Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sarvagna and Vemana


I am very seriously looking for an English translation of Sarvagna.
My efforts till now are fruitless.
I did not find any translation.
I have asked a senior friend proficient in Kannada to take it up for my sake.
He is knowledgeable no doubt.
I am only apprehensive about his priorities.

Meanwhile a scholar friend whom I ran into at a literary meeting gave me a book about Vemana.
Here I may say that there are a whole lot of translations of Vemana.
Pity is, you do not know which padyam it is.
English versions are available without the Telugu original!

Here, I bring two vachanas of Sarvagna.

Interestingly these are the padyams which have similar ones in Vemana collection also.

1) కల్లుప్పు కర్పురపు సెల్లెరడు ధాతొందు
ఖుల్ల నొల్లిదన రూపొందు, గుణదొళిగె
ఎల్ల అంతరవు సర్వజ్ఞ

ಕಲ್ಲುಪ್ಪು ಕರ್ಪುರಪು ಸೆಲ್ಲೆರಡು ಧಾತೊಂದು
ಖುಲ್ಲ ನೊಲ್ಲಿದನ ರೂಪೊಂದು, ಗುಣದೊಳಿಗೆ
ಎಲ್ಲ ತರವು ಸರ್ವಜ್ಞ

ఆ. ఉప్పు కప్పురంబు నొక్క పోలికనుండు
చూడచూడ రుచుల జాడ వేరు
పురుషులందు పుణ్య పురుషులు వేరయా
విశ్వదాభిరామ వినుర వేమ

Uppu kappurambu nokka pOliknundu
cUDa cUDa rucula jaDa vEru
purushulandu puNya purushulu vErayA

Rock salt and camphor are similar to look at. Their taste however is very different. Similarly, even if all people look alike, great people are very different by their character.

I am sure we don’t need any explaining on this! Interestingly, both poets thinkers telling the same thing and with the same example is not just a coincidence. Like the poems say, great people are different from the others. They think like great people.

2) కొట్టు బహకాలదలి కొట్టుణలి కరియదే
హుట్టియ ఒళగె జేనిక్కి
పరిరింగె కొట్టుహోదంతె సర్వజ్ఞ

ಕೊಟ್ಟು ಬಹುಕಾಲದಲಿ ಕೊಟ್ಟುಣಲಿ ಕರಿಯದೇ
ಹುಟ್ಟಿಯ ಒಳಗೆ ಜೇನಿಕ್ಕಿ
ಪರಿರಿಂಗೆ ಕೊಟ್ಟುಹೇದಂತೇ ಸರ್ವಜ್ಞ

ఆ. ధనము గూడబెట్టి ధర్మంబు సేయక
తాను లెస్సదినక దాచు లోభి
తేనెనీగగూర్చి తెరువరికియ్యదా
విశ్వదాభిరామ వినుర వేమ

dhanamugUDabeTTi dharmambu sEyaka
tAnu lessa dinaka dAcu lobhi
tEnenIgagUrci teruvarikiyyadA

A miser amasses a lot wealth. He neither gives it to the others nor enjoys it himself. It is like a honeybee collecting honey and ultimately some passerby taking it away. Vemana says that the honeybee gives the honey to the passerby. Sarvagna says he takes it. I do not want to go into the expression because it is after all poetry.

Here is a write up on Sarvagna collected from the web.

You may notice that the name is spelt also as Sarvajna in the article. I remember the discussions we had about the spelling of the word Vignan by people of various regions. Vigyan, Vijnan, Vidnyan, and Vignan are the variants. Each according to their own understanding. None of them is right and none of them is wrong!!


Sarvagna (Kannada: ಸರ್ವಜ್ಞ, also transliterated as "Sarvajna"), was a poet in the Kannada language. He is famous for his pithy three-lined poems which we call them tripadis, a form of Vachanas. (Three-lined poems are called as tripadis).

The period of Sarvagna's life has not been determined accurately, and very little is known about him. Based on studies of his literary style and the references of later writers, historians estimate that he might have lived during the first half of the 17th century. Some references in his works indicate that his real name was Pushpadatta - Sarvagna appears to have been his penname.

The meening of Sarvagna is " Who knows everything! " Being a monk, he says how he became Sarvagna in one of his tripadi. He had written around 70707070 (?)tripadi's. We can get this number from one of his tripadi. See below...
Since writing tripadi is very easy many people have written their own Vachanas in the name of Sarvagna! We can verify/identify since they are not following kannada grammer rules/formulas used for writing tripadis... though some time its hard to find some of them as they follow the rules.

In all, about 1000 three-liners are attributed to Sarvagna. It is possible that some of these were written by later authors. Popular because of their alliterative structure and simplicity, they deal mainly with social, ethical and religious issues. A number of riddles are also attributed to Sarvagna.

Some examples

" Sarvagna-nembuvanu garvadind-adanvane
Sarvarolagondu nudi-galitu vidyeya-
parvatave aad noda Sarvagna "

Translation: Sarvagna has not become "SARVAGNA (who knows everything)" because of Pride, he is because he learned one thing from every one.

1 comment:


I am happy to visit your site and to read your post. Poet Vemana had expressed and shared his thoughts on a variety of subjects. He also spoke about the importance of Speech Etiquette. Indian Identity is defined by our Speech Behavior. We need to remember that we need to speak in a soft, gentle, and pleasant manner without being rude or offensive. I posted the photo image of Yogi Vemana at my blog post titled 'Defining Indian Identity - The Tradition of Speech Etiquette'.
My Homepage is BhavanaJagat.