Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tenali Ramakrishna Poems - Meaning

This entry has reference to a blogger's article on the story of Tenali Ramakrishna at This is for those who wanted to know the meaning of that poem.


Once, a poet, Narasa challenged Krishna Devaraya’s court that he can find faults in anybody's writings & he can write (with NO breaks for hours) when someone recites

Tenali Ramakrishna defeats him by reciting a poem that the poet Narasa could not write, and ridicules him for his other skill of finding faults in others’ poetry.

Here is the poem and its meaning:

త్పృవ్వట బాబా .....తల పై
పువ్వట జాబిల్లి..వల్వ బూదెట ...చేదే
బువ్వట... చూడగ ళుళుళు
క్కవ్వట... అరయంగనట్టి హరునకు జేజే

The beauty of this poem is that, parts of it are just made up with "Sounds" that can not be written properly. Thus Narasa failed & Tenali Ramakrishna won.

Telugu literary experts can note the Shabda Alankaras in it - the repetition of "అట" at the end of every statement. "అట" is like saying, "you know"


బాబా = Vehicle
త్పృవ్వట = తృవ్వ్ + అట = Bull (actually this is the sound that a sheppard makes to goad the cattle. Note that the word తువ్వాయి (calf) comes from such sound)

తల పై పువ్వట జాబిల్లి = Moon is like flower on his head (simple)

వల్వ = On the Body
బూదెట = బూది + అట = Ash

చేదే = Bitter (Poison)
బువ్వట = బువ్వ + అట = Food

చూడగ = To look after
ళుళుళు క్కవ్వట = Nobody.. He has no parents to take care of him.
(This is a sound you make when you play with kids and hide something and tell them that it disappeared. Something like హుళక్కి)

So, put together:
Bull is his vehicle, Moon is like a flower on his head, he sports ash all over the body, he swallowed poison, and he is the origin of the universe.

now the last stanza:
అరయంగనట్టి = The one who is flourishing like that
హరునకు = To Lord Shiva
జేజే = Glory!!

హరునకు జేజే!!