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Raagas for time and moods
- VP Dhananjayan, Chennai

June 15, 2011

In response to the question: I have always wondered if there is a mapping between raga and rasa
Does the raga nomenclature imply the mood?

I have to confess my incompetency in discussing classical music matters and its applications and implications.

I must say Raagas have their own flavour, feeling and expressions. Its all in our mind set. Our ancient rishis are the greatest scientists with accurate knowledge of everything in relationship to nature and human mind. So do our psychic behaviour with time of the day. The beautiful sounds of the birds, waves, rustling of the leaves etc give us a different feeling at different times. In the same way, some melodies in the music affects your mind at a given time cycle. This is not explicable physically. Yet it is practical experience.

In Carnatic music Bhowli, Bhoopaalam, Soorya etc is associated with morning Raagas - probably they resonate or resemble the awakening of the mind after a deep sleep. As the sun rises up our body also reacts differently with mind, to invigorate the body - energy increases as sun goes up and as sun sets, our mind and body slows down to a peaceful /calm / tranquil mood. So do the sounds from nature (forget about the artificial noises that emanate from mechanical gadgets surrounding us). Mohanam, Kalyani etc gives a feeling of rejuvenation at noon and then Todi, Bhairavi etc the calmness of evening. Neelambari and similar lighter notes settles down the mind towards night's relaxation. Though scientifically proved, these feelings are to be experienced.

Therefore we can come to the conclusion that whether it is Carnatic music or Hindustani music, the Raaga bhaavas are associated with human mind, time and situation. The composers of yonder days knew exactly what they were doing and with scientific and analytical brain created words and melody to educate, enlighten and entertain our physical, mental and spiritual needs.

Bharatanatyam guru VP Dhananjayan is the Founder / Director of Bharata Kalanjali, Chennai.

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