Only the spear and the peacock will be victorious at all times ! O Mind, worship Lord Murugan day and night! Even when the God of Death comes, the spear and peacock will be victorious.
This has been a long-distance house hunting week for me. In 2014, my son is starting his medical career with an internship at the hospital in Bendigo, a city which is about 170 kms from where we live. Though unsuccessful in finding a suitable home, we both enjoyed the eight hours of music we heard on our two trips this week. I never realised how lonesome I normally get in this musical world of mine; my husband does not share my passion. My son, however, loves it like I do. To share the pleasure in a particular sangati, to nod heads in unison to a well-executed neraval, to gasp at an intricately woven kalpana swaram –all this very much enhanced my listening pleasure.
While discussing different ragas with my son, it occurred to me that one could categorize ragas in the same way as we categorize astrological signs or rashis into the four elements – Earth, Air, Water and Fire. We have ragas like Kambhoji, Madhyamavati and Darbar which are strong but peaceful, earthed, stable. We have ragas like Hindolam, Sindhu Bhairavi, Brindavana Saranga, and Madhuvanti which weave and flow airily like colourful kites on a windy day. We have ragas like Shubhapantuvarali, Kapi, Shivaranjani and Nilamani which can be like deep dark still water or ripple like a brook. We have ragas like Atana, Bhairavi, Gambheera Natta and Gowla which are forceful, crackling like a forest fire at times, burning fierce at others. Depending on our mood, we are drawn to one or the other; or vice versa, we are drawn into that mood by the raga. I proposed this classification to my son and we had great fun arguing over the mood of each raga we heard!
To test whether we all react to notes in similar ways, I have a little game for us today. I am presenting an interesting and rare raga today, perhaps something you have not heard much before. A vivadi raga with two sets of notes which are very close together, it has a unique sound. So tell me, in which of our four classifications would you say it belongs?
To present Velum Mayilume in Sucharitra by Koteeswara Iyer, I have an excellent rendition by Dr KN Ranganatha Sarma. It is such a difficult raga to render and he has done it to perfection. I came upon this rendition while browsing Youtube; I was not familiar with this musician before. I loved the purity of his sound and spent a couple of enjoyable days listening to many other samples of his music. I hope you enjoy it as much. And don’t forget to leave a comment with your classification of this raga – Earth, Water, Air or Fire?
Footnote (Lyrics) :
Language : Tamil
I did not find a very reliable source for the lyrics; I have however checked it with a few renditions.
வேலும் மயிலுமே எவ்வேளையிலுமே வெல்லுமே -வெற்றி
காலை மாலையுமே மனமே துதி (கந்தனை)
காலன் வரினுமே (கந்தன்)
சித்ரகவி நக்கீரன் தத்தை தவிர்த்த தீரன்
கஜபத்ர வீரபத்ர வீரபாகு சோதரன்
அருள் பத்ர (alt: ஆறு பத்ர) வசீகரன் சுசரித்ர சுசீகரன்
விசித்ர கவி குஞ்சரதாச மித்ர ருசீகரன் – சக்தி
vElum mayilumE evvELaiyilumE vellumE -veTri
kAlai mAlaiyumE manamE tUdi (kandanai)
chitrakavi nakkIran tattai tavirtta dhIran
gajabhadra vIrabhadra vIrabAhu sOdaran
aruL bhadra (alt: Aru patra) vasIkaran sucharitra sushIkaran
vichitra kavi kunjaradAsa mitra ruchIkaran -shakti
Only the spear and the peacock will be victorious at all times !
O Mind, worship Kandan (Murugan) day and night! Even when the God of Death comes, (the spear and peacock will be victorious).
He is the courageous one who relieved the peril to the poet Nakkeeran. He is the brother of Gajabhadra, Veerabhadra and Veerabahu. He is Susikaran, most compassionate (note: unsure how to translate arul bhadra/Aru patra), most charming. He is the friend of the poet and gives him much pleasure.
Footnote (Raga) :
Footnote (Raga) :
The scales of Sucharitra are as follows :
Aarohanam (Ascending) : S R3 G3 M2 P D1 N1 S’
Avarohanam (Descending) : S’ N1 D1 P M2 G3 R3 S
Sucharitra is the 67th raga on the Melakarta Scale. It is called Santana Manjari in the Dikshithar school.
It is vivadi raga with two sets of notes which are very close together and hence rather a difficult one to sing. Muthuswami Dikshithar has composed Santana Manjari in this rage and Koteeswara Iyer, who has composed in all the 72 Melakarta ragas, has composed Velum Mayilume.
Note : The 12 notes in the octave are named as below. Please note that C is used as Sa for the sake of simplicity as the scale is relative in Carnatic Music. Also note that the scales paint only a superficial picture of the raga as the gamakas(ornamentations) are a very important part of a raga.