Ragas and their associations
Art The melakarta calendar, conceived by S. Rajam, has layers of meaning.
The Calendar: (Clockwise from top left)) July, August, September and October.
Each month has its own significance as defined by artist-musician S. Rajam in his melakarta calendar. The details for the months April-June were published on May 16. The following are the details for the period, July-October:
Music Chakra 4 is Veda encompassing ragas 19-24 (Jhankaradhwani, Nata Bhairavi, Kiravani, Kharaharapriya, Gauri Manohari and Varunapriya).
The picture shows the four Vedas and great Saivite saints of South India - Gnanasambandar, Appar, Sundarar (their works collectively known as Thevaram) and Manickavachakar (whose work is Tiruvachagam) whose compositions were among the first to be assigned raga names (pann) and set to simple tunes sung by one and all.
The invocation ‘Narayana’ is a reminder that this nama comprising 4 aksharas should be on one’s lips when the soul departs, whether one worships Siva or Vishnu. The focus is on the solar plexus chakra, bright yellow colour and yellow tourmaline.
Music Chakra 5 is Bana (the Arrow) of Kama (Cupid) encompassing ragas 25-30. (Mara Ranjani, Charukesi, Sarasangi, Harikamboji, Dhira Sankarabharanam, Naganandini).
The image includes Kama’s floral arrows of Lotus, Mango, Jasmine, Ashoka and Lily.
Depicted are the Panchalingas that symbolise the Pancha bhoothas (five elements) at the 5 sthalas – Kalahasti (Vayu), Chidambaram (Akasha), Kanchipuram (Prithvi), Tiruvanaikkaval (Appu) and Tiruvannamalai (Jyothi).
This month’s focus is on the spirit chakra (located between the solar plexus and heart), the colour grey and aquamarine with a silver tint.
Music Chakra 6 is Rutu (Six Seasons) encompassing ragas 31-36 (Yagapriya, Ragavardhani, Gangeyabhusani, Vagadhiswari, Sulini, Chalanattai), the six seasons featured being Vasantha, Greeshma, Varsha, Sharad, Sisira and Hemanta.
“I chose the divine form of Arumuga (six-faced) as the best expression of the significance of this number. Kalidasa’s epic poem ‘Kumarasambhava’ has been a source of great inspiration,” says Rajam.
The associations are many — Skanda was nurtured by the six Karthigai damsels. The Arupadai veedu (six battle camps) located at six prominent sthalas include the temples at Tirupparamkundram, Tiruchendur, Swamimalai, Palani, Tiruttani and Pazhamudhircholai.
The heart chakra, bright green/rose pink colour and the emerald rule this month.
For October, Music chakra 7 is Risi encompassing ragas 37-42. (Salagam, Jalavarnam, Jhalavarali, Navanitam, Pavani, Raghupriya). The picture shows the sapta rishis — Gowthama, Viswamitra, Kashyapa, Jamadagni, Bharadwaja, Athiri and Vasishta.
The main frame illustrates the sapta matrkas - Abirami, Maaheswari, Kowmari, Varahi, Narayani, Indrani and Kali who are among the oldest pantheon of goddesses to be accorded worship.
“Legend has it that a drop of madhu (moon essence) fell to the ground from Siva’s jata and that Siva instructed a Pallava king to found the city of Madurapuri (Madurai) around that spot and to raise a temple in which the sapta matrkas were enshrined in the south direction,” says S. Rajam.
To distinguish the female forms, the artist has assigned a different skin tone to each. The divine chakra (between the heart and throat chakras), the colour white and diamond are indicated for this month.
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