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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.

Happy Krishnashtami 2016


From all of us at ACP, Happy Krishnashtami! Krishna Janmashtami Subhakaankshalu!

Along with puja and celebrations, remember the message of the great hero of the Mahabharata: ‘Dharma sustains the whole world‘. Wife and Husband, Father and Son, Mother and Daughter, Brother and Sister, Friend and Friend, it is Dharma that sustains all of these relationships and ensures that by doing justice to all of us, all of us are preserved.


By protecting those who sustain us, person or animal, and treating them humanely, we ensure our own well-being.

By treating others with respect and fairness, all of society is preserved. Greed is not Good, Dharma is good. Practice it.

He may be called makhanchor or muralidhara, but he is also called Go-pala for precisely that reason.

Along with chanting his name,follow his example.That is the surest way to a just society.


What is Needed for a Cultural Revival?


With a sense of gratitude we note that our recent post on the Cultural Resonance of Baahubali made something of a splash on social media. A number of long-time readers, as well as recent twitter followers responded very positively. While I’m truly flattered, and in the case of some of our leading lights, truly honoured by the response, our task has only just begun.

As many of you know, we wrote a series on one of the key impediments to safeguarding the future of the Telugu Language, Andhra Culture, and Indic Civilization. Despite the much vaunted Indian Intelligence (which received a fillip from the selection of a certain new tech CEO), we recognise that this was balanced by a quality known as Indian Stupidity. As such we completed a 5 part series that concluded with Culture: The Cure for Stupidity.


Having not only identified the ailment, but established the appropriate medicine, the question that now remains before us is: “how to ensure healing and recovery?”.  If Bharatavarsha has been on the cultural defensive for the better part of a millennium, how then is this highly accomplished and ancient civilization to revive itself? In short, What is Needed for a Cultural Revival?

Contrary to many of our over-memorizing, but under-thinking commentators, it is not a matter of simply dusting off a few palm leaf manuscripts and tamra patras to revive our samskruthi and recreate the Satya Yuga. A society, a culture, and indeed, a Civilization, is more than just a collection of texts that has to be implemented when an elite again has agency. What’s more, alleged leadership that spends day in day out reviling its masses and imposing a uni-dimensional vision of its ideal-state has no business, let alone legitimacy, to stake claim to authority. The purpose of leadership, political or spiritual, is to recognise the tremendous responsibilities that come with tremendous privilege. It is not a question of ruling jatis and service jatis. By any schema, all are service jatis only, as every varna is mandated to serve Dharma, not itself. That is the path to a spiritual and cultural revival.

Ancient Srirangam Temple, Trichy, Tamizh Nadu

To catalyse a cultural revival, we cannot merely replicate the past, but must use it to inspire us to build a new future.

While the fundamental motives, the governing ideas which constitute the essential spirit of our culture are a part of our very being, they should receive changing expression according to the needs and conditions of our time.-Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan[1, 9-10]

Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi, India

To catalyse a cultural revival, more than mere saastric vidya will be necessary to defend Dharma in the days ahead. Like it or not, mind-boggling material advances have been made, primarily in Western institutions (quietly drawing from the East), that have overwhelmingly increased the sophistication and stakes of man’s material knowledge and power. Entire new fields such as nano-robotics, game theory, information technology, and marketing have come into their own and matured beyond prior mortal conception (at least in this Chaturyuga). Not only learning our own itihasa, but in depth global history, will become crucial, even disqualifying if found lacking, for any putative cultural leader.

To catalyse a cultural revival, cosmopolitan and worldly-wise women and men will be required to collaborate (rather than compete) and create a response to the vast array of cultural kalakeyas arrayed against them and the Aryavarta. From AIT to ADN, there is an alphabet soup of insidious intellectual mechanisms, memes, methodologies, and meta-groups all salivating at the prospect of carving up Bharata by divide and rule. Semiotics and non-governmental organizations have been equally deployed to devastating effect for which there is no sastra to serve as playbook. Indeed, if culture is the new politics, how can dharmic politicians not be the one’s strategising its re-introduction? Some self-serving, self-appointed circa satya yuga samskruthi senapatis think art, music, and the host of civilizational accomplishments must be left unsullied by leadership—as though mere snobs a-sniping would ensure artistic traditions would remain unscathed from those who would hoodwink the hoi polloi. Yes, I believe these self-same sage views were held by the Russian aristocracy on the eve of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution…

Boris Kustodiev’s 1920 painting “Bolshevik”

To catalyse a cultural revival, national and civilizational culture must be balanced by regional culture. Just as the sub-culture of a single varna or jati cannot be imposed, so too cannot the regional culture of a single group be imposed on the nation at large. Does this mean no Indic national and administrative language? Certainly not. But it does mean regional culture must be allowed to express itself in all its Dharmic glory. After all, both Sanskrit and Tamizh fell from Lord Shiva’s damaru. In light of that, while the nation and even civilization can unite around a common devabhasha and desa bhasha, rashtra bhasha and samskruthi must—absolutely must—be respected. If you want a united India, act like it, and learn the language of your state of residence!

 To catalyse a cultural revival, responsibility will lie not only with the elite, but with the masses as well. All sections will have a role to play in the upcoming upheavals, and will have to determine whether they will give in like so many hedonistic helots to their baser instincts and life of unthinking dependence, or rise to the Himalayan heights of nobility that their ancestors came to define.

Civilization is shown in respecting different ways & forms of life

As as a result, our vision of Bharat Mata as not only safe, secure, and splendrous, but also as Jagad Guru (teacher to the world), will materialise only with concerted, critical, collaborative, strategic, and serious thinking. This is not the place for woolly-headed, caste-obsessed, insular, and impractical amateurs. It is precisely this reason why this site is open for all, but challenges serious people—the supposed current and future elite—to stop squabbling and competing like jealous, immature children, and work together for the common good. This requires not only a high culture, but a sense of organizational culture. Instead of each moron fighting and operating as an army of one to create an un-collaborating “organism”, each man or woman of serious intellect and inclination must learn to work with others (even rivals) in the name of the common good. This means taking initiative when the need or even opportunity presents itself, having the people skills to avoid needlessly [ticking] people off, and utilising sense and buddhi to step aside when someone else will prove better at the task.

A man who needs no introduction, Shri Rajiv Malhotra has discussed many of these issues already, perhaps in slightly different terms.

In a recent talk, RM spoke of three components for a cultural revival:

1. knowledge 2. training of leaders 3. institutions. These are the 3 arches that he  listed.

Ever the original thinker (a far rarer quality than is commonly admitted), Rajiv ji has listed three components for reviving our culture and punya bhoomi. These indeed form the required framework. But a strong, fundamental foundation is needed to construct a stable bridge to Nutana Bharata.

As such, we complement his components with our own. While knowledge, training, and institutions will all prove invaluable, there is no point in trying to explain what the expert has already done better. Therefore, this essay will focus on fundamentals. The critical elements to a cultural revival are as follows:

  1. Individual
  2. Family
  3. Community
  4. State
  5. Nation/Civilization



Good values make a good individual. Good individuals make a good family. Good families make a good community. Good communities make a good state. And Good states make a good nation. But to accomplish this, as discussed above, we need Awareness, Team ethic, and Bottom up solutions.

To institute good values, the clay itself must be suitably malleable. The aridity of stupidity must be rejected by identifying and curing its origins.  Following that, the individual must then study dharma. Not the philosophical dharma, not the intellectual dharma (both of those are for advanced students), but the everyday dharma,  the practical dharma . This is attained through the proper study, absorption, and most important, the practice of culture. Arts are merely the alankara (ornament) of culture, dharma is its true identity. Proper study of the stepping stones to dharma require learning (in some cases re-learning) sabyata, saujanya, maryada, and acara. Having understood this, the individual is then prepared to be a valuable and contributing member of a team.



Families are the building blocks of society, which is in turn the building block of culture and civilization. Families raise good dharmic children. Individuals weaned on the welfare state and entitlement economy are selfish and servile, and in some cases, outright vile. Dharma ensures respect and self-respect. Therefore the key to establishing good teams and good families is through rejection of selfishness.



Society must operate not on the basis of hermetically sealed communes, but with a sense of community and common purpose. Paths and panths may vary, kulacaras may differ, but dharma is for all. This is because dharma mandates that we think of society before ourselves. Community comes before korika (iccha or personal desire). Therefore, ambition must be rejected.  This is the key to not only community, but also character.


The governance of a state (rashtra) or country (desa) requires serious people. One must not only be selfless, and strategic, but also serious. This means not deceiving ourselves about the serious issues that face us, whether it is a newly bifurcated state, or a 65 year old republic, or a millennia old civilization.

It also means producing people of subtlety. One dimensional nationalism, lose the region. Excessive regionalism, lose the nation. Lose Dharma, lose everything. Too much centralisation is brittle. Once broken, the nation or civilization is gone. Too much regionalisation, however, and centrifugal forces result in states being easily divided and played off against each other like puppets. Therefore, we need bottom up solutions, but top-down strategy. Regional variations of civilizational ethos will build “Integral Unity“, which is more flexible and resilient.


Rama's Coronation

[Ram Raj was not built in a Day] but it was built upon tyaga and nishkama karma (selfless service). When individuals attempt to anoint themselves as Acaryas with no clue to their character, personal agendas come into question.  Work cannot be done in the name of nationalism, but secretly to the benefit of special interests.  Whether dynasty or durbar, individual families or communities cannot operate only in their own interests. All elements in the system must be respected to ensure a single-minded but decentralized dharma, in place of a putative papacy.

It must not seek to directly or indirectly abuse and revile our co-Dharmics, but bring them along not only as “labour”, but as stake-holders, decision-makers, and fellow Bharatiyas. Varna and Jati Dharmas may vary, but it is the principle and uniting sense of Saamaanya Dharma that must be the clarion call. What’s more, in response to the widespread targeting of certain castes, we cannot simply dismiss the very real mistakes that were committed by some sinners against dharma.

As the foremost intellectual kshatriya of the hour has spoke, “There can be no whitewashing here”. All jatis, and in particular our dalit jatis, must be welcomed in this joint-venture of reviving our culture and civilization. Indeed, whether caste itself may or may not disappear, one thing is clear, generational and systematic untouchability (and the terrible offenses against dharma committed by those who would misinterpret it) must be declared null and void.

Whether it is a matter of identifying original varnas or jatis on the basis of last names, etc, it is the height of idiocy to treat 200 million people as “untouchable”, especially when many (or even most) North Indian Dalits abstain from go-mamsa, and quite a few are outright vegetarian and are generally interested in Dharma. Out of curiosity, how many beef-eating, non-Indian (I’m being euphemistic here) marrying upper castes have similarly been “outcasted” and declared patitha? One cannot have one’s cake and eat it too—and untouchability not only by law, but also as a collective social rank must end forthwith! Dalits must be returned to dignity as fellow brothers and sisters in Dharma.

This is the foundation and framework, but what is the woodwork? What is the flesh and blood to the bone structure we have laid before you?


The heart of a culture, or its flesh and blood, is its arts. The soul of our Culture is Dharma, but, this atma is expressed in Language, Literature, Art, Architecture, Festivals, Cuisine, Music, Dance, and now Cinema. As such, cultural revival will necessitate not only studying our Classical Indic Literature or its schools of Art & Architecture, but in updating them so that they are relevant and appealing to the era. When fashions change within a mere decade, what then can be expected after millennia? As such, our approach must be to revive the principle and improvise it for current needs and tastes.

Many of you may now argue, “ok Nripathi, so what’s the problem? Seems straightforward. Let’s implement!” But not so fast. What is it exactly that we are implementing? It is easy to say let us teach good values—but how? It is easy to say let’s create good families—but how? It is easy to say revive a good nation—but how? Frequently in this materialistic world, in this kali yuga, it is not so much what we do, but how we do it. Frequently in this materialistic world it is is not so much what we say, but how we say it.

This must be done not in a pedantic or puerile or even primitive way. It must adapt to time, place, and manner. Stupidity may be the single biggest sickness afflicting Indian Society, but the single biggest obstacle is the gyaani.

The Gyaani Complex: Introduction to the Gyaani


Previously we discussed Rajarishi Janaka. The father of Sita was a man not only of astonishing self-control, and virtue, but also of compassion. Indeed, rather than ahankar driving him, it was those with ahankar who chose to test him–a self-realised man who remained on Earth out of compassion to teach those who had not yet attained self-realisation  [1]. This shows that correct interpretation is necessary, based not on questionable translations or ahankar, but Acaryas—real Acaryas.

Similarly there is a story of Maharishi Yajnavalkya, who features prominently in the Upanisads, especially the Brihadaranyaka. Yajnavalkya had grown haughty with pride due to knowledge, and his guru forced him to vomit what had been taught. All the other jealous students therefore quickly turned into partridge birds (tittira) to eat up the knowledge that had been regurgitated, giving the name Taittiriya to the related Upanisad. Today, we have gyaanis (as distinguished from jnanis) and sarvagyaanis, who make false pretense to the truth while turning into little birds to consume vomit, etc, only to vomit it again without understanding what is relevant to the time, place, context. Aiming to be Yajnavalkya, each is a mere Tittira (a bird) seeking to specialise in simplified knowledge, but failing to understand its collective complexity. They quote logic and procedure, but are unable to apply it to their own arguments. This the danger of pompous fools who have knowledge, but not wisdom. Theory but no practice. A pound of practice, however, is worth a tonne of theory.

We must differentiate between adhyatmika and laukika vidya. After all, despite his brilliance and wisdom, would you have asked Sri Ramana Maharishi to be your general? We must also differentiate between vidya and buddhi (not to mention vidya and jnana). Simply because a person is well-read or learned in lore does not make him wise or self-realised. An illiterate can have wisdom from sheer anubhava (experience). Simply because one has memorized the Dharmashastras, does not make him a jnani. Vidya is lost at the end of every life. It is only jnana that makes an impression on the soul, and this comes from humility—in many cases, well-deserved. So do not be bowled over by clever talk and sophisticated phrases. Look for clear logic, not a mere exegesis of it. That is how you know not only whether the proposed action is wise or your path fruitful, but whether your guru is true…or false.

It also means adapting to changed circumstances. In an era where knowledge is power, not only do we need Sastra and Suhstra, but where necessary and justifiable, we must use Sastra AS Suhstra. When the adversary is breaking all the rules, you cannot be so foolishly hidebound and unrepentantly stupid as to continue to observe them to the most trivial letter. This is where maturity, and above all, judgment come from. After all, “Deficiency in judgment is is properly that which is called stupidity”.

Costs of the The Gyaani Complex

Readers may recall our earlier set of tweets on Lessons in Self-Improvement for Bharatiyas. Some may have wondered why we described our gyaanis as Ravana’s sons.

Like Ravanasura, grandson of Pulastya, they are wrapped up in pride about adhyatmic knowledge and lineage rather than asking if their conduct is worthy of the lineages they claim. What’s worse, these same thin-skinned, false preachers of truth take ideas from others and claim them as their own as though they were divinely inspired!—what cheek! As Ravana shamed the great and venerable Saptarishi Pulastya, so too do they shame their progenitors with their lack of character. They are unable to reflect upon their own behaviour and shameless thievery of the original work and property of others (Ravana stole Lanka from Kubera), when it is so obvious that they had neither the knowledge, nor wisdom, nor competence, nor ability to create it in the first place. But what truly haunts them, is they realize they never will…

In their quests to demonstrate their knowledge, they engage in petty one upsmanship, not realizing the foolishness, and inability to tell right from wrong, that they have fallen into. Themselves mired in delusion, they label others as deluded. They pusillanimously claim the mantle of Dharma, only to pervert it to their own petty, self-serving ambition, even at the cost of the common societal good. They may come from any caste, but they are perennially obsessed with the idea of it. But this is of no surprise, for they don’t even have the capacity to properly define dharma—how then can they teach it let alone implement it and defend it?

It is logic and lesson (niti) that must be digested. Arguments cannot be “well Dharmashastra says this! This is the rule of Apastamba!”. No other way of life has emphasized time and place more than Dharma. Indeed, it is not for nothing that there were not 1 but 4 separate Dharmasutras (Vasishta, Gautama, Baudayana, and Apastamba), each one updating the other and even rejecting whole rules outright or legalities outright as obsolete. Just as the Chhatrapati adopted Ganimi Kava (enemy tactics) as needed, so too must we be open to external ideas and approaches and altogether fresh fields of study. This doesn’t mean ejecting dharma, it means separating the ancillary (or non-essential) from the essential.

What’s more, simply because one has read the Arthashastra does not make him or her a master of politics and war. Just as Vidya and Buddhi are different, so too are vidya and karma. It is for this reason Dharmic society traditionally had separate vocations for especially brahmanas and kshatriyas. This is because just as fundamental science is not the same as applied science, so too is vidya different from karma (action). Rajarishi Janaka represented a bridging of the two. In our era, this has become even more critical and standalone, hence the call for bauddhik kshatriyas. This is not to disparage one varna or bloat the head of another, or even make the designation dependent on caste lines (though a Brahmin, Arun Shourie gaaru recognized the need to focus on application of knowledge and logic to intellectual and strategic clashes. Rajeev Srinivasan is a notable other, and of course, most appropriately today, Rajiv Malhotra).

Paleo-purists may decry this as a violation of our astika principles—but these are also the same ahankaris who stood idly by during the criminal disrobing of Draupadi, citing law and rna (debt). They needlessly and endlessly pick fights with many countrymen in the face of a common enemy. Even more tragic, they need a team of supporters just to muster the manhood/womanhood to take on one honest questioner.

Indeed, because stupidity is deficiency in judgment, they might even sacrifice the national cause in the futile hope that they may upstage a superior rival—all in vain. Unable to propose and implement workable solutions—let alone imagine and conceive them—they serve as obstacles to those who do. But true leadership does otherwise, of which a gyaani is not capable. Not only does it show accountability, but vision and implementation as well. In contrast, these “mimic men” of another sort are truly incapable of an original idea, so they viciously and pettily attack anyone who upstages them. Like Ravana, they ride their chariot of ahankar to their doom and demise, taking their kin along with them.

Therefore, our Individuals, of whatever caste, however accomplished and once well-meaning, must reject the Gyaani complex. If not, society must come together and punish them for being the errant school children that they are. It is incumbent upon Dharmic Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and other classes to speak up against such Adharmic behaviour, even if it comes from their own caste and kin. It also requires a new complement to the modern intellectual aristocrat. To assist the Bauddhik Kshatriya, we need not the Brahma-Kshatriya, but rather, the Laukika Brahmana.

The Laukika Brahmana

Please note,  while some circles may use the term disparagingly, this is in fact meant to be complimentary. This is because the Laukik Brahmin is not the ascetic and isolated adhyatmic brahmana or the ahankari gyaani, but is simultaneously spiritual and worldly wise. Indeed, the correct distinction for brahmanas in the material world is bhogi brahmana versus laukika brahmana. In the Telugu tradition, it is the difference between Srinatha (the romantic poet enjoying royal pleasures) and Pothana (the poor farmer who preserves his adhyatmic integrity). Though both are brahmins, they adapt to this age in different ways.  The Laukik Brahmana may or may not be born in the Brahmin varna or pursue its traditional vocations, but he embodies the ideals of it and the Sattva guna it represents. He does not merely pay lip service to Satya as a means to achieve his ambition (while appropriating the work of others), but actually dedicates himself to working with others to protect it. Because he checks his ego and rejects ambition, he can coolly advise the intellectual Kshatriya who requires fiery Rajas to complete his daunting task.

The true Laukika Brahmana may no longer pursue the old spiritual vocations, but he is not the adharmic brahmana who strays from the spiritual path due to ahankar and svaartha. As the Kali Age, The Age of Disorder, is such that non-traditional, though still dharmic, occupations are permitted so that he may supported himself, the character of the ancient Brahmanas still shines through him.

The time has come for hyperventilating hypocrites and greedy gyaanis to step aside. Bauddhik Kshatriyas are the need of the hour, but the need of the day or decade will ultimately be Laukik Brahmanas.

Where will we find such men you ask? They are already among us. They do not make a great show of themselves and their alleged bhiksu bags, but quietly do their work without ego, knowing the work itself is its own reward. I know of one already. He has been a long time supporter, but he is too modest and selfless to allow himself to be named, as he is forever praising others while never seeking praise. Therefore, I will speak of another whom I do not know personally.

Shri Swaminathan Gurumurthy has been one of the most tireless voices speaking out for the good of society. While his tam-bram background serves as happy coincidence to this point, it only underscores the validity and need of such truly dharmic men. True, he does come from an orthodox family and holds many views that may seem conservative to us, but in his own way, he does not merely speak for harmonious good in society, but searches for pragmatic ways to achieve it. This is the tri-fold combination of adhyatmic, sastric, and modern that we require.

The laukik brahmin understands the expertise and even authority with which professionals speak and has the ingenuity to combine it with dharmic principles for appropriate dharmic responses. The laukik brahmana uses his vocation to combine his sastric knowledge with his modern knowledge of the same discipline, and advance civilizational knowledge and understanding. S. Gurumurthy is again illustrative here. Formally trained as a chartered accountant, he has an expert understanding of his field, and so, is in an exceedingly well-placed position study and reflect on ancient finance and economics in the arthasastra, vidura niti, and elsewhere. This practical understanding of needs can then identify the correct saastric principle or even determine if a new rule or text is required altogether. Thus he builds upon knowledge, rather than merely regurgitating it like the gyaani.

When culture itself has been commoditised, how can hidebound gyaanis be expected to provide good counsel? The blind fail to see the import of media shaping tastes. They think art, music, poetry, etc. cannot or must not be harnessed as mediums to contest false adharmic ideas and reassert dharma. What else can be expected from one who is more concerned with position and privilege rather than principle?

The naivety and stubbornness of the gyaani leads to societal destruction. Neither able to lead the way nor willing to get out of the way, gyaanis stand as vignas to the protection and restoration of society even while chanting the sacred name Vigneswara.

That is the danger of rote-memorization and blind application of sastras—they do not take into account the time, place, and context. Practices and even entire sastras which applied in one era, may have no place in another, because circumstances have changed. Some of the most unwitting assistants of evil are those who serially cry “adharma” at every response to adharmic attacks. This is the danger of casuistry—often the result of those who first discuss the structure of logic without applying it to their own thoughts or dialogues.

These same characters appeared when Sikhandi fought Bhishma, Yudhisthira uttered the one lie, and Arjuna fought Karna. Where were these alleged high-minded souls during the unjust killing of Abhimanyu or the attempted disrobing of Draupadi? Like Shalya, they develop a “conscience” only at the wrong place and wrong time, all while impotently whining at all other junctures.

When culture itself has become the new politics—can such unworldly whiners be expected to lead us, even spiritually? It is not working a 9-5 job in the modern word that makes us worldly, but being aware of the nature of the world and the designs of adharma and how it uses every tool at its disposal. The Laukika Brahmana is aware and chastises the clinical klibas using casuistry to misguide the masses. He not only has adhyatmic learning but laukik discretion to not only know what to speak, and when to speak it, but also how to speak it.

In an era when medium is the message, unworldly naifs cannot be expected, nor can they be allowed to arrogate, leadership. This is because they have not studied leadership beyond the sastras. When organizations, laws, tactics, strategy, science, art, and even culture have become cataclysmically complex, adhyatmic knowledge must not only be balanced with saastric knowledge, but modern knowledge (desi or videsi) as well.

In Telugu, there is a saying Vajram nee vajram thoney koyyali. You can break a diamond only with another one. We Andhraites know something of this matter, after all, is that not how they split our Andhra?

Samaikya Andhra as Guernica

Recognizing how even western economists are now starting to view “caste” (varna/jati) as social capital, Gurumurthy ji attacks stigma and prejudice instead, seeing past mistakes correctly as corruptions brought by hypocrites. Despite his orthoprax household, he speaks of the need for the Saamaanya Dharma, the common dharma—from which individual dharmas originate.

Above all, there is no cognitive dissonance for him between saastric principles and laukik realities. Recognising cookie cutter solutions are not possible, he links not the letter, but the spirit and principle to the correct time, place and manner. Instead of merely paying lip-service to purva paksa, he like Bauddhik Kshatriya Shri Rajiv Malhotra, actually conducts it in a continuous and rigorous fashion. He knows his Bairoch as well as his Baudhayana, and his Huntington as well as his Hastamalakacarya. No individual can know the entire global canon (let alone the Indic), but he makes effort to do both, and has been for decades.

Laukik Brahmanas are not born, but made. They embody sattva, study sastra, and adapt to samaya (time). They do not espouse the view of fools crying “it is a kingdom of conscience or it is nothing!”, but understand that enemy tactics must be matched to protect and restore dharma. He or she recognises that knowledge and wisdom not only come from reciting shruti and studying smriti and sastra, but from sadhana/pure-hearted tapas, and most importantly, philosophising. Philosophy has been perverted today to mean any ideology from any rancid corner. Rather, Philosophy literally means “love of wisdom”. Thus the true philosopher (the term by which ancient visitors referred to our brahmanas), does serious original thinking. He thinks and reflects on what the actual problems of society are and how they are to be faced and solutions actualized.

The Bauddhik Kshatriya is forever engaged either in conflict, preparing for it, or resting from it. While Rajivji has been tirelessly alerting our spiritual (adhyatmic) leaders, as he himself said, there is only so much one man (however talented) can do. As such, Laukik Brahmanas can be in constant contact with the Adhyatmic leaders, to only to gain spiritual knowledge but in turn apprise them of required material knowledge to guard against threats to our ancient paramparas, and ultimately, to dharma sanatana. Laukik Brahmanas do not replace the direct contact society requires with these great Paramacaryas via their interaction and discourse, but rather, supplement and complement it. They can survey the landscape (intellectual and spiritual) dispassionately, and do not have the burdens of training and tactics and taekwondo in modern dialectics. The true brahmana who is pure adhyatmic can pass on our vaidik and saastric tradition (unbroken and uncorrupted by the globalized material world) of which they, and only they, are the keepers. Meanwhile, the true brahmana who is laukik, alerts our true Paramacaryas of the insidious nature and designs of deceitful adharmis (desi and videshi). Duly surrounded and thrashed by these two spiritual powers, where then can the self-serving gyaani hypocrite or collaborator run?

That is the imperative of and the need for the prideless and pragmatic Laukik Brahmana.

The Road Ahead

Some post-mandal pithicanthropi have been circulating various memes aimed at disparaging Dalits in matters pertaining to reservation (itself a complex issue). What’s more, they claim that matters facing many poor Brahmins (particularly impoverished temple priests) are due failure to maintain unity. A united front to join the reservation wars is not the path salvation, but the path to destruction. It is not mandal-maddened vote-bank unity that will secure well-being for Brahmins, but Lok Kalyan.

“Lok kalyan?”, you ask? “Naïve”, you say?—but is it really? The entire purpose of the brahmana varna was precisely that–pursuing lok kalyan. While various Kings would periodically forget their duties, the disciplined spiritual life of brahmanas was meant to ensure an entire philosopher class that would not only teach good values, but embody them. That is what made the brahmana. Not “IQ“, not poseur pedantry, but character. The true brahmana was the embodiment of egolessness, because he knew or at least was aware of Brahman—the source and power of all things, including intellect and learning. The humility that this inspired spurred him on to good conduct and provided not political authority, but moral authority to counsel kings and minister to the masses. While the best poor old Plato could conceive was the Philosopher King (flip a coin on that one), and Aristotle, his rule of the aristos, varnashrama dharma was meant to secure sage advice to even the most stern or most sybaritic of kings. The Raja can punish a wrong-doing Brahmin, or even imprison a troublesome one or ten or a hundred, but to routinely ignore the counsel of the entire philosophical class would raise doubts in the country’s confidence in the king and erode his mass support. Wealth, power, and hedonism are all barred to the true Brahmana—that is the price for his moral authority.

Forever in analysis,  the gyaani would otherwise be in paralysis were it not for the original thought of others which he shamelessly and dishonestly appropriates–and is no example to the public. As such, we need fewer gyaanis and far more Gurumurthy’s.

Our attitude must be that of Ekam Samaajam—One society. We may have many varnas, many panths (religions), many duties, but we are one society and civilization of people with a common purpose of state and national good, and a common saamaanya dharma. That attitude, more than anything else, is what is needed for a cultural revival.

To conclude, we will end rather uncharacteristically, with a tale from not India, that is Bharat, but rather, that pragmatic civilization to the north, China, that is Zhongguo. It is the Parable of The Wheel and the Light:

“Emperor Liu Bang, in the third century B.C., became the first ruler to consolidate China into a unified empire [technically, it was Qin Shih Huangdi…but read on]. To celebrate his victory, Liu Bang held a great banquet in the palace, inviting many important government officials, military leaders, poets, and teachers, including Chen Cen, a master who had given him guidance during the campaign.

Chen Cen’s disciples, who accompanied him to the banquet, were impressed by the proceedings but were baffled by an enigma at the heart of the celebration.

Seated at the central table with Liu Bang was his illustrious high command. First there was Xiao He, an eminent general whose knowledge of military logistics was second to none. Next to him was Han Xin, a legendary tactician who’d won every battle he’d ever fought. Last was Chang Yang, a shrewd diplomat who was gifted at convincing heads of state to form alliances and surrender without fighting. These men the disciples could understand. What puzzled them was how Liu Bang, who didn’t have a noble birth or knowledge comparable to that of his chief advisors, fit into the picture.

“Why is he the emperor?” they asked. Chen Cen smiled and asked them: what determines the strength of a wheel?

“Is it not the sturdiness of the spokes?” one responded. “Then why is it that two wheels made of identical spokes differ in strength?” asked Chen Cen.

After a moment, he continued, “See beyond what is seen. Never forget that a wheel is made not only of spokes but also of the space between the spokes. Sturdy spokes poorly placed make a weak wheel. Whether their full potential is realized depends on the harmony between. The essence of wheel making lies in the craftman’s ability to conceive and create the space that holds and balances the spokes within the wheel. Think now, who is the craftsman here?”

The disciples were silent until one of them said, “But master, how does a craftsman secure the harmony between the spokes?”

Chen Cen asked them to think of sunlight.“The sun nurtures and vitalizes the trees and flowers,” he said. “It does so by giving away it’s light. But in the end, in which direction do they grow?” so it is with a master craftsman like Liu Bang. After placing individuals in positions that fully realize their potential, he secures harmony among them by giving them all credit for their distinctive achievements. And in the end, as the trees and flowers grow toward the giver, the sun, individuals grow toward Liu Bang with devotion.””



  1. Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli. The Principal Upanisads. London: Unwin Brothers. 1968
  2. Gurumurthy, Swaminathan. India’s Culture, Society, and Economy: Past, Present, and Future. http://lookintoculture.blogspot.com/
  3. gurumurthy.net
  4. Is Culture the New Politics? http://www.dnaindia.com/lifestyle/report-is-culture-the-new-politics-zee-jlf-panelists-debate-2055654
  5. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/07/france-culture-war-united-states
  6. “What Determines the Strength of the Wheel”. http://thellabb.com/what-determines-the-strength-of-the-wheel/. Originally Published in Harvard Business Review .
  7. “Rajiv Malhotra’s Indra’s Net: Seven big ideas and Hinduism’s integral unity. “www.firstpost.com/living/rajiv-malhotras-indras-net-seven-big-ideas-and-hinduisms-integral-unity-2382902.html