I have, in one of my recent posts wrote about a lyric of Annamayya in which he expresses impatience with people who do not treat his Lord with the respect and devotion He deserved, just on the plea that they love the lord, so they can treat him as they liked. Love for the Lord is not enough, you ought to trest him with devout respect befitting his preeminence too, he chides you.
But his Lord doesn’t seem to think so in general. But once in a while, he feels enough is enough, I ought to teach people to respect me too, but gently, no point in alienating people who dote on you, for minor transgressions, minor, mind you by his standards.
Krishna Tulabharam, a. famous Telugu Drama written by Muttaraju Subba Rao based on the Bhagawatam, demonstrates this precept. The drama about the pride and fall of Satya Bhama, the second spouse of Krishna, was so very popular over the past over seven decades or more, not only for the story content , but also for the great poems which were penned by the author to dramatise some of the interesting episodes of the drama. Poems and songs like, ‘ Nanu bhavadiya dasuni’, ‘meerajalgalada naa yanathi’, ”Bhale maanchi choka beramu’ are sung even today with gusto not only on stage when the drama is staged, but also when old timers meet at marriages and social gatherings. Memorable performances by stalwarts like Sthanam NaraSimha Rao, a male, donning the key character of Satya Bhama, are compared and contrasted with the performances of later day silver screen artistes like Jamuna .
Here is a video clip of a charming scene from the Suresh Production’s movie , Sri Krishna Tula Bhaaram, featuring Jamuna as the angry Satya Bhama and NTR as the placating Sri Krishna.
The scene unfolds like this.
Satya Bhama, the second in line among the many spouses of Krishna is besides herself with anger, Her Lord has ignored her request to grace her personal chambers and instead chose to visit the first spouse, Rukmini on the plea that it was. her birth day. To add insult to injury he chose to gift to Rukmini, a dainty celestial Parijaata blossom which she cherished.
She retires in a huff to her wrath-house, to signal that she was burning with rage at the slight. (Don’t confuse the term wrath-house, with the German Rathause, the town-hall..A wrath-house is a wrath-house plain and simple)
Krishna comes to know of this and sets about to pacify his enraged young spouse. He tries several tricks in the book, he seeks to know of the reason for her wrath, he tells her of his misery if she doesn’t respond to him, he showers jasmines on her, offers her an apple. But she doesn’t relent. He doesn’t hesitate to touch her feet with his head and in fact he sets about to that.She tries to draw her feet away, but in the process she touches his head with her feet. Krishna doesn’t seem to mind. He is used to have his own feet caressed and pressed day in and day out by Lakshmi in his role as Maha Vishnu, but days and times change, you see. You ,have to get along. All is fair in love and war. He belts out a chivalrous poem,
“You, my dear, have chosen to sweep aside the head of this, your humble servant,with your foot, but it is after all out of a feigned friendly fit of anger .I don’t mind, I take it as an honour that you have done to me But i find with regret that your tender feet are hurt having come into harsh contact with the sharp goose-bumps that invarably sprout over my body when i behold you Please let bygones be bygones and be kind to me. I find your dark tresses so alluring.”
The poem ‘Nanu bhavadeeya dasuni’ sung by Ghantasala was set to music nicely in Abheri. This poem has been a continuous favourite of Bobby, my elder brother to this day. It is mine so, too.
If you want to view a video clip just google ‘ o cheli kopama from srikrishna tulabharam ‘
I tried to cite the URL of The YouTube clip but there seems to be some problem. It is not loading from here.
I have not had the good fortune to see Sri Sthanam Narasimha Rao enact the role,
I was an infant in those days. But I saw him a number of times many decades ago, as a soft-spoken, small, silver haired old man going slowly about his business, inconspicuously,
I have tried to morph in my mind this petite moon-faced wizened old man into a dainty but petulant and arrogant but innocent young lady with long dark shiny tresses, dressed and bedecked in finery and jewels befitting a queen, In one word, a Satya Bhama.
I wonder whether Jamuna would have looked as dainty as him, rather her.But then comparisons are odious. And it could be thst the morphing software in my cranium is perverse.