Paramparaa – The Tradition Continues…

An Anthology on Poets and ‘Me as a Poet’ – part 2:Nakulan (a) Dr.Sreeram Jaganathan Setlur

Those who have read Shakuntalam may appreciate this better!

Vanajyotsna is a creeper that resorts to a mango tree (sahakara) for support as it is khsama (capable)!

I am comparing kavitaa (poetry!) to vanajyotsna and saluting her, for she has chosen to climb upon my dry head (shuskha shirasi), though I am not a sahakara (asahakara), also incapable (akshama)/of supporting her….

अक्षमोऽसहकारोऽपि शुष्कशिरसि मय्यहो ।

आरोहसि वनज्योत्स्ने! नमस्ते कविते! लते।। 11 ।।

I salute you, o vanajyotsna creeper!, poetry! You climb upon my dry head who is neither a mango tree (unhelpful to you) nor a capable one (of supporting you)

Sanskrit poetry is not dependent on me! Rather it supports me!


Certain people are always attached to something! the areas that they like…

भवने ह्यलसस्यापि पावने योगिनो रतिः ।

अवने देवतायाश्च कवने तु कवेः किल।। 12 ।।

The lazy are happy to be in their home, yogis in purification, the Gods in protecting (their devotees) and poets in composing indeed.


Where are poets and where am I (where are we in plural as in the verse below).. where are cuckoos and where are crows! (That is the comparison)

But I praise them so that atleast one of them lays one egg in my nest!

Don’t cuckoos lay their eggs in crows’ nest? This crow will not oppose it…rather welcomes it…

क्व कवयो वयं च क्व क्व पिकाः क्व च वायसाः ।

अण्डं त्यजन्तु मन्नीडे तानीड्महे कदाप्यहो।। 13 ।।

The third pada can indicate plurality of eggs in that case अण्डं will be अण्डान्

Prathiba is the Sanskrit term for the skill of poetry. That is the egg referred to has to be natural or inborn gift.

If at all it may be gifted like the dropping of an egg, I am eagerly waiting to hatch and develop it.


This one compares and contrasts between a good poet and a good teacher.

The former is competent to make a sea out of a puddle (simple subject) whereas the latter is competent to make a sea (difficult subject) appear like a puddle!

कविर्नाम स यस्मिन्नु गोष्पदं सागरायते ।

विपरीतस्तु यस्मिन्नु सर्वथा गुरुरुच्यते ।। 14 ।।

A poet is one indeed in whom a puddle becomes a sea (with his descriptive powers) but a Guru is one indeed in whom the reverse is true (with his understanding and clarity)!


Looking at the grand art gallery that an evening sky portrays, alas! a poet is born in me as well!

धूम्रं क्वचिच्चापि सितं क्वचित्तु रक्तं क्वचित् पिञ्जरमम्बर त्वाम् ।

दृष्ट्वा विचित्रं सहसा प्रदोषे जातं कवित्वं मयि चापि चित्रम् ।। 15 ।।

Greyish at some places, whitish at some places, reddish at some places and golden-yellowish at some places, O! Sky! Looking at you, the variegated, in the night fall time, what a wonder! Suddenly a poet is born in me as well!


When someone is carrying a load on his head, his movement is limited. He cannot rush. The load can be both physical and of the mind.

In the case of a poet, it is of the mind.

In the real world, not imaginary, a poet is one with dull movement!

मन्दगतिः कविर्नाम भुवनेsकल्पिते किल ।

किं शक्तस्त्वरितुं कोपि धृतशिरोभरो हि सन्।। 16 ।।

In the real (unimagined) world, a poet is one with dull movement. Is it possible for a person to rush when he is carrying a load on his head?


I pity the moon which is hardly noticed these days!

Let the moon shine sometimes in the sky without any sabda!

But it shines always well decorated with sabdas by a poet!

व्योमनि भातु सोमस्तु विना शब्दं कदापि वै ।

सना विभाति शब्दैश्च कविना समलंकृतः ।। 17 ।।


अर्थं दृष्ट्वा कवीनां तु चित्ते शब्दः प्रधावति ।

अन्येषां विपरीतस्तु तेषां भेदोऽयमेव वै ।। 18 ।।

Words (poetry) flash in the mind of poets when they see a bhava or artha.

For others, it is the other way around! This is the difference between them!


यस्मान्न केवलं काले यं प्रत्यपि प्रधावतः ।

शब्दार्थौ तु स्वयं लोके कविस्स किल राजते ।। 19 ।।

In the world, he indeed shines among poets, not only from whom words and meanings come forth in time, but also whom they (words and meanings) approach (he does not have to hunt for them) on their own….

Implied meaning (don’t know implied or suggested) is sabda in the form of appreciation (say karaghosha or words) and artha (in the form of rewards) reach him on time (while he is alive)…


It is not easy for someone who does not have a prior background to enter a group of people with an ‘ancestral background’, be it music or any field….That someone is an outsider….

I have faced and facing the challenge! Who is he?

त्वं मे नेता हयग्रीव! गर्दभस्य ततोह्यहम् ।

निर्भयेन प्रणेतास्मि प्रविशामि च मन्दुराम् ।। 20 ।।

Hayagriva! You are leading me, a donkey and therefore I compose (poetry) without fear and enter the stable (of excellent horses)!

Donkeys carry loads whereas horses carry Kings! is it not? ☺️ 


Taking some liberty in declaring myself as a poet and taking a dig at Sun with poetic license.

हे रवे ते भवेन्निद्रा प्रभाससे दिवैव वै ।

कवेरिह कुतस्सा तु भाति तत्तप्रतिभा सदा ।। 21 ।।

Sun! You may catch some sleep (at night) as you shine during the day only. A poet cannot sleep as his imagination is always at work!

।।  समाप्ता ।।

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