#14-Naatai-The Raga with an Intoxicating Melody

A derivative of Chalanata (Mela 36) belonging to the 6th Music Chakra, Nattai is considered to be a  very auspicious raga and chosen as the first raga for any concerts.In Mind, Body and Soul Chakra – Chakra 6 is the heart Chakra: This chakra is the feeling and emotion center of the body. It recognizes both the physical as well as the spiritual needs for human experience.

The essence of the raga is in how its sung- generally fast paced and hence, acts like a wake up call for the listeners — and this is why Nattai is generally used to begin a concert to set the tone for the rest of the kutcheri to follow. Nattai evokes the Veera Rasa. Veera Rasa is created by using fast tempos while composing music.  Bravery, heroism, and manliness are some of the attributes of this Rasa. Other than Veera Rasa,  Naatai also evokes the emotions of Bhakthi and Valsalya.

If Raga is the soul of Carnatic music, rasa or bhava is its emotional quality.It is said that Music without emotions is lifeless. Emotions can be compared to the nectar in a flower.When experienced with a music by a performer who touches the inner soul of the audience, it can be said that the audience is completly elevated to a state of Rasanubhava enabling them to feel the total bliss or pure enlightenment.

The arOhanam avarOhanam of the rAgam is given below:

Arohana: S R3 G3 M1 P N3 S OR sa ri ga ma pa dha ni sa
Avarohana: S N3 P M1 G3 M1 R3 S OR sa ni pa ma ri sa

( Shadsruti RI, Antara GA, Suddha MA,Shatsruti DHA and Kakali NI). 

Definition (Venkatamakhin):

NAttA shadja grahOpEtA  – AvaroohE ga dha varjitA

There are disputes over the Arohana and the Avarohana — some use Daivatha while ascending (arohana). There’s also the case where Rishabha is not used in the Arohana.

Jiva Swara : R, M, N

Kampita Swaras /Dirgha Swaras: R

Special Considerations:

Viavadi raga (Notes R G M are placed at very close intervals). This Vivadi character creates the intoxicating effect in Chalanata and Nattai ragas.

To a large extent it’s the Rishabha that gives this raga its unique identity more than the Gandhara or the Madhyama. The unparalled swaying effect of Rishabha while oscillating gives a majestic touch to the raga adding to its beauty and appeal.This is a Tri StAyI RAgam, and RI is rendered as dirgha kampita svaram. It is a mangala raga, and most compositions in this raga are on Lord Vinayaka, the remover of all obstacles. It is a Ghana raga, and the first of Thyagaraja’s Pancharatnas is in this raga.The Hindustani raga Jog closely resembles Nattai. This Ragam shines well in Madhyama KAla AlApana and TAnam.  TAnam played in veena creates a very pleasing effect.

Saint Thyagaraja has  chosen this very particular raga as the first in the series while composing the Ghana Raga Pancharatnas. Jagadanandakara is the first composition and is written in Raga Nattai .Is the majesticity of the raga compelled him to choose it?  It should be noted that this particular composition is composed in Sanskrit while the other Pancharatna Kritis are in Telugu.

Prayogas/Sancharas : S SNSR..S- SNPMPNS-G,MP PNSNPMGMR_ GMPNNP PN_S, SNR_SNPM G,MR.. GMPNSNPMG,MG..,M R..S..

Nattai requires strong lung power at the lower notes — lower Nishadha and Rishabha are quite common in its prayogas. While closely observing Veena Dhanammal’s Naatai, it can be seen that special sanchara NSGMP GMP….PPP is frequently used. She was avoiding the vivadi swaram RGM in the ascending phrases. She uses janta prayogas too or phrases with multiple notes. She has also used the beautiful phrases to bring out the beauty of this raga. P.P PNM..PN P S. S M R SS N in higher octaves.

Immortal Compositions

Undoubtedly the grand composition  Mahaganapatim – monumental peice of Mutthusvami Dikshitar- is a very popular krithi with a crowning chittaswaram. Another master piece krithi is Jagananda Karaka by Saint Thyagaraja – The first and most well-known Ghana Raga Pancharatnam (literally strong and heavy).

Muthuswamy Dikshitar kritis has no demarcation between nAttai and chala nAttai. According to him Nattai means, Chala nattai and he has defined Chala nattai to be a part of asampUrna (or incomplete) melakarthA. These ragas have all swaras, but not in proper order.

Major Krithis in Nattai

Sri Rajadhiraja (TAna Varnam) (in Ata Taalam)
Sarasijanabha – TAna Varnam – Adi Tala
SwAminAtha paripAlayAsumAm – Muthuswamy Dikshithar
NinnaE bhajana – TyAgarAjA
JagadAnanta kArakA (pancharathnam) (Thyagaraja)
ArE Ruppa Giri VAsA (Jhampa thaala) Lakshana Geetha
PavanAthmajAgachcha  (Jhampa tALam)(on God HanUmAn) Prabandham
Iha Para SAdhaka ( Kumara Ettappa Maharaja)
MahAgaNapatim (Adi) Dikshitar
Parameswara (Adi) Dikshitar)
Varasiddhi VinAyakam (Rupakam) Ambi Dikshitar
SarasIruhAsana PriyE (Desakshi) Puliyur Doraiswami Iyer
Siddhi Arul (Rupakam) Nilakantha Sivan
Sri MahAgaNapate (Adi) Sivasakti
VArana Mukha Vaa (Adi) Ambujam Krishna
Karimukha VaradA (Adi)  G. N. Balasubrahmanyam
SrI MInalOchani (Adi) Kavi Kunjara Bharathi
Tanthi Maa mukhaa (Adi) Kotiswara Iyer
Gananathanai (Adi) Lakshmanan Pilai
LalAtAksha NamostuthE (Adi) Muthiah Bhagavathar
Veda mAthE Veda vinuthE(Adi) Muthiah Bhagavathar
VandIsuvuidu (Purandaradasa)
Sri GaNanAtha (Adi) Pallavi Sesha Iyer
UmayOr PaganE (Rupakam) Papanasam SIvan
PraNathOsmi DEvam (Adi) Thulaseevanam
Sri GajAnanA (Adi) Thulaseevanam
Sri PadmanAbham (Misra Capu) Thulaseevanam
Re Re Maanasa (Adi) Thulaseevana,
Gananayaka Ninnu (Adi) Vina Varadayya
Jaya jaya swamin jaya jaya (Adi) Narayana theerthar
Jaya Jaya, Khanda Chapu,Purandaradasa

Favourite Filmy Raga

Naattai has been a favourite raaga in the film music arena. Illayaraja has used the krithi Mahaganapathim in the film Sindhubhairavi in concert format. The majestic rendition by K. J. Yesudas is a delightful experience to all music lovers.  A.R.Rehman’s contribution  ‘Narumugaye’ in the movie ‘Iruvar’ sung by Unni Krishnan and Bombay Jayasree has brought out the romantic or sringara bhava hidden in the raaga. Another hitmaker Harris Jayaraj has composed ‘Iyengar veetu azhage’ in the tamil movie ‘anniyan’, sung by Hariharan and Harini, a beautiful song which starts with the Thyagaraja Pancharatna Krithi and continues in the same raaga throughout. Cine songs like chennai senthamizh from M.Kumaran S/O Mahalakshmi, peygala nambadhe from Mahanadi, First para of the song vendriduvEn in the film Agathiyan are all set to natarAgam.

Other filmy songs include Pani Vizhum (Chalanata) – Ninaivellam Nithya – a classic portrayal of Chalanata  by Ilayaraja Spiderman (Jog Rag) – “New” – Hindustani raga similar to Nattai, Jog is intoxicating. Sadhana Sargam has sung brilliantly in AR Rahman’s music  Thom Thom- “Alli Thanda Vaanam” -Vidyasagar’s music with brilliant sangatis. Hariharan and Chitra have lent sheen to this piece.

Featured Composition with Meaning

Raga: Nattai (36 mela janyam)
ARO: S R G M P D N S || AVA: S N P M R S ||
Tala: Adi
Composer: Dikshitar
Version: GN Balasubramaniam

Pallavi:

Swaaminaatha paripaalayaasumaam swaprakaasa valleesa guruguha devasenesa

Samashti charanam:

Kaamajanaka bharatheesa sevitha kaarthikeya naaradaadi bhaavita
vaamadeva paarvati sukumaara vaarijaastra sammohitaakaara
Kaamitaartha vitharana nipuna charana
kaavya naatakaalankaara bharana
bhumijalaagni vaayugaganakirana
bhodharupa nithyaananda karana

Chitta Swaram:
S , – r gm pn ppmm rr sn | S , m g pm- n pmgm rr sn ||
srgm , p- gm p S n pmrr | S , r s n p-s n pm-n pm rr ||
srgm , p- sn s R s n pmr | S , r s s n – n p m -gm r r sn ||
sr sm gp – mn ps – nr s m R | , sn p r S n pm – gm r S n ||

Meaning: (From Todd McComb, D. Sivakumar, TK Govinda Rao)

(Swaaminaatha – Lord Shanmukha is named thus for teaching the secret meaning of Om to Lord Siva) O Swaaminaatha, please protect (“paripalaya”) me (“maam”) without any delay. You, the self-effulgent (“swa-prakaasha”), Lord (“eesha”) of Valli and Devasena. ( Construction of Valleesa Guruguha Devasenesa sentence reflects the sanctum-santoram of Thirupparankundram) He, Karthikeya the one adored (“sevitha”) by Lord Vishnu, father (“janaka”) of Kaama and Lord Brahma (the husband of Bharati (Saraswati)—“Bharatheesha”). Fostered by Kritikaa ladies (“karthikeya”). Adored (“bhaavitha”) by Sages including Sage Narada.

Son (“sukumaara”) of Lord Siva ( Addressed as “Vaamadeva”, musical face of Lord Siva) and Goddess Paarvati. Hands arebeautiful like bloomed lotus flower (“vaarijaasthra”). Create temptation (“sammohita”) for betterment.
His feet (“charana”) are capable (“nipuna”) of bestowing the gift (“vitharana”) wealth (“artha”) & boons as wished (“kaamitha”) . He nurtures (“bharana”) poetry (“kavya”), literature (“alankaara”), drama (“naataka”). Bliss (“bodha”) form (“rupa”) made out (“kirana”) of five basic elements earth (“bhumi”), water (“Jala”), fire(“agni”), air (“vayu”) and sky (“gagana”). He is the form of knowledge (“bodha rupa”) and the donor of eternal (“nitya”) joy (“ananda karana”) on his devotees.

Enjoy the Intoxicating Melody of Nattai 🙂

 Naattai – Carnatic Vocal – 3 Volumes 

 Naattai – Instrumental

 Naattai – Devotionals

 Naattai – Malayalam Film Songs

 Naattai – Tamil Film Songs

Click Here to Download

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