Srinatha’s ‘ChaaTu’ poems – (4)

It is generally accepted that the great poet SreenaathuDu lived during the period from 1370-1450 AD. He was born in a family of ministers belonging to a place known as kaalpaTTaNam and latter attained glory adorning high positions in the royal courts of pedakoemaTi veamaareDDy of konDaveeDu and veerabhardraa reDDy of the famous raajamaheandravaram.

During his life span Sreenaatha extensively toured many parts of the then aandhra deaSam and spontaneously recited poems on occasions that inspired such occurrence. Some of the parts of aandhra deaSa toured by Srinaatha mahaakavi are: reanaaDu (some parts of present day Rayalaseema area), metuku seema (present day Medak dist. Area), palanaaDu, gurajaala seema, masara raajyam (present day Kolar area), kuMdu gaDDa (present day Cuddapah area), raacha veeDu, addannki, SriikaakuLaM, simhaadri, nemalipuri, vidyaanagaram, deavara koMDa etc.

The chaaTu poems SreenaathuDu spontaneously told and recited during his visits to different places recorded mostly the living conditions of the people of that particular area, their way of dressing, the physical beauty of the women folk of the area, the food habits etc., and gave to the posterity a welcome chance to look into the living conditions of those days with such a rare clarity that while listening to the poem there instantly appears before the mind’s eye of the listener a picture of what is described in the poem.

The poems are fondly remembered for the spontaneity of imagination, the easiness of execution and the flash of wit or grandness of idea they always contained.

kuMkuma leadoe? mRgamada
paMkamu leadoe? paTiira paaMsuvu leadoe?
saMkumadamu leadoe? yaSu
bhaMkara magu bhasma meala baalaa! niikun?

కుంకుమ లేదో? మృగమద
పంకము లేదో? పటీర పాంసువు లేదో?
సంకుమదము లేదో? యశు
భంకర మగు భస్మ మేల బాలా! నీకున్?

Don’t have Vermilion[1]? Or the paste
Of musk from Musk-deer? Or the powder of Sandal-wood?
Or the perfumed substance from Civet[2]?
Why the inauspicious mark of ash on forehead, young lady! to you?

[1]The actual word ‘kumkuma’ that was used here is a fragrant cosmetic substance composed of turmeric, alum and lime juice and most commonly used to mark the fore-head for beauty as well as a sign of auspiciousness.

[2]The more commonly used words for ‘saMkumadamu’ are ‘punugu’ (పునుగు) or ‘javvaadi’ (ౙవ్వాది).

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