gaatha-001

Srinadha’s only poem from his ‘Saptashati’….

As he recorded in the introductory verses of his work Kaasikhandam, Srinadha translated Gaadha Saptashaticompiled by Hala Satavahana. This he did when he was around 16 or 17 years old. Unfortunately the work somehow became extinct and is not be seen by any one.

Decades ago (probably during 1960s) there was a lot of argument between scholars and learned people of  Telugu poetry regarding the correct and meaningful text of a poem purported to be the only one verse which somehow saw the light of the day from the translated version of Srinadha’s, the now unavailable, Saalivahana Saptashati’. The poem (composed in Utpalamala meter) and  its meaning in English read as follows:

Vu.  Vaarana seya daava gonavaa, Nava vaarijamandu teti  kro
(Did you heed when I said no, don’t you know, in the newly born lotus, the bee)
vvaanuchununta neeverugavaa, priya vaatera gantu ganti ke
(will be residing tasting the nectar, will the sight of his lover’s bruised lower lip)
vvaariki kempu raadu, tagavaa magavaarala doora, nee vibhun
(ever fail to make the man’s eyes red, will it help to quarrel with men)
daarasi nee nijam berugunantaku nantaku noorvu nechchelii!
(wait until your man  found out the truth and knew about you, my dear one!)

Gaadha Saptashati is a collection of many of such teasing instances, poetized during the time of Hala Satavahana, one of the kings of Satavahana dynasty, which ruled most of South India and some parts of regions north to Vindhyas, for about 400 years, from 225 BC to 225 AD.

Though his reign was only for a brief period of 6 years, i.e., 19-24 AD, Hala Satavahana was so popularly remembered by generations that followed,  because of his literary bent of mind and philanthropic attitude. He was in fact the hero of the Prakrit work Leelavathi.

Himself being a poet, he authored many Gaadhas in Prakrit language and collected many. It is also popularly believed that a poet by name Sripaalithudu later had selected 700 of the most romantic of the lot and created Gaadha Saptashati.

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