suDikoni raamu paadamulu soekina dhuuLi vahiMchi raayi yea
rpaDanoka kaaMtayayyenaTa pannuga niitani paadareaNu vi
yyeDavaDi noeDasoeka nadi yeTlagunoeyani saMSayaatmuDai
kaDige guhuMDu raamupadakaMja yugaMbu bhayaMbupeMpunan!
సుడికొని రాము పాదములు సోకిన ధూళి వహించి రాయి యే
ర్పడనొక కాంతయయ్యెనట పన్నుగ నీతని పాదరేణు వి
య్యెడవడి నోడసోక నది యెట్లగునోయని సంశయాత్ముడై
కడిగె గుహుండు రాముపదకంజ యుగంబు భయంబుపెంపునన్!
By virtue of taking upon itself some particles of dust from
The feet of Sri Rama, a stone has become a beautiful woman;
Wondering what a thing his boat would become when touched
By it then, Guha washed Sri Rama’s feet clean, fearing within!
‘Molla’ is the name of the first poetess who translated Sanskrit Ramayan into Telugu. It is said that she belonged to a village named Gopavaram near present day Nellore town in Andhra Pradesh. There is varied opinion amongst scholars about the period of time she lived. Considering the varied opinion on the topic, it may be construed that she might have lived some time before the advent of Vijayanagar empire in South India i.e., 15-16 centuries AD.
This is a very good poem. The amazingly pleasant and uncommon poetic thought employed in it makes this poem very interesting. To understand it, one should know the story of Ahalya.
Ahalya is the amazingly beautiful wife of the ascetic named Goutama. Ther is an interesting story concerning both and Devendra, the leader of Gods. Ahalya is so beautiful that Devendra becomes too infatuated and wanted to be with her. Though she already became wife of the pious ascetic, he could not abstain himself from the thought of beaing with her alone for some time and wants to achieve this even by wrong means. One day, when it is yet to be day break, he disguises himself as a rooster and makes a deceptive crow suggesting day break. The ascetic Goutama takes it for a genuine crow from a genuine rooster and goes away from the hermitage to the river to perform morning prayers. Devendra uses this opportunity, takes the form of the ascetic Goutama and finds himself with Ahalya. Not knowing the deceptive designs of Devendra, Ahalya innocently obliges him in the way he desires her, thinking he is her husband, Goutama. As this was happening at his hermitage, at the river the ascetic Goutama finds that it was not yet the right time for the morning prayers since it was not yet day break, doubts something went wrong, hurries back to his hermitage and finds both Ahalya and Devendra in compromising position. Enraged at the sight of such immoral behavior he curses Ahalya to become stone and Devendra to have holes all over his body. When Ahalya pleads for mercy since it was not her own doing and that she was immorally deceived by Devendra, Goutama calms down a little and gives the penance for the sin saying that she would become normal by the touch of the feet of Lord Sri Rama. For Devendra he says that the holes all over his body would appear to others in the form of eyes. This is, in short, the story of Ahalya.
Guha is a devotee of Lord Sri Rama and is a boat man. He helps in Lord Sri Rama, Sita and Lakshman to cross the river Ganges in his own boat.
In the above poem, the poetess Molla imagines a situation, figuratively though, in such a way that Guha having known that it was the touch of the dust that emanated from the feet of Lord Sri Rama that made a stone turn out to be the beautiful woman Ahalya, wonders what would happen to his boat when some dust from Lord Sri Rama’s feet touches it and thinks within himself that it would be better to wash Lord Sri Rama’s feet clear of any dust so that nothing from his feet would touch his boat and his boat would remain to him for ever intact and unchanged.
Surely, one of the finest of imaginations to bring to the fore the power of the mere touch of even some tiny particles of dust from Lord Sri Rama’s feet and the innocent devotion of simple boat-man called Guha… both in equally pleasant measure!