Musings on Music
a handy music diary for writing notation by S.Rajam
Text by S.Rajam, Text assisted by "Garland" Rajagopalan, Illustration by S.Rajam


Saptha Swaras
Sapthaswara:Paintings by S Rajam based on details available from Sri Muthia Bhagavathar's "Sangeetha Kalpa Drumam"





SHADJA: Body plump, lotus like complexion, four faces, eight hands, white attire, kumkum in forehead, has sword, sits on swan, gandarva wife, lives in Sambo island, Agni saw this devata first.

RISHABA: Slim body,green colour, three faces, six hands, peethambara dress. Blue stone necklace, agaru in forehead. Kundam in his hand. Sits on lion, kinnara wife, lives in Saha island. Brahma saw this devatha first.

GHANDARA: Fat body, golden complexion, two faces, four hands, red attire, diamond necklace, agaru in forehead, Dandam in hand, Ghanda Berunda bird as vehicle, Yaksha wife. Lives in Kusa island. Moon saw this devatha first.

MADHYAMA: Tall with four faces, eight hands, blue attire, lapis lazule(vaidooryam) necklace, patharas on forehead, holds chakra, sits on deer, Kimpuru wife, lives in Kroucha island. Vishnu saw him first.

PANCHAMA: Well proportioned body. Complexion black, four faces, eight hands, red clothes, emarald necklace, Gorojanam on forhead, pindi in his hand, Naga wife, lives in Salmali island. Narada saw him first.

DAIVATHA: Tall, blue body, three faces, six hands, pictured cloth worn by him, Gomethagam(sardonyx) necklace, sandal on forehead, holding narasam, sits on parrot, Deva wife, lives in Swetha island. Thumburu saw him first.

NISHADA: Very fat, five coloured complxion, two faces, four hands, blue attire, pushparaga(topaz) necklace, kadamba powder on his forehead, holding ankusam, sits on Mynakam, Rakshasa wife, lives in Pushkara island. Thumburu saw this devatha too.

The Melakartha Scheme of 72 ragas has two versions. The reputed author of the Scheme, Venkatamakhi shaped the Asampoorna Mela. Govindacharya brought out the Sampurna Melas. The two versions have been followed by Muthuswami Dikshitar & Tyagaraja-Syama Sastri respectively.



SA & PA are constant. Others have two levels(sthanas). Thus there exist twelve swara sthanas. Four more having shades of other swaras - Suddha Gandharam, Shatsruti Rishaba, Suddha Nishada & Shatsruti Dhaivata - make up a total of sixteen. 72 Sampoorna Ragas having all seven swaras both in ascending (arohana) & descending (avarohana) emerge as Mela ragas. Each mela has al the seven swaras but drafts varying swarasthana formulations.

Each mela raga applied to permutations & combinations of swara sthanas gives scope to 484 janya (sub) ragas. 72 mela ragas have thus a potential to give the colossal 34776 janya ragas. Of course, this is only an arithmetical projection & not a melodic feasibility.
Of 72 melas, the first 36 have M1 & the second 36 ave M2.

The Melakarta chart


From Musings on Music - a handy music diary for writing notation by S.Rajam
Text by S.Rajam, Text assisted by "Garland" Rajagopalan, Illustration by S.Rajam