In any case, Maha Vaidyanatha Iyer's greatest contribution to Carnatic music is of course, his famous 72-mela ragamalika. But this was not the first, single composition covering all the 72 mela ragas. One Lavani Venkata Rao, a court poet in the Tanjavur kingdom, a scholar in Marathi, Tamil and Telugu, and a brilliant exponent of Lavani (a type of Marathi folk style) singing, composed a version of the 72 mela ragamalika, called Bahuttara Melakarta in Marathi. This composition begins with the phrases 'Sriman Jokari Rajya Vishnusama' and incorporates the Raga mudra (name of the raga) in each line of the Charanam. The theme is erotic and is in praise of Sakharam Saheb, the son-in-law of the ruler. Maha Vaidyanatha Iyer was entrusted with the task of setting this composition to music. He accomplished this with great ease in a short period of seven days and was awarded Rs. 2,000 (a huge sum in those days), besides other gifts. It is said that Lavani Venkata Rao played the mridangam for Maha Vaidyanatha Iyer his rendition of this composition. However, Maha Vaidyanatha Iyer did not relish the erotic nature of the theme and the nara stuti (singing the praise of a human being) in this composition, and therefore wrote a suitable alternate sahitya (lyrics) in praise of Lord Pranatarthihara (Siva) of the mammoth temple at Tiruvarur. This is the version currently in vogue as the 72-mela ragamalika.
The entire ragamalika is set to Adi tala. The Pallavi is sung in Sriragam, followed by some beautiful jati phrases in Tillana style. There is no Anupallavi and the Charanam has 72 lines, one for each melakarta, with the raga mudra skillfully inscribed in each line. At the end of each mela raga, there is a Chittaswara, and further, to enhance the beauty of the composition, his brother Ramaswami Sivan added additional Chittaswaras at the end of each line, whose poorvanga (first half) is in the same raga, but the uttaranga (second half) is in the next raga. At the end of each Chakra (6 raga cycle), the Pallavi is repeated. At the commencement of the Prati madhyama series, the jati phrases are also sung.
This is not a piece we hear often in concert platforms. Occasionally in the past, one or two Chakras of this lengthy composition has been rendered by Musiri Subramanya Iyer and M S Subbulakshmi.. M S Subbulakshmi has melodiously rendered this divine ragamalika, with all the above-mentioned features and Chittaswaras.
The theme of this Ragamalika is Advaitic and highly philosophical and luckily, a full-fledged commentary in Tamil, known as Sivapriya, written by Gurumurti Sastrigal of Varahur, is available.
- http://www.mediafire.com/?5by9zcsj9v8jyrj Pranadhartha hara - 1 - M.S. Subbalakshmi
- http://www.mediafire.com/?v47igid9rub7uvz Pranadhartha hara - 2 - M.S. Subbalakhsmi
Thank Ms. Priya Ashok