Composed by Saint Thyagaraja, Pancharatna Kritis refer to a set of five kritis in Carnatic music. In praise of Thyagaraja’s beloved deity, Lord Ramachandra, they are all set in Adi Talam, where each ragam represents the mood of the song and the meaning of its lyrics. In the pallavi section of the Ragam Tanam Pallavi, they are set in the style of a Ragam Tanam Pallavi with the charanas substituting for the kalpana swaras. The Pancharatna Kritis of Thyagaraja consist of Jagadananda Karaka - Raga Nata, Dudukugala - Raga Gaula, Sadhinchene - Raga Arabhi, Kanakana Ruchira - Raga Varali, Endaro Mahanubhavulu - Raga Sri
The five Ghana ragas of Carnatic music are essentially the ragas or melodic forms of the Pancharatna Kritis. Called the ghanapanchaka they are most suited to playing tanam on the veena. Origination a 1000 years back, Nata and Varali are known to be the most ancient of the Carnatic ragas. Thyagaraja successfully touched upon a difficult musical challenge in three of these compositions. The raga Nata is known to use the 'dhaivatam' note or swara. Without losing out on the swarupa of Nata ragam, Thyagaraja has managed to avoid the 'dhaivatam' completely in the first pancharatna kriti. Likewise in Gaula, the 'gandharam' is considered to be an accidental note of beauty. Again without losing the essence of the raga, Thyagaraja avoided this too. Ultimately he even avoided the accidental 'dhaivatam' in Sri ragam, a note which is found characterized in the sancharas of this raga. To do something of this effect not once but thrice in the much loved ragas of the Pancharatna Kritis, it required musical knowledge of a very high order on the part of Thyagaraja.
Carnatic Music, Devotional Music