On the 18th of December Vijay Siva presented a demonstration on four allied ragas – dEvakriya, manjari, dEvAmrtavarShiNi and kharaharapriya.
Vijay began with dEvakriya and traced its origins. It was first mentioned by Ramamatya in his Svaramelakalanidhi in 1550. The author had classified it under the kannaDa gauLa group of ragas which corresponds to the 34th mela of Venkatamakhi. It is also referred to as an inferior raga. The raga then finds mention in the Sadragachandrodaya of Pundarika Vittala. Shahaji, the Maratha ruler of Tanjavur emphasises that it is devoid of G and N classifies it as a janya of kAmbOji. He also gives it the structure of
S R M P D S
S D P M R S
Tulaja repeats the same. The raga was elaborated upon by Muddu Venkatamakhin who classified it as an auDava and upAnga raga. Today this dEvakriya is known as shuddha sAvEri is classified as the 2nd janya raga of kanakAmbari in the Sangita Sampradaya Pradarsini.
That completed the part of the earlier dEvakriya which later changed its name. Vijay then dealt with dEvakriya as we know of it today and as handled by Tyagaraja. This appears in the Sangrahachudamani where it is classified as a niShAdAntya raga and a naTabhairavi janya with the scale of
S R G M N D N
N D P M G R S R S
Later works such as the Sangita Sarvartha Sara Sangrahamu repeat the same information. The Raga Lakshanamu of the late 19th century has the scale as
S R G M N D N S
S N D M G R S
There is one song by Tyagaraja in this raga (nATimATi maracittivO) and based on the movement of notes given in this song, the Music Academy in its early years, worked on a scale for it which it gave out as
S R M P N S
S N D N P M G R S
The D is chatusruti dhaivatam. This is the form today. Vijay played DKJ’s rendering of this song. He pointed out that P N S N D P appears as a variant in actual usage, as shown in the recording.
He then took up manjari. The raga first appears in the Sangrahachudamani and has the scale of
S G R G M P N D N S
S N D P M G R S
There is a raga of the same name in Hindustani music but it is different. Tyagaraja has one song in this – paTTiviDuvarAdu. Vijay played a recording of DKJ singing this and showed that in the anupallavi puTTinanADE, there is a variant prayoga that goes – M D D N N R S N.
The next raga was dEvAmrtavarShiNi. This raga was essentially a tune of Tyagaraja’s and there is his song Evarani in it. It is also known as nAdacintAmaNi and has the scale
S R G M N D N S
S N D P M G R S
He played a recording of DK Pattammal to show that in actual usage, the P appears on the ascent and there are phrases that go P D N S R G and also N D P D. Early versions of this song were sung with shades of kharaharapriya dominating and Vijay played a recording of SG Kittappa’s to show this.
He then went on to kharaharapriya and said that though the Sangrahachudamani classifies this as the 22nd mELa, it was thanks to Tyagaraja that the raga actually took shape. He created 12 songs in it. Several songs of his begin on different notes such as
S – samAnam EvarU
R – cakkani rAjamArgamu
P- pakkala nilabaDi
Later kharaharapriya was adopted by drama and nAmasankIrtanam. The disciples of Tyagaraja strangely enough did not use this raga, except for Veenai Kuppayyar. In the next generation, there is a kriti of Patnam and 4 to 5 kritis by Muthiah Bhagavatar. It was left to Papanasam Sivan to enlarge on Tyagaraja’s canvas and leave his original imprint. He showed that it was possible to have M as a nyAsa svara and he also introduced light versions of the raga into films.
Vijay ended his presentation with the speculation that Tyagaraja perhaps chose to compose only one song in the three janyas and so many in the mELakarta because he wanted the latter to gain a definite shape.
There was a lively interaction at the end.
Suguna Purushottaman pointed out that in the Musiri and the Mudicondan traditions, dEvAmrtavarShiNi did not use P at all, even in sangatis.
TM Krishna felt it was wrong of Vijay to state that kharaharapriya did exist from the times of the tEvAram. He felt that the raga equivalent at that time was quite different in form and shape. This argument threatened to get out hand and Dr Pappu had to use the gavel figuratively.
Yours truly spoke mainly in the context of a comment that arose that Kittappa’s version was drama music. It must be remembered that an anecdote has it that Muthiah Bhagavatar withdrew his recorded version of Evarani after hearing Kittappa’s. Was it out of respect for the authenticity of the latter version or else…?
There was a question as to why Kittappa used the harmonium as an accompaniment as against the violin. The reason was that a violin in the absence of amplification was completely drowned out by the human voice. The harmonium used in the record is of the pedal variety which gave a larger volume and was a standard drama accompaniment those days.
In my view, this presentation was rather brief on content. Perhaps the topic did not allow for much elaboration.