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Sree kaaLahasti maahaatmyamu contd

by dhUrjaTi

 

Bhakti

Apart from bits of social commentary, Sri Kalahasti Mahatmayam is truly Bhakti rasa pradhAnaM. It succeeds in creating a deep sense of spiritual upliftment. The AvEdana, intense longing for the divine, innocent faith, possessiveness a devotee shows towards his chosen Lord, and several other aspects of Bhakti are portrayed with remarkable skill. Look at tin&naDu innocently expressing concern that Siva lingaM is languishing by itself in the middle of the forest and inviting Siva to come to his village where he will be well fed and looked after:

"O sAmee iTuvaMTi koMDa darilO, noMTiMbulul, siMgamul
gAsiM beTTeDu kuTra naTTaDavilO@m, galjuvvi kreeneeDa, nE
yAsaM gaTTiti vETigaDDa nilu? neevA@mkon&nacO@m gUDu nee
LLE suTTaMbulu decci peTTedaru? neekiMdETikE liMgamaa!
| SA | [3-65]

 

"koMDala@m gAnalaM dirigi krovvina paMdula lELLa duppulan^
jeMDina@m, bekkucaMdamula@m jin&naka peddaka gArukam&ma@mgA
vaMDudu, raTla piTTalanu vaMDudu, riccaTa nuMDanEla ? nA
koMDoka TAnateeka, yuDumUriki rA@m gadavayya liMgamA!
| SA | [3-66]

 

"O liMgama, vinu nivvari
prAlunu, noDipiLLu gunuku@m brAlunu, veduruM
brAlunu, savarapu mekamula
pAlunu, gala vacaTa neeku@m bAyasamunakun
^ | ka | [3-67]

 

"puTTa tEniya peratEne puTTajun&nu
torratEniya gala vaMdu@m dO@mci tO@mci
kAli duladulanai piMDi pOle rAlu
naTlu niMjeTlu galavu nee kAragiMpa
| gee | [3-68]

 

"nEreDi paMDulu, nelayuTTi paMDulu@m,
--goMDamAmiDi paMDlu, donDa paMDlu@m,
bAla paMDulu, nem&mi paMDulu, barivanka
--paMDulu@m, jiTimuTi paMDlu@m, galivi
paMDulu@m, doDiveMda paMDlu@m, dum&miki paMDlu,
--jAna paMDulu, gaMga rE@mgu@m baMDlu,
velaga paMDulu, pulla velaga paMDulu, mOvi
--paMDlu, naMkena paMDlu, balusu paMDlu,
| see |

beera paMDlunu, biccuka beera paMDlu@m,
gom&mi paMDleeta paMDlunu, gonji paMDlu,
mEDi paMDlunu modalugA@m gUDimADi
ceMcetalu tettu rittu viccEyu mayya
| gee | [3-69]

 

"illO, muMgiliyO, yanuMgu@m jelulO, yeeDaina cuTTaMbulO,
yillAlO, koDukO, tariMpa vaSamE, yEpO@mDumul lEka? mA
palleM gOrina vellanuM galavu teppal gA@mga nee kiccedan^
jellaM bO ! yiTa noMTinuMDa kaTu viccEyaMgadE liMgamA
| SA | [3-70]

 

"cu~ruku@m jUpuna@m gAlina ko~rata nu~ruku
nu~ruku jUpula@m buTTiMcu ne~ruku vAri
yi~ruku valigubba pAliMDla yiguru@m bOMDla
sEva kicceda neeku viccEyumayya"
| gee | [3-71]

tin&naDu asking Siva "tariMpa vaSamE yEpODumul lEka" is perhaps the finest expression of mugdha Bhakti. tin&na treats Siva as a fellow young man here. In his opinion Siva, just like tin&na himself is in need of nice food with choice meats, honey sweet puddings, and a variety of fresh fruit. He needs a good home. He needs hot girls to flirt with too! And tin&na wants to give them to Siva in abundance, if only Siva would heed his word and come to his village! This type of devotion is repeatedly exhibited by different characters in the book. In fact, portrayal of mugdha Bhakti makes more interesting reading compared to the episode of brahmas penance and the associated prauDha Bhakti. The Bhakti shown by brahma deals with Siva more or less on equal footing and somehow lacks the endearing innocence of other episodes. To compensate for this, dhUrjaTi skillfully described brahmas court, his saMBhOgaM with sarasvati and the horrific battle between the sons of brahma.

 

For poets like dhUrjaTi, Gods relationship with his devotees is entirely personal. At many places, dhUrjaTi treated Siva as a friend and confidante of his characters. Here is an example of the Brahmin priest chastising Siva for his unclean table manners (as a result of offerings by tin&naDu).

"nE@mDEDu dinaMbulayyeM
bO@mDimi ceDasAgi, needubUTakamO? ye
vvA@mDainanu jEseno idi?
vE@mDeda satyaMbu@m jeppavE karuNAbdhee!
| ka | [3-98]

 

"prA@mtalu mee@mda@m gappina@m gRpAmati nOrciti, neecu pottunan^
brA@mtimeyin^ mesaMgitivi, Bhaktu@mDu kuMTena@m baMpa@mbOti, mai
pU@mta yonarcukoMTi Sava BhUti@m, gapAlamunan BhujiMci, tee
rO@mtalu pekkuluMDa nivi rOyuduvE, yi@mka BhaktavatsalA!"
| u | [3-100]

 

His description of the two holy cities of Sree kALa hasti and madhura contains all the embellishments normally expected of such places. Here is how he described the prostitutes of kALa hasti:

paricita baMdhanaipuNi, napAra kaLAnuBava prasakti, nA
dara suvivEka saMpada, sadASuka vAkya sudhAnuBhUti, mO
ha rahitavRtti@m, brasPhuradanaMga rahasya vicArabuddhi, na
ppuramuna@m gAminee janulu polturu yOgijanaMbu pOlikan^ | ca
| [1-24]

The Suka vAkya sudhAnuBhUti can be either due to parrots or due to the sayings of saint Sree Suka.

 

In the book, dhUrjaTi repeatedly portrays some of the contemporary attitudes of Telugu people towards God. In the neighboring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, the society and its religious allegiances have been polarized to a much larger extent than in telugu nADu. For example, in Karnataka, one is clearly a mAdhva /veera Saiva /smArta. One is either a follower of Sankaran advaita or not a follower of it, and so on. In telugu nADu, these preferences have never been very segregated. Thus, many paths are acceptable and all most always, these paths overlapped significantly. They exist as concatenations to each other. Even the great Andhra veera Saiva, mallikArjuna panDitArAdhya refused to be either a complete fundamentalist or a radical. He is reported to have said "Bhavuni meeda valapu brAhmaNyaMbutoDi bottu bAya lEnu nEnu basavaliMga." His counterpart from karnATaka, the revolutionary basavaNNa rejected all such notions completely and established a one-track path to God. After the end of Buddhist and Jain influence in telugu nADu, one does not see significant sections of society aligned with any particular school. Even though Kumarila Bhatta was an Andhra, his school of thought has no more adherents in Andhra than in other places. Instead, it has been the belief in telugu nADu (according to dhUrjaTi) that Bhakti eventually leads to non-duality and that direct practice of advaita philosophy does not work very well. This does not mean that he endorsed one or the other of the vehemently argued philosophical systems of south India. He felt strongly that, rather than engaging in hair splitting arguments over SRti, bhakti is the way to go! For him there is no clear difference between Bhakti and other paths! The spider says, "SRtulu SAstraMbul mimujeppagA lEvAdyaMtamu lan&na dadvidhulakun lekkiMpagA SakyamE, sEvAdharmamu mElugAkanucu mee Sree pAdapadmamul golcitin." Other beautifully portrayed instances include vasiShTa saying (to Siva):

svAnuBhavaMbuna@m dathyamu
gAnaMbaDu@m gAni neeyaKhaMDAdvaita
j~nAnamayAkRti bahuBhA
ShAnaipuNi@m deliyunadi yaSakyama@mTa SivA
! | ka | [1-80]

In the same vein, agastya kRta Siva stuti clearly lays down dhUrjaTis idea of the path normally followed by people during their ascendance to grace. As a first step in this path, people start out being doubters and engage in elaborate logical deductions and nit picking arguments (kanTha SOShaMbugA vAdamul) about vEda and vEdAnta. They then take sides and feel that a certain darSanaM (can be interpreted as one of the six orthodox schools or just as any school of thought) is the best. They pledge allegiance to that school and follow it for some time. Then they get into mantra, different types of yaj~na and other rituals. Next step is siddha or some other form of yOga. They may try the path of kunDalini Sakti. Finally they realize that only the Lord is the refuge, enter true renunciation and worship Siva. When Siva is their ultimate goal, that is what they get. Or, without taking this meandering path, any one can directly go to Siva and worship him. The end result even in direct worship is the very same non-duality and liberation (mukti). The same argument is repeated in the Siva stOtraM rendered by kALa and hasti.

 

In the book, the full range of animal kingdom from the lowly insect and a wily snake to the majestic elephant achieved salvation. From the human society, the ignorant tribal hunter to the exalted poet and priest reached God through Bhakti. Even amongst RShis and dEvatAs (including brahma himself), many have attained peace through the grace of the Lord. The message from dhUrjaTi is, so can you and so can I!

 

In conclusion here is what Sree viSvanAtha satyanArAyaNa says about the great book:

"kALahasti mAhAtMyamu vaMTi graMthamu telugulO mari yokaTi lEdu.... A padyamuleMta ramaNeeyamugA nuMDunO cadivina vArikE teliyunu....ee yEnugu, pAmu, tin&naDi kathalu cadivi AnaMdiMcani telugu vAni janma yeMdulaku? vADu tAnoka sAhitee vEttananukon&nacO vAni sAhitya meMtaTidi?"

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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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