Personalities: Baudhayana

The great Dharmic personages of Andhra are often given minimal coverage. Perhaps the first of these momentous mahanubhaavas is Baudhayana.

Continuing our Series on Andhra Personalities, is the earliest in our Set on Dharmic Personalities. He is none other than the famed author of the eponymous Dharmasutra.

Background

Backgrounds and aspects of regional origin are often controversial within India. The same degree of westphalian politics linking region-language-state-caste simply was not there in previous eras. Though regional politics certainly did exist, they generally took place upon substratum of Dharma & common Sanskritic Indic culture.

While love for language is very important, love for Dharma must be even greater. This is because language detached from Dharmic culture can then play host to any alien culture. Rather than the spirit of who we really are being reflected, what makes Andhra truly Andhra will be lost. It would result in an asuric spirit merely speaking the language of the Andhras rather than that of the descendant of Chandra Deva. What in fact made him Andhra Nripathi was establishing the Dharma of the devas in the desa named after him.

That is the importance of Baudhayana Muni. While different regions naturally wish to associate themselves with the prestige of various Rishis, it is also critical that history hew to the truth. It is only after careful evidence could be adduced that we now assert that Baudhayana was himself an Andhra Brahmin. We have it on the authority of an astika adhyatmika one  himself (Pandit Kota Venkatachalam)

As such, Baudhayana Muni, the author of the famous Kalpasutra corpus is himself the son of the author of what is likely the first Andha Grammar: Kanva Andhra Vyakaranamu.

This may come as a disappointment to Nannaya Bhatta bandhuvulu, but rather than Andhra Sabda Chinthaamani being the first grammar, there were preceding ones as well.

What’s more, whether one can claim him as an Andhra or not, the father of Baudhayana, Maharishi Kanva, himself features significantly in our Puranas and Kavyas.

Ancient Hindu History Part I, p.154

Not much else is known about the great muni Baudhayana. But his contribution lives on in the texts from which we know him best: the Kalpasutras.

His gotra is naturally Kanva, and he belongs to the Pradhama Sakha of Andhra Brahmins who follow Shukla Yajur Veda. However, the Kalpasutras themselves are classified under the Taittiriya Sakha of the Krishna Yajur Veda. Though the Western Historical paradigm dates him back to 800 BCE, Baudhayana is likely much older. While there are those who assert that he was merely born into the lineage of Kanva (who dates back to the Dvapara Yuga), when considering our Sastras as a whole, his being the actual son of Kanva actually makes sense.

The Kalpasutra corpus left behind by the son of Kanva maharshi remains influential to this day. While he is better known today for the Baudhayana theorem, this scholar and Acharya’s real impact is in the realm of Dharma. To understand why it is an accomplishment, one must take a closer look.

Achievements

Without a doubt, Baudhayana muni is notable for his comprehensive work on Dharma. His eponymous Dharmasutra is part of a larger corpus. It is attached to the Grhyasutra and ultimately the Kalpasutra of the same name. [3, 3]

Kalpasutras are expositions on ritual. They consist of Srautasutra (focused on yagna, i.e. sacrifice) as well as Grhyasutra (domestic rituals). Dharmasutras are part of Grhyasutras, and therefore we see how extensive his imprint is.

  • Compiled the Baudhayana Kalpasutra (consisting of Srauta, Grhya, Sulba, & Dharma)
  • 279 verses in his Dharmasutra [3,7]. He is known as a sutrakaara & vrttikaara.
  • Credited with Baudhayana Vrtti, a commentary on the Brahma Sutra, which is part of the prasthana trayi (Brahma Sutra, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita). Only part of the Vrtti remains.
  • Baudhayana Theorem. This is considered an earlier statement of the Pythagorean theorem.

Recently, Baudhayana has been noted for his contributions to mathematics. Though this is undeniable, it is best to understand his significance through the eyes of the tradition itself.

The Kalpasutra is divided into books called prasnas (questions) . The first 29 books pertain to the Srautasutra, book 30 deals with the Sulba Sutra (referring to Vedic Geometry}, with the next four books on Grhyasutra, and the final four on Dharmasutra. This makes a total of 38 books in the Baudhayana Kalpasutra. [3, 191]

In our difficult era of degraded behaviour, declining values, and divorce, Baudhayana muni gave us laconic wisdom that remains profound in its effect. It is food for thought for all those wondering why their bollywood romance isn’t working out or why their kids are such maligning malcontents:

Yathaa yuktho vivaahasthathha yuktha prajaa bhavatheethi vignayathe || 1.21.1

The excellence of the marriage, it is stated, determines the excellence of the children that issue from it. [3, 237]

If the values of society are to be rebuilt, it is on the foundation of such principles brought forth by Baudhayana of Andhra.

Legacy

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That the life and legacy of Baudhayana muni is not only foundational but even defining to not only Andhras but all of Bharatavarsha is beyond a doubt. To this day, his dharmasutra determines the practice of Dharma in many households of the North.

In Andhra itself his Dharmasutra, has been replaced by another statesman, who will be discussed next. Nevertheless, his impact remains of tremendous import not only in the orthodox realm of ritual, yagna, and dharma, but also in mathematics (Ganita).

 

[4]
For those concerned most about caste and casteism, it is quite clear Baudhayana muni stated clearly that there were rigorous standards for whom could be considered a Brahmin. Alas, in the present time, people have forgotten that privilege came with duty—even a burdensome & difficult duty. And above all, it came with a responsibility to speak & preserve the truth.

It should be a matter of pride that such noble principles were expounded by our forebears, who themselves embody how connected Andhra is with the rest of ancient Bharatavarsha. It should be a matter of pride for Andhras that 2 of the 4 sutrakaaraas of the 4 primary Dharmasutras hail from our lands. Nevertheless, as these great rishis themselves would write, arrogance and boastfulness is not a sign of culture.

So why try to phrase what the venerable Baudhayana muni himself wrote so many thousands of years ago. Regardless, of caste or class, this is what should define Telugu Culture today:

upadistho dharmah prathivedam | Thasyaanu vyaakhyasyaamah | smaartho dvitheeyah |trteeyah shisthaagamah | shisthaah khalu vigathamatsaraa nirahankaaraah kumbeedhaanyaa alolupaa dambha-darpa-lobha-moha-krodha-vivarjithaah || 1.1.1-6

“The law is taught in each Veda, in accordance with which we will explain it. What is given in the tradition is the second, and the conventions of cultured people are third.

Now, cultured people are those who are free from envy and pride, possess just a jarful of grain, and are free from covetousness, hypocrisy, arrogance, greed, folly, and anger.” [3, 197]

References:

  1. Kota,Venkatachalam Paakayaji (Pandit).Ancient Hindu History Part I.Vijayawada:AVG.
  2. Chitkara, M.G.Kashmir Shaivism: Under Siege. New Delhi: APH Publishing. 2002
  3. Olivelle, Patrick. Dharmasutras. Delhi: MLBD.2013
  4. Buehler, Georg. The Sacred Laws of the Âryas. Delhi: MLBD. 2007

Tatikona — A Short Trek from Tirupati

The following Post was composed by Spandana . You can follow her on Twitter.


Photo Credit: Spandana

Tirumala Tirupati is a place that doesn’t need any introduction. It’s Kaliyuga Vaikuntam for devotees, one of the richest temples in the world, and the temple which draws huge crowds everyday. Apart from all these, Tirumala Seshachalam forest range has many unknown treasures, like Bio diversity, which are yet to be discovered. As a history lover, it’s always surprising to know the kind of historical treasure this place is…

Tirumala and Tirupati are very prominent places from the pre historic age itself. Many rock art shelters and pre historic dolmens in Seshachalam forest range are standing evidences for this. And it is a well known fact how Lord Venkateswara Temple made this place even more prominent in ancient and medieval periods for many dynasties. Every dynasty has left their own mark in this place, which is evident through many grand temples and forts around its vicinity.

Photo Credit: Spandana

Tirupati and Tirumala collectively are known as temple city, all temples function with all its grandeur. But how many are aware that there are so many wonderful ancient temples that were abandoned and left for ruins .Though neglected from centuries, these ancient marvels are still standing with all their past glory, waiting for some visitor to tell its story.One such place is Tatikona. Today I will tell you the story of this place, and how it fell from glory to gloomy.

Tatikona was once a grand temple complex with many temples, a pushkarini, and a mud fort on the hill (which is not present now). This place might be very, very important from the ancient days. It would have witnessed the ancient man and many powerful endangered animal species. It would have witnessed kings and their grandeur. It would have witnessed dedicated sculptors working and brave soldiers protecting. It would have witnessed grand temples with nithya puja & many devotees daily, for regular utsavams etc

Photo Credit: Spandana

But now this place is crumbled into ruins, completely camouflaged in the jungle, hard to find and harder to reach, and fully surrounded by thorny plants. Once ravaged by invaders, whatever has survived, it is reduced to wreck by present day hooligans (who dug all over for treasure) and conveniently forgotten by residents and authorities.

Photo Credit: Spandana

Tatikona at present

I seriously wish I could see this place 50 years back, it would have been in much better shape. With present remains we can infer there are 3 temples: 2 temples are big and the other is a small shrine. The two big temples are dedicated to Shiva. We can confirm by sculptures on the pillars, the sculpture of Nandi, sculpture of Kannappa, and Shiva linga. As for the small shrine, we can’t confirm the deity (probably for Ganesh or Karthikeya).

Photo Credit: Spandana

The beautiful Pushkarini (Temple tank) which now looks like lake, but as per locals it was very much in shape till very recent years. It is said there was a mud-fort on the hill for Vijayanagara Emperors (though it disappeared without a trace), and another interesting feature we can find a pre historic Megalith dolmen here. There is a small Shiva shrine on the hill, and as per locals  deep in the woods, another 2 temples. They are dedicated to lord Narasimha and local deity Yellamma, and are in better condition (we couldn’t visit due to the time crunch). One more unique feature of Tatikona is the style of building temple. The Shiva temple built by cutting the rock boulder, and the rock boulder is still visible around the gopuram. The only other temples of this type can be found in Hampi (Malyavanta Raghunatha Temple).

Even after facing so much destruction,this beautiful treasure can teach so many lessons. Beautiful temple walls, intricate carvings on the pillars and beautiful megaliths, all located in a very serene location, which in short reminds us of Hampi. Doesn’t this place deserves renovation, clean up, a sign board,and inclusion in tourist brochure of Tirupati?

Photo Credit: Spandana

Tirupati doesn’t need any theme parks. If  that money is spent on places like Tatikona they can be turned into beautiful learning centers, spiritual centers, and wonderful weekend spots…Eagerly waiting for that day.

       HERITAGE IS OUR PRIDE
#Heritageisourpride

              Jai Hind

Photo Credit: Spandana

Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the Author, and should not be considered a reflection of the views of the Andhra Cultural Portal. The Author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content, herein.

Personalities: S.V.Ranga Rao

In the annals of Andhra cinemadom, there are certainly many actors who have attained superstardom, and many actresses who became Pan-National stars.

But perhaps no star is as synonymous with a single  dialogue and song as a certain actor is with Vivaha Bhojanambu.

From Maya Bazaar to Gundamma Katha to Bhookailas and beyond, SVR is one of those rare thespians whose admirers and fans cut across caste and class alike.

Few actors fared as well in cinematic fare as S.V.Ranga Rao, who is the next feature in our Continuing Series on Andhra Personalities. We begin our introduction with SVR’s own Introduction, because no yesteryear character could make an entrance like he could.

Background

Samarla Venkata Ranga Rao garu was born in 1918 to Lakshmi and Koteswara Rao. They hailed from Nuzvid, Krishna District in what was then the Madras Presidency.

His father was a government employee. In light of that, and irrespective of an early interest in the stage, SVR soon focused on serious studies. Interestingly, despite doing his bachelor’s in Science, he had been contacted by a relative in Madras’ budding film industry to act. After his fresher feature (Varudhini), he was bitten by the acting bug. Though he briefly had a stint at the Tata office in Jamshedpur, he soon quit and never looked back.

At the age of 31, he married a young lady by the name of Leelavathi. They would have two daughters and a son together.

Back in his professional world, the aspirations of pre-Independence India becoming post-Independence achievement would be reflected by SVR’s own career. A rather unique fact is even in his earliest days in the industry he was routinely playing Thaathaiah’s (old men). In fact, his very first feature film with NTR was NTR’s very first feature film (Palleturi Pilla), and SVR essayed a role literally titled “Thaatha”.

His filmography reads like a list of TFI’s great Golden Age hits: Paathaala Bhairavi, Missamma, Maya Bazaar, Bhookailas, Narthanasala, Sampoorna Ramayana, and even Bhakti Prahalada. Though no stranger to negative roles, SVR could humanise even the hated Hiranyakashipu with such scenes.

Little known is that S.V.Ranga Rao had two director credits (Bandhavyalu & Chadarangam)  and a few producer credits to his name. Nevertheless, though he was fated to pass away all too soon, he was destined to be remembered as one of the finest actors in Indian cinema, and especially Telugu Cinema. Frequently reprising his Telugu roles in Hindi, he even featured in original roles in Tamizh. Indeed, his last movie was in Madras’ native language, but Andhra’s Cinema Sarvabhauma would not be forgotten in his native land.

He passed away in 1974, at the relatively young age of 56. This was the same age as his method actor-character actor predecessor, CSR Anjaneyulu.

Achievements

  • Afro-Asian International Film Festival (Indonesia)
  • Nandi Award (Multiple times, for Best Actor and also Best Director)
  • Filmfare Award (South)
  • Rashtrapati Award

Though it is often standard repertoire to list a battery of awards and honours an actor has accumulated over the years, SVR is best remembered through his on-screen personae.

So captivating was his delivery, so identifiable was his style that it became almost a standard cultural practice for Telugu actors to deliver dialogues as he might, some out of jest, but others out of genuine desire for gravitas. He could appeal to tiny tot and serious cinema-goer alike.

Whether he was a grandiose gourmand of Ghatotkachic proportions (Maya Bazaar) , a genteel gentleman of the gentry (in Missamma), or a leering lech (in Narthanasala), he brought a grandeur that was instantly recognisable and enrapturing. With performances that could register with the backbenches as well as august halls of cultural stalwarts, he was the larger-than-life quality of chalanachitram itself.

Nevertheless, notable roles include the following:

Paathaala Bhairavi – His role as Nepala Mantrikudu was equal parts engaging and reviling. His devious behaviours and penchant for abhichara made him the perfect foil for the innocent protagonist. Despite being an antagonist here, this was one of the early roles that would cement SVR’s place in celluloid history.

Ghatotkacha – Without a doubt his most celebrated role, he managed to find the perfect balance between intimidating and accessible  as well as avuncular and childlike. The scene where he consumes the Vivaha Bhojanambu itself is emblematic of that plasticity of facial innocence he managed to conjure up despite playing the role of a Rakshasa. Food, it appears, brings out the child in all of us—even Ghatotkacha.

Hiranyakashipu – Quite possibly the marquee performance in a long line of titles on the marquee, SVR shone in this role of a lifetime. He was the perfect foil to the humble vinayam of Prahlada. Indeed, his diction and dialogue delivery in rapid-fire prose would be emulated for decades.

More than anything else, however, he set the standard for cinematic authenticity. This character actor truly was the authentic character for audiences and comedians alike.

Imitation as they say is the finest form of flattery. Which comedian to better capture this than the current day comedy king himself: Brahmanandam. S.V.Ranga Rao’s inspiration clearly crosses generations even to this day.

Legacy

Statue of S.V.Ranga Rao, Vijayawada

The legacy of SVR is little remembered, but oft-remarked. In an industry with many accomplished character actors (Gummadi, CSR Anjaneyulu, Rao Gopal Rao, Kota Srinivasa Rao, Tanikela Bharani, etc), Nuzvid’s naata nayaka was one character who dominated a stage filled with stars.

He could effortlessly play a secondary protagonist (Bhookailas), genteel supporting cast (Missamma) or even a villainous antagonist (Paathaala Bhairavi). While it was perhaps Maya Bazaar and its most famous song that forever cemented his celluloid immortality, movies such as Manchi Manasulu also showed his range, and everyday character too.

Theatrical drama and Comedy were the two main markers of the man many consider to be the greatest character actor of them all. This is so much so that even the Nandi award in this category is named after him. And that is perhaps the greatest tragedy. Whether it is Nedunuri Krishnamurthy in Music or S.V.Ranga Rao in acting, yet again another Andhra great was ignored at the national level, despite international recognition. How sad that an Indonesian International Film Festival could recognise him, but not his own national film fraternity.

Despite Paathaala Bhairavi being a national hit, with Viswa Naata Chakravarthi reprising his role as Nepala Mantrikudu, there was no Padma for this mahanaata. People have all the time in the world for Mughal-e-Azam, but a culturally rooted Pan-India blockbuster actor could not expect recognition from the Delhi Durbar (ironically, he himself played the same Mughal in Anaarkali). He would play many all-India figures including Raja Bhoja in the silver screen version of Mahakavi Kalidasu.

And that is also why if people like S.V.Ranga Rao did not get their due at the national level (Rashtrapati award aside), the proper path is to not point fingers at “North this and that”, but identify the real problem: cultural sellouts and the cultureless (despite their pompous airs, these overlap more often then not). Court eunuchs engage in career nara stuti for the highest bidder, so why would they recognise a great Nayaka hailing from a Dharmic culture that “Secular, Socialists” would not patronise? Or perhaps they did treat patronisingly while refusing to give real patronage to those who stood for the native Civilizational ethos.

Irrespective, the issue as in all these things lies in lack of culture. Not the culture of court eunuchs with the mere form but absence of cultural spirit, but the essential truth of the trial of life: that the great Drama of Indian Culture is in Dharma. The truly deserving dramatists are those may not always live it, but do their utmost to celebrate and propagate it, not only for the cloistered few, but for the people as a whole.

In any event, in recent years there has been a small push to get him considered for a Padma Sri, posthumously. Whether or not the effort fructifies, he remains a lotus of modern cinema as far as modern Telugus are concerned.

Whether it was his earliest days in pre-Independence India or his final ones in undivided Andhra, he remains the “Global Acting Emperor” in the eyes of Trilinga desa.

Even a scene with no dialogue could result in SVR stealing the show:

So we end as we began. To most he is remembered simply as S.V.Ranga Rao, to others as Viswa Naata Chakravarthi, but as far as we’re concerned, only one salutation is good enough for him:

Hai Hai Nayaka!

References:

  1. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0710036/
  2. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/Padma-Shri-sought-for-S.V.-Ranga-Rao/article14497248.ece
  3. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/telugu/movies/did-you-know-/SV-Ranga-Rao-was-conferred-the-best-actor-award-at-Indonesian-Film-Festival/articleshow/34794951.cms

Temples, Antiquity, & Heritage

The following Post was composed by Spandana . You can follow her on Twitter.


Temples have been quite important parts of our lives from ancient times. Temples have always been the centre of many vibrant activities. They might be social or cultural or spiritual or sometimes even political.  In simple words we can say every temple has been a proto type of society (of that particular place, how it was and how it is).

I want to elaborate a point, which everyone may not understand or maybe don’t accept:  modernisation of our ancient temples in the name of renovations. Yes, in our state there are many ancient temples with a great past. The good news is these temples are very much functional and the chain of devotion is passing to succeeding generations without break. But are many of these ancient temples looking that ancient?? No they are completely looking ultra-new. But along with being worshiping places, aren’t these temples our standing examples of our past and our heritage?? Isn’t this our responsibility to maintain their art, architecture, unique construction, and grandeur in the way they were?? But instead of preserving we are damaging these architectural marvels in the name of renovation. The picture below, is the temple which is supposed to be one of the ancient temples in our state. New look of the ancient temple

Srikakula Andhra Mahavishnu Temple

 Photo Credit: highwayonlyway.com

I am not blaming the thought of renovating ancient temples, but am only saying that renovation should be done in the way that temple reflects its grand past with the help of new techniques, instead of completely demolishing and rebuilding. Here is an ideal example of renovation:

Photo Credit: Spandana

Chola period temple (Mulasthaneswara temple) in Gajulamandyam village, was renovated in a beautiful manner—anyone can get the inspiration. All these renovations were done by locals. They took extra effort to maintain the temple’s antiquity. They cleared all paint from the temple walls just to make the old carvings and architecture visible, which was a costly process. Locals taking pride of their past, and conserving their identity is a commendable act.

Photo Credit: Spandana

In the first picture u can see the temple before renovation, in the second picture after renovation (all the paint was removed.

Not all ancient temples are under Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Many are with state endowment department. Though it is the endowment department’s job to conserve these old temples, they hardly understand or care about the antiquity or sanctity of the particular temple. Here I am taking another example of the beautiful temple in Kadapa district in Meenapuram Village:

Rajarajeswari Temple

Photo Credit: Spandana

This ancient temple is very much under the umbrella of endowment department, but this temple is conveniently neglected, due to its low income from Hundi. This temple has a beautiful stepwell in the front and ancient Kalyana mandapa made out by carving a rock. This intricately carved centuries old Kalyana mandapa completely collapsed recently. Not even a sign board or direction board is present to know about the temple. If one wants to reach this place, it’s only with help of locals.

Photo Credit: Spandana

It’s not the story of Meenapuram alone. There are many ancient temples under endowment department facing similar situation. We have examples of 500 year old SriKalahasthi gopuram and Bhavanarayana swamy temple raja gopuram collapsed, due to lack of timely care. This topic is just unending. I can write pages about this.

Photo Credit: Spandana

In brief: as a heritage lover, as a devotee, I wish our temples function well along with maintaining their antiquity and our heritage. I sincerely hope the endowment department takes some responsibility with such temples. As people, who respect our past and understand our heritage, it is our responsibility to educate people in our little circle.

        HERITAGE IS OUR PRIDE
#Heritageisourpride #Heritagemustbepreserved

              Jai Hind


Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the Author, and should not be considered a reflection of the views of the Andhra Cultural Portal. The Author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content, herein.

Excerpt: Dasama Skandha of Potana’s Bhagavata Purana III

Continuing our Series of Articles on the translation of Telugu Bhagavatam by Professor T.S.B. Narasaraju of Banaras Hindu University, is Excerpt III. Those interested in reading Excerpt I of our series can find it here and can read Excerpt II here.

This installment will provide selections from both Part I and Part II of Potana’s Bhagavata Purana (Dasama Skandha). This Post will give key episodes demonstrating the importance of Bhagavata Purana and why it is such a pillar of our culture.

Publishers interested in printing or offering e-Publication of Narasaraju garu’s work can reach him via email at  shamraan@gmail.com

Click here to download Part I of the English Translation of Potana’s Bhagavata Purana (Dasama Skandha)
Click here to download Part II of the English Translation of Potana’s Bhagavata Purana (Dasama Skandha)

Part I Excerpt

3. Brahma and Maheswara Praising Vishnu as Infant in Devaki`s Womb

“Oh! Lord! You uphold truth as a ritual. You are the basis for attaining the Yogic state of permanency. You are a Kalatita being capable of existing in the past, present and future. The five Bhutas, earth,water, fire, air and sky are born in you and, in turn, you are present in all of them.You continue to exist even when all the five Bhutas are destroyed. Words spoken by you constitute an embodiment of truth. You maintain a sense of equality towards all that exists in this universe. We bow down before you.

Maya, which makes the unreal appear as real and makes the real look unreal, is under your control. Those under the influence of Maya with power of discrimination covered by it, see plurality mistakenly in you. Those who transcend the power of Maya are the enlightened and  see you as a single existing entity in the entire gamut of apparent plurality of the universe (89).

You are the lord for all the living beings. In your creation there is what is known as a family, Samsara, which is comparable to a tree. The medium or milieu in which the family exists is the material world, Prakriti, which is comparable to a creeper entwining the tree. Happiness and sorrow are the two fruits to the tree. The three qualities, virtuosity (Sattvaguna), ambition (Rajoguna) and laziness (Tamoguna) which embrace a human being are the roots of the tree.The four objectives of human  existence, namely, righteousness (Dharma), wealth (Ardha), desire (Kama) and salvation (Moksha) are the fluids (Rasas) flowing through the tree. What are experienced by the sense-organs, namely, sound (Sabda), touch (Sparsa), form (Rupa), taste (Ruchi) and smell (Vasana) are the receptive mechanisms of the tree. States of the human body such as, lust, anger, miserliness, love, pride, jealousy, hunger, thirst, sorrow, attachment, childhood, youth, old age , disease and death, among others, are all  supporting parts of the tree. The principal constituents of the human body, such as, body fluids, blood, flesh, brain-matter, skeletal system and semen are the sheaths enclosing the trunk of the tree. The Pancha Bhutas mentioned above along with intelligence, consciousness and ego are the branches of the tree.  The nine holes of the tree are eyes, ears, two nostrils, mouth and the two excretory organs. The five principal constituents of life, namely, Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana and Samana along with the five subsidiary constituents of life, namely, Naga, Kurma, Krukara, Devadatta and Dhananjaya are the leaves of the tree. Human being (Jeeva) and the lord (Iswara) are comparable to two birds residing on the tree. Oh! Lord! You are the creator, protector and destroyer of such an extra-ordinary family tree (90, 91).

The enlightened persons keep their minds focussed on you preventing them from deviation. They  thus cross the dreadful ocean, namely, family ( Bhavasagara) effortlessly (92).You take any number of births to do good to the good  and to punish the bad thereby keeping the worlds safe (93). Oh! Lord with eyes as beautiful as lotuses! The enlightened get salvation by uttering your name with devotion. Some pretend to be enlightened with destructive intelligence and refuse to utter your name not learning a lesson from those who had a down-fall due to such a behaviour (94). Great devotees keep their thoughts focussed on you. This enables them to become your men, being fearless and devoid of obstacles in life. They reside in the divine place where you stay (95).You are worshipped by human beings belonging to the four principal classifications, namely, the unmarried, those with families, the old detached from their families and the ascetics. In all the worlds (Lokas) you wear a virtuous, and sacred body ensuring the safety of your devotees (96).

Oh! Lord with eyes comparable to lotuses! Your body is an embodiment of virtues and knowledge eliminating ignorance. You are considered as an effulgent embodiment of virtuosity. A devotee who worships you keeping such a form of yours in his mind is blessed with your appearance before him. You remain as an observer following a path which transcends the different forms of behaviour, mind and speech. Only the enlightened can perceive your form which is beyond Gunas (mental states) and Kriyas (actions). Remaining engrossed in your worship, thinking and hearing only about you and praising you incessantly, your devotees are able to strap the terrestrial bonds of the family and stay at your feet eternally (97).

Oh! Lord! You are the best among all. You are the ruler for all of us. Your birth is to lessen the burden of the earth. With your grace and under the shelter of your feet, as attractive as lotuses, we are able to discern our existence in a mileu surrounded by the earth and the sky (98). Oh! Lord! You are devoid of birth. Hence, taking birth now as Devaki`s son is a playful event for you. While birth and death are the acts of Maya inflicted on the human beings, Maya staying in your proximity runs away incapable of touching you. You are therefore the only one capable of not getting entangled in the acts of Maya and hence you are the lord of the universe (99).

You took several births in different forms (Avataras) with qualities of grace and kindness and condescended to save the world in crisis. You were born as a great fish (Matsya), a tortoise (Kurma), a pig (Varaha), a combined form of man and lion (Narasimha), a short man (Vamana), a horse-faced human form (Hayagriva), Parasurama and Rama. We salute to you for this act of kindness. We pray to you to save the earth by reducing its load (100).The world is drowned in incessant sorrow being tormented cruelly by  vicious people like Kamsa. Lord Mukunda!You leave Devaki`s womb and take birth soon(101).”Addressing Devaki, lord Brahma and the Devatas accompanying him said, “Mother! Lord Purushottama is in your womb. He is likely to take birth soon. There is no more fear from Kamsa.You please have faith in our words. Today onwards your safety is assured. All the Yadavas are excited with joy. May your progeny prosper always (102,103)!After praising Lord Vishnu as described above, the Devatas being led by lords Brahma and Maheswara blessed Devaki and departed (104).

Part II Excerpt

34.Krishna Going to City of Kundina on his Chariot

The best among Yadavas, Krishna heard patiently the narration by the Brahmin of the message of the daughter of king of Vidarbha, her  form, beauty and other important aspects. He held in his hand smiling the hand of the Brahmin and uttered the following words :- “ Oh! Recepient of approbation of the learned! I have an intense desire to marry Rukmini. Hence I have been spending sleepless nights. I know even earlier that Rukmi had bad intentions disapproving this marriage.I crush the enemy groups and get Rukmini, a jewel among maidens. It is like generating fire from rubbing wood (1716). I reach the kingdom of Vidarbha and enter the city of Kundina effortlessly. I get the maiden in a flash. In case the enemies oppose me I kill them in the battle-field (1717).”

Having said those words, Hari came to know about the stipulated time of proposed marriage of Rukmini Devi. In accordance with orders of the lord, his charioteer Daraka, got ready a chariot with four horses by names Saibya, Sugriva, Meghapushpa and Valahaka respectively. Hari got up the chariot along with the Brahmin, crossed all the intermediary kingdoms in one night and reached the kingdom of Vidarbha. There, Bhishmaka, the king of Kundina, agreed to get his daughter married to Sisupala under the compulsion of his son and started getting the preparations done for the event (1718).

The whole city was decorated. Porticos, lanes, royal-paths and marketing places were all cleaned. Water mixed with sandal paste was sprinkled every-where. Enchanting festoons of lotuses were erected. All the houses were cleaned and designs of Karpoora and Kumkuma were drawn in front of the houses to the accompaniment of fragrant smoke from  sticks of Agar.Men and women every-where wore new multi-coloured garments. They decorated themselves with different types of flower-garlands, jewellery and fragrant skin-lotions, scents and ointments.The whole city wore a festive appearance (1719).

Bhishmaka paid obeisance to his ancestors following the stipulated procedures, fed the Brahmins and got auspicious blessings recited by them. Rukmini Devi was made to have a special auspicious bath. He got her decorated with special robes and ornaments studded with precious stones. Brahmins recited from Rig, Yajur, Sama and Adharvana Vedas to shower ceremonial blessings on the bride for her protection and safety. A Purohit got obeisance to god Agni done through performance of stipulated Homa for peace at the place of residence. In addition, the king donated seeds of til and wheat, silver, gold and clothes to Brahmins for the good of the couple getting married (1720).

In the mean-while the king of Chedi reached the city of Kundina with pomp, feeling proud of getting married to the princess of the kingdom of Vidarbha. He was accompanied by a retinue of soldiers, a row of chariots, a collection of elephants of a fine quality, a group of quick-running horses, relations and friends (1721). Jarasandha, Dantavaktra, Salva, Viduraka, Poundrakavasudeva and others came along with arrogant-looking elephants, infantry, horses and chariots professing that Balarama, Krishna and their relations would  be driven out to get the princess married to Sisupala without any opposition (1722). In addition kings of several other kingdoms arrived. Bhishmaka went in advance to welcome Sisupala and made arrangement for appropriate accommodation for him.

Balarama came to know about the entire information (1723). He thought within himself as follows :- “ Hari went alone. Many well-wishers of the king of Chedi such as Jarasandha and others  went to the city of Kundina to help him. There is bound to be a war at the place of getting the maiden. My brother needs help.” Carrying his weapon he went along the path followed by Krishna. He was accompanied by a huge army (1724). In the mean-while the drooping-broad-eyed Rukmini was sitting solitary inside a temple. She was getting agitated fearing that Krishna, an eye to all the Lokas, might not reach her after seeing her message (1725).

Rukmini thought as follows within herself :- “ Tomorrow is the day of the proposed marriage. The event ia approaching closer. How is it that Govinda has not come yet? My mind is getting agitated. I do not know whether the lord got the message or not. Why did the Brahmin Agnidyotana delay so much? Is my attempt going to be successful or is it to get wasted? What is ordained by the Almighty is not known (1726). Did that illustrious Brahmin reach Dwaraka? Did he get tired on the way giving up the plan? Did Krishna consider my message to be improper after listening to it? Alternatively did he already reach this place? Does the proposal get god`s favour or not? Does Aryamahadevi save me or not? I do not know as to what is destined for me (1727).”

She continued to think within herself as follows :- “ Agnidyotana might not have gone to Dwaraka. That is why the son of Vasudeva did not come to this place. There is no intimate relation to go to invite Hari to come to this place. Alas! My brother lost all decency in getting ready to offer me to the resident of Chedi. Alas! Goddess Gauri does not have kindness for me today (1728,1729).”

She was not inclined to narrate to her mother the agitation in her mind. She was not in a mood to spread in all directions the brightness of her sweet smile. She was disinterested in driving away the carpenter-beetles hovering round being attracted by her lotus-like countenance. She was avoiding sleep. She was disinclined to untwine the coiled pearl-necklaces of her bosom. There was no attempt to turn her eyes away even for a second from the path to be followed by Krishna to reach her (1730).

She did not wipe tears flowing from her eyes nor did she put in order her tuft of hair hanging behind on her neck. She stopped exchanging pleasantries with her companions. Her food-intake became meager. She refused even to touch drinking-water. She stopped teaching recitation of poems to the friendly parrot approaching her. She had no inclination to stretch the strings of Veena to cause entertainment. She had no desire to go to her friends (1731).

Vanamali, Krishna did not come to take her away in response to her prayers. It was unjust on his part. Consequently, Mrigaraja-madhyama,  the thin-waisted Rukmini refused  to apply Mriganabhi, fragrant musk lotion to her body. Having a face resembling a mirror, she refused to look into a mirror for her beautification. Being a Puvvuboni, a beautiful maiden, she gave up wearing Puvvulu, flowers.Having eyes resembling Jalajas, lotuses, she relinquished Jalakrida, aquatic games. Being a Vanajata-lochana, one having eyes similar to lotuses, she became disinterested in Vanakeli, forest-sports. Having a gait similar to Hamsa, a swan she became disinclined to rear a swan. Having a body as tender as a creeper, Latika-lalita-deha, she was reluctant to bring up creepers, Latas.  Being herself an ornament to ornaments, she refused to wear ornaments. Being a Tilakini-tilakmu, the best among women, she gave up putting Tilaka, a saffron mark on fore-head as a decoration. Having hands like lotuses, Kamala-hasta, she was reluctant to enter a house of lotuses, Kamal-griha (1732).

In addition, a strong desire for Krishna inflicted heat on Rukmini and made her behave abnormally. She resisted a gentle breeze. She avoided the noisy cluster of carpenter-beetles. She was angry with the cries of cuckoo. She was agitated by the sweet words of young parrots. She felt moon-light to be warm  and avoided the shade of young mango trees (1733,1734). Thus she was under the sway of Manmadha. In the process of awaiting Krishna`s arrival she was unmindful of even her routine acts of the day.

Indicating a favourable omen, her left eye and left shoulder started tingling. Agnidyotana came to her quickly in accordance with the orders of Achuta. She noticed the facial expressions of him. The sweet-voiced Rukmini went quickly and extremely eagerly towards him with a smile on her face.The Brahmin said, “ Oh! Maiden! The lord with Sudarsana as his weapon praised your sterling qualities. He gave limitless wealth to me. He already reached this place. He is sure to take you away under Rakshasvivaha even if Devatas and Danavas oppose him. Your good behaviour and good fortune are coming to fruition today (1736).” Hearing those words the princess of Vidarbha said, “ Oh! Gem of the Brahmin race! Donor of boons desired by relations! Conveying my message, you brought along with you the lord himself with eyes  comparable to lotus petals. You kept me alive. I am surviving solely by your grace. There is no other virtuous man like you. I am ignorant about the way I have to reciprocate  the help done. Oh! The best among Brahmins! I pay my obeisance to you with folded hands (1737,1738).” Thus she prayed to the Brahmin.

King Bhishmaka came to know that Balarama and Krishna came to attend the marriage of his daughter. He went with the accompaniment of festive sounds from auspicious musical instruments, received them with full honours, presented them clothes and ornaments, among others. He got all arrangements made for stay and other conveniences for them, their relations and army accompanying them. Bhishmaka treated thus all the kings who visited the city of Kundina with honours appropriate to their age, power and status offering them what all they desired (1739).

The inhabitants of Vidarbha heard about the arrival of Hari, came to have his Darshan and felt ecstatic enjoying with their eyes the sight of his countenance comparable to a lotus. They said,  “This lord, with Sudarsana as his weapon, is the most suited to the pricess of Vidarbha. The princess is also, in turn, equally suited to him. What an excellent alliance! How skilled is lord Brahma in making these two husband and wife! May Chakri, consequent upon our past virtuous deeds, become husband of this handsome girl through his valour (1740).”

During that time, maiden Rukmini, with locks of  hair covering her fore-head, started for worshipping goddess Gauri by walking towards the out-skirts of the city accompanied by a procession. Brave soldiers fully equipped with diverse arms walked protecting her. Dancing girls walked in a group in front  carrying eatables and presents. The wives of Brahmins, with sandal-paste applied to their bodies, followed her singing, having flowers in their tufts of hair and wearing new saris and ornaments.  The sounds of various percussion and blowing instruments sky-rocketted. Companions, servant-maids and women related to her followed her (1741,1742).

Encomiasts, singers and others singing in praise accompanied her. Rukmini reached the temple of goddess Gauri walking gracefully like a swan. All the while she was praying mentally to the lotus-shaped feet of Mukunda. She cleansed her feet and hands, purified herself and reached the proximity of the deity. The wives of Brahmins sprinkled sacred water on the idols of lord Siva and goddess Bhavani. They offered sandal-paste and saffron-soaked rice to the deity. They decorated the idol of the goddess with new clothes, flower-garlands and ornaments. They offered, in addition, lighted Agarbattis and Deepas to the idol. Diverse types of eatables were offered to the goddess as Nyvedya. They gave presents to the deity and later made Rukmini pray to the goddess (1743).

Rukmini Devi prayed to goddess Gauri as follows :- “Oh! Mother Iswari! I have implicit faith in my mind on the eternal and primordial couple, Uma and Maheswara. I pray to you with devotion. You are the best among mothers. You are an ocean of grace. Make Hari my husband. There is never a misfortune to those who repose their faith in you (1744).” She presented to the Brahmin ladies and their husbands salt, special eatables, betel-leaves, Mangalasutras and stumps of cane-sugar plants and prayed to them (1745). The Brahmin ladies, in turn,  blessed her enthusiastically and sprinkled Akshatas on her head. With those on her head, she prayed to the consort of lord Siva, gave up the silence she was following till then and left the temple (1746)

Such a Rukmini who came out was looking like a lightning in the midst of clouds during the commencement of rainy season, a deer coming out from the lunar surface and hovering around,  walked slowly like a divine figure, Mohini manifesting from behind a curtain lifted by an actor,lord Brahma and goddess Rama-Ramani emerging from a whirl-pool with accompanying sounds in the middle of an ocean being churned by Suras and Asuras using mountain Mandara as a stirrer and serpent Vasuki as a rope fastening the stirrer.

Thus Rukmini started from Kali temple appearing lustrous in diverse forms. She was walking slowly like a young fabulous swan loitering amidst golden lotuses in Manasa-Sarovara. Her waist was losing balance under the load of her breasts comparable to golden narrow-necked vessels. She was holding the hand of her beloved companion with hers being reddened by the ruby-studded ring on her finger. The luster from her golden earrings studded with precious stones was dancing on her cheeks. Her curly locks of hair, comparable to carpenter-beetles hovering round fragrance of lotuses, were covering her pretty countenance. The light emerging from her pleasant smile was like fresh moon-light spreading in all directions.The red colour of her lips comparable to that of Donda-Pandu was lending red colour to her otherwise white teeth looking like buds of jasmine. The edge of her sari put on her shoulder was fluttering like the flag of Manmadha. Precious stones, studded in her golden belt wound over clothes around the waist,Oddanam were emanating a luster creating illusion of an untimely rain-bow. The hearts of valorous kings were made to flutter by her beautiful glances which could be compared to sharp arrows of Manmadha glittering after being just taken out from their receptacle. Her beautiful anklets were producing melodious sounds causing a feast to the ears. She was coming out walking in a valorous and captivating form awaiting the arrival of Hari (1747).

Seeing Rukmini all the on-lookers were astonished. She had locks of hair black as carpenter-beetles, a  face comparable to a full-moon, glances like those of an antelope, lips like corals, an indescribably sweet tone, a pair of feet tender like fresh new leaves, breasts like heads of elephants, a lower back like a sandy island, a walk like that of a superior elephant, hands like red lotuses, a waist like that of a lion and a body-fragrance like that of a lotus (1748).The princes there had their minds attracted by her smile and glances full of shyness.They lost their steadiness and grandeur. They forgot about their status and became actionless and forgetful. They let their weapons slip down. They gave up getting up on their elephants, horses and chariots and slipped down to the ground. Rukmini with her glances like those of a deer was found pushing up her locks of hair hanging on her fore-head with nails of her left-hand and setting right her sari on her shoulder. In the process of performing these acts, she had her side-glances on the group of princes (1749).

During that time she saw Jaganmohana Krishna. He had a face like a full-moon, a waist like that of a lion, eyes like fresh lotuses, most handsome chest, a complexion like that of a blue cloud, hands like the trunk of elephant Ia weapon, Iravata, silken yellow coloured robes and Chakra as a weapon. He appeared to be anxious to become victorious and capable of getting attracted by the entire universe (1750).


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Copyright: T.S.B.Narasaraju. All rights reserved. 2017.