Srikalahasti Mahatmyam – 3 (End)
Story of Natkeeran (contd.)
Siva walks into the king's court and challenges Natkeeran, saying, "I composed that poem with such literary elegance and beautiful poetic finesse (సాహిత్య స్ఫురన్ మాధురీ చారు ప్రౌఢిమన్) . What mistake did you find - in phrases? in the mood? in the metaphors?"
అనవుడు, నా నత్కీరుడు
మునుపటి వలె దప్పటన్న ముక్కంటియు నా
ని కనియెన్, "గిరితనయా
ఘన కచభారంబు సహజగంధం" బనినన్.
When he heard Siva’s challenge, Natkeeran replied, repeating his objection. To which, the Lord with the three eyes, very patiently, explains that "Goddess Parvati's heavy plait of hair has a natural fragrance!,” emphasizing that his poetic expression ("the natural fragrance of the lady's hair") was quite valid - Of course, Siva knows about Parvati's hair! How do others know - how would humans know? And Siva was appearing in court in human form ..so Natkeeran sticks to his objection ..
"అగజకు నైనం దగు, నిల
మగువలకుం దగదు, మాను మత్సరమింకన్,
గగన ప్రసూన వాదము
జగతిం బ్రత్యక్షమునకు సరి యన దగునే?"
Natkeeran tells Siva .. “look, it may very well be possible that Parvati's hair is fragrant naturally. However, it is not possible for mortal women of the earth. So, don't be stubborn. How can you bring the comparison of heavenly flower and say that explains things on ground ?” .. and he continues ..
"లూలా మాలపు మాటలు
చాలు" ననిన నలిగి, తన నిజంబగు రూపం
బాలోన దెలుపవలె నని,
నీల గ్రీవుండు నిటల నేత్రము జూపన్.
If Natkeeran stopped with reiterating his objection, it may have turned out differently. But he didn't - his authority and the arrogance brought on by that authority didn't let him stop there. He blurted out, "stop this nonsensical argument" - there's a hint of ridicule - 'so you went in person to smell the natural fragrance of Parvati's hair, did you?' .. in Natkeeran's words. That got Siva really mad. He had to prove that what he wrote was correct - there's no way to back off now - so, wishing to reveal his true form, Siva shows the third eye on his forehead. Siva could have shown his true form by revealing any of his other, well-recognized features - revealing the third eye has another purpose - Siva had destroyed Manmatha, the god of love, by opening his third eye. Now, showing the third eye to Natkeeran barely hides the threat of same fate for Natkeeran.
Upon realizing to whom he was talking, Natkeeran should have bowed down, accepted Siva's explanation as being right and apologized for his rude behavior. He wouldn't!
"తల చుట్టువార గన్నులు
గలిగిన బద్యంబు దప్పు గాదన వశమే
వల దిచ్చట నీ మాయా
విలసనములు పనికి రావు విడువు" మటన్నన్.
He tells Siva, "look, even if you sprout eyes all around your head, it doesn't matter. Your poem is still wrong and how can any one say otherwise? So, you better stop this display of your magician's tricks, because they won't do you any good!Natkeeran's own pride and ego covered up his sense of right and wrong so that he was unable to recognize Siva even when he appeared in front of him in his true form. Moreover, in that ignorance, he chided Siva.With repeated insolence from Natkeeran, Siva became exceedingly angry and cursed him.
శపియించెం బ్రతి భాషల
గుపితుండై రుద్రుడతని "గుష్ఠ వ్యాధిం
దపియింపు" మనుచు దానికి
నపరిమిత భయమ్మునంది యతడిట్లనియెన్.
Natkeeran's literary objection was okay - that was fine. However, Siva got angry when he began to get insolent, even when Siva showed his true form. If some average Joe on the road gets insolent, it doesn't hurt anybody. However, if an important person, to whom a lot of people look for guidance - if a person in such responsible situation gets insolent - that is not good - it leads to some nasty outcomes. That's what happened here. Siva got so angry that he cursed that Natkeeran will suffer from leprosy. Having heard the curse, then the scales fell from Natkeeran's eyes, he was extremely fearful and pleaded thus..
"స్వామీ ద్రోహము జేసితిం, దెలుపవే శాపాంత ముద్యత్కృపా
ధామా! నా"కనుచున్ బదాబ్జముల మీదం బడ్డం, నా భక్త ర
క్షామందారుడు శాంతి బొంది యనియెం "గైలాస శైలంబు గం
టే మానుం బద" మన్న, నందులకు దా డెందంబునం గుందుచున్.
So, Natkeeran fell on Siva's feet and begged for forgiveness, requesting for a way to end the curse. Then, Siva who's like the celestial tree kalpavriksha to his devotees, grew calm and granted the end of curse that Natkeeran must have a darshan of Mount Kailas. Upon hearing it, Natkeeran's heart fell.
"ఈ కవితాభి మానము వహించితి నేటికి? శంఖ పీఠిపై
నీ కవులున్నయట్లు వసియింపక దేవునితోడ నేల చా
ర్వాక మొనర్చితిం? గడు భరంబగు కుష్ఠరుజా విషాద మే
నే కరణిన్ ధరింతు? నిక నెన్నడు చూచెద వెండి గుబ్బలిన్?"
Natkeeran was repentant in his heart - "why have I taken this stubborn stance on poetry? Just because I had tha chair of authority? Why couldn't I have kept my peace, like all these other poets, why did I go and indulged in the ridiculous argument with the Lord himself? How am I going to bare this torture of leprosy, and how would I be able to see Mount Kailas?
Then he thinks of all the horrible symptoms of the disease.
"తివిరి యంగమ్మున దిమ్మి రెత్తక మున్న, యొడలెల్ల మచ్చల జెడక మున్న
దళమెక్కి గాత్రంబు చెలువు తప్పక మున్న, బుడుపులు మేన నేర్పడక మున్న
యలత విగ్రహమున నంకురింపక మున్న, కాయంబు వెడరూపు గాక మున్న
తనువున జీము రక్తముల్ గారక మున్న, దేహ మీగలు మూగి తినక మున్న
భిక్ష మడుగంగ బోయిన పట్ల జనులు
చూడ రోయక మున్న, కాలాడినపుడ
నడువ వలె గాక కైలాస నగము జూడ
హరుని వాక్యంబు శక్యమే పరిహరింప!"
"Before the limbs become insensitive, before whole body gets ugly with spotsBefore the skin gets thicker and looses its luster, before boils appear all over itBefore extreme tiredness blooms in the body, before the body becomes disgustingBefore the skin begins to bleed, before insects swarm around to feast on it,and .. as I go begging in the streets, the people will won't even want to see me - before that happens, as my limbs are still moving, I should walk, and try to reach Mount Kailas - otherwise, is it possible to remove the curse of Siva himself?"
అనుచు జింతా పరంపర లనెడు వర్ష
ముడిగి, నత్కీరుడను మేఘు డుత్తరంబు
నడచె, సంతోషమున దక్షిణమున నున్న
కవుల ముఖ పంకజములు వికాసమొంద
Saying thus, Natkeeran set out for the north. There's a beautiful figure of speech in this poem called, a kind of metaphor. The cloud called Natkeeran, having left behind the rains called streams of doubts, proceeded northward. Therefore, the face-lotuses of southern poets have bloomed. Natkeeran was such a pain in the neck to all the poets, due to his authority and arrogance that they all despised him. So, when he set out on the pilgrimage northbound, they all heaved a sigh of relief. In the comparative plane, the October monsoon moves Southeast to Northwest .. while the clouds are covering up the sky, it is so dark. Once the clouds move on after shedding their rain, the skies are bright and the lotuses bloom with special beauty in this season. The poet blended this natural phenomenon with the dramatic scene wonderfully in this small poem.
To cut a long story short: Natkeeran faces many difficulties along his path. After all it's not a joke to travel from Madurai to Mount Kailas. His arrogance which was busted upon receiving the curse, is totally decimated now, and he completely surrenders himself to Siva's mercy, during this arduous journey. When this change happens in him, Kumarasvami (Kartikeyan, Subrahmanya), Siva's second son appears to him and gives the following advice - Srikalahasti is the abode of Siva in the south, so it is the Kailas of south. So, you can remove your curse by having a darshan of Siva there. Natkeeran proceeds there, removes his curse with the darshan of Siva. Natkeeran pleads with Siva ..
"ఈ సంసారము, దుఃఖా
వాసానందంబు, దీని వర్జింపంగా
నే సుఖము గలుగు దయ న
న్నా సుఖమున గూర్పవే! కృతార్ధుడ నగుదున్!
"This life is a collection point of many griefs. Only upon leaving it would one be truly blissful. In your mercy, won't you please grant me that bliss, my desire shall be fulfilled, Oh Siva!"
Upon hearing Natkeeran's prayer, Siva, the lord of Srikalahasti, takes him unto himself.
లోకాః సమస్తాః సుఖినో భవంతు