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Melakartha raga classification

The 72 melakartha ragas are classified into 12 groups, with 6 ragas in each group. The groups are numbered from 1 to 12. The melakartha raga system can be thought of as two halves with 36 ragas on each side. The first half comprising of ragas from 1 to 36, that is, groups 1 to 6 will all have m1 (sudha madhyamam). The second half comprising of ragas from 36 to 72, that is, groups 7 to 12 will all have m2 ( prathi madhyamam).

The following method is followed for fixing the ri and ga for the ragas:


Group 1 and 7

r1 g1

Group 2 and 8

r1 g2

Group 3 and 9

r1 g3

Group 4 and 10

r2 g2

Group 5 and 11

r2 g3

Group 6 and 12

r3 g3


Now lets look at fixing dha and ni for the ragas. Every group contains 6 ragas. There lets assign one d and n combination to each raga in a group. Therefore in each group, the ragas will have:


1st raga

d1 n1

2nd raga

d1 n2

3rd raga

d1 n3

4th raga

d2 n2

5th raga

d2 n3

6th raga

d3 n3


As described earlier groups 1 to 6 have m1 and group 7 to 12 have m2. Let us pick up one group from each half say 1 and 7 and look at the r,g,m,d and n combination.





s,r1, g1, m1,p,d1,n1,S




s,r1, g1, m1,p,d1,n2,S




s,r1, g1, m1,p,d1,n3,S




s,r1, g1, m1,p,d2,n2,S




s,r1, g1, m1,p,d2,n3,S




s,r1, g1, m1,p,d3,n3,S





Thus using this logic all 72 melakartha ragas can be arrived at. All 72 melakartha ragas are Sampoorna ragas and will have 7 swaras in aarohanam and 7 swaras in the avarohanam. The swaras are in ascending and descending order of frequencies in aarohanam and avarohanam respectively.


Finding a swara:


Applying the logic defined above, it is easy to find the aarohana and avarohana of any melakartha raga if we know its number position. For example let’s find out the arohana and avarohana of raga number 15. Since each group consists of 6 ragas, the 15th raga is in group 3 (comprising of ragas 13 – 18) and is the third raga in that group (15 modulus 6). 15 is less than 36 and hence it will be in the first half and therefore will be associated with m1. As explained above, Group 3 will have r1 g3 and the 3rd raga in any group will have d1 n3. So, this raga no. 15 has s, r1, g3, m1, p, d1, n3 and S in the aarohanam and S n3, d1, p, m1, g3, r1 and s in the avarohanam. We have logically arrived at the aarohana and avarohana of Melakartha Raga Number 15 - MAYAMALAVAGOWLA.


To reinforce this logic, let’s take another raga – Melakartha raga number 51. This will be in group 9 (comprising of ragas 49 – 54) and is the third raga in that group (51 modulus 6). This raga exactly corresponds to raga no 15 (remember groups 3 and 9 are similar except for m) and since the raga is in the second half of the groups the madhyamam will be m2. Therefore , the swaras for raga number 51 are - s r1 g3 m2 p d1 n3 S /  S n3 d1 p m2 g3 r1 s. This raga is called KAMAVARDHINI – Melakartha Raga Number 51 (also known as PATHUVARALI).


Lets go through this logic with another pair of ragas. Let’s take for example - raga number 29. The number 29 being less than 36, this raga will be in the first half and will have m1. This raga is in group 5 (group comprising of ragas 25 – 30) and hence will have r2 g3. Since it is the 5th raga in the group (29 modulus 6) it will have d2 n3. Therefore the swaras for this raga are s r2 g3 m1 p d2 n3 S / S n3 d2 p m1 g3 r2 s. This raga is SHANKARABHARANAM (also known as DHEERASHANKARABHARANAM).


As seen above, the corresponding raga in the other half will be number 65 and hence will have the madhyamam changed to m2. Therefore, the swaras for raga 65 are - S r2 g3 m2 p d2 n3 S / S n3 d2 p m2 g3 r2 s and is known as KALYANI( also known as MECHAKALYANI).


A quicker way of remembering this will be - any two ragas with a difference of 36 will have the same swaras except for m1 being changed to m2.


Some more examples that correspond to this logic:


Raga no 3: Gaanamoorthi s r1 g1 m1 p d1 n3 S / S n3 d1 p m1 g1 r1 s

Raga no 39: Jhalavarali     s  r1 g1 m2 p d1 n3 S / S N3 D1 P M1 G1 R1 S


Raga no 9 : Dhenuka s r1 g2 m1 p d1 n3 S / S n3 d1 p m1 g2 r1 s

Raga no 45: Shubhapanthuvarali s r1 g2 m2 p d1 n3 S / S n3 d1 p m2 g2 r1 s


Raga no 20: Natabhairavi s r2 g2 m1 p d1 n2 S / S n2 d1 p m1 g2 r2 s

Raga no 56 : Shanmugapriya s r2 g2 m2 p d1 n2 S / S n2 d1 p m2 g2 r2 s

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