I already introduced "Karunasri" Jandhyala Papayya Sastri on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti. Today's offering is perhaps his most well-known work, immortalized by the musical rendition of the singer, Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao. My attempt at rendering it in English is towards the end of the post. Without further ado, I present you,
karuNaSree (jandhyaala pApayya Saastri)
nee pooja koesaM poolu koesuku vaddaamani proddunanae toeTaloeniki veLLaanu prabhoo. udayaSree aruNaaruNa kaantulaloe udyaanam kaLakaLalaaDu tunnadi. poola baalalu talli voDiloe allaaru muddugaa aaDukumTunnaayi. appuDu,
nae noka poolamokka kaDa nilci civaaluna kommavanci goe
raaneDu namtaloena virulanniyu jaaliga noeLLu vippi "maa
praaNamu deetuvaa" yanucu baavuru mannavi; krumgipoeti; naa
maanasa mamdedoe taLuku mannadi pushpavilaapa kaavyamai.
oka sannajaaji kanniya tana sannani gomtukatoe nannu jooci ilaa annadi prabhoo.
aayuvu galgu naalgu gaDiyal kani pencina teevatalli jaa
teeyata diddi teertumu; tadeeya karammulaloena svaecCamai
nooyala loogucun muriyucundumu; aayuvu deerinaMtanae
haayiga kannu moosedamu aayama callani kaali vraeLLapai.
endukayyA mA svEcCabhimaanaani kaDDu vastaav? maem neekaem apakaaram caeSaam?
gaalini gouravimtumu sugandhamu poosi; samaaSrayincu bhRM
gaalaku vindu caesedamu kammani taenelu; mimmu boemTla nae
traalaku haayigoortumu; svatantrula mammula svaardha buddhitoe,
taaLumu, trumpa boevakumu; talliki biDDaku vaeru saetuvae!
intaloe oka gulaabi baala koepamtoe mukhamamtaa errajaesukuni ilaa annadi prabhoo.
oolu daaraalatoe gomtu kuri biginci
gumDeloe numDi soodulu grucci koorci
muDucu koMduru muccaTa muDula mammu
akaTa! dayalaeni vaaru mee yaaDuvaaru
pApam, meeru dayaa daakshiNyaalu gala maanavulu gaaboelunae !
maa velalaeni mugdha sukumaara sugandha maranda maadhuree
jeevita mella meekayi tyajinci kRSinci naSincipoeye; maa
youvana mella kollagoni aa payi ceepurutoeDa cimmi ma
mmaavala paaraboeturu gadaa! narajaatiki neeti yunnadaa !
oeyi maanavuDaa !
buddha daevuni bhoomiloe puTTinaavu
sahaja magu praema neeloena caccenaemi?
aMdamunu hatya caeseDi haMtakuMDa!
mailapaDipoeye noeyi! nee manuja janma.
ani dooshincu poolakanniyala koeyalaeka vaTTicaetulatoe vaccina naa hRdayakusumaanni gaikoni
naapai nee karuNaSree raekhalanu prasarincumu prabhoo!
My attempt at an English rendition
Lament of Flowers
Early this morning, I entered the garden to pluck flowers for your worship, Oh Lord! The garden was vibrant in the reddish brilliance of the rising Sun. The flower maidens were playing tenderly in their mothers' laps. Then,
1. As I stood by a flowered plant, rashly pulled on a branch,
My nail poised; suddenly, all the flowers spoke up in piteous tone,
"Will you take our life away!" they wailed; I was dejected;
In my heart, this sparkled as a poem, "the lament of flowers".
2. A sannajaji maiden, in her delicate voice, addressed me thus, my Lord:
The few hours we have life, we embellish the natural form of
Our mother, the creeper, that gave us birth and raised us.
In her arms, unrestricted, we swing and rejoice.
When life expires, happily we close our eyes, at her kindly feet.
3. Why, O man! do you get in the way of our attachment to freedom? What wrong did we do you?
We pay homage to the breeze, applying fragrant perfumes. To the visiting bees
We offer delicious nectars as feast. We pleasure the gaze of folks like yourself.
Independent we are. Wait! do not, in greed, pluck us!
Will you separate the child from its mother?
4. Just then, a gulaabi maiden, her whole face red with anger, spoke thus, my Lord:
With woollen threads tightening a noose around the throat,
With needles piercing through the heart, they arrange us,
To tuck us in their fancy hair knots,
Alas, without pity are your womenfolk.
5. Oh, are you supposed to be humans, full of compassion and sympathy!
Our priceless, innocent, tender, fragrant and sweet life, entirely
For your sake, is sacrificed, weakened and decimated.
Robbing our youth, then, sweeping away with the broom,
You throw us out, does the humankind have any morality at all?
6. Oh man!
In the land of Lord Budhdha you are born.
Innate love is dead in you, is it?
Oh, you murderer of beauty,
Your human birth is tainted forever!
I could not dare pluck the flower maidens which admonished me thus; I came to you with empty
hands. Please accept this flower of my heart as my offering and shine on me your benevolent
grace, my Lord!
Notes: This "sung" version is slightly different from the penned original - it substitutes some prose lines for 3 or 4 narrative stanzas. All the poems are in metrical structure, following rules of prosody. This poem exemplifies the poet's philosophy in both life and in writing - universal compassion in the former, and simple style to convey profound meaning in the latter.