All is well with the world apparently.The Lord is in His Own Abode. They call it Vaikuntham. Surrounded by seven formidable walls, built of solid gold, each with a Golden Gate He is resting with His spouse Maha Lakshmi, the repository and bestower of the eight forms of wealth, that the humans crave, struggle. plod or fight for. The Lord is in His blissful repose, Yoga Nidra. He is at complete ease, akin to your deep slumber but he is still acutely aware, observant and conscious of everything happening everywhere to everything and biding for the destined moment to intervene, if need so arise. As He himself assures one of His devotees and beloved kinsman
‘ Whenever righteousness is in peril, I will manifest myself.’
No wonder the commotion at the innermost gate of His heaven reaches His ears. He rushes out, unmindful of His dishevelled state.
At the gate he finds the four loveable five-year old kids Sanaka, Sanandana and others. They are kids, bare-bodied and unmindful of that . They are the eternal kids created by The Creator Brahma from out of His fanciful mind. They are kids, innocent and chaste. But mind you, they know everything. Everything in the scriptures, everything that happens here, there and everywhere, now or for all time to come or at the times that are past. But they are not touched by anything , Unconcerned are they, for , qui sera sera, Vishnu-willing. Indeed they are tiny Vishnus incarnate, themselves.
The Lord, Vishnu finds them in a tiff with the gate keepers, Jaya and Vijaya. The conscientious watchmen are unwilling to let the naked urchins in., their beloved Lord is resting.
The kids are impatient. They have come from far off. They do not understand the attitude of the guards. They have roamed across all the worlds. Yet nowhere else, any one had obstructed them, except, now here of all places. These upstarts, these accursed ones.
The Lord assuages them. He resolves the tiff in His own manner.
The kids drink-in their Lord’s bewitching visage. The mighty, yet tender, body looks alluring, yet foreboding like the dark storm clouds. .The light yellow, silk robe is draped around his hips and legs, in the manner of a dhoti. A silk stole is fastened around His thin waist as a cummerbund The bare dark torso and the dishevelled mane and the yellow robe make Him look somewhat like a future Narasimha the half-lion, half man, to be.
They find that the traditional flower-garland or the garland of tender basil shoots, that adorned his torso is missing. If only He would tie down the unruly locks with a red ribbon and stuck a peacock feather and yes, stuck a bamboo flute too, in His cummerbund, He would look veritably like the cowherd-boy-to-be, they contemplate fervently.
They look for the image of His beloved spouse Lakshmi, that He always sported on His bare bosom. Yes, it’s there alright, But, intriguingly, they find another such impression on the other side of His chest, too. Has the Divine Father chosen to hold His other spouse, their Mother Earth too on His bosom, the celestial kids wonder…….
Manu Charitram (The Story Of Manu) or Swaarochisha Manu Sambhavamu, ( The Birth of Manu the offspring of Swarochi) is a great work of classic Telugu poetry written by the great Poet Allasaani Peddans. This epic, one of the five great epics of Telugu literature, is based on a short episode in the Sanskrit work,Markandeya Puraanam
Allasani Peddana was the poet-laureate in the court of the great emperor Krishna Deva Raya. Peddana was one of the eight fabled ‘atlas elephants ‘, the great, noble, wise and mighty scholars that adorned the emperor’s court, like the eighty mighty celestial elephants that unseen by any human, stood in the eight directions of the universe and which like a giant thrust bearing positioned the earth in place on their heads and allowed it rotate smoothly in its ordained orbit.
Emperor, Krishna Raya was a great warrior, a great administrator, a great patron and connoisseur of arts and a polyglot.. He was himself a great poet and scholar, and authored a great Telugu epic ‘Aamukta Malyada’, another of the five major Telugu epics,
When we were in college we had a selection of great poems from the Manu Charitram in our Telugu curriculum..In the beautiful opening poem of the epic, invoking The Lord’s blessings for the emperor, Krishna Deva Raya, the poet Peddana, describes the sage-kids that I have written about above, looking in awe at Lord Vishnu..
Here is my attempt at translation of the lyric into English. It is followed by the Telugu lyric in the Roman script.
‘As the Lord’s devotees Sanandana and others looked on at the two impressions on the Lord’s chest, ( which in their innocence, they didn’t realise, got glued on to His chest from the heady musk-paste that adorned the bosom of His spouse, Maha Lakshmi when he ardently embraced Her), it appeared to them that the Lord had chosen to station an image of His other spouse, The Universe too, on His chest, besides the image of Maha Lakshmi that He always held on his chest. May the Lord looking resplendent thus , through His benevolent looks, make the king-emperor, Krishna Deva Raya successful in all his endeavours.’
‘ Sri vakschoja kuranga-nabham-eda pai chenn-onda,Viswambharaa
Devi-n-dat-Kamalaa sameepamu-nan-breeti-n nilpi-naadoa yanan-
-ga vandaaru Sanandana-adi nija-bhakta sraeni-kin-doachu Raa-
-jeevaakchudu-grutaardhu-jaeyu subha drishtin-grishna raya-adhipun.’