Sankarabharanam is a join of ‘Sankara’ plus ‘Abharanam’ which literally means the ornaments of Lord Siva. Each ‘Swara’ denotes the ornaments ‘Sarpa’, ‘Rudraksha’, ‘Ganga’,’Mruga’, ‘Pushpa’, ‘Damaruka’ and ‘Nishkara’. At one time, if it brings the powerful mood of greatness, the next time Raga Sankarabharanam can elaborate a particular situation. This raga is related to several music systems of the world and so, the seven swaras of this raga resemble the seven notes of Western music.
The Arohana and Avarohana of this 29th Melakartha is:
S R2 G2 M1 P D2 N2 S
S N2 D2 P M1 G2 R2 S
Raga Sankarabharanam has several janya ragas in which Bilahari, Aarabhi, Durbar and Begada are four among them. ‘Swara raga sudha’ by Sri Thyagaraja Swamigal is a pageant creation which elaborates the beauty of ‘swara’ and ‘raga’ and ensures mind that it’s a great way to get emancipated worshipping God along-with music.
This majestic composition also points out that Sri Thyagaraja was aware of the secrets of the treatise “Svararnava” which Lord Siva has explained to Parvati.
Muthuswami Diskhitar has composed around 40 songs in Sankarabharanam. ShyamaShastri's "Sarojadala netri himagiri putri" is often chosen by Carnatic Vidwans to perform “niravals”. ‘Vara leela gana lola’ is another lilting composition of Thyagaraja in raga Sankarabharanam. Sri Unnikrishnan has vocalized this song in the album “Scintillating Experience” in his boy-like voice that makes merry in the hearts.
Again, the most esteemed and humble Smt.M.S.Subbulakshmi’s ‘Swara raga sudha’ is another example of her devotion to Carnatic music.
The English hymn “May the lord forgive our sins” composed by Sri C. Rajagopalachari got life and classical touch when she sung it in U.N.Concert in 1966 in the majestic raga Sankarabharanam equivalent to C Major in Western music.