“It will rain when you sing this raga,” said my music teacher encouragingly. I was all of fourteen years old, excited at the prospect of taking on such an intriguing challenge. In all earnest, I closed my eyes, concentrated on the notes and was prepared to move the rain gods through my voice. With anticipation, I began singing the notes of Amruthavarshini raga.
Once I started singing the distinctive notes, the raga always drew me into its magic and I would soon forget all about the purpose that guided me and I began singing – to bring rain! As the name suggests, Amrutha in Sanskrit means nectar and Varshini means raining, with its name translating to nectar rain.
A raga in Indian classical music is a combination of musical notes. But, to me, Amruthavarshini is not merely a pattern of musical notes that are strung together in a certain sequence. The raga itself brings forth a host of sensory details in my mind – images that I have not seen in a long time. It awakens my senses, making me feel water splashing against my skin. A ferocious waterfall, the fragrance of earth drenched in the rain, flowers bathed in the first drops of rain, the gush of muddy water on the streets, the perky green trees dripping wet and shaking their heads to the powerful notes, these are just some of the visuals that my mind conjured up each time my voice brought the raga to life.
If I was singing during the monsoon, it certainly would rain, irrespective of my attempt to do justice to the raga. Nevertheless, I was always delighted and ever ready to try out the experiment. The results of singing this raga never ceased to amaze me. Rain or no rain, Amruthavarshini certainly brought tears to my eyes with its appealing quality that felt soothing on my vocal chords.
Hearing the well-known anecdote of rains pouring down as an answer to the prayers of the famed composer Muthuswamy Dikshitar gives this raga an added sense of mystical power. Indeed, this unique raga Amruthavarshini possesses the divine quality to compel the clouds to break open and bathe us in showers of nectar.
Every time I sang Sudhamayi, composed by Muthiah Bhagavatar, I felt soaked in the showers of nectar. Amruthavarshini will always have this magical effect on me. The more I sing it, the deeper I delve into it, I feel engulfed in it’s notes that ooze nectar.
Listen below for the song Sudhamayi set in raga Amruthavarshini sung by M.L. Vasanathakumari.
Surabhi Kaushik is an Indian writer, based in Charlotte North Carolina.
Her works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and parenting essays have been published in various websites such as yourstoryclub, halfbakedbeans, writer’scafe, perfection pending, herviewfromhome and India Currents.
She is part of various writing groups and is closely associated with “Write Like You Mean It”, a writer’s group in Main library, Charlotte. She also leads a monthly Fiction Writing workshop and conducts writing workshops at various libraries across Charlotte.