Saturday, March 3, 2018

Vemana Satakam (Essence of Dharma according to poet Vemana in Telugu)


 Vemana  Satakam (Essence  of Dharma according  to poet Vemana in Telugu)

Translated  by
P.R.Ramachander






(One of the great books  of “essence of  Dharma”  in Telugu .Since these   are  taught   right  from school, these  are  ever popular. This is as great  as   any other  similar  book in any other  language)

“Vemana satakam was composed by “Kumaragiri Vemareddy” popularly known as
 Yogi Vemana, a 14th century Telugu poet.He used simple colloquial language in his poems with native Idioms. A poet ofthe people, a philosopher of equality and a fighting saint, his poems were a direct comment on the social structure at that time, which are relevant even to contemporary society. His satakas(100 verses)  are known by his name as Vemana Satakam.
Almost  all g his verses   of four lines  end with a makuta(topping) line  “Viswadabhirama Vinura Vema” which is  a refrain .Many   different meanings   /connotations   are given to this line . The most common is  “The beloved of Vishwada, Listen O Vemana!!” But I have chosen  a different meaning “Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema” , which appeared  to me as more appropriate .Though I know spoken telugu  and Sanskrit, I do noy know  how to read Telugu.Due to this though I have been wanting   to bring it to the  notice of those  outside Andhara, I was not able to do it.  Recently I came across a  book by  “K.Srinivasa Sastry  and Usha .K.Srinivas”  called  “Vemana  Sataka” , where  the poems have been typed in english   and there is a commentary in english to each verse .I have  completly depended on this book    and have  translated it in my own words .My acknowledgements to the authors  of that book.


1.One Rama   was born and made clan of sun great,
The lord of Kurus(duryodhana)  was born   and destroyed his clan,
This is the   effect   of sins    and good deeds ,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

2.The  musk  secreted  by the musk deer is black,
But its   sweet  scent  spreads  far and wide ,
Just like    good qualities  of is recognized   every where,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

3.The   neem though bitter  cures   diseses,
And gives firmness   to the luster  of the body,
And if eaten regularly it leads to sweet results,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

4.Food   without dhal   is   disliked by the world,
Only the person without debts  is  more stronger,
And only the person without fear is the wise  person
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

5,Even if a mean person practices  knowledge ,
He does not  become important, just  like  a mean animal,
Like  donkey carrying  perfumes  does not become elephant,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

6.A child  is pampered   only when mother  is there,
And if she goes away  , no one  cares   about him,
And like that  only in good times, people get respect,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

7.What is the result in  offering  food  to a  person,
Who is not able to digest   the food he takes,
And what is the result in giving  charity to a rich man ,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

8.If we     provide   help   to a person with virtue,
It appears  to him   as big as a mountain  due to his goodness,
But will  the   bad person even  recognize  help as big as mountain,
 Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

9.If we are  fated   to get   God would   definitely give,
And if we are not fated to get it, there  is no result,
And would   God bless  you with Gold , if you are  not fated?
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

10.A river full of water   flows   with great  majesty,
And a turbulent river  flows   fast and slow   and bent,
 Will a noble     person ever behave like a mean person,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

11.A rain drop   falling  in  an oyster  becomes a  pearl,
And a rain drop falling in river , becomes a part of water,
A person fated    to get it   will never  miss to get the chance,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

12.The   outer lappearance   of a fig fruit   is shining and smooth,
And if we cut  it open   , we may see  worms in it,
Such  is the   mind inside  an arrogant  person,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

13,The bubbles   that  form in the waves , breaks  then it self,
And the  wealth   seen in the dream is  not wealth at all,
Please understand   the luck and enjoyment in the world are  bubbles,.
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

14.Though gold   is same different types  of ornaments are  made out of it,
Though there   are various  beings their soul    is the same,
And there are many types of food all meant to satisfy same  hunger,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

.15.Do not claim  your superiority   in places that are  not yours,
Even a small   precious thing has   its own importance  but not its reflection,
Just like   no one   bothers   about reflection of a  mountain in a mirror,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

16.A huge tree  can be destroyed  by a small worm in its root,
And white ants   affecting   a huge tree  can reduce it to nothing,
Just like  by influence   of insignificant evil one can destroy a  person of good conduct,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

17.In every atom the   entire   world  is there.
And that  atom is again within itself ,
And the man who  can control his mind attains liberation,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

18.It is great joy   when our child   grows up,
And becomes  obedient and respectful to elders,
But if he is not like   that , it is a cause  of worry.
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

19.The head of the village knows who is lying,
And God knows about  those   who tell the truth,
And the gluttony of husband  is known to his wife,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

20.Serving   masters who do not  know your worth,
Would only lead   to a    life full of delusion ,
For would  a   barren cow   ever   give   milk?
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

21.There  are men who sell  milk adding water to it
There is a bird  which   can  separate  milk from water,
That swan is indeed   nobler   than that man,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

22,Even if  you grow neem with love, by irrigating  it with milk,
The bitterness   would not reduce  and it would not be sweet,
An evil person would never turn in to   a  good wise person,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

23.A fish can  move long distance  in water,
But it cannot  move even  one and half feet outside,
The  strength of its situation is more important  to it  than its own strength
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema
 
24.Among all charity , charity of food is greatest,
No one   is more superior   than your own mother,
And no one   is better  than our own guru,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

25.Saving money  by avoiding charity,
Saving   food   without   eating it ,
Is like  bee collecting honey for the passerby
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

26.The peppe   appears  black to see ,
But when you  bite it , it tingles  your tastebuds,
And the  good people   have their separate  essence,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

27.Though visible  , he does not recognise  them,
Though    it is heard  , he  does  not understand them,
This is the  state of person     who has   wealth,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

28.What is written in paper  is known to all,
The lines in the hand  can be  deciphered,
But even a learned one cannot recognise , the writing under the skin,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

29.It is possible    to examine   and study many epics,
It is possible to utter   very many words,
But  it is  difficult indeed   to  be patient,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

30.The Ganges   flows   with  peace towards ocean,
The gutter  canal   flows  making   great noise ,
A mean person cannot be peaceful like a  noble person,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

31.Not understanding what comes definitely   goes,
And  death is  a  natual process   that  comes,
If one roams recklessly   around as  per his wish,
It is like an insect jumping and flying and falling in fire , says Vema

32,If you   give shelter   to a   very mean person  ,
You would enter   in to needless   trouble,
As it is like a fly  entering your stomach  and causing discomfort,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

33.Having a stone inside shoe  or  flying insect inside ear,
Or having   a dust  inside the eye  or thorn in the feet,
Or   quarrel in the home  . all cause   great   discomfort,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

34.A mean person  always   brags  about himself,
A good man always   speaks   with composure,
The sound produced by gold is different from that of bronze,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

35.God   dies not    differ from one place to another,
For he is always    within your body,
Riding on your self  and controlling the horses,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

36.Even if you teach   the  bull for a year ,
It would  understand you  and behave  properly,
But   an adamant person will not learn even in thirty years,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

37.Though the body is transient  , the wealth is transient,
It cannot be  easily  realized by any body,
It can be told to others  but   difficult to practice,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 
  
38.What If human   beings   without any  feeling of generosity,
Are    born in this world   or  dead in this world,
They are   termites being born  or dead  in ant hills,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema  
 
39,What is point  in bathing in water, offer  treasures,
And offer   salutations to   the Gods,If they are done
By dishonest people whose mind   is filled with evil?
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema   

40.If  rains are absent   , famine  occurs,
If rains are in plenty flood  occurs,
But please realize that  they occur one after another,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema  
 
41,Though salt and camphor   look alike,
They do taste   very different  and like that ,
Though people look similar , the virtuous are different,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema    

42.All base qualities  in a person would be destroyed,
If he   has conversation  with virtuous  people,
Just like bad smell disappearing   when scent is brought ,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema
   
43.However  much one studies and however much one hears good,
A mean individual   can never   become  other than mean,
Would  washing coal with milk , turn it in to white?
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema     

44.The person who admits his ignorance is always appreciated  in this world,
But the one who admits to  be ready  to learn would also be blamed,
But the one  who keeps silent is considered as greatly wise,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema  
 
45.Any one   who keeps   company of undesirable person,
Is also considered  as undesirable in  this world,
It is something like drinking milk below a toddy palm,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema
   
46.Just like   large black faced monkeys  catch hold ,
Small monkeys and dress  it up in new   cloths and respect it,
Worthless  people   flocj around useless  people,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema    

47. If you person  with mental deficiency  is   given power,
He would dismiss  all efficient  people  from position of power,
Just like a  dog which chews  a slipper   does not know   taste of sugarcane,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

   48,If  the bottom  of a wealthy  man gets  sore,
It   would become a news   all over the   world,
But even if a marriage takes place in a poor family no one notices it,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

49.Due to desire   , all their life  humans,
Wander all around  with false  hopes,
Like flies swarming round a dirty pot  ,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

50.A loveless feast is wasteful cooking of   special dishes,
A devotionless  worship   is waste  of sacred  leaves,
A charity without knowing  worth of receiver is waste of gold,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

51.Fault   finders   are very many in the world,
While each person has   some fault or other ,
Fault finders   can never  find their own defects,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

52.If an illiterate   associates himself with learned people,
He   can never become a learned  person,
A duck by associating with swans  cannot become a swan,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

53, At the time   of weakness  even  a lion,
Can be   troubled  by  a very  unhealthy dog,
And so when you are not strong  , do not be stubborn,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

54.At the beginning  do not compromise on your principles.,
And till the end do not criticise   the principle  of any other,
And  this is how a poised   person leads his life,
And such a person with joy becomes   the leader

55.A steady  brain   is better  than worship,
Mind is always stronger   than words,
Good qualities   are  better  than  family lineage,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

56.The person seeking alms  is the worst in the world,
The person    who never  asks for anything  is like God,
But the person who does  not give little charity is a bad person,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

57.No person is free   from birth and death,
He is not the one who  acts either in the beginning  or end,
And it is laughable that  he thinks he does it in  the in between period,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

58.Without   practice nothing can be achieved ,
Without teaching  no one can learn,
Please understand this by fixing your mind  ,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

  59. If the   son who does not   show affection to parents,
It does not matter  whether he is   born or dead ,
They are like white ants born and dying  in the anthill itself,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema \

60.A noble  person  is the brother of  other ladies,
Does not aspire  for other’s wealth, looks after  interest of of others,
Does  not get  angry when others get angry,
And leads his life for others  , says ,Vema

61.Philosophers   are  plenty  in this world,
Though  one who knows the   truth  is not there  in the world,
And even if he is there, It is not possible to find him,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

62.If a pot is broken a new one can be bought  ,
But in this world   , once  a man is fallen,
It is extremely difficult  for him to recover,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema 

63. Humming again and again  , the melody of singing  increases,
Eating   again and again  even bitter neem  becomes sweet,
And only by constant practice anything becomes possible,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

64.In a house   without lamp,
IN the darkness  people cannot see  their forms,
But  even having  lamp of intelligence .
People are not able to  see sinful ways  says Vema.

65.It looks   as if  it is possible to break a stone,
It is even possible  to powder    all hills 
But it is difficult to melt heart of cruel person,
 Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

66.A person   who  forgets  day and night,
Who is not bothered  about his feelings,
And forgets you and  me   is the great yogi,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

67.Those who  in their mind  wants to ruin others,
Do not understand that  it leads   to their own ruin,
Please understand that God is there who oversees all this,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

68.one   small good act   with a clean mind is sufficient,
For   how does   a tiny   banyan   seed compare ,
With   the tree   that   comes   out of it,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

69.Only the person who knows the secret  ,
Would be able   to know   the  truth  of any action,
For without  entering the water  , we do not know its depth,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

70.When you approach a barren cow   to milk it ,
It  would   kick yoiur  teeth off , similarly,
If you approach a miser  for help , he will only insult you,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

71.What does not come , will not come , even if you request,
And What is destined will come   even without a request,
In spite of our thinking and worrying about it,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

72.If clouds mask the   sun cannot be seen,
If our mind blocks   , we loose  our stability,
If  we forget  the duties of life , the salvation would be  blocked,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

73.If you catch ,. Hold it tight  and do not leave  it,
But saying  I wont catch , you should  not catch,
It is better to die than catching   and then leaving,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

74.There   are people   who  do sins inside  but,
Appear   as good people   outside, others,
May not know it  but God definitely will,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

75.Possesing   a genuine   sapphire   is better than,
Having a basket full of   glittering stones,
To read and understand one good poem is sufficient..
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

76.The world blames   the person  who tells  the truth,
Do not speak   truth in the company  of evil  persons,
But speak only truth  when  you are in company of noble people,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

77.Unity   is  extremely necessary,
One can achieve  anything by its strength,
Just like an elephant can be tied  with a  rope of straw,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

78.We  bathe it with water , examine  it,
Drape  it  with sari   and also   feed it  ,
We do all this to the body which is perishable,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

79.Wealth is the   root of all the world,
Wealth is the root of all Dharmas,
Good nature is root of   all prosperity,
And thought alone is the  basis  of salvation, says Vema

80.Iron breaks  by heating  it twice or thrice ,
But it could be made   to join again,
But when mind breaks  , nothing can be done to heal it,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

81.By having  one  good person in one’s clan,
The  clan can   be made   in to great , it is,
Just like  one sandal wood tree  making the forest great,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

82. By increase  of wealth  one’s pride increases,
By increase  of pride  , bad characters  increase,
And likewise when  wealth decreases  pride decreases.
And by decrease  of pride   good character  increases , says Vema

83.Lord Shiva knows   there  is falsehood in world below,
The water   knows it is flowing to a  lower level,
And the mother knows whether a son is going to be born to her,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

84.A hand works  well due to power of five fingers,
Even if i one finger  is not there , the hand weakens  ,
Similarly by deserting of one person, the   group gets weakened,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

85.Words  over words leads to discussion,
All manthras   are  combination of  precious words,
When one knows    the harmony   of words,
Through these  words , one can get salvation  , says Vema.

86.Anger  reduces  a person’s greatness,
Due to anger  , good character gets    reduced,
And due to anger  even one’s life span  get reduced,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

87.If we get in our hand,an enemy who deserves to be killed,
That enemy    should be  left  unharmed,
Because an appropriate help , will make him not an enemy,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

88. If you bring a bear’s hide , and however much,
We   wash it again and again, it would not become white,
Does   beating  of an wooden doll , ever make it speak,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

89.No work  should be done  with unnecessary delay,
For if we hurry   to finish it early, complications would arise,
Can we pluck a unripe fruit and make it ripe  by just keeping it,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

90.A person who has good conduct can swim across,
A river when the time is proper,
Only a steady mind  can help you to win your objective ,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema.

91.A person   who is obedient   and respectful  to his Guru,
And pleases   him in a proper   manner  , leaving out  self pride,
And communalism , would live focused  as long as he lives,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

 91.One who knows his mother   also knows God,
One who knows the earth   also knows the sky,
And he is also a person  who knows himself well,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

92.People bring   stones and build pretty temples   wth them,
They would then make stone idols and  consecrate  them there with pomp,
And then  would those idol bless them or speak to them,?
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

93.When effect of past Karma increases , there  is no escape,
Did not  king Yudhishtra  the king of Dharma ,
Became a  lowly servant  in the king Viratas  court.
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

94.The great  city of Lanka  , blessed  by Goddess  of wealth,
Was destroyed  by an army  of small  monkeys,
In bad times , the small  and weak person can cause havoc,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

95.Cows   are of different colours   but milk is always white,
The flowers    are of different types but worship is same ,
Appearance  of Gods is different but they are  all one God,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

96.When  there  is no anger , there  is no enmity,
When there  is no enmity, the karma from previous births do not trouble you ,
When you disregard  differences, there  are no quarrels,
When anger  enmity and bias are not there , you would get salvation

 97. The   sense  of fear leads to ignorance,
If   fear can be overcome, we can attain salvation,
This body of ours    would  certainly get destroyed,
Please understand  that  our soul  is  the one who wins.

98.A spoon of good milk from a cow  is  sufficient ,
Rather than getting a pot full of milk from a donkey,
A morsel of food given with love  is sufficient to satisfy hunger,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

99.A swan in manasarovar   swims,
 Without being  affected by water,
A yogi wanders without being affected by pleasures,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

100.Self knowledge   is everything  ,
Practical knowledge  is  for living properly,
With destruction of knowledge of passion you see everything,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema

101Without inner purity rituals are  useless,
It is like   cooking   food in unclean vessels,
Why worship lord  Shiva  without  mental purity,
Oh pretty  one of the world , please  listen  says  Vema
































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