Rajam's Corner

Saptaswara devata: Ri

K allinatha, a commentator of the Sangeeta Ratnakara of Sarangadeva, gives derivations for the names of each of the saptaswaras based on grammatical principles, which he says were based on the idea of ancients like Matanga and others. As we know, the first of the seven notes in an octave is named ‘shadja’, and the second ‘rishabha’. According to Kallinatha, shadja is so named—shannaam svaraanaam janakah—that which is the source of the (other) six swaras; or that which is produced from six parts (of the body)—namely nose, throat, palate, chest, tongue and teeth.