Some of the best poems from Nannaya’s ‘Mahabharatam’ (5)

saaramatiM gaviiMdrulu prasannakathaa kavitaarthayukti loe
naarasi mealu naa nitarul akshararamyata naadariMpa naa
naa ruchiraardha suukti nidhi nannayabhaTTu tenuMgunan mahaa
bhaarata saMhitaarachana baMdhuruDayye jagadhdhitaMbugan.

సారమతిం గవీంద్రులు ప్రసన్నకథా కవితార్థయుక్తి లో
నారసి మేలు నా నితరు లక్షరరమ్యత నాదరింప నా
నా రుచిరార్ధ సూక్తి నిధి నన్నయభట్టు తెనుంగునన్ మహా
భారత సంహితారచన బంధురుడయ్యె జగధ్ధితంబుగన్.       (ఆది పర్వం, 26వ పద్యం)

As able-minded master-poets praise understanding the pleasant
Poetic planned way and the rest respectfully accept it for its beauty
Of letters, Nannaya Bhattu, a repertory of meaningful good words,
Took upon himself writing the great Bharata Samhita in Telugu!

Here, I must remind again that for Nannaya, in the introductory verses, every poem was like a new thing…the first of its kind in Telugu (written) literature, that was yet to be begin!

I can imagine Nannaya, thinking twice…thrice before putting every poem on the dried leaf…thinking whether it would be appropriate to place his thoughts like that on the leaf for the generations to come to read and weighing the good and possible bad, if any, that would result from his words, from the way he was recording all that.  I can imagine Nannaya…thinking…thinking like a dispassionate ascetic…a Rishi.  And I like him for the way he finally zeroed down to two important things on how he wanted his poetry to be accepted by the learned and not so learned. He does not want to disappoit either!

It took quite an effort from me to translate this poem into English.  There are two important words in it – the first one ‘ప్రసన్నకథా కవితార్థయుక్తి’ which as I understand it means ‘the poetically planned way of pleasant story telling’ – all the four elements are there in it – (1) Poetry (2) Planned way  (3) Pleasant telling (4) Story – I think nothing more is needed for a work to turn out good! However, a trained and learned mind only can understand all these four elements in a poetic work right from the first instance of listening to it.  And as for the others, the not so learned and common men, who can not grasp the intended niceties of a work right from the first instance itself,  it is ‘అక్షర రమ్యత’ – which means ‘the beauty of words’ not only to the eye for reading, it should also be for listening,  to the ear as well!

This was how Nannaya  wanted his poetry to turn out to be at the end and accepted by the learned and the not so learned as well!

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