Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Yogi Vemana

Yogi Vemana


Vemana was a Telugu poet. He composed numerous poems in Telugu in Aata Veladhi metre which consists of four lines; the fourth line, with some exceptions, is the refrain or chorus Viswadabhirama Vinura Vema. Vemana's style is simple, his poems deal with social problems and sometimes propose solutions too. With the zeal of a social reformer, many of his poems criticise and strive to give fresh perspective to ardent followers of old, embedded traditions. Vemana is often portrayed in the nude. Biography
Though Vemana Satakam (literally 'collection of 100 poems' though he actually wrote a couple of thousands) is very famous in Telugu literature, relatively very less is known about the actual poet.
Vemana was a from 'capu' (Kaapu) family and native of Cuddapah district and believed to have lived in Gandikota area of the district. He was born at Veeranna Gattu Palli which is located next to Gandi Kshetram , a pilgrim centre, where Lord Anjaneya temple is located.
Vemana is said to be Achala yogi and an alchemist. His alchemy is more spiritual.
Scholars do not unanimously agree about the period in which he lived. C.P.Brown, who did extensive work on Vemana in his preface to the English translation Verses of Vemana, states that the date of birth from his 707th verse is Vemana's date of birth. But it is not clear. This cyclical date of Hindu calendar coincides with 1412 or 1472. Brown also wrote that the verses of Vemana were 400 years older in his preface of the book 'Vemana padyalu'.
He propagated Achala Yoga. Achala Yoga transcends the Vedas, the Upanishads and all the religious systems of the world, because of the till now no one described Vemana's philosophy comprehensively. His ultimate aim is to find the Achala which is not anything and which beyond of all. And the Achala is 26th. Advaitins and other religious exponents say, "25th is eternal, i.e Jnana is the Brahman". But according to Vemana, Achala is beyond of this Brahman too. It is beyond of iha and para.
The Andhra Pradesh Government established an University in Kadapa on his name Yogi Vemana University. Literature and Style
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. His poems are of many kinds, social, moral, satirical and mystic nature. All of them are in Ataveladi (dancing lady) meter
Sample poetry
Uppu Kappurambu nokka polika nundu
Chooda chooda ruchulu jaada veru
Purushulandu Punya purushulu veraya
Viswadhaabhiraama, Vinura Vema
Salt and camphor look alike
With familiarity, the paths of their taste is different
Among men, virtuous people stand apart
Beloved of the Bounteous, Vema, listen!
Gangi govu paalu garitadainanu chaalu
Kadivedainanemi kharamu paalu
Bhakti kalugu koodu pattedainanu chaalu
Viswadhaabhiraama, Vinura Vema
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
Bhandasuddhi leni pakamadi ela
Chittasuddi leni sivpujalelara
Viswadhaabhiraama, Vinura Vema
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!

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