Letter 72

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27th August, 1946
Sri Bhagavan himself wrote and kept in Telugu characters the Malayalam version of Upadesa Saram, known as Kummi Pattu. In 1944, I took it from Bhagavan saying I would make a copy of it. As I was returning the original after copying it in my note book, a devotee said to Bhagavan thus: “Bhagavan wrote Upadesa Saram only when Muruganar wrote about the lilas of Lord Siva --- about Siva blessing the tapasvis of Daruka Vana, isn’t that so?” Bhagavan said: “Yes, what he wrote was not merely about the story of the Daruka Vana tapasvis. He thought of writing about all the Avatars of the Lord as applying to me, in one hundred verses. He took up the folk song of ‘Undeepara’ for the purpose and wrote up to seventy verses. Towards the end of those seventy verses he wrote about the story of the tapasvis of Daruka Vana and then requested me to write the remaining thirty verses as they pertain to upadesa (teaching). ‘You have done everything. What is there for me to do? You had better write that also,’ I said, but he did not write them for a long time. He insisted on my writing them, saying that he did not know anything about the upadesa portion of it and that Bhagavan alone could write them. What was I to do? I had no alternative but to write. After writing those thirty verses, we called them ‘Upadesa Undiyar’. When that was done, Yogi Ramiah said he did not know Tamil and so pressed me to write them in Telugu, and so I wrote them in dwipada. After that, Nayana said, ‘What about Sanskrit?’ I agreed and wrote them in Sanskrit also. After I had written them in those three languages, Kunjuswami, Ramakrishna and others requested me to write them in Malayalam also, and hence I wrote them in Kummi Pattu style in Malayalam.” “So the original is the Tamil, next is the Telugu, then the Sanskrit and finally the Malayalam version, isn’t it?” I asked and Bhagavan said, “Yes.” I then continued, “As soon as Nayana saw those ‘Upadesa Saram’ slokas, it seems he wrote a light commentary on them?” “Yes, he was then in Mango Tree (choota) Cave. I wrote the slokas and sent them to him.

Telling the people around him, ‘Can we write even one sloka like this?’ he wrote a light commentary on the slokas on a day when there was an eclipse. They were published in 1928,” said Bhagavan.

I then asked, “How was ‘Unnadhi Nalubadhi’ written?” “I had to write that also in Tamil at Muruganar’s pressing request. Yogi Ramiah too was there at the time. He requested me to write at least the bhava (purport) in Telugu and so I wrote it in prose. After that Madhava said, ‘What about Malayalam?’ I said yes and wrote it in that language also in kili (metre). That will be like a seesamalika verse. That also I wrote in the Telugu script. You may make a copy of it if you like,” said Bhagavan.

“Why didn’t Bhagavan write it in Sanskrit?” I asked.

Bhagavan said, “At that time, Nayana, Lakshmana Sarma and others were here. So I left it to them. Why should I worry, I thought, and so kept quiet.” I asked, “Did Nayana write the Sanskrit slokas for ‘Unnadhi Nalubadhi’ at that time?” Bhagavan said, “No, at the time of writing the verses, Muruganar and myself were arranging them suitably when Nayana gave us his advice but did not write the slokas. He went away to Sirsi after that. While he was there, Viswanathan and Kapali went and stayed with him for some time.

Meanwhile, Lakshmana Sarma wrote slokas for ‘Unnadhi Nalubadhi’. The same were forwarded to Nayana, to return them duly edited. Seeing that, Nayana said he could as well write the slokas himself rather than correct them, and so returned them as they were. Subsequently with the help of Viswanathan and Kapali he wrote slokas to conform exactly to the Tamil verses and sent them. The former, however, remained as it was while Nayana’s was published under the title ‘Sad Darshanam’. Things happen as they should. What can we do? In accordance with that Sanskrit translation, Kapali wrote his commentary in English and in Sanskrit.

After that Viswanathan translated it into Tamil.” “How did the Anubandham (Supplement) happen to be written?” I asked. “I did not write it for any particular reason.

As and when somebody wanted a verse I wrote one, and all of them were added on as a supplement. For the first publication, there were only 30 verses. Afterwards, they became 40. Even they were written only in the first instance. Subsequently I wrote them in Telugu and then in Malayalam. Some of the slokas are from those written by great people in olden days and some by Lakshmana Sarma who followed the prose written by me,” said Bhagavan. “Some of the slokas are written by Bhagavan also?” I said. “I must have written only two or three,” said Bhagavan.

“Bhagavan must have written some of the Telugu verses also,” I said. “Yes, there must be some. If you like, look at the manuscript. You will see the details,” said Bhagavan.

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