Classical Telugu Poetry: An Anthology

By Velcheru Narayana Rao; David Shulman | Go to book overview

THIRTEEN
Nandi Timmana
Early sixteenth century

Later tradition imagines Nandi Timmana as one of the so—called aṣṭa—diggajas, the eight elephants of the cardinal directions, who supposedly graced the court of Kṛṣṇadevarāya at the apogee of the Vijayanagara period. Although this set of eight is probably a later (seventeenth—century) invention, Timmana's presence at Kṛṣṇadevarāya's court is historically verified. The poet dedicated his work, Pārijātâpaharaṇamu, to this king. The tradition asserts that the poet arrived in the court as a gift from the family of Tirumaladevi, Kṛṣṇadevarāya's senior wife.

The poet has another name: Mukku Timmana, “Timmana of the Nose. ” The title is associated with a verse supposedly composed by Timmana and then purchased by Bhaṭṭumūrti, in whose Vasu—caritramu it now appears. Here is the verse, based on the convention that bees avoid the campaka flower and on the standard comparison of the woman's nose to that flower (note the preponderance of nasal sounds in the Telugu original):

nānā–sūna—vitāna—vāsanalan ānandiñcu sāraṅgam′ elā nann′ ŏllad′ aṭañcu gandhaphali bal kānan tapamb′ andi yoṣā–nāsâkṛti dālci sarva—sumanas—saurabhya—samvāsiy ai pūnĕn prekṣaṇa—mālikā–madhukarī–puñjambul īr—vankalan

In agony, the campaka blossom wondered why bees enjoy the honey of so many flowers but never come to her. She fled to the forest to do penance. As a reward, she achieved the shape of a woman's nose. Now she takes in the perfumes of all the flowers, and on both sides she is honored by eyes black as bees.

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