each case, is very apt. All the three Ragas are Shuddha-Madhyamā Ragas; of which one (Raga Todi) is a Melakarta.  Of the two Janya Ragas, Bhairavi, which is a major Raga, provides abundant scope for elaboration. And, at the same time, the third one, Yadukula-Kambhoji is very rarely elaborated. But, Sri Shyama Shastry has deftly handled all the three Ragas, exploring their subtleties and their individual characteristics.

All the three Svarajatis, which are addressed to the Devi Kamakshi, have many common features; such as: similarity in thematic content of the Sahitya couched in sweet-sounding rhythmic passages; in the arrangement of the Music starting from the slow meditative expansive elaboration, gradually raising to higher pitch and faster pace towards the end portions.

The prime feature of the music of Sri Shyama Shastry is his deep-rooted faith and his ardent devotion to the Mother Goddess. He approaches her as a child that longs for the Love of his Mother.  The Laya patterns, in tandem with the soulful (Bhava-purita) Sahitya, portray his approach.

Most of his compositions commence in calm, slow-paced (Vilamba-kala) meditative Music, lovingly conversing with the Mother Kamakshi. As the composition progresses, he is overtaken by a feeling of urgency and eagerness of a Sadhaka in securing assurance and protection from his Ishta-Devata. And, that is reflected in the contemplative mood giving place to the increased pace of the Laya in the latter parts of his Svarajatis.

 *

The sparkling Svarakshara beauty, which blends amicably well with the Sahitya, is another noteworthy feature shared by his three Svarajatis, which are often rendered at the Musical concerts.

Generally in all the three Svarajatis the Mandra Sthayi is used in the Pallavi, which paves way for the elaborate delineation of the Raga ; and , a gradual rise in the Sthayis as well as number or Avartas are found in the subsequent Caranas.

**

Before we go into the individual Svarajatis, it would be truly rewarding to briefly read through the general observations made by Dr. Sharadambal in her Doctoral Thesis.

[Her comments are highly technical. I have included here, hopefully, for the benefit of the serious students, just a few extracts from some of the details she provided.]

*

Structure of Svarajatis

The three Svarajatis are in the Ragas Todi, Bhairavi and Yadukula-kambhoji.

The Svarajatis   in Bhairavi and Yadukula-kambhoji are set in Misra-Chapu Taala; while the Svarajati in Todi is set in Adi-Taala (two Kalai).

Of the three Svarajatis, the Todi Svarajati ‘Rave Himagiri Kumari’ in Adi-Taala is with Six Caranas; while the Bhairavi and Yadukula-kambhoji Svarajatis in Misra-Chapu Taala are with Eight and Eleven Caranas, respectively.

The Graha-Svaras for the Caranas are in the ascending order in the Bhairavi and in the Yadukula-kambhoji Svarajatis.

In the Todi-Svarajati, a slight change is found; the second Carana starts in the note ‘Ma’, while the 3rd, 4th and 5th Caranas on ‘Ga’.

In the earlier books which published the Svarajatis of Shyama Shastri, it is mentioned that the Svara of the Pallavi should be sung after the Svara portion of the Carana; and, the Sahitya of the Pallavi after the Sahitya portion of the Caranas.

As seen in the book Gayaka-siddha-anjanamu (of Singaracharulu Brothers, 1905), finishing portions of the Pallavi and Caranas of the Bhairavi Svarajati are marked as follows:

 Pallavi (last Avarta) : M G, R s (N) /  (nammiti) ni Sri kan ci (ka)

 1st Carana-Svara (last Avarta) :  D N S r (N) / (tal) li ra ksin cu (ka)

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Sahitya

The language employed in the Svarajatis is a high-flown pedantic scholarly Telugu, admixed with Sanskrit terms, as compared to the simple colloquial style adopted in the Kritis. The speech idiom is also interspersed with the poetical description of the Goddess.

For instance, to indicate that the Devi is the protector of the universe, he says:

Sarasijasana-harisa vinuta pada-kamalasambava-sura-muni-drulace tanu ninu-pogadutaku (Svarajati-Kamakshi-ni-pada- in Yadukula-kambhoji

To indicate that the Devi protects   her devotees, he uses a very long phrase:

Dalacinajana-dulaku-bahu-sampadalanu-sadadalacina-manavula-kella phala mosage – (Svarajati Kamakshi ni pada- in Yadukula-kambhoji).

The greatness of the Goddess as exhibited in the Vedas is mentioned in the three Svarajatis as: ‘srtutulu-moralidaga’; `vedamulu moralidagana’; and, `dorayanucu vedamulu moralidaga’.

Devi as destroyer of sins is hailed as: pataka-mulanu vâdiga; and pataka-mulanu-dircci

Devi as the destroyer of demons is praised as: Madamatta-mahisa-danava-mardani; and, madadanuja- varana-mrgendra-rcita kalusa-dahana.

*

At the same time he uses he uses, at times, even in the Svarajatis, informal, colloquial expressions, calling himself as her son, ‘Sutudamma’. He requests her to guard him against trials and tribulations. For instance:

Abhimanâmuledâ-nâpai Devi / parâkelane brôvave ippudu / cintalu vevega dircchamma / mora vinada parâkela-namma

**

Svarakshara

A remarkable feature of the compositions of Sri Shyama Shastry is the perfect synchronization of the Mathu and Dathu; blending the Sahitya with its corresponding Svara-structure. He also manages to establish harmony between the syllabic duration with the melodic duration of the phrases (Kala-pramana).

Svarajatis with many Caranas functioning as Svara-Sahityas give plenty of scope for introducing Svaraksharas. A perfect dovetailing is also found between the Svara letters and Sahitya letters in his Svarajatis.

Both the Shuddha and the Suchita Svaraksharas are found in the three Svarajatis, as the Svara and Sahitya are sung one by one; we are able to understand the Svarakshara well in the Svara -Sahityas of the Svarajati.

The Svaraksharas syllables occur in between other letters as a single letter in many places and also as combined with two or three letters.

The Svara syllables ‘Ma’, ‘Ni’, ‘Pa’, ‘Sa’ are frequently used as single syllables as the Svarakshara syllables  while the grouping of two or three are found by combining ‘Ga-Ma’ ‘Ga-Ma-Pa’, ‘Ga-Ma-Dha’, ‘Sa-Ri-Ma’, ‘Ri-Sa’ and ‘Sa-Ri’.

*

Examples of single letters: In the last Carana of the Todi Svarajati, the Svaras’ Ni ‘and’ Pa’ fit in as Svarakshara.

R s n s P, D, N, P m G
cinta nuve kalyâ ni pâ da me

*

Svaraksharas used in Yadukula-Kambhoji Svarajati

svarakshara syllable2s

Some Examples of Svaraksharas in the three Svarajatis

Svarakshara Svarajati2

Vajra

  1. Rave Himagiri Kumari (8-Todi, Adi Taala)

[Todi (also called as Hanuma-Todi) is the 8th Mela

      • Arohana:s r g m p d n S
      • Avarohana:S n d p m g r s

Svarasthana: Shadja, Shuddha-Rshabha, Sadharana-Gandhara, Shuddha-Madhyama, Panchama, Shuddha-Daivata and Kaisiki-Nishada/]

The Svarajati in Raga Todi, the shortest of the three, consists a Pallavi followed by Six Caranas as Svara-Sahitya Passages.

Of the Six Carana, the first four are of the magnitude of one Avarta; and, the last two Caranas consist of two Avartas. 

*

The different sections commence on the Raga-chaya-Svaras namely Dha and Ga. The Pallavi, the first Svara-Sahitya Section; and, the Mudra section begin on Dhaivata, while the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Sections on Gandhara.

*

The music of the Pallavi begins in the Mandra-Sthayi-Dhaivata; and, revolves around the same; occasionally touching the Madhya-Sthayi ‘Ga’.

The first Svara-Sahitya passage is beautifully conceived, without resorting to Panchama note. The phrases succeed in a highly attractive manner. The 3rd, 4th and 5th Svara Sahitya sections begin in the Gandhara-Svara, bringing out the essence of the Raga through powerful and appealing phrases.

Each of these Svara-Sahitya-Caranas begins with the Raga-chayaSvaras capably woven into the texture of the Sahitya as, for instance: Ga-ma-Pa-ma-ga-ma-Dha / (Ka)- (mi)-(tartha)-(pha)-(la)-(da).

Todi Svarasahitya

 The essence of the Raga (Raga-bhava) is evoked through appealing phrases and the use of Panchama (Pa) in Alpa-Prayogas (very rare application or usage mostly when concluding the Raga-Alapana). This lends a special charm to the Music of the Svarajati.

 [Please check here for its rendering by Smt. M S Subbulakshmi. Thanks to Sri RSR)]

The Svarajati is addressed to his Mother (Mayamma) Kanchi Kamakshi, the daughter of the King of Himalaya (Himagiri Kumari). And, the Pallavi commences with a request submitted to her to listen to his plea (Naa manavi vinavamma); and, to bless him (Shubha mi-mma).

In the string of Six Svara-Sahitya passages, Sri Shyama Shastry praises the beauty, magnificence and the kindness of the Mother Kamakshi, by using the Sanskrit terms. And, while requesting (Koriti) her to dispel his worries quickly (Naa chintalanu vega deerchi) for protection (Abhaya-miyamma) since he has nowhere else to go but her feet (Nee paadamule dikku), he uses the Telugu terms and verbs.

 He describes the power and the kindness of the Mother in Sanskrit phrases as:

Mada-matta-Mahisha-danava-mardhini; Nata-jana-paripalini; Kamapalini; and, Kamita-artha-phala-dayike

In the fifth Carana, Sri Shyama Shastry sings of the beauty of the features and of the stately gait of the Mother Goddess through poetic phrases, such as:

Kamala-mukhi;Dhara-ghana-neela-kacha-bhara-vilochane;Mani-radana; and Gaja-gamana.

*

The Pallavi commences in Mandra-Sthayi-Dheerga-Dhaivata, rendered with Kampita Gamaka.

The Raga-bhava of the Todi is brought out by the proper application of the Prayogas along with the Raga-chayaSvaras (Gandhara and Daivata). The Panchama-Varja-Prayoga (skipping of notes) adds beauty to the composition. A special feature of Todi Raga is said to the Varja-Prayoga or phrases where Svaras are skipped. This, in Todi in particular, enhances the beauty and Rakthi of the Raga.

*

The Dvitiya-akshara-Prasa the rhyming with identical consonants or similar sounding vowels, in the second position in a line can be seen in the Caranas 3 to 5: Kamapalini; Kamitaphala; Kamalamukhi; and, Syamakrishna.

The Svara-phrases and words corresponding to groups of Tisra and Khanda can be seen in the 5th Carana

Khandam

Smt. Sharadambal comments:

The Pallavi of the Todi Svarajati ‘Rave’ begins in the Mandra Sthayi, Dheerga Dhaivata, which is sung with Kampita -Gamaka.

The Caranas either end in Mandra-Sthayi-Nisada or Madhya-Sthayi-Shadja, with a natural lead to the Pallavi as: n (D) or s (D).

The range of the Svaras increases gradually in Sthayi. 

In the first and second Carana- Svaras, the lower limit is ‘Mandra Dha’ and upper limit is ‘Madhya Ma’

In the second and third Carana Svaras , the lower limit is Mandra ‘Ni’;  and upper limit is Madhya ‘ni’;  while the fifth Svara touches ‘Tara-Ga’ in the finishing phrase as  :

 Dha-ga-ri-ni-Dha, pa |, ma-Ga- Ri-sa ||

The second Carana Svaras start with Madhyamā, while the other three Carana-Svaras start on ‘Madhya Ga’. The first Carana- Svara start on ‘Mandra Dha’; and, the last on ‘Madhya Dha’.

The melodic movement of the last Svara also centres between ‘Madhya Ma’ and ‘Tara Ri’, only in the final phrase comes down to Mandra-Sthayi-Svaras as ‘Pa-Ma-Ga, Ri-Sa’

In the third, fourth and fifth Svaras that start on the Svara ‘Ga’, stress and shake is given to the Svara in different ways. ‘Ga-Ma-Pa’, ‘Ga-Ma-Dha-Ma’ in these Prayogas. the Dheerga KampitaGa’ is sung. 

Flattened ‘Ga’ is found in the Prayogas: ‘Ga-Ri-Sa’, ‘Ri-Ga-Sa,’ ‘Ni-Dha-Ma-Ga’ and ‘Ma-Ga-Ri-Sa’. ‘Ga’ is sung as Erra- jaru in both Mandra-Sthayi to Madhya Sthayi and Tara- Sthayi in the fifth Svara as:   ‘Dha/Ga-Sa-Ri-Ni-Sa’ and ‘Dha/Ga-Ri-Ni-Dha’.

*

We find Shadja, Panchama Varja Prayogas in the Todi Svarajati.

They are Varja and also Dathu Prayogas [Ga-Ma-Ni-Dha-Ma, Ga-Ma-Dha-Ma, Ni-Dha-Ma-Ga, Ma-Ga-Ri-Ni-Dha, Ri-Ni-Dha] – Varja, [Dh-Ga-Ri-Ni-Dha Ga-Dha-Ma-Ga-Ri-Ni] – Dathu.

In the first Svara it is a combination of a Misra and a Tisra as [dha-ni-sa-ri-G-] [-Ri-ni] , while it is simply a Misra in the second Svara as [dha-ni-sa-ri-g-ri-ni]

Vajra

  1. Kamakshi anudinamu (20-Bhairavi, Misra-Chapu Taala)

[Bhairavi is the Janya of the 20th Melakarta Nata-Bhairavi

    • Arohana: s r g m p *d n S
    • Avarohana: S n d p m g r s

Svarasthana: Shadja, Panchama, Chatussruti-Rishabha, Sadharana-Gandhara, Shuddha-Madhyamā, Shuddha-Diatom, Chatussruthi-Daivata.and Kaisiki-Nishada]

The Svarajati ‘Kamakshi anudinamunu maravakane nee paadamule dikkenuchu nammitini Sri Kanchi, Kamakshi’ in Bhairavi Raga, Misra-Chapu Taala, is a very highly popular composition of Sri Shyama Shastry; and, it is very often rendered at the Music concerts.

[Please check here for its rendering by Smt. M S Subbulakshmi Thanks to Sri RSR)]

Its Pallavi is followed by eight Svara-Sahitya-Caranas. Each of these Eight Caranas begins in a regular order of Svaras: Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni, Sa.

The Pallavi commences in Mandra-Sthayi; and, the tempo picks up progressively in the later Angas of the Svarajati, to match the emotional appeal of each Carana.

Sri Shyama Shastry seemed to have treated each Svara as a Graha Svara; and has delineated the Bhairavi Raga most beautifully.

[Please check here for the Dance-rendering of the Bhairavi Svarajati]

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Apart from its very pleasing Sahitya, the Raga-bhava of Bhairavi is brought out wonderfully well in a methodical progression, traversing through all the Sthayis, ranging from Mandra-Sthayi-Madhyamā on to the Tara-Sthayi-Madhyama.

The Pallavi has a rare Prayoga of Shuddha-Daivata (Dha); and, is sung as an extended prolonged note.

The commencing notes of the Caranas are in the ascending order (Arohana-Krama) of the Saptha (Seven) Svaras; and, the last Carana takes off from Tara-Sthayi-Shadja.

The Vggeyakara-mudra, the signature of the composer is set in in a lengthy phrase, which is taken up by the performers on the stage for Neraval and Kalpana-Svara improvised elaborations: Shyamakrishna-sahodari-Shive-Shankari-Parameshvari.

And, the Raga-mudra, indication of its Raga, is in the last line of the last Svara-Sahitya-Carana, as: Paraku-yelane brovave ippudu Sri Bhairavi.

As in the other compositions, here too, the Vilamba-kala tempo gradually raises up along with Sri Shyama Shastry’s anxiety and impatience to stimulate the Devi to grant him protection. And, beginning from Mandra-Sthayi-Nishada, it reaches Tara-Sthayi in the last two lines, impatiently questioning and pleading with Mother Kamakshi- Abhimanamu leda naapai Devi? (Don’t you have any affection towards me?); Paraku yelane? (Why are you delaying so much?); Brovave ippudu (Protect me right now) Sri Bhairavi –Kamakshi.

Very enterprising Gamaka Prayogas are built into the rendering style of this Bhairavi Svarajati. The third Carana starts on ‘Ga’ rendered in Kampita Gamaka ; and, that is followed by exploration of the varied shades of the Madhyama , ranging from the delicate  throbbing Gamaka for the words ‘Padma-bhava’ (Ma-Pa-Ga, Ri)  leading up to a higher Gamaka ending in ‘Pa’ for the words ‘Hari’(Ga Ma) and ‘Shambhu-nuta’ (Pa; Dha-Ma-Ga).

In the next Carana also there is a charming Jaru-Gamaka (sliding) that links the higher Svara Sa to Pa, when the words ‘Taamasamu seyaka’ (Pa; Dha-Ni-Sa-Pa) are rendered.

*

The profusion of enchanting Svara-Sahitya lends richness and sparkling rhythmic brilliance to this sublime Svarajati.

[This Svarajati, in its structure and musical content resembles the famous Ata-Taala-Varna ‘Viriboni’ composed by Sri Pachimiriyam Adiappiah, the noted composer and singer of his times, under whose tutelage the young Shyama Shastry spent a brief time.

Some scholars have tried noticing in this Svarajati of Sri Shyama Shastry, the traces of the influence of Sri Adiyappa.]

*

Smt. Vidya Subramanian has made a very good study of the Svara-sahitya in the Bhairavi Svarajati Kamakshi anudinamu. I have tried to summarize her observations, here:

The first Carana ends with the words ‘Talli rakshinchu’. The Svara for these words are Pa-Dha (Talli) and Ni-Sa-Ri (Rakshimpuu). The Svaras ‘Pa and Dha’ leisurely take four Akshara-kala; while ‘Ni’ takes three; Sa takes two; and, Ri takes one Akshara-kala.

The second Carana concludes with the word ‘Mayamma’. The Svaras used for this word are ‘Ni, Ga, Ri’, a typical Bhairavi Prayoga, to which Gamakas  are applied,  to heighten the  emotion of Bhakthi (devotion).

In the third Carana , which commences with the Svara ‘Ga’, many shades of delicate Gamakas are applied to the words ‘Padma-bhava’ (Ma; Pa-Ga-Ri) taking up to higher Gamaka , ending in ‘Pa’ for the words ‘Hari’(Ga Ma) and ‘Shambhu-nuta’ (Pa; Dha-Ma-Ga).

In the fourth Carana, the Jaru-Gamaka on ‘Sa’ links the higher Svara ‘Sa’ to ‘Pa’, when the words ‘ Taamasamu seyaka’ (Pa; Dha-Ni-Sa-Pa) are rendered.

The fifth Carana also commences on a Svarakshara. The words ‘Paataka mulanu’ match the Svaras ‘Pa; Dha-Pa-Ma-Ga-Ri’. And, his question ‘Pavani-gaada?’ is matched by the Svaras ‘Ga; Ma-Ga-Ri-Sa) ; and,  ‘Moravinadaa?’ with (Pa-Ma-Ga-Ri-Sa).

In the sixth Carana, here is an unusual link from the Svara ‘Sa’ in the Madhyamā-Sthayi to the higher Svara ’Ga’ in the Tara-Sthayi , matching with the word ‘Vedamu’ (Sa-Ga-Ri)

The seventh Carana also has many Svarakshara Prayogas; like Nee Pavana (Ni; Ri-Sa-Ri) and Mada Danuja (Ma-Pa-Sa-Ni-Dha). There are also some charming Sancharas like (Ga-Ma-Ga-Ri-Sa) which bring out the beauty of Bhairavi raga in the higher notes.

The Eighth and the concluding Carana ,is adorned with a series of inspired and lovely phrases addressing the Mother Kamakshi . Among these, the Music for the words ‘Abhimanamu-leda-naapai?’ seamlessly escalates from Madhyamā-Sthayi to Tara-Sthayi, with the Svaras (Sa-Ni-Sa; Pa-Ma-Pa; Dha-Ni; Sa-Ri; Ga)

*

Smt. Sharadambal comments:

In this Svarajati the eight Carana-Svaras start on the Saptha-Svaras in the ascending order as:  Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni and Sa.

The Svaras end mostly or Rsabha-svara; and, the Pallavi is taken as :  Ga Ri \ Ni or Sa Ri \ Ni.

Only the third and fourth Caranas end Shadja as:  Ga Ri Sa and Ma Ga Ri  Sa

The number of the Avartas as well as the range of Svaras increases gradually from the first Carana passage to the last Carana passage. 

The first Carana has four Avartas and the last Carana Svara has sixteen Avartas. The melodic range in the first Carana-Svara is from the Mandra Madhyama to Madhya Rsabha; gradual increase in the Sthayi is noticed in the subsequent Carana Svaras.

In the second Carana Svara the lower limit raises to ‘Mandra Dha’ and the Svara Sancharas are framed up to ‘Madhya Ma’.

 In the next two Carana-Svaras the Sancharas does not go below Mandra-‘Ni’;
while the upper limit is increased to ‘Tara Ri’ and ‘Tara Ga’.

The seventh and eighth Carana-Svaras touch ‘Tara Ma’; while the Svara-Sancharas cover Madhya and Tara- Sthayi in many places, occasionally touch Mandra –Sthayi-Svaras also.

*

We find a number of Svara patterns in the Bhairavi Svarajati also. Though the composition is in regular Misra-Chapu Taala, we find patterns of Svaras in the Viloma-krama (i.e. reverse order 4+3). 

The third Carana ends with this pattern as ‘Ni-Ni-Dha-Pa | Pa-Ma-Ga-Ri-Sa||’

In the seventh Carana we find the ending as (Ni Dha Pa G Ri] [; Sa Ni Dha Pa] [; Ga Ri (Ni)]

The eighth Carana ends in a combination of ‘Misra’ as:  Ma Ga Ri Ra Ri|| Sa Ri Ni Dha Pa || Ma Ga Ri Ga Ri||.

Vajra

  1. Kamakshi nee padayugamu (28-Yadukula Kambhoji, Misra Chapu Taala)

Raga Yadukula Kambhoji is a Janya of the 28th Melakarta Harikambhodi

  • Arohana:S R₂ M₁ P D₂ Ṡ / Avarohaṇa: Ṡ N₂ D₂ P M₁ G₃ R₂ S
  • Svara-shtana: Shadja, Chathusruthi-Rshabha, Antara-Gandhara, Shuddha Madhyamā, Panchama, Chathusruthi- Dhaivata and Kaisiki-Nishada.]

The Svarajati in Yadukula-Kambhoji, in its commencing lines of Pallavi, is a poignant submission to the Devi, requesting her to drive away all his worries. Sri Shyama Shastry, here again, asserts his deep-rooted immense faith in his Mother (Amma); and pleads with her to rescue and to protect him.

Kamakshi nee padayugamu sthiramani ne namm-iyunnanu; naa chinta-lellanu deerch-amma

This is the longest of the three Svarajatis of Sri Shyama Shastry, with the Pallavi followed by as many as eleven Svara-Sahitya-Caranas.

Addressing the Mother Kamakshi as :  Pavani Manini; Parvathi-Sakala-Janani; and, Sura-vrnda-Vinuta; Sri Shyama Shastry recites the beauty of Devi Kamakshi with a series of elegant Sanskrit phrases; Kamala-dala-sama-nayana; Kacha-jita-ghana-Sashidhara-vibha-vadana; Baala-kisa-laya-carana; and, Kunda-mukula-radaa.

Yadukula-Kambhoji, usually, is not much elaborated in the Raga-alapana. But, Sri Shyama Shastri makes a deft Prastara of it.

Moving away from the usual mode of singing this Raga only in the Mandra and Madhya Sthayis, Sri Shyama Shastry attempted introducing the Tisra-Sthayi up to Madhyamā.

Here, again, the different sections of the Svarajati commence on its Raga-Chaya-Svaras: Sa, Ri, Pa, Dha and Tara Sa. The Music of the Svarajati is mostly in Mandra-Sthayi and Madhya-Sthayi; and, some lines, towards the end, go up to Tara-Sthayi.

The Caranas are systematically arranged in the raising order of the pitch, keeping in tune with the emotional content of the Carana. This progression simulates the Alapana-Paddathi, moving from low to high

The first two Caranas are set in Madhya-Sthayi-Shadja. The next three Caranas commence with the Svaras ‘Ri’, ‘Ga’ and ‘Ma’.

The three Caranas that follow begin with ‘Pa’.

The ninth and the tenth Caranas start with the Svara ‘Dha’.

And, the eleventh and the last Carana commences with Tara-Sthayi-Shadja.

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The Yadukula-Kambhoji Svarajati has many instances of Jaru-Gamakas (slides) as well as the graceful Pratyahata- Gamaka, which is a characteristic of the Raga

[Please check here for its rendering by Smt. M S Subbulakshmi Thanks to Sri RSR)]

Smt. Sharadambal comments

This Svarajati is a lengthy one with eleven Caranas in all the versions of the published books; and also in the HW of Shyama Shastri II; but in SSP of Subbarama Diksitar there are only 10 Caranas.

In this Svarajati also the starting Svaras of the Caranas are in the ascending order. This Raga has only five Svaras in the Arohana [Sa Ri Ma Pa  Dha], so more than one Caranas start on the same Svara

There are two Caranas starting on the Svaras Shadja Rsabha and Dhaivata; and three on Panchama

There is only one Carana each starting on the Svara Madhyamā and Tara Shadja. The Nyasa Svaras of the Caranas are mostly ‘Ga’ and ‘Ri’ and the Caranas either end as `Sa-Ri-Ga’, `Ri-Ma-Ga’, `Dha-Pa-Ma-ga’, `Pa-Ma-ga-Ri’, `Ga-Ri,-Ma-Ga-Ga-Ri’ and `Dha-Pa/Ga-Ri’

Only one Carana i.e. the 9th one ends on the Svara Dha as `Ni-Dha –Pa-Dha

In the first seven Carana Svaras  the melodic movement in the Mandra Sthayi touches ‘Mandra Pa’ and the upper limit only increases gradually as `Ma’, `Dha’, `Ni’ and `Sa’.

In the eighth Carana alone the lower limit happens to be `Madhya Sa‘ ; and in the next three Carana Svaras also `Mandra Pa’ is included in the Svara Sancharas.

The last Carana Svara gives the climax of the Raga.

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In the Svarajati in Yadukula-kambhôji Raga, Svaras are sung in two octaves.

Here is an instance in the fifth Svara ‘PaPaDhaDhaSa /PaPaDhaDhaSa’.

We see the Erra-jaru-Gamaka also in this Svara combination.

In a similar way, different patterns of Svaras are also sung in two octaves with an upward glide.

There are Svaras sung in two octaves with a downward glide also.

Here both the Jarus are found: p d r S | \ ; m p d P || – 8th Svara

Prathyahaþa Gamaka, which is another characteristic Gamaka of Yadukula-kambhôji raga, is found in some places.

The finishing Svaras of the Carana- Svaras before taking up the Pallavi is interesting to note.

In many Svaras we find Svaras in all the three octaves occurring as finishing Svaras.

The sixth Svara finishes as – P | Dha-Sa-R-iMa-Pa-Dha-Dha | Sa, Pa|| Ri Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga||.

In the eighth Svara we find the ending as: [ p d | r S ; ] [ m p | d p ; ] [ m g || + [S , ]

In the ninth Caranas the last two Avartas cover the three octave Svaras as ‘Ga-Ri-Sa-Ni-Dha-Pa-Ma | Ga-Ri-Sa-Ni-Dha-Pa-Dha ||

Lalita Parameshvari

lotus

In the Next Part we shall talk about

The Varnas composed by Sri Shyama Shastry

Continued

In

The Next Part

Sources and References

All images are taken from Internet

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2020 in Music, Sangita, Shyama Shastri

 

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