Basics of Telugu prosody: The earliest of poems in ‘kanda’ metrical composition – (3)

Having the marking done to understand the distribution of ‘ganas’ – the letter-units – correctly, as shown in the previous post,  now it is time we see how far the above distribution of ‘ganas’ conform to the prosodial requirements pertaining to the ‘kanda’  poem in Telugu language:

  • It is now clear that all the letter-units are of ‘four maatraasduration – there is no doubt about that.
  • In the odd-numbered lines 1 and 3, the letter-units are three and in the even-number lines the letter-units are 5 as required.
  • The last letter/consonant of each of the even-number lines should be a long one ‘guruvu’ – it can be seen in the above poem the last letters/consonants of lines 2 and 4 are  long ones as marked thereon with indication sign ‘U’.
  • No odd-number letter-unit (gaNamu) should be ‘ja’ gaNamu – it can be seen that in the above poem there is no placement of ‘ja’ gaNamu in odd-number letter-units 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15.
  • The 6th and 14th letter-units (gaNaas) should necessarily be ‘ja’ gaNamu – it can be seen that in the above example the 6th and 14th are ‘ja’ gaNaas, as required.
  • ‘praasa’ requirement is there – yes, this is followed…the letter na as the second letter/consonant of each of the four lines.
  • There is requirement of ‘yati’ – Yes, this is also followed – the place of ‘yati’ being the first letter of the fourth letter-unit in the 2nd and 4th lines – it can be seen that the letter/consonant ‘జి’(‘ji’ ) placed correctly. The requirement of agreeability of the first letter/consonant of the 2nd and 4th letter with the first letter of 4th letter-unit (gaNamu) of respective lines, which is called ‘yati maitri’ (the agreeability of yati) is followed.

        All this examined and observed scrupulously, it can now be surely said that the said poem is a ‘kanda’ poem in all respects and there remained no doubt to say anything otherwise.

          To the beginner and an enthusiast, initially it may appear that with these many restrictions writing a poem in ‘kanda’ is a truly difficult task. It is really a difficult task, but it is also a reasonably easy task as there are any numbers of poets in Telugu language who mastered the art of telling a good and memorable ‘kanda’ poem, down the centuries of years starting from 10th century AD.

          So, the above ‘kanda’ poem, regarded as the first one which appeared in writing, when observed closely keeping in view all the metrical requirements listed above, has all the requirements, including the ‘praasa’ (letter ‘na’ ‘న’) and ‘yati’ (letter ‘ja’ ‘జి’) followed correctly.

        There is also a poem in this same inscription (the 3rd poem of the three kanda poems that appeared) in which only the pre-requisite of praasa was followed and yati not followed. The poem reads as under:

okkokka guNaMbu kalgudu
rokkaNNaMgaa kokka lakka lea vevvarikiM
lekkiMpa nokka lakkaku
mikkili guNapakshapaati guNamani guNamul.

ఒక్కొక్క గుణంబు కల్గుదు
రొక్కణ్ణంగా కొక్క లక్క లే వెవ్వరికిం
లెక్కింప నొక్క లక్కకు
మిక్కిలి గుణపక్షపాతి గుణమని గుణముల్.

The meaning of the above poem when rendered into English would read as under:

Anyone will have one great characteristic
No one will have a lac great characteristics
When counted there are more than one lac
Bent, he is, upon attaining great characteristics.

         This gives an impression that ‘kanda’ poem in Telugu language, before attaining the present form of strictly following the pre-requisites of ‘praasa’ and ‘yati’, used to be told without these two requirements so rigidly fulfilled.

          The above thought takes us to an interesting new route which is connected with the customarily sung children’s songs in Telugu oral literature.

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