Srungara Naishadham: A Classic Telugu Poem by Srinatha
Srungara Naishadham is a Telugu poem written by Srinatha, a 15th century poet and courtier of the Reddy kings. The poem is based on the Sanskrit epic Naishadha Charita by Harsha, which narrates the love story of King Nala and Princess Damayanti. Srungara Naishadham is considered as one of the finest examples of Srinatha's poetic skill and imagination, as he embellishes the original story with his own inventions and descriptions of erotic scenes.
The poem consists of 22 chapters and about 2000 verses. It begins with an invocation to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, followed by a praise of the Reddy kings. The main story starts with the birth of Nala and Damayanti, their childhood, their meeting at a swayamvara (a ceremony where a princess chooses her husband from among many suitors), their marriage, their separation due to a curse of a snake, their reunion after many hardships, and their happy ending. Along the way, Srinatha introduces many sub-plots and characters, such as Nala's friend Pushkara, Damayanti's maid Keshini, a sage named Rituparna, a hunter named Bahuka, and a nymph named Hamsavali.
Srungara Naishadham is not only a romantic poem, but also a reflection of the social and cultural life of medieval Telugu society. Srinatha depicts various aspects of courtly life, such as festivals, games, music, dance, art, architecture, costumes, jewelry, food, and etiquette. He also portrays the natural beauty of forests, rivers, mountains, gardens, and animals. He uses rich and colorful language, full of similes, metaphors, alliterations, puns, and rhetorical devices. He also employs various poetic forms and meters to suit the mood and theme of each chapter.
Srungara Naishadham is one of the most popular and widely read Telugu poems. It has been translated into many languages, such as Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, English, and French. It has also inspired many adaptations in literature, theatre, cinema, and television. It is regarded as a masterpiece of Telugu literature and a treasure of Indian culture.Srinatha's Life: A Journey of Poetry and Patronage
Srinatha was born in a Telugu Niyogi Brahmin family in Kalapatam village in Krishna district around 1365-1370. His parents were Bhimamba and Marayya, who were devout followers of Lord Shiva. Srinatha showed his poetic talent from a young age and mastered various languages, such as Telugu, Sanskrit, Prakrit, and Tamil. He also learned the Vedas, Puranas, and other scriptures.
Srinatha began his career as a poet and courtier under the patronage of the Reddy kings of Kondaveedu, who ruled over a large part of coastal Andhra. He composed many poems in praise of his patrons, such as Panditaradhya Charitra, Harivilasamu, and Bhimakanda. He also wrote historical and mythological poems, such as Kasikhandamu, Srungara Naishadhamu, and Palanati Veeracharitra. He was awarded with the prestigious knife Nandikanta Potaraju Katari by his king Pedakomati Vema Reddy for his literary excellence.
Srinatha also served as a minister and adviser to other kings and nobles, such as the Velamas of Rachakonda and Devarakonda, the Gajapatis of Orissa, and the Vijayanagara emperors. He traveled widely across India and visited many holy places. He also participated in literary debates and contests with other poets and scholars. He was honored with the title of Kavi Sarvabhouma (the emperor among poets) for his unmatched skill and versatility.
Srinatha was not only a poet, but also a devotee of Lord Shiva. He wrote many poems in praise of Shiva and his consort Parvati, such as Sivaratri Mahatyam, Srungaradipika, and Dhananjaya Vijayam. He also translated the Salivahana Gatha Saptasati from Prakrit into Telugu. He was well-versed in the Shaiva philosophy and theology.
Srinatha lived a long and prosperous life as a poet and courtier. However, he faced some difficulties and hardships in his later years. He witnessed the decline of the Reddy dynasty and the invasion of coastal Andhra by Kapileswara Gajapati. He also suffered from poverty and ill-health at times. He died in 1441 at Boddepalli village on the banks of river Krishna.
Srinatha's legacy as a poet is immense and enduring. His poems are admired for their beauty, elegance, creativity, and wisdom. They reflect the culture, society, politics, religion, and art of his times. They also inspire generations of poets and readers with their human values and emotions. Srinatha is regarded as one of the greatest poets of Telugu literature and a treasure of Indian culture. 0efd9a6b88