How to name Melakarta(janaka) Scale


With the 16 Swaras (s,r1,r2,r3,g1,g2,g3,m1,m2,p,d1,d2,d3,n1,n2,n3),there is no magic done in carnatic music to classify the ragas.Years ago ,from 14th to 17th century many scholars put a great effort in developing a base for classical music Raga Classification.THAT, is the sole source for all the other scholars in developing and enhancing the Raga patterns,both parent(janaka or melakarta) and child (janya) ragas.Melakarta or janaka ragas are classified based on Katapayadi Scheme or Ka-Ta-Pa-Ya Sankhya(numbering) system.



Ragas are classified ,in simpler terms as parent and child ragas,i.,e

  1. Melakarta or Janaka Ragas (Parent)
  2. Janya Ragas (Child).
Janya Raga scale is a subset of its parent raga,whereas Melakarta Ragas are classified based on Katapayadi system.

First 36 Ragas have Shudha Madhyamam (ma1) and next 36 Ragas have Prati Madhyamam(ma2).So the first division in 72 melakarta katapayadi system is based on Ma.

Next,72 ragas are divided into 6 Ragas per Chakra ,that will be 12 chakras(12 x 6 Melas).Each Chakra in sequence has a meaningful positioning,example,2nd chakra being netra(2 eyes) and 4th Chakra being Veda(4 vedas).


Melakarta Scale-Katapayadi system
Melakarta Scale-Katapayadi system





1st chakra - Indu
2nd chakra - netra
3rd chakra - agni
4th chakra - netra
5th chakra - baana
6th chakra - ruthu
7th chakra - rushi
8th chakra - vasu
9th chakra - brahma
10th chakra - disi
11th chakra - rudra
12th chakra - aditya




Scale in each chakra is differentiated with Rishabham and Gandharam (Ri and Ga).Example:

1st chakra - s, r1, g1 , m1, p , d , n , S

2nd chakra - s, r1 , g2 m1, p , d , n , S and so on.Hence for each chakra in a sequence the swara sthanas of ri and ga will be as follows :
In the above,as mentioned, first 6 chakras have m1 so the example chakra shows m1.Next, s, p needn't be discussed.Next swara sthana d and n will be discussed in detail in next paragraph

r1 g1 , r1 g2 , r1 g3 , r2 g2 , r2 g3 , r3 g3 .

As you know, we can not put r2 g1 or r3 g2 because those swara sthanas are similar i.e., r2=g1 (Chathusruthi rishabham=Shudha gandharam) When I say similar, the swara sthanam or the tone of the swara is same hence they cant be differentiated.

Scales for Ragas are differentiated by Madhyamam(m) for 36-36 and rishabham and gandharam(r and g) for 6 each.Now how is each raga in a chakra classified .It is with daivatham and nishadam (d and n).Example :

1st chakra - s, r1, g1 , m1, p , d1 , n1 , S

2nd chakra - s, r1 , g2 ,  m1, p , d1 , n2 , S and so on.Hence, the order of d and n combination for every 6 ragas in sequence will be ,

d1 n1, d1 n2 , d1 n3 , d2 n2 , d2 n3, d3 n3.

Scales for Ragas are defined ,now How are the Ragas Named? Katapayadi Scheme ,needless to say,as in figure gives all the 72 ragas ,their swara sthanas and names.

1  2  3   4   5   6   7   8   9            

ఖ గ ఘ ఙ్ చ ఛ జ ఝ ఞ్

ఠ డ ఢ ణ త థ ద ధ న

ఫ బ భ  మ

ర ల వ శ ష స హ ళ క్ష ఱ్

In English :

1    2     3   4      5    6   7     8   9    0
ka kha ga gha ~m cha Cha ja Jha ~n

Ta Tha Da Dha Na ta tha da dha na

pa pha ba bha ma

ya ra la va Sa sha sa ha La ksha ~r

Raga Numbering is matched with the Ka-Ta-Pa-Ya scheme as written in the above pattern.For example, Raga 15  has 1 and 5 in the number.According to katapaya scheme, forming letters in the group 1 and 5 ,we get Ya and ma.Scholars followed left to right system and reversed the letter in number ,forming the first 2 letters of Raga 15 as ma and ya,hence the name mayamalawagowla ragam.






Captivating Mohana Raga

Very often many people ask me , if western music tunes also are defined by Ragas, just like every tune or song of Indian music is called by a particular ragam(s).The answer is 'Yes'.I would also take this question as valid from others perspective.For example National anthem of Thailand is in Mohana Raga.Every tune falls under one of the classification of ragas.In this post,I will be writing a brief of the most captivating raga,mohana raga of carnatic ragas.

I see a lot of young talent these days with good understanding of Manodharma Sangeetam.It takes effort,interest and practice to be one among them.Great scholar Venkatamakhin of 17th century has proposed the Melakarta scheme taking into consideration,the swaras-ragas permutation in future centuries and also counting the past definitions.This Melakarta and
Janya ragas classification proposed by our great prominent scholars has huge science and calculations from which our Indian music has evolved big.

Mohana Ragam
Mohana Ragam


Mohana Raga,in ancient times called as 'Raghupati' is a Janya Raga of 28th Melakarta Raga,Harikambhoji.It is a audava raga,meaning,raga with five swaras in aarohana and avarohana.Nannu palimpa is a tyagaraja swamy vari kriti also set in mohana raga.This kriti being one of my guru's favourite,I began to understand the meaning of kirtana and explore about murccana or modulation.Tyagaraja, in the occasion of his daughter's marriage ,awaited long for arrival of his favourite disciple when he suddenly felt his presence give him a warmth feeling.Lord Rama's picture in his student's hand is what made tyagaraja sing the kirtana "nannu palimpa nadachi vachithivo" :).Through this kirtana his pure intention of communicating to Lord Rama that the Lord has come all the way to him understanding his faith in him ,clearly can be felt in the mohana raga composition.

In this context,let me mention an important concept of melakarta.Melakarta or parent ragas have saptaswara ragas but every saptaswara raga need not be a parent ragas.They might as well fall under a list of janya ragas. 
Raga version of Mohanam is Bhopali.Vara veena mrudu pani is 
a geetham praising Lord Lakshmi.

Ragam : Mohanam
Tala : Rupaka
Chatushra jathi

Aarohana
s R2 G2 P2 D2 S

Avarohana
S D2 P2 G2 R2 s

Pallavi 
Vara veena mrudu pani
Vanaruha lochana rani

Charanam
suruchira bambara veni
suranutha kalyani

nirupama subha gunalola
niratajaya pradaseela

varadapriya ranganayaki
vaanchithaphala dayaki

sarasija sanujanani
jaya jaya jaya aa...aa..aa ||