Gems of ‘gaatha saptaSati’…(10)

In conventional poetry, a looking glass (a mirror) is very often used to represent a plain heart.  The reason for this is that a mirror or a looking glass reflects the image as it is and it neither does hide anything nor distorts (in general) anything.  This reflecting quality has, therefore, been considered as plainness and used likewise.

However, one poet of ‘gaatha saptaSati’ days used this ‘looking glass’ simile very differently.  In this ‘gaatha’ a young woman was lamenting about the insensitiveness of her man, probably her husband, and the imagery the poet used to drive the pathos effectively was the ‘looking glass’.

This is the ‘gaatha’:

“puTTaMteaNa vi  hi a eaNa  maami  Nivvarijja ea  tammi,
addaaea  paDibiMbaM  vva  jjammi  duhkhaM  Na  saMkama  i.”  (3-4)

“పుట్టంతేణ వి హిఅఏణ మామి ణివ్వరిజ్జఏ తమ్మి,
అద్దాఏ పడిబింబం వ్వ జ్జమ్మి దుఃఖం ణ సంకమ ఇ.”  (3-4) 

“Into whose heart sorrows of others,
Like images into a looking glass, do not sink,
To him how shall I reveal my sorrows, dear aunt?
Let my heart remain broken with sorrows instead!”

This ‘gaatha’ is dear to the hearts of Telugu speaking people (of Andhra Pradesh, India), since the word ‘addaaea’ used in this ‘gaatha’ is a word of Telugu origin which is considered to have been borrowed by the Prakrit poet to tell the tale effectively.

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