Vemana

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Yogi Vemana
Bornc. 1652 (Estimate by CP Brown)
Rayalaseema
Diedc. 1730
Katarlapalli
OccupationAchala Yogi, Poet, Social Reformer
 
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Yogi Vemana
Bornc. 1652 (Estimate by CP Brown)
Rayalaseema
Diedc. 1730
Katarlapalli
OccupationAchala Yogi, Poet, Social Reformer

Kumaragiri Vema Reddy popularly known as Vemana (Telugu: వేమన) was a great Telugu philosopher and poet. His poems were written in the popular vernacular of Telugu, and are known for their use of simple language and native idioms. His poems discuss the subjects of Yoga, wisdom and morality. He is popularly called Yogi Vemana, in recognition of his success in the path of Yoga.

Early life and background[edit]

There is no consensus among scholars about the period in which Vemana lived. C.P. Brown, known for his research on Vemana, estimates his year of birth to be 1652 based on some of his verses. According to C.P. Brown and Rallapalli Anantha Krishna Sarma, Vemana belonged to the Kapu (Reddy) caste. Various sources say he was born in the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. [1]

Vemana was the third and youngest son of Gaddam Vema, then the king of Kondaveedu in present-day Andhra Pradesh. He was named Vema after his father.

Teachings[edit]

Yoga[edit]

Vemana came into contact with Lambika siva yogi in Kondaveedu, who initiated him into the path of Yoga. After this, Vemana travelled across the state, composing poetry and attaining success in yoga.

Poetry and fame[edit]

Vemana composed numerous poems in the vernacular of Telugu. His poems are four lines in length. The fourth line is, in majority of the cases, the chorus Viswadabhirama Vinura Vema - he thus conveyed his message with three small lines written in a simple vernacular. He traveled widely across south India, acquiring popularity as a poet and Yogi. People really took to Vemana's poems owing to their simple language and sweet message. So high was the regard for Vemana that a popular Telugu saying goes 'Vemana's word is the word of the Vedas. He is celebrated for his style of Chaatu padyam, a poem with a hidden meaning.

C.P. Brown translated most of Vemana's poems into English, during the British occupation of India. A large selection of his poems are a part of the present High School curriculum of Telugu in Andhra Pradesh. In his honor, The Andhra Pradesh government named a University in Kadapa the Yogi Vemana University in 2006. Vemana was believed to have lived for some time in the Gandikota area of Kadapa.

Death[edit]

There is a headstone marking the grave of Yogi Vemana in kataru palli (Kadiri Town), a village in Kadiri Taluk, Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh. It is believed widely that Vemana died in this village. Being a Yogi, he was buried and not cremated.

Poetic style[edit]

Many lines of Vemana's poems are now colloquial phrases of the Telugu language. They end with the signature line Viswadhaabhi Raama, Vinura Vema, literally Beloved of Vishwadha, listen Vema. There are many interpretations of what the last line signifies.

Vemana's poems were collected and published by C.P.Brown in the 19th century.[2] His poems are of many kinds, social, moral, satirical and mystic nature. Most of them are in Ataveladi (dancing lady) meter.

Sample poetry[edit]

Uppu Kappurambu nokka polika nundu ........... ఉప్పు కప్పురంబు నొక్క పోలిక నుండు
Chooda chooda ruchulu jaada veru .................. చూడ చూడ రుచుల జాడ వేరు
Purushulandu Punya purushulu veraya ............. ఫురుషులందు ఫుణ్య పురుషులు వేరయ
Viswadhaabhiraama, Vinura Vema .................. విశ్వధాభిరామ, వినుర వేమ
Salt and camphor look similar,
but closer observation shows their taste is different
Among men, virtuous people stand apart
Beloved of the Bounteous, Vema, listen!
Kanaka mrugamu bhuvini kadhu Ledhanakanu..................కనక మృగము భువిని కలదు లేదనకను
Tharuni veedi chaniye DhaasharathuDu.........................తరుణి వీడి చనియె దాశరధుడు
Budhi Lenivaadu Dhevudetlaayaraa............................బుద్ధిలేనివాడు దేవుడెట్లాయెరా?
Viswadhaabhiraama, Vinura Vema...............................విశ్వధాభిరామ, వినుర వేమ
Golden animal on earth is imaginary
Son of Dhaasharatha left his wife and chased after it
He was foolish and insane, how can he be a God?
Beloved of the Bounteous, Vema, listen!
Gangi govu paalu garitadainanu chaalu...................గంగి గోవు పాలు గరిటడైనను చాలు
Kadivedainanemi kharamu paalu............................కడివెడైననేమి ఖరము పాలు
Bhakti kalugu koodu pattedainanu chaalu................భక్తి కలుగు కూడు పట్టెడైనను చాలు
Viswadhaabhiraama, Vinura Vema...........................విశ్వధాభిరామ, వినుర వేమ
A ladleful of a Sacred cow's milk is enough
Of what worth is even a potful of donkey's milk
Even a little food given with respect is sumptuous
Beloved of the Bounteous, Vema, listen!
Atmasuddhi leni acharamadi ela...................ఆత్మశుద్ధి లేని అచారమది ఏల
Bhandasuddhi leni pakamadi ela...................భాండశుద్ధి లేని పాకమేల
Chittasuddi leni sivpujalelara........................చిత్తశుద్ది లేని శివ పూజలేలర
Viswadhaabhiraama, Vinura Vema................విశ్వధాభిరామ, వినుర వేమ
What is the purpose of custom sans inner purity?
What is the purpose of cooking sans cleanliness of vessels?
What is the purpose of worship of Shiva sans purity of mind?
Beloved of the Bounteous, Vema, listen!
Alpudeppudu palku adamburamu ganu......................ఆల్పుడెపుడు పల్కు ఆడంబురము గాను
Sajjanundu palku challaganu....................................సజ్జనుండు పల్కు చల్లగాను
Kanchu moginatlu kanakammu mroguna...................కంచు మోగినట్లు కనకమ్ము మ్రోగునా
Viswadhaabhiraama, Vinura Vema............................విశ్వధాభిరామ, వినుర వేమ
A mean(low) person always speaks pompously
A good person speaks softly
Does gold reverberate the way brass does?
Beloved of the Bounteous, Vema, listen!
Anagananaga raga matisayilluchunundu........................ఆనగననగ రాగ మతిశయిల్లుచునుండు
thinaga thinaga vemu tiyyanundu.................................తినగ తినగ వేము తియ్యనుండు
sadhanamuna panulu samakuru dharalona...................సాధనమున పనులు సమకూరు ధరలోన
Viswadhaabhiraama, Vinura Vema...............................విశ్వధాభిరామ, వినుర వేమ
As you sing (again and again), the melody (raga) excels
As you eat Neem (again and again) , it becomes sweeter
With practice, things become perfect
Beloved of the Bounteous, Vema, listen!
Anuvu gani chota Nadhikulamanaradu...................అనువు గాని చోట అధికులమనరాదు
Kochmayina nadiyu kodava gadu..........................కొంచమైన నదియు కొదవ గాదు
konda addamandu knochami undada...................కొండ అద్దమందు కొంచమై ఉండదా
Viswadhaabhiraama, Vinura Vema........................విశ్వధాభిరామ, వినుర వేమ
When it is not our place or time, we cannot win
You have not become small because of this
Don't you know the hill looks small in a mirror
Beloved of the Bounteous, Vema, listen!
Apadaina velanarasi bandhula joodu................ఆపదైన వేళ నరసి బంధుల జూడు
bhayamuvela joodu bantu tanamu...................భయమువేళ జూడు బంటు తనము
Pedavela joodu pendlamu gunamu...................పేదవేళ జూడు పెండ్లము గుణము
Viswadhaabhuraama, Vinura Vema................విశ్వధాభిరామ, వినుర వేమ
In times of distress, observe the attitude of relatives
In times of fear, observe the behaviour of the army
In times of poverty, observe the nature of the wife
Beloved of the Bounteous, Vema, listen!
Chippalonabadda chinuku mutyambayye....................చిప్పలోనబడ్డ చినుకు ముత్యంబయ్యె
nitabadda chinuku nita galise....................................నీటబడ్డ చినుకు నీట గలిసె
Brapti galugu chota phalamela tappura......................బ్రాప్తిగలుగు చోట ఫలమేల తప్పురా
Viswadhaabhiraama, Vinura Vema........................... విశ్వధాభిరామ, వినుర వేమ
The rain drop that fell in the shell became a pearl,
The one that fell in water merged with water,
Where there's devotion, there's bound to be fruit,
Beloved of the Bounteous, Vema, listen!
Veshabhashalerigi Kashayavastramul...................వేషభాషలెరిగి ఖాషాయవస్త్రముల్
gattagane mukti galugabodhu...............................గట్టగానె ముక్తి గలుగబోదు
talalu bodulina talapulu bodula.............................తలలు బోడులైన తలపులు బోడులా
Viswadhaabhiraama, Vinrua Vema.......................విశ్వధాభిరామ, వినుర వేమ
Changing your appearance, language and wearing saffron (renunciate) clothes
Do not lead to mukti (liberation),
Shaving of head (of a renunciate, widow etc) does not shave (unwanted) thoughts
Beloved of the Bounteous, Vema, listen!
Cheppulona rayi chevilona joriga...................చెప్పులోన రాయి చెవిలోన జోరీగ
kantilona nalusu kali mullu.............................కంటిలొన నలుసు కాలి ముల్లు
intilona poru intinta gadaya............................ఇంటిలోన పోరు ఇంతింత గాదయ
Viswadhaabhiraama, Vinura Vema................ విశ్వధాభిరామ, వినుర వేమ
A stone in shoe, a fly near ear
Pollen in eye, a thorn in foot
A quarrel in the house, are unbearable(painful)
Beloved of the Bounteous, Vema, listen!
Tappulennuvaru Tandopatandambu...................తప్పులెన్నువారు తండోపతండంబు
Lurvi janulakella nundu tappu............................లుర్వి జనులకెల్ల నుండు తప్పు
Tappu lennuvaru tamatappu lerugaru................తప్పు లెన్నువారు తమతప్పు లెరుగరు
Viswadhaabhiraama, Vinura Vema................... విశ్వధాభిరామ, వినుర వేమ
There are many that find faults (with others)
Every one in the world has faults
The people who count faults do not know their own faults
Beloved of the Bounteous, Vema, listen![2]
Inumu virigeneni irumaaru mummaaru...................ఇనుము విరిగెనేని ఇరుమారు ముమ్మారు
kaachi yatakavachu kramamu gaanu......................కాచి యతకవచ్చు క్రమము గాను
manasu virigeneni mari chercharaadaya.................మనసు విరిగెనేని మరి చేర్చరాదయ
Viswadaabhiraama, Vinura Vema.......................... విశ్వధాభిరామ, వినుర వేమ
Iron, if broken, can be joined together, twice or thrice
but heart once broken can never be put together again
Medi pandu chooda melimaiyundu...................మేడి పండు చూడ మేలిమైయుండు
Potta vippi chooda purugulundu......................పొట్ట విప్పి చూడ పురుగులుండు
Pirikivani madini binkamilagura..........................పిరికి వాని మదిని బింకమీలాగురా
Viswadhaabhirama vinura Vema..................... విశ్వధాభిరామ, వినుర వేమ

translation:

Medi, a fruit, looks gorgeous externally,
But when we rip it, we find worms within.
In a similar manner, a coward appears brave outside, but in reality he is not.
Beloved of the Bounteous, Vema, listen!
Eluka tholu thechi yedadi uthikina ..................ఎలుక తోలు తెచ్చి ఏడాది ఉతికినా
Nalupu nalupey gani thelupu kadhu....................నలుపు నలుపే గాని తెలుపు కాదు
Koyya bomma thechi kottina palukuna...............కొయ్య బొమ్మ తెచ్చి కొట్టిన పలుకునా
Viswadhaabhirama vinura Vema....................... విశ్వధాభిరామ, వినుర వేమ

translation:

Even if you take a mouse's hide and wash it for any number of days
Its black color will remain a black and never becomes white
Similarly, even if you beat a wooden doll it will never speak (it is impossible to change the original human nature)
Beloved of the Bounteous, Vema, listen!

The films[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jackson, William Joseph (2004). Vijayanagara voices: exploring South Indian history and Hindu literature. Ashgate Publishing. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-7546-3950-3. 
  2. ^ a b Brown, C.P. (1829). Verse of Vemana: Translated from the Telugu.

External links[edit]