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!!


  1. very nice of you for preserving the meaning of such a nice poem and for sharing the same with all of us. Thank you once again.
    narasimharao mallina

  2. Excellent one! Look forward to more!

  3. Thanks a lot andi...
    Very nice of you....

  4. thanks andi, nenu ee padyam unna movie scnes chusa kaani, exact meaning ippude telsindi mee post chusaka.

  5. by the way, inkonni ilanti padyalu rasthe mahadanandanga untundi :)

  6. whoaw.. mathru bhasha lo padyalu vinte bhale anandanga untundi!
    kani oka doubt. indulo baba ante shivuni vahanam NANDI chese shabdam kada.. ambaa ambaa ni ba ba ga rasaru anukuntunnanu!

    okavela thappaithe sari cheyyandi. baba ante vehicle ani nenu ekkada vinaledu! naku telugu lo pandithyam ledu, kani swalpa (alpa kadu) gnyanine!!

  7. Thanks a lot for the translation. Can you translate another poem of the same poet?

    narasiMHa kRshNa rAyani
    karamarudagu kIrti yoppe kariBit giriBit
    kari kariBit giri giriBit
    kariBit giriBi tturaMga kamanIyaMbai

    I have come across on the net and have been unable to understand it.


  8. I havent been coming onto this blog for some time & couldnt respond to this comment.

    while a longer version follows later, here is a quick write up

    నరసింహ కృష్ణ రాయని కరమరుదగు కీర్తి యొప్పె = O King, Narasimha Krishna Raya; your fame is so high that

    కరిభిత్ = కరి + భిత్ = Elephant + over/ontop
    గిరిభిత్ = గిరి + భిత్ = Mountain + over/ontop

    కరిభిత్....గిరిభిత్... = a stack of mountains & elephants....

    The poet is using exaggeration (అతిశయోక్తి) to describe how high the King's fame is!

    1. Excellent sir. Can you please also explain remaining poem, where Makolodi jaana padulaku....and Gaganadhuni and nagadhuni words's usage. Would love to know the meaning. Thanks in advance

  9. chala bagundi mee translation

  10. amogham... adbhutam gaa artham chepparu... swatahagaa... ramakrishnudi abhimanini..artham teliyaka poyina, vikatakavuni padyam chese sabdam comical gaa agnyani kudu anandinchela vuntayi..emantaru mastaru

  11. M SURESH KUMAR 04/02/2014February 4, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    simply superb thanks for giving such a fine explanation