In Indian Music different sentiments of various human forms are visualized as “ragas” and “Raginis”. Raga is generally associated to “Rakti” which means affection. The terminology used to define these sentiments may be different by North and South India but the essence behind Raga (as called in North India) and Ragam (as called in South India) is the same.
Origin: The source of origin of these ragas and raginis are different and the credit alone can not be given a single person or a time. These have evolved with time and has been contributed by many persons, civilizations and even races. Let us consider a few to understand the origins of these Ragas:
(a) Ragas named after the COMPOSERS: Amir Khusarau, Mira bai, Mian Tansen and Hussain Sharqui of Jaunpur.
(b) Ragas named after RACE: Malsri after Malavas, Gujari after Gujaras, Pulinda after Pulindas, Saveri after Maukhri and Bharvi after Bharous.
Some ragas and raginis are named after Gods, Goddesses, animals, birds, trees etc. Thus it is for sure that Indian music is a symphony created by not just one person but by many. It has accepted diverse practices, notes, strains and reasons and brought out a homogeneous and cohesive harmony.
With passage of time many ragas and raginis were created. Also many miniature forms of ragas and raginis were developed which accompanied the original forms.These newly formed ragas were called “Puta” ragas. With this said lets us understand the broad division of the ragas:
(a) Male Ragas expressed masculine traits like courage, valor, anger and drive. These melodies are intended to be sung in six different seasons. Bhairvi in summers, Megha in rains, Pancham in autumn, Narnarayan in early winters, Sri in winters and Basant in spring.
(b) Female ragini inspired from female sentiments like emotion, laughter and compassion. Many musicians denies the existence of any Ragini form but there exist 36 ragini forms given by Narada.
(c) Neuter or Puta Raga are considered as the outcome of either fusion of above two ragas or composed out from either of them. They express love, passion, terror, disgust and peace.
Musicians always prefer the pure form of ragas and raginis. This is quite evident from a story narrated in older times. According to the narration, Narada took lot of pride in his being a gifted musician. To kill his false pride Lord Vishnu took him to a house where numerous number of men and women were lying in a weak and disabled state. Lord Vishnu directed Narada to find out the reason of the plight of these men and women. Narada took a disguise of a brahmin and entered the house. He started to inquire form these men and women about the reason of their state. On being asked, these men and women told Narada that they were ragas and raginis and these miseries descended on them due to Narada who was fiddling with music forms. Then Narada asked them as to how would they be cured and they said that they would be cured by a musician who can play correct ragas and raginis at correct time and season of the year. Thus, Narada realized his mistake and allowed Lord Vishnu to play the ragas and raginis in a correct form.