Raag Bhimpalasi or Bheempalasi is a Hindustani Classical Raga derived from Kafi Thaat. It is one of the most ancient ragas and was the standard scale before Bilawal. An oft-heard compound raga churned out of Bhim (vast, big) and Palasi (a tree), this has overshadowed both its Janak (parent) ragas.
Mythically Lord Krishna, the cowherd boy, played this sweet melody on his flute to give a return call to all his grazing cows and cowherd friends. As such this raga, exuding peace and assurance, is associated with homecoming and offers a vast canvas for improvisations. The universal appeal of this raga has made it very popular in every genre of Indian music; so much so that Bhim and Palasi are almost extinct now. Bhimpalasi is also adopted by the Carnatic stream as Bhimpalas or Bheempalas.
Technical details of Raag Bhimpalasi
Bhimpalasi is a raga which is very much associated with a hot Indian afternoon. It is an Audava-Sampoorna jati raga, implying that it has five notes in Aaroh (ascending) and seven notes in Avroh (descending). The madhyam (fourth) is the most important – an important “nyaas” sthaan (note for rest) with emphasized elaboration around this note – Sa ga ma, ma ga ma, ga ma pa, ma pa ga ma pa (ma) ga (ma) ga ma. The Rishabh (second) and the Dhaivat (sixth) are skipped in Aaroh , but are given due importance in Avroh, hence clarifying the Audava-Sampoorna jati of the raga.
It has Komal Nishad and Gandhar, Vadi Swar is Madhyam and Samvaadi is Shadaj.
In Avroh, Dhaivat is linked with Pancham (i.e. Pancham is used as a Kan-Swar). Likewise, Rishabh is linked with Shadaj (i.e. Shadaj is used as Kan-Swar). Similarly, while rendering Nishad, adjacent Shadaj is used as a Kan-Swar (in Meend) likewise Gandhar is rendered with Madhyam as a Kan-Swar (in Meend).
Among day Ragas, Bhimpalasi is a very sweet and hauntingly pleasant melody. The initial development via Alaap is done very artistically to produce the Raag mood which is then thrown into waves with Taans. The rendering of Komal Nishad needs practice with these combinations: ga ma pa ni sa’ ni sa’ ni sa’ . Rendering this way will give the required higher shruti to Komal Nishad.
Swar Notations of Raag Bhimpalasi
|Swaras||Rishabh and Dhaivat Varjya in Aaroh, Gandhar and Nishad Komal. Rest all Shuddha Swaras.|
|Jati||Audav – Sampurna|
|Vadi / Samvaadi||Madhyam / Shadaj|
|Ideal time to sing||(12 p.m. – 3 p.m.) ; Third Prahar of the day|
|Vishranti Sthan||Sa; Ma; Pa; – Sa’; Pa; Ma;|
|Aaroh||.Ni Sa Ga Ma, Pa, Ni Sa’|
|Avroh||Sa’ Ni Dha Pa Ma, Ga Re Sa|
|Mukhya – Ang||.Ni Sa Ma, Ma Ga, Pa Ma, Ga, Ma Ga Re Sa|
Raag Bhimpalasi – Bandish for practise
Refer to the following audio to understand the chalan (aaroh ,avroh, pakad) of the raga. The audio also includes Sargam Geet (which is sung in Jhaptaal Madhya Laya, starts from Sam) in order to build a strong foundation of the raga.
Note – A dot before Ni and Ga denote lower octave or mandra saptak.
Ni and Ga denote Komal Nishad and Komal Gandhar.
Bandish 1 :
.Ni Sa Ma Ga Re Sa – .Pa .Ni Sa -2
.Ni Sa Ma Ga Ma Pa Ma Ga Re Sa -2
.Ni Sa Ma Ga Ma Pa Ni Pa Ni Sa’ -2
Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Pa Ma Ga Re Sa
Ma Pa Ma Ga Ma Pa Ni Sa’ -2
Ni Sa’ Ma’ Ga’ Re’ Sa’ – Ni Dha Pa -2
Pa Re’ Sa’ Sa’ Re’ Ni Sa’ Pa Ni Dha
Pa Ma Ga Ma Pa Ga Ma Ga Re Sa
Bandish 2 : Ja Ja Re Apne Mandirwa
This is one of the most famous compositions sung in Madhya Laya Teentaal (middle tempo 16 beat cycle) starting from Khali, said to be composed by the famous “Sadarang”. This composition is pretty much a staple of musical schools on this raga, and conveys an exchange between two people full of tension but love at the same time. Lyrics are as follows:
Ja Ja Re Apne Mandirwa -3
Sun Paavegi Mori Saaans Nanadi
Sun Paavegi Saans Nanadiya
Sun Ho Sadarang Tumko Chahat Hai -2
Kya Tum Humko Chagan Diya
1. Ga Ma Pa Ma Ga Ma Pa Ma Ga Ma Ga Re Sa – (7 Matra)
2. Ga Ma Pa Ni Sa’ Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Ma Ga Re Sa (7 Matra)
3. Pa Ni Pa Ni Sa’ Ni Dha Pa Ga Ma Pa Ma Ga Re Sa (8 Matra)
4. .Ni Sa Ga Ga, Sa Ga Ma Ma, Ga Ma Pa Pa, Ma Pa Ni Ni
Pa Ni Sa’ Sa’ Pa Ni Sa’ Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Re Sa .Ni Sa (16 Matra)
1. Pa Ni Pa Ni Sa’ Ni Dha Pa Ga Ma Pa Ni Pa Ni Sa’ – (8 Matra)
2. Ga Ma Ma Ga Pa Pa Ga Ma Ga Pa Ma Ni Ni Dha Pa Ma
Ga Ma Pa Ni Sa’ Pa Sa’ Ni Ga’ Re’ Sa’ Ni Dha Pa –
Ga Ma Ma Ga Pa Pa Ma Ga Re Sa .Ni Sa – (24 Matra)
3. Sa Ga Ma Sa Ma Ga Re Sa Ga Ma Pa Ga Ni Dha Pa Ma
Pa Ni Sa’ Pa Sa’ Ni Dha Pa Ni Sa’ Ga’ Re’ Sa’ Ni Dha Pa
Ga Ma Pa Ni Dha Pa Ma Pa Sa Ga Ma Pa Ma Ga Re Sa
(Ga Ma Pa Ni Sa’ Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Re Sa -3) (48 Matra)
Bandish 3 : Mope Rang Na Daro Banwari
This Bandish is sung in Teen Taal Drut Laya. Sam arrives at Wari in Sthayi while Antara starts with Khali.
Mope Rang Na Daro Banwari -2
Mori Chunari Bheeg Gayi Aaj Saari -2
Tum Toh Hatheele Nand Laal Chabeele -2
Brindavan Ke Tum Ho Rangeele -2
Baiyan Padat Araj Karat Maano
Maano Maano Girdhari
Bandish 4 : Bhajman Nishadin Shyam
This Bandish is sung in Teen Taal Drut Laya and starts from Khali.
Bhajman Nishadin Shyam Sundar -2
Sukh Sagar Hari Shree Radha Var -2
Sakal Jagat Ke Jeevan Dhan Prabhu -2
Karat Kripa Nit Nij Bhaktan Par
Samprakritik – the word itself defines that the ragas which share similar nature and swaras but different gaayan (styles of playing and singing), chalan (flow), vadi, samvadi, aaroh, avroh, nyasa swara, time are called Samprakritik Ragas.
Kafi Thaat is known to be crowded with numerous similar ragas, so it is very important to pay attention to their pakads, otherwise one may inadvertently impinge upon them and thus may spoil the performance. Raga Bhimpalasi is a Poorvang Pradhan Raag and is expanded freely in all the three Octaves.
In Hindustani Classical, Raga Dhanashree is much similar to this raga, the key difference is Dhanashree has Pancham as a Vadi Swar whereas Raga Bhimpalasi has Madhyam as a Vadi Swar which implies that Dhanashree is characterized by a dominant Pancham. When the accent is shifted off the Pancham and the Madhyam is advanced, the result is an avirbhava of Bhimpalasi and it is precisely this preponderance of the Madhyam (nyasa bahutva) that bestows on Bhimpalasi its allure. Some of the other similar ragas in Hindustani Music are Bageshree, Dhani, Patdeep, Hamsakinkini and Patdeepaki.
In Carnatic Music, Karnataka Devagandhari is the most similar raga, falling with Melakarta 22 (Karaharapriya). Raga Abheri in Carnatic Music is believed to be a rough equivalent of Hindustani Raga Bhimpalasi. But as with most ragas, the treatment of the raga is very different in the systems.
Soul essence of Bhimpalasi raga
The ati-madhur and ati-priya Raga Bhimpalasi has the penetrating power to infect the human mind and control it for days and weeks on end. There is as yet no known antidote to the Bhimpalasi contagion. Fortunately, it strikes only those with a mind and so the damage is restricted to a very small fraction of humanity. Suppressed longing of a lover, but serene with dignity and yet throbbing with deep emotion, this raga depicts Shringar Rasa (poignant and passionate, filled with yearning).
The Raga brings together a joyful mood, with a sweet tinge of resignation but never a mood of hopelessness. The prescribed timing of Bhimpalasi is late afternoon, after the sun’s harsh rays start receding in intensity. It has a gentle and sweet feeling of looking forward to the evening ahead.
The name of the raga is quite overbearing (possibly because of the inclusion of the phrase “Bhim” which stands for big and strong , it was also the name of the strongman Bhim in the epic Mahabharata). However, the raga is anything but strong and aggressive, it’s soft and sweet and it actually lends itself more to the latter part of its name “Palasi” related to the “Palash” flower perhaps!
The raga also depicts Shanti Rasa (sense of calmness). Some studies say that the Raga has a positive effect on the neurons of the brain as it evokes serenity. The subjects used in the experiment imagined themselves wandering at some beautiful place or the feeling or presence of God or the aura of positivity of the God. People listening to Bhimpalasi feel light, happy, relaxed, refreshed and calm whereas the members of the non-experimental group lived their regular routine life experiencing no such feeling.
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Popular Bollywood songs in Raag Bhimpalasi
Few ragas lend themselves as easily to an expression of elegance as Bhimpalasi. Some of the most evocative compositions of Shringar Rasa of Hindustani music are in this raga. This is due to both the progression of the raga as well as the interpretations of different artists. Based on Raga Bhimpalasi, Kishori Amonkar, heralded an approach which emphasized the emotional and evocative aspect of Hindustani Music, which would often come at the cost of breaking away from certain orthodoxies. Rang So Rang Milaye is an archetype of that approach to music.
While Hindustani Classical Ragas follow a set pattern of notes, the film songs based on this raga may not necessarily follow every rule of this raga. Composers may take liberty to experiment with the notes and may deviate from the set pattern just to enhance the melody of the song. Here are few popular bollywood songs in Raga Bhimpalasi:
1. Naino Me Badra Chhaye sung by Lata Mangeshkar from the movie Mera Saaya.
2. Kismat Se Tum Humko Mile by A.R Rahman.
3. Tum Mile Dil Khile sung by Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik.
4. Radha Kaise Na Jale from the famous movie “Lagaan”.
The scale of Bhimpalasi is equivalent to the Western scale is the Blues scale. Many western Pop songs look similar to this Raga. If you listen carefully to the very popular song of Ed Sheeran “Shape Of You”. This song is also influenced by Raga Bhimpalasi.
Check the following blogs for more Hindustani Ragas.