Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sumati Satakam 5

ఎప్పుడు దప్పులు వెదకెడు
నప్పురుషుని గొల్వగూడ దది యెట్లన్నన్‌
సర్పంబు పడగ నీడను
గప్ప వసించిన విధంబు గదరా సుమతీ
Eppudu dappulu vedakedu
Nappurushuni kolvakUdadadi yetlannan
Sarpambu pdaga nIdanu
Kappa vasincina viDamu gadarA sumatI

ఎప్పుడు =always
దప్పులు =errors
వెదకెడు =searching
ఆ =that
పురుషుని =man
గొల్వగూడదు =should not serve
అది యెట్లన్నన్‌ = how it is like
సర్పంబు = snake
పడగ నీడను = under the shade of hood
గప్ప =frog
వసించిన = living
విధంబు =type
గదరా సుమతీ
Baddena comments about masters who always look only for the mistakes in people.
This verse sharply tells that one should not serve a man who searches always for mistakes in people. He compares this with a frog living in the shadow of the snake’s hood.

It is always told that one should only look into the good qualities people have. Only then their mistakes even if they are there, would look simple. Forgiving them will also be easy. On the other hand if one is looking for only errors in people, ultimately even if there is a lot of good in them it all will become obscure in the light of all the negativity built up already.

Baddena compares the service of a man who looks for faults with the life of a frog under the snake’s hood. You can never be sure about your security in the situation. You never know when the frog is eaten or the when the man will harm the servant.

Even in the modern management it is clearly told that when the leader or the manager is giving feedback to the staff, initially all positive things should be taken into consideration. Only then the mistakes should be pointed out, so that they can be corrected. Fault finding should be an exercise towards improvement.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sumati Satakam 4

సిరిదా వచ్చిన వచ్చును
సలలితముగ నారికేళ సలిలము భంగిన్
సిరిదా పోయిన పోవును
కరి మ్రింగిన వెలగపండు కరణిని సుమతీ
siridA vaccinavaccunu
salalitamuga nArikEla salilamu Bhangin
sirida pOyina pOvunu
kari mringina velagapandu karaNini sumati

సిరి = wealth
తాన్(దా) = by itself
వచ్చిన = when it comes
వచ్చును = will come
సలలితముగ = beautifully
నారికేళ = coconut
సలిలము = water
భంగిన్ = in the fashion
సిరిదా పోయిన పోవును = when wealth goes, it goes
కరి మ్రింగిన వెలగపండు కరణిని = like the wood apple that is gulped by an elephant
One more poem on the vagaries of wealth. Baddena says that wealth comes like the water in the coconut, when it comes. It also disappears equally mysteriously like the contents of wood apple that an elephant has gulped.

This is an interesting poem. Those with a bit of scientific knowledge will question the content of it. But, poets are after all poets. They go by the understanding of the contemporary life.
Anyway, poet describes here the mysterious ways of the wealth. He says, when wealth come, it come s like the water in a coconut. For a common man, the existence of water in the coconut indeed is a mystery. How does the water get there? Even if one explains that it gets there through the roots, it still is a mystery. You never get to see the way it reaches there. Poet means that when money comes it comes in mysterious way. In the present day society, wealth either comes through hard work or some kind of cheating. I really do not know if there is any mystery in it. We can accept that strange are the ways through which money comes.
The second part of the poem is another problem. Poet says that when money goes also it is mysterious. It is indeed mysterious the way rich people gamble and lose money in business or speculation. The simile given here is interesting. Poet says that wealth disappears like the wood apple that is gulped by an elephant. Elephant need not gulp the wood apple as it is. It will crush it and enjoy the contents. It will even digest the fruit and perhaps the shell is not digested. In olden days, there was a belief that when the elephant gulps the wood apple even without crushing, the contents will be digested and empty shell comes out later. I am sure no one checked on this and even the intelligent poet followed the common understanding.
All said and done, we accept that the ways the wealth comes and goes are the strangest.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sumati Satakam 3

ఎప్పుడు సంపదగలిగిన
అప్పుడు బంధువులు వత్తురది ఎట్లన్నన్
తెప్పలుగ చెరువు నిండిన
కప్పలు పదివేలు చేరు గదరా సుమతీ
eppudu sampada galigina
appudu banDuvulu vattiradi etlannan
teppaluga ceruvu nindina
kappalu padivElucEru gadarA sumatI

ఎప్పుడు = whenever
సంపదగలిగిన = riches come
అప్పుడు = then
బంధువులు వత్తురు = relatives will come
అది ఎట్లన్నన్ = If you ask how It is
తెప్పలుగ = plentiful
చెరువు నిండిన = if the tank is full (with water)
కప్పలు = frogs
పదివేలు = ten thousand
చేరు = will join
గదరా సుమతీ

When riches come to you relatives will also come to you. It is like when there are good rains and the tank is full, frogs will appear there in thousands. Another simple fact and the same as in the earlier padyam.
People will not really like you when you are poor. They will even keep distance from you, lest you may ask for some assistance. But when you are rich or you get to become rich, all these relatives who earlier have deserted you will come back to you as if nothing happened.
In all the Satakams, there will be a simple proposition and the same will be illustrated with some worldly phenomenon which is very well known.
Here the matter of relatives coming back is likened to the act of frogs. Frogs leave the tank when it dries up. Biology says that frogs will also dry up and wait till there is water. But, the poet does not take that into account. He simply says that the frogs will come back in thousands when the rains come and the tank is full of water. Frogs are not exactly in love with the tank. What they need is water. They will come when there is water.
Relatives also do not love you if you are poor. They are in love with the money that you have. So, they come to you only when you have money. People! Frog people! That is what the poet means.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sumati satakam 2

చుట్టములు గాని వారలు
చుట్టములము నీకటంచు సొంపు దలిర్పన్‌
నెట్టుకొని యాశ్రయింతురు
గట్టిగ ద్రవ్యంబు గలుగ గదరా సుమతీ

Cuttamulu gAnivAralu
Cuttamulamu nIkatabcu sompu dalirpan
Nettukoni yashrayinturu
Gattiga dravyambu galuga gadarA sumati
చుట్టములు గాని వారలు = Those who are not your relatives
చుట్టములము నీకటంచు = saying that we are your relatives
సొంపు దలిర్పన్‌ = in a beautiful manner
నెట్టుకొని యాశ్రయింతురు come to your umbrage forcefully
గట్టిగ ద్రవ్యంబు గలుగ = when you beget a lot of property
గదరా సుమతీ isn’t it Oh! Wise one!
In Baddean’s Sumati satakam there are quite a few poem that explain the effect of wealth. Here he very simply says that when you acquire a lot of money and material, even those who are not your relatives will come to you against your wishes. They will claim that they are your relatives, per force.
Baddena, to me used the word “nettukoni” which literally means after pushing. If one has to be accepted as a friend or relative, it has to be with the acceptance of both the parties. Here, if you are rich, your acceptance becomes irrelevant. The way people push themselves into your domain, you will, perhaps, not have an option of accepting them.
In Telugu classical poetry there is a rule that the second letters in all the lines of the poem are the same. Cuttamu has a tta. Nettukoni has a tta. Then when the matter of the money has came the word used is not exactly necessary there. Money is not hard (gattiga). Interestingly in English money is sometimes called hard cash if it is cash and not kind, that is material. This is a coincidence. Baddena with this word meant a lot of wealth!
It is simply said here that if you become rich everyone claims that they are related to you. They expect you to share some of your wealth with them. A simple truth!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sumati Satakam 1

Today I am starting with Sumati Satakam. People have liked the entries on Vemana Satakam. We will resume them after some time. Next few entries will be on Sumati Satakam. Kindly add your comments when you visit the blog. That will tell me where I am heading to and help me do the job better.

Here is the first entry. There is no sequence justification though.

తన కోపమె తన శత్రువు,
తన శాంతమె తనకు రక్ష, దయ చుట్టంబౌ
తన సంతోషమె స్వర్గము,
తన దుఃఖమె నరక మండ్రు తథ్యము సుమతీ
Tana kOpame tana satruvu
Tana sAntame tanaku raksha, daya cuttambou
Tana santOSame swargamu
Tana dukhame narakamandru, taTyamu sumati

తన కోపమె = one’s anger
తన శత్రువు,= is one’s enemy
తన శాంతమె = one’s peace
తనకు రక్ష, = is one’s protection
దయ = mercy
చుట్టంబౌ= will be a relative
తన సంతోషమె = one’s happiness
స్వర్గము,= is heaven
తన దుఃఖమె = one’s sorrow
నరకమండ్రు = is hell, they say
తథ్యము = this is a fact
సుమతీ = Oh! The one with good mind! ( The refrain in this Satakam or the hundred verses)

తన కోపమే తనను శత్రువులువలె బాధించును. తన శాంతమే తనను రక్షించును. తన దయయే తనకు చుట్టమువలె సహాయపడును. తన ఆనందమే తనకు ఇంద్రలోక సౌఖ్యము. తన దుఖమే తనకు నరకమగును. ఇది నిజము.
Oh, wise man! The knowledgeable people say that if one is having anger, it will trouble him like an enemy. But if one has a peaceful and tolerant countenance, it will protect him. If one is merciful and takes a sympathetic stand towards people, it will help him like as if it is a relative. If one is happy, there would be a feeling of being in the heaven. On the contrary if one is in sorrowful situation, life will be nothing less than hell.
Baddena, a poet philosopher composed poems in the form of Kanda (a metre in Telugu classical poetry) on the human qualities and virtues as well as vices. To write a good Kanda padyam was considered a great poetic feet. That too if it contains a lot of meaning in those four short lines, it would be a real treat to the reader. The refrain at the end of these verses is “Sumati”. Mati is the mind with the capacity of discrimination. “Su” is a qualifying word which means good. Baddena gave these verses to only those with understanding. A good word is as good as is understood. Music, however wonderful, is useless for a deaf person. Same is the case with good words. Sumati satakam is such a well known work that any Telugu person worth his salt will know at least one poem from it.
In this poem Baddena tells us about the mental status and the effect thereof. These verses hardly need any explanation. That is the beauty of these works. Anger harms. Good feelings will elevate your mood further. Happiness puts you on the top of the world, whereas sorrow throws one into an abyss called sorrow. One has to know how to control these feelings and keep self in good stead.
If we try to comment in detail, any amount of discussion can happen here.
I request friends who visit the blog to add a couple of words themselves about the poem.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Vemana 10

ఎంత చదువు చదివి ఎన్నెన్ని విన్నను
హీనుడవగుణంబు మానలేడు
బొగ్గుపాల గడుగ పోవునా మలినంబు
విశ్వదాభిరామ వినురవేమ
Enta caduvu cadivi ennenni vinnanu
hInudavaguNambu manalEdu
boggupAla gaduga pOvunA malinambu
viswadABirAma vinura vEma

ఎంత చదువు చదివి = however much educated
ఎన్నెన్ని విన్నను = however much he listens
హీనుడు = a mean man
అవగుణంబు = lowly characters
మానలేడు = can not stop
బొగ్గుపాల గడుగ = if coal is washed in milk
పోవునా మలినంబు = will the dirt go
విశ్వదాభిరామ వినురవేమ

However much educated, or listens to people, a bad man can never stop his bad ways. It is like even after washing in milk, coal will not lose its dirty appaerance.

Vemana in this verse refers to the futility of formal education without the the ethics and culture. Eduaction in ancient style is by study and listening to the masters. Even these things will give the right benefit in only the right kind of people, means Vemana. If a person by birth or habit is immersed in bad ways, eduaction of this type can not make him mend his ways.
Vemana comments on two things here. One is education without the completeness i.e. culture. Another is the unchanging ways of bad people.
It is common knowledge that this world has two kinds of bad people. One without education another kind belongs to bad people with education.
You look at all the happenings that appear in news. It is always some well educated people invlved in bad acts and crimes of all sorts. Politics usedto be run by the intelligentsia at one point. Now it is perhaps in the hands of many people who are no doubt educated. By no means all of them can be called good.
In every instance Vemana has a good simily to illustrate the point. Coal is dirty. You can wash it. Not with water but with milk.
Milk is supposed to be purifying even the sinners. Vemana takes a jibe at tradition by taking milk and not water to make the coal clean. Water is an ordinary purifier. Milk is a superior one to water. Vemana hence says, even if washed with milk, coal will not lose its quality of making things dirty when it comes into contact. A bad man creates few more bad people. A good man may not be able to turn people int good people. One only has to look for interpretation of each and every word Vemana uses. Everyt word has a purpose, it appears.

If one wants to comment on what Vemana tells in three lines, one can perhaps write a big book. It is the brevity that gives Vemana the palce that he has in the firmament of litearture.
Being able to tell in fewer words is a skill that is not easily possible.