| Home | Prabandha | Sataka | Script |


dASarathee Satakamu

By kancerla gOpanna (BhadrAcala rAmadAsu)



nArAyaNa Satakamu
(Full text)

kRShNa Satakamu
(Intro' & Samples)

sumatee Satakamu
(Full text)

kALahasteeSvara Satakamu
(Intro' & Samples)

dASarathee Satakamu
(Intro' & Samples)

Andhra nAyaka Satakamu
(Intro' & Samples)

narasimha Satakamu
(Intro' & Samples)

BhartRhari neeti Satakamu
(Intro' & Samples)

BhAskara Satakamu
(Intro' & Samples)

rAmalingESa Satakamu
(Intro' & Samples)











kancerla gOpanna (alias Bhadrachala Ramadasu, CE 1620-80?) is one of the most popular personalities in Telugu history and literature. He became popular not by virtue of being a king, a warrior or a great scholar but because of his captivating life story and his equally touching songs and poems. There is hardly anyone in telugu nADu that never heard his songs. They are sung at concerts, harikathAs, dramas, movies, and most importantly by wandering mendicants and beggars. For an account of his musical compositions, see the Karnatic music pages on the web. A few of his songs (keertanalu) are listed here (this web site) and here (listing by Sri Sree Hari, K.) His dASarathee Satakam has also been an extremely popular Satakam. Many old timers know several poems of the Satakam by heart.



kancerla gOpanna was born in Nelakondapalli village of present day Khammam District. He was a nephew of the famous akkanna and mAdanna. They were the chief-of-army and the prime minister, respectively, in the court of the Muslim king Abul Hasan Kutub Shah (alias tAnAShA or tAneeShA). This Kutubshahi king was the last and the most liberal in a line of very open-minded rulers of gOlkonDa (which later became the Hyderabad State under the Nizams). akkanna and mAdanna rose from the ranks of courtiers and in CE 1682, occupied the highest offices under the king. Their popularity with the king as well as with the general population was partly responsible for the court intrigues that eventually lead to the downfall of this once prosperous kingdom in CE 1687.


tAneeShA was well versed in telugu like his predecessors. He appointed gOpanna as the tahaseeldAr of the present day BhadrAcalam area. gOpanna went to this holy place and was quite disturbed at the sad and dilapidated state of the once famous temple. This temple had always been a very holy site for the Telugu people who believe that Rama, Sita and Lakshmana spent part of their forest dwelling time at the pancavaTi (parNaSAla) near BhadrAcalam. The fascinating story of Sabari, a devotee who tasted every fruit (to test whether it was sweet enough) before offering it to her Lord Rama is also associated with this place. Further more, BhadrAcalam had a pivotal role in bringing out the most popular telugu literary composition-BhAgavatam by bammera pOtanna. It was here that pOtana received his inspiration to write the book. In spite of being such a key place, the temple was in a state of disrepair at the time of gOpanna. He took upon himself the task of rebuilding with a missionary zeal. His private coffers ran out in no time. Undaunted, he used up the revenue he collected for the navAb and straightened up the place to a much better condition than when he originally found it. The king, however liberal he might be, demanded the revenue due to the government. Failing to get a satisfactory answer, he remanded gOpanna to a jail cell with orders that he be released only after the exchequer received all the taxes in full. Apparently, his influential uncles could do nothing to intervene on his behalf. gOpanna spent the next eleven or twelve years in the jail. One can still see this particular cell inside the gOlkonDa fort. gOpanna, by now famous amongst the local populace as rAmadAsu (Lord Rama's servant), began writing many beautiful musical compositions while in the jail cell. They praise the Lord for all his mysterious ways and plead with the Lord to ease his suffering. If that doesn't work, they plead with his consort Sita to recommend to her husband to ease his devotee's pain. All else failing to invoke a response, they even resort to accusing God of being an ingrate. Of course, the songs quickly apologize for the harsh language and end in a state of total and unconditional surrender to the will of the Almighty. These are some of the most endearing songs in the entire Indian musical literature. Many of his compositions are second to none in terms of feeling and BhAvaucityam. In spite of this, for some mysterious reason, gOpanna does not seem to have been given his due as an early pioneer of the Karnatic music. It is said that the Tondaiman rulers of Pudukkottai in Tamil Nadu loved Ramadasa keertanas very much and took great interest in popularizing them. For a sample selection of his songs click here.


The story continues on with a popular and folklorish ending. At long last, it is said that Lord Rama decided that his devotee's suffering had reached its pre-ordained ending (because of a certain transgression his soul had committed in a previous birth). Rama and Lakshmana took the disguise of two young warriors and entered the bedchambers of the king in the middle of the night. They gave the king the requisite money in gold coins imprinted with Rama's own seal. The king was bewildered at the presence of these charming but strange youngsters in his inner quarters. They demanded and obtained on the spot, a written receipt for the money. The receipt was shown to the Jailer who released gOpanna the same night. The next day, both gOpanna and the navAb realized what had happened. gOpanna did not care much for his release but was inconsolable at his not having seen his Lord even with all his devotion while the navAb, in spite of being a Muslim, had a visit from the Lord. The Lord then appeared to gOpanna in a dream and explained him the real reasons for his actions and promised him salvation at the end his natural life. The king was convinced that what had happened was a miracle of Allah. He sent the entire money back to the BhadrAcalam temple. Until recently, it was the royal custom of the Hyderabad State to send gifts to the temple on the occasion of Sree rAma navami celebrations every year. Even if we concede that there are inevitable embellishments in the story of gOpanna, it has certainly captured the popular imagination. In that sense, he ranks as one of the greatest devotees in the Indian religious systems -along the same lines as annamAcArya and others in Telugu Bhakti tradition, the famous ALvArs and nAyanArs of tamiL tradition or tukArAm of Maharashtrian tradition.


It is unclear at what point of life had rAmadAsu composed his famous dASarathee Satakam. From internal evidence, we can conjecture that the bulk of the poems were written either before the jail term or well after his imprisonment ended. We see in the poems, a devotee firmly entrenched in his belief system, content at the thought that he received his calling in life, convinced that there is salvation at the end of the tunnel. Compare the poems with the kALahasteeSwara Satakam by dhUrjaTi. dhUrjaTi was also a great devotee. Some of the sentiments expressed by the two are very similar. Both were firmly attached their own chosen forms of the Supreme Being. Both sought the same end result-salvation from the cycle of pain and suffering. rAmadAsu was convinced that he was going to get it. dhUrjaTi knew that it was possible but was unsure. dhUrjaTi was negatively preoccupied with all the ills of the society. He could not explain all the problems and troubling aspects he saw in the world around him. rAmadAsu also saw the same things to some extent, but just imagined that they were part of life and that his Lord will take care of them. dhUrjaTi could not calm himself that way and could not contain his tongue from lashing out. In the end, both the Satakams became famous.






Text in RIT/RTS format


The following poems are in RIT/RTS format. Click here for poems in Telugu Lipi font.


dASarathee Satakamu

kancerla gOpanna (BhadrAcala rAmadAsu)



kaMTi nadeetaTaMbu@m, boDagaMTini Bhadra nagAdhi vAsamun^,
gaMTi neelA tanUja nurukArmuka mArgaNa SaMKhacakramul,
gaMTini mim&mu, lakshmaNuni@m gaMTi@m, gRtArthuDanaiti, nO jaga
tkaMTaka daitya nirdaLana, dASarathee karuNApayOnidhee! |u|


cakkeramAni vEmu dinajAlina kaivaDi mAnavAdhamul
pekkuru bakkadaivamula vEmaru@m golcedaraTla kAdayA!
mrokkina neeku mrokkavale, mOkshamosaMgina neeva eevalen^,
dakkina mATa lEmiTiki? dASarathee karuNA payOnidhee! |u|


caraNamu sOkinaTTi Sila javvani rUpaguTokka viMta, su
sthiramuga neeTipai girulu dElina dokkaTi viMta, gAni, mee
smaraNa danarcu mAnavulu sadgati@m jeMdina deMta viMta yee
dharanu? dharAtmajA ramaNa, dASarathee karuNA payOnidhee! |ca|


cikkani pAlapai misimi@m jeMdina meegaDa paMcadAratO
mekkina BhaMgi mee vimala mEcaka rUpa sudhArasaMbu nA
makkuva paLLeraMbuna samAhita dAsyamanETadO yiTan^
dakkenaTaMcu ju~r~redanu dASarathee karuNA payOnidhee! |u|


"parama dayAnidhE! patita pAvana nAma harE!" yaTaMcunu
sthiramatulai sadA Bhajana sEyu mAhAtmula pAda dhULi nA
Siramuna@m dAltu meeraTaku@m jErakuDanucu yamuMDu kiMkarO
tkaramula kAna beTTunaTa dASarathee karuNApayOnidhee! |ca|


BhaMDana Bheemu DArtajana bAMdhavu Dujjvala bANa tUNa kO
daMDa kaLA pracaMDa Bhuja tAMDava keertiki, rAma mUrtikin^,
reMDava sATi daiva mika lEDanucun^, gaDagaTTi, BhErikA
dAMDa DaDAMDa DAMDa ninAdaMbu lajAMDamu niMDa, mattavE
daMDamu nekki cATedanu! dASarathee karuNA payOnidhee! |utpala mAla mAlika|


muppuna@m gAlakiMkarulu muMgiTa vaccina vELa, rOgamul
gopparamainacO@m gaPhamu kuttuka niMDina vELa, bAMdhavul
gappina vELa, mee smaraNa galguno galgado, nATikippuDE
tappaka cEtu mee Bhajana dASarathee karuNApayOnidhee! |u|


Sree raGhurAma, cAru tulasee daLa dhAma, Sama kshamAdi SRM
gAra guNABhirAma, trijagan&nuta Saurya ramAlalAma, du
rvAra kabaMdha rAkshasa virAma, jagajjana kalmaShArNavO
ttAraka nAma, Bhadragiri dASarathee karuNApayOnidhee! |u|


Sreerama seeta gAga, nijasEvaka bRMdamu veera vaiShNavA
cAra janaMbugAga, virajAnadi gautamigA vikuMThamu
n&nAraya Bhadra Saila SiKharAgramugAga vasiMcu cEtanO
ddhArakuDaina viShNuDavu dASarathee karuNApayOnidhee! | u |


siri gala nADu, maimaraci cikkina nADu, talaMci puNyamul
pori pori cEyanaiti nani pokkina@m galgune? gAli ciccu pai
keralina vELa, Dappi goni keeDpaDu vELa, jalaMbu@m gOri ta
ttaramuna@m dravvinaM galade? dASarathee karuNApayOnidhee! |ca|


halikunakun^ halAgramuna narthamu sEkuru BhaMgi, dappicE
nalamaTa@m jeMdu vAniki surApagalO jalamabbinaTlu, du
rmalina manOvikArinagu martyuni nan&noDa@mgUrci nee payiM
dalapu GhaTiMpa@m jEsitivi dASarathee karuNApayOnidhee! |ca|


tappoppulu dayatO teliyajEyagalarani prArthistU
-e. SEShu mAdhava rAvu #(Seshu Madhava Rao Adluri, e-mail: adluri@engr.mun.ca).#


I received the full text some time ago, kind courtesy of Ms. Padma Indraganti. I will post more of them later.

Seshu Madhava Rao Adluri
First posted: March 1998.
Suggestions, additions and corrections to the above will be gratefully appreciated.
Kindly contact:

| Home | Prabandha | Sataka | Script |