Classical Telugu Poetry: An Anthology

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

SIXTEEN
Nūtana—kavi Sūranna
Fifteenth—sixteenth century?

Little is known about this self—styled “New Poet, ” who claims, without elaboration, to have been born in the family of Tikkana. He must be dated between Nācana Somanātha, whom he mentions in his book, and Pĕdapāṭi Jagganna, who includes a verse by Sūranna in his Prabandha—ratnâkaramu, an anthology of collected verses from ca. 1600. In terms of style, Sūranna hardly stands out; what is “new” in his work is the intelligent presentation of an unusual theme, the open conflict between wealth and beauty—and also the surprisingly practical resolution he proposes to this conflict. The story takes place in the ancient temple of Bhīmesvara–Śiva at Dakṣârāma in the Konasīma delta formed by the branches of the Godāvari.1


BEAUTY OR WEALTH?2

[One day Manmatha, the handsome god of desire, came to visit Indra in heaven. All the gods' women in Indra's court were overwhelmed by the visitor's beauty.]

The king of the gods looked at the immortal women and asked, “What do you need more—looks or money?” The women tried to recover

____________________
1
See the selection from Śrīnātha's purāṇa, pp. 119–27, on this site.
2
Nūtana—kavi Sūranna, Dhanâbhirāmamu (Madras: Vavilla Ramasvamisastrulu and Sons, 1950), 1.41–42, 44–54, 62, 75, 79–80; 2.62, 65, 68–69, 84, 86, 96, 107–8, 115; 3.51, 52–55, 57–61, 75, 77, 81–85, 87–88, 92–97, 104–7.

-216-

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