History of the rāga madhyamāvati
by Dr. M. A. Bhageerathi
The rāga is a very old. Chronologically the history of the rāga is traced. In ancient writings the name of the rāga is mentioned as madhyamādi and not madhyamāvati.
1.Sangīta samaya sāra (11th cent): In this
work of Pārśvadēva this rāga is mentioned as one of the 12 rāganga rāgas.
Śrirāga - Asmin mēlē sambavanti Āndōlī Dēvaghāndhārī Madhyamādis tathāparā.
In the rāga prakarana this rāga is mentioned as an audava rāga. It is also mentioned as the rāga to be sung in the evening. The svara madhyama is mentioned as the graha svara, amśa svara and nyāsa svara for the rāga madhyamādi. The reference is as follows:
Madhyamādir magrahāmśō manyāsō
Audavah paścimē yāmē dinasya parigīyatē
6. Rāgavibōdha of Sōmanātha (1609 AD) this rāga is mentioned as the janya of Mallāri mēla –‘ Mallāri janya’. Sōmanātha mentions that the svaras ‘ri’ and ‘dha’ are not present in madhyamādi. He mentions madhyama as the graha svara, amśa svara and nyāsa svara of this rāga. “aridhō māmśanyāsagrahaha pragē madhyamādirudgēyaha”. The time of singing the rāga is given as early morning.
7. Caturdandi Prakāśika: This work mentions the rāga in the main text, as not having ‘ri’ and ‘dha’. The anubandham of Caturdandi Prakāśikā mentions that this rāga has madhyama as the graha, amśa and nyāsa svara. It also mentions that the svaras ‘ga’ and ‘dha’ are not present in this rāga. The time of singing the rāga is mentioned as evening.
“Madhyamāditu rāgōyam madhyamagraha samyutaha
Gadha lōpādauduvaha syāt sāyamkālē ca gīyatē”
8. Rāga laksanamu of Śahaji : This work mentions that madhyamādi is a rāganga rāga- “Rāgāngamu”. It mentions that the mēla for madhyamādi is Śrīrāga –“ Madhyamādiki srīrāgamu mēlamu”. The svaras ‘ga’ and ‘dha’ are mentioned as the svaras not present in this rāga – ‘Ga dha varjyamulu’. It is mentioned as an audava rāga –‘Audavamu’.
9. Sangīta sārāmrta of Tulaja (1735 AD):
Tulaja gives the same information as Śahaji. The language used by Śahaji is
Telugu and Tulaja is Sanskrit. It is as follows: “Madhyamādistu rāgānga rāgah
srīrāga mēlajah”. Tulaja additionally mentions that the raktiness of this rāga
is seen at best when this rāga is played in flute- “Raktirētasya rāgasya
muralyām drśyatē adhikā..”
11. Sangraha cūdāmani of Gōvinda (18th century): In this work this rāga is mentioned as the janya of the mēla Kharaharapriya. The svaras present are mentioned as catuśruti rishabha, kaiśiki nisādha and ma. Madhyama is mentioned as the graha, amśa and nyāsa svara –‘Manyāsm māmśakam caiva madhyama grahamucyatē. Ārōhē api avarōhē ca ga dha varjyam tathauduvam’.
The point that some of the works mention this rāga has varjya of ‘ri’ and ‘dha’ has to be viewed with the idea that upto 15th or 16th century the tonic was not a fixed one. We find the name ‘madhyamāvati’ mentioned in the works of Taccūru brothers (1890 onwards) and Pallavi svara kalpavalli of Tiruvottiyūr Tyāgaiyyar(1900). T.V.Subbarao in his ‘Rāganidhi’, mentions the equivalents of this rāga in Hindustāni music as “Madhumād sārang”, “Madhyamādi Sārang” and “Madhyamāvati Sārang”. In the Tamiz tradition there is an equivalent pan “Centurutti” found only in the compositions of Sundaramūrti only (Mīlā adimai).
This in essence is the historical background of the rāga ‘Madhyamāvati’.
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