Srinadha’s ‘ChaaTu’ poems…(1)

(Kandamu).sirigala vaaniki chellunu
(It suits that man of riches)
taruNula padiyaaruvela taga pendlaadan
(to marry sixteen thousand women with due pride)
tiripemuna kiddaraanDra?
(You yourself live by alms, do you need two wives?)
parameSaa, gangaviDumu Paarvati chaalun!
(Lord Siva! leave Ganga for us, Parvati is sufficient for you!).

This one poem told by Srinadha Mahakavi is sufficient to explain the wit, the dare the brevity of composition and the grandeur of the style of his poetry. It is popularly believed that Srinadha Mahakavi told this poem in a spontaneous response to his not being able to find sufficient water  to quench his thirst during his visit to a region effected with extreme draught. In this poem, Srinadha Mahakavi, with all his natural wit, beseeches Lord Siva to leave the river goddess Ganga, held by Him within the folded tresses on His head, for them so that the region is filled with enough water for their daily needs.

The flow of words is too natural and most of the times it gives a feeling that the poem was already there for Srinadha to recite. Words do not appear to follow each other.  Instead, they seem to fall in place just to fill the gaps, which will be left blank if not filled by them and none other than by them!  This is called ‘dhaara’ the uninterruptable flow of poetic words.  Works of very few poets, like Nannaya, Tikkana, Srinadhudu, Potana…, has this quality.

Srinadha’s poetic mind never remained silent whenever there was an occasion for poetry. Let it be his admiration of certain events he liked most, beauty of things and women he happened to see or his hatred towards certain things that he disliked and despised to the core, everything was turned into excellent poetry. None, at times not even gods and goddesses, escaped the onslaught of his poetic wit. The precision and the timing of words he used never failed to hit the target with the force he originally intended.  Around a hundred of his chaaTu (means ‘to declare’) poems available today amply declare to the literary world the power and prowess of his poetic abilities, his fearlessness and the way he liked to live and actually lived.

It were the learned among the common people who, more than anyone else, admired his chaaTu poetry, remembered it and passed on  the verses  from tongue to tongue and from generation to generation.

Wit, especially the poetic wit, seldom fails to live on!

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