Monthly Archives: April 2014

Prema is not Moha

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We have received some offline questions (though comment questions are preferable since all can see) about why, if I think Prema/Bhakti is the highest of qualities, I have been so critical of Dhritarashtra and Gandhari. Some see a contradiction between my emphasising Dharma over parental attachment—but nothing could be further from the truth.

Our shastras discuss how the Arishadvargas (the 6 spiritual enemies) are to be defeated. These are Kama (lust), Krodha (wrath), Lobha (greed), Moha (attachment), Mada (pride), Matsarya (jealousy).

While Mada is the worst of these (because it is the enabler not only of Ambition but is the Arishadvarga that gives us permission to give in to the others—as Ravana famously showed), Moha is also exceedingly dangerous. This is because even Dharmic and Sattvic people can give into this one—after defeating the other 5.

Moha is attachment rooted in delusion. Moha comes from the mistaken thinking that this material world is permanent, our bodies permanent, and even our relationships permanent.

Moha leads to such foolhardy and overly sentimental actions as Bhishma’s Oath and Gandhari’s Vow.

Both of these actions were undoubtedly self-sacrificing and even noble, and could be seen as examples of Prema, but they were in actuality contrary to Dharma. This is because as crowned Yuvaraja of Hastinapura, Gangaputra Bhishma (literally meaning “Terrible Oath”) did not have the authority to put his love for his father above his duty for the Kuru Kingdom and his duty to continue the Dushyanta branch of the Chandravanshi lineage.

In fact, Devavratha (Bhishma’s original name) should have known that as he was the most qualified heir Shantanu could possibly hope to have, it would be wrong to deny such a future King to his prajas (subjects). After all, there was no guarantee that future sons of Shantanu would be so qualified or capable (as both Chitrangada and Vichitraveerya demonstrated). In fact, there was no guarantee that Shantanu would even have sons with Satyavati. Thus while Bhishma action was truly self-sacrificing and sentimental, it was not Dharmic, or for that matter, even selfless—as the he was unwilling to break his oath on account of his own reputation.

As the later incident with Dushasana and Draupadi showed, Bhishma’s own understanding of Dharma was imperfect. When Draupadi in disbelief asked why the noble Bhishma thought his oath to the throne came before protecting a woman, he is recorded to have said:

na dharmasaukshmyaat subhage vivektutm shaknomi te prasnam imam yatthaavat;
“I am unable to answer your question because Dharma is subtle”

(dharmasya tattvam nihitath guhaayaam)                                                                                                    “Dharma is subtle (sukshmam) because its essence is concealed in a dark cavern”

But he was wrong.

While dharma is sukshmam (in fact, it is ati-sukshmam), there is nevertheless a right and wrong answer in every scenario. It is the duty of each person not to conceal it and himself in a dark cavern, but to use the light of logic (nyaya) and justice (yuktata) to illuminate Dharma. As a kshatriya mandated to protect women and the weak, Bhishma’s dereliction of duty to Draupadi in fact was the true reason for his suffering on the Kurukshetra (just as Yudhisthira’s brief tour of Hell was not for the one lie but in actuality for ordering that his brothers respect his foolish and unjust wagering of Draupadi). People may say that Bhishma had no choice because he was bound by his word, but there is always a choice.

Sri Krishna had in fact given his word to Duryodhana that he would not fight in the war. But the moment Krishna realised that Arjuna was not willing to take Bhishma’s life in battle due to moha, Krishna took up the wheel to strike Bhishma. This demonstrates that if dharma itself will ultimately be violated by the promise or oath, then the oath too must be dropped—not because it is easy, but because it is hard. While Gangaputra is often—and not unjustifiably—seen as an object of sympathy and pity for his life of suffering and self-abnegation, the sins against dharma include sins of omission as well as sins of commission. Bhishma’s sin of omission (failure as a kshatriya to protect a woman being dishonoured) resulted in his own suffering. His attachment was to his oath and reputation.

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Similarly, Gandhari was undoubtedly a devoted wife and loving mother, but her action, in covering her own eyes as a testament of her loyalty to her husband and willingness to share in his suffering, was foolishness. The duty of a wife is surely to be faithful and loving to her husband, but it is also to give him sight when he does not see properly.

Thus, Gandhari and Dhritarashtra are more than just stock characters with a particular affliction, but in fact metaphors for how Moha  can blind us to Dharma. Their attachment to their family members, especially their sons, was the cause for their repeated injustice to the Pandavas—which ultimately led to adharma. Thus both Bhishma and Gandhari represent the dangerous hyper-sentimentalism present in our stupid movies today.

Moha also leads to terrible Sin

Rather than conscious desire to do evil, it is thoughtlessness driven by animal urges or fears driven by attachment that most frequently cause us to commit injustice. Some can be small, moral infractions, and others, large and terrible. For all the Star Wars fans out there, it was fear of losing the love of his life that drove Anakin Skywalker to embrace the Sith and commit terrible acts on behalf of the Dark Side.

That is the importance of Acara and Dharma. It wasn’t Anakin’s conscious desire to commit evil or that he was seduced by it for pure personal gain; it was that he was willing to commit a terrible evil against society for the all too human, but still very selfish, personal end of saving the one he loved. He had failed to use Acara to bridle the horses of his emotions and senses, thereby causing his chariot to fall over, resulting in this unenviable fate–ultimately becoming the infamous Darth Vader.

In contrast, Obi-Wan (who was his mentor) says he will do what he must despite their friendship, in the name of justice. Kenobi’s grief is seen (at the end of the video) when he exclaims how Anakin was like a brother to him, and mourns how the latter’s turning to the Dark side led to this terrible result. More compellingly, Anakin’s wife herself specifically states that she cannot follow him on the wrong and horrendous path he’s chosen.

Thus, no matter how much she loved him, her love never became attachment over a person or object that privileged him/it over virtue. That is the value of Dharma. It is not to turn us into feelingless, loveless karma-robots, but rather to protect ourselves from an imbalanced attachment to one person/object that causes us to harm the rest of society. (By the way, before the all you fashionable types shake your heads at my linking Star Wars with Acara/Dharma, you should know that there is an established view that the kshatriya ideal was in fact the model for the Jedi so there!).

The 7 should defeat the 6

7 ideals of Dharma— Pavitrata (purity), Karuna (compassion), Saamyama (self-control ) Satya (truth), Tyaga (self-sacrifice), Yuktata (justice), and above of all Bhakti/Prema (Divine love)—must take precedence over and defeat the 6 arishadvargas—Kama (lust), Krodha (wrath), Lobha (greed), Moha (attachment), Mada (pride), & Matsarya (jealousy).

Kama is cured through Pavitrata, Krodha is cured through Karuna, Lobha is cured through Saamyama, Mada is cured through Satya, Matsarya cured through Tyaga, and Moha is cured through Yuktata. Bhakti/Prema is what grants us God’s grace to ensure the rest of the 7 defeat the 6.

Some of you may ask, how is each cured by the other. I will tell you:

http://www.bhagavad-gita.us/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/gita-126.jpgPavitrata deconstructs Kama

because it forces us to think whether a particular act of pleasure is in fact saucha (or clean). Many of you have sophisticated imaginations (especially in this post-Lewinsky/Abhishek Manu “Sexvi” era of ours), so I needn’t go into detail, but suffice it to say, you all can figure out which acts would come under this label.

Therefore, the point is not that God wishes to deny us pleasure, but rather, to make us understand that there is a time, place, and most importantly—manner for which pleasure is to be enjoyed. Pavitrata is of course not only about understanding body parts, but also about relationships.

While kama with one’s lawfully wedded wife or husband is not only accepted, but also seen as a duty (as it reproduces species, nations, and lineages), the Shastras explicitly condemn pleasure that transgresses the nuptial or familial boundaries. Extra-marital and intra-familial relationships are therefore impure as well. Extensions of this also apply—and should be obvious. A man who gives himself (or a woman who gives herself) over to lust and surrenders to iccha (desire) without restraint, will soon find himself (or herself) feeding and rolling at the filthy trough of swine (literally and figuratively). Of course, we must not be hypocrites by engaging in bigotry and also recognize that we are all at different stages of spiritual evolution (and thus, if we cannot live up to the highest, should attempt the next highest, and so on).

As we ourselves have not always (at least in previous life times) always lived up to the ideals set by God, we must recognize that the same understanding and leeway be granted to others as well, within legal limits. Youth should be taught the difference between right and wrong, but also that wrong in others should not generate hate. After all, let ye without sin cast the first stone… An entire column can be written on this (and in fact will be), but we’ll leave it at that for now.

Karuna defeats Krodha

https://antaryamin.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/anger.jpg?w=239…because it forces us to think of the consequences of our anger and put ourselves in the shoes of others.

Anger and Hate are exceedingly dangerous because they can consume our personality and reduce us to sating our desire for vengeance at all costs. Compassion dissipates anger because it makes us realise that our predicament may actually be more bearable than someone else’s, thereby mollifying our indignation. This approach also drains our pride which is the fuel of anger.

We must give a margin of appreciation (5%–though not 50%!) to those around us, so that we understand that their actions may often be due to their own troubles. There is a difference between thoughtlessness and malice. Thus, karuna helps us reframe our perspective and not unyoke our wrath at the slightest provocation. A man who is ruled by krodha is a beast for he neither listens to logic nor well-intentioned appeal. It is for this reason that we are told “To err is human, but to forgive is divine”

Saamyama cures Lobha

5 senses must be steered to steady the chariot of life

because self-control gives us the power to resists the appeal of the indriyas (senses ).

It is for this reason that our ancient society encouraged ascetism—not because self-abnegation by itself is the path to God, but rather, because ascetism helps us blunt the power of the indriyas. If we fast or do without something on our terms—say skip a meal or do without TV for a day or give some wages to charity—then when we are going through an actual difficult period, the sense object will not be irresistible, as we have resisted it before from a position of strength.

In fact, ascetism is one of the four legs of Dharma (the other 3 being cleanliness, mercy, and truth), though it was bent at the end of the Satya yuga. While in our own Kali era, Dharma only stands on the leg of truth (and barely standing at that), all four legs, even ascetism, should be recognized for how they help us better ourselves, especially when it comes to resisting greed.

Satya defeats Mada

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as it forces the individual blinded by delusional arrogance to face reality. Many if not most of us live in a realm of concocted conceit.

We mask ourselves to truth either because it is too unpalatable to face or because it would prevent us from achieving our own ill-conceived and unjust ambition.

We may desire something, a natural impulse in our material existence, but it is pride which gives us permission to seek it out. We may come up with umpteen excuses to justify our pursuit of a beautiful but very married woman (i.e. “we are both attractive and she too likes me, we are a better match anyways, so why not? I am a powerful man with powerful appetites”), but it is Satya which pops this bubble (“I have no right to covet my neighbor’s wife. If I injure someone today, they may seek to injure me tomorrow. Ultimate power is wielded by God, I am only the steward, so my fleeting power does not justify such appetites”). That is the power of Satya. Facing and wielding the truth helps us hammer down the wall of pride and vanity into oblivion.

Tyaga overthrows Matsarya

Bharata places Rama’s sandals on his head to demonstrate how he will only rule in Rama’s name and never covet Rama’s rightful throne

…since self-sacrifice allows us to accept, digest, and even be happy for the wealth, possessions, and advantages of another.

If we are willing to step aside for the gain of another, then we are willing to swallow our envy, which stews into jealousy (jealous = envy + hate). The spirit of self-sacrifice stems from the noble calling of “all for one and one for all”. The four sons of Dasharatha exemplified this as their brotherly love and willingness to sacrifice for the others ensured that jealousy never subverted their unity–no matter what catastrophe came their way.

Because they were each willing to give up the throne, or even life, for the other, this noble sentiment ensured that the one who deserved the throne was the one who ultimately ascended it…neither of them ever claimed the right or possession of the other. This not only secured unity among them, but preserved and nurtured fraternal affection.

And Yuktata cures Moha

…due to the illuminating quality of justice.

Attachment causes us to only look at what will happen if we lose a person or an object. We only think of our personal sadness rather than the cost to the common good. But justice is concerned specifically with the common good, with rightful claims, with fair shares, and with the well-being of everyone. Thus, no matter how much one may be attached to a son, a wife, or a desire–justice will force us to put aside that attachment and do not what is merely in our own interest, but in the interest of all.

While the 7 may be the Astras against the 6, Atma vichara (self-reflection/introspection) and Viveka (discrimination between right and wrong) are the respective bow and arrow that allow us to fire these 7 Divine weapons…and as always, God’s name is the empowering mantra we chant to wield the weapons properly.

Thus, true Bhakti & Prema are based not on the attachment to the individual relationship, but on recognition that we are all emanations of Parabrahman, and that our love, ultimately, should transcend fixation only on the ephemeral relationships of this life and extend to all living creatures for all time. That is true Prema.

So love, dear reader, love to all your heart’s content, for verily Satya is love (and sringara (romance) also a celebrated part of our tradition). But also remember that true Prema is not, nor can ever be, Moha.

Personalities: Rani Rudrama Devi

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Continuing our series on great Andhra Personalities, our spotlight this week is on Maharani Rudrama Devi of Warangal.

Background

Born Princess Rudramba to King Ganapati Deva, she was the first and only ruling Queen of the Kakatiya dynasty and one of united Andhra’s greatest rulers.

While considered to be the most prominent of the lineage, Rudrama devi’s father who was undefeated for most of his reign, met his first reverse at the very end against the rising power of the Pandyas in the Tamil country . A powerful monarch in his own right, Ganapati Deva did not have any sons to continue his line, and he believed only an energetic successor could restore Kakatiya prestige through chastisement of Sundara Pandya.

On the advice of his ministers, he conducted the ancient putrika ceremony that  consecrated Rudrama Devi has the legal equivalent of a male successor. She was then invested with authority and recognized as his heir apparent, ruling jointly with her father until the end of his reign.

Along with her father’s building of the Kakatiya imperial state, Rudramba had the additional advantage of being married to a Vengi Chalukya prince, Veerabhadra (whose father ruled over Nidadavolu, a.k.a. Niravadyapura). This Telangana queen married a Coastal Andhra Prince and united the Telugu land in administration and spirit.

While there was originally a mutiny in the ranks of some of her nobles, her loyal generals were able to rally around her and secure her claim against the rebellious Murari and Harihara Deva. These loyalists include Janniga, Prasaditya, and Malyala Ganda. Later, the famous Gona Gana Reddy became an effective lieutenant as well.

Achievements

Rudrama Devi’s rule from 1262-1289 C.E. is replete with a litany of accomplishments.

The first of them was tackling the bitter rivals of the Kakatiyas, the Yadavas of Devagiri. Their king Mahadeva had a casus belli in the sheltering of his co-claimant to the throne, Prince Samrapani, who had been made a governor of the Kakatiya kingdom’s many fiefs. The Seuna (Yadava) king declared war and attacked Kakatiya territory, eventually laying siege to Warangal itself. The courageous Rudrama Devi sallied forth from her citadel and routed the Yadavas. She eventually chased them back to Mahadeva’s territory. He was forced to surrender Bedadakota (Bidar) to the Kakatiyas and paid a huge ransom for the release of his captured soldiers.

Next, the Queen had to face off against the Gajapati ruler of Orissa, Bhanudeva I. The Odias had taken advantage of Kakatiya troubles to march on Vengi. Rudramba sent Kakatiya forces under Pathi and Proli Nayaka, who inflicted a defeat on the invaders.

Finally, her last great achievement was also her tragic undoing and was accomplished posthumously. While her generals Janniga and Tripurari Deva restored Nellore to the Kakatiyas, their successor Amba Deva, who ruled from Kadapa, would later revolt and declare himself independent. The rebel Amba Deva cleverly schemed against Rudrama Devi by establishing friendly political relations with the rival Yadava and Pandya dynasties. He then isolated the loyal Kakatiya vassal Ganapati and removed him from Nellore as well as another Ganapati (Sripati) from Gurajala, annexing the latter to his rebel kingdom.

The indomitable Rudrama Devi could not brook such defiance and, despite her advanced years, personally led the expedition against him. Tragically, both she and her general Mallikarjuna Nayaka lost their lives in this disastrous prong of the campaign against Amba Deva. Nevertheless, true to the spirit of this great Queen of Andhra, she attained a glorious death in battle, worthy of every true Kshatriya.

Perhaps Rudrama Devi’s greatest accomplishment, however, was in expanding the structure of the wall complex surrounding Warangal. It was these very battlements under Prataparudra that would long defy the depredations of the Delhi Sultans. Indeed, it took them 5 campaigns and new advancements in catapult technology to finally bring down these stubborn parapets.

Walls of Warangal Fort

Legacy

The 27 year reign of Queen Rudramba has created a legacy that stands testament to the important place of women in historic Andhra society. From the generals who rallied around her to the great fortress of Warangal (whose expansion she completed), she remains one of our most beloved figures.

She was a brilliant administrator, noble ruler, and warrior Queen. After her victory over the Yadavas, she took the title Rajagaja kesari (which had also been held by her illustrious father). Visitors such as Marco Polo spoke of her enlightened rule, happy subjects, and palace’s splendor. Though being groomed for military exploits and statecraft, Rudramba is not remembered as a patron of the arts, the unique Kakatiya style of sculpture is nevertheless traced to her reign.

Like her father, Rudrama Devi also had only her daughters, but towards the end of her rule, her grandson, the famous Prataparudra, was ready to take over the reigns of power. The son of Rudrama’s youngest daughter and the minister-noble Induluri Annaya, the Andhra Pratap had been groomed to become a capable warrior-general and King. And while Rudramba gloriously fell in battle during the campaign against Amba Deva, her grandson avenged her by making good on that claim and defeating the rebel.

Thus, in the truest sense, she, like her grandson, stands as one of the heroes and heroines of  united Andhra as home of the Telugu people and culture.


References:

  1. Rao, P. Ragunadha. History and Culture of Andhra Pradesh: From the Earliest Times to 1991. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 2012.
  2. http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/2014-02-25/Rudrama-Devi-the-first-woman-ruler-of-Andhra–87355

 

Why “Men of Conscience” are Dangerous

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“I am yay man of conshunce” (sic), “I have to follow my haaart” (sic), “I have a conscience, don’t you?? ”…three of the many tired bromides offered by our senti intellectual elite—yes, even on the conservative right. But the reality, my friends, is that such men of conscience will be the death of us.

While such preferred actions are couched in the verbiage of conscience, they are really substituting conscience for sentiment, because, let’s face it, we Indians are a ridiculously sentimental people. While the opponents of all that is good and sacred in this world may feign various sentiments often as a ruse, when push comes to shove, they show no such ambivalence.

History itself has shown time and again how such men of conscience conveniently hear that little voice at the worst possible time. The Mahabharata, and the Gita in particular, are in fact a specific repudiation of such senti based decision-making. This is of course not to say that we shouldn’t have a conscience—we absolutely must.

Pleasure without conscience is one of the greatest sins against humanity, because it leads to exploitation, especially of the innocent and unwilling. But what I have a problem with, and as the Gita itself explicitly rejects, are these self-proclaimed men of conscience who conveniently discover it at all the wrong times.

Where was Arjuna’s conscience when Bhishma’s conscience permitted Draupadi’s disrobing? Where was Yudhisthira’s conscience when he agreed to the unjust wager of Draupadi?

Where was Arjuna’s conscience when Drona participated in the unjust killing of mighty Abhimanyu?

 

Fortunately for Arjuna, and the Pandavas, Krishna was there to talk some serious sense into him. Thus the issue with these so-called men of conscience is not so much that conscience itself is wrong–in fact, it is a critical first step towards the path of dharma–but rather that conscience must be entwined with principle.

Conscience must not become an excuse for sentiment. Indians are notorious not only for their prickliness but the ridiculous extents to which their sentiments can extend, in all things. But this sentiment or moha cannot blind us to balancing all interests, least of all, the right course of action. For when this happens, all of society suffers.

A political commentator I greatly respect—a man who has been able, in the darkest of days, to get us all to put aside differences of caste, creed, and sampradaya to see the greater good— recently engaged in similar such rumination, because of his personal attachment to a friendship with a particular MP. But said MP had no compunction in choosing to join the most anti-national party in India and adding legitimacy to the most corrupt administration in India’s history—and this is only the confirmed of his crimes, among many alleged ones. While I believe the noble commentator will make the right choice in the end (and not support this MP)—this episode is nevertheless testament to how we are all—even the very tall among us— subject to this, the greatest temptation of all—moha (attachment). Fortunately, Yuktata (or justice) is the cure for it.

Our conscience (or sentiment) is often stoked to blind us to the regimented and orderly application of justice. Feelings are used to deceive us of the danger that lurks should we fall for the ruse. When Sun Tzu famously wrote that “All warfare is deception”, should we not be unsurprised when this is applied in politics? Simply because someone presents himself/herself in a pleasing, charming, and intellectual manner, does not mean we should judge the book merely by its cover. Actions are what speak volumes, and it is through action and intent that we administer justice. Actions and intent must be judged against the common good.

While this well-known blogger certainly does not deserve association with the likes of the Prashant Bhushans and Arundhati Roys of the world (in fact, he is among their greatest opponents), the reality is they, unlike him, specifically tout themselves as men and women of conscience …and we all know how selective their conscience is. While I must reiterate that said blogger remains in the ranks of the very tall among us, this particular development goes to show just how susceptible we all are to moha, whether brave Pandava or brilliant columnista.

So the next time you come across another such man (or woman) of conscience (however temporarily they may be affected by moha), ask him if his conscience isn’t merely a way to avoid having to do the difficult thing—i.e. making the right choice. Good friends may be hard to come by, but an ignorant friend leads to destruction. And supporting such a friend in their adharmic escapades is also wrong.  Attachment to a famous friend is still attachment.

We are often in our lives misled by the charm and charisma of the fair among us. The smooth talkers, the sophisticated davos men, and ye ever present “liberal intellectual” who take pleasing forms to deceive us all, as they forge their rings of power.

But the reality is our judgments and even loyalty to such people should be premised on principle and gauged not by how they make you feel or how much you enjoy their company, but by whether their actions and policies are in line with the common good. Thus, such blue-eyed boys (and girls) may often seem fair, but mask a foul agenda.

I will end with a line from one of the most beloved stories of our time, the Lord of the Rings. In it, one of the characters said the following:

“I think a servant of the enemy would look fairer, but feel fouler”

…the next time ye men of conscience waffle in the name of moha, remember this wisdom, for therein lies, yours and all of our salvation.

 

And so my friends, rather than being a man of conscience, be a man (or woman) of principle. Because while our conscience may sometimes betray us, virtuous principles never will.

Cinema: Paathaala Bhairavi

Photo: dozeu380nojz8

As a change of pace, I thought I would blog this week on a topic that I’ve frequently touched on, but infrequently delved deep into: Cinema. Specifically, today’s post is a  Review of a classic Telugu Film–and NTR opus–known as Paathaala Bhairavi.

Listed as one of the 100 Greatest Indian movies by IBN and one of India’s four entries in its first International Film festival, it has comedy, romance, action, and yes, even a tantrikudu (practitioner of black magic).

In many ways, this film was a trend-setter. It was among the first Telugu, and possibly even Indian movies, to have a high production value with impressive sets and what was, for the time, notable special effects (courtesy of Anglo-Indian cinematographer, Marcus Bartley). But what truly makes this film memorable, was the literary material, dramatic structure, and the acting.

While Maya Bazaar truly remains a gem, Paathaala Bhairavi is significant as it is based off of the Burrakatha tradition of AP. While the story is set in the ancient city of Ujjain (just North of the Vindhyas), it emerged as a legend even in our native Andhra and served as the literary basis for the movie.

In that sense, what makes this cinema worthy of mention in our Andhra high culture (as opposed to our mass “phillims”) was that even though it did not emerge directly from our religious epic tradition, it managed to weave various traditional themes or rasas like Sringara (the romantic) & Bhayaanika (the fearsome) in the context of our cultural and civilizational tradition and setting–as well as recount an engaging story.

 

The song: Paapam Pasivaadu is emblematic of this, as the hero, Thota Raamudu–played by NTR–is upset after being rebuked by the King for seeking the hand of Princess Indumati (played by Malathi), and foolishly agrees to take the help of a left-hand Tantrik to prove himself worthy of Indumati and gain the riches demanded by the king. In that sense, it shows how the naivety of the well-meaning can be exploited by the adharmic.

The black magician (memorably played by the inimitable S.V. Ranga Rao), of course, has his own agenda, and misleads Thota Raamudu for his own gain.

Relangi provides his endearing brand of self-deprecatory comedy to further season this already fine broth.

 

The movie even inspired Hindi remakes, but for good reasons, rather than the usual onesIt also starred our own Andhra ammayi Jayaprada as the heroine.

All this may be well known to you all. Less known, however, are some of the quality Romantic couplets suavely delivered by a clever NTR (translation provided by yours truly). Telugu romantic poetry –as opposed to kitschy cine dialogues and songs–in our era has not received its proper due. However, as Paathaala Bhairavi demonstrates, our versatile language is no slouch in Sringara rasa. See for yourself!

Aaha Rajakumari, mee kosam intha thapinchi pothaanani elaa telusthundi

Naa prema sandesam elaa telupu kogalanu

Nuvvu vihaarani ki ragaanne naa premane parimalinchamani puvvuluni adigaanu

Naa valupuney veddajallamanni malayapavanamuni vedukunnaanu

Naa anuraagaani theeyaga paadamani koyaluni brathimaalakunaanu

Nee soyagaaniki johaaru chesaanu

 

Oh princess, how would I have known that I would have longed for you as such

How could I have conveyed my message of true love

When you became the hunter of my sentiment, my love blossomed with fragrance

Besotted, I requested the spring winds to sprinkle my romantic air

I called upon the cooing cuckoo bird to sweetly coo of my affections

And thus, I surrendered before your beauty

So for those of you who didn’t know you could charm your sweetheart with some Telugu poetry–“Thappu thappu”. All you budding lotharios out there may want to take notes from an old master…

Other famous dialogues include a popular line from AP college campuses as late as the 1970s: Rajakumari, Nijam cheppamantaaraa abhadham chepamantaaraa

 

In any event, Paathaala Bhairavi is a classic Telugu movie that is definitely deserving of an updated modern remake, CGI and all.

 

Cast:

Thota Ramudu – Nandamuri, Taraka Rama Rao (NTR)

Princess Indumati – Malathi

Tantrikudu (Nepala Mantrikudu) – S.V. Ranga Rao

Paataala Bhairavi – Girija

Anji – Balakrishna

King of Ujjain – Chilakalapudi, Seetha Rama Anjaneyulu

Prince – Relangi, Venkata Ramaiah

Language:

Telugu | Hindi

Release Date:

15 March 1951 (India)

Runtime:

(Telugu)

Director:

Kadri Venkata Reddy

Writers:

Kamalakara Kameshwara Rao  & Pingali Nagendra Rao

Produced by

Chakrapani & B. Nagi Reddy

Music by

Ghantasala & Venkateswara Rao

Cinematography by

Marcus Bartley

Art Direction by

Madhavapeddi Gokhale

Color:

Black and White

 

References:

http://www.dff.nic.in/iffi.asp

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043908/?ref_=nm_flmg_wr_4