‘Sumatii Satakam’-rendered into English (Stanzas 12,13 & 14)

immuga jaduvani noerunu
nammaa yani pilichi yanna maDugani noerun
dammula biluvani noerunu
gummari manu dravvinaTTi guMTara sumatii!

ఇమ్ముగ జదువని నోరును
నమ్మా యని పిలిచి యన్న మడుగని నోరున్
దమ్ముల బిలువని నోరును
గుమ్మరి మను ద్రవ్వినట్టి గుంటర సుమతీ!     (పద్యం 12)

A mouth that doesn’t read with full conviction, a mouth
That doesn’t ask for food respectfully uttering ‘Mother’
A mouth that doesn’t call brothers with affection is like
A pit dug for mud by a potter, Oh fair-minded of men!


uDu muMDade nuureaMDlunu
baDiyuMDade pearmi baamu padinuureaMDlun
maDuvuna gokkera yuMDade
kaDu nila burushaarthaparuDu kaavale sumatii!

ఉడు ముండదె నూఱేండ్లును
బడియుండదె పేర్మి బాము పదినూఱేండ్లున్
మడువున గొక్కెర యుండదె
కడు నిల బురుషార్థపరుడు కావలె సుమతీ!    (పద్యం 13)

Doesn’t an iguana live a hundred years; a snake
Longingly live ten hundred years; in a small pond
Doesn’t a stork stay longer; on this earth a man
Must achieve revelation, Oh fair-minded of men!  


uttama guNamulu niichuna
ketteraguna galuga nearchu neyyaDalaM daa
nettichchi karagipoesina
nittaDi baMgaara magune yilaloe sumatii!

ఉత్తమ గుణములు నీచున
కెత్తెఱగున గలుగ నేర్చు నెయ్యడలం దా
నెత్తిచ్చి కరగిపోసిన
నిత్తడి బంగార మగునె యిలలో సుమతీ!      (పద్యం 14)

How does a low man attain best of manly qualities;
In any way any where brass, even when gives itself
Liquified in equal quantity of gold, can ever become
Gold in that equal measure, Oh fair-minded of men!

6 thoughts on “‘Sumatii Satakam’-rendered into English (Stanzas 12,13 & 14)

  1. I notice the prAsa in all of the examples (1. మ; 2. డ; 3. త) but I cannot quickly make out the yati. Am I right in looking for the first letter of each line repeated after a specific number of syllables within the same line?
    (Note: I do not speak telugu, kannaDa, or any draviDa-origin language (although I can read both the kannaDa and telugu scripts). I came across the information that ancient and medieval kannaDa and telugu verse used alliterative schemes, rather than rhyming patterns. I am interested in these structures in a comparative literary sense: because these formats are pretty-much not seen in saMskRta poetry. The marAThI language, which I do know, has been influenced by kannaDa, and to a lesser extent, telugu. If I understand this concept of prAsa-yati prosody, I can then investigate whether this pattern of composition influenced any marAThI poetry of that period.)

    1. Yes, you are right! These poems are in a meter known as ‘kanda’ in Telugu language. Out of the four lines in the poem, in ‘kanda’ poem the 2nd and 4th lines only will have the ‘yati’, i.e., the first letter of the first ‘gana’ should match with the first letter of the 4th ‘gana’ in the line.

      Yes, it is a prerequisite for metered poems that the ‘niyama’ of ‘yati’ and ‘prAsa’ are followed. In Telugu language, it is authentically said that there may be poems which do not follow ‘prAsa’, but one would generally not find a poem that does not follow ‘yati’ principle.

      So far as a know, Sanskrit poetry follows only ‘yati niyamam’. In Telugu and kannada metered poetry both ‘prAsa’ and ‘yati’ are strictly followed. In Dravidian languages folk poetry gave more importance to rhyming patterns than scrupulously following ‘yati’ and ‘prAsa’.

      This is as much as I know on this topic, since the knowledge I have in this area is limited only to scattered reading and not at all academic.

      Thanks for visiting the blog!

      1. Thanks very much. So I am trying the exercise to test myself. In the second verse, second line :
        బడియుండదె పేర్మి బాము పదినూఱేండ్లున్
        బడి____ __ బాము______ (yati repetition is the consonant బ్)
        Second verse, fourth line
        కడు నిల బురుషార్థపరుడు కావలె సుమతీ!
        కడు ________ కావలె ______ (yati repetition is the consonant క్)
        Did I get that right?

        Question: Is “gaNa”= 4 mAtrA as in saMskRta prosody? లః సముద్రా గణః (పిఙ్గలసూత్ర) (Sorry find it easier to read and write saMskRta in the devanAgarI script, hope I have not messed the telugu writing) And do anusvAra syllables count as 2-mAtrA syllables?
        (1)బడియుం(2)డదె పే (3)ర్మి బాము (4?)పదినూ (5?)ఱేండ్లున్
        I think I am counting the syllables incorrectly.

        It is interesting that the term “yati” came to have divergent meanings in saMskRta and telugu. In saMskRta it means that a word should end at the “yati” of the meter and a new word should start after the yati-syllable. But the telugu prosody meaning in alliterative verse is also very interesting. Thanks.

        I see that you have a wide reading interests including the study of the Prakrit gatha sattasai. Salutations! I was fortunate to come across your blog.

      2. Yes,, you have counted the syllables correctly.

        In Dravidian languages, especially Telugu and Kannada there are two kinds of ‘gaNa’ – ‘maatra’ and ‘akshara’…

        Sanskrit prosody follows ‘akshara gaNa’ way.

        Again in Telugu and Kannada languages, there are ways of poetry writing known as ‘desi’ and ‘marga’ – ‘desi’ way of writing poetry follows largely ‘maatra’ kind of ‘gaNas’; whereas ‘marga’ way of writing poetry largely follow Sanskrit prosodical formations such as Utpalamala, Champakamala, Mattebha, Saardula etc., which are formed based on the ‘akshara’ way of ‘gaNa prastaaraM’.

        ‘kanda’ poem is a ‘desi’ way of poem and hence follows ‘maatra’ way of gaNa prastaaram.

        I think this is too abridgment of things, since the subject too vast.

        Again, ‘Yati’ in Sanskrit poetry is only limited to give a break at a place, a respite for the reciter. It need not be a placement of a letter agreeable to the letter at the place called ‘vaLi’ i.e., the first letter of the ‘paada’, the line.

        In Telugu and Kannada poetry, ‘yati’ need not be a break or a respite…it should necessarily be placement of a letter agreeable to the letter at ‘vaLi’ place i.e., the first letter of the line.

        In fact, some learned scholars in Telugu language (who more liked the way of ‘yati’ followed in Sanskrit language) even went to the extent of criticizing this method of placing a letter agreeable to the first letter of the line followed in both the languages, thinking it as an absurd way of restricting the free flow of a poem.

        I think I have explained about these things to the extent possible, keeping in view the space restriction here.

        As I repeatedly mention, I do not have a specialized knowledge on these subjects. These topics being connected to classical literature, I always suggest cross checking of facts.

        By the way, thanks for your appreciation!

  2. Extremely helpful. I will cross check, but already, I am very grateful to you for giving me an opening to learning this.

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