According to Indian authorities music is not song alone; it comprises dance
as well, Sarngadeva, for instance, says that vocal singing, instrumental
rendering and expressive dance constitute music. These three aspects of
music are interdependent. The instrumental draws upon the vocal and the
vocal gains support from the instrumental. The vocal supplies the theme
to the dance and mainly guides it, while the instrumental adds to its embellishment.
Song, therefore, has an important place in dance. Classical dance is of
two kinds, absolute dance (nritta) and expressive dance (nritta). The first
consists in graceful rhythmic movements without much of an idea to express,
but the second has, in addition, a theme to expound and elaborate by gesture
language and kindle emotional moods. The songs for the first type will have
no sahitya, and even if they have one, it will be generally of a simple
nature and without much need for abhinaya. But the songs meant for the second
type will be such as to work up sentiments in a slow and steady manner and
elaborate the auxiliaries systematically. The class of compositions called
Padas pertain to the second type; so too the Padavarnas to some extent.
The Tana varnas. Swarajatis and Tillanas pertain to the first type. Kshetrajna
is the greatest composer of Padas. Virabhadrayya is the most outstanding
composer of Svarajatis. A composer of the dance forms of music should have
a good knowledge of the science of dance, a thorough grasp of the theory
of rasa and aesthetic presentation and a complete mastery of theories to
clothe is theme in felicitous expressions and provide literary charm, in
addition to the qualities of a mere composer of concert songs. That is why
we find composers of dance forms of music to be much smaller in number compared
to those of concert forms.Swathi
Tirunal is a highly skilled composer of dance forms of music. The company
of the great dance-master and composer, Vadivelu, served him always as a
persuading factor to devise Varnas and Padas, to compare notes with each
other and shape them well so as to get the best effect. He has composed
Svarajatis, Varnas, Tillanas and Padas in substantial numbers. As the Padas
require detailed treatment, we shall deal with them separately in the next
chapter. Here we shall examine the other types. The Varnas are a class of
compositions which present the form of a raga through musical phrases, familiar
as well as rare, distributed within a frame work in two parts, one called
Purvanga, consisting of a Pallavi, an Anupallavi and Muktayisvara, and the
other called Uttaranga, consisting of a Charanapallavi and three to five
Ethukkada svara sets with progressively increasing number of avartas. There
is sahitya for the Pallavi, Anupallavi and Charana pallavi, but of a very
limited nature and to supply a syllable here and there, the interval between
two such syllables being filled by the repetition or extension of the vowel
part of the former. Sometimes we find Sahitya for the other parts of the
varna also. This is called 'Swarasahitya'. This will be so set as to have
one syllable for every note in the Varnamattu and thus forming a contrast
to the sahitya in the Pallavi etc. In content, the Sahitya is generally
found to be erotic, the hero being either a God or a prince or patron; when
it is God a spiritual significance is imported to this eroticism, It may
be in the form of an address by the Nayika (heroine) to the Nayaka (hero)
imploring his mercy or love or complaining about his neglect of her. It
may also be in the form of the Sakhi describing to the Nayaka the condition
of her mistress and conveying to him her message. It may, again, be in the
form of the Nayika confiding to her Sakhi her mental anguish and agony and
sending her to the Nayaka. The Varnas are generally classed as Tanavarnas
and Chowkavarnas, the first being in the medium tempo and the second in
the slow. Those with Svarasahitya are usually set in slow tempo in order
to afford facility for the danseuse to present the sense in appropriate
gestures. The sahitya being erotic, largely similar to that in the class
of compositions called Padas, these chowkavarnas came to be called Padavarnas.
And, in contrast, the varnas without svarasahitya came to be called Tanavarnas.
This name gained ground when these varnas, primarily meant for dance, came
to be sung in music concerts, particularly at the commencement, without
the svarasahitya. Also numerous varnas came to be composed in the madhykala
and without the svarasahitya. The Tana-chowka classification based on tempo
came to be identified with the one based on the presence of absence or svarasahitya.
With this preliminary knowledge of the salient features of the Varna type
of composition, let us examine the songs of Swati Tirunal falling under
The following Varnas are known to be his.
Serial No. Beginning Raga Tala
1 Indumukhi Sankarabharanam Ata
2 Chapalasampad Bhairavi Do
3 Chalamela Sankarabharanam Do
4 Jagadisa Suddhasaveri Do
5 Dani samajendra Todi Adi
6 Paramakula Saurashtram Rupakam
7 Palaya mam Purnachandrika Ata
8 Mamava Begada Ata
9 Vanajaksha Saveri Adi
10 Sarasi janabha Athana Adi
11 Do Kambhoji Ata
12 Do Mayamalavagaula Adi
13 Saridisavasa Todi Ata
14 Satura Kamini Kalyani Adi
15 Sadaramiha Madhyamavati Do
16 Sadhu vibhatam Bhupalam Do
17 Sa paramavivasa Ghanta Do
18 Sami ninne Yadukulakambhoji Do
19 Sarasamridupada Kambhoji Do
20 Sarasasara Nilambari Do
21 Sa vama rusha khamas Do
22 Sa veriha tanuja Saveri Do
23 Sumasayaka Kapi Rupaka
The list is given here in view of its importance, and as it is not available
elsewhere. The magnitude and range discernible herein easily give Swati
Tirunal the foremost rank among the composers of this difficult and scholarly
form, which requires deep talent, high imagination and great originality.
This bulk and variety no other composer can claim, and we may remember that
even this list cannot be considered exhaustive, since a diligent search
may enable us to bring to light more of these compositions. It may also
be incidentally remarked that although many of these are available in notation,
they are scattered in different publications, and a complete edition of
all of them in a single volume is a desideratum, particularly since sufficient
indications of the correct notation of the Muktayi and Ettukada svaras of
all these are seen preserved in the texts available.A
few other varnas are also assigned to the authorship of Swathi Tirunal,
but they do not really seem to be his. One is the Aditala varna 'Sarasijanabha'
in the raga Nata, which has gained some popularity of late. This is not
among the varnas with which the Palace musicians are familiar and is now
known to be by Parameswara Bhagavatar of the Maharaja's court. Another is
the Aditala varna 'Pavanasuguna' in Anandabhairavi occuring in Muthayya
Bhagavatar's Maharaja Swati Tirunal Kritikal, Part II., It has got a sahitya
in which the Pallavi ends in the middle of a compound word which continues
into the Anupallavi.It
is difficult to believe that Swati Tiurunal, with his perfect mastery of
music and Sanskrit, would have composed such a technically defective sahitya
for his varna. It may also be noted that this sahitya is the same as that
for the second charana of his well known Bihag Kirtana 'Smarajanaka subhacharita',
the portion upto italicize constituting the former half and the rest the
latter. The dhatu is identical with that of the varna 'Chalamajesi' by the
Tanjore Quartette in the same raga and tala. A third one is the varna 'Yentavedinaga'
in Navarasa raga and Triputa tala. It is Telugu varna in which there is
no mention of 'Padmanabha' but it praises Kasturiranga instead. This piece
finds a place in Chidambara Vadhyar's edition but is not known to be sung,
although the raga name Navarasam shows its probable origin in Kerala, since
in other places this raga is known as Navaroj.The varna 'Ha hanta vanchitaham'
in Dhanyasi-Adi, which is more popular than these, also does not appear
to be the Maharaja's. Muthayya Bhagavatar has given it as a Tana Varna without
Svarasahitya, and with the name 'Pankajanabha' occuring in the Anupallavi,
but in the editions of Chidambara Vadhyar and Sambasiva Sastri it is a Chowkavarna
with Svarasahitya having the word 'Brihadisvara' in the place of 'Pankajanabha'
and with the word 'Girisa' in the Ethukada part, which clearly show that
this Padavarna is addressed to Siva - Brihadisvara, presumably of Tanjore.
We are unable to know the authority for the change seen in Muthayya Bhagavatar's
version. Being thus a varna on Siva we do not get it in the list of songs
used in the Padmanabhaswami temple and so the evidence on that score is
not applicable to this. This epithet 'nalinanabhatoshaka' (one who please
Padmanabha), a characteristic feature in the songs of the Maharaja on deities
other than Padmanabha, also occurs in one place in this song. Still, this
is not likely to be Swati Tirunal's for the reason that no genuine song
of his is seen addressed to a deity in any temple outside his own state
of Travancore, except for two which are clearly justifiable. One is the
Hindi song on Lord Visveswara of Benares, who is considered as belonging
to the whole of India at least from the time of Sri Sankaracharya. The other
is a song in Sanskrit, which I very recently came across, on Lord Krishna
of Guruvayur a national deity of Kerala, celebrated in the famous stotra
Narayaniya which, as we have seen, exerted considerable influence on the
Maharaja. There is another aspect also. Premabhakti delineated by the Pada
varnas has its root in the vicarious feeling of oneself as the beloved and
the object of worship as the lover and arises as result of the application
of the sort of relationship between the Gopis and Krishna to that between
the devotee and the deity. This fits in well in Vishnubhakti particularly
when Vishnu is contemplated upon in his incarnation as Krishna. Not that
this relationship is not applicable to other deities. We do get instances
in the case of several Tamil composers, but then, to them this deity, Siva
or Subrahmanya, is the supreme God. But in the case of Swati Tirunal, Padmanabha
is the supreme Being and all others have only a subsidiary status. Taking
all these facts into account, I am inclined to think that this varna 'Ha
hanta Vanchitaham' is not Swati Tirunal's. But two facts need explanation:
one, the Tanjore Quartette have an alternative Telugu sahitya 'Sami na pai'
for this Sanskrit sahitya, as they have for several other varnas of Swathi
Tirunal; the other, that the style bears resemblance to Swati Tirunal's.
There was in Swati Tirunal's time or soon after, a person who could wonderfully
imitate his style, as evidenced by the sahitya for the Pancharagasvarajati.
It is possible that this person, who hides his identity, is the author of
this varna, at least its sahitya. Perhaps this person is the famous Parameswara
Bhagavatar of his court.Of these varnas, 'Chalamela' in Sankarabharan, 'Sarasijanabha'
in Kamboji, 'Sami ninne' in Yadukulakamboji and 'Vanajaksha' in Saveri,
all with Sahitya in Telugu are seen in the collections of the compositions
of the Tanjore Quartette also with the result of raising doubts as to their
real authorship. The fact that all these are in vogue in the Padmanabhaswami
temple where only the compositions of the Maharaja are used, settles this
clearly in favour of Swati Tirunal. The intimate association of the Quartette
with the Maharaja and the collaboration which Vadivelu, the chief among
them, had with him in the composition of the varnas, explain the possible
presence of these among their works. This coupled with the fact that it
was the songs of the Maharaja in Sanskrit that were better known outside
the state than those in other languages, seem to have led the editors of
the songs of the Quartette to include these also among them. The Quartette
have also parallel Sahitya for some of these varnas like 'Samiyai' for 'Satura',
in Kalyani 'Dani sati' for 'Dani samajendra' in Todi, 'Sarasaninu' for 'Sumasayaka'
in Kapi and 'Sami rammanave' for 'Sa vama rusha' in Khamas.All the varnas
of the Maharaja belong to the chowka class. Excepting three of them, 'Vanajaksha'
in Saveri, 'Sarasijanabha' in Mayamalavagaula and 'Sumasayaka' in Kapi,
they have svara sahitya in full. They are in nineteen different ragas which
comprise the common ones like Todi, Kambhoji, Sankarabharana, Bhairavi,
Kalyani etc., rare ragas like Ghanta and Purnachandrika, and ragas like
Mayamalavagaula, Suddhasaveri, Nilambari, Khamas, Kapi etc., in which Varnas
are not common. There are two varnas each in Sankarabharanam, Kambhoji,
Todi and Saveri and one each in the rest. Eight are set in the Ata Tala,
the composition in which requires extraordinary ability and is considered
a touchstone for a composer's genius. Thirteen are in Aditala and two in
the Rupakatala which is not very common in Varnas.Four have Sahitya in Telugu,
as stated earlier, one 'Indumukhi' in Sankarabharanam, has the Sahitya in
Malayalam, and the rest have the Sahitya in Sanskrit. Swati Tirunal was
the first composer to adopt the grand Sanskrit for Varnas, and for nearly
a score of them. He was, again, the first to adopt Malayalam for this type,
thereby making it clear that it is not the language that matters in song
but the ideas conveyed in appropriate expressions which harmonise with the
literary theme and the musical mould. His example was followed by his court
poet and composer, Irayimman Tampi, who has a few Malayalam varnas to his
credit, but we do not find any one else in the line.It is an interesting
feature that in as many as sixteen of these varnas we get what is called
the 'Anubandha' consisting of an avarta or two of Sahitya after the last
Ethukada svara, as for instance,in
the Suddhasaveri piece 'jagadisa Srijane'. The Anunbandha leads on to the
Pallavi with which the piece starts. So besides being an appendage in itself,
it serves to link the Uttaranga with the purvanga and thus establish an
intergral connection between the two parts of the varnas. Otherwise, the
two would appear to be two distinct sections independent of each other although
set on the same raga and tala.The Anubandha, however, is not an innovation
of Swati Tirunal. But its presence shows that he has followed an earlier
tradition not observed by many composers, contemporary or later, and not
respected by the musicians. It is doubtful whether it is generally known
that the famous 'Viriboni' varna in Bhairavi has the Anubandha. and,
if the version in the Sangitasampradayapradarsini is any indication, this
Anubandha leads on to the latter part of the Anupallavi and the Muktayi
svara is also sung before going to the Pallavi.
Another feature which we notice in these varnas, is that, unlike the usual erotic devotion which marksthe Sahitya of this type of composition in general, we find in many of them the Sahitya which pertains to the conventional forms of bhakti constituting prayers and praises, There are some ten varnas of this type and this is an innovation of the Maharaja indicating that a particular form of song need not necessarily be confined to a particular kind of content in theme, and that even in dance the portrayal in a Varna need not necessarily be the sentiment of love, but can as well be a graceful presentation of the glory of God. These Varnas are rightly designated as 'Stavavarnas', meeting the Varnas in praise and in contrast, the Varnas of the other type go by the name 'Sringaravarnas', meaning Varnas erotic.
Swati Tirunal's catholicity of mind has enabled him to compose Stavavarnas on different deities, but, as usual, Padmanabha is the supreme and the others are subordinate. 'Saaram iha' in Madhyamavati and 'Chapalasampad' in Bhairavi, for example,, are in praise of padmanabha in general terms, 'Ramavakhila' in Beggada is in praise of the Rama incarnation and 'Saridisavasa' in Todi in praise of the Krishna incarnation. 'Jagadisa srijane' in Suddhasaveri refers to Narasimha as well as Krishna. 'Palaya mam deva' in Purnachandrika sings the glory of Siva of Sreekanteswaram in Trivandrum, while 'Saveriha tanuja' in Saveri is a prayer to Parvati. 'Sadhu vibhatam' in Bhupalam strikes a different note. It wakes up padm,anabha at the dawn of the day and is used till date for this purpose in the temple. It announces to the Lord the break of the day addressing Him in a series of significant epithets. This is a marvellous piece in many respects.In the Sringaravarnas, consistent with their import, we find the different moods of the lovelorn Nayika yearning for union with the Lord, and while giving expression to here feelings, speaks also of his greatness, glory and charm. In many of these the Nayika directly prays to Padmanabha for his love and mercy. She describes the exciting factors (uddipakas) that aggravate her anguish and entreats the Lord to rush to her. 'Paramakulahridayam' in Saurashtra, 'Sarastijanabha' in Athana, 'Sami ninne' in Yadukulakambhoji, 'Sarasasarasundara' in Nilambari etc., are instances of this kind. In these she is a Virahotkanthita, afflicted by the pangs of separation, though mitigated by the hopes of union. In 'Sa vama rusha' she is a Vipralabdha complaining to Him that He is neglecting her, being more attached to another (Lakshmi). In two Varnas 'Indumukhi' is Sankarabharanam and 'Dani samajendra' in Todi, the Nayika describes her condition to her Sakhi and sends her to bring her the object of her love, moving his mind by the narration of her distress. In a few other varnas like 'Sumasayaka' in Kapi, 'Saparamavivasa' in Ghanta and 'Satura Kamini' in Kalyani the Sakhi describes to the Nayaka the pitiable condition of the Nayika, conveys to him her message and seeks his mercy to alleviate her suffering. Every one of the Sringaravarnas has something distinctive of its own regarding the shades of emotion.If we examine the corpus of Varnas in our music, we will see that the vast majority of them are either in Khandahati Atatala or in Chaturasrajati Triputa tala (Aditala), a few in Rupakatala and only rarely in other talas like Misr Chapu, Tisra Ata etc. It is almost a convention that the Varnas in Khandajati Atatala should start in the second count of the laghu, a position which should be maintained in the Anupallavi, Muktayisvara and Charanapallavi, but changed to the beginning of the avarta (sama) in the Ethukadasvaras and that in the varnas in Aditala, as also in other talas in general, every anga should star in sama at the commencement of the laghu. Swati Tirunal's varnas largely conform to this convention, the only exception being the Aditala varna in Athana where the Pallavi and Anupallavi start in the first count of the laghu but the other angas start at sama.In the characteristic manner, a good number of these varnas have the raga names interwoven into the sahitya. In the Anubandha of the Khamas varna cited earlier the name in the forms 'Khamaj' can be seen. The expressions 'Nilambariyaharshanityakarana' in the Anubandha of 'Saradsasamasundara', 'Purnachandrikanibhanga' in the Anubandha of 'Palaya mam deva' and 'Saveriha tanuja' in the Pallavi of the Aditala varna in Saveri are other instances. this device naturally serves to remove doubts as to the real raga of such songs.The Svarakshara embellishment, the artistic device in which Swati Tirunal stands unequalled, occurs very prominently in most of these varnas and spread all through in an astounding degree. See for instance,in the Ethukada part of the Khamas varna, or in the Muktayi part of the Todi varna. But it may be noted that while the svara-solfa synchronism is unlaboured in most cases, occasionally we get cases also where we get this achieved at the expense of simplicity and clarity, as in where, in order to have svarakshara in the opening phrase, the word 'danisamaendragamini' meaning '0 lady of graceful gait' (literally, with a gait like that of the elephant in rut) is used in the place of the ordinary 'gajagamint'. That 'dani' means one with 'dana' , that is flowing ichor and thereby indicates the majestic elephant, takes some time for the average reader to know, Similarly the expression 'Saveriha tnuja meant to convey the sense Parvati (daughter of the mountain) has an element of obscurity in it, since although the word 'Vi' has the meaning 'mountain' given in some lexicons, it is not in popular use in that sense.From the point of view of the dhatu, many of these varnas are splendid specimens of artistic skill. Some of them are the masterpieces of the author and display his wonderful genius. The varna 'Chalamela' is an exquisite picture of Sankarabharana in all its brilliant colours showing rare combinations. The very start in Sa Ni Pa is unusual and arresting and soon, at the close of the first avarta, we get the full archana Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa. The Second avarta of the Pallavi starts with the impressive dattuprayoga Ri Ni Sa Dha Ni Pa Dha Ma Pa Ga Ma Ri Ga Sa, followed by the sweet janta prayoga Sa Sa Ri Ri Ga Ga Ma Ma Pa Pa Dha Ni in the corresponding part of the second laghu and ends with the arohana. The Anupallavi starts with the special prayoga Sa Dha Pa and presents the cascade Pa Dha Ni Dha Ma Pa Dha Pa Ga Ma Pa Ma. In the Muktayi we find in Ga Ri, Sa Ni Ri Sa Ni Dha Ni Pa, Dha Ni Sa Ri Ni, Sa Ri Ga a graceful descent to the Mandrasthayi Panchama, the lower limit of the range, and an ascent from there very much symmetrical with the descent, and leading on to Tarasthayi Ga. At its close we get the decoration, what is intechnically called 'Makuta' in
Pa Dha Ni
Ma Pa Dha Ni
Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni
Ri Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni
Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni
Where we get a series of phrases, each succeeding one getting an initial increment by the note lower to the first not of the preceding phrase, thus showing a systematic widening known as 'Srotovahayati', and appropriately ending in the arohana. The first Ethukadasvara emphasises the mandrasthavi going down to Panchama and not traversing beyond Madhyasthayi madhyama. The second lays stress on the madhyasthai traversing upto Dhaivata and then descending to shadja by a series of phrases ending in Ga Ri, namely Ma Ga Ri, Pa Ma Ga Ri, Ma Ga Ri, Sa Ga Ri, the first three of which show the 'Mridangayati'. the third Ethukada svara constitutes the various apanyasas in Panchamasvara in Sankarabharana.
Dha Pa Ma Pa,
Ma Ga Ma Pa,
Ga Ri Sa Ni Dha Pa,
Dha Ni Sa Ri Sa Pa,
Ma Pa Dha Pa,
Ni dha Ni Pa,
Sa Ni Dha Pa,
Ni Dha Ma Pa,
Dha Ni Sa Pa,
R Ga Ma Pa,
and is devised with high scholarly imagination. The last Ethukadasvara is noteworthy for several features. It stress is on Tarasthayi going up to Madhyama twice, both in phrases of symmetrically placed svara, Ri Ga Ma Ga Ri and Sa Ri Ga Ma Ga Ri Sa. It starts in madhya shadja, takes a sudden jump to tarashadja, descends to panchama, shoots up to tarashadja again and descends to mandra Panchama through some elegant phrases among which is the rare Dha, Ma, Ri,. It then adopts the shade of an exotic element in that the expression Ni, Ri, Ga, Ma, Dha, Ni Ga, ri Sa, which puts one in mind of the Westgern major diatonic scale, the Dha here being a little lower in frequency (trisruti dhaivata), as pointed out by eminent musicologists. The Ethukada svara ends in the regular arohana. It may also be noted that Shadja-Panchama balance is well maintained in the first notes of the different sections. The Pallavi takes off in Tara Shadja, the Anupallavi in Madhya Shadja, the Muktayi again in Tarashadja and the charana in Madhya panchama. The Chalamela varna is the crystallised essence of Sankarabharana.In other varna 'Indumukhi' in this raga, the sancharas are mostly in Madhya and Mandra sthayis, the Tarasthayi sanchara being found mainly only in the Anupallavi. All the sections and all Ethukadasvaras star in Madhya shadja and all end in Pa Ma Ga Ri Sa Ni Pa Dha Ni. The phrase Sa Ni Dha Ni is of frequent occurrence.'Sarasijanabha' in Kambhoji commences with the viseshaprayoga Ma Ga Sa, which occurs in other places as well, and continues into the prayoga, Sa, Ni, Pa, Dha, Sa, with the adventitious note Kakali nishada, which phrase too occurs again later. It then rises to Gandhara and then makes a steep but steady descent by a full octave to mandrasthayi Ga and then rises to Madhyasthayi Shadja by the characteristic Pa Dha Sa. this is perhaps a unique instance of the lower limit being Gandhara in the mandrasthayi. the Annupallavi and Muktayi show the upper limit as Tarasthayi Madhyama. The Anupallavi has beautiful janta prayogas like Dha Dha Sa S a Ri Ri Ga Ga Ma Ma Ga Ga Ri Ri. The second Ethukadasvara displays the different apanyasas in shadha such as
Sa Ri Ga Sa,
Ri Ga Ma Pa Sa,
Ri Ga Ma Pa Dha Sa,
Ni Dha Ma, Ga Sa,
Pa Dha Sa,
one after another, and the third Ethukadasvara the apanyasas in Madhyama such as
Pa Dha Ma,
Pa Dha Ni Dha Ma,
Pa Sa Ni Dha Ma,
etc. It also demonstrates the sudden dip of Sa and Pa by an octave without creating the feeling of a break or disharmony, in the portion Pa Dha Sa Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa Pa Dha Sa Ri Ga Ma,. The varna abounds in ranjakaprayogas like Ma Ga Sa, Ma Ga Pa Dha Sa, Sa Ri Ga Sa etc.
'Danisamajendra' in Todi begins with the visesha prayoga Dha, Ni Sa, with svarakshara synchronism, a feature which occurs at the commencement of almost all the avartas throughout the piece. The starting notes in the different sections show the graha in all the svaras except Ri, which is conformity with tradition. The full range from mandra Panchama to tara Madhyama is well displayed. The second avarta of the third Ethukada is almost completely formed of the phrase Ma Ga Ri Sa with initial svara increments forming a pleasing progression-
Ma Ga Ri Sa,
Pa Ma Ga Ri Sa,
Dha Ma Ga Ri Sa,
Ni Dha Ma Ga Ri Sa,
Sa Ni Dha Ma Ga Ri Sa.
A rare feature which we notice in this Varna is the introduction of Tisragati. We get it at the close, in the latter half of the fifth Ethukada. In Muthayya Bhagavatar's edition, both the drutas in the last avarta are rightly given in this gati. But a close examination of the previous avarta, its svara as well as sahitya, will show that its laghu and first drutam are also in the Tisragati, though Muthayya Bhagavatar has given it in chaturasragati but correctly in madhyamakala. Its true form seems to be as follows:Perhaps this is an experiment in combining different gatis and different layas in the same avarta.'Sa varna rusha' is a rare specimen of a varna in Khamas raga. It has got an added importance in that it preserves the earlier form of this raga. for instance, the prayoga Sa Ni Sa with kakali nishada, familiar in later compositions, is conspicuous by its absence here. In the Tarasthayi prayoga Sa Ri Ga, Ri Sa Sadharana Gandhara occurs, as pointed out by Ranganatha Iyer in his edition, whereas such a prayoga is altogether absent now. Although the lower limit for Khamas is mandra Nishada, in this varna there is no descent to the mandrasthayi at all. The characteristic Ma Ni Dha Ni occurs frequently. The visesha sanchara Ma Ga Sa occurs in the Muktayisvara and Pa Dha Ma in the charana. the arohana Sa Ma Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa and the avarohana Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Ri Sa occur in Muktayi. The third Ethukada is divided into four similar and symmetrical parts each resting in Dha. The sprightly descent noticeable through the phrases.
Sa Sa Ni Ni, Dha Pa Dha-
Ni Ni, Dha Dha, Pa Ma Pa-
Dha Dha, Pa Ma, Ga Ga
The Varna 'Sa paramavivasa' in Ghanta is the only one available in that raga. Here the prayoga Sa Ga Ma Pa Ni Sa is repeatedly seen. of the two vakraprayogas Ga Ri Ga Ma and Pa Ni Dha Ni, which, according to subbarama Dikshitar, give the characteristic grace to this raga, the first occurs frequently enough but the second occurs only once. This suggests the arohana to be Sa Ga Ri Ga Ma Pa Ni Sa and Pa Ni dha Ni to be a visesha prayoga, whereas in the Sampradayapradarsini this is incorporated in the arohana itself. the prayogas like Ni Sa Dha Ni Sa, Ni Dha, Ni Sa etc., where chatussruti dhaivata should occur, are conspicuous by their absence.The Purnachandrika varna is also a rare piece. being on Siva, naturally it does not find a place among the compositions being handled in the pamanabhaswami temple, and, as such, there is some confusion regarding its form and svara prayogas. the entire song is in Tisragati, as rightly discerned by Muthayya Bhagavathar, but Ranganatha Iyer, noticing this feature, meets with the difficulty that several sections end in the middle of the avarts, and suggests a repetition of the respective sections to overcome this difficulty. But both these editors have overlooked some of the prayogas seen in the original editions of Chidambara Vadhyar and Sambasiva Sastri, like the unusual Sa Ni Pa Dha Ni Sa which occurs twice, as also Sa Ni Pa Dha Ri Sa which repeatedly occurs. the latter is retained in ranganatha iyer's version but is much changed in Muthayya Bhagavatar's. What should engage our attention is not simply whether such prayogas would fit in with the present form of the raga, but whether they could represent an earlier form of the raga or they only stand in isolation.
'Sarasijanabha' in Athana has, unlike in the case of other Aditala varnas, its eduppu in the first finger of the laghu, as already pointed out. this position of the Tala is naturally maintained in the Anupallavi also. Sa, Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga, Ri Sa occurs in the Muktayi and in the fourth Ethukada. Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga, Ma Ri Sa also occurs. So the arohana, according to indication here, seems to be Kramasampurna, Ga, Ma Ri Sa being a special prayoga. The Phrase Ga Ma Pa is seen but Pa Dha Ni Sa and Ma Pa Ga, Ri Sa which are now considered as visesha prayogas, are absent.
'Paramakulahridayam' in Saurashtra is in Rupaka tala. From its position of oblivion, it has now slowly begun to appear in concerts. Following perhaps the Sampradayapradarsini, Ranganatha iyer gives its mela as Mayamalavagaula but adds a note that it is actually rendered as a janya of Suryakanta and in some prayogas we get Kaisikinishada. The explanation of Subbarama Dikshitar under this raga clearly shows that, in effect, the raga has chatussruti dhaivata (what he calls Panchasrutidhaivata) in arohana and avarohana conforming to Suryakanta, and the Suddha dhaivata occurs only in Pa Dha Pa. In the present varna this phrase occurs only twice. pa Dha Ni, Dha Pa with Kaisiki nishada occurs once, in the Muktayi. True that Venkatamakhi gives this raga as a Bhashanga under Malavagaula but it has changed its complexion later. It is noteworthy that in this varna the third Ethukadasvara is constituted of a series of phrases with a constant graha phrase (Dha, Pa) which has svarakshara synchronism too. The structure is as follows:
Dha, Pa Ma Ga Ri Sa Ni
Dha, Pa Pa Dha Ni Dha Sa
Dha, Pa Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa
Dha, Pa Ri Sa Ni Dha Ni
Dha, Pa Dha Ga Ri Sa Ni
Dha, Pa Ma Pa Ga Ma Dha.
Systematic svara combinations like the above we come across in several other varnas also. For instance, in 'Satura Kamini' in Kalyani we get in the third Ethukada eight phrases all beginning in Panchama and in the fourth another eight all beginning in Nishada. In 'Sa veritha tanuja' in Saveri we get in the Muktayi a set of eight each beginning in Shadja. In 'Sadhu vibhatam' in Bhupalam, the third Ethukada is constituted of a series of equilinear phrases beginning in Panchama. It may incidentally be noted that this characteristic which we see so abundantly in the varnas of Swati Tirunal has very few parallels elsewhere. Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar has it in the second Ethukada in his varna 'Ninnukori' in Mohanam-Adi. Kothavasal Venkataramayyar attempts it in the last Ethukada in the vana 'Sarasuda' in Saveri-Adi, but the phrases are not equilinear since the initial note (Dha) occurs only in the beginning of each anga of the avarats. These varnas have no svarasahitya. the remarkable skill of Swati Tirunal will be apparent when we realise that all these varnas of his have svarrasahitya and have in all these phrases svarakshara coincidence.
'Sarasasarasundara' in Nilambari has the range from Mandra Nishada to Tara rishabha in accordance wiht the older tradition and in contrast with the current practice of having the upper limit as Tara Madhyama. the Charanapallavi has a dhatu identical with that of the first avarta of the Anupallavi and the laghu part here in is constituted of the phrase Pa Ma Pa; repeated thrice. The anupallavi leads on to the Muktayi through the janta prayoga Ga Ga Ma Ma Pa Pa Ni Ni. The ranjaka prayogas like Ma Ga Sa, Pa Ma Ga Ma and Sa Ma Ga Ma repeatedly occur. the last Ethukada close withthe fine cascade Sa Ni Pa Ma - Ni Pa Ma Ga - Pa Ma Ga Sa.
The Yadukulakamboji varna, again, preserves an earlier tradition, namely sanchara upto Tarasthayi Madhyama and abounds in ranjaka prayogas. The arohana Sa Ri Ma Ga Ma Pa Dha Sa occurs in the Muktayi, but Sa Ri Ma Ga Ma Pa Ma Pa Dha also occurs several times. the dhatu of the charanapallavi identical with that of the first avarta of the Anupallavi. The latter half of the last avarta in the last Ethukada seems to be in Tisragati which suits it well.
The Kapi raga varna 'Sumasayak' is a class by itself. It is one of the very few varnas in this raga. It is set in the Rupakatala which is not very common to varnas. It gives a full outline of the raga. Phrases of similar pattern with uniform delincation and identical starting notes are seen, as in
Ma,;; Ga Ri Sa Ri, Ga
Ma,;; Dha Pa Ma Ga, Pa
Ma,;; Ma Ni Dha Ni, Pa
Ma,;; Ni Sa Ni Ga, Ri.
The Pallavi is in five avartas, an odd number, the Anupallavi in eight and the Muktayi in twelve. The charana is in three avartas, an odd number again, and the four Ethukadas in four each. It has beautiful svarakshara correspondence as in Ma, Ni Ni, in the Charana. Apart from all this, a novel feature we meet with here is the provision of sangatis, as many as six in number, in the Pallavi and four in the Anupallavi. In these sangatis, the variation of the dhatu is not confined to any particular spot, but progressively covers the whole anga. another novelty is that after the last Ethukada, a ragamalike is introduced in Kalyani, Khamas, Vasanta and Mohanam in two avartas each, but the druta in the last being in Kapi and leading to the Charanapallavi.
From the above examination of a few of the Varnas, it can be seen that every one of them has an importance of its own and bears testimony to genius of Swathi Tirunal reflected in this difficult type of composition. Some of them also serve as landmarks in the history of our ragas. A few demonstrate how innovations are possible within an apparently rigid frame work.
The Sahitya in the Varnas shows the characteristics of Swati Tirunal we have noted earlier while examining his kirtanas. Expressions like Patutama, chana etc., and metaphors of the Lord as fire consuming the woods of sin, as cloud extinguishing with showers the conflagration of crimes, as wind blowing off the clouds of demons, as thunderbolt crushing the mountains of evil, are very common. The Sringara varnas portray in appropriate words the diverse moods of the love-sticken lady and the objects that excite and aggravate them. the author's deep knowledge of Bharatasastra is discernible in them.
The Svarajati is a kind of composition with a Pallavi followed by charanas, generally varying between three and seven in number, steadily increasing in length and each with a distinct dhatu. It is used for Nritta in dance recitals and among the early lessons in the study of music, being taken up after Alankaras. Swati Tirunal is credited with six Svarajatis. They are the following:-
Beginning Raga Tala
1 Sa, Sa Ri Sa Ni Dha Pa, Sankarabharana Rupaka
2 Sa, Ni Dha Pa Ga Ma Pa, Kalyani Triputa
3 Sa, Ni Dha Pa Pa Dha Ma, Kambhoji Triputa
4 Sa, Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga, Todi Adi
5 Sa, Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Pa Ga, Athana Rupaka
6 Sa, ; Ni, Dha, Pa Ma Pa Dha Ma, khanas Rupaka
They have no sahitya. If, therefore, we accept the distinction drawn by some people between those with Sahitya and those without it, calling the first 'Svarajati' and the second 'Jatisvara', these compositions of Swati tirunal will fall under the latter.
All these have a Pallavi and three charanas of increasing number of avartas. The Pallavi is in chowkakala and the charanas are in madhyakala. the Sanchara is mostly confined to the madhyasthayi, traversing generally only two svaras above and two below. As in the case of the Varnas, here too in several pieces one charana is devoted to the apanyasas in the particular svara, Ma in Sankarabharana and Dha in Todi, Athana and Khamas. The beauty of this in some cases is heightened by a sequence of phrases having the same initial and final note as in the Todi piece.
Dha, ; ; Dha Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni I
Dha, ; ; Dha Ri I Sa Ni, Ri Sa Ni Dha Ni II
Dha, ; ; Dha Ni Dha, ; ; etc.
The second charana of the Kamboji piece is in five avartas and they have the descent through Pa Ma Ga Ri Sa, one at the beginning of each followed by phrases which have close correspondence with one another in the different avartas.
Pa, ; ; I Pa Ni Dha Ni I Dha Pa Ma Ga II
Ma, ; ; I Pa Dha Pa Ma I Ga Ri Sa Ri II
Ga, ; ; I Ri Ga Ri Ri I Sa Ni Pa Dha II
Ri, ; ; I Ri Ri Sa Sa I Ni Dha Pa Dha II
Sa, ; ; I Sa Ni Dha Pa I Ma Ga Pa Dha II Sa.
This as well as similar other features in the gait of these Svarajatis show that the author has composed them with the application to dance in mind.
Besides the above, there is another Svarajati in ragamalika form called 'Pancharagasvarajati' in view of the five ragas, Kalyani, Begada, Athana, surati an Todi figuring in it. It has other specialities also and these are dealt with later in the chapter 'Garlands of Melody.'
Tillanas are compositions which figure at the close of dance recitals and music concerts. They are mostly constituted of jatis like Tom, Tari, Taka Kita, Jhanu etc., among which occur Tirana, tillana etc, and hence their name. they are set in Madhya and Druta Kalas. The Tillanas in popular usage, like those of Pallavi Seshayyar, Ramanad Srinivasayyangar and Veena Seshanna, have the angas Pallavi and Charana with a short sahity, usually in praise of some patron, at the beginning of the charana. But there are also Tillanas without such Sahitya and without a distinct charana. They are not incomplete specimens as some people take them to be. They really constitute an earlier form of this type. The Tillanas have developed from the section called 'Patham' consisting purely of solfa syllables in the elaborate compositions called 'Prabandha' which have long gone out of use. In the natural course, at first they had only the jatis without the modern division, and later on a little sahitya was introduced and the structure divided as in their present form.
Six compositions of this type by Swati Tirunal are known. Of these one alone has the Sahitya part and it is in Hindusthani. It is in Dhanasari raga and is now popularly sung. It has a bit of Sahitya at the beginning of the Pallavi and Anupallavi also. It is a very attractive song. Of the remaining five, the raga of one is not known. The others are in Kalyani, Anandabhairavi, Bhupalam and Purvi.
The publications of the dance compositions of Swati Tirunal in editions with proper notation will serve to popularise them and get them the place they deserve in the performance of classical Bharatanatya.
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