Understanding Raga Mohanam
In an attempt to help improve appreciation and understanding of Ragas, we will be sharing the features and feel of various ragas in Indian Classical Music every month. We are excited to bring a beautiful Raga Mohanam as the first article.
Raga Mohanam is bright, pleasant, and has a meditative tune. One of the simple, easy Ragas to learn, Mohanam, consists of five Swaras and so it is called Audava Raga(the one in Pentatonic Scale). The Arohanam and Avarohanam of the raga flow like this:
Arohanam: S R2 G3 P D2 S
Avarohanam: S D2 P G3 R2 S
The Mohana Ragam
Mohana ragam is the Janya(derived) raga of the 28th Melakarta (parent) raga Harikamboji which is considered to be one of the oldest ragas(more than 1000 years old). Amongst the Navarasas, it represents Veera(Courage), Bhakthi(Devotion), Karuna(Compassion), Raudra(Anger/Fury) rasas(emotions). The interesting fact about the Mohana ragam is that there are many Chinese tunes that resemble this ragam and the National Anthem of Thailand is in Mohana Ragam
In Hindustani Classical Music, the Mohanam ragam is called Bhoopali or Bhoop with the same Swaras in it. It is an evening/sandhya raga in the first prahar (6-9 PM) of the night. Belonging to Kalyan Thaat, this ragam brings tranquility with emphasis given to the Gandhara swaram that brings in a melody creating a soothing ambiance.
Compositions in Mohana Raga
There are many popular masterpieces in this Raga Nannu Palimpa, Mohanarama by Saint Thyagaraja, Ra Ra Rajeevalochana Rama by Mysore Vasudevachar, En Palli Kondeerayya by Arunachala Kavi begins in Mohanam and Papanasam Sivan’s Kapali and Narayana Divya Namam.
In one of the sublime renditions of Mrs.M. S. Subbulakshmi Giridhara Gopala from the movie Meera, one can experience the true essence of the Mohanam ragam befitting its meaning of the name – beauty.
Hey Govind Hey Gopal of Mr. Jagjit Singh is an acclaimed bhajan in the Raga Mohanam.
There are a number of melodies in the Bhoopali or Mohana ragam in Hindi. Jyothi Kalash Chhalke by Ms. Lata Mangeshkar, Dekha Ek Khwaab Hai tho Silsila Hue, and Saayanora Saayanora from Love in Tokyo are a few examples.
In Telugu, we have Hey Krishna Mukunda Murari, Kadile Kaalama, and Mr. A R Rahman’s famous Chinnadana Osi Chinnadana, Mr. Ilaaya raja’s one of the popular compositions, Ninnukori Varnam, Lahiri Lahiri Lahirilo, Ghana Ghana Sundara, etc., in the Mohana Ragam.
In Tamil, Mr. Ilayaraja has widely used this raga and evergreen songs such as Vaan Pole Vannam, Poovil Vandu, Kanmaniye Kadhal Enbathu, and Oru Thanga Radhathil, etc., are tuned to Raga Mohanam. Also, well-known songs like Kuzhanthaiyum Deivamum Gunathal Ondru, Vetri Meedhu Vetri Vandhu Ennai Serum, are also set in the Mohana Ragam.
Every Raga has a natural feel which becomes the beauty of the raga itself. There are many ragas that are therapeutic in nature. Mohana Ragam is known to have the power to calm down anxiety, stabilize blood pressure, and soothe the depressed state of mind. This Raga also helps in terminating Migraine and Headache.
Please stay tuned to know more ragas in the future.
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Author: Y. Gomathi