Sunday, October 29, 2006


B i l a h a r i
Tradition endows the scepter of an emperor with four faces:

Authority,Majesty, Justice and Compassion.

by valor,

emanatingfrom knowledge of the Authority,

born of sense of benevolenceand

fruit of love for the subjects.

One who does not embodyall the four qualities is never recorded as the real emperor byHistory. Qualities which look diametrically opposed to each other,still one embedded in the other. The annals of history reveals suchmagnificent personalities, be it Asoka or Akbar or Alexandre.

Which raga could embody the essential qualities of a ruler, other thanBilahari! Known by the name Desakshi, the raga symbolises dignitymellowed with devotion, splendor adorned with empathy.

Arokan : S R G P D S

Avro : S N D P M G R S

While the arokan stand for the pride and valour of a ruler,

the avrokan with the surs in the avrokan N, M stoop to caress fondly the listener.

The classic example of Bilahari in Tamil film music is from KonjumSalangai, where the majestic notes of the royal nadaswaram blend withthe melodious vocal chords in the song "Orumayudan ninadhu thiruvadi".Follow the words and the surs in the charanam, "madhi vendum ninkarunai nidhi vendum" which bring to the mind a child beseeching akindly father with the subsequent "madhamana pey pidiyathirukka vendum" making for the visualisation of an all powerful ruler exercising hisauthority. Words can never be adequate to describe the genius who choseBilahari for the immortal song.

Other than this, there have been very few. Later only an MD of thecalibre of the Maestro could bridle the raga in his compositions like"koondhalile" in Balanagamma (the only duet song on the raag) or"Manida sevai" in Unnal Mudiyum Thambi, where service is pitched diametrically opposite thirst for music. On the side lines, he modeledthe comic song "maaman voodu" on the varnam "rara venu gopala".

It is a puzzle why this splendid raag has not been utilized by the monarchs of Hindi film music. Our member, Mian, might be able to throwsome light.

A short journey down the alaap of Bilahari

would make us realize

the raag is no less than the visvaroop of Hari.

1 comment:

Madhu Anand said...

Please note that the raaga of the song "maanida sevai dhrogama" is not Bilahari. He is Bilahari Marthandam pillai in the movie but unfortunately he did not sing this in Bilahari. The correct raga is "Poorna chandrika" . You can listen to Telisi Rama by Tyagarajar.

Bilahari is "Ra ravenu gopala"