Srikrishnadevaraya: Two poems


Sri Krshnadevaraya (1471-1529) is one of the major poets of classical Telugu Literature. As the third ruler in the succession of Tuluva dynasty, he ruled the Vijayanagara empire from 1509-1529. A contemporary of Tulsidas and Kabir he is also a Bhakti poet but in a different way. His time can be called the renaissance in Telugu literature as it brought a new sensibility to the way of thinking. It brought in a new aesthetic. While the social life continued more or less adhering to the traditional order, there was a new awakening into the beauties of this worldly life.

Comparable to his contemporaries of European Renaissance, Leonardo Davinci, Michelangelo and Raphael, Srikrishnadevaraya and the other famous poets in his court pursued a new set of values. Aesthetic values that do not fade over a time. They looked for principles that could secure permanence to their art and durability to their poetry. Their worldview is similar to the humanism of the Renaissance artists. While the Renaissance painters were visualizing the heavens on a human scale, Srikrihnadevaraya depicted the wedding of the human with the heaven.

Srikrishnadevaraya painted the mythology of the heavens afresh in human emotions with a new translucence. We find a new sensibility in his depiction of nature and his rendering of the cycle of seasons. He is a true inheritor of the ancient Prakrit poetry. As a vaishnavaite, he must have studied the poetry of Alwars under the guidance of a royal teacher. We can feel the fragrance of the landscape of ancient cankam poetry flown into his poetry through the songs of the Alwars.

These two poems on the season of the spring are taken from his mature and well-knit poem ‘Amuktamalyada’. Canto V, 136 and 138.


With pools of honey flowing into the ground

With pools of honey flowing into the ground,
petals spread over the land,
and pollen floating across,
The Spring subdued the summer.
Reminding the story of the Lord
That crushed the demon and
Conquered the three worlds.


The trees at the time of spring

The trees at the time of spring
Cast a new shade of beauty.
Their shades move, yet appear still,
As the swarms of bees stuck to the
Juices that rained pelting all the day.

Original from Telugu

సాంద్ర మకరంద వృష్టి రసాతలంబుఁ
దొరఁగు పువ్వుల భువియుఁ, బూధూళి నభము
నీక్రమత్రయి మాధవుఁ డాక్రమించె
నురు విరోచన జనిత మహోష్మ మడగ.
ఊరుకొనబడు మధూళిక
యోడికలకుఁ గ్రిందఁ గ్రమ్మి యుండెడు తేంట్లన్
నీడలు దిరిగియుఁ దిరుగని
జాడఁ దరుల్వొలిచె నవ్వసంతపు వేళన్

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