Friday, June 27, 2008

Seshappa Kavi "Sri Narasimha Shatakamu"

I was skimming through a Telugu book on the "Sri Narasimha Shatakam", orginally claimed to be written by Sri Seshappa Kavi with commentary by Vidwan, Kasireddy Venkatapathi Reddy. (First published in 2001 December by Sri Paavani Seva Samithi, Hyderabad).

In the Preface, I found something very interesting and thought of just posting it to my blog, with needful translation of Mr.Reddy's original words in Telugu.

Here it goes:

"nrusimhaa raamakrishneShu Shaadgunyam paripooritham", this Sanskrit phase means that: Narasimha avatara (the lion-faced incarnation of Vishnu) has the quality of "opulence" (aishwaryamu), Rama has the quality of opulence plus "pleasantness" (maadhuryamu) and Krishna combines the qualities of opulence, pleasantness along with "vigor or prowess" (veeryamu). Thus these qualities have become a completeness through these three avataras. In Telugu, there were 3 "shataka"s (a collection of hundred poems) dedicated to each of these avataras, namely:

1) Sri Narasimha Shatakam

2) Dhaasharadhi Shatakam (Rama)

3) Sri Krishna Shatakam

Of the 23 incarnations of Sri Maha Vishnu, according to all puranas, except for the three stated above, none are associated with the pre-fixed title "Sri". These three incarnations have the nature of Vishnu deep-rooted within them.

"Sri Raama Raama Raamethi, Rame Raame Manorame, Sahasranaama tat tulyam Raama naama varaanane": according to this famous sloka, chanting the name of Rama once is equivalent to chanting the thousand names of Vishnu (Vishnu Sahasranamasttotram). That is the reason why the name of Rama, earned the "Sri" title.

Narasimha swamy always has Lakshmi in His proximity. Hence a 'Sri' for Him.

And "Krishnasthu bhagawaan swayam", roughly, Krishna is the God Himself, hence He is always Sri Krishna.

Similarly another extract, on the influence of Bammera Pothana on Seshappa Kavi:

Every poem of the Sri Narasimha Shatakam, clearly proves that Seshappa Kavi has mastered the Pothana's literary magnum opus "SrimadhaandhramahaaBhaagavatam" and had studied it in depth. For instance in the 74th poem, where he questions on the subject saying "why should caste or creed become a criteria to be blessed by Sri Hari?", quoting examples of Vyaasa, Viduraa, Vaalmiki, he also quotes :"Sri Suka", which is noteworthy. The first time "Suka" was called "Sri Suka" was by Bammera Potana and the only other who used the same is again our Seshappa.

It is important to note something here: the three words Hamsa--Parama Hamsa--Sri Parama Hamsa, have different annotations and meanings. The one who meditates on Brahman is Hamsa (check out the word "So Ham"), the deity who shines with the attributes of motionless and life (compare stillness,as in death and movement, as in life) is Parama Hamsa and that who is free of stillness (irrationality) and is full of life (Spirit and sensation) is Sri Parama Hamsa. Seers and philosophers have called "Sri Suka" as "Sri Parama Hamsa". Our beloved Seshappa clearly knows that "Suka" is not an ordinary "Suka", but "Sri Suka".

About Seshappa Kavi (very very brief):

Seshappa Kavi, according to the book, could have approximately during 1800 AD. He belonged to Dharmapuri, a holy place on the banks of Godavari River in the Telangana region. He was a poet who dedicated his life to Sri Narasimha Swamy.

He wrote two Shatakams. The first centennial is called "Sri NRukEsaree" shatakam. The second is the Sri Narasimha Shatakam. He claimed his "linguistic" skills are plain ordinary. Along with his skills with the language, he was a highly devout person and this shows in most of his poems.

Also, it seems from many of his poems that he lived in dire poverty and sometimes had to plead and take help of scoundrels to survive, for basic needs of food.

I will try to put in more details about him as I read through the book in future posts.

- Siddartha Pamulaparty
27 June 2008.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Rani Rudrama Devi--the great Warrior-Ruler of the Kakatiyas

There would not be a single Telugu who has not read about or atleast heard about the great King of the Kakatiyas..Rudrama Devi (intentionally called a King).

She ruled the Kingdom of the Kakatiyas, basing Warangal as the capital between 1261 AD to 1289 AD.

Here are some interesting pieces from the Kakatiya History:

1) Ganapathi Deva Maharaju (1199-1261 AD), one of the most key Kakatiya rulers, gave a masculine name to his daughter Rudrama Devi, calling her "Rudra Deva", owing to her impeccable administrative abilities in performing royal duty.

She was a revolutionary ruler. She wore her attire in a manner that resembled a man and sat on the throne during her rule. She encourgaed foreign visitors and messengers to visit the kingdom. (And this is when Marco Polo had visited this part of the country, on his way to China from Venice).

In times of need, she took up the sword and fought in the battle-fields.

2) When Ganapathi Deva anticipated his last days, his heir was none other than Rudra Deva. As an Emperor Ganapathi Deva had captured many lands and tribes. Some of these local administrators who were but sub-ordinates of the great emperor to local regions, tried to revolt and declare their independence, underestimating the powress of the female heir.

Rudrama Devi punished all those who planned to take undue advantage and soon established herself as a real emperor.

3) Although there were Pandyas and Kalingas who were a constant threat to the Kakatiyas, the major problems came from the Devagiri Yadavas, who were hell-bent on invading the kingdom.

Understanding that a woman was ruling the Warangal Throne, the King of Devagiri became over-ambitious of winning over the Kakatiya kingdom.

The Sevana soldiers (the Devagiri's) entered into the capital city and tried to surround the citadel in Warangal. The valorous queen, with the help of her noble soldiers fought with the army for 15 continous days, defeating them to near-death. The Kakatiya soldiers chased them to the Devagiri, crossing the Godavari and a new threat came upon the Devagiri country.

In order to compensate, the king of Devagiri had to pay a huge ransom to let him and his country alone. All the amount that was recovered from him, rightfully, as per that times, belongs to the victorious kingdom. However, an exemplary adminitrator that Rani Rudrama is, she distributed all of that wealth among her soldiers!!

4) Another major battle was because of the Amba Deva, who was trying to declare his independence from Kakatiyas and tried in many ways to attack the kingdom from various sides.

However, with the help of able men, and as a calculated measure, Rudrama Devi managed to keep him off and guarded the dominion of Kakatiyas until her last breath.

She might have been dead in the year 1289, however, the outer world believed she was still ruling the Kingdom till 1295, when the grandson of the great queen, Pratapa Rudra, assumed the throne.

Coming to the way the people led lives under her rule: it seems the country was rich and had many resources and it bloomed with activities. Culture and tradition and the language of the Telugu had developed a great deal during her period, in continuation from the times of Ganapathi Devi and ultimately to blossom in the time of the last Kakatiya: the great Pratapa Rudra.

Here is an interesting story about the diamonds that were naturally available in this region at that time from none other than Ser Marco Polo himself. In fact I am including the entire chapter here. Of course some details may not be correct in his book, like mentioning Rudrama Devi as Ganapathi Deva's widow. These kinds of things have been proven wrong and the established truth now is that Rudramadevi is Ganapathi Deva's daughter whose husband was Veerabhadra of the Chalukya family.

The book is available for free download on

-Siddartha Pamulaparty
Dt: 23-June-2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wandering Soul

Wanders my soul, wanders alone..
Wanders inside those woods of darkness:
Musing about the candid songs-
Of the mysterious birds with long tails;
Dancing to the tunes of sweet melodies-
Of the flute played by the lazy shepherd
Who lay beneath the graceful fig tree..
Wanders my soul, dancing again.

Wanders my soul, wanders again..
In the fragrant orchid, infinitely stretched
With blossomed roses, colored crimson red;
(As if a dream were suddenly realized,
While my body still rests in the daisy-decor)
Expanding thoroughly in all dimensions of space
And time, as often, no limit from now.
Wanders my soul, expanding again...

Wanders my soul, wanders, being sane..
Away from the realms of this material globe,
Aloof of this flowing en masse of insolent attitudes;
Flying in the sky-lines of tranquil beatitudes,
Among the stars and the huge heavenly spheres,
Suspended in the vast universe of unknown birth;
Searching the Ultimate Source of Cosmic rays-
Wanders my soul! Here goes it, being sane!

Wanders my soul in this relentless rain,
Drops of which are frozen to depth;
Delving the secrets beneath this pigmentless white,
There again, on the top of the highest of cliffs,
Down to the green plain, to where, avalanche breaks;
So also, at nights of dreary nightmares,
Roaming everywhere incessantly with no aim:
Wanders my soul, bedraggled in rain.

Wanders my soul, insensitive to pain:
Through up-hills and downtowns of joys and merries;
Too, along the lighthouses, windmilles and prairies;
Walking on pavements used by the populations,
Yet to their feelings showing no sensation;
Listening to the cries of the more unfortunate,
Gently and swiftly glancing, not cursing their fate,
Wanders my soul, not wanting their pain!

Wanders my soul, wanders again,
Musing again, dancing again,
Dreaming again, expanding again,
Flying again, searching again,
Falling again, rising again,
Drenching in the monsoon rain,
Fearing again, daring again;
Wanders my soul, to nowhere again!!

(Perhaps with influences of Keats, William Blake, or as I recollect, the quote from Thoreau "In what concerns you the most, know that you are alone").
-Siddartha Pamulaparty
Dt: 18/07/2002.

A Song

My friend Karun, in college, asked me once to write a song so that he can sing it in the Church.
I wrote one, but somehow he didn't sing it though.
Incidentally I wrote the song on his birthday 13 April.

Here it goes:
Watch the birds in the sky flying freely,
Look at the fish, swimming happily,
The black clouds before raining heavily,
They all ask us questions frequently...

Why do you have to bear the pains?
Are you all tied up with iron chains?
Why do you have to pray for the rains?
Can't you wipe off your blood filled stains?

Is there no love in your world of humans?
Is not compassion one of your feelings?
Don't you get the joy from the beautiful seasons?
Can't you live without asking for reasons?

Learn from us and try to practice,
Love is compassion and Love is the peace,
Love is the question and Love is the answer,
Let Love grow in you, not the dreadful cancer.

Love is all seasons and Love needs no reasons,
Love is a feeling, which does the healing,
Love is the force that'll break all your chains
Love is the joy that'll vanish your pains.

-Siddartha Pamulaparty
Dt: 13/Apr/2001

Sunday, June 15, 2008

G H Hardy on Ramanujan

G H Hardy

Srinivasa Ramanujan

I came across this anecdote from G H Hardy, the great English Mathematician, from the book: "Pi in the Sky: Counting, Thinking and Being", a book on the history of Mathematics by John D Barrow, a Professor at Univ of Sussex:

"I remember once going to see him when he was lying ill at Putney. I had ridden in a taxi-cab No. 1729, and remarked that the number seemed to me a dull one, and that I hoped it was not an unfavourable omen. 'No,' he replied, 'it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as a sum of two cubes in two different ways." - G. H. Hardy on Ramanujan.

Here is a full blown article on the number 1729 which came to be known as the Hardy-Ramanujan number on Wiki:

God that's amazing!!

-Siddartha Pamulaparty
June 14, 2008

Friday, June 06, 2008

Uncle Walt

I was reading through some of the poems at random from the "Leaves of Grass" and wanted to capture them again , for getting inspired everytime I come back to my friend, my blog!!

The two old, simple problems ever intertwined,
Close home, elusive, present, baffled, grappled.
By each successive age insoluble, pass'd on,
To ours to-day- and we pass on the same.

Thanks, in old age- thanks ere I go,
For health, the midday sun, the impalpable air- for life, mere life,
For precious ever-lingering memories, (of you my mother dear- you, father- you, brothers, sisters, friends,)
For all my days- not those of peace alone- the days of war the same,
For gentle words, caresses, gifts from foreign lands,
For shelter, wine and meat- for sweet appreciation,
(You distant, dim unknown- or young or old-countless, unspecified readers belov'd,
We never met, and ne'er shall meet- and yet our souls embrace, long, close and loving;)
For beings, groups, love, deeds, words, books- for colors, forms,
For all the braver, stronger, more devoted men- (a special laurel ere I go, to life's war's chosen ones,
The cannoneers of song and thought- the great artillerists- the foremost leaders, captains of the soul:)
As soldier from an ended war return'd- As traveler out of myriads, to the long procession retrospective,
Thanks- joyful thanks!- a soldier's, traveler's thanks.

And of course, I read this for the first time yesterday, Walt wrote for Abe, the one quoted in the Dead Poet's Society:

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells,
Rise up-for you the flag is flung-for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths- for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Siddartha Pamulaparty

June 06, '08.

మా ఊరు ఓరుగల్లు (My town-Warangal)

Devulapalli Ramanuja Rao needs no introduction to any of the Telugus born or brought up in the state of Andhra Pradesh. His contributions to the literature and cultural departments of the Telugus on the whole and the Telangana as well, is immeasurable.

There was a non-detail book in Telugu in the APSSC syllabus during the 9th class or 10th class: "gurudevudu raveendrudu" on the life and works of Rabindranath Tagore, written by Ramanuja Rao.

I was just browing through the internet and found a book called: "Devulapalli Ramanuja Rao: Oka Rekha Chitram" (Roughly: A life-line of Devulapalli Ramanuja Rao (A brief sketch)) written by Sri T. Sri Ranga Swamy published around in 1991.

In this book I found a poem, which is an extract from Ramanuja Rao's essay "మా ఊరు ఓరుగల్లు" , from the book he wrote called "పచ్చ తోరణం" in which he wrote about the glory of the once capital of the Kakatiya's the city of Warangal.

Warangal has more to its historical significance than what it is actually credited with. No body cares about the great Fort and the dilapidating 1000 pillar temples, which are but some of most unique and heritage sites. The Kakatiya Dynasty is the first Telugu speaking rulers and their contributions to the language, its culture and traditions is highly laudable.

Anyways, coming back to the poem: here is how it goes:
కాబోలు నియ్యది కాకతీయులొకప్డు
కరకు నెత్తుట కత్తికడుగు చోటు
కాబోలు నీద్వార కల్యాణ వేదిక
అలికి ముగ్గులు పెట్టె తెలుగు పడుచు
కాబోలు నీజీర్ణకమనీయ సౌధాన
సుకుమార శిల్పముల్ సొంపులొలికె
కాబోలు నీవీధికాపురంబొనరించె
పైడి మేడలలోన భాగ్యలక్ష్మి
ఇచటనే నిల్చి కాబోలు నిందుముఖులు
ఆయుధంబులు పూజించియరుగుదెంచు
ఆంధ్రసేనకు కపురంపుటారతులను
ఇచ్చి వారల శౌర్యంబు మెచ్చినారు
"In deed:
This is the place, where the great Kakatiya's once used to wash the blood off their valorous swords!
This is the place, where before the door of the house, the traditional Telugu lady adorns the ground with designs with lines and diagrams using flour! (traditional way to decorate Hindu homes, especially in Telugu houses, as a symbol of goodness and prosperity).
This is the place, in the heart of which are the palaces (forts/temples) rich of the beautiful and delicate sculptures!
This is the place, in which in every street, in the houses made of gold, the goddess Lakshmi resided!!
This is the place, where the women stood and welcomed the brave soldiers from the war, by giving them a "camphor" haarathi, as the men have fought valorously in the battles!!"
Siddartha Pamulaparty
Dt: 06/06/2008.