Triveni Journal

1927 | 11,233,916 words

Triveni is a journal dedicated to ancient Indian culture, history, philosophy, art, spirituality, music and all sorts of literature. Triveni was founded at Madras in 1927 and since that time various authors have donated their creativity in the form of articles, covering many aspects of public life....


Sri Andal’s Tiruppavai: An English adapation by Dr. Pemmaraju Venugopala Rao; Editor: V. Choudary Jampala; Publishers: Vanguri Foundation of America, PB 1948, Stafford, TX 77497, USA (For copies in India: Sri Krishnasramam, Peda Muttevi Post, via Challapalli, Krishna Dt., AP); US $ 100 (Donation)

This excellently and lavishly got up adaptation in English of Sri Andal’s TIRUPPAVAI (in Tamil) by Dr. Pemmaraju Venugopala Rao is a feast to the eye and a connoissuer’s pride. What with multi-coloured illustrations by Bapu (whose lines speak more eloquently than many a Mahakavis verses) for the title and the individual pasurams; and Indraganti Srikantha Sarma’s article on Sri Lakshmana Yatindra, who encouraged bringing out this version; as also an introduction in Telugu (with an English translation) by that great and multifaceted pen­man Mullapudi Venkataramana add great charm to this already charming outpouring of Andal’s heart.

With the uncompromising design and layout by Vanguri Chitten Raju, this work is a treat to behold and read. With the art plates and high cost production, this book belongs to the rare genre of classic productions which appear only once in a while. A proud addition to any good library.

- Vemaraju Narasimha Rao

Metverse Muse (Bi-annual journal): Edited by (Mrs) Dr.H.Tulsi; Publishers: 21-46/l, Kakani Nagar, N.A.D. Post Visakhapatnam­ - 530009; Price: Rs.50. $7 5 Pounds (Sterling) pp. 112

When we think of traditional English poetry the famous names such as Wordsworth, Keats, Shelly, Byron, Shakspeare come to memory immediately as their poetry is immortal. As the times changed metered verse also suffered a set . Free verse which is more suited to express poet’s feelings fully, effectively and more forcefully occupied upper place. This is the case with every language without exception. However inspite of several new trends and innovations in the arena of poetry the metred poetry still occupies its pride and respectful place. There are umpteen number of metred poetry loved throughout the world and in this regard India, has its commendable share. A band of lovers of metred poetry started a bi-annual journal devoted to metred verse entitled “Metverse Muse” from Visakhapatnam with (Mrs) Dr. H. Tulsi as Editor cum Publisher. The insignia printed on the cover page of the 4th Issue (July’97) projects in unequivocal terms the aims and objects of the Publishers. It reads thus­ -

The time has come at last for re-installation of metred verse as king and for his coronation just a few pages between him and the throne Once again his lost crown he soon will own Let us on this long looked-forward-to occasion Promise him allegiance of boundless duration Though the Head Quarters of the journal is at Visakhapatnam it transcended all the geographical barriers of the world. The popularity of the journal is truly reflected in the fact that the contributors hailed from every nook and corner of the country and also from several foreign countries. The contributors include such stalwarts like Dr. Niranjan Misra, P. K. Majumdar, Hyder Nayab Dr. (Mrs) Louella Lobo Prabhu, S. Chandrasekaran, N. N. Murthy, Dr. Eric Poersch (Canada) Peter Geoffrey Paul Thompson (England). Even poems of many novices also are refreshingly enchanting. The wide response of the readers is startlingly great. Though the journal is devoted mainly to metred verse sufficient space is allocated to articles and essays, Prosody and several other features. Views and Reviews on the contents of earlier journals is a novel feature. Naturally this helps enhance the quality of the contents. Photographs of the contributors is an added attraction. The journal with rich content and so many novel features is a feast to the palate of the poetry lovers. It is a boon and an oasis in the wilderness for them. The Publishers and the Editor deserve all praise for this excellent format and rich content.

- Dr. K. R. K. Mohan, Hyderabad

Vistas of Integral Vision: By Dr. P. Subba Rayudu; Pp. 107; Rs. 35. For Copies: Seva Sadan C/oSrinivasan Enterprises, 1-14-234, Balamrai, New Vikas Nagar, Secunderabad ­500003

The irony of the man is that though he knows much better of what is outside, he knows pretty little about his inner Self. He already stepped on the Moon and is zooming towards other distant Planets. Yet except his Physiological organs and their functions had almost does not know about his inner powers. All of us have five senses. Could there not be sixth or some more senses? There is Anthropological evidence to show that the Home-Sapiens once possessed extra powers to the nose. Even today certain Cannibal tribes of African and Brazilian jungles could scent humans from a distance of few Kilometres. As a species hounds do posses this power even today. It is believed that even snakes have this power. What about Telepathy? How to explain premonitions, Clairvoyance or ESP? Though all these defy scientific explanation within the frame of well defined laws their existence could not be denied. In recent times a new discipline of science known as ‘Para Psychology’ emerged and is fast developing. This branch tries to explain occult phenomena on rational lines. Dr. P. Subba Rayudu who is also a double master evinced keen interest in the inner realms of Self and higher dimensions of the mind. He made an in depth study of the subject and attempted to explain several such phenomena which are still questions to the scientific community. His observations and explanations are thought provoking and convincing. The book offers a rewarding study even to the common reader. Dr. P. Subbarayudu deserves kudos for taking up a less touched subject.

- Dr. K. R. K. Mohan, Hyderabad.


Telangana Jateeyalu: (Collection of Telugu idioms of Telangana) by Vemula Perumallu; Raikal (V & M), Karimnagar Dt. 505 460; Rs.100/- pp. 265.

Sri Vemula Perumallu has done a great service to the Telugu literature by bringing out this compendium of idioms and proverbs in general use in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. It reflects the enormous effort put in by him in collecting, collating and editing the various dialectical usages among the Telugu people in this part of the country. Each of these entries vibrate with the rustic vigour and the profound common sense of the Indian villager. Many of these may border on the obscene superficially, but are not so considered from the rustic’s point of humour and making a point directly without beating around the bush. He has also given concise explanations for the entries, on the appropriateness and the context in which these are used. This highly useful reference work should find a place in every library and be available to the readers and the writers alike.
- Vemaraju Narashimha Rao


1. America Telugu Kathanika - Aidava Sankalanam (Nutana Kathalu); Edited by: Dr. Pemmaraju Venugopala Rao, Pp. Not printed Price: 10$
2. America Telugu Kavita - (Modati Sankalanam); Edited by: Dr. Pemmaraju Venugopala Rao; Pp. 115 Price: 10 US $
3. Metamorphosis (Telugu Rachana Sankalanam) By Veluri Venkateswara Rao; Pp.71 Price: 10 US $
For Copies of all the books; Vanguri Foundation of America P.O. Box 1948 Stafford TX 77497 U.S.A

A popular quotation from the epic Ramayana states that mother and motherland are superior to Heaven - Janani Janmabhoomischa Swargadap Griyasi. This axiom is amply proved in the efforts of Vanguri Foundation of America. In the States the largest contingent of N.R.I. Scientists is from Andhra Pradesh only. Many hold very high positions even some acting as advisers to the President Bill Clinton on some important matters. There the Indians are known for their hard work and intellect. Despite the fact that they find little time to devote their attention to extra curricular activities, especially in literary and cultural fields some enthusiastic people are working with devotion to keep the image of Telugu language and culture high on the foreign soil.

The situation in the States and for that matter in any other advanced country for the outsiders is peculiar. They do not find much time to speak in their mother tongue. The first generation of NRIs know Telugu fully well. The second generation especially those born and brought up there is apt to know little Telugu which is spoken in their homes. In any case the words used in day to day domestic life do not exceed a hundred. In the outside as the society is a mixed one the common language for communication is English only. The medium of education also is naturally English. In the Weekends people are busy with shopping and meeting friends and relations. With this scenario inspite of the fact that the N. R. Telugus wish to keep alive their language it turns very hard to translate this into action. However the situation saw a sea change with the emergence of Electronic media. Internet and Website are there on which one could have access to Telugu papers, books etc., The Software developed for Telugu printing made it possible to publish Telugu books from America.

With such encouraging situation a young and dynamic NRI Engineer Vanguri Chitten Raju took up the lead in propagating Telugu literature and culture there, in America. He established ‘Vanguri Foundation of America’ at Houston (Texas) and published a series of books the latest being “America Telugu Kavita”, “America Telugu Kathanika” and “Metamorphosis.” The former two were edited by the Bhismacharya of N. R. Telugus of America Dr. Pemmaraju Venugopala Rao. The third one is an Anthology of Short stories by Veluri Venkateswara Rao.

In this connection the services of Dr. Pemmaraju Venuopala Rao deserve to be remembered. During 1971 he started a monthly entitled “Telugu Bhasha Patrika” from America. Though the name suggested language or literature in reality it devoted maximum space to science. As there was no scope for Telugu printing in America in those days he got the magazine printed in Andhra while those working in the States contributed the matter. It ran for about five years and faced infantile mortality for obvious reasons. The same Venugopala Rao edited the books “America Telugu Kathanika” and “America Telugu Kavita” in which Patrika he conducted story competitions relating to science fiction. That is why I consider him as Bhishmacharya of N. R. Telugus.

With a view to encourage the talents of N. R. Telugus Vanguri Foundation has been conducting competitions in Telugu short story and poetry every year for the last three years. The response was overwhelming. Besides the prize won entries, many other write ups also were quite good. Hence the foundation decided to publish selected ones in book form and the result is the emergence of the above mentioned books. The development of Telugu Software made it possible to publish the books from the States. The book entitled “America Telugu Kavita” contains sixty free verses including the six prize won poems. All these poets though rooted in American soil didn’t forget their mother tongue. They kept it refreshingly alive. Almost all of them are quite good and fare fairly well with those written by native Telugu poets.

In the poem entitled “Om...Bhuuh” K. V. S. Rama Rao amalgamates science with poetic flavour. The poem is about the Earth. In this he describes the scientific truths-thus.

In a corner amidst the infinite number of stars there is a small Star (Sun) around which a group of Planets is rotating. Among the Planets there is a very ordinary body called ‘Prithvi’ (Earth) which is nothing but an infinitely small particle in the Ocean of Space. He renders this meaning in beautiful Telugu.

In another poem entitled “Moksham” (Salvation) G. V. R. Sarma states that the concept of God is a myth.

Man only is the creator of a mythical God. He installed him supposedly for his safety and fulfilment of desires. If we openly say it amounts to self defame.

In her poem “Archana” (Worship) Rajyalaksmi Penumaka highlights the concept of “Manava Sevee Madhava Seva” (Service to humanity is serving God) She feels that God could be found any where and everywhere in this beautiful nature. Some of the poems written by others are really heart rending.

The book entitled “America Telugu Kathanika” contains thirteen stories (not caring for the igneous number 13 though working under western culture). The first prize won story entitled “Adrustavantudu” (Lucky fellow) is a satire on the greed of some N.R.I.s who care only for amassing wealth and riches. It has a sprinkle of subtle humour.

The second prize won story entitled “Hundi” by Syam Somayajula is an offbeat story. It has an excellent technique which only an adept could carve. A day time robbery takes place in a Bank at Tirupati. The cashier Bhakta hands over the bundles of notes at gun point. While giving the last bundles he switches on the wireless transistor which looks just like a notes bundle, secretly and mixes it with the other bundles. It sends the wireless signals by which the police could trace the thieves in no time. While leaving in a hurry the thieves leave some bundles in the room. Bhakta the cashier who is otherwise honest gets the temptation of pocketing them, thinking that the blame would fall on the heads of the thieves. The police catch the culprits but for one. The fourth one is a devotee of Lord Venkateswara and places half of his booty in the Hundi. Knowing about this the police hatch out a plan to catch him red handed when he goes to the temple at Suprabhatam time. Bhakta fears that if they catch him they would find the shortage of other bundles which ultimately lead to further enquiries in which his offence might come out. So he decides to place those bundles in the Hundi. He watches the movements of the thief who just pours out the bundles into the Hundi when police catch him. As the cash was already poured down which mixes with other bundles no body comes to know even if de did not place the bundles brought by him. What he does at that moment is a suspense which has to be interpreted by the reader according to his line of thinking. Syam Somayajula can become a very good writer if he pays serious attention.

Like this many of the stories in the book are quite interesting, and the entire book is a good treat to the reader.

The book “Metamorphosis” contains 17 stories and articles put together written by Veluri Venkateswara Rao. All the stories are refreshingly humourous. The first story entitled “Metamorphosis” is about a typical coastal Andhra who migrates to the States changing (metamorphosing) as a ultra modern American. The earlier part of the story brings to memory the travails suffered by Barrister Parvatesam in connection with his voyage to England.

In the articles section there are nine in total. Two are about Chalam and Sri Sri while others are for time pass. The entire book gives an interesting reading.

Vanguri Foundation deserves all praise for their commendable efforts. However absence of page numbers in “America Kathanika” is an eye sore.

Vanguri Chitten Raju’s “Danta Vedantam Katha” is hilarious. He talks humourously and his pen also writes humour. In Telugu the word “Pallu” means both fruits and dents. Referring to a Dentist he describes that near his house Dr. Mathew’s “Palla Dukanam” is there. Similarly he refers to the greedy doctor Dr. G. Reed as Dr. Greed. He writes that an Arabian lady fixed dentures like those of a horse. (Arabia is known for high breed horses). Like this there are many witticisms.

Satyam Mandapati’s “Turpu Padamara” is a thought provoking story. In India the higher castes observe outcast system and untouchability. Same treatment is meted out to them in the States by fundamental whites. The narration and presentation are quite good.
- Dr. K. R. K. Mohan


Tiruppavai: V. S. Parthasarathy Iyengar, Kalai Arangam, N/5 Adyar Apartments, Kottur Gardens, Chennai 600085; pages xiv + 137; Rs. 135.

This is a collection of hymns of Andal, the Vaishnavite poetess of the Bhakti Movement of Tamil Nadu. It contains the lyrics in Tamil with translation and detailed commentaries in English. But, more importantly, the songs are set to music with notations in Tamil by the late Shri Parthasarathy Iyengar. What distinguishes this publication from others on Andal is the fact that the songs are in ragas different from what one has been hearing in concerts for a long time. In the fifties of this century, the trustees of the Andal Temple in Srivilliputtur in Tamil Nadu requested the late Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Iyengar, the then doyen of Carnatic music, to set Andal’s lyrics to music. Obviously they were not aware of the traditional rendition, which had been almost forgotten. All these years most of the musicians have been following the varnamettus as set by Ariyakkudi. It appears that there had been another musical version, brought out by Shri Chetalur Krishnamachari around 1907, which was based on the traditional way of singing Andal’s Tiruppavai. Parthasarathy Iyengar followed this version mostly in twenty out of the thirty songs in the publication. In the cast of ten he changed the Ragas in order to avoid repetition. Thus he may be said to have attempted the revival of an earlier tradition in the rendition of Tiruppavai.

The ragas of Tiruppavai in the publication are different from those of Ariyakkudi’s as could be seen from a sample of the more popular of the hymns.

Song                            Ariyakkudi Parthasarathy
Margazhi                      Nattai Bilahari
Mayanai                       Sri                                Todi
Thoomani                     Hamir Kalyani              Mohanam
Orutti Makanai             Behag                           Sankarabharanam
Male Manivanna           Kuntalavarali                Arabhi
Vanga Kadal                Surati                           Surati

There is a saying: “Adi Natta, Antya Surata.” (“Start a concert with Nattai and end with Surati.”) This is the principle Ariyakkudi followed for the first and the last songs of Tiruppavai, viz., Margazhi and Vanga Kadal, which are also the first and the last in the list above. In the publication Surati is retained for the last song but Bilahari takes the place of Nattai for the first lyric. The change in the raga is not inappropriate for two reasons. My guru, the late Veenai Vidwan Shri Devakottai Narayana Iyengar, used to say that ragas with antara gandhara are suitable for beginning a concert. Like Nattai, Bilahari also has antara gandhara in its swaras. The song calls the gopis to hurry up for their morning bath. It is appropriate to set it to a morning raga like Bilahari. The songs are in different talas, some with eduppus ( starting points) other than from sama. All the 30 songs are meant to be sung one after the other in the month of Margasirsa. One could speculate whether Ariyakkudi would have undertaken to prepare the varnamettus for Tiruppavai had he known that there was one already in existence. Carnatic music is, however, richer by the availability of two versions of rendering Andal’s immortal lyrics.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating of it. At my request, Shri Srinivasan Rangaswami, the publisher, sent me a couple of cassettes the rendering of all the songs by a group of students of the late Ramapriya Rangaswami, who had learnt them from Shri Parthasarathy Iyengar himself. The concert was held in the Indian Fine Arts Society during the Music Festival in Chennai in December 1998. It won an Award in the category of ‘best devotional music’. Normally, when one is used to hearing songs in one set of melodies, it becomes a little difficult to appreciate them, if rendered in a different set. In this instance, the flow of songs in the concert is smooth and one hardly remembers the difference between it and the way the songs have been rendered in recent times under the Ariyakkudi paddhati. The musical enjoyment is complete.

The commentaries in English are well written by Prema Nandakumar, a linguistic scholar. They bring out the spiritual and philosophical content of the pasurams besides giving their meanings in a simple manner easily accessible to the lay reader. The songs exemplify the philosophy of saranagati (total surrender to the Lord) and are also illustrative of Bhakti Sringara. Hence they are popular with the dancers of Bharatanatyam. The English translation of the hymns by Shri Bangaruswami is apt and captures the essence of the original. The book is enriched by the Publisher’s Note, the Foreword by Vidwan V. Viraraghavachariar and an Introduction as also by the inclusion of Varanamayiram from Andal’s Nachiar Tirumozhi and Periazhwar’s Tiruppalandu.

The publication has an attractive cover in glossy paper with the picture of Andal offering flowers to Lord Ranganatha. It is generally free of errors and the quality of printing is good. Each song is preceded by an illustration which looks like a Tanjavur painting. The only minor point I would like to make is that there could have been an explanatory note on the symbols used in the notations (e.g. underlining. semi-colon, etc.) for swaras and the beats of talas. Of course, they are the standardised ones which could be obtained from other books on music but their inclusion would have made the publication self-contained.

Andal is to Tamil Nadu what Meera is to the North. While Meera has become a household word in Tamil Nadu thanks to M. S. Subbulakshmi, Andal is practically unknown outside her region with the exception of Sribhashyam Appalacharyulu’s Telugu work on the hymns, artists in the fields of music and dance and students of Hindu religion and philosophy. One hopes that the concerts of Tiruppavai will be held in different parts of India with the active support of music sabhas. All those concerned with the propagation of the traditional version should be congratulated and thanked for the signal service they have rendered to Carnatic music in popularising the efforts of Shri Parthasarathy Iyengar to make known to the world the rendition of Tiruppavai that was reported to have been in vogue at the turn of the century.
- A. Seshan, Mumbai.

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