#1 – AnandaBhairavi – The Divine Raaga

Ananda bhaivari is an ancient raga, which has its origins in the folk traditions of South India. It is a janya of the 20th melakarta natabhaivari. But some musicians categorize it under 22nd Mela, Kharaharapriya.  It is classified as a Shadava sampurna vakra, which means it has six notes (shadava) in the ascent and all seven (Sampurna) in descent and the notes are not in order but take a twisted route (vakra). The Raga evokes KARUNA and SRINGARA rasams. The full effect of the Ragam is brought out when sung in VILAMBITA KALAM.

Therapeutically,  it is said that Anandabhairavi  supresses stomach pain in both men and women. Reduces kidney type problems and controls blood pressure

The raga uses anya swaram (external note) in comparison with its parent rāgam. The anya swaram is the usage of  Suddha dhaivatham (D1) in some phrases of the rāgam .It is vakra rāgam since its arohana is not in proper sequence. Its arohana is “sa ga ri ga ma pa da pa sa” (“ga” comes before “ri” and after “pa” comes after “da”). These two technicalities makes this rāgam vakram but only in arohana. In avarohana it is normal, that is “sa ni da pa ma ga ri sa”. Anandabhairavi ragam is also a bhashanga rāgam, since it uses more than one anya swaram. Anya swaram of a rāgam is the swaram which does not belong to the arohana or avarohana of its melakarta (Tamil: thāi – parent) rāgam but it is sung in prayogams (phrases used in raga alapana, kalpanaswarams). The anya swaras used are Suddha Dhaivatham and Antara Gandharam.

Arohana : s G2 R2 G2 M1 P D2 P S

AvarOhana: S N2 D2 P M1 G2 R2 S

(sAdharaNa Gaandgaram, Chatusruti R Shuddha Madhyamam P Chatusruti D – Avarohanam : Kaisiki Nishadam)

Jiva Swaras :  Panchanam is the most important note in this raga. M and G are also considered the other prominent notes in this  raga.

Rasa: Karuna, Sringara, Bhakthi,Vinayam,Anandam

Time: All time

Prayogas and Sancharas : GMP, P,,NPM MP,MGRG_R, GMPMGRRGS_, SRN_, SP_M, MGPMGRG_ PDPMPSN_ NSGRS_ PNSR NDP_MPR_S SNDP MP_NPM GRnnSSGG MP_MGR_ SRPMGRS_SGRGM, SGM, SGGM, SMGRS etc., are very pleasing svara patterns as also double  notes such as GG and MM. These have been extensively used by Syama Sastri. The modern Ananda Bhairavi as it is rendered now can be said to be the contribution of Syama Sastri, one of the Trinity.

Anandabhairavi and Syama Sasthri

Syama Sastri’s handling of Anandabhairavi merits special mention. In all there are eight compositions or so of Syama Sastry in this raga. Four of his compositions are famous. Two of them, marivere gati and O jagadamba have glittering cittasvara-sahityas. His pahi shri girirajasute is considered a perfect picture of this raga. His only varnam samini rammanave is in this raga. His himAcala tanaya, which was originally set to Sastry’s characteristic chaputala, is nowadays rendered in Adi tala.Syama Satri is always associated with Anadabhairavi (along with Misra Chapu Talam). It was he who shaped this Raga to perfection in the current form. My humble pranams at his lotus feet.

Immortal Compositions

Undoubtedly, for me it is O Jagadamba the grand Keethanam by Syama Sastri and Kamalamba Navavaranam by Muthuswami Deekshithar. The Vinnappam/Request” emoted in the Keethana O Jagadamba by Sri. Syama Sastri requesting Mother Goddess is very soulful.The very first Kamalamba Navavarana Krithi is set to Raga AnandaBhairavi.Other famous compositions of his are Tyagaraja yoga vaibhavam, manasa guruguha ( the second of the Guru Guha Vibhakti compositions), dandayudhapanim and Anandeshvarena. Of these tyagarja yoga vaibhavam is
considered to be the crown jewel in this raga, it employs rare instances of prosody in the lyrics.

Dandayudhapanim is on the deity at Palani and is a grand and moving piece.There are only three compositions of Tyagaraja in this raga, all often minor pieces. His kshirasagara vihara is quite popular. There is an interesting story behind Anandeshvarena. Once, D.k.Pattammal went to Kanchipuram, had darshan of the Kanchi Paramacharya and sang this song before him. The Paramacharya after expressing appreciation, asked her to desist from singing the song in concerts. The song according to him ought to be sung only for pujas, in the presence of sanyasis and in temples.Almost all the major composers have composed in Anandabhairavi. Veena Kuppayyar’s aTa tALa varnam sami ni pai is a veritable lesson in this raga. The pada varnam in Tamizh of Ponniah of the Tanjore Quartette, sakhiye inda velayil is popular on the dance stage. Anandabhairavi is popular on the dance stage also. Kuchipudi dance makes extensive use of this raga.

The closeness of the raga to Ritigaula has always posed a challenge to musicians while elaborating on it.Dwelling on the nishadam for prolonged periods of the time is not allowed in Anandabhairavi for that is a feature of Ritigaula. It is also necessary that the phrase SPS be brought in at intervals to be maintain its identity.

Among artistes renditions, T.Brinda and T Mukta’s renditions of marivere gati and Tyagaraja yoga vaibhavam have been exquisite. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer also excelled in his renditions of marivera gati, ni mati callaga, Tyagraja yoga vaibhavam and pahi tarakshu pura. D.K.Pattammal has often taken up Tyagaraja Yoga vaibhavam for rendition in her concerts. Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Iyengar and Madurai Mani Iyer were very well
known for their renditions of manasa guruguha and O jagadamba. Continuing the tradition, K V Narayanaswamy and T V Sankaranarayanan too have often rendered manasa guruguha most evocatively. Balamuralikrishna is known for his moving rendition of kshira sagara vihara and paluke bangaramayana. My favourite is Sri. M D Ramanathan’s rendering of O jagadamba in his own chaouka style, moving his audiences. G N Balasubramaniam used to render davalarupa and samagana priye with his unique  style. Instrumentalists put it to good use in their performances.

Ananda Bhairavi is very popular as a raga to be included in ragamalikas and in vituttams and shloka renditions. Karpagavalli nin, a four raga suite rendered by T M Soundararajan begins with Anandabhairavi. It is also very popular as a ragamalika svara choice in pallavi singing. An oldest Ragam, suitable to sing at all times; especia lly suited for singing Slokams, lullabies, marriage songs, folk tunes.

Its easy identication make it very popular with the average concert goer and a serious carnatic listener alike.

Major Krithis

sami ni pai-Veena Kuppaiyer
samini rammanave-Syamasastri
sakhiye inda velayil-Padavarnam-Ponnaiah (used mainly in dance)
O Jagadamba – Syamasastri
pahi shri girirajasute-Syamasastri
himAcala tanaya-Syamasastri
Kamalamba Navavaranam-Muthuswami Deekshithar
tyagaraja yoga vaibhavam-Muthuswami Deekshithar
manasa guruguha-Muthuswami Deekshithar
dandayudhapanim-Muthuswami Deekshithar(on the deity at Palani)
Anandeshvarena-Muthuswami Deekshithar
kshirasagara vihara-Tyagarajar
paluke bangaramayana

Filmy Favourite

Anandabhairavi is used in film world. The first song that comes to my mind is pOi VA magale poi va in the film Karnan tuned by Viswanathan – Ramamurthy.. Another devotional song that comes  running is Karpagavalli nin sung by T.M.Sounderrajan where the song opens up in Anandabharavi. In the film Hamse Geethe, M L Vasanthakumari and B K Sumitra have rendered a Gita Govindam piece in this raga.It is also important to note that Anandabhairvi is taken mostly in filmi numbers for duet songs depicting Sringara rasa(Romantic) and folk tunes depictng Hasya Rasa(Humour).

The analysis of Raga Devatha Anandabhairavi  stresses mainly the qualities of Bhakthi, Vinayam , Sringaram and Anandam. The ancient Raga reminds us that it is time we accept these three qualities in our daily life to lead a Paramananda Life Any person in an irritated or disheartened mood who hears Anandabhairavi will definitely calm down and get relaxed.

In a nutshell what I infer is it is high time we all adapt these qualities in our lives mainly Vinayam, Shantam, Hasyam, and Bhakthi to lead a life full of Anandam.And a big No No to Anger. 🙂

 Enjoy Divine Bliss – Anandabhairavi 🙂

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18 thoughts on “#1 – AnandaBhairavi – The Divine Raaga

  1. Respected Madam,

    Are “Anandabhairavi” and “Bhairavi” both the same? If Deekshitar Swami’s first Avarana Krithi is in Anandabhairavi then so is his fifth Avarana krithi “kamalAmbaya param nahi re”. So why haven’t you added that in your major krithi list?

    I don’t really know anything about music, but I am keen to learn.

    Kindly help,

    • Hello Chandrasekhar

      Both Bhairavi and Anandabhairavi are two different ragas belonging to the same janaka or parent mela, Natabhairavi (20th Melakartha). The 5th Avarana Krithi in Kamalamba Navavaranam is in Raga Bhairavi. So I have not added it in the major composition list in Anandabhairavi Raga review. The krithi in 5th Avarana will find a place in major composition list when I take up Raga Bhairavi for review.

  2. Dear Madam, Do you have either the audio or the video clip of samini rammanave varnam of Raaga Ananda Bhairavi? I want to learn the varnam

  3. “Aarattinanakal ezhunnelli ” by Dakshinamurthy swami & “sabarimalayil thanka sooryodhayam” , “chethi mandaram tulasi ” by Devarajan Master are some of the best examples of Anandabhairavi raga based film songs in malayalam……

  4. Agilathai Mayakkum Aanandha Bhairavi Ragathin Perumaiai Koori Koandea Irukalam….. Congratulations for your Music Journey.

    • Anandabhairavi is a janya Of Natabhairavi and not Kharaharapriya, though some musicians say it is a janya Of Kharaharapriya. Please refer any text book of Raga lakshana or consult with a few other great gurus too. My Guru has taught me that Anandabhairavi is a janya Of natabhairavi having Anya Swara or alien notes of Suddha Dhaivatham and Antara Gandharam.

  5. I’ve just come across your website. Well written articles (will have to go thhough them).

    On Ananda bharavi, please highlight about gamakas. Without gamaksa, this raagam does not seem to be identifiable.

    Tyagaraja composed only three songs in Anandha Bhairavi. They are ‘‘ksheera saagara vihaara’ (an ustsava sampradaaya keertana) ‘raama raama Sri varamu’ (a divya naama samkeertana) and ‘neeke teliyaka’. Never heard the last two.

  6. Dear Anuradha Madam,

    Thank you for your article! Please refer to the portion in blue highlight within your para on Anya swaram. D2 is already part of the raaga. I think you meant to say Suddha Dhaivatham is anya swaram, as you have mentioned in the last sentence of the para.

    Please confirm. Thank you.

    Kind regards,


  7. Ma’am, could you please also mention graha and Nyasa swaras?
    Thank you in advance.
    Warm regards,
    Harshini Janagari

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