BrindAvana sArangA , is a desya raga derived from the 22nd mela Kharaharapriya. A minor raga, capable of giving a tranquilizing effect it has the following
arohanam: S R2 M1 P N3 S
avarOhaNam: S N2 P M1 R2 G2 R2 S
Ri, Ma and Ni figure both as jiva svara and nyasa svara. Ga is only used sparingly in this rAgam and some books differentiate between brindAvana sArangA and brindAvanI based on the usage of Ga. There is also lot of confusion between the two rAgams based on the usage of Ni. For example, T.M.Krishna in a lecture demonstration says Brindavanasaranaga has only Kaishiki nishada and NO kakali . Brindavani as we understand it TODAY has both nishada. there was a time when brindavasarana and brindavani referred to the same raga which had only kaishiki nishada and no kakali nishada..
This raaga showcases lighter effect and melody giving a lot of scope for Ranjaka Prayogas (mind pleasing prayogas). Technically speaking this is acieved by the use of both the Nishadas.Shringara is a category that consists of many stages and emotions.Feelings of unexpressed and budding love are characterised by Brindavana Saranga.
The song Rangapura Vihara is the most remarkable song framed in this particular raga. Muthuswami Dikshitar’s master piece on the Lord of Sri Rangam, in the mellifluous voice of MSS..Who else other than M.S.Amma can render this more soulfully? This song was greatly popularised by Smt.M.S.Amma and this song has become so…..popular that almost every household plays this song. Another song is Sri Venkatesha Naadham which was popularised by D.K.Pattamal.This rAga claims to have few more krithis, made popular by famous artistes like Maharajapuram Santhanam (Swaminathena / Dikshitar), T.N. Seshagopalan (Saundararajam upasmahe/ Dikshithar), Balamurali (Kamalaptakula / Thyagaraja) and Sowmya (Kaliyuga Varadhan / Periasamy Thooran). Even though a sarvakalika (all time) raga, it is sung in post-pallavi part in concerts.Muthuswami Dikshitar has composed two beautiful gems in this rAgam – rangapura vihArA and soundara rAjam. While the first one starts in the mel sthAyi (R”,,S”) and explores the beauty of the rAgam in that upper range, the second song starts at the lower octave (R, GRS) and hardly goes above S”. These two songs are actually classic examples proving the versatility of this bhakthi rasa pradhana raaga that it can lend itself to sancharas in all three octaves. The Abhang Bhakthajana Valsale sung by Sri.O.S.Arun in his majestic voice will definitely take you to divine heights. He has rendered this song in a fast pace. Quite contrary to this Smt. Aruna Sairam has also rendered this Abhang in a slow pace filled with devotion.
Going to the krithi itself, the song SoundararAjam was composed at the soundararAja PerumAl Swamy temple at NAgapattinam in the praise of Lord SoundararAja. The krithi is heavily loaded, capturing the expanse of this rAgA in its entirety. The pallavi starts off with a wonderful R M R S phrase and the rendu kalai rUpakam gets its beauty in this krithi. Every word falls beautifully in the samam and it is a real treat to sing.This beautiful bhakthi rasa pradhAna rAga is completely portrayed and further beautified in this wonderful Dikshithar krithi. Though it is supposed to be a hindusthAni raga, Dikshithar has handled it so beautifully(especially with the extensive usage of the kaishiki nishAdham”) that one doesnt get that feeling at all. He has made it completely carnatic.
Favourite Filmy Raaga
This is a favourite filmy raaga, with a soothing tone. Just remember the song Punnondru kandaen Pennanguillai…sung by Shivaji Ganeshan with Balaji in the movie Padithaal Mattum Podhuma-the duet of legendry TMS and PBS..and singArakaNNE from the popular film Veerapandiya Kattabomman. Other latest filmy numbers based on this raaga are
A R Rahman’s
Konjum Mainakkale – Kandukonden Kandukonden
Adadadada Muthu Muthu – Mr. Romeo
Aathaadi Paavada Kaathaada – Poovilangu
Intha Jilla Muzhukka Nalla Theriyum – Priyanka
Maadathile Kanni Maadathile – Veera
Vijay Antony’s Ninjakootil Neeye Nirkiraai – Dishyum
Hariharan-Leslie -Colonial Cousins – Indian Rain – Hariharan and Leslie Lewis
You will be hooked to this lilting and soothing raga when you start listening to it. It is a suitable raga for singing bhajans slokas etc. Experts say that this raaga is ideally suited for Varsha Rithu when rains evokes the romantic and creative spirit in every human being. Scholars love the phrase “ranjako janachittanam” and expand on it. I wish to conclude the review that there is no raga in a mere combination of notes; it has to please the mind and Brindavana Saaranga does this.
For those musical oriented hearts I am just posting the lyrics of the song SoundararAjam here with the meaning. Thanks to various sources in the web for the same.
SoundararAjam AshrayE gaja brindAvana sarAngA varadharAjam
DIkshithar sings “I seek the refuge(“AshrayE”) in Lord SoundararAja, the one who protected Lord Gajendra(“gaja”) in the beautiful forest(“brindAvana”) of elephants(“sAranga”) and the one who is the most superior(“rAjam”) in the bestowing boons(“varadha”).
“Though it is just one single line of pallavi, the infinite scope with each word having so many sangathis and the single line running for 2 octaves makes the pallavi really tough to sing. The repeated S N phrase at rAjam is just too good and it feels as if time stops there, giving a dhrupad effect of this hindustAni rAga . Ofcourse, needless to say, DIkshithar once again shows his grammatical brilliance by beautifully bringing in the rAga mudhra in the very first lines of the krithi.
Nanda nandana rAjam nAgapattana rAjam
sundarI ramArAjam suravinuta mahi rAjam
mandasmitamukhAmbujam mandaradara karAmbujam
nandakaranayanAmbujam sundaratara padAmbujam
DIkshithar describes the Lord as “He is the dear son(“nandana”) of nanda and the ruler(“rAjam”) of nAgapattinam.” He continues as “He is the husband(“rAjam”) of he beautiful(“sundarI”) Goddess Lakshmi(“ramA”). He is the one worshipped(“vinuta”) by all the Gods(“sura”) and the master(“rAjam”) of the universe(“mahi”).” In the madhyamakAla sahityam , dIkshithar beautifully describes the Lord as “The one whose lotus-like face(“mukhAmbujam”) is lit with smiles(“mandhasmitha”) and the one whose lotus hands(“karAmbujam”) holds(“dhara”) the mandara mountains. The one whose lotus-like eyes(“nayanAmbujam”) gives happiness and pleasure(“nandakara”) to everyone and the one who possesses beautiful(“sundarathara”) lotus-like feet(“padAmbujam”).
“An exquisite anupallavi. Dikshithar repeatedly uses the word rAjam in the first two lines employing the different meanings of the same word such as husband, ruler, superior etc. He then follows a similar pattern in the madhyamakAla sAhityam comparing the face, hands, eyes and feet of the Lord to the lotus flower and hence portrays Him as a very soft and delicate God . Simple and beautiful anupallavi is followed by a sweet and rich charanam.
shambhara vairi janakam sannuta shukha shounakam
ambarIshAdi viditham anAdhi guruguha muditham
ambujAsanAdi nutham amareshAdhi sannutam
ambudhi garva nigraham anritha jada dukhApaham
kambu vidambana kaNTam khaNDI kritha dashakaNTam
thumburunutha shrIkaNTam durithApaha vaikuNTam
He sings about the Lord as “the father(“janakam”) of the enemy(“vairi”) of Demon Sambhara (“shambhara”)” referring to the incident in which Lord Krishna’s son, Pradhyumna was kidnapped by SambharAsura and later vanquished by Pradhyumna himself. He continues to describe the Lord as “He is worshipped(“sannuta”) by shukha and sage shaunakha. He protects(“viditham”) devotees like ambarIsha, etc. and he epitomizes the eternal(“anAdhi”) joy(“muditham”) of guruguha. He is worshipped(“nutham”) by Lord Brahma, the one who is seated on the Lotus(“ambujAsana”) and others(“Adi”). He is praised(“sannutam”) by Lord Indra(“amaresha”) and other celestials. He suppressed(“nigraha”) the pride(“garva”) of the ocean(“ambudhi”) and he is the destroyer(“apaham”) of all miseries(“dukha”) arising out of falsehood(“anrutha”) and ignorance(“jada”).” In the madhyamakAla sahityam, he starts of by describing His beauty as “the one whose beautiful neck(“kaNTam”) equals the beauty of a conch(“kambu vidambana”)”. He portrays the fearsome face of the Lord when he says “he destroyed(“kaNDikritha”)the ten headed(“dashakaNTam”) rAvanA.” dIkshithar finishes the charanam by singing “He is Lord shrIkaNTa, the one praised(“nutha”) by sage tumburu. He removes(“apaha”) all sorrows(“duritha”) and resides in vaikuNTam.”