The word "jati" or "jaati" literally means a "caste" or "collection; as such it has numerous musical and non-musical usages. In the musical sense it can mean a rhythmic pattern, an ancient musical mode, or the number of notes in a modern mode. It is this latter definition that we will deal with here.
The number of notes in the rag is significant, for not every one uses all seven notes. Normally, a rag will consist of either five, six, or a full seven notes. A five-note rag is said to be an audhav jati; a six note rag is said to be shadav jati; and one of seven notes is said to be sampurna jati. Furthermore, rags may be mixed jatis. That is to say that there may be different jatis for the ascending and the descending structures. For instance, a rag which has only five notes in the ascending, but all seven notes in the descending would be called audhav-sampurna.
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