Tag Archives: Dharma

Personalities: Apastamba

The Next installment in our series on Dharmic Personalities from Andhra is the all-India figure known as Apastamba.


Apastamba muni was a great Sutrakaara who compiled the Apastamba Kalpasutra. He was born in the lineage of Maharishi Bhrgu, and belonged to the Taittiriya Sakha of the Krishna Yajur Veda. His wife was the pativrata Aksasutraa and his son was Karki. [1]

He is said to have lived somewhere in the Godavari valley of Andhra. There is an interesting story behind the word ‘Apastamba’. Although the origin might be in reference to another Pauranic Apastamba, it is also attributed to the sutrakaara as well.

Tradition holds that Apastamba, along with Baudhayana muni, was one of the two early Dharmashastra writers from Andhra. This has been adumbrated by both traditional and foreign academic sources. Interestingly enough, per Apastamba himself, the tradition asserts that Rishis are not born in the Kali Age, though individuals may often display some of their characteristics. It demonstrates the importance of referring back to the Purvacharyas, as Apastamba does by example. It further cements his connection to the present age. The current academic paradigm dates him to 300 BCE, though he is likely much older.

Dharmasutras originated from Grihyasutras, which are the second class of text (the other being Srautasutras) that stem from a category known as Kalpasutras (meaning thread on rituals, whether daily (nithya) or special (naimittika)). While Srauta deals with sacrificial rites, and Grihyasutras deal with domestic rites. Dharmasutras are more general and societal in nature.

Much has been written about the Dharmashastra and its auteurs by the Western Academe. Nevertheless, the best starting point to understanding a civilization is through the internal logic respected by its native scholars. In the case of the four main Dharmasutras (Vasishta, Gautama, Baudhayana, and Apastamba), such considerations matter particularly for chronology as it has become fashionable to say Apastamba preceded Maharishi Vasishta (the Saptarishi who featured in the Ramayana)—a notion that would send even traditional Dharmic schoolchildren into peals of laughter. In fact the order is reversed, with Sage Vasishta being the eldest and Apastamba the most recent and most preferred for the Kali Yuga (the present Age). This aligns with the finding that Baudhayana muni was the son of Maharishi Kanva (from the fourth paada of the Dvapara Yuga). This makes the correct Dharmasutra order: Vasishta, Gautama, Baudhayana, and Apastamba.

Thus, Apastamba’s Dharmasutra is in turn a portion of the expansive and eponymous Kalpasutra, which is additionally divided into the Srautasutra, Grihyasutra, and Sulbasutra.

The Sulbasutras are treatises on geometry as required for Vedic rites and requirements (such as the construction of fire-altars, etc.).  Apastamba himself belonged to the Krishna (Black) Yajurveda), and expounded upon the intricacies of these altars. The result is even though the focus was on Dharma and Yagna, quite a bit of Mathematics was compiled as well. But to understand the place of these, one must examine the Kalpasutra corpus as a whole.


  • The Apastamba Kalpa sutra consists of 30 prasnas. The first 24 prasnas (books) focus on Srauta (Vedic Yagna)
  • The 25th is Apastambeeya-mantra-paata, which deals with definitions & ritual prayers (hautraka). It also has a key section that has important ramifications: Paribhashas (general rules of interpretation for the Kalpasutras)
  • The Apastamba Grihya-sutras are contained in the 26th and 27th books.
  • The 28th and 29th together make up the Apastamba Dharmasutra (which is sub-divided into 8 patalas and 23 parts. The 30th prasna is focused on Sulba Sutra.
  • He is also credited with the Apastamba-brahmana, Apastambopanisad, Apastamba-prayoga, Apastambaapara-sutra, and Apastamba-smriti
  • The Apastamba-smriti consists of 207 slokas

Apastamba is seen as one of the authorities who emphasised the notion of Yuga Dharma vs Sanatana Dharma.The theological explanation is that the people of those days had extraordinary [spiritual] power lacking in modern men….the dharma appropriate for ancient ages may be inappropriate for the current depraved age” [2].

What is notable about his Dharmasutra is the specification of the importance of accepted custom (samay-acarika). Rather than a one-size fits all implementation of Vedic Dharma, he wrote that the native customs of a community or region apply, so long as they don’t conflict with explicit Vedic injunctions.

This explains Apastamba’s divergence from Vasishta, Gautama, and Baudhayana on matters specifically on sexual morality, ranging from polygamy to niyoga. He explicitly favors monogamy, “forbidding the taking of a second wife if the first is able to participate in ritual activities and bear children” and prohibits niyoga (levirate) in the Kali Age.

He also asserted the role of women as upholders of dharma. He therefore specifies the importance of children learning much lore and custom from Women. Apastamba also protected the rights of women by forbidding their abandonment by husbands. He also specified that a wife may use the family wealth on her own while her husband was away (unremarkable for our time perhaps, but certainly far ahead of what is thought of as the traditional view).

He is also considered the originator of the principle distinguishing between “explicit vedic texts” (pratyaksa sruti) and “inferred vedic texts” (anumita sruti). This provided the epistemological basis for custom among righteous people stemming from the Vedas as well. There were also commentaries written on his work, by the scholar Haradatta, and of course, Kumarila Bhatta and Adi Sankaracharya.

In tandem with his work on Dharma are his ancillary achievements in Mathematics and Engineering.


  • Construction of the Square
  • The Theorem of the Square on the Diagonal (restatement of Baudhayana Theorem)
  • A precise value of the Square Root of 2.

Apastamba’s contribution to Maths is well known. Correspondingly, although the motivating drive for his Sulba Sutra was to provide guidance for construction of fire altars, there were a number of Mathematical, Astronomical, and even Engineering externalities as well.

His key accomplishments have been quickly summarised above, though are best discussed in a Series of articles on Sulba.



Akrodho-aharsho-arosho-alobho-amoho-adambho-adrohah satyavachanam-anatyaasho-apaishunam-anasooyaa samvibhaagas-tyaaga aarjavam maardavam shamo dhamah sarva-bhoothair-avirodho yoga aaryam-aanrshamsam thushtir ithi sarva-ashramaanam samaya-padhaani thaany anuthishtan-vidhinaa sarvagaami bhavathi || 1.23.6

Refraining from anger, excitement, rage, greed, perplexity, hypocrisy, and malice; speaking the truth; refraining from overeating, calumny, and envy; sharing, liberality, rectitude, gentleness, tranquillity, self-control, amity with all creatures, Yoga, Aarya-like conduct, benevolence, and contentment—there is agreement that these apply to all orders of life. By practicing them according to the rules, a man attains the Supreme Being.” [2, 61]

From religion and rite to mathematics and astronomy to most important of all, Dharma itself, Apastamba’s all-India legacy is undeniable.

Ill-informed or ill-intentioned critics have often scoffed that the Dharmasutras (including Apastamba’s) are “boring texts for Brahmins and their rituals“. But this is unfair. While it is true that a voluminous portion of them is dedicated to the difficult rituals and injunctions that characterised a Vaidika Brahmana’s life, the are many passages directed towards the benefit of not only the other three varnas (Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Sudra) but also society in general as well. This denotes the importance of people not only avoiding tunnel-vision about their own lifestyle and seeking to impose it or hold it above others, but to recognise the need for balance and respect for the individual work of all members of society.

Dharma is undoubtedly the most central and ubiquitous concept in the whole of Indian civilization.” [2]

Some colonial (and neo-colonial) scholars have either downplayed the existence of formal law in Ancient India or have said that Dharma replaced law. But neither is correct. Ancient India stressed the importance of both formal Law (Vyavahara) & Dharma (Righteousness), the problem is such “scholars” have understood the purpose of neither, as well as the necessary connection between the two. There is a famous Chinese proverb that “Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one.” Thus, law exists as a baseline for society that holds baser men, women, and criminals (of all classes) accountable; where as Dharma inspires and holds the upright man (of all castes) accountable.

Law is the common minimum or floor for society while Dharma (in its highest form) is the ceiling we must aspire toward.

It’s dharma that provides the guidelines for proper and productive living and for social organization and interaction. It includes social institutions such as marriage, adoption, inheritance, social contracts, judicial procedure, and punishment of crimes, as well as private activities, such as toilet, bathing, brushing the teeth, food and eating, sexual conduct, and etiquette“. [2]

“It is difficult to gain mastery of dharma by means of scriptures alone, but by acting according to the markers one can master it“. (A.2.29.13-14) [2]

Apastamba is also notable for writing that after learning Vedic knowledge, those initiated in the Vedas can then understand final knowledge possessed by women and Sudras. The meaning here is that once Vedic knowledge is mastered, the value and divinity of everyday knowledge possessed by uninitiates is then understood as well. Although the rights to Vedic ritual and ritual recitation belong to Brahmanas, the dvija (initiate classes) include Kshatriyas and Vaisyas as well. What those murkhapanditas seeking to impute “beef in vedas” meanings into Dharmasutra as well forget, is that manuscripts are manipulated. In fact, while one phrase is read as prohibiting initiation to sudras, the same sloka prohibits initiation to criminals of any caste. Further, some have argued that the correct interpretation of the sloka (due to a contested word change) actually means that meritorious Sudras with good guna may be initiated as well. While this is not to assert what is Apastamba’s position one way or another, it does demonstrate the distinguishment (viveka) between right and wrong required to even interpret these texts.

Finally, for those concerned about casteism, here is what Apastamba wrote, and incidentally, it would be something echoed by Annamacharya thousands of years later:

Atmanan-pasyan-sarva-bhootaani na mohyacchinthayankavih |

Aatmaanam chaiva sarvatra yah pashyetsa vai brahmaa naakaprushte viraajathi || 1.23.1

Seeing all beings in himself, a wise man thinks about it and is not perplexed.

A Brahmin who sees himself in all beings, likewise, shines forth in the vault of heaven. [2, 61]


  1. Garg, Ganga Ram. Encyclopaedia of the Hindu World. Vol 2. New Delhi: Concept Publ. 1992. p.552
  2. Olivelle, Patrick. Dharmasutras: The Law Codes of Apastambha, Gautama, Baudayana, and Vasistha. Motilal Banarsidass. 2000
  3. Buhler, Georg. The Sacred Laws.  Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1897
  4. Sen, S.N. & A.K. Bag. The Sulba Sutras. New Delhi. Indian National Science Academy. 1983. p.234
  5. http://www.thehindu.com/br/2005/03/22/stories/2005032200241700.htm

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.


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.


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.


Click here to buy this book!

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).


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]


  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

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).

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

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

Excerpt: Dasama Skandha of Potana’s Bhagavata Purana II

The following Post continues our Series on Narasaraju garu’s Book on Bhagavatamu

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

This installment will cover the Author’s Preface, a brief intro on Pothana Mahakavi, and provide selections from the Original Work itself.

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)

Part II can be found below at the end of the article and is also available for free.

       chetularanga sivuni pujimpadeni

       norunovvanga hari kirthi nuduvadeni

       dayayu satyambu lonuga talupadeni

        kaluganetiki tallula kadupuchetu

If Lord Siva is not worshipped by one with folded

hands till the hands ache, Lord Hari`s glory is not

sung in full throat till it chokes, kindness towards

others and righteousness are not cultivated by one,

giving such a birth is a curse to the mother

[Excerpt. Some emphasis ours.]

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


Bhagavata Purana is one among eighteen Puranas written by sage Vyasa in Sanskrit. Puranas are  accounts of births and deeds of Hindu gods.The literal definition of a Purana is that which remains new perennially.  Bhagavata Purana emphasizes the path of devotion to the lord by describing his sterling qualities and incarnations. It was first taught by Vyasa to his son, Suka. Being requested by Parikshit tormented by an impending death by the bite of a serpent, Suka recited Bhagavata Purana enabling Parikshit to attain salvation.

Being the most prominent among the Puranas, Bhagavata Purana underwent translations into several other languages. Its translation into Telugu by Potana is one such. It is believed that Potana was born and spent his life in a village called Bammera located in the present Telangana State during the fifteenth century. He wrote the work there motivated by the appearance and command of lord Rama of whom he was an ardent devotee.

Potana’s Bhagavata Purana continues to remain close to the hearts of Telugu-speaking people since the concept of Mathura Bhakti, one of several recommended methods of devotion to the lord, is competently illustrated by him in the work through simple and sweet vocabulary. His work has been embedded with a rhythmic and a delightful combination of vocabulary to make the readers recite its verses over and over again in a devotional ecstasy. Potana`s Bhagavata Purana continues to influence a large section of Telugu population to imbibe a spiritual thinking, a devotional involvement and a principled living.

It is believed that Telugu has been in use ever since the commencement of the Christian era. However, prominent literary works in Telugu emerged only from the middle of eleventh century C. E. The earliest significant work was a translation of Mahabharata from Sanskrit, like other works which followed. Consequently, this period of Telugu literature is known as Anuvada Yuga, an era of translations.

The mode of translation followed can be divided into three types: (i) Swatantra Anuvada or Kathanuvada, (ii) Bhava-anuvada and (iii) Yatha-tadha-anuvada.The first mode of translation was adopted by the famous Kavitraya, the three famous Telugu literary personalities, Nannaya,Tikkana and Yerrapragada in the translation of Mahabharata. Here the translator enjoys the liberty of additions and deletions of the original work adhering at the same time to the story of the original. In the second type followed by Srinatha, another towering Telugu literary personality of the distant past, in the translation of Nyshadha,written in Sanskrit by Harsha, only the essence of the original is reproduced.The third type, followed principally for the translation of dramas, is a true reproduction of the original including the usage of the same vocabulary, being a literal counterpart of the one used in the original. Potana followed a judicious combination of types (i) and (ii) being motivated by the Kavitraya and Srinatha. Being a strong devotee of the lord he elaborated extensively the devotional sequences departing from the original. Potana, in addition to his devotion to the lord, was a great scholar and a poet of exllence. His Bhagavata Purana contained stanzas of all categories of Telugu poetry.  It is mentioned by Potana in his Bhagavata Purana that he had a transcendental experience of the appearance of lord Rama and his consort Sita commanding him to translate Vyasa’s Bhagavata Purana into Telugu to free himself from the mundane terrestrial bonds to get salvation. That experience seemed to have transformed the natural poetic ability of Potana into an ecstatic state of mind which resulted in his version of Bhagavata Purana which makes a studious and devoted reader of the work wonder whether at all a human mind can attain such levels of excellence once again.

Potana`s literary prowess is believed to be a divine gift. He says that some among the likely readers of his work have a bias for Telugu while others have a liking for Sanskrit. He prefers to adopt a judicious combination of the two languages in his Bhagavata Purana, a luxury which he could afford because of his proficiency in both the languages. According to Potana`s philosophy activities devoid of devotion to god are totally futile.

The Dasama Skandha,Tenth Canto of Bhagavata Purana, is different from others, being a complete and a competent account of the different facets of Krishna Avatara,  an incarnation of lord Krishna. He is considered to be the primordial incarnation of lord Vishnu, who appeared in the form of other Avataras. Bhagavata Purana is considered to be an embodiment of lord Vishnu himself with its twelve cantos as the different organs of the lord.The significance of Dasama Skandha is evident from the fact that it is considered to be the face of the lord and is therefore distinct from the other cantos. It is the biggest among the cantos of Bhagavata Purana spreading over three thousand verses and pieces of prose.

The writer of the present translation of Dasama Skandha of Potana`s Bhagavata Purana into English has no pretensions about his competence to undertake the work since he spent a major part of his life of about eight decades in studying, teaching and guiding research in Chemistry at a couple of Central Universities, namely, Banaras Hindu University,Varanasi and North-Eastern Hill University, Shilling.A tenure of about four decades, his entire professional career, was consequently spent away from Andhra Pradesh as a Pravasa Andhra. He could thus realize the disadvantage inflicted by him on his son and daughter, as well as by his intimate Telugu colleagues on their children, by alienating them from an exposure to even rudimentary aspects of Telugu literature for no fault of the youngsters. The same sentiment is applicable to a big chunk of contemporary Telugu-speaking people scattered all over the globe consequent upon professional compulsions.

Being motivated probably by an over-ambitious feeling that he is capable of writing a comprehensible English, the author ventured to do Yadha-tadha anuvada into English of Dasama Skandha of Potana`s Bhagavata Purana which has been very close to his heart right from his days of higher secondary education  in Veeresalingam High School, Rajahmahendravaram, a place of Adi Kavi Nannaya. His audacity to attempt this work was to a large extent motivated by the fact that selected portions of Dasama Skandha of Potana`s Bhagavata Purana were taught to him by an illustrious Telugu literary personality of the recent past, namely the late Sri Madhunapantula Satyanarayana Sastri, the then member of the teaching staff of the high school in which the author studied, to whom the author wants to express his homage and gratitude. The present attempt is primarily intended to expose the Pravasa Andhra adolescents, not knowing written Telugu, who may read this work, to the nuances of Potana`s Bhagavata Purana, an opportunity denied to them by their parents, for which the youngsters are not to be blamed.

The author is not apologetic about his truncated level of comprehension of Bhagavata Purana since Potana himself says in his work that a complete understanding of the work is beyond the capability of any one. The greatness of this Purana is such that even a negligible level of understanding benefits the one who makes an attempt. In order to avoid inconvenience in typing, no transliteration is followed in the present work since the clientele is supposed to be familiar with pronunciation of the Sanskrit words of the work given in italics.The present translation has been divided into three parts to avoid unwieldiness. Part I consists of events ranging from Krishnavatara to lifting of Goverdhanagiri while Part II includes events ranging from Rasakrida to Rukmini Kalyana. The remaining events of Dasama Skandha ranging from Narakasuravadha to  Subhadra Parinaya come under Part III of the present work.

Miscellaneous short-comings of the author in understanding some of the usages of Potana are adequately compensated by referring to a few illustrious relevant publications of TTD Religious Publication Series, Tirupati, Potti Sriramulu Telugu Viswavidyalayam, Hyderabad, and of Geeta Press, Gorakhpur. In addition, an exposure to the spiritual discourses by illustrious personalities namely, Sri Swamy Chinmayananda, Sri Swamy Ranganathananda, Sri Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj, Sri Ganapat Sachchidananda Swamy, Sri Sukhbodhananda Swamy, Sri Sundarachaitnyananda Swamy, Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamy, Sri Siddheswaraananda Bharathi Swamy and Sri Ravi Shankar and also of Sri Chaganti Koteswara Rao and Sri Samavedam Shanmukha Sarma, among others, transmitted through different TV channels of India, is of extensive  guidance to the author. The author desires to place on record his indebtedness and gratefulness to these organisations and personalities for rendering commendable service to the spiritually oriented sections of our community.

T.S.B. Narasaraju


(v) Potana`s Biography

Potana also known as Potaraju was born in a village Bammera located in the Warangal Taluk of the present Telangana State . While the exact year of his birth is not known, he is believed to have lived between 1400 and 1470 C. E. He was born in Kaundinyasa  Gotra as the second son of  Kesana and Lakkamamba. Their first son was Tippana. That Srinatha, the famous Telugu poet, was Potana`s brother-in-law, has no historical basis. There is evidence to show that Potana had a son by name Kesana  named after Potana`s father. Potana`s son seemed to have inherited literary prowess of the father to earn the title, Proudha Saraswati .  In fact the literary proficiency seemed to have percolated through the entire progeny of Potana. In addition to Bhagavata Purana,  Potana wrote Veerabhadra Vijaya, Bhogini Dandaka and Narayana Sataka.

(vi) Dedication of Potana`s Bhagavata Purana to Almighty

Bammera Potaraju decided to offer his version of Bhagavata Purana to lord Sri Hari for the good of all. By offering , instead , to kings of disrepute in return to gifts  such as  Dhanadhanya Vastuvahanas and Grihagramadulu, the author feels that he succumbs after death to  lord Yama`s punishments. The following is an account of the sentiments of Potana which prompted him to offer his work to the almighty :–

“A great man appeared before my eyes. He was with his consort and comparable to a blue cloud coupled with a lightning. His smile was as pleasant as the moon-light. He wore a bow comparable to the curvatures and beauty of a huge Ganuga tree entwined with creepers. He wore a crown as effulgent as the sun on top of a blue mountain. His eyes were as elegant as the petals of a lotus. He was a broad-chested prominent king of kings.”

He exhorted Potana to translate Vyasa`s Bhagavata Purana into Telugu.

“ What I am going to write is the most sacred Bhagavata Purana. The one who makes me write is Ramachandra Prabhu himself.This writing has the propensity to disentangle me from the family bonds. Therefore I decided to write it. Where is the need to write any other work?

When a complete comprehension of Bhagavata Purana transcends the abilities of even lord Siva and Brahma will it be possible to understand it for an ordinary man like me? Yet I make an attempt  to  write  what I heard about it from  scholars  and what is understood by me. Because of my good fortune great poets like Nannaya and Tikkana who translated many works from Sanskrit to Telugu left Bhagavata Purana.I translate it into Telugu to sanctify myself.

I offer my version of Bhagavata Purana to lord Gopalakrishna who wears beautiful effulgent garlands, resides in Nandagokula, steals  butter and ghee  from houses of shepherds, redeems the sorrows of devotees, wins the hearts of Gopakantas and  destroys  demons such as Trinavarta and Putana. My work is dedicated to Krishna, a lord of exemplary qualities endowed with the grace of lord Siva, a destroyer of demon Banasura, a savior of Gopagopikas from a hail-storm caused by Indra, by lifting the Govardhana mountain, a redeemer of a curse on Yakshas by uprooting a couple of huge trees, a protector of Varnasrama Dharma and a lord capable of obstructing sun`s rays through his Sudarsana Chakra.

I offer my work to the lord who is an embodiment of grace, a counsellor capable of averting the agony of Arjuna to revive his duty consciousness, a protector of the safety of all living beings and a benefactor of his devotees having the sense organs under their control. He could dance playfully on the hood of a serpent, Kaliya, and destroy the army of Jarasandha several times.

The version of Bhagavata Purana written by me is dedicated to the lord who reclines on a serpent, Adishesha, wearing yellow silken garments. He  follows justice   rigorously  in deciding the results of Karma of human beings, resurrects  lives of sons of a Brahmin , restores mental peace to an agitated Rukmini, gives happiness to all living beings, exhibits grace to righteous human beings, steals butter from the houses of Gopikas and creates the entire universe.

My Bhagavata Purana is offered to the almighty who is a skillful sole monarch of initiating creation, propagation, protection and destruction of the universe. He taught Vedas to Brahma. Remaining pure and effulgent, he spreads an illusion as a magician showing that the universe created by him engulfed in the Trigunas  is real, like the belief of existence of water in a mirage. I adore such a lord who is ever present in my thoughts.”


Dasama Skandha of Bhagavata Purana is distinct from the other Skandhas since it contains a complete and competent account of the different facets of Krishnavatara. It is therefore considered as Sri Krishna Sarvaswa. Lord Krishna is considered to be the primordial incarnation of the lord who appeared in the form of the other Avataras. Although the appearance of lord Rama and his exhortation to translate Bhagavata Purana into Telugu to be dedicated to lord Rama motivated Potana to take up the sacred mission, he dedicated his work, instead, to lord Krishna conscious of the primordiality of the lord.

Bhagvata Purana is considered to be an embodiment of lord Vishnu, its twelve Chapters or Skandhas being considered as the organs of the lord. The significance of Dasama Skandha is evident from the fact that it is considered to be the face of the lord. Just as Krishnavatara is distinct from the remaining Avataras of the lord, Dasama Skandha is distinct from the other Chapters of Bhagavata Purana.

The story of Krishna is competently described in several other Sanskrit works, the principal among them being Jaya Deva`s Gita Govinda, Leela Suka`s Sri Krishna Karnamruta and Narayana Tirthulu`s Sri Krishna Leelatarangini, among others. An equally eloquent account of lord Krishna in Telugu is provided by Yarrana’s Hari Vamsa and Potana`s Dasama Skandha of his Bhagavata Purana, among others.

Dasama Skandha is the biggest among the Chapters of Bhagavata Purana spreading over three thousand verses and pieces of prose. It is divided into two parts known as Purva Bhaga and Uttara Bhaga. The Telugu titles of principal aspects of the Purva Bhaga are : (Part I): Krisnavatara Ghattam,   Kamsuni pampuna Putana yanu Rakshasi  Vrepalle ku Chanudenchuta, Sri Krishna Balaramula Balyakreedabhivarnana, Mryudbhakshana, Viswarupa Pradarshanabhivarnanamu, Sri Krishnudu Kaliyamardanamu Gavinchuta, Gopika Vastrapaharanamu, Sri Krishnudu Govardhana Parvatamunettut. (Part II):  Rasakreedabhivarnanamu, Kamsuni Pampuna Akrurudu Brindavanamunaku Chanudenchuta, Sri Krishnamurty Madhuranagara Prvesamu Cheyuta, Sri Krishna Balaramulu Chanura Mushtikulanu Vadhinchuta, Sri Krishnudu Kamsuni Vadhinchuta, Muchkunduni Purva Kathabhivarnanamu, Rukmini Kalyana  Katha Prarambhamu, and Sri Krishnudu Rukmini Devini Pendliyaduta.among others. The Uttara Bhaga of Bhagavata Purana  is constituted, among others, by the Telugu titles :  (Part III): Sri Krisnudu Satyabhamatokudanaragi Narakasuruni Vadhinchuta, Naradundu Sri Krishnunito Dharmaraju Rajasuyamu Neraverpumani Chepputa, Pandavulu Sri Krishnuni Yadurkoni Todkoni Povuta, Sri Krishnuni Sahayunduga Bhimundu  Jarasandhunito Yudhamu Seyuta, Dharmaraju Chesedi Rajasuyamunandu Sri Krishnudu Sisupaluni Vadhinchuta, Kuchelopakhyanamu, Subhadra Parinayamu, and Parikshittunaku Sukayogi Vishnuseva Prasastyambu Chepputa.

2.Krishna Bringing Nanda from City of Varuna

On a sacred Ekadasi-day Nanda observed fasting and performed Puja of Vishnu. Unmindful of the fact that it was time of demons, he got into river Yamuna to have Dwadasi-bath even before the day-break. Then demon Varuna`s servant took him away to the city of Varuna. Rest of the Gopakas got agitated since they could not find Nanda. They shouted loud to call Balarama and Krishna. The latter could know that his father was deceitfully kidnapped by the servant of Varuna to his land. He reached that land at once (953).

Varuna saw Madhava visiting his place, worshipped him hurriedly, and said obediently, “Oh! Lord! You are kind enough to visit my house. You make the learned happy. You are the lord who makes those rejoicing in your lotus-shaped feet tread a path unattainable to others. A visit by such a lord filled my heart with over-flowing joy. My desires are fulfilled. Obeisance to you makes my life sanctified (954, 955, 956). Oh! Mahatma! Maya, capable of engulfing all the Lokas, is incapable of conquering you and hence remains under your control, you being the lord of lords.Your effulgent form is the donor of good. You rejoice always in protecting the pious-minded. You are the emperor of those virtuous people who possess Tapas as their wealth. I am saluting to such a lord to free myself from the bodily turmoils (957).You are a role-model in devotion to one`s father ! Your devotees with  pure hearts  are dear to you ! Without even an iota of intelligence my servant  brought your father here. Kindly take back your father with you.Forget about the offence. Pardon me and my servant and show kindness to us. Forgiving the repentant  is a resplendent virtue in you (958).

Excusing the repentant Varuna, Hari returned along with his father. Nanda narrated to his relations the account of his son releasing him from Varuna`s city and bringing him back.They in return thought Krishna to be lord Iswara himself. He promised to fulfill their desires (959). He felt that people, in general, get entangled in mundane worldly activities experiencing pleasure and pain being engulfed in a mirage incapable of realizing his true form (960). With such thoughts  the kind-hearted lord manifested to the Gopakas his Loka which transcends Maya,which is effulgent, indescribable, real, blissful with realization, ultimate, eternal and seen only by those transcending the Trigunas (961). The lord showed to Nanda and others the Brahmaloka seen by Akrura earler. They felt delighted. They saw the divine form of Krishna, praised and worshipped him (962).

There was then the onset of autumn with nights illuminating all directions under full moon.These nights caused feast to the lotuses, difficult times to the love-lorn, favourable conditions for Cupid`s sojourns, enjoyable times to clusters of Chakora birds and times congenial for the wives to succumb to the enticements of their husbands (963).There was onset of Sarad Purnima which provides a clarification to the art of love-making, makes the lotuses blossom, provokes the desire for love-making, eliminates the tolerance of love-lorn, perturbs the Chakravaka birds and causes joy and good to the people, in general (964). Just as a lover applies Kumkum to the fore-head of his sweet-heart, moon, comparable to a lover beautified the east, comparable to his sweet-heart, by the red light, comparable to Kumkum, propagated at the time of his onset in the east (965). Circular, effulgently red and extra-ordinarily smooth  full moon emerged on the sky in the proximity of Udayagiri to the delight of clusters of Chakoras. It appeared as a golden Kalasam on the army-camp of Manmadha invading the soldiers of the love-mongers. It is like the weapon of the destroyer of demon Sambara intended to cut across the resistance of the love-lorn, comparable to the tender edges of a creeper. It is like a fire let loose by Manmadha to destroy the cofidence, comparable to a forest, of the lovers separated from their sweet-hearts. It is like a torch used by Manmadha to hunt the lovers tormented by the pangs of separation from their love-mates (966).

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

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

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

Excerpt: Dasama Skandha of Potana’s Bhagavata Purana

The following Post is based on the Translation of Professor T.S.B. Narasaraju garu

To inaugurate Andhra Cultural Portal’s Spotlight on Telugu Literature, is a wonderful work based on one of the most beloved texts in Telugu Poetry.

We are honored to present an excerpt of the Pothana Telugu Bhagatavam, translated into English by Professor T.S.B. Narasaraju.

Much as the Andhra Mahabharatamu is a classic of Telugu literature so too is the Andhra Maha Bhagavatamu another. But at a time when the word Andhra itself is being reduced in scope, what better work to unify all Telugus than the Telugu Bhagavatamu of Telangana’s Pothana.

For those of you who wish to read the Bhagavata Purana translated into contemporary Telugu, please refer to this excellent site: www.telugubhagavatam.org. However, many of our diasporic youth are unable to understand Telugu, let alone, read Telugu script. Therefore, Sri Narasaraju garu has embarked upon this tremendous effort on behalf of all Telugus, to translate key parts of the Mahabhagavatamu, into English. Here is his own selected quote from Pothana’s original to express the sentiment behind his effort to bring a classic to the current day.

kamalakshu narchinchu karamulu karamulu

srinadhuvarninchu jihva jihva

sura rakshakuni chuchu chudkulu chudkulu

seshasayi ki mrokku siramu siramu

Hands deserve to be called as hands only if they pray to the Lord. Tongue is worthy of being called as a tongue only if it praises and describes the Lord. Eyes can be called as eyes only when they see the Lord. Head deserves its name only if it salutes to the Lord


T.S.B. Narasaraju garu is a much respected academic who taught Chemistry at Acharya Nagarjuna University (Guntur) and Banaras Hindu University. He is also learned in traditional Saastriya Telugu, and in his retirement, has embarked upon translating the Bhagavatamu into English for the benefit of our pravasandhra youth.

Professor Narasaraju has done a great service for our Telugu community and we are privileged to bring his work to you in a Series of Articles. These will feature excerpts from his Taatparyam of the Dasama Skandam of Telugu Bhagavatamu.

Publishers and other inquirers can reach Sri Narasaraju via email at:



Below we provide an excerpt from Part I of T.S.B. Narasaraju garu’s book:

Dasama Skandha of Potana’s Bhagavata Purana.

It is a translation into English of the 10th Canto of Pothana’s Telugu rendition of the Bhagavata Purana. On request of Professor Narasaraju, we have attached Part I of his 3 Part translation of the Dasama Skandhamu, which can be downloaded at the end of the article.

Without further ado, here are selected excerpts from the book.

[Excerpt. Some emphasis ours.]

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


                            A Literal Translation into English  (Part I)


Life on earth is sustained by many essentials. The most important among them, to live with joy and enthusiasm, is love-divine. Although Sri Bhagavata Purana is the quintessence of Karma, Bhakti and Jnana, it primarily elicits love-divine which is transcendental in its experience. Blessed are those who drank the nectar of love! Blessed are the Gopikas who could taste it and got completely merged with Sri Krishna Chaitanyam!

There are many translations of Vyasa Bhagavata Purana into several Indian languages. Its translation into Telugu by Sri Bammera Potana of fourteenth century stands on a high pedestal both in its language and sweetness of Bhava. Its verses are sublime in thought, sweet to chant and easy to memorise. They bring out a vivid picture of stories and expressions of feelings of characters, especially the Leelas of Bhagawan Sri Krishna even to ordinary readers who wish to read them as stories.

Telugu literature with all its lofty thoughts and rich translations is being slowly forgotten by the masses in the din and roar of modern life and its various compulsions. The fact that Puranas, epics and Upanishads, among others, build the character of our nation is not remembered and replaced with a modern craze for standard of living leading to dangerous tendencies.Such a trend causes all kinds of unhealthy comparisons and hatred among people resulting in destruction. These great texts that build character among human beings are going out of reach. Efforts must be made to bring a fresh breeze of life through a revival of a desire for higher knowledge.

It is with this sincere and dedicated thought that Dasama Skandha of Potana`s Bhagavata Purana has been brilliantly translated by Sri T. S. B. Narasaraju into English for the benefit of many residing abroad who lost touch with their mother-tongue, Telugu. Sri Raju`s heart throbbed with enthusiasm to bring  Potana`s Bhagavata Purana to children of Telugu resulting in the form of this book.The author introduced the present work very well by giving necessary background in the form of a brief biographical account of Potana, style of his literary prowess, purpose behind the present translation and the sources of inspiration motivating  the completion of the present work. In the beginning of the work itself the author brought out the difference between Puranas and Itihasas. This sets the tone of the text and surges the reader ahead with ease in mind and clarity in intellect. His translation is lucid and deep in its flavour. Without losing the essence of the original he brought out the translation in an exemplary manner using simple and effective language. The work is inspiring and holds the reader`s mind with inquisitiveness to read further. It is lucid in style and flows with beauty of expression. The content is absorbing.

The work begins with an invocation seeking the blessings of all those inspiring Sri Raju to grasp the core essence of Srimad Bhagavata Purana. In his Introduction Sri Raju wonderfully described how Potana got motivated by Lord Sri Ramachandra to translate Bhagavata Purana into Telugu from Sanskrit. It was, however, dedicated to Sri Krishna, a Purna Avatara and a Supreme Lord manifesting himself with all his powers unconcealed unlike other incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

It is not an easy task to bring out expressions from Potana`s verses into English. Sri Raju achieved this because of his devotion to the Lord, sincere self-application and taking up the work as a Tapas. I am sure that this work reaches the hands of many inspiring them to read, understand and cultivate the great ideals of Rishis of yore getting motivated to live as beacons of light to many around their lives.

May Lord Sri Krishna bless one and all!

Hari Om!

Swami Chidrupananda


(i) Potana`s Prayers

Sri Krishna, the lord who is a  saviour of mankind, skilled in showing grace to his devotees, a destroyer of demons, a creator of several universes by  a mere twinkling of his eyes in a playful way and a son of king Nanda and Yasoda is being worshipped to get salvation.

I salute to lord Vighneswara, a recipient of  maternal love of Himagirinandini, a  cleanser of the sins of Kaliyuga, a source of pleasure to his devotees, a  destroyer of impediments  of those worshipping him, a centre of joy through his sweet talk to those praying to him and one who relishes Modakas being seated on a Mooshika Vahana.

I pray by prostrating with devotion to lord Siva, the destroyer of  pride of Manmadha. He  holds a spear in hand, wears a  garland of skulls and  a crescent moon on head, makes the lotus-like face of Parvati blossom like the sun  making the lotuses blossom  and resides in the hearts of  great ascetics like Narada. Engrossed in a playful dance, he is  kind to his devotees like an ocean of grace.

I serve with attention and devotion  lord Brahma, a skillful creator of the universe, a donor of happiness to goddess Saraswati, a codifier of the Vedas, a leader to rescue the Devatas, a conqueror of sins, a saviour of devotees and a well-wisher of ascetics.

Touching the floor with my forehead, I salute with devotion to goddess Saraswati having beautiful black locks of hair and carrying a garland of Rudrakshas, a parrot, a lotus and a book in her hands. Having won the heart of lord Brahma, Oh! goddess Saraswati! You are a mother full of condescension.  I venture to write Bhagavata Purana  in spite of the fact that I do not have the proficiency of any one among Valmiki, Kumara Swamy, Vyasa and Kalidasa, among others. Please grant me adequate competence to fulfill my objective.

I pray to goddess Durga Bhavani to grant me the fortune of a poetic ability of distinction.  She is the mother of all mothers being the primordial mother of the three famous mothers, goddesses Lakshmi. Parvati and Saraswati. She is a destroyer of the demons and is the greatest among the mothers. The Devatas have implicit faith in her and hence she stays in the minds of their mothers. Such a goddess Durga is my mother.

May goddess Lakshmi grant us perennial fortunes! She is the empress of lord Sri Hari, an abode of fortunes, a treasure of wealth and prosperity and a sister of the moon god Chandra. Tender as a flower and comparable to a bunch of lotuses she is the play-mate of goddesses Vani and Sarvani and is being worshipped in all the three Lokas. She is a destroyer of poverty through her effulgent looks.

If lord Siva is not worshipped by one with folded hands, lord Hari`s glory is not sung  in full throat till it is choked, kindness  towards others and righteous living  are not cultivated by one,   giving such a human birth is a curse to  the mother.

(ii) Puranas and Itihasas

Purana is defined as one among a collection of Sanskrit writings not included in the Vedas . Puranas give an account of births  and deeds of Hindu gods as well as of creation and destruction of universe. The literal meaning of a Purana is that which remains perennially new in spite of its ancient origin. Its primary objective is to teach methods of righteous living through a medium of stories. An Itihasa, on the other hand, is an account of historical events which literally happened.

Mahabharata and Ramayana are two famous Itihasas, the latter also being considered to be a Kavya.They are rated to be next only to the Vedas in importance, the Puranas collectively are valued as the fifth Veda. Recent findings established the Puranas, also like Itihasas,to be indispensable sources for establishing authentic Indian history. Puranas are important store-houses to unravel ancient Indian political, religious, social, spiritual and cultural aspects.

In Sanskrit there are eighteen principal Puranas known as Mahapuranas and another eighteen subsidiary Puranas known as Upapuranas. The Mahapuranas are classified into three principal categories based respectively on Siva, Vishnu and Sakti. These originated independently from different pilgrim centers,being places usually heavily crowded and hence amenable for wide publicity.

Vedic literature is difficult to read and understand, a full life-span being inadequate for the purpose for mundane spiritual aspirants. The Puranas provided a suitable milieu as alternatives and hence became popular. It is believed that all the Mahapuranas are written by Vyasa in an easily comprehensible Sanskrit. They function as sources of Dharma and promote  principled living ensuring human enlightenment.

The following lines enable one to remember the names of all the eighteen Mahapuranas :-

Bha-dwayam  ma-dwayam chaiva bhra-trayam  vaa-chatushtayam                                                                                   

Anaapalinga kooskaani puraanaani prachakshate

Bha-dwayam   (two starting with Bha-):  1. Bhagavata Purana, 2. Bhavishyapurana

Ma-dwayam  (two starting with Ma-) :   3. Markandeyapurana , 4 .  Matsyapurana

Bhra-trayam  (three starting with Bhra-) :      5. Bhramhapurana, 6. Bhrahmandapurana , 7 .  Bhrahmavyvartapurana

Vaa-chatushtayam  (four starting with Vi/ Vaa) :   8. Vamanapurana , 9 .  Varahapurana, 10. Vayupurana,, 11 .Vishnupurana

Anaapalinga12. (A) Agnipurana, 13. (Naa) Naradapurana, 14. (Pa) Padmapurana, 15. (Lin) Lingapurana 16.(Ga) Garudapurana

Kooskani : 17. (Koo) Koormapurana and 18. (Ska) Skaandapurana

(“Bha-Bha-Ma-Ma-Bhra-Bhra-Bhra-Va-Va-Va-Vi-Ana-pa-linga-ku-skani” is

another acronym  to remember)

(iii) Bhagavata Purana

Sage Vyasa became Veda Vyasa by classifying the unified  form of Vedas into four parts known as Rigveda, Yajurveda,Sama Veda and Adharvana Veda. In addition, Vyasa  gave the principles of righteous living through his works. Since reading of Vedas was prohibited to some sections of the population in those days, Vyasa was feeling sad that he could not write  something for the benefit of such in their quest for god.

Sage Narada  came to the agitated Vyasa. He praised the divine qualities of Vyasa and wanted to know the reasons for Vyasa`s sorrow.Vyasa in return praised Narada`s qualities  of uninterrupted devotion to the lord motivating others in all parts of the universe to do the same. Since Narada is omniscient Vyasa requested him  to  diagnose the reason for Vyasa`s mental agony and to suggest a remedy.

Narada said  that though the works of Vyasa were eloquent in establishing the different facets of Dharma, there was no mention of the stories of the lord  emphasizing  his divine qualities.That, according to Narada, was the reason for the mental agony of Vyasa. According to Narada no literary work,  however  well- written,  was worth the effort without a mention of the lord.  Narada said that,  on the contrary, even a sub-standard literary work had a sanctifying effect on the reader if it mentioned about the lord. Narada exhorted Vyasa to come out with Bhagavata Purana emphasizing the path of devotion to the lord, praising Hari`s sterling qualities and giving an account of Hari`s incarnations since they were missing in his earlier works. Narada said  that listening, thinking  and meditating about the almighty supplemented by praising the lord and  singing about his glory  were the only  means for human salvation which transcendeds even  proficient learning and rendering  of Vedas,Vedanta and Bhagavatgita.

Being thus provoked by Narada and having realized the importance of inculcating the concept of Bhakti, Vyasa wrote Bhagavata Purana meant for universal good and taught it first to his illustrious son Suka. Being requested by king Parikshit tormented by an impending death by the bite of a serpent Takshaka, sage Suka enabled the king to attain Moksha in seven days through the milieu of listening to Bhagavata Purana recited by him. This account describes the genesis of Bhagavata Purana. The origin of Bhagavata Purana is thus the Veda, an abode of all boons. It is delivered by sage Suka as nectar to be relished by the desirous to attain Moksha which is a merger of the human soul with the almighty. Bhagavata Purana is considered to be the most prominent among the Puranas being equivalent to the entire collection of Upanishads. Attainment of Moksha is easier through a devotional and concentrated study of Bhagavata Purana than by reading the entire gamut of Vedas. It is an established fact that the worldly pleasures are temporary. Moksha is permanent and is the ultimate goal of human birth. It is achieved only through the grace of god. One is qualified to get divine grace only through devotion to god adopting Bhakti, knowledge and renunciation.

(iv) Dasaavataras and Importance of Krishnavatara

The Dasavataras, the ten principal incarnations of the lord Vyshnavism are Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Rama, Parasurama, Krishna, Budha and Kaliki. These are given in the following Sloka :-

Matsyaha kurmo varahasche narasimhasche vamanaha

ramoramasche budhaha kalikirevacha

There is no mention of Krishna in this verse. The reason for this is that Krishna transcends the Trimurtys. He is an embodiment of Parabrahma and is considered to be the primordial form of all Avataras.

The following abbreviation in Telugu enables one to remember the names of the ten incarnations and their serial order :- (Ma-Ku-Va-Na,Va-Ri Pelli-Ki-Ba-Ka) : 1. Ma = Matsya , 2. Ku = Kurma, 3. Va = Varaha, 4. Na = Narasimha , 5.Va = Vamana , 6. (R)i = Rama, 7.(P)elli = Parasurama , 8. (Ki)  = Krishna, 9. (Ba)  = Budha, and 10.  Ka = Kalki. (The abbreviation means in Telugu: Makuvana “Rain for us” and Varipelliki Baka “Trumpet for their marriage”)

(vii) Literary Aspects of Potana`s Bhagavata Purana

Bhagavata Purana remains close to the hearts of Telugu-speaking people, particularly the descriptions of Krishna Leelas due to the fact that these aspects were competently described by Potana in his Bhagavata Purana,  promoting Madhura Bhakti through selection of simple and sweet vocabulary. It has been emphasized in the scriptures of Hindu religion that realization of god can be through paths of Jnana, Karma and Bhakti.The path of Jnana is difficult and is achieved principally by Rishis and that too only in the form of Nirakara or Nirguna Brahma. The path of Karma is also of restricted utility since it is dependent on gender, caste and age of the devotee. The path of Bhakti is capable of transcending all these obstacles since it has been successfully adopted by the learned, common folk, male and female as well as young and old. Through Mathura Bhakti it is easier to get the Akara or Saguna Brahma. Bhagavata Purana has been playing a significant role in propagating the concept of Navavidha Bhakti, the nine established forms of Bhakti.  These are : 1. Sravana (Listening), 2. Sankeertana (Praising), 3. Smarana (Remembering), 4. Paricharya (Praying to lord`s feet), 5. Archana (Worshipping), 6. Vandana (Prostrating), 7. Dasya (Serving), 8. Sakhya (Befriending) and 9. Atma Nivedana (Surrendering). It is the dominance of Mathura Bhakti which distinguishes the Dasama Skandha of Bhagavata Purana from others.

In addition, Potana gave appropriate importance to other Rasas depending upon the context of the work. Even abusive language used by the enemies of Krishna has been dexterously handled  by Potana adopting Vyangya Rachana , giving a double meaning,  without hurting the sentiments of Krishna`s  devotees , himself being one among them.

His work has been embedded with a rhythmic and a meaningful combination of vocabulary to make the readers recite its verses over and over again in a devotional ecstasy. Even today Potana`s Bhagavata Purana is able to influence a large section of Telugu population to imbibe a spiritual thinking, a devotional involvement and a  principled living.

Telugu language seemed to have been in use ever since the commencement of the Christian era. Prominent literary works in Telugu emerged only from the middle of the eleventh century A.D. and the earliest significant work was Mahabharata, a translation from a Sanskrit  work like other works which followed. Consequently, this period of Telugu literature is known as Anuvada Yuga, an era of translation. The mode of translation followed was divided into three types: (i) Swatantra-anuvada or Katha-anuvada, (ii) Bhava-anuvada and (iii) Yatha-tatha-anuvada .The first mode of translation was adopted by the famous Kavitraya, Nannaya, Tikkana and Yerrapragada, in the translation of Mahabharata. Here the translator enjoys the liberty of additions and deletions of the original work adhering at the same time to  the story of the original. In the second type, followed by Srinatha in the translation of Nyshadha, written in Sanskrit by Harsha, the essence of the original is scrupulously reproduced in the translation. The third type followed principally for the translation of dramas is a true reproduction of the original including the usage of the same vocabulary, being a literal counterpart of the one used in the original.

In the translation of Vyasa`s Bhagavata Purana into Telugu,  Potana followed a judicious combination of types one and two being motivated by the Kavitraya as well as by Srinatha . Being a strong devotee of the lord, he elaborated extensively the Bhakti-oriented sequences departing from the original. Potana was a great scholar and a great poet. His Bhagavata Purana contained stanzas spread over all categories of verses of Telugu Chandas such as Kanda, Ataveladi, Tetagiti, Utpala Mala, Champaka Mala, Mattakokila and Seesam.

As mentioned earlier, Potana had a transcendental experience of the appearance of lord Rama exhorting him to translate Bhagavata Purana of Vyasa into Telugu to free himself from the mundane terrestrial bonds to get sanctified. That experience  transformed  the natural poetic proficiency of Potana into an ecstatic state of mind  which resulted in Potana`s version of Bhagavata Purana which makes a studious reader of the work wonder whether at all a human mind can attain  such levels of excellence once again.

By Potana`s time Telugu language blossomed into a sweet and mature mother tongue for Telugu people. The language became a great milieu for lullabies, humour, and abusive vocabulary and for blessings, among others. The language thus became a potential medium for delicate expressions spread over all the Nava Rasas. Potana says that some among the likely readers of his work have a bias for Telugu, while others have a liking for Sanskrit. Potana prefers to adopt a judicious combination of the two languages, a luxury which he could afford because of his proficiency in both the languages. Potana`s Bhagavata Purana contains in totality a higher proportion of words of Sanskrit than of Telugu.

Potana pays homage to Vyasa,Valmiki, Bana, Kalidasa, Mayura, Bharavi and the Kavitraya, among others. A testimony that he read their works was indicated by the fact that his Bhagavata Purana contained occasionally their influence on his style of translation. Potana had descriptive sequences in his work both in poetry and prose and his literary prowess was established by the fact that his descriptions have been exquisitely picturesque.

Potana`s literary prowess is known to be a divine gift. It has been established that Potana`s parents and sister were staunch devotees of lord Siva. Motivated by this family tradition Potana strove at every opportunity in his Bhagavata Purana to establish the indistinguishability of Hari and Hara. At the very threshold of his work in the context of his prayers to the almighty he mentions, as indicated in this write-up earlier, that if one fails to do puja to Hara till the hands are tired and does not sing in praise of Hari till the voice chokes his birth is futile and a curse to his mother .While describing the child-hood pranks of lord Krishna, Potana uses his intuitive literary proficiency to establish a parallelism between the highly contrasting Balakrishna and Siva.

Potana sanctified his life by listening to sacred words from scholars of his time. According to Potana`s philosophy activities devoid of devotion to god are totally futile. Potana`s Bhagavata Purana has been exerting a many-faceted influence on the cultural life of Telugu-speaking people. The stamp of Potana`s Bhagavata Purana is evident on many recent and contemporary literary works in Telugu.

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

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

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