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Sree kaaLahasti maahaatmyamu contd…

by dhUrjaTi

 

Characterization

Throughout the book, dhUrjaTi displays a remarkable skill in describing how his characters felt without resorting to excessively long passages (as is common in most prabandhams). Here is an example of how he manages to tell the serpent king's feeling (without actually talking about the feeling itself) after discovering that his offerings of precious stones to Siva were swept aside by some one who put leaves and branches full of thorns in their place. (The poems in this write-up are in RIT/RTS format. All the sample poems used in this write-up are also available in telugu Lipi font here).

BhOgavatee puraMbuna@m jocci, bOTula
-tODa nADeDu jalakreeDaluDigi,
puvvu@m bONulu@m dAnu@m bottula BhujiyiMcu
-madhurasudhAhAra vidhi@m do~raMgi
bahuvidha tAna saMpan&na gAnaMbula
-nikki cokkeDu tana nErpu vadali
prANa nAyika tODa@m baryaMka seemala
-masakAna@m bena@mgu saMBhramamu viDici
| see |

nidra vOyeDu suKhamella nEla@m galipi
pratidinaMbunu dA@m jEyu ratna pUja
Sivunipai nuMDakuMDina@m jiMta noMdi
rAtri SivarAtrigA jAgaram&mu@m jEse
| gee | [2-119]

Such description was common to major prabandhas of dhUrjaTi’s time. What was special about him was the ease with which he could handle elegant descriptions. In most prabandhas, it was not considered proper to directly talk about the feelings of the characters the way modern novels tend to do. Instead, the poet was supposed to detach himself from the scene and create an idea. He must portray the idea of the feeling but not the feeling itself. Approximately speaking, this is what is meant by rasOtpAdana (the oozing out of rasa). If the poet directly says that some one is sad or angry, it completes the description and there is nothing more to say. Instead, if the poet describes the character’s actions arising out of sadness or anger, and uses alankAraM, kavi samayamulu, etc., the kAvya makes that much longer and that much more interesting reading!

The ensuing battle between the elephant and the serpent has some famous poems known for their descriptive power:

SuMDAlaMbu karaMbu sA@mpa, PhaNirAjun^ mecci "nApUja Bha
rguMDeevELa nanugrahiMce" nani, mukkuM grOLLalO nekki, yu
ddaMDa kreeDa@m dadeeya kuMBha kuhara sthAnaMbunaM drim&maran^,
goMDal gUla@mga netti mottukoni, dikkul muTTa gee peTTucun^ | SA | [2-147]

 

mogalETi maDuguna muni@mgi tuMDam&muna
-nudaka mAkarShiMci yU@m di yU@mdi,
kaDu@m gapAlamu dA@mki kala@mgaMga@m jakka@mgA@m
-jEsA@mci ji~r~runa@m jee@mdi cee@mdi,
ila mee@mda@m daladA@mka nee prakka naa prakka@m
-beDamarlugA@m boDa peTTi peTTi,
yuDivOni vEdana nun&nacO nuMDaka
-panilEni paruvulu pA~ri pA~ri, | see |

pedda mrA@mkulatO@m guMBha peeThayugamu@m
dOmu konucunu jeTTulu dU~ri tU~ri,
pAmu sEsina du@hKhaMbu sAmajaMbu
deercukonuvera ve~ru@mgaka, dheerabuddhi | gee | [2-148]

 

"EnA caccuTa tappa dippuDu numAdheeSOpakaMThaMbunan^
dAnuM jAvaka caMpanOpa duragEMdraM, bekkuDee du@hKhamE
lA nAkun^ ? sari, caMpi caccuTa janAhlAdaMbu gAdA ? yavA
ceenasthANu nagaMbe vadhya SilagA sEviMtu@mgA kiMtaTan^" | SA | [2-149]

 

ani mattEBhamu, cittajAhituni dikkai mrokki, "ikkALamE
kanumaM bOvuno ?" yaMcu@m duMDa mi~riyaMgA@m juTTi vaktra sthalaM
buna@m geeliMci, pi~riMdikiM jani, SiraMbun^ vaMci, yakkoMDa Bha
gguna@m dA@mken^, vaDi@m guMBhamul pagula@m, datkUTaMbu lUTADa@mgan^ | ma | [2-150]

 

koMDa koMDa tODa guMDulu@m gUlaMga@m
dA@mkinaTlu dO@mce, daLita kuMBha
seema nun&na pAmu cidise, nEnuMgunu
baDiye, netturacaTa@m baDiya kaTTe | A | [2-151]

In another famous scene, tin&na brings finely roasted pieces of choice meat and other offerings (karakuTlu) to Siva and innocently asks him to eat his naivEdyaM (literally):

"kAlavo, krovvavo, mADaM
gAleno, cavigAvo, kam&ma gAvo, neekun^
jAlavo, yalavaDavO, tina
vElA ka~rakuTlu? pArvateeSwara cepumA
| ka | [3-88]

 

"A@mkali gAdO, BhaktiM
dE@mkuva galavA@mDa@m gAno, tinavEla ? kRpan^
sA@mka@mgadE ! nan&nipuDa
~r~rA@mkala@m beTTaka palASanAsaktu@m Davai
| ka | [3-89]

 

"nepamokaTi galade nApai?
nupavAsamu tODa baDali yuMDaga nee kE
yaparAdhamu sEyaM gade?
kRpatO@m ga~rakuTTu lAragiMpaM gadavE
| ka | [3-90]

 

"nee vAragiMpa kuMDina
jeevanamEmiTiki nAku Siva? nee padarA
jeevamula mee@mda brANamu
lE viDutu" naTaMcu vrAli yEDvaM doDa@mgen^
| ka | [3-91]

All the above poems are in kanda padyam meter. Being in short meter, dhUrjaTi could employ short words without any long samAsas as if tin&na was talking to a child who could not understand long words. The address to Siva is also reminiscent of an adult talking to a little child (sAkagadE nan&nipuDu arrAkala beTTaka !) who is refusing to eat his food. pAtraucita saMBhAShaNa, or conversations and descriptions commensurate with the character are very well portrayed in the book. The difference between tin&na’s and the brahmin’s use of language is unmistakable. Very few can portray the vEsyA mAta like dhUrjaTi. He says that kings rejoice when they get new sons and vESya rejoices when she gets new daughters!

dhUrjaTi’s poems, his kalpanaA Sakti, his use of alankAraM are second to none, as seen from the poem below:

Sabara kAntA Ghanastana SAtakuMBha
kuMBha yugamula@m garakari konalu sA@mge
mAnupa@mga vaccunE caMpagarAni pagayu
nan&nadam&mula pOrATa majunakaina
! | gee | [3-12]

His poems are not full of literary gymnastics. Rather, they have a certain calm and charming sweetness. All his mAdhuryaM spills out when he says "tEniyalu grOli pidapan^ mAnavatula yadharamAni maraturu Sabarul tEniya tiyyadanaMbu."

 

 

dhUrjaTi’s World

Most of the stories in Sri Kalahasti Mahatmyam were puranic in nature. However, dhUrjaTi provided a window to his own times whenever possible. The example below describes many childhood games played by tin&naDu (several of them are played even today by boys throughout telugu nADu).

ciTla poTlA kAya, siri siMgaNA vaMti,
-guDu guDu guMcAlu, kuMdena guDi,
DA@mgili mruccu lATalu, gracca kAyalu,
-ven&nela kuppalu, tan&nu biLLa,
tUrana tuMkAlu, geerana giMjalu,
-pilladeepAlaMki, biLLa gODu
ciDuguDavvala pOTi, ceMDu gaTTina bOdi,
-yalli yuppana@m baTTe, lappaLAlu | see
|

cikkanA biLLa, lOTiLLu, ciMda~rAdi
yaina SaiSavakreeDA vihAra saraNi@m
ceMcu komarulatO nudduliMcu kADu@m
din&na@mDaBhinava bAlya saMpan&nu@mDagucu
| gee | [3-33]

dhUrjaTi, like many great writers, uses telugu jAteeyAlu and paluku baDulu (e.g., "kum&mari koka yEDu - gudi koka peTTu," "ahahA ! pagavArinigUDe daivamun," "tU cA tappakunDA," "ADa bOvu teertha meduraina reeti," "netturacaTa paDiya kaTTe"). There are many words, usages and jAteeyAlu in the book which modern writers have replaced or have forgotten. Many of these have however, survived in spoken dialects (although the relentless onslaught of ‘correct telugu’ on ‘corrupt telugu’ seems to push the language into a straight jacket). For example, he calls upavAsaM as okka poddu meaning, you only eat once that day. A vistari used to offer food to God is taLiga (or taLiya). piriMdiki cane means stood back. netturacaTa paDiya kaTTe means blood collected there in pools. A mother in the book calls her daughters as "mA akkalAra !." Similarly, Siva addresses tin&na as "an&nA." Such usage in daily transactions is wide spread in many areas of telugu nADu even today, although they would not be appreciated if a news paper columnist or a novelist uses them since they sound to be some how incorrect! dhUrjaTi also describes many things a new mother (bAlenta) does ("tala bankiMcina...," "aladu naluMgu..." 4:10-11). Several of these practices were in use till recently.

 

Although, this book is not a political commentary, dhUrjaTi takes swipes at the ruling class whenever possible ("oka tappunu gAvarugA nRpAlakul"). It is also interesting to note that the ancient philosophical school of secularism founded by cArvAka was shamelessly twisted out of its meaning by subsequent generations. natkeera says that he committed "cArvAkaM" in finding fault with Siva’s poem. A similar reference occurs when brahma’s thirty thousand sons wreak havoc on earth.

 

The poetic conventions of those days can be seen from Siva inquiring about the objections raised against the poem he wrote:

ee rAjanyuni mee@mda nE@m gavita sAhitya sPhuran&mAdhuree
cAru prauDhima@m jeppipaMpa, vini mAtsaryaMbu vATiMci na
tkeeruM DUrake tappu vaTTena@mTa! yEdee! lakshaNaMbO? yalaM
kAraMbO? padabaMdhamO? rasamo? cakkaM jeppu@mDee tappinan | SA |
[3-167]

 

In a certain scene, Siva, in his mAyA rUpaM as a minDa jangama is described with teeth (through constant chewing of betel leaf tAMbUlaM) that can beat the redness out of padma rAga maNi. It is probably a fashion statement then! An employee of the king’s court invites this minDa jangama to her house. The conversation has hints of kan&naDa ("bijamADu dEvaru...majjanaMbADi SivArcana mADa bEku..."). No where else in the book does dhUrjaTi employ such talk. It might be an indication that minDa jangamas of that time had strong ties with the veeraSaiva movement in karnATaka (they all probably came from there). What follows this invitation, (which may leave a reader speechless) is an almost casual saMBhOgaM between the two! In modern terms, here is this very hot chic walking along the street, encounters a horny looking guy dressed like a catholic cardinal with golden rosary and all, exchanges a few words, picks him up, her place or his, well, he has no place (residentially challenged), so hers, and they hit it off with all the fire works, and unmindful of protection too! Talk about American viccalaviDitanaM and Indian conservatism! All this is perhaps an indication of the medieval veeraSaiva belief (largely from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu) that there is virtually no difference between Siva and his true devotees. So, union with a jangama is no different from union with Siva himself! At least in this story created by dhUrjaTi, it is true!

In another section, a vEsya tries to teach her two daughters how to conduct their business. The descriptions clearly point out that prostitution was not only an accepted profession but also a highly developed craft. It was almost an art form with all the props such as explicit paintings, manuals (lakShaNa granthams) such as kokkOkaM. It also means that dhUrjaTi was intimately familiar with this business.

 

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Seshu Madhava Rao Adluri
First posted: Jan. 1998.
Suggestions, additions and corrections to the above will be gratefully appreciated.
Kindly contact:
adluri@engr.mun.ca

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