Raga Saaranga - Love at the first listen

Ever came across "love at first listen"? If not that is Saaranga for you! You cannot help falling in love with Saaranga.

Raga Saaranga - Love at the first listen

Raga Saaranga is a bhashanga janya ragam of the 65th Melakarta ragam Mechakalyani. The scale is as follows

Arohanam: S R2 G3 M2 P D2 N3 S or S P M2 P D2 N3 S 
Avarohanam : S N3 D2 P M2 R2 G3 M1 R2 S

The raga uses the prati madhyamam (M2) as well as the shuddha madhyamam (M1) in its avarohanam making it a bhashanga janya. The raga oozes beauty, conveying bhakti, karuna and shringara rasas. The most captivating prayogam seems to be RGMR although one can clearly identify the DN moorchana that belongs to Kalyani. I personally feel, that in addition to the RGMR, the note D is very prominent with Saaranga. The swaying of the Chathurshruthi Dhaivatham gives it that distinct bhakti and karuna rasas. 

As much as Saaranga is melodic and soothing, it should be treated with respect. Because such ragas are immensely difficult to master to bring out the best and convey effectively. It requires a lot of practice and extreme control on your vocal chords to handle this raga which in my opinion, makes it a scholarly raga. 

Some of the compositions in this raga are

  1. Inta Modi (Varnam)
  2. Arunanchala Natham - Dikshitar kriti
  3. Gananathane

There are lots more, a list can be found here.

When it comes to Saaranga in movies, the first song that comes to my mind is "Thankathingal kiliyay" from the movie Indraprastham, composed by Shri.Vidyasagar. 

The listening highlight in this raga for me has been the rendition of Paripalaya Saraseeruha, Swathi Thirunal kriti by Shr Dr.M.Balamuralikrishna. This kriti is originally credited to be in Yamuna Kalyani but has been rendered in Saaranga by Balamuralikrishna Sir in his majestic, resonant voice at the Navaratri Mandapam concerts. The control and clarity over the notes are a reference for any student of music. You can listen to this version here